Friday, July 12, 2024

If A Tree Falls......

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception. [Wikipedia]

A few minutes past 8 A.M. and the sun peering over the hedgerow trees of the eastern boundary, already spilling heat onto the front porch steps. Son Howard has delivered his three dogs into my keeping for the day, collected J. and they are off to a carpentry job in the next county.
The dogs often accompany H. to work, waiting in the back seat of his truck for the breaks when they are let out to run, do their business, have a drink.
Mid-summer weather is too hot for that, so the dogs stay with me during the men's work hours.
I take them out about every hour and a half, trudging around the lower meadow with them, up the lane, back across the meadow.
Dixie, the middle-aged Aussie-mix bumbles slowly along behind me--unless she spots a squirrel at the edge of the north ravine, when she forgets her old lady status.

Mudgie, the lovely Great Burnese, alternately gambols ponderously through the grass or goes on an intense round of sniffing out unmentionable tidbits I'd rather she didn't ingest.

Smallest and youngest of the trio is Boo-Bear, less than a year old, a rescue shelter adoptee.
Intoxicated by the great outdoors, Boo doesn't always turn around when called, so she is usually on a retractable lead, for her safety and my peace of mind.

We walked this morning through heavy dew. The dogs headed for a hickory at the tree line where the ground begins to slope into the depth of the north ravine. Last week they noticed a squirrel there, yapped hysterically at it until it disappeared up the tree. There's always the chance it might reappear to entertain them.

We trailed down the slope of the meadow, giving the dogs opportunity to accomplish necessary deposits on a line that I can later avoid.
Past the small barn we call the 'snake shed,' no snakes in sight nor the painted turtle whose presence sometimes brings me to a quick halt, one booted foot suspended in avoidance.
The shade is still deep here, the grass wet. Here and there a clump of purple violets rises undaunted by mowing, the first heads of Joe Pye weed thrust up against a fire-seared hybrid magnolia. 
Dixie-dog is resting under the hickory that supposedly houses the fox squirrel; Mudgie sniffs at the base of every tree and shrub. Boo-Bear is at the extent of her lead, delicate ears flattened straight back, nearly touching her pink collar.

The laboring growl of a chainsaw throbs from another ridge, the sound rolling through the convolutions of hills and hollers, background to the more subtle swish of my booted feet, the rustle of leaves.
The sun has moved high enough to beam a shimmer of light down the meadow, sending fingers of warmth into the shaded rise of ground that rims the south ravine. Sunlight catches the fine threads of three spiders' webs delicately suspended from the low hanging branch of a maple. The webs drift, trembling in the breeze, floating in and out of focus. 
Boo-Bear steps forward on dainty paws brushing against an invisible anchoring thread and the nearest spider web disappears. 
Skirting the remaining two sticky orbs we start back up the slope toward the back of the house. 
The whine of the chainsaw is cut off; for a second the air throbs with fresh stillness, then comes the wrenching creak of a tree losing its final attachment to the stump from which it has grown. 
Did I really feel a faint tremor run through the ground--or did I merely imagine it as the tree slammed into the ground with a reverberating crash, followed by the rustle of settling branches and twigs ?
Boo-Bear scuttled to my side, flinging herself onto my booted feet, leaning her slender bones against my legs. 
I stood in the quiet meadow, young dog quivering beside me until the sound of the chainsaw again hummed through the summer morning and I could envision a man clambering among the branches of the fallen tree, beginning the process of 'limbing.'

I recalled, in the way of memory unexpectedly jogged, the long ago tenure of a student teacher at our small town high school. He was likely only 20 or 21 years old, almost ready to graduate from the nearby college which had been churning out teachers for decades.
He seemed almost arrogantly in charge, undaunted by a roomful of 14 and 15 year olds, taking in his stride the too obvious 'crush' of Janice, a blushing young lady known for her skill on the basketball court. 
His major was in science, so we were told, and he would be with us for several weeks presenting a unit on 'sound.'
He had brought with him stereo equipment which was state-of-the-art for its day; he spoke of sound waves, radio transmission, inventors, possibilities.

