An Alameda Garden: May 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Salvia chiapensis

I got this in a 4-inch pot last fall at one of the Merritt College plant sales. It's just been lazing around since then until it had a sudden growth spurt a few weeks ago. It's put out about five flower spikes since then and the color is really amazing--hot, hot, hot pink. The foliage (not shown in this picture; these leaves belong to the damn four o'clocks that I can't get rid of) is nice too--deep green and heavily veined.

I hope the hummingbirds enjoy this as much as I do.

Monday, May 28, 2007

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This poem by Canadian poet John McCrae was published in 1915, in the midst of World War I. Although it was originally used as a recruiting tool, in recent years it has often been interpreted as an anti-war statement.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Back to It

I'd like to report that the reason I haven't posted in so long is that I've been away touring the great gardens of Europe, but no such luck. There are two much less interesting reasons: too much steady work (nice for the bank account, bad for the brain), and a generally muddled state of mind. As a result both the garden and the blog have been neglected.

I've come to think of my garden as the Anti-Monet Garden. While Monet's paintings looked best viewed from a bit of distance, my garden is best viewed up close--really close. The sweet peas here, for example, look, well, sweet in this little vase on the windowsill. The vine they bloomed on, however, was scraggily and one of only two that grew from a whole row that I planted. Although the flowers were lovely, the overall effect was pitiful. I'm saving seed from it and I'm going to give sweet peas one more try next year. I fantasize about having a solid wall of sweet peas one of these springs, but in reality I'm just about to give up on them.

There are some other lovely blooms in the garden: clematis and canna, poppies and passion flowers. But the big picture ain't pretty. A couple of beds are looking far too sparse, another is overgrown, and the rose bed is getting choked with weeds. A lot could be put right if I had a full week to work in the garden, but that's not likely to come up soon. I hope to make some progress this long weekend, but until then, I'll just keep looking at things close up.

Even though I haven't posted recently, this blog, like the garden, seems to have a life of its own and I am continually surprised by the contacts I've made through the blog. In the last few weeks I've been interviewed about worm composting by a local reporter who saw my blog post on the subject; a reader named Michelle who found the blog e-mailed me to ask for information about oriental lillies; a friend told me that another friend of ours from high school who I seldom get to see had stumbled across the blog; and a business rep contacted me about placing some advertising that would actually make the blog marginally profitable (of course, we all know the money would go right back into the garden!). Although I started this blog primarily as an online garden journal for my own use, the comments and contacts that it's generated have been a big reason why I've kept going with it. So to all who visit (or keep visiting), thanks! I plan on getting back to a more regular posting schedule.
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