Archives for November 2012

Thanksgiving: Leave the Light On

The light is always on for family and friends. It’s on for you, too, dear reader, with a big thank you for stopping by.

If you were here last year, you might remember Mary Chapin Carpenter’s sweet “Thanksgiving Song”. It’s definitely worth a re-visit — a chance to hum along and recall the meaning of this old-fashioned (in a good way) day of celebration.

Thanksgiving is one of the last holidays to succumb to pressures of the advertising and shopping machine. But now, even Thanksgiving is up for grabs. I, for one, am holding out — steadfast in my resolve to stay away from the mall. I’m staying home. Preserving life and limb. Eating pumpkin pie and listening to nice music (on soon-to-be-obsolete equipment).

Does Thanksgiving have to change? I hope not. May yours be a happy one, however you choose to spend it.

Disanthus: Rare and Beautiful

Disanthus cercidifolius

Disanthus cercidifolius holds a special place of honor in my garden — and not just because it’s hard to come by in the nursery trade. There are plenty of rare plants that don’t set my heart aflutter, but disanthus is a different story. Named for its redbud-shaped leaves, this medium-size (8-10′) Asian shrub is very striking in fall, yet fits in well with other plants in my mostly-wooded garden. The flowers are similar to others in the witchhazel family (especially ‘Diane’), and are slightly fragrant. The seed capsules are tiny, but beautifully complex. (My camera focusing mechanism rebels when I focus on this flower. Maybe the white spots on red creates confusion in the lens).

The most memorable feature of disanthus is the striking fall color. Usually the leaves are combinations of purple, yellow, and burgundy-red, even orange. This year, they’re mostly yellow. Their shape is definitely similar to Cercis canadensis, our native redbud. When people ask if my plant is a redbud, I bet they’re thinking, “Why would she plant one that’s so straggly, with so many trunks?” I know I’d wonder that, especially if it was before the disanthus bloomed or became its normally resplendent self in October.

If you look carefully, you can see the small red flowers along the now- leafless branches.

To see what’s blooming in other gardens, both hither and yon, visit May Dreams Gardens for this month’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day postings. 

If We All Hold Hands

For Election Day and Beyond: A Message for Unity

Colorful tabletop at a coffee house near Chapel Hill, NC. Photo 2011.