One day--perhaps the only class I really remember--he stunned us with the old question: 'if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, did it really make a sound?'
He seemed to be pushing the premise that without a human interpreter, there was no sound.
With that, I can never agree. 

My brain doesn't lean toward the intricacies of math or science, still I have seen wind moving through trees at a distance that doesn't allow me to hear the roar of its passing. 
I've watched as my cats, dogs, horses, come to attention, hearing what it will take me a few more seconds to discern. 
I can watch Willis the barn cat running toward me, his mouth opening and closing, but I can only hear his catly voice when he reaches the foot of the steps. 

I heard the crashing fall of a tree this morning, a fall planned and carried out by a man with a chainsaw. Had the tree succumbed to wind and storm, fallen at midnight with no human to declare, 'I heard a tree fall!' there would still have been a sound!


Boo-Bear; safely away from crashing trees, but cringing at the tiny click of the camera shutter.


Thursday, July 4, 2024

Mowing Weather

Following an unpleasantly warm and humid weekend, July 1st dawned with a gift of ideal weather. 
62 F. at 6:30 a.m. with a delightful breeze riffling through the trees that edge the north and south ravines. .
J. and H. were off early on a mission to purchase a zero-turn lawn mower which H. had noted for sale near Hazard, KY.

This left me quite happily on my own for a few hours.
It was comfortable to putter in the little greenhouse, potting on a few cherry tomato plants and half a dozen of 'spicy globe' basil.

That done and an early 'tea' served to the cats, I headed for the South Fork discount markets for a bit of bargain shopping. 
I didn't find much that I needed; a few tubs of a disgustingly sloppy 'stew' approved by our felines, cleaning supplies--and of all things--a hand held hair dryer to replace the one which began threatening noises when used on Sunday.

I was putting away the shopping when J. and H. wheeled in, immensely pleased with their own buying expedition.
The mower was rolled off the trailer, the gas tank filled, and there followed a typical frolic of both men trying out the new purchase. 
Enthusiasm was so great that over the course of the afternoon the dooryard was cropped and then the rougher expanse of the lower back meadow and along both edges of the lane.

As J. and H. were gloating over the attributes of the lawn mower, our Beachy neighbors roared in to mow the second hay cutting on our upper meadow. 

I retreated downstairs to baste around the edges of a large quilt [by machine of course] with assistance from Rosie-cat. I cut and spliced what seemed like yards of binding but decided to leave the finish for another time.
 [Binding a queen/king quilt even with the completely machined method that currently works for an 'everyday' quilt, is a task that requires over an hour.]

Instead I walked out into the cool grass-scented dusk. Dew had already fallen and the toes of my shoes flung up damp clumps of longer cut grass as I neared the end of the lane and started around the slope at the western end of the property. 
From behind the small barn that we call the 'snake shed' the unmistakable voice of a Barred Owl queried, "Whooo cooks for yooo? Whooo cooks for yooo?"
I stood still, delightedly listening to the call and response conversation as another owl chimed in from deeper in the ravine. 

Tuesday continued blessedly cool with intermittent clouds.
Jim, still a farmer at heart, began to fret that rain would move in before the Beachys could bale the hay.
We were finishing supper on Wednesday when tractor and baler rumbled in.

Three handsome bales in their tidy nettings. One landed at the far edge of the garden just beyond my dwarf sunflowers. 
Before dark the bales had been trundled off, winter feed stored on a local Beachy farm.

A brief midnight shower has returned us to heat and high humidity. 
Roll on, July!


Sunday, June 30, 2024

Heat; Humidity; Green Beans [On-Going!]

