The day after Groundhog Day, or Candlemas, etc., my walk took me past a long hedge of rosemary in bloom, where hundreds of honeybees were already getting ready for next year’s Candlemas. There were both the golden orange striped and the browner kind. I had a lot of fun taking their pictures and sorting them. Most of the shots had to be tossed, quite a few because I had completely failed to include a bee in the frame.
I don’t know much about bees, but it seemed crazy that so many of them were around to notice the rosemary; our nights are still frosty. Do the people with the rosemary hedge also keep bees… handy? But many blocks away, on my own street, was a single such bush and bees were buzzing on its flowers, too. Now, as I write, it occurs to me that I saw bees on rosemary two years ago, possibly as early as January, in a nearby town.
When I got home I went straight into the back yard to see what’s going on with my own rosemary. It is barely starting to bloom, and there was not a bee to be seen. But across the garden, the cyclamen are coming up!
The first sunny day we’ve had in a week, and my plan was to work on cleaning the garage; I do not say “to clean the garage” because that sounds like I could ever finish.
But first, a walk. The creek is so high, and now running smoothly so that the sky reflects off the water, distracting from the quantity of mud still flowing below.
After breakfast I opened the overhead door of the garage to get light on my subject, and remembered that I wanted to trim the abutilon. It never stops blooming, so I can’t wait for dormancy. One bloom shone brightly yellow and caught the sun penetrating its petals.
You know how it goes in the garden – One thing leads to another, and I did a bit of tidying up the next hour. The first asparagus has emerged, and lots of California poppy plants that you can see behind one of my new wallflower bushes.
But what is THIS? A ladybug, yes, I know, but the bug is sitting on a stem of rosemary! A stem of a bush that is taking over a pittosporum bush, and already blooming, and I never saw it until today. It’s from a root left over from the gnarly plant that was there until three years ago; what a surprise that it didn’t show itself all this time, until now.
I had to cut it off for the time being, because I didn’t want to take time to dig out the root, which is what is sadly necessary.
Several of my yarrow clumps seem to have died out,
but a couple of plants are starting to bloom.
And the abutilon – the star of the show.
I eventually did get a lot done in the garage. I’m making space there for stuff that’s been stored in the house, especially in the great room upstairs, because… Announcement!: I’m starting a remodel of this big room. For almost three decades it has been used for homeschooling, large families sleeping or even living in there, Mr. Glad practicing his drums, and always, the storage of many, many things, not in a very efficient manner. We avoided doing anything to it, while we fixed more urgent areas of the house and property.
My plan is to divide it into three rooms: a Guest Room, a Sewing Room, and a full bathroom. Plans now being drawn by an architect will soon be submitted to the city for a building permit, and the contractor is standing by….
There is nothing lovely or very interesting to tell about in the garage, or in the great room. Decorating, choosing furniture, colors and such matters do not inspire me. They challenge me and find me bored and impatient, and that makes me want to escape here and write about books or saints or the moon I saw through my window last night. So things might not change too much on the blog. I’ll be seeing you around!
Not only did I see a rainbow this afternoon, but egrets, and a flower that looks like a sea anemone. A hawk on the power line, and a feast of rosemary blossoms.
When I returned from my extended trip — eight weeks away — I was flattened not only by jet lag but by various other ailments that kept me from even thinking of the creek path until the last couple of days. Today I had taken care of enough business that I could envision and plan for some walking in my afternoon.
At first, I thought I had waited too long, and that the rain would catch and soak me. My first few pictures I took through some falling drops, and at one point I turned around to come home early, but then I turned around again and had a proper long meander. I didn’t dare go faster on my legs that are much underused these last many weeks.
Neither strolling around the garden or worshiping in church had made me feel so fully “back” as walking my usual route along the now-muddy stream and singing “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” in the proper setting. Somehow, when I get out there I get quickly in touch with my contingency, and that puts me in my proper setting.
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28) Being alone in my room does not so strongly impress upon me my aloneness with God and my utter dependence on Him for life itself. For Life itself. My familiar walk is like a familiar prayer that lets me forget the particular words or interface, and go straight to the heart of the matter.
Years ago a man named David Dickens was writing a poem almost every day which he published on a blog. I saved some of them because whether or not their form was polished, their spirit called to my spirit. Like this one, which because it includes images of rain and paths and walking, in the context of exuberance, seems about right for today. Thank you, again, David!
Praise him who rains scorn upon the scornful, and Let him who gives grace to the humble be praised. Extol the one who shames crafty men in their schemes And seeds the garden of those without guile. Listen to the word, the father’s instruction; Be attentive, the mother exhibits a watchful heart. Beautiful are the paths of the maker, Keep to them and live.
Shout for joy, you who know the one you speak of, In the house preserved eat a feast with hearts glad. First in all the spheres of heaven is love The second is wisdom which uphold the third, peace Fourth is faithfulness made perfect in suffering Fifth the gift of tears with her sixth sister, joy The seventh and last humility, the fortress of all goodness
Great is he who walks unhindered, and to The one who makes fleet your steps, give glory. The sky is always clear to shine as no branches cloud his path. Refreshing waters flow beside and the fawn drinks deep the cool water. Fear not the wicked forest though it encroaches, But praise him who keeps the wolves from the camp at night. Lord and master grant us safe passage, And rest in your home.
In a way, my gardens have been too successful. I planted tomatoes where they didn’t have room to grow, and have had to drastically prune them back so that I could get in there to pick them as they ripen. No pretty picture to show you there.
The fennel grew so lovely – now I realize it was overgrown and woody before I picked it. I’m eating it anyway, and the edible parts are yummy. Next year will be my third growing fennel and it should be the charm.
Rudyard Kipling said,
“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”
That goes for harvesting, too! But the making I need to do today and next week concerns seeds…. Before my next trip to see grandchildren, I have a few weeks to get seeds planted in flats in the greenhouse, and to water them once or more daily until they are big enough to set out in the garden where they will get automatic watering from then on.
What seeds? I don’t even know yet. But perhaps these that I received from Prairie Moon. I saw a picture on a blog post, of unidentified coneflowers growing wild on the prairie, and researched to find out what variety it might be, and where to buy seeds. It turns out they are Echinacea pallida. The company sent me milkweed seeds also, as a gift, and I dug out my own milkweed I had collected a couple of years ago. I’m not even sure that I can successfully plant them now to have plants to set out in the spring. Probably I should be reading up on that instead of writing and speculating!
My front yard is taking a lot of attention. In July we laid cardboard and mulch thickly all over the lawn (this is called “sheet mulching”) to kill it, and now that that has been done stonemasons are beginning work on a walkway and a wall.
Later we’ll landscape with some plants about which I am still deciding. I had two rosemary bushes in the front, one of which was about 25 years old. Landscape Lady said it looked like a Bristlecone Pine, and at first we were going to keep it around for its venerableness. But it wasn’t that worthy, and would scratch and poke me twice a year when I took the pruners to it, over the years shaping it into its crotchety self. I didn’t want to go through that one more time….so I took parting pictures.
Now that I have great soil and many options for growing various things, I don’t know if I will ever have a chance of “keeping up” with my garden. But I plan to go on enjoying it, and reporting about it here. Perhaps even while sitting in the shade.