December 9

The Garden at Rest

The weather has been so mild off and on that I feel I should be out in the garden weeding. There are certainly weeds out there to pull. But instead I busy myself with projects inside– washing slipcovers, decluttering, cooking, making lists, plotting Christmas–and, once or twice a day,  I walk the paths with the dogs, picking up kindling and admiring the lingering greens. Hellebores, Christmas ferns, evergreen epimediums, and heucheras liven the woodland paths, and, in the gardens around the house, the old stolid boxwoods are star players, holding the stage in their rich, dark dress.

Maybe twenty-five years ago, I sat next to a venerable and elegantly-dressed gentleman at a garden-related dinner party and admired the sprig of boxwood in his lapel, its tiny dark green leaves edged and dipped irregularly in creamy white. I asked him for its name, Buxus sempervirens ‘Elegantissima,’ he replied. He said it grew in his garden, and I immediately wanted this unusual (to me) boxwood in mine. Shortly thereafter I found and planted a tiny rooted cutting, which is now a presence in our small yellow garden, having grown to a height of about six feet. It adds a lively light touch to the garden. We do not protect it this time of year and, so far, it has survived all the vagaries of winter weather. I love to cut long inside branches of it for winter bouquets, and in this way I give it an annual pruning as we are supposed to do to bring more light and air into the center of the bush.