Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Dianthus barbatus 'Sooty'.
Unknown Abutilon.
Allium christophii. 
Unknown lettuce leaf in a lettuce mix I grew from seed (Lactuca).
Dragon Arum aka Dracunculus vulgaris.
Fresh store-bought chickpeas (Cicer arietinum). 
Father's Day Dinner ikebana with Beech, Asparagus, Feverfew, and Dianthus. 
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea). 
Lilium columbianum. 
Tradescantia pallida with a friendly Heuchera bloom. 
Unknown Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria). 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: The gardener is here, there—everywhere!!!

Rhododendron sinogrande.

What plant for the cat this year?
I'm currently finding homes for all of this poor babies. No. I am NOT a plant hoarder.
Dear St. Fiacre, please grant me garden sanity and grace before I lose my mind. This garden is out of control and I cannot just "let it go". I did that already and it didn't work. 
So I'm still only showing you the same old view of the backyard. 
Roses and cherries as seen during a neighborhood walk. I do love this time of year.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Plant Dreaming Deep by May Sarton

When I was a young girl I spent Saturday mornings wandering the aisles of Powell's Books in downtown Portland with my father Frank. Since my parents were very protective of their only daughter—and I was a good Catholic school girl—let's just say this activity persisted for many years.

One Saturday I happened upon a book with a title that really spoke to me. It was Journal of a Solitude and its author was the poet and memoirist May Sarton. At that time I was journaling a great deal, and of course I considered myself to be a solitude, so it seemed like a match made in heaven. I purchased it, read it, and I can say with certainty that it change my life by showing me more of who I was and who I could be. To this day, I still list it as being one of the most formative books of my early creative literary life. Considering how many books I've consumed over the years, this is quite a feat.

Imagine my surprise when just months ago I was reading some theoretical piece about garden literature and May Sarton's name popped up. Almost immediately I put on my walking shoes for the 4-mile roundtrip walk to the Powell's store on Hawthorne. It was there that I purchased this now precious book Plant Dreaming Deep.

It is a garden memoir of a place in time, a person and her life, and the town where she has come to live. As a poet, she writes patches that are striking and true. Readers at first do not know how to make sense of how the text works and fits together. These are the best books for my mind at least where there is a puzzle. We work to patch together the meaning of something so intimate, the thoughts and experiences of a stranger, and best of all, yes, there is a garden and many thoughts about what plants mean to her. More than anything, she bridges the divide that bothers me most about the majority of garden writing. She makes it personal. She is not hiding the fact that her ideas are opinions and her tastes are based on feelings and memories. She is an artist and she makes herself vulnerable. Gardening and garden design is not formulaic and it is not mimicry. I believe she would say that we have little control over our gardens at all and that for the time we have them, we should feel them at every available moment. They are gifts to us. At the garden's heart, like all great things, we will always find the subjects of life, death and change. It is for this reason we've spent so many years reflecting in gardens. It's just what humans do.

For Sarton—and for many of us gardeners like her—it's our heart and our minds we find when we garden. It is our spirit we grow and truly our souls we nourish as we tend to the soil. Not all gardeners fall into this group though, but if you do, and you're like me, I really recommend the work of Sarton.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Planning and Watching the Garden in June

Unknown Cistus from the neighborhood.
Finally started walking around the neighborhood again. I cannot say enough about how badly chronic back injuries need to be moved. It is amazing how intensely my back can hurt and yet a nice long walk can make it all go away. 

Still waiting for the Dracunculus vulgaris to open. 
Right now I'd love to show more of my garden but it's a bit messy yet. Right after this post is posted I will go back out there to weed, trim, and plant away. Finally, I hope to list some more plants on CL too.
Fuchsia procumbens 'Variegata'.
Still been busy indoors with "life responsibilities" so it is so great to go outside to see little blooms here and there.
Alpine strawberry, (Fragaria vesca.)
Often I stop to munch on things as I walk by since they truly are so tasty. For instance, I am such a lover of alpine strawberries.
The front porch flowerbed. 
I think that it's time for me to begin giving real tours of my actual garden. Next time we'll be starting with this bed. I show it here a lot since it usually looks ok. I will rearrange it and post pictures after this weekend. Finally, I will be blogging again about playing with some plants.
First bloom of the year on my Begonia boliviensis. 
I am really looking forward to talking more about the plants I've grown from seed too. This Begonia is a good example of that! 
It's been fun playing with my photos recently too. I do love photography. In addition to reading books about gardening and plants again, I've been thinking a lot about photography.

La vita รจ bella!
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