So a few days ago, I was certain that spring had arrived and that we had seen the last of the snow. A tad optimistic, I’d say! Last evening, a blizzard passed through and left about 10 cm. of snow. It must have been my friend Kerry who brought it with her from Calgary!
When I looked out my kitchen window this morning, I was taken with the snow twinkling off the meadowrue stalks. During our long winter months, I have always loved seeing seedpods poking up through the snow. It is as if they serve as a reminder that the garden is still there, buried as it is under a metre of snow.
No doubt my eyes fastened on this particular meadowrue (Thalictrum rochebruneanum pictured here) because of my reading last night.
If you have never encountered the garden writings of Louise Beebe Wilder (d. 1938), then it is well worth a trip to the library or bookstore to discover her. The three-volume collection of Wilder, an American gardener and essayist from the 1930s, was re-published in 1996.
The volume I read last night, What happens in my garden, is made up of numerous conversational chapters detailing particular plants.
Since falling under the spell of meadowrues many years ago, I was drawn to Wilder’s chapter speaking of their ‘feathery grace’. How better to describe them? I have spent more than a few hours admiring them for they truly are “like mist in the distance.” And, as Wilder comments:
It is the mission, or perhaps we should say the destiny, of certain plants, as it is of certain persons, to make the world in which they live a pleasanter and more gracious place, not by means of conspicuous achievements or outstanding personality, but by means of more subtle, less dramatic attributes.
What is particularly appealing about meadowrues, besides their ethereal beauty, is the ease with which they grow. As long as they are planted in rich, well-drained soil and are not subjected to intense heat and sunlight, they require little in the way of tending, beyond staking (required here because of prairie winds).
I love meadowrues for their beautiful columbine-like foliage and for their height – they can grow to one or two metres in height, depending on the species, when in bloom. The mauve-flowering meadowrues are my favourite … not surprisingly.
And while I sit here writing this in the bright sunshine and nibbling on frozen blueberries, I am distracted by drifts of snow tumbling off the roof … by the weekend, the snow should be a distant memory. Let’s hope.