Jim offered to help pick the glut of green beans this morning. The garden rows were muddy from the night's rain. J. used the padded garden 'kneeler' to work down one row while I leaned from the waist to pick the adjoining row. The rain had beaten the lower stems of some plants into the mud, thus we brought in three 1 gallon buckets of wet dirty beans. 

Two cucumbers, a few tomatoes and the first harvested cabbage came in with the beans. 

My darling Rosie-cat [who has studied all phases of quilt making] is interested in the green bean harvest.

I have always had cats in residence who find green beans fascinating.

Selection made.
I wish I had a video taken a few seconds later. Rosie flipped a bean onto the floor, where it landed beside Elmo, a.k.a. 'Orange Eejit' Predictably, Elmo levitated, then skittered across the floor, fur on end, while Rosie peered over the edge of the counter as if to say, 'Chill, boy! Its only a bean!'

Each bucketful of green beans has been soaked in cool water, rinsed, spread to air dry on layers of newspaper laid atop opened out plastic bags. Ordinarily, I would top and tail the beans, then cut or break them before rinsing, but today's haul was too muddy, so 'plan B.'

Photos of cluttered kitchen counters aren't edifying, but there it is--a glimpse of reality.

I'm recalling that most of my veg/fruit canning over many decades has been accomplished in a small kitchen space. The tiny Orwell, VT kitchen with minimal counter space and a 24" propane cook stove was where hundreds of quarts of tomatoes, beans, beets, peaches and pears were processed.
The Wyoming houses all had rather high-end beautifully designed kitchens--but our attempts to garden in that high desert land didn't yield a harvest. 

The huge kitchen at our remodeled Amish farmhouse became the most ideal setting I've had for food prep or canning: ample lengths of counter tops providing work area around the sink, room to line up cooling filled jars. Produce could be brought into the large room off the kitchen which the Amish owners had used for laundry and their primitive shower arrangement, as well as for canning over a portable propane burner.  Garden dirt could be washed off in the big utility sink, before bringing the produce into the kitchen. I had both an electric cooktop and a wood-burning cookstove. The woodstove came into its own in October when applesauce simmered in my biggest kettles before being bottled and processed on whichever cooktop had room for the canners.

Can you tell that I am procrastinating? 
I sit here typing and reminiscing while an on-coming storm sets the hummingbird feeders swinging wildly on their hooks; the tiny birds are in a frenzy of feeding.
With several hours of work before me I had best get into it. I hope the electricity doesn't go out in the midst of my efforts!


Saturday, June 29, 2024

Heat Continues

Nasturtiums are struggling in the ongoing heat--as are we humans.
Going out in late afternoon to water some of the container plants I found that the hose having been spread out in day-long sun was full of water of an uncomfortably hot temperature. I ran the water for a bit but it wasn't cooling--and we pay for county water. 
I pulled the hose into the shade of the barn wall and will try again later. 

We had welcome rain Wednesday night, a gentle soaking, not the deluge that pummels plants into the ground.

Phlox in the bin planter outside my bedroom window are fragrant. Only the one pink, the others are lavender or white. 
I discovered that the butterfly weed purchased last year and put in the rough strip by the drive has survived and bloomed although surrounded by some tough-rooted stems of red clover and encroaching grass. I wish I could create a manageable area to rehome some of my favorite plants and relegate the more invasive ones to spots where they could happily proliferate without swallowing up those that grow more slowly

'Babies' from this stunning achillea have been dug out of the grass and lodged in a big pot for growing on.

A sturdy plant of feverfew in the west garden. I started this from seed several years ago and found it to be quite invasive. As long as I keep at least one clump I should never be without it.
I planted Clary sage nearby and it didn't thrive, not putting in an appearance last season. There are two small plants of it this year. When planted in a gravely area near the side steps of the farmhouse it flourished as long as we were there, sending up new seedlings each spring. 
As a biennial it won't flower this year. If I can keep it weed free perhaps I'll again have the pleasure of the distinctive blooms.

