Gifts from the Universe –

There are fleeting moments in time that are gifts from the Universe.

Recently it was bundling up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the Geminids as they danced merrily across the winter sky….

Or to welcome in the New Year at the shoreline edge – and voila – the moon emerges from behind clouds – throwing a magical beam of hopeful light across the water; a pop of a champagne cork barely audible as the waves rhythmically crash on their voyage; then further down the shore – a fireworks array twinkling in the distance and delighted oohs, ahhs and laughter to remind us that we are not alone… a magical convergence of time & place locked into memory.

This brings to mind another occasion at water’s edge  – a sudden hoard of hairless polar bears running into the water, shrieking and squealing as they plunge in to the icy water – then disappear as quickly as they had emerged.  Perhaps the polar bears were just as surprised to see our curious encampment, which included Mongolian robes & hats (left over from a recent Genghis Khan film project) and a space ship floating above the campfire… well it was the Millennium after all!  Y2K and the world coming to a standstill!


We all have snippets of stories that remain in our brain database triggered by the unexpected delight, and titillated by the senses.

In the garden these happen often – unexpected encounters and amazing lessons of survival and hope.

Once while pruning in the JCRA Mixed Border, the Border Babes were mesmerized as we watched as hundreds of tiny Praying Mantis emerged from their protective egg case. With silk-like threads they performed an aerial show… a miniature Cirque du Soleil in the garden and we had front row seats!  I will always regret not having my camera for this show!

Just yesterday the Babes were enthralled as the earth started pushing up between flagstone in a path… a snout or a paw visible in the blink of an eye!


Returning home after the holiday interlude, it is always joyous see what surprises await in the garden.

As I opened the car door, a scent overpowered me.  I knew immediately the Prunus mume had begun its show.   The buds had held tight for weeks… and now the welcoming scent lured me down the garden path.

I grabbed the new 6’ long reach pruners my husband gave me for Christmas… all shiny & new and headed to basque in the heavenly scent.

Prunus cluster

Under lovely pink blossoms, I shivered with delight, engulfed in Prunus mume ‘Kobai’s’ sweet cinnamon scent.

Prunus mume or flowering Apricot or Plum – is a lovely tree, considered a small specimen tree topping out about 25’ tall.  It brightens the winter landscape and available in shades of white to deep pink almost red blossoms. Planted in full sun or part shade it is a welcome site in the winter garden.  ‘Kobai’ blooms from late December to March in our Entwined Garden.

Although first observed blooming in Japan, the flowering plum or apricot is native to China.  In the 1930’s, China designated it the national flower with the 5 petals representing the 5 blessings – wealth, health, virtue, old age, and natural death. Even more reason to plant one!

There are over 300 named cultivars according to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and a passion of the late Dr. J.C. Raulston.


Prunus mume blooming at JC Raulston Arboretum.

The dark ruby red leaves of another Chinese native forms a horizontal hedge line under the Prunus mume.  Several times a year it bursts forth with fireworks looking hot pink fringed blooms!  Ooh la la!

This was a well researched variety – Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum ‘Ruby’  the promise to be  a 5’ x 5’  hedge which I added to Entwined Garden in 2003.   It is the perfect foil for a formal garden room and before the landscapes terraces to the pond.   Perfect if plants could read their descriptions!  Regularly this hedge can spring out of hand shooting up to 8 – 10 feet if not kept in check.  Well it is a Loropetalum for goodness sake!

Trapped it it’s hypnotic spell, I clipped for three hours, pruning the Loropetalum hedge, shivering from the cold.   I had neglected to throw on a warm vest or jacket & hat, but was so possessed I was unable to pull myself away.   The new pruners were perfect. Easy to use – think of pruners on a stick with an easy to balance lightweight aluminum shaft and trigger grip for easy clipping – great to sight a lines.  If only I had thought to conjure up Pearl Fryer and give the hedge an artistic flair… but who knows that might come – stay tuned!

Entwined Gardens - Italian cypress flank the Loropetalum hedge under  fragrant Prunus mume show.

Entwined Gardens – Italian cypress flank the Loropetalum hedge under fragrant Prunus mume show.

As the light began to dim and Magic the dog – nudged me for dinner, I reluctantly stepped way from the hedge and snipped a few branches from ‘Kobai’ – knowing they would fill the house with the delicate scent of hope for what delights this New Year would bring!

Prunus branch

Close up of Prunus mume ‘Kobai’

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day –

Welcome last days of fall!   We have had temperatures see saw – up and down – as low as 29 degrees last night for the Geminids meteor shower and back up to 6o’s this weekend.

Although our Zone 7b garden in Wake Forest, NC is experiencing a drought, it is continuing to produce a show of color and some freak sideshows in our Entwined Life!

Let’s begin the show! Continue reading