Wild Beauty

A marsh on Jamestown Island

A marsh on Jamestown Island

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The garden quickly grows a bit shaggy this time of year, looking like it needs a good haircut.

Abundant rain and steamy temperatures fuel growth so fast, you might think you can sit and watch it all expanding.

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Native trumpet vine grows through trees, entangling with other vines.  This grows in Jamestown Island.

Native trumpet vine grows through trees, entangling with other vines, here  on Jamestown Island.

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Vines creep inches a day.  Weeds spring up lush and thick overnight.  Grasses spread their rhizomes to claim fresh territory in the beds and mulch.  And everything grows green.

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July 4, 2015 Jamestown 006

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Everything.  A thin layer of algae or moss will grow in the most unexpected places.

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Queen Anne's Lace grows near a pond on the Colonial Parkway.

Queen Anne’s Lace grows near a pond on the Colonial Parkway.

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We can’t keep up with it all.   The world looks a little wild and unkempt in July.

But it is wildly beautiful.

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July 4, 2015 Jamestown 016

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Every trip around the garden to weed, trim and prune yields at minimum a wheelbarrow full of culled greenery.  Shade grows deep beneath the expanding canopy of vines, branches and leaves.

Such abundance!

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Trumpet vine climbs over, around and through this sapling pine.  They will grow together for many more years to come on Jamestown Island.

Trumpet vine climbs over, around and through this sapling pine. They will grow together for many more years to come on Jamestown Island.

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There is a tension between maintaining a neatly trimmed garden and letting the plants do what they will.

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July 4, 2015 Jamestown 068

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You see it along the roads where crews trim so far back from the pavement, and then let nature take the rest.  You see it along the Parkway, and at the edge of the woods, and anywhere a human hand neglects to bring order for more than a few days at a time.

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July 4, 2015 Jamestown 020~

It remains a fine line to tread in the garden.  “What may grow, and what must go?”  the perennial question a gardener ponders in July.

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July 4, 2015 Jamestown 001~

There is a certain tension in a newly trimmed lawn, swept hardscaping, pruned hedges, a well pruned bed of annuals.

And then there is the exuberant release of wildly blooming branches and top heavy perennials.  Day lily, Phlox, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Salvia, Lantana, Achillea ... these have risen miraculously from the bed.

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Wildflowers along the Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Yorktown.

Wildflowers along the Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Yorktown.

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Buds open, stalks grow, leaves uncurl, color fills the spaces so recently blanketed in snow.

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Native blackberrries grow through a native shrub we call Beautyberry.

Native blackberrries grow through a native shrub we call Beautyberry.

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Every gardener must negotiate their own balance between the tension and the release; control and abandon.

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Our garden, July 1

Our garden, July 1

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And some gardeners live in awe of the artful hand of nature, left to tend the garden in her own, sublime style.

What surprises she offers!  What generosity and enthusiasm she brings to the design!

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July 4, 2015 Jamestown 007~

Gardening in a living forest, by necessity I lean towards the wild side of beauty, towards allowing nature her hand in creating our garden.

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Vines  climb through Rose of Sharon and scamper onto a Dogwood tree in our garden.

Vines climb through Rose of Sharon and scamper onto a Dogwood tree in our garden.

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That hand has not always been gentle, or kind.  This is a dynamic collaboration; always evolving.

There are always surprises.  There are ongoing challenges.

But what beauty emerges in the process!

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Our garden on the fourth of July:; a Salvia grows through Colocasia, punctuated with a dark leafed Canna.

Our garden on July 4; a Salvia grows through Colocasia, punctuated with a dark leafed Canna.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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A wildflower growing on Jamestown Island

A wildflower growing on Jamestown Island

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

8 responses to “Wild Beauty

  1. Janet Craig

    Elizabeth,

    I always enjoy your entries, but especially when you take me on a leisurely stroll of the Colonial Parkway. It’s a national treasure!

    As I looked over your beautiful photos today, ending with a flower at Jamestown Island, I suddenly remembered Betty Babb. Do you know her, Elizabeth? Betty is a painter, a Williamsburg “institution.” Unless she and Bruce have moved, Betty lives in the Yorkshire area of Wbg, near Walsingham Academy. Betty has done work, by commision, for CW, and a while back she painted a series of paintings of flowers of Jamestown Island, also by commission. One day Don and I happened to be lunching at Trellis, with a group that included Betty Babb, and she directed us – only when we pressed her – to view some of her paintings hanging on the walls at Trellis. We were smitten with a trio of them – a tryptich – and purchased them. They depict three different inflorescences at Jamestown Island. Shortly after that we went to her home to collect the paintings. She is delightful and so is her work. Seek her out if you do not already know her, Elizabeth.

    Best of summer pleasures and plants to you and Stephen. Don sends his best to you both.

    Warmly,

    -Janet Craig

    Janet W. Craig 250 Madrid Court Merritt Island, FL 32953-3046 ph 321-208-8129 m 757-810-3659 janetcraig@infionline.net

    • Dear Janet, it is such a pleasure to hear from you and Don! We miss you both very much. Your move was our loss, and we think of you often. I have had the pleasure of meeting Betty Babb but do not know her well. Her work is always so detailed and delicately painted that one can get lost in the detail. I believe at least one of her paintings was on loan for a while and hanging in the Clubhouse. We also used to love admiring the paintings at the (old) Trellis when we dined there, and also enjoyed Stephen Bennett’s music back in the day when he played piano on the weekends. Jamestown Island is one of our hidden treasures. Talking with a neighbor recently, I learned that while they drive the Parkway, they’ve never driven the loop roads on the Island itself. Hard to believe as it is so close by, and absolutely free. We love the wildlife as well as the wildflowers. Our native Hibiscus have just bloomed this week, Janet; a magical time here for exploring. Thank you for this note, and for visiting Forest Garden. Our love to you both, E

  2. It does seem like things are just leaping out of the ground with the heat and rain, esp. the lawn! I mowed only a few days ago and it needs it again already! Reading your to-do list reminds me of all that awaits me in my own garden as I sit here lolly-gagging on the computer! 😀 There always seems to be a race between Ma Nature and me and I know who always wins! 😉

  3. We live within a forest too…stark contrast between the cultivated and the wild, except at the woodlands edge, where they mingle. Your last two photos are spectacular.

    • Thank you, Rickii. Then you know…. it is always a challenge to ‘garden’ in the wild. I don’t dare even step out there today. Heat index over 100, 100% humidity, and I’m covered in healing bites from that little foray into the wild on July 4. I’m glad you enjoyed those last photos 😉 Always something beautiful to find and enjoy! Hugs, WG

  4. You have captured and described July so well. Wild, lush, and beautiful. 🙂

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