Monday, April 17, 2006

playing in the garden

Lovage, not looking at all like it could possibly grow to 4 of 5 feet in height, as it will.

Some cheery crocus.

Some more crocus with a hellebore in the background.

Why do we take pictures of crocus? I'm sure everybody has crocus. I take pictures of my crocus because they are in my garden and when I look out the window or walk about the gardens, they give me such a thrill! As I said to Mike the other day, I wonder if we can't breathe in colour, you see, because when I look at these first cheery blooms, I take a deep breath or two and I'm sure I inhale the colour, too. It has to be possible to inhale colour because it does seem to have such a refreshing effect on me!

Since returning from Vail, I seem to have spent my gardening-time raking up leaves. Masses of them collect in certain places, even though we raked and raked last fall. We are after all, surrounded by forests and the dry leaves do blow about. We will run over the remaining leaves on the lawn with the lawn mower, but we need to have it looked at first. It has been refusing to start.

This weekend, the weather has been wonderfully mild. I spent all day Saturday in slow motion however, reading, musing, muddling about. I also slept for several hours in the middle of the afternoon -- that and I'm far from being an early riser! No gardening at all. Imagine!!

But the last two days I've spent playing in the garden. Yesterday, I mostly tidied up. That in itself is very satisfying. The bluebells in the bed by the greenhouse got weeded out and after I teased out their roots from the oregano, I replanted that. That was my more back-breaking day.

Today I did some seeding. Better late than never? Ah well, I figure when I do get around to doing these things, it's plenty soon enough.

Let's see, I put in seeds of chervil, mild and spicy mesclun mixes, dill, cilantro, calendula, clary sage, tall telephone pole peas, early wonder beets, golden beets, nasturtium and baikal skullcap.

It worries me a little that the birds might dig up the peas...there are a lot of black birds about but I'm hoping they are preoccupied with the pile of sunflower hulls where the bird feeder was this winter past. There are also lots of nuts from the many trees around the place.

The asparagus I put in last year is coming up nicely, but we won't eat any of that yet. Gardeners are the eternal optimists -- content to wait for another year or two before enjoying that asparagus, and quite certain that if we don't, someone else will! The two types of garlic, 'Inchelium Red' and 'Music', that I planted last fall are both growing well. The lovage, lemon balm, French tarragon, tansy and absinthe are also showing some green, as are the clove pinks and several varieties of thyme, including woolly thyme, T. 'Bertram Anderson', T. 'Elfin', and T. 'Silver Posie'. The pink verbena, the Russian sage, the lavenders and a new clematis I put in last year look promising.

I tidied up the raspberry patch, hands full of prickles as a result. Anybody know of a way to get them out? Some of the prickles are so fine they're almost hair-like. Doing the dishes didn't help as I had hoped it would.

Here's a daring bit of craziness: I transplanted some hollyhocks (I know, bad idea because of the massive taproot!) Of the four, three were new seedlings that hadn't flowered yet last year, so I'm optimistic--ever optimistic.

I've given up trying to be the perfect gardener: I'm just me. I thoroughly enjoy myself, getting quite sore and stiff, barely remembering to drink, daydreaming along, absorbed in my tasks, finally noticing: hey, the sun is going down. Maybe the dogs and I should eat or something!

The lack of pesky insects makes gardening at this time of year a real joy. I did notice some solitary bees and bumblebees around the crocus blossoms, but that's about it. Hallelujah: no black flies, no mosquitoes yet....

There had been a lot of birds about all day but I had not paid them any attention. Mourning doves murmured to each other back and forth across the garden. A woodpecker hammered at something, tock-tock-tock, far off. Robins gurgled and sang. Flocks of blackbirds chirped, clucked squeeked and chittered. Then, a sudden bang-whoosh, the blackbirds went silent and a ragged flock whisked itself southward into some trees. Then a small falcon-like bird swooped off northward. It was a miss. Such life and death drama happening right beside me and I had my head buried in the dirt!!

It was warm enough this evening to eat my supper out on the deck. As I enjoyed my meal I noticed several juncos were about and the everpresent flocks of blackbirds. A pair of Canada geese honked and honked then took a short flight from the cornfield eastward to the pond. Then a pair of cranes, all awkward long legs, neck and wings, landed elegantly in the cornfield and promptly became invisible! How do they do that??

A long soak in a warm bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil is great for getting the kinks out at the end of the day.


Anonymous Kim in Cleveland said...

I love the idea of inhaling the colour--and I know just what you mean at this time of the year. :)

By the way, I picked up some lovage last fall at an herb sale and mine are coming back. Do you use yours in cooking? And do you grow yours in full sun--I've read that they can take shade but am a little hesitant...

9:09 a.m.  
Blogger Randa said...

I have high hopes for your Hollyhock transplant. I transplant Lupins -- with a long taproot also -- all the time, and they do smashingly!

3:48 p.m.  
Blogger Sandy said...

I think we take pictures of crocus because we finally have another color in the garden. I think they are photogenic too:)

4:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Heavy Petal said...

Great post. Just wanted to let you know that Heavy Petal has moved - could you please update your link? Thanks!

11:49 a.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

Kim, the only trouble I have with lovage is that it seems to attract aphids on the new growth quite often. A shot of soapy water knocks them off...I love a leaf or two in salads. But beware, it's a strong flavor, reminiscent of licorice. It's also great in soup!

11:48 a.m.  
Anonymous kim said...

Thanks, Kati! I'll definitely keep an eye out for the aphids. Good luck getting your car fixed.

2:43 p.m.  
Blogger Sigrun said...

Lovage! What a nice name. We say: Liebstöckel, Maggikraut!


6:31 a.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

Thanks Randa, for your high hopes. Since I haven't been home for nearly two weeks now, I have no idea what my garden has been up to in my absence...

12:47 p.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

Liebstockel, Maggikraut...I'd love to know more about the way these words are derived. Liebstockel reminds me of liebchen and maggikraut of maggi. Anybody know?
Needless to say, my German is ...not!

10:55 p.m.  

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