Sunday, April 6, 2014

It's All About the Sun

Let's talk about the sun. We have had so much cold hard rain this winter and spring, the kind of relentless chilly monsoons that make you want to keep your head down, not lift it up like you do when you want to feel the sprinkles of a warm summer storm. The kind of rain we’ve been having is the kind that saturates the earth, making it dangerous, dangerous enough to come crashing down and bury people.  

I know we need the rain for our gardens, our land, our lives, but right now we need a break from the rain. We need the sun. 

And oh how we love the sun!  We are just like our gorgeous little sprouts, reaching towards, stretching for, basking in the sun.

When it’s late September I’ll probably be crying for some rain to drench my parched plants, but for now, for us on our tiny spec of land and, I suspect, for many of you out there, it’s really only about the sun right now.  Bring! It! On!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


A couple of weeks ago, I thought I picked my last roses for the year. It felt like we'd suddenly gone from summer to winter, skipping over fall completely, with the chilly pouring rain and cold nights. Part of me wanted to leave the last few blooms in the yard, uncut, to kid myself into thinking that the lovely heady scent they perfume my yard with wouldn't be gone just yet. My selfish side wanted to put them in a vase and have them inside with me to ward off the winter.  My selfish side won out.  

If there's one thing I'm selfish about in the garden it's my roses. Not selfish in the sense that I won't share them with anyone, just in the sense that I 'm the one who takes care of them, talks to them, adores them. I soak up their essence every day I can.

My rugosas and my very old English rose bush start blooming in late March or April and they bloom all summer long producing the most wonderful spicy, musky rose blooms. Their fragrance is what wakes my up in the spring after our cold, soggy winters. After I'm certain I just can't handle one more day of that wet chill. Picture yourself walking outside into the garden in the morning with a light rain or leftover dew settled on the plants, when the roses begin blooming, and oh the musky rose scent, it's intoxicating. It can stop me in my tracks. It's my antidepressant.

And I don't have to do much to these rose bushes; I fertilize them and deadhead them and prune a bit, but even when I completely neglect them, they grow and flower and make me happy.  Their scent surrounds my garden and  breathes life into my senses all summer long.  And so much of what gardening is for me is about scent.

I also have one Joseph's Coat Rose, which isn't the healthiest rose in my yard, but is hands down my favorite looking bloom. It begins as almost a dark reddish orange...

and as it opens up becomes more orangey-peachy-pink with hints of yellow.  

It's scent changes too from spicy to passion-fruity.

My dear friend, Ingrid gave me two roses to plant for my birthday this past February, a Touch of Class...

with a lovely spicy balsam scent, 

and a White Licorice Floribunda which smelled sweet and sugary, like vanilla.

I love the scent of roses in my garden, so unlike most store-bought roses, but this year I was surprised when the kids started to enjoy them too, how different each one smells, the way the bushes change and grow, how fast black spot can spread through a plant. Plus, all the rose bushes attract ladybugs, snails and weird looking aphids, and their thorns are amazing!  

One of my favorite things about the garden this year was watching Lily and Jasper decide how perfectly lovely it is to cut a few roses every day, put them in a vase, and set them at the dinner table to enjoy while we're drawing or eating family dinner.  

Our family dinners can be absolute disasters sometimes trying to get Jasper to eat what we make, but the ritual of sitting down together is one I hope he will grow to love, and I like to think this summer helped a little bit as he always looked forward to putting a vase of roses at each meal.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Watching Them Grow

Three seeds, two experiments, lots of growth. Way back in the middle of the summer, the kids and I planted yellow squash, marigold and bean seeds in egg shells and egg cartons. We also tried a bean experiment to see which way the bean sprouts would grow.  Both experiments were fun and after the sprouts started growing we planted them in the garden.  

After that we mostly just watched them grow,

and grow,

and grow.  

Of course we watered them and added compost once in a while, but there was a lot of just watching. Watching and being amazed at how beautiful they are,

how tall they got, 

how fast they grew from tiny to huge, 

how clever they are.

It reminds me of my kids, obviously I water them and feed them (hmmm, maybe Jasper would eat compost?) 

I try as hard as I can every day to nurture them and not get frustrated. I fail often. I hope for sunny days to soak up the warmth and rainy ones to splash in puddles, a good balance of both. But a lot of the time, I'm just watching. 

Watching them grow.

We sent Lily off to kindergarten this month and I'm amazed for all of these reasons.  

How fast she's growing, 

how beautiful she is, 

how clever, 

how fragile yet resilient, 

and how hard and amazing at the same time it is for me to just let her go (grow!)