Tag Archives: figs

The happening illimitably earth.

I wanted to go walking on the earth this morning. It was still dark when sleep left me, so I waited a little while, and put some water in the fountain, and saw a perfect half moon in the seemingly illimitable sky. It had rained in the night and the air was damp and cool, but not at all cold.


I walked half a block, and looking east, I saw the prelude to the sun’s birthday.

Along the redwood-lined path, I sniffed the woodsy scent; I walked along the mowed hayfield where the essence of sage-y weeds was carried in the humidity. And then along the creek, with swampy smells wafting across the way.

And the sky! It was big. God was big and so rich toward me, in His earth and creation, His presence. My senses were not adequate to the feast and I knew I would be drunk before breakfast. Glory to God in the highest! It was the birthday of (my) life and love.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings; and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

–e.e. cummings

My Delta Sunflowers are big, and as they grow tall they break and fall over, so I have cut some, and made tangled and droopy bouquets that seem to be better suited to the patio table than the kitchen counter, where the flowers hung down and dropped little piles of pollen on the stone, on the appliances, whatever.

The lamb’s ears need thinning. My two species are so different! Here are the new ones, after cleaning up, in the front yard:

And here are the old survivors that keep growing just as vigorously, and even make flowers. But they look scraggly by comparison. I have to love my old vintage ears more; because they are thinner and gangly, they don’t make a convenient nest for the earwigs the way the fat and lush ones did this summer:

I found plums on the Elephant Heart Plum trees after all. First I spied one on the ground from the kitchen window: “Hey! That’s a plum!” So I went out right away and picked it up, and rummaged through the two trees to see if I had missed any others. I found three more fruits that didn’t seem to be quite ripe, hiding very effectively. So I ate the one that had fallen, and it was yummy. Since then I’ve been out twice to check on the other three, and they are nowhere to be found.

But our recent heat-smoke-humidity wave has started my figs ripening. This was the first one, which I discovered on the day when it had overnight turned from green to black. After taking its picture, I ate it, and it was everything a fig should be: juicy and sweet and more refreshing than a glass of water.

This is tasting touching hearing seeing breathing – yes.

I float on a sea with bangles.

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Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion. To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. (This and all quotes in green below are from G.K. Chesterton.)

I had another title for this blog post, something about pollinators, but when I saw the preponderance of green in the images, it made me think of Tuesday’s poem, which could be talking about my own garden that is wild with leaves and flowers popping out at a mad rate. All the glory does make it hard for me to hold a thought, and there are many I should not let go of — starting with all the outdoor tasks that won’t wait: feeding and weeding and trimming and tying….

But going back to the poem, I’ve been thinking about how it describes the way the most common natural occurrences — after all, “the world comes back” in spring year after year — can confuse and even shock us if we really pay attention. In my yard it seems that between the time I walk from the front garden to the back and return again, a new weed has sprouted or an iris has emerged.

Why have I arrived on the path by the salvia? I don’t even take time to ponder, but I immediately start pulling weeds. Then I return to the fountain and see a honeybee on a flower, and must go into the house for my camera and “waste” a few minutes attempting to record one of the thousands of thrilling things happening here, right outside my door.

There is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the intellect.

This road leads to the heart from other sensory “gates” as well. My garden seems primarily visual, but also the rich scents of osmanthus and daphne and lavender have their own direct routes to my heart, as do the bird songs. I don’t have to think about them or know their meaning. In the poem about the “Deciduous Spring,” sounds of words are used to mimic the visual symphony or cacophony that all this burgeoning creates.

The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens.
It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

This week I will be adding more plants to the mix, and several of them will be of the sort that the hummingbirds and bees and other insects like. Last fall I planted five types of seeds that did not sprout: poppies, milkweed, prairie echinacea… So — I found a native plant nursery where I was able to buy two species of milkweed plants, orange Moroccan poppies, and penstemon. Visions of Monarch butterflies fill my head.

In the picture below of the waiting plants, the milkweed is mostly in the foreground, two types that are native to the western us: Asclepias fascicularis and Asclepias speciosa

The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it
for us to be interested properly in any of them.

