A Berry Beautiful Garden

Posted by & filed under Natural Areas.

After I dried out from all the wetness of last week, I moved to the Matson Garden.  It’s only a short walk for most people and the journey is not that bad for me as well.  I’m not going to tell you how I move, because you might tell a gardener and then ruin my tour of the garden. 

The Matson Garden is a nice place to be at this time of year.  Early in the mornings, I see the bald eagles checking out the nests (both last year’s and the older one) and making some renovations.  They seem to be going to the older one more often – perhaps a move is in their plans again this year.  Down here for us earth-bound citizens, there are a lot of great plants to see.  Asters and cannas are standing tall, emphasizing my shortness.  The colorful golden leaves of the ‘Golden Gem’ Japanese holly are a nice contrast to the dark purple leaves of the Mexican Shrubby Spurge.  The false butterfly bush is putting out velvety floral ropes spiked with small purple stamens.  It’s not really a butterfly bush, its true name is Rostrincula dependens so I see why it wants to use a more common name – even if it is misleading.

There is a small stone path for those who want to venture off the main road that runs by the garden.  Any adventurer that takes this route is rewarded two-fold.  First, is the stunning purple Japanese beautyberry.  Unlike our native American beautyberry which is large and exuberant full of flashy clumps of berries, this is a more restrained shrub.  It is only about 4 feet tall and its branches arch gracefully towards the ground.  Plentiful bright purple berries sit in clusters, nestled nicely between the wings of opposite leaves that flare from the spine of the branch.   

The second treat is not for the eyes but for the nose.  There are two fragrant tea olives, large evergreen shrubs standing nearly twelve feet tall, flanking the path.  Normally, people just walk by these architectural giants, but right now they are making a statement.  They are in full flower.  An eagle-eyed observer might notice the little golden flowers in tight clumps against the stems, but he or she certainly won’t miss the smell!  A velvety sweet smell wraps around anyone walking along the path, creating an intoxicating moment in the garden.  Standing there, seeing the beauty of the violet berries and breathing in the delicious fragrance of the tea olive is something special to savor. So I am sitting here at the end of this little path, watching people walk by and, with my sunny charm, trying to encourage them to walk the stone path less traveled.

So far only a few dozen people have made the right choice.  The rest continued on the main path and never realized what they missed.  Come on out this weekend and see if you can make the right decision.