around the garden

Click on any photo to bigify.

honeysuckle and friends

A few brilliant and scented flowers for my storm-battered buddies.  Any kind of storm qualifies. More

four springtimes for my lilac to recover

When we bought our house in April 2008 (OK, rented it from the bank), the front yard was tidy:

front grass yard 2008

front yard grass 2008

In February 2010, I was made redundant and went to town on the front yard, working fast and hard for several months because I knew I’d be back to work in no time (that didn’t happen):

after the sod cutter:  bye-bye grass!

after the sod cutter: bye-bye grass!

Near the front wheel of that purple bicycle is the scraggly lilac that had languished in a pot for years.  The roots were terribly pot-bound.  <:-{

Note in the picture above that Big Mister had already built the pergola for me, seen here (in a blast from the past digression) using the manly-man machine:

Big Mister and the Augur

Big Mister and the Augur

monster machine

monster machine

We now return from our digression.

In the chill of March 2010, I started transplanting from my root-bound pots right away, after hauling cubic yards of soil all round that 900 square feet:

first year garden

first year garden

first year coming along

first year coming along: the scraggly, transplant-shocked lilac is vaguely under the purple bicycle. (That window to the right of the red-flowering shrub became the viewing spot from my recuperation room.)

Ah, the garden grows in a bit:

second year garden (?)

second year (?) garden, with bowling balls atop rebar as hose guides.

[I’d already painted the (unlovely) front door orangey-red, too, which helped!]

Standing on a ladder at the front sidewalk:

front yard "aerial" view

front yard “aerial” view

The lilac still was unhappy last year:

turns out, the lilac does hate me!  it only has ONE blossom!

it only had ONE blossom!

I had a plan when I planted the lilac at the top of the garden:  I wanted that fragrant, shade-providing view to be near the front door so that my steps would be slowed by the scent and the sight.

The lilac and I have a lot in common.  Once we have room to breathe, leave us to get ourselves untangled and we start to blossom.

This spring, right now:

lilac near the front step

lilac near the front step

lilac anchors its bed 2013

lilac anchors its bed 2013

lilac blossoms once again!

lilac blossoms once again!

[there’s the front door orangey-red (poppy!) with a great glass-fronted storm door.]

poppy heads

Jude of Jude’s Photography over in the Dordogne in southwest France (“surrounded by beauty in the form of wildlife, rivers, medieval villages and châteaus”), recently posted a photo of Oriental poppies.  Gorgeous!

I love the color!  Orangey-red.  Yum.  Here’s a poppy just opening from last year in my garden:

poppy hat

poppy hat

Here is the state of my poppies right now, a sunny day in mid-April:

poppy fronds

poppy fronds

early spring poppy head

early spring poppy head

poppy head

poppy head

 

Press This: gardenhistorygirl: Words with a Garden History: Favela

It’s a short bit about words and gardens.  What’s a better combination?!  And we get to learn about Brazil!

gardenhistorygirl: Words with a Garden History: Favela.

She says:  “What is your favorite word with an unexpected or forgotten garden meaning?  Mine is vignette, which means something short enough to be written on a vine leaf.”

Writing from the Edge: The Goddess of Plenty

Writing from the Edge: The Goddess of Plenty.

I love this blog.  Just do.

Here is how Lorely, an evocative writer from the Wild West Coast of Ireland, captures this particular blog post:

I looked around my own small patch of earth, my generous share of the goddess of plenty’s gifts, with all its plants – flowers – beauty – healing and power.

It is all given to us, I thought, in infinite variety – to see, to hold, to use, to pleasure our senses, to heal our bodies, to quiet our minds, and – as is the way with the earth – everything links into everything else, but it is up to us how we use it, how we see those connections.

So – I pondered – let’s do it – let’s look at the bounty around us, admire it, celebrate it, share it and spread it around.

(She is celebrating her one-year blog anniversary by giving away something very special.)

For her, I add a photo of the twisted willow in my yard, Salix tortuosa.

the healing willow tree

This lady leads a rich life–she shares about gardens, dogs, Napoleon, cats, skinny dipping (!)….  wait–here’s a screen shot of her tags/categories!

