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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

reaching upward
pruning shears in hand
I straddle the ladder
feet on the top rungs
head in the bare-branched treetop

my breath draws clouds
and the low golden sunlight
melts the dew into mist

I look up
as black rags fly past
congregate in the dark spruces
and caw bloody murder

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Misty MorningLate winter is my “difficult” season. Maybe it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder. Maybe it’s the combination of allergies and holiday letdown. This year, it’s also the ongoing can’t-look-away train wreck that is our electoral process. Either way, I’ve been depressed and unmotivated for the past couple of months.

Plus, as it’s March, I now have to deal with all sorts of passive-aggressive reminders—in ads, on billboards, and from the end-of-broadcast human-interest fluff pieces on the news—that, here in Seattle, I should be out there jogging, kayaking, hiking, biking, and tossing balls for the dog. It’s my civic duty, the expectation of a nation, that here in this region of stunning natural beauty I will be out, in it, enjoying every second of it that I possibly can.

Feh. (more…)

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Iris in RainI kneel in the dripping ivy. A trowel in one hand, my other is deep in the soil, searching for the dandelion’s root. The root twists and writhes beneath my fingers, wet and tough, unwilling.

The rain taps across my hat’s felted brim, caresses my steaming back with its cool touch. The spring day is cold, but my work keeps me warm.

The bite of woodsmoke reaches me. I lift my nose and scent the air. My breath comes out a mist.

I grimace as digits plunge farther down into the black loam. The earth envelopes my hand, its serenity infuses me, my worries leach away.

I am the root, now. I am the plant. I am the garden.

k

Pine Pollen

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Brandywine

Pink Brandywine Heirlooms

It’s official. This is the spideriest year in all of Seattle history.

On the way to the compost pile, I count anywhere from five to (last night’s high count) eight spider webs. The back stairs are a prime spot, always with a minimum of two webs between the banisters. Orb weavers dominate the gardens, stringing guy-wire silk that stretches up to fifteen feet. On garbage day, in between the time when the garbage trucks came and my neighbor came out to pull the can back into his garage, spiders had spun webs between the can and his mailbox. Their webs are in the trees, in the bushes, across the lawns, and in the window frames. They are everywhere.

And if I can help it, I leave all of them alone. They do good work. (more…)

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Gossamer WheelI am out on the deck when I find her, hanging by a thread of her own making.

She swings from a long silver strand attached to the eaves, the tender breeze pushing her left, then right. Eight legs outstretched, she is no bigger than a lentil bean, and the sunshine makes her body glow, bright with orange and yellow. Where are you going, I wonder, with ten feet of space between you and the ground?

Curious, I sit down, leaned on the railing, and watch. (more…)

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Mahonia after rain

Damage report:

It was hot and windy over the weekend, and one of the zucchini plants–the one with leaves the size of spinnakers–was partially uprooted.

This is a danger of container gardening: the low square footage of growing space. The zucchini (Black Beauty) is not a vining type, so it doesn’t spread so much; instead, it creates a massive dome of leaves and all the fruits come out of the base. Planting it to the leeward side, however, was a mistake, in that half of it was completely unsupported. The plant still seems fine (I estimate only 20-25% of the roots were disturbed/damaged), but note to self:

Situate large plants on the windward side of the box.

Progress report: (more…)

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Mahonia after rainWe’re six weeks into this experiment, and things are continuing well above expectations.

Due to our suddenly sunny summer, the plants are thriving. I’m astonished at how much water they take in, though. If I decide to take this large-scale and go in-ground instead of container, I think I’m definitely going to need some sort of drip irrigation system.

As it is, the larger plants are going through most of the 3-gallon reservoir every day. Soon (based on my neighbor’s results), they’re going to need watering morning and evening.

(more…)

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