In my garden(s), a sea of herbs and flowers continually change with the season. Some perennials are lost each winter and new ones are planted by my daughter Elise and me, others by the birds. I’ve a wild aster covered with small white flowers that blooms from late spring into summer, very pretty really. I like white flowers glowing at dusk while all else fades.
Several plants reign supreme because of Elise. ‘Magic flowers,’ yellow evening primrose, occupy a corner at the edge of the vegetable garden. She rushes me out at twilight to view the wonder as they pop open, charged with fragrance. Hummingbird moths swoop in like little fairies to feed on the blossoms.
Elise doesn’t like the bats that also come. I love the nighthawks that swoop and call in the soft summer evening. Dill is another favorite because black swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on its leaves and hatch into little caterpillars which Elise watches closely, puts some into jars and feeds until they make a chrysalis, then one day they emerge with wet crumpled wings and she releases them to the sky. I feel a bit like those uncertain butterflies, taking those first tentative flights.
This is an excerpt from my non-fiction collection about country life entitled Shenandoah Watercolors.