James Joyce was not a gardener. His subject matter was lower-middle-class Dublin at the turn of the twentieth century and his explorations of that city's life form some of the greatest literature written in English: modern, difficult, anti-romantic, and dense with quotation and allusion. If you should say "I had an epiphany," you will echo Joyce. He took the word out of its religious context and made it into a moment of extreme insight--as though visited from above--that first his characters experienced in Dubliners, and now, over a hundred years later, all of us still experience from time to time.
If you have an epiphany out in the garden on a fine June 16, you have entered Joyce's world, even if you've never read Dubliners or Ulysses. On this day people worldwide celebrate Blooms Day, comemorating June 16, 1904, the day on which the events of Ulysses take place, the day during which Leopold Bloom perambulates about Dublin (you can find more information at the James Joyce Centre). This morning I pulled out my old copy of Ulysses and was amused to find this note on the flyleaf: "Started Blooms Day, 1983 and completed August 15, 1983. Adrian Ayres." And notes throughout. So diligent I was then.
Of course mid-June's often delightful weather is a highlight of our year, at least in the northern hemisphere. In my garden, some things are in flower that have been blooming here perhaps since my house was built in 1904. They include orange daylilies (or "grandma lilies"); tall, very fragrant white lilies; and Creeping Bellflower--all fairly degage and, some think, weedy. They're also pretty, and comemorate the first and subsequent owners who always gardened well and kept the soil in good shape.
Other non-natives include: Stargazer Lilies, Geranium sanguinum 'striatum,' Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria), and Nepeta.
Natives include: Coreopsis, Beebalm (Monarda didyma; M. bradburiana is done), Purple Coneflower, Celandine Poppy (repeat), Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium augustifolium), Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) and and the startlingly red and yellow Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica).
Ate the first ripe raspberry yesterday. It's time to get some jars and lids for making jam.
Happy Blooms Day to all.