I’ve always wondered a little at the seeming redundancy of the phrase “unexpected surprise”. But I think I get it now. I came back from vacation fully anticipating certain changes and was still caught off guard.
Even though the rain held off until my return, I knew that (unlike at home) the gardens here would grow and flourish on a carefully monitored watering schedule. One shocker in particular was in the Display Garden. The castor bean ‘Pretty Purple’, which is not only supposed to be a dwarf variety but was cut back last month, towers a good two feet over my head now. It takes my breath away (not literally of course – though it would if I tasted it.)
Another unexpected-expected surprise was the green-striped cushaw squash (Cucurbita mixta) in the vegetable garden. I knew we were growing a special squash… but, not knowing which one it was, I had no idea that it would be such a beauty. I have just learned that it typically grows in southern gardens and must be loving our tropical summer. I also had no idea that it is the one with a reputation for making extra super delicious pumpkin pie. – I expect to be surprised by the truth of that sometime around Thanksgiving…
I knew that a sculpture exhibit would be installed while I was away. Last week local artist, Paulette Carr placed several site-specific sculptures on the property for a show she entitled Vestiges: Traces of the Past. Gardeners are perhaps more tuned in than most to how the introduction of a new element – whether it’s a plant or an object – can dramatically change the perspective, mood and view of a space. It’s something we probably think about all the time without even being aware of it – and maybe for that reason the shift in perspective (mood, view) can come as a big surprise. My photos from this morning don’t do it justice – come experience Vestiges for yourself if you can before it comes down (the exhibit runs from now through October 2) and see how it surprises you.
Fill me in – what surprises have been growing in your garden lately?