Tag Archives: iris

Raindrops on Aesclepias.

Hours of rain. LOTS of raindrops. Glory to God! All the plants and humans around here are happy.

A couple of days before the rain came, I received in the mail three new plants, three species of milkweed that I haven’t had before: Asclepias glaucescens, Asclepias linaria, and Asclepias physocarpa “Family Jewels.” I set them out on the patio to get watered quite naturally. If they bloom next summer I’ll show you pictures.

Also not long before the watering, I got around to dividing the irises. The poor things had sat on the driveway during the heat wave, while I was in the mountains. But they were in such thick clumps with lots of dirt surrounding, they didn’t seem to have suffered much. And I ended up with dozens of extra rhizomes that I have been giving away.

Unfortunately I forgot that I had two colors in those three clumps, and I mixed them all up while I was sorting, but the people who are getting them don’t seem to mind. At least they are both purple; these pictures are from past years. And I am thrilled to think of how all these other friends’ gardens will be further beautified with my “children.”

This last picture is of the bedding material I’ve mixed up special for the worms I am getting tomorrow, to start my vermiculture project. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, and step by step I managed all the parts of the preparation, after watching a couple dozen videos on YouTube and reading in the classic book on the topic, Worms Eat my Garbage. A friend who is a long time worm farmer is giving me my starter worms.

What could be better on a rainy Sunday afternoon than taking a nap? Well, on this particular one, for me at least nothing was better, especially because this week is extra busy from the start. Normally I try to reserve Mondays for catching up and re-ordering my mind and living space, but that’s not an option this week. So — I need to work on all that before I go to bed again.

This week Autumn officially arrives!
But in honor of worms, I give you a somewhat Spring-y poem:

THE WORM

When the earth is turned in spring
The worms are fat as anything.

And birds come flying all around
To eat the worms right off the ground.

They like the worms just as much as I
Like bread and milk and apple pie.

And once, when I was very young,
I put a worm right on my tongue.

I didn’t like the taste a bit,
And so I didn’t swallow it.

But oh, it makes my Mother squirm
Because she thinks I ate that worm!

-Ralph Bergengren

The flowery gifts of August.

Nodding Violet

Right in the middle of a very busy week my oldest daughter Pearl and her youngest Maggie came to visit, and that gave me a lovely and relaxing day. They had been camping for four nights from Wisconsin to here, on their way taking Maggie back to college in the southern reaches of California. It had been a long time since I’d had some focused time with this grandchild; we did a lot of catching up on face-to-face time and hugging.

And she suggested baking cookies together, and even suggested which kind of cookies. She would like the chocolate macaroons I make at Christmas; it just so happened that for some reason I’d bought almond paste last week, not really knowing why. So we made those marzipaney treats that I’ve never before made at any other time of the year.

The recipe calls for egg whites but not yolks. So we made Key Lime Cookies to use up the yolks, and to use a few of the big bag of limes I’d bought recently, I also can’t remember why. I sent Maggie on her way with most of the cookies this morning.

We three made a feast of a dinner together and Maggie went out to gather flowers for the table. 🙂

As for tomatoes, an unrepeatable sort of agricultural science experiment has been going on here. I have a few plants in the back yard that I intentionally planted and fed and have been watering…. I staked them and have so far picked about fifteen delicious Sungold cherry tomatoes off of one spindly vine.

By contrast, growing out of a crack in the sidewalk in front is a Green Doctor cherry tomato plant, looking hale and hearty, on which are growing bunches of tasty fat fruits. That plant is living proof of what I have known for a long time, that in our climate at least, tomatoes love heat more than they love water. The only water the sidewalk tomato received was one light rain in July. But its roots, wherever they are, are kept warm all night by the concrete that soaked up the full sun during the day. I’m thinking about scattering more seeds in that crack next spring.

I need to divide my Dutch Iris this fall, so I had my helper Alejandro remove most of them, and here they wait, on the side of the driveway:

Today a cord of firewood was delivered right next to them; the arranging of that was one of the many business calls I made this week. I’m amazed at how many tasks were completed (trash removed, garage door serviced, Household Hazardous Waste disposed of) or projects started.

I was waiting in a lab and saw these signs on the wall. This way of using the word love is a pet peeve of mine, which I began to acquire in the days of the toy named Care Bear, about whom it was said, “Care Bear loves you.” Ugh. I don’t like to trivialize love by lying to a child about what a toy can do, but I also find the use of the passive-voice “You are loved” to be false.

True love is not something that just happens; even falling in love requires something human from us. Who is that unnamed somebody who loves me, that the sign seems to know about? Of course it’s all too inane. Let’s look at flowers instead. Try not to look too long at the distracting hose in the next picture. Here you can see the sneezeweed starting to bloom behind the zinnias.

My vegetable garden is quite skimpy this summer, but I am thankful to have zinnias everywhere; I will plant some greens again next month, and take my joy from the flowery gifts of August.

 

Turn the poet out of door.

It’s the “false spring” one day, and the next, not. When I was at church to bake communion bread, it was spring for sure. Of course the dough knew it, and behaved accordingly.

Yesterday, the wind and various other factors contributed to further thaw the bones of my soul. While I was in my own garden trimming the lemon tree, pomegranate bushes, lavender and a few other plants, a series of great gusts came up suddenly, and made a clattering of doors and toys and other blowing-around stuff in the neighborhood.

The poem below doesn’t originate in my area of the country, so it will never perfectly fit the weather here, but I love the spirit of it, and I’m sure it will please a few of you in more northerly parts of the world. If you tend to be impatient with poems, try reading this one out loud.

TO THE THAWING WIND

Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate’er you do tonight,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit’s crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o’er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.

-Robert Frost

Because we haven’t had any rain in several weeks — or has it turned into months? — I had to put the hose on potted plants that aren’t on the automatic drip system. Hidden behind one big pot, this little great-grandbaby of a cactus I started was in full baby bloom. I brought her indoors to brighten up my kitchen, still lit also by the fairy lights, which are there for the days when spring is clearly not. yet.

Candles and clear skies.

On this feast of many names, including Candlemas, Divine Liturgy was early, and the air bracing. When we came outside afterward we didn’t want to stand on the shady porch to chat, but moved quickly into the sunshine. I walked through the church gardens back to my car, and took a picture of the bell tower on the little church, which I know I have shared before one other time when it was set off brightly by the pyracantha:

In the afternoon I walked around the neighborhood
and saw several plants that seem to be thriving in this season:

At home, some of my miniature irises have popped out!

Though there is nothing festal about this part,
I also want to wish you a Happy Groundhog Day!

Addendum: Not one minute after I published this post, I saw this video by Jonathan Pageau and Richard Rohlin, on “the forgotten Christian origins of Groundhog Day” ! I had to come back and add that link for you. Probably one of you will get to watching it before I do…