We just Beauties See

I’ve always loved the seventeenth-century poem by Ben Jonson It is not Growing like a Tree with its closing lines In small proportions we just beauties see; And in short measures, life may perfect be. It evokes the ephemeral perfection of late May and early June, when the bleak New England “Spring” finally ceases and we are rewarded with a burst of flowering amidst all that new, lush green. As I write this, at night, I’m still kind of cold, but it certainly is beautiful out. I got my garden under control last week: I lost some things but most of my very favorite plants are doing just fine, including the “ladies”, slippers and mantle. I take long walks on these long days, and pictures of everything beautiful, even plants I don’t really like. I’ve never been a rhododendron fan, and as those are peaking right now, it is difficult to avoid them: consequently I have included an unusual yellow variety. Peonies are also just too much for me, but who can resist capturing those show-offs now? I actually find irises creepy, but they are so colorful and fleetingly stalwart I snapped them too. So here is a portfolio of late spring/early summer flowers, primarily from my own garden, the Ropes Mansion garden, the Peirce-Nichols garden which is the place to go for Bleeding Heart at this time of year, and the Derby Garden at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, where the first of the peonies are just starting to pop. But you can spot flowers just walking down the streets of Salem at this time of year, along or through the cracks of an old fence.






What’s blooming now in Salem: Lady’s Slippers, Sweet Cicely, Jacob’s Ladder, Wisteria, Irises, Mock Orange, Rhododendron, Bleeding Hearts, (flowering) Wisteria, Dame’s Rocket, Clematis, Columbine, Peonies, Comfrey.

9 responses to “We just Beauties See

  • Helen Breen

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for letting us peek at the blooms in your garden and those in your lovely Salem neighborhood. It has been such an “iffy” spring that your tour is much appreciated. I particularly enjoyed seeing the wisteria beyond the wall…

    • daseger

      I know–that’s why I put it in there because it’s a rare FLOWERING Wisteria. I have a 20-year old vine that just won’t flower, and as you can see, the Ropes Mansion wisteria is not flowering either!

  • After The Party

    I’ll be back in Salem next week, and I just can’t wait to share it with my daughter and my mom! This will be my first visit in Spring. I am so excited!

  • ninacohenenski

    There’s a burst of poppies and iris in a planting triangle where Webb St meets Essex and turn into Fort Ave. Whoever’s responsible is a gardener who loves bright color.
    Just next door, the replanting of Collins Cove starts Monday, when marsh plants native to the shoreline will replace the riprap stone wall. The erosion-prevention project was conceived by Salem Sound Coastwatch, which initiated a grant proposal in collaboration with the City of Salem’s DPW. I can’t wait to get my hands salty and muddy.

    • daseger

      Also not a poppy admirer! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But I really appreciate all the beautification and environmental efforts going in in Salem right now.

  • Carol J. Perry

    Spring in New England can be so special! I remember fondly the yard of my childhood home (Southwick St. Salem) Wild roses, Forsythia, a wonderful wisteria climbing on an arched trellis, lilies of the valley and violets of course, and a blossoming apple tree. I live in Florida now, lots of flowers and trees blooming all the time but it’s different! My first job was as a guide at the Ropes Memorial. Oh! That garden!

  • Brian Bixby

    For me, spring is lilacs. We had some lilac trees just outside our back door when I was growing up. So it was a treat to go to the Arnold Arboretum with some friends a few weeks ago, after the “official” lilac week, but while many lilac trees were in full bloom.

  • Piper B

    Ladies Slippers and Fiddlehead Ferns live on in my childhood memories. The woods where they once grew wild is now plowed over and is part of a Costco warehouse mega-campus in Cranbury, NJ. I’m tearing up as I write. Thank you for the memories, Donna.

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