My weeds, massacred.

Two days ago I saw a mallow blooming along my path and I thought it was so pretty, I planned to post the picture I snapped as soon as I got home. I guess I snapped too hurriedly, because I didn’t get a good picture, and yesterday I didn’t get back there to try again.

This morning was foggy and then cloudy, which would make it easier for me to get a good image, but I as I put off my walk for one thing and another I started to worry that the sun would beat me to the spot. Eventually I set off, walking fast and looking up at the sky as I went, where indeed the sunshine was about to break through.

Soon I forgot all about the lighting, when I turned on to the path to see — decimation!

Clearly my city’s maintenance workers are confident about what is a weed: anything growing in a 3-6 foot swath along the bike paths is Unwanted and deserving of execution at any moment.

This is the spot where Common Mallow had come into its bloom:

I will post the picture I took in case I don’t get another:

malva neglecta

My eyes were peeled looking for a mallow that might have escaped the mower and I found one:

I also went down by the creek to get closer to some cow parsnip to see if it actually was that, and saw lots of lush and wild plants who are safe for now… at least, until someone decides to dredge the creek!

That mix includes a kind of horsetail reed, probably Equisetum hyemale. I have another species in my garden, which I don’t have time to tell about right now, because I need to actually go into the garden and work, and pull up some of my kind of Equisetum, which I am considering a weed in some places, and in other places, an ornamental plant. 🙂

I noticed those plants above because I had taken a short-cut home, being somewhat disheartened by the ruin of my usual fields of research, and that led me past a less familiar stretch of the creek.

Mowing is the thing to do this week, it seems. My neighbor Ray died a couple of years ago but someone is still “taking care of” his house, it seems. I don’t think it looks better than it did before they mowed the weeds he left behind, but I understand: now that our rainy season is over, all of these weeds will turn into crispy dry Fuel for wildfires, and after last fall’s devastation, people are duly careful.

Many weed portraits were added to my files in the last weeks while the plants were enthusiastically obeying their calling, and which I will use to continue my botanical, etymological and philosophical studies of weeds. So never fear! Weeds will return to Gladsome Lights, and I have no doubt they will also return to the borders of my walking paths.

 

The hummingbird and I

Sweeping up, trimming dead leaves, feeding, transplanting…. I love it all. This afternoon I managed to spend a few hours working in the garden and though I accomplished only a fraction of what’s needing done, every little bit helps, right? Back and forth I went from the greenhouse to the strawberry barrels, from the garage to the patio, carrying blood meal or seaweed food, a lavender plant in a pot, the pruners or a trowel or a trug in which to put the trimmings.

In the morning before I even came downstairs I was listening to the birds, and when I looked out the window of my bedroom I got a nice view of the snowball bush that has begin to bloom. And when I aimed my camera a little bit to the right of that, it shows you the table where we will sit over tea when you come to visit. After touring the garden, of course!

As I was eating my breakfast I noticed a hummingbird checking out the Pride of Madeira, or echium candicans — that’s because the blue flowers have finally started to open!! I hope lots more flowers will follow, to fill out the bloom properly.

Both kinds of rockrose, cistus, have opened now, and both are heartmelting:

Below, heuchera and blue-eyed grass:

My big rose geranium that I keep by the back door, in hopes that I will brush against it when I pass by and catch some of its scent, was terribly overgrown and gangly. I trimmed it severely and brought in a few stems to put with pincushion flowers on the kitchen counter.

All that was in the back garden. When the light was waning, and I had put away my garden tools but not my camera, I went to the front and saw that in the last day an asparagus stalk had suddenly made a sharp turn and was coming on to the sea holly.

Isn’t he a brave fellow to cozy up to such a prickly girl?

I missed my walks by the creek today, and visits with weeds. I don’t have to work hard to enjoy those wild plants; they take care of themselves and I never have a thought to remove them from wherever they are growing. But they also aren’t as satisfying to me as all my demanding cultivated flowers and vegetables! I’m looking forward to more work and pleasure tomorrow.

A bell named George.

Today and tomorrow there is so much going on! Of course, every day is like that, even in the liturgical calendar, but I noticed three of the events or commemorations secular and ecclesial overlap just now.

The second Sunday after Pascha is the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, when we remember Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who ministered to our Lord’s body, and the women who brought spices to the tomb to anoint Jesus, where they met an angel instead. The angel told them that Christ had risen! Joanna was one of those women, so today was my name day. 🙂

Earth Day is celebrated on April 23rd, about which I once wrote an article that I don’t know how to improve upon. And starting this evening, it’s the feast of St. George the Greatmartyr, who received the crown of martyrdom on April 23, 303.

It wasn’t until I was walking to the parking lot this afternoon at church and stopped to take a picture of the bells, that I remembered that our big bell is named after St. George. All of the bells have names, but the great one bears the name of the Greatmartyr. He has wisteria adorning, and a chain protecting him from thieves who would peddle his metal. One of our slightly smaller bells was stolen once and had to be replaced.

In the morning the bell George will be rung for the saint George. One hymn of the day includes these lines:

God raised you as his own gardener, O George,
for you have gathered for yourself the sheaves of virtue.
Having sown in tears, you now reap with joy…

May we all have good reason to rejoice on this day and every one.

Middlemarch in May with Arti

Arti at Ripple Effects blog is hosting a read-along for the next two or more months, and I am joining in! She invites us to the party with this inducement:

“In 2015, BBC Culture contributor Jane Ciabattari surveyed 82 book critics around the world outside UK, ‘from Australia to Zimbabwe’, and asked them to rate the greatest English novels of all time. Guess which book came up on top of the list? Guess right. Middlemarch by George Eliot.”

More than a dozen years ago my husband and I read this novel aloud together, and found it a rich and complex world to visit for several months, with well-drawn characters living through their thought-provoking questions and dilemmas. I knew I wanted to read it again, and here is my chance. I remember back then that occasionally when I was the one doing the reading I could not help being so rude as to stop suddenly (with apologies) because I really needed to underline a passage.

When I took my fat paperback off the shelf this week I looked inside to see just what had seemed so compelling at the time. It’s certain that of context of the whole novel I don’t recall the characters well enough at this point to fully appreciate how wise was the author’s assessment of their character and inner lives.

So I’m returning to Middlemarch, pretty confident that I will find it a rich exploration, and I’m not waiting for May, to start reading. What with all my underlining and pausing to think, I will be a slow reader as usual. So let the journey begin! Would you like to join us?