An English In Kentucky


















January 3rd 2010

     Always depressing when a morning temperature reads in single digits.  Nor is it a good idea to reach for the weather seers.   In their interpretation of entrails there is no good news.  So I must become like the ostrich.   Head firmly in the sand.    Otherwise "Friday: partly sunny with a high near 16F" begins to challenge imagination in ways that are unfortunate.

     There are species of plant that relish these conditions.    They are the stuff home is made from, and a loud 'be gone' to tender things who actually are just visiting.   And here there are three particular plants worth mentioning.  Sage, Rosemary and Spurge.

     The Sage has been with us for a long time.  It came in a plastic pot, grows vigorously, enjoys transplanting, shrugs off drought and cold.  Those bits of it that have been stuck in the ground, so that the fragrance of Sage might discourage deer, have themselves sprouted and bloomed in a manner that some might consider invasive.



    The Rosemary always dies in winter and is always replaced.   This poor plant clearly does not stand a chance against the cold.  But in the late Spring of every year it reemerges because at our age memory becomes selective, experience retreats into something young people must endure, and with this frailty of mind comes the wasteful and cruel contradiction of a "Woody Perennial Annual."

    The Spurge came from the friend who lives too far away.  When I first saw it, instinct suggested a temperate plant.  As the cold weather settled in, I expected Spurge to do the right thing, drop its leaves, curl up and retreat into the soil where more than likely it would quickly become compost.   But this did not happen.  Instead  on it went,  past unnatural degrees of frost, through ice storm, through cold dry weeks that desiccate and on though the confusion of freeze and thaw.  It was apparently without burden of seasonal change.

    Then as the weather turned toward Spring I saw what I thought was decline in the Spurge.  Hard living had finally caught up with it.  But again I was wrong.  And this morning it cheered me to spend time watching it and its covey of children. 

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