Blackberry lilies [so named for their seed pods which resemble a ripe blackberry] are eager to drop their seeds. I stuck a few in the raised bed by the front walk and now have lilies appearing in the cracks between bricks.

One bud on the Poet's Wife. On the morning after rain I did some hasty pruning of the roses and yanked out a few weeds. An hour's work didn't begin to deal with the weed crop.

Most years I've planted a short row of zinnias in the veg garden. I've been surprised to find self-seeded plants coming up here and there after the garden has been tilled, some even popping up in the grass verge. Last year I moved some of these volunteers to the back garden where they obligingly flourished. This pretty pink one took root in a space between the stepping stones.
I had 'mini-zinnies' in pots by the steps last year and have been eyeing new starts struggling to grow in the gravel walk. I pried them up and poked the twisted little roots into an assortment of containers. I think most have settled in, so the zinnia presence will carry on.
Feathery seedlings of achillea have also been potted up.

Achillea babies.

Zinnias rescued from the gravel.

Perennials such as coneflower, monarda and New England asters which I consider as late summer plants have rushed into bloom with the early and persistent heat.
I'll be cutting them back shortly and hoping for early autumn rebloom. 

Jim has been out to check the garden [8 p.m.] and tells me an early morning session of rototilling is on for him, and another picking of green beans at the ready for me. 

I've been out to water my flowers with the now cool water from the hose.
Summer--heat--humidity--we're in for it!


Monday, June 24, 2024

Thrust Into Summer

From "The summer solstice is the first day of summer, according to astronomy. The word solstice comes from the Latin words “sun” and “stoppage.” It makes sense: The Sun stops moving North that day. The Sun’s most direct rays reach the maximum northernmost position."

I've often pondered why the first official day of summer, leading us into the hottest months of the year in the northern hemisphere, should also mark the incremental loss of daylight. The above simplified explanation does make sense.

Weather and seasons don't strictly abide by the calendar and we've been enduring heat and drought for most of the month.
Jim waters the garden every evening, I water my flower planters near the front door. I noticed today that the rosemarys summering on the screened porch are looking stressed. I forgot to water them yesterday and hope the water and pruning I did today [Sunday] will coax them to revive.

I had in mind a rather laid back Sunday as the past week was demanding. I thought of setting up my new laptop, working on a quilt, reading.

I followed J. to the garden and discovered more than a gallon of green beans that needed picked.  He meantime picked tomatoes and cukes and created a big salad which became a very late breakfast. with home fries on the side.

Planters near the front steps dry out quickly in the morning sun. The raised bed behind the planters is home to Achillea, Russian Sage, Blackberry Lilies, New England and Prairie Asters, and Blue Sage. All the plants have leaned toward the sun, resulting in a colorful but untidy sprawl.

This rough strip along the drive is where my cherished perennials landed when we moved from the farm. Countless hours of heavy weeding, many applications of bark mulch haven't kept the strip weed-free. Monarda Raspberry Wine, daylilies in shades of yellow, orange and deep purple along with earlier foxglove and some prairie asters in shades of pink, lavender and purple--an unintentionally 'hot' blend of colors.

More Raspberry Wine monarda in the back garden--another project that hasn't progressed as I hoped.

I suspect a cat or visiting dog may have dug up this lone dwarf daylily and I impulsively rehomed it in the bin/bed outside my bedroom window. It looks a bit out of place there, but at least has room to thrive.

Phlox also in the black bin. These nursery plants were first set out in the rough strip where they were promptly swallowed by weeds. They have bloomed happily for two summers in this inelegant spot.

Nasturtiums delight me in spite of their tendency to flop and have the lower leaves turn yellow. I was not yet in my teens when I commandeered the space that had been a childhood sandbox to plant a packet of nasturtiums. My Dad assured me they wouldn't grow there--too shady--but they did. For many years at our Young Road home I grew nasturtiums in a large wooden half barrel. When frost threatened I picked as many as possible, bringing them indoors to cram into mason jars where their peppery fragrance distilled through the living area.

