Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Postcard From The Hedge

There have been years when the impatiens lived thru the winter.  This has not been one of them.

In January my garden was rimed with frost, just like those English gardens in the magazines.  Brilliant! I thought...until the frost crystals quit holding hands and the plants collapsed into slime.  All on a bed of sticky mud.

In February my garden looked like it had been hit by a blow torch, and I seriously considered taking up golf.  Or moving.  

But in March my garden started growing, unencumbered by last year's stalks and stems, and it has never looked better.  And if you know anything about gardeners, you know we always say "You should have been here last week - it was so much better" or "Pity you couldn't come next week when the X is blooming."

Not this year.  This year it's perfect.  The dogwood:
The roses:  Golden Celebration,
 Pat Austin,
 and the understated Sally Holmes.
The usual spring things are blooming.  Apple. 
fragrant Philadelphus.
Geranium and alyssum are dancing with a stone wall. 
And for you smug know-it-alls, this is what a true species geranium looks like.  Not that pelargonium thing the nurseries call geranium.  And that yellow?  That's Alyssum.  Saxatilis.  Not the white sweetly scented thing you call alyssum.  That's lobularia maritima.  Beautiful by any name.   (But do try to be less smug.  It makes the mea culpas so much easier.)

The vineyard is budding...
You can see a baby cluster of what will be grapes (and wine) just peeking out from under. 

The native iris, the one you can grow under oaks and not water all summer is covered in big flat platters of pale blue.  Some hybridizer got all crazy over these and the new colors are fabulous. Glad someone has the patience.  Not me. 
The  ivy geranium (if you've been paying attention, you're yelling "pelargonium!" and you are so right!) are climbing over the stone balls atop the pool wall.  Later they will spill down the wall, but the big freeze gave them an unanticipated haircut.  Needed but unanticipated. 
 And my favorite iris, Victoria Falls, lights up the garden.  It will re-bloom if you feed it well - I have cut this iris at Christmas.  Of course that was in a winter not as cold as the one just past.
Even the sculpture looks happy.  The Big Talk.  
It's a good day to be in our garden.  If we don't answer the doorbell,  come around.  We're in the back.  Talking.  And enjoying one perfect day in the garden.

More Life Skills

I asked my friend Maryam (who is very wise and irreverent) what life skills she thinks we all need.  She said "Plumbing! and Electrical!  Why don't they teach those in school?"

Good point.  Everyone in my family can patch drywall, wield a pipe wrench (and yes there is a right and a wrong way).   We can take apart a drain trap, pound a nail.  Straight.  Paint a room, complete with cutting in straight.  Re-wire a lamp, replace a light switch.

I grew up thinking everyone could.  Not so much.

I asked Maryam "What about being able to back down a bully?" and she immediately said "That is the most important of all."  

I agree.  I work on that most days.  Life gives me lots of opportunities.  Alas.

And one more - how to swim.  If you don't have this one when you need it,  you won't be needing all those other life skills.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Life Skills

There are a few things everyone should know how to do.  Open a bottle of champagne, for instance.  

So here's my list in no particular order:

Write a thank you note.

Plant a tree.

Change a tire.  It's a fact of life that tires rarely go flat where your cel phone works.

Hammer a nail. 

Roast a chicken.

Make a vinaigrette. 

Start a conversation.

Open that bottle of champagne.  

What's on your list?