28 March 2010

autumn garden plan with plants

All right then. So, based on what I have already and with minimal purchases to be made, I’ve laid out a basic plan for what will go where. (I’m going to need a solid plan to prevent me from slipping into bad habits—“Here’s a plant; there's a spot: Perfect!”). I wonder whether this looks feasible or just like a big mess. If anyone is watching, I’d appreciate feedback.

I think I have a reasonable balance of vertical and rounded shapes, with more interest added in foliage color and shape. When autumn hits, I think the grasses in the back will provide a nice backdrop for the asters and sedums in front. Good old Stachys lanata will wend its way along the front with clumps of ‘Elijah’s Blue’ fescue poking up through.

So much to consider.

21 March 2010

hope in tangible form

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

from "Atalanta in Calydon" by A. C. Swinburne

I know we will have another cold spell and no doubt more snow before spring settles in for good, but what a sweet foretaste yesterday was.

Spent about an hour cleaning up the lilac grove, which was roughly pruned by our heavy snows this winter. Now I must cut up the branches I removed from the old lilacs. I'm saving that for next weekend.

Spent a half hour relocating the clods of earth scraped up by Gene's plow as he cleared the driveway through the winter. Rain and time will settle them back in.

Then spent about two hours (the reward!) bagging up old peony leaves (should have done this last fall, but . . . oh, well!) and cutting back the broomstraw that was miscanthus and aster and sedum and raking out old leaves from the garden. Labeled all the plants I could locate with the same kind of marker (zinc tags) so that I can see at a glance where everything is. All in preparation for the great migration that will occur as I dig the new bed and rethink where things belong.

Later in the afternoon B and I drove to Hudson Falls to our favorite nursery so we could drink in the smell of sun and earth in the greenhouses where the owner is starting snapdragons and marigolds and pansies. Seeing all of these little plants sending up their first leaves is, as B says, "Hope in tangible form."

Note to self: Pine tree we would love to see growing at Pleasant Hill (after seeing a mature specimen growing at the nursery): Pinus parviflora "Tempelhof"

03 March 2010

poem for wednesday

Pine Forest
by Gabriela Mistral

Let us go now into the forest.
Trees will pass by your face,
and I will stop and offer you to them,
but they cannot bend down.
The night watches over its creatures,
except for the pine trees that never change:
the old wounded springs that spring
blessed gum, eternal afternoons.
If they could, the trees would lift you
and carry you from valley to valley,
and you would pass from arm to arm,
a child running from father to father.

Bosque del pino

Ahora entremos el bosque.
Los árboles pasarán por su cara,
y les pararé y ofreceré,
pero no pueden doblarse abajo.
Los relojes de la noche sobre sus criaturas,
a excepción de los árboles del pino que nunca cambian:
los viejos resortes heridos que sueltan
bendijeron la goma, tardes eternas.
Si podrían, los árboles le levantarían
y le llevarían del valle al valle,
y usted pasaría del brazo al brazo,
niño que funciona de padre al padre.