Go on.  Off with you.  Go visit and stay awhile.

absence

Ah, there I am.  I’ve been walking around in a verbal fog for the last month.  My writing voice has been stilled.  My poor old beaten up brain can only do one big thing at a time, apparently.  I will assume that once my verbal re-wiring is complete (enough), my writing will return.

I miss my community here, but there is so very little to do about that.  More waiting.  6-1/2 months post hospital.  I could not imagine that life would be this strange and that it would continue un-know-ably.  That is to say, the re-wiring of so many facets of me continues to take me by surprise, except for expecting the surprises.

The good news:  I’m improving.  I’ve been working with a physical therapist who understands brain trauma and that even in minimal brain trauma, the most mundane and “I learned that when I learned to walk as a toddler” tasks can be affected.  Hence the difficulty and resulting exhaustion of taking a walk on a familiar cobbled beach.

Now I understand why JustI of JustUsSociety posted that video back in April about the brain researcher, Jill Bolte-Taylor, who watched herself suffer a catastrophic stroke.  At the time, I didn’t get the significance.   So many commenters here seemed to understand that I had suffered brain trauma; I depended on your feedback because I didn’t know, being stashed behind that benign fog, but I listened.

I’m having trouble forming memories and when I try to search for a previous moment, the effort is often too great, too tiring.  Sometimes I confuse memory with dreaming.  It does make me realize how inconsequential most memories are as single moments, but how as a whole those memories give breadth to a life.

I have since discovered a US Veterans Administration PTSD website that discusses minimum brain trauma (they call it minimum traumatic brain injury or mTBI) and its logical relationship to PTSD.  I have been fascinated, and relieved, by the neuropsychiatry discussed (this link takes a bit to load because it is a Flash file).  The PTSD symptoms are still very much with me and force me to keep a low profile.  But I’m stubborn so I keep trying, keep pushing my boundaries.

I’m also in the mosaics studio most days for a couple of hours.  Creativity is still blunted, but I am able to better “see” the patterns and line expressions in the works I copy.  Very good news indeed.

I do have moments of rage against the medical machine, sending me home without a hint of what the next year could hold.  How could you leave me twisting in the wind?   You left my family twisting in the wind, too.  Ripple effect.

This writing has been very difficult–I am having trouble recognizing grammatical structure and misspelling so often that the delete key has a divot in it now, plus I’m typing words backwards and even typing words I don’t intend to type. (!!)  (Hope this essay is readable because I can’t edit it for sh*t!)  The effort required is reminiscent of the attempts to make conversation or the effort required to compose a post in those early days.

I will close with pics of my garden so we all can relax now.

globe thistles covered in bees!

Oriental lilies

crocosmia and honeysuckle backed by lily

shade inside the pergola

The backyard pergola quickly became an outdoor room that I could adorn however I wanted!  All I required was an entrance, scented plants, and interesting shade possibilities.  Herewith:

entry into pergola–the entry is to the left side of the picture. there’s my jasmine right smack in front and just beginning to bloom!

jasmine! (it’s fuzzy, but I’m too lazy to go back outside)

Shade, how to cast shade?  I had a shade sail over it last year, but my goal was to have a flora-ific effect that would cast shade.  I got a Chinese wisteria this year and hope it will spread!  For now, here are baskets o’ fuchsias.

shade inside the pergola cast by baskets and fuchsias

Closer to the fuchsias:

wasn’t sure the fuchsias would get enough shade, but they seem to be very happy!

shade-loving fuchsia overhead seems to be working!

I even hung up a kite!

casting shade inside the pergola

 

sail ho! here comes the sun!

We got the shade sails up just in time for mid-80s temps (about 27C).  Big Mister is the ladder guy and could thoroughly do without these dang things, but he helps me anyway.  The shade sail is made by Coolaroo and I recommend them highly!

shade sail and hops keep the west side cooler

On the south side, we have a pergola that is filling beautifully with more shade-providing hops!

pergola with hops on south side. purple campanula going nuts!

And here come the prickly globe thistles, rising above the bed of non-prickly foliage and flowers!

Globe thistles coming on (Echinops exalatus)–will be blue!
The pink is scented phlox and the purple is campanula.

spring flowers

Not up for working in the garden, so sat under the pergola and read, but was quickly distracted by the garden coming to life around me.   Herewith a few pics:

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