Liquid Gold

Most days this May in Maryland have included rain. Some days have had rain on and off throughout the day and night. Others have had only occasional showers. For many days temperatures have been in the fifties.

While rain seems gloomy to some, the gardens are enjoying it. They are lush, with emerald grass and prodigious blooms. Rhododendrons and azaleas have been particularly full. Cooler temperatures have extended the length of time all blossoms stay fresh.

Hundreds of visitors have toured Walnut Hill these past eight weeks. Most have seen the garden under cloudy skies. Only two tours enjoyed sunny skies. Those who came during showers and on cloudy days, however, didn’t seem to mind. Their raincoats, boots, rubber-soled shoes, and umbrellas were as colorful as spring flowers.

In celebration of typical English garden weather and Queen Elizabeth’s ninetieth birthday, we wore our pearls (a necklace for Penney and earrings for Kathy) with wool turtlenecks and jackets beneath rain gear. A.C. wore his favorite baseball cap non-stop. The plants wore their jewelry too: raindrop strands on hostas and hellebores, drip earrings on dicentra.

Plants are easier to see in the greyness, particularly the pastel shades of spring plants here. There’s no glare, no blinding light. We’ve rarely needed our sunglasses, but we’ve worn sunblock every day. Even when we can’t see its rays, the sun is here. We’re confident we’ll see more of it as temperatures climb and new plants bloom.

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