Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Plant That Assigns Chores

I have a lovely little cherry bush that wants me to paint the garage.  The first few years I had it, it was a shy, unassuming little thing.  Made no demands.  Grew slowly but steadily.  Bloomed sporadically the first spring but very nicely thereafter. 

Hirome, a dwarf flowering cherry

The bossy behavior started last year, when the cherry was at its peak.  "Paint the garage!" it insisted.  The argument was that the beautiful light pink blossoms were lost against the dull beige of the garage siding.  The cherry advocated for a dark forest green, but that annoyed the spider lily, whose strap-like foliage is that very same color.  I viewed slate gray as a compromise color, but nothing was accomplished last year.

The complainant, stomping its feet on the leucojum.

This year, the cherry is adamant.  Either I paint the garage to show off the pink spring finery or else!  Or else what, I do not know.  I hate to think what a vengeful shrub can do -- I've witnessed the wrath of Climbing Old Blush, so I'm a believer!

The cherry is "Hirome," or "Hiromi," a Prunus jacquemontii dwarf flowering cherry that is extremely well suited to the hot, humid south.  I have mine planted on the east side of the offensive garage, where it gets morning sun.  I don't do anything at all to it -- no pruning, fertilizing, spraying, and very little additional water now that it's established.  It's about 5 feet tall, and a great favorite of the mockingbirds when the fruits (gumball-sized) come in.


  1. This was cute. I like your bossy cherry. Loved the title too.

  2. Which would be easier, painting or re-housing the cherry?

  3. Great post. This could be used as a case study in a landscape design class. I never thought about the need to paint the backdrop for some plants to show them off in bloom.

  4. I think it would be easier to paint, if all the citizens, including the Chief Engineer, could agree!