Jim grumbles over my sunflowers as they always fall over in late summer wind. This group sprang up after he tilled the garden and I fiercely defended their right to grow there. I have a double row of shorter varieties growing on the far edge of the garden, a space rather grudgingly allowed by J.

All winter as I trudged along the edge of the north ravine fallen hickory nuts rolled under my booted feet. I pondered how many of the thousands of nuts would germinate and push up tiny trees. It would seem that they came up by the hundreds, many directly in the meadow path, more visible as valiant sprigs where the land tips down into the shady tangle of the ravine. This area is regularly mowed so I doubt any of the fledgling trees can survive. It is interesting how quickly the fallen nuts shed their hard casings and responded to spring's warmth and moisture.

I don't spend a great deal of time outdoors during weather such as our recent heat wave, hurrying out with kitchen trimmings or to get into the car for an errand. As evening comes on it is sometimes possible to endure at least one loop of the meadow path. On an evening last week the sky above the setting sun was brushed with feathery clouds.

Sunday evening's pink and thundery sunset which gave way by dark to a burst of brisk rain. Not enough to soak the ground, but sufficient to refresh the garden and clear the air.

Achillea with the flash after dark. 

After picking the green beans yesterday morning, my clean cotton shirt was plastered to my back. Feeling grubby I decided to work at pruning down foxglove stalks and cutting back the roses that have been trashed by the yearly invasion of sawfly larvae and Japanese beetles. Hot work as by then the sun had come round the house to glare down on the plantings above the concrete retaining wall.
Tiny brown seeds rained from the foxglove stems, clinging to my sweaty forearms, landing in my hair. 
There is so much more that 'wants done' in every planted area, but I am learning when a sensible quitting time has arrived.
Shampooing my long hair in the shower I wasn't surprised to feel foxglove seeds under my fingertips. It took extra rinsing to wash them away.

I began assembling this post late on Sunday evening. 
Clattering on the front porch drew Jim and me to switch on the outside light and peer through the front door windows. Two raccoons, their long fur streaming wet with rain, were battling for supremacy of the cat kibble tray. The smaller of the two was definitely losing out, cringing on the top step, being shoved backwards by the larger coon. J. opened the door a few inches, made shooing noises. The larger coon, startled, made another swipe at the smaller one, bumbled into the water bowl which rolled off the porch, coon following with a thump into the raised bed.
We expected him/her to reappear but when it didn't the smaller racoon began a timid approach to the now askew kibble tray. The smaller coon polished off the remaining kibble glancing anxiously over its shoulder with each mouthful. 

Jim has worked with Howard for several days on a local building job. The location is near a main highway and that along with the high heat has meant it wasn't safe for Howard to take his three dogs who usually ride to every job site. I have been dog-sitting. They are companionable creatures and not much trouble; I take them outside for a short walk down the lower path about every hour and a half.

The men plan an early start to take advantage of the cooler mornings. I'm liking this as I have food prepared and housekeeping done before noon. 
This morning I felt a bit tired and rickety, so rewarded myself with an hour of Kate Jackson's 'Last Homely House' videos. 
I still managed to have a batch of bread out of the oven a few minutes before noon.

The men have returned and eaten. The kitchen needs a bit of tidying.
That done, will I attempt some sewing? Do I have wits enough left to sort the laptop? [ I doubt it!] 
Rosie-cat has landed on my desk and from there onto my front. She tolerates the dogs but as soon as they depart she asserts her ownership of me as her person, snuffling in my hair, purring in my ear.
Perhaps Rosie and I will take a book--and a bowl of tapioca pudding--and see if it is cool enough to sit on the screened porch and watch hummingbirds come to the feeders.

{BTW: the rosemary plants appear to have appreciated extra watering and pruning.}


Thursday, June 13, 2024


The rains of April and May seemed almost incessant. Surely there were days when the sun returned for at least a few hours, but puddles lingered in the lane and the meadow path squelched beneath booted feet. 
At such times there is the joy of reading until I am cross-eyed, baking, preparing for my duties at church, family research, appreciating the companionship of my cats.

