Come Walk With Me…

Glimpses from a Bloedel Reserve walkabout.



For many avid garden lovers, this weekend’s stunning, Premier Plant Sale would have been all the reason needed to head to The Bloedel Reserve. Not me. Not quite. The main reason I carved out time on an otherwise busy Friday to hop a ferry across the sound was to walk and sit, and kneel once again within those immense, lush, silent spaces that make up one of my favorite gardens, to attune my city-battered eyes and ears to a world that one can actually see and hear breathing, and to breathe with it. I went, first, for healing and wonder time in the garden and once again found my vision-hungry heart stretched and fed. There is big magic afoot on Bainbridge Island and it is always worth the effort to immerse oneself within it.


The air was cool and wet, pregnant with woodland smells and mist, and birdsong.




Along deep, shady pathways, wondrous things are happening. Tomorrow there will be different, wonderful things happening. This is exactly as it should be.




20130405_DPP-244Look around, maybe just over the crest of that grassy hill. Some important, much-needed lesson awaits you, awaits your discovery and affirmation. Are you game?


20130408_DPP-29Yes, of course I brought plants home from the sale. Several of them as a matter of fact. But no matter how amazing these new garden members are (that’s one of them to the right), they were not my primary reason for visiting. For me, one of the great beauties of ‘Bloedel’ is this,   “…the best things that you could ever possibly hope to take home from this wondrous place are not for sale and cannot be bought. They are not reserved for the highest bidder, but are instead yours for the seeing, the hearing, the smelling, if only you will walk a bit, tarry a bit, and as always, if you’ll merely say, yes.”

Namasté, my friends.



Were we but an inch tall, like snails, would this not seem immense, an emergent, prehistoric wonderland?

Three brief point-&-shoot glimpses from knee height, knees on damp ground.

Tiny, emergent euphorbias seem almost to glow as they radiate light gathered from the open shade and elegantly redefine it's appearance.

It’s probably a bit early yet to start really working the soil and planting things around here, but a few meditative hours on my hands and knees yesterday, trimming away perhaps fifty or sixty pounds of unruly Lamium from within the shade beds along the north side of my house, and pulling scores of hardy weeds while their root systems remain tenuous enough to allow easy removal, all convinced me that it isn’t too early to begin lending a hand to some of the early-emerging little wonders in the garden, freeing them from their weighty, overwintered blankets of leaf mold and mulch. So this morning, after a tall cup of hot joe, I wandered back out to the meandering brick and concrete pathway that runs from front to back gardens at Le Jardin de Dave, and dropped immediately down to my knees to offer a bit of helpful assistance.

This young grape hyacinth stem (Muscari), remains tender and pale, having just emerged from the dark, protective world beneath a generous blanket of autumn-raked leaves. As you can see if you look closely, the slugs and snails, and perhaps cutworms have been finding protection beneath the leaves as well, for several emerging stems have been chewed fairly extensively.

To my mind, one of the principal beauties of such an uncovering adventure is the ‘reveal’, that wonderful, pregnant little moment when a plant is first seen clearly for the year, not yet fully developed and almost blinking, if you will, or whatever the plant equivalent of blinking in the bright light of day would be, after having just been uncovered and introduced to the wonders of sunshine in all its pale young promise.

These not yet opened Galanthus, aka 'Snowdrops' are consistent, early bloomers within many temperate gardens and weighted as they are on their long, slender stalks, add a distinctive sense of color and motion to the early spring garden and its breezes.