New owners and gardens, was Composts

Jim McKenney
Sun, 23 May 2010 14:45:48 PDT
In praise of boxwood. 

I didn’t grow up in the boxwood tradition; there were boxwood in the
neighborhood where I grew up, but not in our family garden. I probably first
encountered the cult of boxwood in the garden of one of my paternal
relations in Virginia. It was only later in life that I began to experience
the pleasure of a garden with big old boxwood.  

As for the “stink”, to me there is something primitively domestic about that
odor.  It’s the fragrance of home, the aroma of long habitation. The vaguely
feline quality of that scent is not at all disagreeable to me, although
we’re a dog family and not a cat family. 

Right now the tea noisette roses which cover the south side of the house
(and part of the roof) are in full bloom; when atmospheric conditions are
just right, the scent of the roses and the scent of the boxwood combine into
something poetic and hypnotic. And I mean hypnotic in the sense conveyed by
the etymology of the word hypnotic, because on a warm moist day this
commingled scent quickly put me to sleep. What dreams I dream in the thrall
of those two! It’s the dreamy scent of summer days, although a warmish
winter day will evoke it from the boxwood, too. 

And yes, I know that there are those who can’t abide the scent of box, just
as there are those of us to whom truffles smell like dead rat. If you can
understand the “pity” for those who don’t like truffles  (but it’s really
schadenfreude, isn’t it?)  felt as they shave more over their pasta by those
who love truffles, then perhaps you can understand the “pity”  I feel for
those who don’t appreciate the scent of box. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where the various Dichelostemma are in bloom.
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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