Three varieties of peas, mostly flowers soon to bloom.

To mention a pair of not-green things: The orioles are back! Not in the group that I am trying to attract with certain flowering plants, their preference is sugar water.They are very shy, so I’m not going to try to take new pictures of them. This one is from my great photographic effort last spring.

The snowballs on the viburnum are little green things so far. Green fruits are on the fig tree. I ran into a Painted Lady butterfly over there, and bumblebees, but their interest was the lithodora blossoms.

Jerusalem sage

Even the tiny flowers of the Euphorbia myrsinites are swallowed up in their green leaves.

Nearly every day I fall in love again and try to capture another poppy with my camera.
This time my toes got in the picture. At least they are not green.

The whole order of things is as outrageous as any miracle
which could presume to violate it.

And below, I used a clever jar-vase that Mrs. Bread gave me for my birthday, and made a colorful bouquet that will give your eyes respite from green. It is like a little canning jar with a ring that screws on the top, but into the ring is set a florist’s frog, making it perfect for arranging odd little blooms with their often short stems that one finds in a garden like mine.

That’s my show-and-tell for today! How does your garden grow?

snowball bush

I hear a voice, and have an adventure.

gl IMG_0929My husband didn’t speak to me from the grave, but I did get a pertinent message from him — and from myself, too — and it was delightful. You know how below each individual post on my blog there are three links to “related” posts from the past? At the bottom of yesterday’s was one titled “Walking in 2012.” As I was finishing my breakfast this morning and ready to leave for the gym I clicked on it to see what I had written about back then. (I have published almost 1000 posts and have forgotten many of them by now.)

It was about a brief conversation I had with my dear husband at the very beginning of the gl IMG_0923new year of 2012, and about a neighborhood walk I took as a result. Reading what he said, and what I said…I could hear us all over again and laugh at how we were. What I recounted of that walk and all that I learned, well, it was just what the doctor ordered. I thanked God and Mr. Glad, and I changed my plan and set off for a walk in the outdoors instead of driving to the gym.

Rain had fallen last night and early this morning, but the clouds had all blown away to the edges of the sky, and the sun was shining. I walked along the creek, and the sweet earthy smells emanating from all the plants and the ground were so delicious. I started thinking about the time my husband and I were walking in the rain forest. That was a pleasant and vivid memory.

I hadn’t brought anything but my cell phone, and I was glad to have it because very soon I began taking pictures of trees. So many of them seemed to look extra handsome with some dark gray clouds in the background.gl IMG_0928

One of the first I noticed was an olive tree (above) that seemed to fit very nicely in a front yard, and had been pruned so as to keep it looking the way an olive should. Some neighbors on my block have four or five olives in front of their house and they prune them like lollipops twice a year. I wanted to plant an olive in my new landscape but many people discouraged me, partly because they get so big. So I will keep two of mine that are in pots, and get them matching pots, and study the best way to prune them according to their natural bent.

This redwood tree I saw this morning must be the healthiest and best formed specimen in town. I could hardly believe it was a redwood, it is so thick and green, and standing all by itself, too! Coast redwoods much prefer to be in groups, where they can preserve moisture and coolness against dry weather. Most of them along the avenues here are not planted that way, and they have suffered terribly in the last few years.IMG_0933

One yard on my way had both a giant fig tree and a very tall persimmon tree. I was admiring them when the neighbor came out of his house and we said, “Good morning.” I remarked about the beauty of the persimmon tree and he said,

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“I guess… I get the trimmers out here all the time and try to keep it away from my gutters.” You can see how it is indeed very one-sided after that kind of pruning, but it looks as though it would still give the owners plenty of fruit, on top of what they get from the fig tree.

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I noticed then that even though the sun was shining warmly on me, tiny drops of rain were starting to fall, too. Oops — I wasn’t prepared for that, and only had a pocket of my flannel shirt in which to put my phone. But first, I had to snap another olive tree, this one an example of what you do not want your olive to look like. Those are lots of suckers growing at the base of the tree.

