July 30 2021
Human nature being what it is, some days are good days and some just are not. This particular day, thanks to nature, was one of the good ones. I sat in the lawn chair (too hot for me to be out in the sun) and stared mindlessly at my gardens. A meadowlark sang and the house finches chirped, a yellow butterfly visited the deep purple lilacs, and many things were blooming-summer was beginning- inJune here in Montana. Summers are short, but the days are long and plants grow like crazy. I am reminded of the Abraham Lincoln quote; “most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” True, I think, not that you can go around expecting constant butterflies, but I have made a concentrated effort lately to ask myself every morning “what is something I can do today to make myself happy?” Maybe just asking the question is starting off on the right foot and I’m not that hard to please, even weeding gives me great pleasure. Admittedly, it’s a lot easier staying positive when things are growing and I can be outside.
Sitting in that chair, in my view was a flowering Redwing Viburnum tree. Viburnums are usually shrubs, but this one is a tree form. It does sucker and would become a bush if you let it. I asked some nursery tree people if the only difference between tree form and the shrubs was a matter of pruning and was told yes, basically a nursery will prune a shrub to one stem which will be the ‘tree’, and can be grafted or grown on its own root. These take longer to grow and thus are more expensive. This viburnum has red tinged new growth leaves, white flat topped flowers, red berries that hang on in winter and feed the birds, and red fall colored leaves. Each lacy flower is composed of a center of very tiny florets surrounded by larger and showier little flowers. American Cranberry Bush, as it is also called, is an American native plant.
If only we could package up some of the summer joys and save them for winter. Can’t compare in my mind, which is why I spend so much time outside whenever the weather permits, creating memories of sunshine, of flowers and butterflies, and chairs in the shade just waiting for me to sit down and take notice. Lucky gardeners who grant themselves these moments. Pay attention, butterfly days aren’t always around.
Viburnum trilobum, “Redwing’, zone 2-7, 8’-10’ tall, full sun, part shade