Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Gardener on an Alaskan Honeymoon

The Alaskan honeymoon is over and I'm back at my dining room table writing another blog post. 

There are lots of orders to pack and things to get done. With only a few days of summer left I'm embracing each and every one with much love. It's been a great year for me—and an amazing summer. 
An Alaskan glacier.
Going to Alaska was a bit of a surprise. I'd never visited but it has always been a dream of mine. Back when I was 18 I'd thought very seriously of going to college there to study environment science and biology. When John suggested it—since neither one of us had been there—I was so excited.
Alaskan taiga and stream.
My father always visited Alaska in early September. (He's a salmon fisherman and that's what you do if you fish.) I never understood why he went, and why he always seemed to miss my birthday, but I understand now.

It's a place that gets under your skin. I want to return each and every September for my birthday now. I get it.
Alaskan birch forest, (Betula neoalaskana).  
We only saw a tiny portion of what the state has to offer. I have been to Texas and I can say now that they have nothing on Alaska. It would be far easier to survive down there than in Alaska. I think that's a huge part of the charm. It really heightens the senses and makes you feel alive and small in its vast landscape. 
Alaskan landscape.
There will be more posts to come. I have a party to prepare for right now and I must continue to work hard.

I still hear the sounds though of planes in my ears and my eyes are yet filled with the vast expanse of beauty which I've just witnessed. 
Alaskan landscape.
I hope to find my book about the native plants of Alaska. I oddly misplaced it before we left but since it was my honeymoon I let it go. (Don't think I just looked at plants! I won't even begin right now to tell you about the amazing food.)
Lastly, there were the animals. We saw a lot of them but we knew it would be difficult to see grizzlies in the wild since we were traveling by car. I had even mentally prepared myself to see no bears so that I wouldn't be disappointed. Then, to my delight and surprise—during the cruise out to the Kenai Fjords National Park—we saw a black bear cruising the beach of a small island not far from the open sea. I was quite pleased.

Ok. More on plant life soon. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Getting Married in My Garden on a Friday

Yesterday we held a private wedding ceremony at home. We invited a few family members and friends but more to come on that later. For now, I just wanted to share some of my wedding flowers with you. 

Currently I'm in Alaska on our honeymoon. Blogging from my iPhone sure is awkward. Will fire up the laptop for a longer post soon. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

FĂȘte de la Saint-Fiacre—and a prayer too

This past weekend our gardening friends and counterparts in Ireland and France celebrated the Feast Day of St. Fiacre—the Patron Saint of gardening. Although celebrated by other Catholics in other countries, St. Fiacre was born in Ireland and lived his life in France so these two countries venerate him more than others. 

I was quite tickled (to be completely honest) when a long drawn out conversation about the Saint appeared in my Facebook feed early on August 31st. Started by a French plant breeder, talk almost immediately centered on how everyone celebrated the feast (with food of course), and why the date of this feast has been shifting. Although the official day is now set on August 11th, those in Ireland and France still apparently celebrate it either on August 30 (France) or September 1 (Ireland). 
St Fiacre with his shovel.
Yes, I have a statue of the Saint in my garden. I am rather fond of this guy. 
I think he's appeared here on the blog before, but I thought I'd write a little ode to him again now that it looks like I'll be staying here for several more years. I didn't pray to him to help me, but I guess I can quietly thank him. Time in the garden can be so lonely. It's good to have friends.

No, I am not an active Catholic, but I am very much Catholic by culture. I enjoy having a few statues of Saints around me when I'm in the garden. When they are not there, it honestly doesn't feel quite right to me.

St. Fiacre was a healer and worked with herbs. As I'm considering building my first herb garden, he's a good friend to meditate upon. I also like to believe that he was a good and gentle soul determined to help others. We need people like that in our lives. I am all for healing and think about it often.
In his right hand he holds a rose.
 In his left hand, he holds a shovel.
Heirloom Costoluto Genovese tomatoes from my future mother-in-law's garden. 
St. Fiacre is also the Patron Saint of Vegetable Gardeners, but that's of course not what this prayer is about:

Prayer to St. Fiacre
O good St. Fiacre to whom God has given the power to heal
the bodies of men affected by ugly evils of all kinds,
deign to intercede for us with the Almighty Creator,
so that our body restored to health,
can attain eternal glory.

As a good Catholic-educated woman I think that 12 years in their educational network allows me to finally write a prayer of my own. Let's leave it as ann-onymous though since we all know that woman were not yet created as equals according to "the Church". 

Prayer to St Fiacre 
By Ann-onymous aka Amateur Bot-ann-ist
St Fiacre, I know you were good, 
and you gardened, and grew herbs. 
Today we celebrate you and your abilities to heal, 
but I celebrate your blessings and I pray for my organic solutions.
I pray to an end to man messing with my foods.
I pray for the bees and the birds 
—and that's not just because I'm a naughty Catholic school girl and it is fun to write that now. 
I pray that we can live in a world where the female is as respected as the male—because infertility can come from either side, and you're the Patron Saint of that too. 
Next year please bless our tomatoes, keep powdery mildew at bay, and try to protect our gardens from deep freezes and a Snowpocalypse. 
Lastly, God bless the florists too and thank you for protecting them. 
Stay fabulous St. Fiacre—eternally. 
Thank you and God bless. 

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