01 June 2011

Garden Notes

The hawthorn under my window, my window top right.
 Anna's Hummingbird and Bewick's Wren perform from the top,
while the yellow Wilson Warblers and the electric
Western Tanagers hunt insects just below.

The first entry was written in the garden nearly three years ago, after a heart episode that required the emergency room, and now my partner has had his own heart episode with the emergency room and a week of hospitalization. He has come home with experimental medications and every expectation of getting back to a normal life.

Work -- writing -- was impossible for the week. When not at the hospital I was in the yard acting out my anxieties in war with the weeds.  Most of these blue flowers, scilla, are weeds.  Some are forget-me-nots which are probably weeds, too, but they are fragile and shallow-rooting, while the scilla pushes its bulbs down to a foot or more, beyond reach of normal digging tools, where it multiplies in private.

The waves of blue in the shade are quite lovely at first and have a delicate scent, but as soon as the blue begins to fade we pull and dig as much as we can. We do no damage. There will be many more next year.  This feathery plant, stinkweed, is also a weed.  It is an imperialist, growing like a miniature banyan tree, fortunately shallow-rooted. It has pretty pink flowers, and when pulled, gives off a strong nutty odor.  I'm not sure why I remove it, other than to reduce the clutter.  It aggresses in tandem with bindweed, which has a web of long white worm-like roots that tunnel through the whole yard. Removing it is something  like the technique for stripping veins.  Google identifies another plant as stinkweed, but that is what it is called in this neighborhood.   

Weeds aside, we are also rich in poppies.  The giant poppies have at least 20 large buds. The area where most of the Greek poppies grew last year -- and where I put many many seeds -- has exactly two plants, while the majority of the diaspora has migrated down by the street into the province of the Shirley poppies.

There is more of the diaspora on the next block, and we have found a colony on the road in the park. The poppies lay claim to their own provinces. The tangerine California poppies have taken over the south side of the house, while the pale lemon Icelandic poppies are all over the back yard and in the interstices between the paving stones under the arbor.

It has been very cool this spring, and the roses are slow, but the Abraham Darbys have a fine supply of buds.  Just Joey nearly died last year but there are two strong buds that will open in another couple of weeks.  The rugosas have been magnificent.  The pale yellow down by the street that I threatened two years ago for non-performance has at least 30 fluffy blooms, and the magenta beside it has more.

Thomas Merton wrote: "The times are normal and good and permissive of joy."


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