As inclement weather prevailed I tackled my fabric stash and finished three quilts;  having a visible accomplishment makes me feel that I have done something.
I have several drawers filled with neatly folded coordinated 'lines' of Moda fine quilting cottons. I have also moved from one house to another with bins and boxes of scraps and remnants too good to throw out. 

Jim's cousin, Gloria who excels at artistic machine quilting, challenged me to make a scrap quilt pattern referred to as a 'potato chip' quilt. The idea is that one cuts fabric remnants in 
2 1/2 inch strips, then chops the strips to make the 'patches' for what becomes a 12 inch block. The quilter is meant to pull these bits at random and stitch them together without much concern for color placement.
I am too OCD to be random! 
I cut center strips from two shades of rose, then sliced a variety of floral prints that had been around for longer than I like to recall. The pattern then took shape as a variation of 'Courthouse Steps'
I give names to my quilts and this one became 'Courtyard Gardens.'
It was machine quilted by a local woman who produces a repeating design of loops, working on a Singer industrial machine. It isn't the creative long-arm machine quilting that I've had access to in the past, but it is neat and sturdy. 

Border and binding.
The purist method of finishing a quilt binding is to apply the folded strip to the front of the quilt, turn it to the back and secure with small hand stitches.
I can do that and have done it on special quilts. As well as finishing a quilt it finishes me for several days of aching neck and shoulders!
I've watched online tutorials and tried a number of methods for machine binding. I wasn't happy with the corners on the above quilt although I managed to make them sturdy. 
I set my Janome 6600 for a 'pick stitch' which ran close to the folded edge of the binding. 
The quilt has been presented to a friend who needed a quilty hug.

Garden Plots and Paths
Although simple--12-patch blocks made with 3 inch finished squares, this was time consuming. I found a cache of squares cut--who knows when--for another project, rummaged out more bits and pieces. I think it took nearly as much time to sort, press and cut as it did for stitching. Again, I fussed over the colors and prints that made up each block. The 'paths' are made of a quiet marbled fabric used in a previous project. 

I am pleased with this machine-finished binding. The corners mitered neatly. I used a decorative stitch on the Janome.
Daughter Gina has delivered the quilt to its new owner--sister to the recipient of the first quilt. 
I think of these as 'every day' quilts, also as gifts of friendship.

Rosie is an apprentice quilt maker. She is enthralled with the process from sorting fabric, poking at rulers and rotary cutters [which I discourage] to sitting on the table alongside my Elna while I am piecing. 
Best of all in Rosie's mind is when the plump bundle of the quilt is ready for the binding--its a rather tedious task which involves stitching three times around the perimeter of the quilt--once as stay stitching [as the machine quilter doesn't baste the edges--some do that which is helpful.] The second stitching applies the binding to the quilt; the 3rd trip around is the finish, visible on the right side of the quilt. In spite of my new spectacles I tend to work with my nose in dangerous proximity to the needle.

Framed Pinwheels
I began piecing this one in March having found a pile of half/square triangles languishing in a box. I made more, using scraps of my favorite 'primitive' colors for both pinwheels and sashing. 
Although it has been back from the machine quilter for two weeks I have procrastinated about tackling the binding. It is king size. My 'scrap quilts' have a way of growing!

The long counter in my work space is still fairly uncluttered and I need to at least trim and stay stitch the edges of the quilt, although it likely won't be needed on a bed until October.

By the way: I found a bag of strips left from a 'Log Cabin' project--with Rosie's help they are becoming another quilt!


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

A Love of Flowers

I have [somewhere] a vintage black and white photo taken on my 4th birthday. I am sat on the front steps of Grampa Mac's house, legs clad in the long brown stockings my mother favored for everyday warmth, long-sleeved jerseys layered over a woolen skirt. Mid-March after all, is still cold in Vermont.
My gaze is fixed on a pot planted with crocus.
My Mother's notation records that I paid scant attention to my other gifts, being taken up with the pot of blooms.

