Friday, April 30, 2010

Simple pleasures

I was working in my yard when I noticed Emily and her grandmother admiring the honeysuckle growing on the fence by our driveway.   Five year old Emily and her parents are moving in across the street from us this weekend.  It seems that this little girl had never seen or smelled honeysuckle before and a thoughtful grandmother wanted to introduce her to one of life's simple pleasures.  Honeysuckle is a common vine that grows here in the south and produces an unremarkable tubular bloom with a sweet smell  . . . hence, the name. 

I'd rather not think about how many dollars I've spent in the 25 years that I've lived in this house purchasing the plants that comprise the landscape.  But Emily didn't come to admire any of them . . . she came to admire the honeysuckle that grew there naturally and that many people would consider a weed and a nuisance.

Honeysuckle is one of life's simple pleasures.  It's hardy, aromatic, attractive, an excellent wildlife food, has virtually no natural pests or diseases and it grows here naturally.  I wonder why it is that people like me spend so much time and money trying to create an artificially attractive landscape when, perhaps, we ought to be consulting 5 year old children.  Over the past few years, I've taken to planting more natives in my landscape and I think that's why I'm happier with it than I've ever been.  My yard is now home to Shumard Oaks, Willow Oaks, a Swamp Chestnut Oak, a Water Oak and a Hickory Oak, all of which are native to our area.  I've trained honeysuckle to cover an arbor entrance to our yard and have added some native wood ferns, native azaleas and more. 

The next time that I'm tempted to bring in another plant to improve the landscape, I think I'll consult Emily first.  I think she has an eye for real beauty. 

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