The image above is the early fall display of the Sakhalin euonymus, a compact, small tree growing in the parking lot at Chanticleer. It’s just about the prettiest thing right now, with its leaves showing pinks and corals, and its fruit like bright pink gumballs hanging off the smooth gray branches. The pink capsules hang on after the leaves fall, and are opening now to reveal the reddish-orange seeds inside. A google search turned up just a few nurseries that carry it (Forest Farm and Weston Nurseries), and most of the non-commercial information I found here. It’s a gorgeous plant that hasn’t seeded around at Chanticleer, making it a euonymus worth having.
I’ve been away from the garden for most of this month, which explains my lack of posts. But before I left, I snapped a few photos one evening of interesting texture in the garden. Here’s a mini sampling.
Up next: posts of some amazing gardens I visited during my weeklong trip to New England for the Perennial Plant Association Conference. Now, to go slog through the hundreds of pictures I took…
My favorite daffodil at the moment: Narcissus ‘Actaea.’
There’s a big sweep of them along the orchard hill. The petals are a clean, near translucent white, like freshly starched shirts that almost shines against the dark foliage. And after the awe of a daytime bloom so similar to moonlight, you notice the delicate orangey-red rim along a deep yellow corona.
As I walked through the garden yesterday, I felt the bitter sweetness that comes with any ending. It felt like the persimmon I picked up along the way - full and sweet, and yet leaving my mouth dry. And like the day that it was - cold with a warm, glowing light - I felt the sadness of leaving such a place and the joy of witnessing its ever changing beauty.
The silence of the garden was interrupted by bursts of light, catching twigs, buds, and foliage and setting them ablaze. Maple twigs had taken on deep red hues, along with the twisted willows in the Serpentine, whose new growth was fiery and exuberant. The Edgeworthia was in bud again, nine months after their first flowers caught my eye. The Sasa veitchii in the Asian Woods was in its wintry variegated glory, with cream-colored tips glowing along the shaded woodland floor. The espaliered and climbing plants in the Ruin were baring their bones, and without foliage I could finally see how they twisted and clung to the stone walls.
The gardens are quieter now, and as they slowly prepare for winter’s rest, there is something very magical happening. It feels like being inside one of the Bronte sisters’ stories - Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. A smoldering excitement exists in the garden, something magical and romantic. And yet there is also such sadness, a mourning for something lost or gone. The passing of time and not being able to stop it where you want it, to make a moment last forever. The once bright grasses are now brown and lax. The dark seed pods are shells of their former showy flowers. The cooling temperatures are magnified by the muted blue tones of Dianthus, Agave, Yucca, and Lavender. While other plants are ablaze in the garden - big bluestem grass, hawthorn berries, and maple leaves - reminding us of the warmth of fires. Fall is a time of contradictions, and Chanticleer sets the stage for showcasing the season’s rich bounty and at the same time the decay. It’s a time for last hurrahs, but also quietly looking inward.
Of the dynamism that exists at Chanticleer, Charlotte Bronte said it well: “It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.” (Jane Eyre)
I came upon stacks of the book in several locations throughout the store this weekend. In good company, too! If you’re unawares, Terrain is the garden center owned by the URBN empire (Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, BHLDN, and Leifsdottir).