Tove Jansson is an author I only recently became acquainted with on Anna’s Peacocks and Sunflowers blog. The way Anna wrote about Jansson’s books makes you want to go to a Finnish island with a few volumes of this writer’s work in your suitcase. In the summer, naturally. It’s going to take me a long time to tell all I want about two little books, so if you are jealous of your last hours and days of summer, don’t waste them here. Come back later, in the winter perhaps, and go play outdoors now!
As soon as I learned about Tove Jansson I visited my local library and came home with a couple of books, to look at briefly to see if I wanted to order them. When I try to read borrowed books I feel the time pressure so heavily it too often squelches my interest and I end…
As soon as I pulled out the extravagant sweet peas, the Blue Lake pole beans were happy to take over that planting box, sharing with basil. The other box is empty, and I don’t seem to have time even to think about what to do with it — so, I guess nothing until next month. But I picked enough basil to make a batch of pesto, and now am starting to enjoy the beans.
Flowers are everywhere, too. The white echinacea and the Delta Sunflowers in the front garden are my favorites. Those sunflowers are amazing – For years I’d been seeing them wave their bright blooms in the hot winds of California’s Central Valley, on zero summer water. Even last week I took some pictures as I was on my way home from the mountains, showing how they love to volunteer and reseed themselves in temperatures over 100°.
Landscape Lady suggested that I consider them for the way they bloom over the whole season, last fall when I was talking about sunflowers in the front, and she offered to share some of the plants that make babies year after year at her own place. She gave me five, and all five quickly revived from transplanting and started growing like the weeds that they are at heart.
They naturally look a lot nicer here where they get a little moisture to their roots.
I’ve been gadding about too much to be an attentive gardener — that’s where it pays off to have this relatively low-maintenance kind of space that produces so much beauty to welcome me home in a new way every time I return.
Last weekend I spent a few days in the High Sierra at my family’s cabin, where the winters bring such deep snow, the village by the lake is only accessible for four months of the year – or if we’re so unlucky as to have a year of little snow, four and a half months.
Every year there is an annual meeting of the village property owners, and two or three community work days. I have never before participated, because I live far away. In the past I have let my sister and brother take care of these things, and count myself blessed to even get myself to the cabin once or twice a summer. But last week I was able to go up for the group effort, to work and attend the meeting!
The most fun for me was seeing the high country in July rather than my usual September, and the many wildflowers. I took hundreds of photos, and have been trying to learn the names of new species.
Even when I was cleaning out a culvert as part of the community work, I discovered some columbines and was glad I had my phone in my pocket, even if there was no cell reception.
Some flowers are tiny tiny, about a half centimeter in diameter, but even so, scattered like confetti below showier blooms, they make a nice backdrop. Those are my fingertips in the second photo down.
I haven’t figured out very many species, and some will no doubt remain a mystery for the foreseeable future, but Pippin helped me identify some right away via text messages. 🙂 The one below I found at a lower elevation and it is still unnamed. UPDATE: Thanks to Mary’s helpful prodding (see in comments), I have researched what these puffy things might be, and decided that they are probably Grand Mountain Dandelion, Agoseris grandiflora.
These I am sharing are just a few of the many I saw; there were also lupines, Pearly Everlasting, other penstemons, yarrow…. On a gravelly turnout Pussypaws (Calyptridium umbellatum) had bravely erupted heedless of cars that might soon crush them.
The Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon) were in wet areas. From my perusing of wildflower guides I’m guessing that the bright pink one is Jeffrey’s Shooting Star and the pale pink is Bog Shooting Star.
My plan is to return to the mountains a month from now. It will be interesting to see if I find any new species that bloomed a little later. Or do most of them pop out as soon as the snow has melted? I’m just glad that I arrived in time to meet them!
I think this poem is about a dream. Do you think so? I wish a few of my dreams might have been transformed into such lush stories, thereby preserved as memories of the occasional nocturnal fantasies that are not best forgotten.
My father said I could not do it,
but all night I picked the peaches.
The orchard was still, the canals ran steadily.
I was a girl then, my chest its own walled garden.
How many ladders to gather an orchard?
I had only one and a long patience with lit hands
and the looking of the stars which moved right through me
the way the water moved through the canals with a voice
that seemed to speak of this moonless gathering
and those who had gathered before me.
I put the peaches in the pond’s cold water,
all night up the ladder and down, all night my hands
twisting fruit as if I were entering a thousand doors,
all night my back a straight road to the sky.
And then out of its own goodness, out
of the far fields of the stars, the morning came,
and inside me was the stillness a bell possesses
just after it has been rung, before the metal
begins to long again for the clapper’s stroke.
The light came over the orchard.
The canals were silver and then were not.
and the pond was–I could see as I laid
the last peach in the water–full of fish and eyes.
~Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Update: I love how M.K. responded by “thrashing” the poem on her blog.