R. S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Tag: The Natural World (page 1 of 4)

Wednesday Photo: 7/19/17

“Whitley, with Yellow Cherry Tomatoes”
Heard County, Georgia – 4 July 2017

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 7/10/17

“Creeping Color”
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 October 2014

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Friday Photo: 6/23/17

“Something (Not) Borrowed”
LaGrange, Georgia – 23 July 2015

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Friday Photo: 6/16/17

“Afternoon Light with Pecan Leaves”
Heard County, Georgia – 21 May 2017

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Hillside Monday: 6/12/17

“Tornado Sky #1”
LaGrange, Georgia – 23 November 2014

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Hillside Monday: 6/5/17

“Metal Roof and Storm”
LaGrange, Georgia – 23 November 2014

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Wednesday Photo: 5/31/17

“Water Oak Leaves with Rain and Window”
LaGrange, Georgia – 1 May 2017

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Friday Photo: 5/26/17

“Handed Down in Stone”
Heard County, Georgia – 7 February 2015

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Wednesday Photo: 5/24/17

“Old Rose in Bloom”
Heard County, Georgia – 13 May 2016

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Hillside Monday: 5/22/17

“Peony Globe”
LaGrange, Georgia – 10 May 2013

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Wednesday Photo: 5/17/17

“Hello, Tiny Friend”
LaGrange, Georgia – 25 April 2015

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Hillside Monday: 5/8/17

“Cat Waiting, with Light and Shadow”
LaGrange, Georgia – 16 November 2016
Model: Smokey

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Friday Photo: 5/5/17

“Piedmont Azalea with Night and Rain”
LaGrange, Georgia – 31 March 2017

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Hillside Monday: 5/1/17

“Gardenia Ghost”
LaGrange, Georgia – 6 June 2016

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Hillside Monday: 4/10/17

“Daffodils with Painted Concrete”
LaGrange, Georgia – 9 March 2014

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Friday Photo: 4/7/17

“Skeleton with Camellia”
LaGrange College Department of Art
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 March 2017

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Friday Photo: 3/31/17

“Daffodil Knocked Over by Storm, No. 1”
LaGrange, Georgia – 8 March 2012

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Peony Problems

Here in the Deep South, peonies are a hit-and-miss gardening affair. Sometimes, the weather and bugs and fungi and soil all manage to cooperate, and POOF! an early-blooming variety gives you two weeks of gloriously ruffled, heavily perfumed blossoms six to eight inches wide. (Unfortunately for us all, Southern weather gets too hot too soon for the late-blooming varieties.)

Seeing and smelling these flowers is the gateway drug to a serious gardening habit. You can’t help wanting moremoreMORE after an experience like that. Before you know it, you’ve got three, six, a dozen of them in the yard.

You tell yourself, “I don’t have a problem. I can quit any time I want.” This is while you’re sneaking plant catalogs into the employee restroom at work. You start showing up to important meetings with dirt still under your fingernails. You call in “sick” so you can stay home and dig several cubic yards of composted sheep manure into your garden beds.

It gets worse. You find yourself unable to sleep from your gardening high, so you order even more plants online at 3:00 in the morning. Your spouse gets suspicious. The cycle of lies begins: “No, honey, I don’t know who would order twenty rare peonies, ten Japanese maples, six Himalayan lilies, fifty ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ daffodils, twenty blackberry canes, and a Piedmont azalea all at the same time.” And the peonies started it all.

Most of the time, though, the weather and bugs and fungi and soil refuse to cooperate. You’re left with apricot-sized flower buds that turn to soggy brown mush just as they’re about to open. Then it’s all weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth while you walk around in sackcloth and ashes. Sad, but true: this has been my peony story for most of the ten years I’ve had them in my garden. It’s a rotten way to live.

The exceptionally cold winter of 2014 made this old-fashioned, finicky plant happy—which made me happy. 2015 brought a mild winter and brown ruffled mush. 2016’s joke of a winter will probably mean the same for this spring’s peonies. Guess I’ll hope for a repeat of three years ago, and then take whatever I can get.

Who am I kidding? I’ll be heartbroken without those six-inch, heaven-scented, crinoline-ruffled light pink pom-poms. But it’s no big deal. I’ll be okay, eventually. Besides, I can quit any time I want.

Photo: “Pink Peony Ruffles” (LaGrange, Georgia 8 May 2014)

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Note: This post first appeared here in July 2014, here again in April 2016, and has since been revised.

 

Friday Photo: 3/24/17

 

“Morning Coffee, Morning Booze”
Denver, Colorado – 1 March 2017

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Hillside Monday: 3/20/17

“Another Storm in Hillside”
LaGrange, Georgia – 10 April 2015

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