Sunday, April 13, 2014

A friend returns

The bat is back. I hope of course, that it is the bats, plural, that area back. It is the first really warm night of spring, an eighty degree day of sun and a mild night with soft breeze. And so as dark fell I went outside to look up as the stars appeared, and to wait for the bat, though not with much hope as there aren't yet very many bugs. But he arrived, my friend did. I wonder what kind he is, and if he is affected by the bat plague, and whether he is the last sad holdout of his kind, because there used to be multiple bats in the summer night sky, but the last years I have usually only seen the one. He looks to be larger than the little brown bats I've seen in Main, and one of which I removed from a terrified housemate's room in Boston. This guy, this suburban bat, seems of a more substantial kind.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Truly Spring

The daffodils are blooming, as are the camellias. The camellias are more brown than pink this year, due to the cold winter, but they are blooming none the less. The tops of the trees are blasted, though, with a foot or so of each high branch brown and crisp. There is a spray of cheerful forsythia draped over the fence behind the (still leafless) rose of sharon thicket. Below the rose of sharon, where I can see them from the living room window, I have moved the Hellebores that used to live in the shade of the ornamental plum tree by the kitchen. I thought they would thrive there, and that I would admire them when I gazed out the window on a cold day, but they have been ravaged by squirrels that seem to think that patch of ground is their private property. Other plant friends are starting to wake up - the snouts of lilies are poking above ground, the oregano is green and growing, and there are buds on the lilacs, though the flowers are weeks away, I think. I cut the year's first asparagus tonight. It is spring, truly.

I can't recall ever feeling so relieved that winter is over, as if this year winter were some malevolent force that we have suffered through. Like the camellias, I feel blackened by it. We did go sledding, and drink hot chocolate, and celebrate Christmas. And yet I hope there isn't another winter like this last one for a long time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Long Winter's End

There are crocuses blooming in the snow, and daffodils in bud. Plants, surely, have some inside information that this long cold winter is done? I have had enough of snow. There are things that have not made it through the winter: the tender buds of pink camellias, now frozen and brown; last year's growth on the figs, and maybe more; a dear friend, gone in a flash and leaving so much she loved behind her. She would have had more patience than I do for the platitudes and schlock about divine purpose. I usually take great comfort in knowing our world recycles life, all life, great and small, but this winter I haven't. Life into death into life is all well and good in the long view, but this winter there is a boy who needed his mom, and I refuse to try to find meaning in it.

But the crocuses are blooming, and perhaps the snow is done. Perhaps.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An old friend

What does it say when a garden blogger hasn't blogged in six months?  Nothing good about the garden, I can tell you. It seems the summer and fall passed without much impact on my gardening mind. Oh, I got out there every once in a while, I dug, I harvested, I moved some plants around. But mostly, this year, I just didn't. Part of that was getting myself into so many gardens that I couldn't care enough about any of them. My home garden, the church farm, my community garden plot...all weedy, all ferrel, all neglected.

But late this afternoon, looking out the window at the bird feeder and thinking that I didn't want to do one more thing that had anything to do with the care and feeding of my family or job, my garden whispered in my ear: I'm still here, you neglectful dolt, it said. It surprised me, like an old friend calling out of the blue.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Espalier Update

The espalier pears are growing, thankfully.  I was worried I had taken off too much, and that they would die. But they are hardy little things, and are putting out growth on their remaining, uncut limbs.  The photos above and below are the line of espalier from the neighbors' driveway (above) and from my front walk (below)

Here is how one little pear looks with its soft little limbs tied down to stakes with kitchen string.  The books said to try a 45 degree angle to start, and then to lower the stakes to horizontal in the fall.

The cicadas are coming (don't you just hear Paul Revere?) and I worry about my little trees.  I have been frantically trying to find out how high cicadas need to climb before they'll lay their eggs.  I am hoping that my little trees are too short still to count as "trees" to those buggers.  I guess we'll find out.

Garden Log

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Surprised, Again

Those little white bells along their green stems are perfuming my living room, along with a vase of white and purple lilacs beside them.  When I sit down in my chair to read - every time! - I am surprised by the scent.  

The flowers of this shrub (I've already forgotten its name) have no scent that I can tell, but the flowers surprise me all the same, blooming with their blood red petals under a tree where all else is some shade of green, or maybe a demure white.

There are other surprises in my garden this week - the espalier pears are leafing out, finally, and seem to have survived my surgery on their limbs; last fall's pansies along the front fence are exuberant and lovely, when I never before thought to admire a pansy; and Milo chewed up some unknown plant, now just a root ball and a woody, chewed crown.  Who knows who the victim was?  I'll find out some day when I go to check on a plant in an out of the way spot and find a hole.  But by in large the good surprises outweigh the bad this week, and for that I am grateful.