Hmmm…the rain was heavier, and I looked for a tree that might be close to the sidewalk and with a dry area underneath. I found it in this palm tree; here is my view from under its thick canopy, with the added interest of a fig tree growing out of its tidy trunk.gl IMG_0944

I stayed under that roof for a minute or two, but not knowing how long the shower might last, I was soon braving the wet again, after having wrapped my phone with two handkerchiefs I’d found in the other shirt pocket.

With it under cover, I had to pass by several more lovely tree specimens without taking note of them with the camera. I came upon a big redwood with lots of dry ground under it, so I paused again and took a picture of its underside, but I will spare you. That’s the first time I’ve preferred a palm to a redwood. Soon I was on my way, after picking up a big leaf. When I got it home I put my Waterlogue phone app to painting it. That tool is addictive, but I find that most of the pictures I take don’t convert very well.

That was my adventure, much more fun, I’m sure, than I’d have had at the gym. I didn’t even get very wet, though I had the joy of walking in the rain. I made new tree friends, and renewed the lessons I’d been taught almost four years ago, with the help of my late husband. I told you he wasn’t very far away.

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Garden tour with figs.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mrs. J lately. She has been involved in my life in so many ways for over 30 years now, from the time when we became neighbors in the neighborhood where neither of us lives any longer. I hadn’t seen her since my husband’s funeral, and was glad when she phoned today.GLP1010502crp

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oaks and olives

Mrs. J has always loved plants, and soon after we met she was taking horticulture classes and learning the botanical names for everything. When we planted a rock garden at our old house she helped us choose the plants, including at least two that I want to plant in my new back yard garden, a Mugo Pine and a Pineapple Guava. Many plants that I love remind me of this friend.

Mrs. J became a realtor and helped us sell that old house and buy this one. She advised us to plant the Sweet Olive bush that has been a joy to me and which I am now nursing back to health from drought. She was the first person I knew to use manzanita bushes in a residential landscape, planting sixteen of them in her front yard across the street.

Usually we see each other once a year for the triple-birthday celebration we have with another friend; the three of us lived on the same street for a couple of years, back when our babies were coming along regularly. We all love gardening and we discovered that we all were born within a four-day period in the same year. We started taking turns preparing birthday lunches for each other, and have celebrated 30 of them so far.

Today is Labor Day, a special day that we never have celebrated together. Mrs. J was surprised to find herself without pressing obligations on this holiday, so she phoned me. I also was without pressing obligations, and as we began to talk about my back yard project we came up with the idea that I might travel the half hour to her place to get a garden tour. I soon was off on a country drive.

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The sort of grouping we both like.

That route made me very nostalgic and weepy. Our family has been driving these roads for 42 years now, and much of our history took place at one end or the other of this winding hilly road through oaks and golden hills, which Mr. Glad also drove back and forth to work for 20+ years.

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fig with zinnias

The pictures above are of the stretch of road a mile or two from our old house, where our family would take walks or bike rides. Back then there was no yellow line down the middle; that line seems to me to pretend that the road is always wide enough for two cars.

Over the years Mrs. J has designed landscapes and houses in several places. Currently she lives by a creek and has space and resources to use many of the ideas she’s been collecting her life long.  When we went out her front door we soon found ourselves by her beautiful fig tree that had several fruits ready to eat right then. We ate and they were sweet and juicy. Did I tell you I am going to have a fig tree in my garden?

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dogwood

 

Dogwoods are a species I don’t plan to have, but Mrs. J loves them and has varieties from all over. They get enough shade from the tall oaks by the creek. This might be the Korean one.

 

 

She went up north to Corning, CA and bought an olive tree that is 100 years old. It had been pruned a few months earlier to prepare it for transplanting; now it has been given a spot where it can leaf out and enjoy its new and more temperate home.

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Olive trees don’t need as much water as you might think. Mrs. J had to remove some ornamentals from under another olive tree because the irrigation of them was too much for the tree. In another place, where an emitter is leaking, she cleverly made use of the extra water to plant a clump of horsetail grass.

 

The creek has never been so low, she said; I was surprised that it still had any water at all. In a few months this stream could turn into a torrent. That is our hope and prayer.

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