22 November 2016

header photo

Even though it's now almost winter on the hill, and there is snow covering the bare branches of the lilacs, I am going to leave the header photo as is for the foreseeable future. Lilacs were B's favorite flower.

I say "were" because Bill died on August 30th of complications from prostate cancer. 55 years old, too, too young, my dear sweetheart. He was diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic prostate cancer right after his 52nd birthday in 2013. He endured antihormone therapy, multiple hospitalizations, reversible kidney failure, double nephrostomy tubes when the cancer invaded his bladder, seven months of chemotherapy, and then a very fast, very painful decline over the last month he was alive. When he died on August 30th at home with me right beside him, I was almost relieved, because his pain and the indignity of his disease were finally over. But my pain has really only begun. I miss him so much.

Lilacs were Bill's favorite flower. We bought lilac bushes for birthdays and anniversaries even as we sought to rehabilitate the lilacs already on the property here. He considered them his flower. I consider them our flower, too.

I am going to try to begin to post more to this blog that I've neglected for so long. I think writing about our garden, and now writing about Bill, too, will be healing for me at some point. At this juncture, almost three months from his death, I am almost overwhelmed with grief. This, apparently, is normal in the grieving process. I think I was operating on adrenaline for the first 8 weeks, and almost convinced myself that maybe Bill was away on a short vacation, but would return soon.

With Thanksgiving looming (our favorite holiday) and Christmas right on top of it, I realize that he will not be back. Funny, isn't it, that it has taken this long for this hard fact to sink in.

More later, but for the time being, here's a photo of my sweet William, taken by me when we were out to dinner at a little inn in Vermont on his 50th birthday. What a handsome man he was. The poem is one I learned only about a week before he died. I read it to him a few times over that last week. He loved it as much as I do.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

05 May 2016

dahlias some planted

Nothing like putting a few tubers into some dirt to engender hope for lengthening, warming days. Planted on the last day of April and the fifth of May:

Saturday, April 30 (from Frey's Dahlias in Oregon)
  • Chee
  • Kaiser Wilhelm
  • Luttwichen
  • White Fawn
Wednesday, May 5 (from Old House Gardens in Michigan)
  • Bishop of Llandaff
  • Gerrie Hoek
  • Old Gold
  • Prince Noir
Next up (tomorrow?) are the dahlias stored in boxes of peat moss in the basement. Ahh.

29 May 2014

iris chrysographes fail

Joe adding insult to injury.
Sad rotten little Iris chrysographes, who sits in his pot of free-draining soil.

The rhizome looked a little sketchy to me when it arrived from White Flower Farm last week, and I saw no evidence of growth, but I potted it up and set it out on the fire escape anyway.

This week there is nothing happening still, so I wrote a note to the nice folks in customer service, had a response within the day from Diane, and have been promised a replacement.

We just want these things to work.

01 November 2013

On Callaway Road

Callaway Road (about a mile north of Pleasant Hill) is beautiful all year round. It's a dirt road through farm fields bordered by sumac in the foreground with the Adirondacks to the west and the Green Mountains of Vermont to the east. But it's especially lovely once the sumac has fruited and the leaves have turned.

The view from Callaway Road, October 2013.

Abutilon theophrasti or velvetweed

A few years ago, B and I paid good money for a load of compost delivered by a local farmer. He dumped it at the top of the driveway, and we spent the next few months spreading it over all the gardens. As the summer progressed I saw all sorts of plants I'd never seen before. The compost was full of uncooked seeds, and we ended up pulling luscious, gigantic weeds by the thousands over the next two summers.

One of the new weeds took a liking to the bed down by the road. I let it go to seed a few times, the first time out of laziness, the second because I thought the seedpods were beautiful. I called it witchweed until I did a little research and determined it's Abutilon theophrasti. Kind of a nondescript plant when it's green and flowering (although the leaves really do feel velvety), but once the flowers go and the seeds develop: Wow.

Dehiscent velvetweed.