Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Man In The Garden

Sunday morning sunbeams slant through the green of the trees that line the ravine. As I watch, mug of half-caff in hand, the sun climbs above the barn roof, flooding the newly shorn meadow with light. 
My gaze lingers on the sprawl of pale peonies in the rough garden strip edging the drive, then continues up the lane.
Our neighbor has planted a garden, long and narrow, bordering the lane just before it curves to plunge past the pond and then up to the road.
There seems to be a tall man standing in the garden, his back to our house! 

I add more cream to my coffee, pour some for the cats clamoring at my feet.
I consider mentioning the man--who still stands unmoving. 
A snatch of conversation overheard yesterday, tugs at my sluggish morning mind--our son arriving with the announcement that neighbor J. P. and his household are constructing a scarecrow.

Our neighbor, J. P. is a good steward of his property. His barns are painted, gates and fences are straight, posts are topped with hand crafted bird houses; the double doors fronting his workshop are decorated with a collection of small signs, vintage license plates. hubcaps. Some of his displays leave no doubt as to his political allegiance!
He keeps the grass cut along the lane, rearranges the gravel displaced by a hard rain. 

Driving in from errands later in the day we had a better view of the man in the garden.
I was intrigued enough to walk back with my camera the better to appreciate the finer details.

The 'scarecrow' has been cleverly fashioned as a homespun replica of its maker, down to the rusty beard, battered hat and work-worn jeans.
Note the wooden hand clutching a drink can, the package of 'smokes' tucked into the pocket of the faded denim shirt.

Its taking a few days to become accustomed to the 'man in the garden.' 
We hope the summer sun and rain will beat gently on this fine example of primitive folk art. 
I expect we'll soon take his presence for granted and miss him when he seeks cover for the winter months.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Cats and Clematis

I loaded these photos Wednesday evening thinking I would include an essay.
My photo program is particularly balky lately, the photos seeming to land in odd files and taking an annoying amount of time to locate and sort.
So, few words, but hoping you'll enjoy our felines and the flowers.

Robert, 'speaking' to me from the west retaining wall.

Edward [who is spending more time outside as he has taken to stalking Clancy when in the house.]

Willis can be counted on to appear with offers of assistance for any outdoor task.

'No, I don't want to smile for the camera!'


A gathering of cats waiting to offer companionship.
Edward, Shelby, Willis, Nellie.

Duchess of Edinburgh.


Samaritan Jo has managed to twine around the Duchess.  I didn't intend that to happen, but too late to unravel the vines.

Newly planted Jackmani.

Duchess of Edinburgh--very bouffant blooms.

Edita. [Chosen in memory of my late friend, Edie Robie]

Samaritan Jo.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Green Darkness

We were up early on Tuesday morning. Thunder had been rumbling since around 4 a.m. rain fell in windy gusts. The cats fidgeted, shafts of lightning bored through the bedroom curtains. Sleep was impossible.
Inside the rooms felt dim even with lights on; outside the sky was dark, the landscape had a brooding aura--dripping trees along the lane and at the edges of the ravines seemed to have moved closer to the house. The last blossoms of the dogwoods lay plastered on wet grass.

Between bursts of rain I ventured outside. It was a wellies kind of day. The cats followed me out, stepping daintily through the sodden grass, returning to the porch to shake wet paws with distaste.

The first foxgloves to blossom. 

Lady's Mantle [alchemilla] the only two plants from last season's sowing. 
Weeds abound in all my plantings, a frustration, as I'm restricted from hands and knees gardening.
Gardens weeded and mulched in late October produced flourishing mats of ground cover undesirables, dandelions have seeded themselves, buttercup invades in tough-rooted mats.

Centranthus ruber, a sturdy clump from seed two years ago, with a colony of new starts surrounding it.

Blackberry lilies, seed saved from lilies planted in 2020, seed purchased from Select Seeds.
I am fascinated by these. I had seed grown plants to set out by mid-summer. The lilies are small, attractive, but not commanding in the way of daylilies. The ripe seed pods resemble a large blackberry. To date, 17 of my collected seeds have germinated; I am hopeful there will be garden space for them when they are ready to move to permanent quarters.

The pale yellow iris were removed from an over-grown planting along a stone wall that needed to be demolished at Howard and Dawn's homestead.  I found the purple iris growing near a power pole at the western end of our property near the site of the burned house.  I had a stunning collection of iris at the Amish farm, but wasn't able to move them. These yellow ones are rather insignificant on their own, but interspersed with darker varieties would provide contrast. I have a bucketful of them sitting in the greenhouse waiting to be interred in some likely spot.

Strawberry crops are ripening locally in spite of several wet mostly dark days. The hay in the east meadow wants cutting. In the garden Jim's planting of beets has emerged, the tomato plants have settled in and should have their first blast of blight deterrent--as soon as there is dry weather. 

I have worked in the greenhouse in cautious increments of time, transplanting the tiny seedlings meant to be the nucleus of a wildflower garden. Another project on hold until I can convince J. that a raised bed alongside the front door brick landing would be a positive enhancement.
Oh! the things I would do--if I could do!