Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Favorite Garden Memberships

With October 1st only hours away I am proud to say that I have renewed many of my memberships—finally. By far, my membership with the American Horticultural Society is the most rewarding. Their publications are great, annual seed sales splendid, and they have a wonderful education program. (My dream is to be one of their publishing interns. You work for 6 months-I think-at their offices located on a farm which once belonged to George Washington.) In addition, they have one of the largest reciprocal garden programs I have ever seen. You are allowed discounts all over the place.
The Berry Botanic Garden is a local membership I renewed today. With an annual membership you are able to choose 10 free packets of seeds each year during the winter months. I usually buy an additional dozen because the varieties are often hard-to-find plants.
I renewed my Leach Garden membership a few weeks ago. I just cannot say how much I love visiting there. As part of the local Portland Parks System, it is a jewel, and during my trip over there I bought tons of native seeds. I just couldn't resist. Their gift shop is full of all kinds of things I really enjoy. (They offer special plants for sale and have a great compost display area showing you urban composting ideas for your own home.) Photo taken at Leach Botanical Garden, Spring 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trimming the Living Willow Garden

The other day I was finally trimming the living willow arbor out back and I noticed some funny things. First off, this tube in the photo now has tree growth growing around it. I could cut the tube out, but I think I'll leave it there. (It could be worse. It could be a bicycle growing in a tree like on Vashon Island.) Anyway, there is a fear that I have. It could become diseased, but I think that I will just let it go. In addition, a few branches have already start to graft to one another with no human intervention. It is scary to think that the four trees will eventually become "one" with one another, but so it goes... If I lose one at that point, I guess I will lose them all. Anyone else out there have a living willow structure that they care about? Any advice?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Garden Friendly Tattoo Wedding Ring

If you are one who loves to work with your hands, this ring is THE way to go. You'll never lose it, it doesn't slip around your finger, and best of all, your hand doesn't swell up around it. For years I thought of getting a ring tattoo, but recently, I just broke down and did it. I was sick of talking about it. The process was quick and easy, and now my husband knows that I really mean business. Nothing says, Til death Do Us Part, like a tattoo.
The plan had been to tattoo a simple band around the finger, but my friend who did the work talked me into the wave instead. I am really glad now that he did because it reminds me of a tiny vine twisting its way around my finger.
This is the perfect ring for gardening, camping, and cooking, in addition to being a wonderful idea for a tattoo.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sleeping Bees

If you drive from Portland, through the Columbia River Gorge, towards Idaho or Wyoming, you will see tons of sunflowers guiding you along the highways. Native sunflowers, some consider weeds now, almost pull you over the Rockies towards the prairies of North America. That is one way to look at it, as I choose to do so. I guess that others pragmatically see the seeds of these flowers getting stuck in the wheels of our vehicles, being flicked hither and thither as we drive about the place. Regardless of all of this, at least there is this caveat. It appears as though these blooms offer a soft resting place for the bees that we need so much. And if you are worried about these little guys in the image, we touched one, just to be sure, and it was alive. They were all in a very deep, deep sleep.
It was the kind of sleep I have been searching for during the last few years of my illness. It reminded me of the times when I could enjoy sleeping outside, under the stars, in the arid or mountainous areas of Oregon and Washington. Not afraid of my strength, but in a mood to cherish it. I no longer have that gift. Instead, I instinctively spend every moment looking over my shoulder—as all injured animals do.
That night the train pounded past our cabin at the campground, chugging up the other side of the small canyon and I rolled around outside, on a bench, in a sleeping bag. My husband sleeping soundly inside. At home, I usually use my garden to help me sleep, image by image, task by task, otherwise I focus on the physical pains. I can easily tire and fall asleep if I think about my garden. But that night, I thought only about the bees, tucked away into flower blooms only a few yards away.
My own garden seemed like a far off and unbelievable place—a dream. The bees sleeping in flowers was real at that moment and the image in my mind only intensified that feeling of the possible that only a child can have. And it felt magical. Shooting stars rolled by and I felt more free than I have felt in years, inside my experience, horrible as it may sometimes feel. I easily fell asleep then, like a child lost and not afraid in a wilderness. I wonder though now what bees dream, if they do.
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