By LYNNE IRONS
We have had a series of what the Irish call soft days — warm, foggy, misty and calm. It has been pleasurable to work outdoors. We have a rule in our small gardening company. We don’t work under 20 degrees all day and we go home if it rains up our noses while bending over in a flower bed. Otherwise we are a hardy sort with a moderate amount of whining. Nevertheless starting the day in the rain tends to make everyone fairly sour.
I am prone to repetition. It is because I have children who never listened to me. The good thing about column writing is that if I can’t remember what I said a few weeks ago, hopefully you will forget you read it. I loathe gas-powered leaf blowers. I can’t figure out their purpose except to totally irk me. It seems every time we are working happily on a beautiful property, a lawn crew shows up to mow and blow. The person wearing the backpack behemoth rarely if ever wears ear protection. Little do these workers realize the long-term consequences. My father and others of his generation listened to the World War II big guns and are now stone deaf. It is so sad that I can no longer have a phone conversation with my dad. He can’t hear a word. I miss him!
Some of my window boxes are still sporting pink alstromeria in full bloom. Mixed with the now-dying licorice plant, they make a statement. I can live with both the licorice plant and white bacopa almost until Christmas. Both are remarkably hardy and make a nice combination with greens for the holidays.
Every spring I intend to purchase a Betty Prior rose. I never remember. She isn’t much to write home about until now when she comes into her own. Roses blooming when all else is fading is so spirit-lifting. There is one on Centre street right up from Franklin that is blooming above a tangle of spent autumn clematis.
My granddaughter, Violet, glued Halloween decorations on my living room wall but I don’t mind. Grandchildren, as you may have guessed, can do no wrong. It reminded me of my grandfather, Popop, who wallpapered around a “mural” I drew on his hallway when I was three or four.
I bullied my son, Jeremiah, to buy me a Sourwood. It is only about two feet tall but is a gorgeous fall red. I remembered that Polly Hill did not start the arboretum until she was 50. I heard her quoted on National Public Radio in her 100th year, “Baby, trees will get big if you take good care of them and if you live long enough.”
Aren’t the Burning Bushes great this year? They are called Winged Euonymous. Supposedly they are on the invasive plant list and are no longer available at the local nurseries. Too bad! I am not crazy about pruning them into a square or box shape. They have such a lovely shape of their own.
Last Saturday night the whole town turned out in West Tisbury to cut some rug with Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. It was the 15th annual Barnraisers’ Ball. A great time was had by all. The admission price was a dessert to share. There must have been some serious sugar hangovers the next morning. Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.
The general topic of conversation here in blue-state Massachusetts was elation over the results of the 2008 presidential election and how proud people were of their country.