Elm Row Farm, Grampa Mac's home, was one of the older properties in town, the original house built in 1794. The strip of garden beyond the seldom-used west door had likely been enjoyed and tended by several generations of farm wives. It was anchored at one end with an ancient apricot tree, at the other by a bush honeysuckle which sheltered a carpet of lily of the valley. Thriving on neglect in the narrow grassy strip were lemon lilies, pale lavender iris, red peonies and a tidy shrub rose with pale pink flowers. My Mother recalled the rose, 'The Fairy,' was acquired by her grandmother in return for boxtops cut from cereal cartons and sent off with a fee to cover postage. 
I spent long quiet hours in that shaded garden, singing to myself, lost in imagination.

During the years that Jim and I with our two children shared a big farmhouse with his parents I began to learn more about plants and gardens from his mother. Nana's preference for summer flowers once the blooming of lilacs and peonies were over leaned toward begonias and 'double-ruffled' petunias set about in tubs and large planters. Though never a fan of petunias I did learn from her the skills of starting seeds, transplanting and nurturing, caring for houseplants and garden perennials.

I've left gardens behind in the many places we've lived, only occasionally being able to dig up and carry away some special treasure.
I've learned its not always wise to inquire the fate of a left-behind garden plot.

Each new location brings challenges and rewards. Delphiniums that survived through below zero New England winters languish in the humid heat of Kentucky; hollyhocks planted here succumb to rust. Still, a butterfly bush will make it through most winters, wild daffodils throng roadsides and meadows in March, pansies and violas seed themselves and cheerfully bloom after a February snow. 

My aging bones now protest strongly at hands and knees gardening, but the foxgloves, pinks, coneflowers, and Michalemas daisies started from seed several years ago are happily thriving and spreading without too much intensive labor on my part. There will always be weeds, but thus far the flowers prevail.

In 2020 I bought seed for several varieties of foxglove listed as perennials. Not all proved hardy, but some have thrived, dropping seeds which produced dozens of new plants to be lifted and cosseted in my tiny greenhouse until ready to place in the garden.

Clematis Jackmanii in bloom on the trellis son-in-law Matt ordered made for me. 

Poppy, 'Lauren's Grape' has moved with me through several locations. 

Beautiful and ephemeral.

A lone poppy seeded itself into a large tub of nasturtiums. When the tub was moved to its winter location by a corner of the barn, seed heads shattered and blew across the open sliding door. A plantation of poppies is ready to bloom on the barn threshold and inside on the gravel floor.
Note Willis-the-cat peeking at the edge of the door.

David Austin rose 'The Poet's Wife' blooming in spite of being pummeled by torrential rains.

A small shrub rose, name-tag faded and eventually lost.

This rose was struggling where it had been planted too close to the foundation of our Amish farmhouse. It spent several seasons in the rough strip where it was hastily interred here in late autumn 2018. Last summer I moved it to the raised planting at the west of our current house, replacing David Austin 'Roald Dahl' which succumbed to the brutal freeze early in 2023.

There was no tag on the rose when I rescued it, although it resembles a shrub rose called 'Cameo.'

Nigella--'Love-in-a Mist'--once planted a garden will never be without it.

My family members know that container plants, gift certificates to my favorite garden nursey, flats of annuals from the local Amish auctions, will be gratefully received. Several tubs remain to be filled.

Clematis 'Edita' has overtaken her companion 'Samaritan Jo' on the wonky fence.

Flowers for Mother's Day and beyond. Hot-house bouquets, garden flowers, wildflowers--all bring joy that outlasts their days of bloom.

Rosie-cat shares my appreciation of flowers--although she must sometimes be reminded that a vase of blooms is not there for her to rearrange.