Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Letter From Home

Dear Friend and Reader,

I'm sorry not to have written for so long, but it has been pretty busy around here. Not anything amazing or earth-shaking, just busy.

Spring happened. It took about 10 minutes one sunny day. All my daffodils opened at once. Usually I have a long daffodil season, starting with the super-early Tete-a-tete and continuing to the very late Actaea. This year, Tete-a-tete and Actaea actually overlapped. One morning Tete-a-tete opened and the next Thalia and Actaea joined them. If you don't know these varieties, get them.

I finally piled up the small stones I've been hoarding and disguised my wellhead as a bird bath. That tangle of stems behind it is a Stephanotis, not a good shrub for a small space, but useful on my rocky hillside. It is barely leaved out in this picture, but soon covered itself in its tiny three-pointed leaves and white flowers. The stems arch, and root where they touch the ground. I did fix the birdbath base later, didn't like that obvious hole, but it does the job. Only problem is that a pair of robins have claimed that Japanese Maple, and they dive-bomb any bird that tries to take a bath. Robins seem to be cranky birds.

pottery and rock birdbath
Joan Darby and I got the Fern Garden at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden more or less finished in time for the dedication by the William Cody family. Here it looks pretty bare - just enjoy, as I do, the rare sight of bare earth with no weeds.
The ferns were much further along on the day and it looked fine. I was worried about the weather as it started cool and damp, but by the time the guests were assembled on the grass in front of the (now) William J. (Bill) Cody Fern Trail, the sun came out and it was warm. Big sigh of relief all around!

The Lupines (Lupinus perennis) along the driveway bloomed. Last year I was a little disappointed that so many of the flowers were pink, but this year there were lots of blue and purple ones. I like this two-toned pink one:
wild lupine lupinus perennis
Right about that time, the weeds overwhelmed me, as they do every year. At first, every spring, it all seems quite possible, perfectly do-able, no problem... then the weeds really get going and overnight it becomes more than I can possible handle. I did the only sane thing and took a day off and went to Eagle's Nest trail near Calabogie. Look at the Marginal Wood Fern in the bottom left here, is it any wonder I love ferns? Could you grow in a crevice in a wall of granite?

The upper right is a patch of Walking Fern on a boulder about 20' high. Not a great picture, but you can see the ferns are impressive. They do well, I think because of the constant humidity rising from the marsh and stream below them. Bearberries are interesting too and they really stood out among the Reindeer moss. The berries grow during the winter, under the snow. I read that in a science magazine years ago and it still impresses me.

The peonies bloomed. The rain fell. There are piles of petals under the skirts of the peonies now.
I planted potatoes in the Herb Garden. I haven't been happy with this garden for a while, it just didn't seem to be pulling its weight. It's the highest maintenance in the whole place, and was starting to not seem quite worth it. You don't expect a flower garden to be useful, but you do expect an herb garden to be and what was useful about mine? Not much, once I'd done my once-a-year chives omelet. So when a friend gave me some potatoes, nicely sprouted, I put them in there. Then I planted 6 beans, a dozen or so radish seeds (bread and butter, sliced radishes, a sprinkle of salt, oh yeah) and two tomato plants. I never said I was consistent.

Well, that's all my news for now, dear. Hope all is well with you, and do write when you get a minute.


PS. If you happen to see my Trowel anywhere, could you tell him to call home? He's needed.