Day before yesterday was downright hot and the air quality throughout the county was afloat with many kinds of pollen. I chose not to participate beyond a few cursory inspection tours of the garden beds closest to the house. I'm thus declaring yesterday to be our first true day of Spring's greener beckoning magical phase. Was in and out any number of times - listening to the landscape and allowing myself to be mesmerized by various specific plants and trees. Last night there was a powerful micro-burst of rain and LOUDLY howling wind laced with a great deal thunder and lightning. Many windows were open at the time and I had to rush to shut them. J had fallen asleep upstairs and woke to hear the howling wind and rain that sounded like birdshot being fired through every portion of the sky. He can sleep through a lot but not a wind like that. He closed up our bedroom and met me in the doorway of the third bedroom/family lounge. It was a northern wind and the rain had pelted into the room sideways for the ten minutes or so I was rushing around shutting up the downstairs. I thought he'd be virgo-dismayed by the wet woodwork, rug, and chair but he only grinned and said isn't it wild?
Although I chose the evolving sanctuary garden for the lede image - it's not the way my Outside day began. I went out the front door "just for a couple of minutes" and beelined down the sloping lawn to the yellow toad lily. Cleaned her off and took a better picture for jude to find when she ventures by. I was lavishly admiring as I worked,. Seemed to receive confirmation of my hunch the plant would like to be divided in the fall.
Walked back to the house but then suddenly turned right and headed around it to discover the solomon seal buds have begun to open. Made note of where I want to continue consolidating the forsythia with more incisive pruning.
Also checked on the Japanese Spikenard we put in last year. It was one of those plants that just pulled on me like a tractor beam when we first got out of the car at our favorite nursery out in Amherst. Once I'd made my wandering way to the source of strong beckoning energy I picked up the pot and hugged it close. J kept asking if I wanted him to carry it but I just kept hugging and saying I was fine. When we got home I set the pot right where it seemed destined to live.
The location is a little too sunny for it to keep its leaf color. I thought about moving it - mentioned the possibility to the plant and then about a week later I approached with the intention of reading the signs of its response. The roots were FIRM and unyielding. I'm staying. I live here now. And so I promised it improved conditions. Consulted J. a few days back and in response he cut some leftover lattice to the size of the porch length behind the plant. Today he's giving the swiftly actualized shade-aid a few coats of paint to match similar lattice at the bottom of the porch. The shade-aid can be added or subtracted at any time of day. Some experimenting will be involved but I'm grateful he had a much simpler solution than something I haphazardly described based on the construction of a telescoping shelf in the refrigerator.
This jack-in-the-pulpit is growing out of the enormous rock I introduced here. Jude said the sense of Spring holds and even depends on the memory of winter. I thought that was both an eloquent and elegant way of expressing my own sense of time, life, and this particular day's feeling tone. Note off to the left a stray glimpse of carrion vine growing there on the rock. It's been eradicated. Took this picture on my second walk outside and removed the vine on my fourth. It's been that sort of day - in and out and in and then back out again. J's commencing to cut the grass so I thought I'd sit still and create this virtual walk.
Canadian anemone abound at the edges of woods and on the 'far' stream bank. The colonies sprinkled at the edges of paths and here and there in the woods spark joy for me - this is another friend since childhood. The little cluster is nestled between roots of the maple that gave flowers to an essence bowl earlier this year.
This is the first garden you'd meet on the other side of the hemlock-lined path at the western edge of the field. It used to be two distinct beds but over time they've become joined by colonies of milkweed and goldenrod. Am introducing it because I've decided to document my reclamation of the bed. It officially began today but for now I most want to share this:
A self-seeded tableau of green magic making under the gooseberry bush. a Sweet Rocket plant seeded directly in its center and she is attended by several self-sown yellow foxgloves. They are stalwart and certain of their Place here. They haven't exactly rebuked my relocation plans but have made clear their intention to stay as they are. And so I looked for ways to make their habitat more welcoming and attractive. Today I began weeding in this spot for the first time in four or five years. It's a space I love and always mean to [at]tend to but there are always only so many hours in a day. The somewhat smaller originally square bed was planted with a single-stemmed plantlet from the gooseberry bush I'd been obliged to leave behind. It was otherwise planted with A. archangelica and Angelica purpurea as well as a modest colony of yellow foxgloves - all from the old place. Spearmint and orange mint hitched a ride of their own accord. At this point the two mints are one of the bed's main acts from high summer onward Somehow the space itself has co-created sequential ways to share nourishment and space.
This is a close view of the area I hope to have re-cultivated by late October. Will save tales of what's there and what kind of approach the various green ones have suggested to me during this morning's time there. Got a bit lost squatting close for long moments of communion and consideration. At one point this space was packed with plants from the old place. During the latter half of our third summer here Graves Disease re-upped itself and the garden spaces throughout the property began to self-regulate. I dreamed of it often and really never doubted it was happening but that truth lives side by side with my ongoing frustration to remain largely uninvolved due to how sick I was for the better part of three years.
Throughout this time there was a simple picnic table bench at the edge of these two garden spaces. I sat there frequently with Celeste sitting under or directly beside the bench. A modest colony of milkweed stalks had appeared just before i got sick. I encouraged them to stay and establish themselves. fast-forwarding to now - the former path was eventually obliterated by drifting milkweed and an ef-ton of golden rod. Today I began weeding-out the goldenrod runners as gently as possible. My extra care was rewarded.
The season's first milkweed scout was carefully re-covered with a loosely packed blanket of dried plant matter. Am going to be fairly merciless with the golden rod in this area because I want to recolonize with more yellow foxgloves at the edges of the milkweed colony. Will be saving seedheads - saving some for starting on the deck next year with intent to introduce them within the side-pocket spaces. If there's plenty I'll also plant seed in the evolving sanctuary. The bench is long gone but I'm going to start bringing my camp chair so I can once again sit in this spot. It's a good place for day dreaming. Here's a quick peek at the main bed. J and I have a two week timeline for getting the garden fence installed.
In the background is a glimpse of J's completed roto-tilling endeavor. He's juggling a lot right now but seems to be having an experience similar to my own in that stuff's getting done somehow. Our ongoing byword seems to be: essential. What does that mean to us? To me, or him, or our son? What is essential for this new phase of life and any given day within it? How do we show up for ourselves and each other so that our essential priorities are both nurtured and met?
Thistle emissaries are always welcome in my gardens. I need to pitchfork and re-claim another strip across that's roughly the same width as the mulched portion. It needs to be done very carefully as per dreams over the last month. Along similar lines I can see that seed sowing of various kinds will be an ongoing effort for the next few weeks. Day before yesterday I found balance and returned focus by fully organizing my seed packets in a small gathering basket. I keep shuffling through them like tarot cards. Have in the past often slept with bundled seeds tucked into my pillow case but I'm not sure I could handle the depth and specificity that might arise. Have explained this while wandering and weeding in the main bed.
I did a bit of weeding here in an expanding Queen of the Meadow colony. As it's been expanding drifts of red clover have self-sown in a marvelous inter-planting. Today The Queen's emerging stalks buzzed at me repeatedly. You are asserting yourself. We welcome you as one.
Soon now the entire garlic bed will be bristling with green shoots.