Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday: to Chicago

Though we are far from the end of summer, I am, as of today, shifting gears. The snapping and plucking of spent blooms makes sense in July, when the daylilies are the stars, the garden's heart and soul, the lead singers and the chorus all at once. (This morning I snapped off 465 spent blooms.) But in August,  everything changes. The peak of color will have passed. We'll no longer witness a symphony of blooms, but rather a chamber concert, with prominent soloists that catch you by surprise just because you thought that the time for grand flower displays was behind you.

When I was in Giverny (that garden of all gardens) in August, I understood that the beauty of a late summer garden rested in all that had dried and faded, alongside that which was still flowering. It makes little sense to pick spent lilies or really any other flower at this last stage of summer. They look good where they are -- wilting and drying on a stalk that once was their throne and now is their comfy recliner.

I know it's not August yet, but I'm leaving today to go to Chicago. When I return, it will indeed be August and most of the lilies will have stopped their flowering. So, one last early morning of snipping and clipping. Oh, what's this? Well of course! My morning risers and greeters! Okay, I'll feed you all first...

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... and then get to work.

What is it, Stop Sign? One big can of food isn't enough? Oh fine. I'll get you some more.

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And now for the lilies -- I'll make you stand tall and proud on this last July trim!

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In the Big Bed, the flowers are now more gentle, but no less pretty...

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Still, it's the bed of lilies by the porch that just knocks my socks off every time I pass by.

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Though in fact, every lily is a work of art for me. A masterpiece in her own right. Sheer genius.

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I rarely photograph the bed to the west of the porch, perhaps because it's a little overgrown right now. I permitted some of the spreaders (rudbeckia and asclepias come to mind) to run wild. Next year, I should spend more time here.

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This little girl was planted last year. Today it's all full of blushing petticoats. Not ruffles, mind you. Just petticoats.

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Okay, one last good look at that porch-side flower field...

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And now it's time for breakfast.

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It's a quiet and gentle moment for us -- one of our last meals together this summer. Or not! Our comings and goings are complicated and there's a bit of uncertainty as to who will be where when. I try hard not to think about that. It's perfect now, this weekend: family on both ends of it, Ed right there, in the middle, over breakfast, on the porch.

And afterwards -- we must get going. Good bye, oh ever changing garden!

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My car has been making peculiar noises and so we're taking it to a super duper mechanic who we're hoping will have time to look at it and fix it in the week that I am away. From there, I proposed that Ed invite me (!) to brunch at Sardine. For once I want to eat out, with him, away from the farmhouse, away, away, in a bubble of side by side munching on favorite foods.

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We linger, but not too long. I have a bus to catch. And then the El, and now I'm in my most favorite Chicago neighborhood -- home to my younger girl and her family.

I'm staying at the Robey Hotel again... (The building towers over the neighborhood and above the El. I always ask for a top floor, looking onto the city. Sometimes I get it. Today I get it)

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It's summer in the city! Living on the farmette, one forgets that cities have their own vibe in July and August. In Europe, many of them empty out as people escape for longer vacations. But of course, we are not a nation of longer vacations. And so perhaps it is not surprising that cities, even ones like Madison, but especially ones like Chicago, seduce you to come out and play and take part in any number of outdoor venues or events. 

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I'm staying the whole week. Both parents are now going to be working full time and I am here to entertain and indulge and cuddle and watch over the little four month old Primrose.

Tonight though, I show up at her house when the little girl is already fast asleep. I go over the plan for the week, eat a quick and lovely supper...


... And then retreat to my Robey room high above the neighboring houses. This grandma needs to be well rested for the week ahead. Goodnight, goodnight all my beloveds everywhere!