In appreciation of spring – poets and portals

The beginning of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land,” opens with “April is the cruellest month…”

Truly, I couldn’t agree more with this assessment.

Here in Ontario, we’ve sampled just about the worst role of every season during this one month alone. April’s weather forecasts were not on their best behaviour, offering only a few days taste of the tantalizing weather yet to come.

In my neck of the woods, the temps dropped overnight and it actually snowed. Thankfully a light dusting was all we received and most has now dissipated.

In any case, most poems about spring are uplifting,  giving us hope for rejuvenation and renewal in our own lives and our gardens. These written words are like doors opening to better times ahead… an optimistic tête-à-tête, or a literary sightseeing adventure, taking us from death towards the newness and rebirth of spring.

These portals are waiting to be cracked opened by the reader. It seems that doors and books have much in common! One may encounter something entirely more pleasant on the other side if the door handle is turned or the cover flipped.

With that in mind, I stumbled upon (a snippet of) a poem like that only this morning while perusing Pinterest.

Intrigued, I tracked down the rest, enjoying the lovely imagery offered, that in my mind sum up the best parts of spring!


“April Weather” by Lizette Woodworth Reese 

From – A Handful of Lavender (1891)

Oh, hush, my heart, and take thine ease,

For here is April weather!

The daffodils beneath the trees

Are all a-row together.

 

The thrush is back with his old note;

The scarlet tulip is blowing;

And white – ay, white as my love’s throat –

The dogwood boughs are growing.

 

The lilac bush is sweet again;

Down every wind that passes,

Fly flakes from hedgerow and from lane;

The bees are in the grasses.

 

A Grief goes out, and Joy comes in,

And Care us but a feather;

And every lad his love can win,

For here is April weather.


Links with further reading and information about the author:

 

 

Celebrating Earth Day while waiting for Spring

Earth Day, until this year, always leads me outside to celebrate a day close to my heart. I celebrate this important day in this little section of our lovely planet that I call my garden.

Every year I look forward to the clean dirt under my fingernails, the chance to snap photos of any life emerging beneath my feet, the sight of scent of flowers and buds, and the chance to tidy up of winter’s litter.

That activity includes ridding the garden of fallen branches, along with my yearly, somewhat meditative activity of flipping those Vole trails, (which look like miniature WW1 trenches), in the lawn back in to place with my feet.

Not so this year. To be in the garden right now means tromping through snow!

This is not my idea of fun, or my idea of any spring for that matter. (Even my cat Luna doesn’t want to go outside. Great minds think alike!)

The snowy photo here was taken just last weekend. As any of you fellow gardeners can likely relate, I was not a happy camper. 😉

Spring just isn’t willing to fully embrace me here in middle Ontario yet, and Mother Nature has not eliminated the snow in my garden.

My response? I’ve turned the other cheek, discarded all expectations of when my favourite season will actually arrive, took the bull by the horns, (along with a few dollars), and bought myself a lovely potted Primula, or as I like to call it, that little bit of spring to enjoy in the kitchen until I’m sure this winter is truly done.

Having said that, the day is holding some promise!

Currently, the sun is shining which in turn means the snow is melting. Things are looking up, pardon the pun. The temperature is actually above zero.. smiles all around!

On second thought, I’m going out and tromp around in the snow after all.

Enjoy and take care of your spot on our planet.

Happy Earth Day!

Flowering Friday for Fall.. the last hurrah of this year’s blooms

perennial mums

Sharing a smattering of perennials still clinging to life in our October garden.

With the frost coming soon, and with winter’s impending arrival, the garden will soon be put to bed, the last of the leaves will be raked, (oak trees shed leaves a little later), so the time has come to look back at all that was accomplished this year, and to anticipate & plan new projects for next spring.

In the meantime, I’ve harvested many seeds, (still yet to be packed and labelled), steeped rosehips, lavender, and arnica flowers, (among others) in oils for our botanical apothecary products, and have collected an assortment of herbs for our small batch vinegar & spice rubs. A busy time of year for everyone! Gathering for the winter is what fall is all about. Now it’s time to offer gratitude, and just enjoy the garden for what it offered me this past year

~ Happy gardening!

 

Hardy phlox

Lovely light purple asters

A very late blooming Sweet William

The last bee I’ll likely see this year, on the sedum

 

 

Hydrangea, both white and pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chelone lyonii, Pink turtle head – A lovely native species offering autumn blooms

The beautiful Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ also goes by the common name of pink turtlehead. It blooms from July straight through to October, so it’s a terrific addition to any garden.

Chelone comes from the Greek word meaning tortoise because each blossom obviously resembles, without too much imagination, a turtle’s head.

A great perennial for late summer colour that doesn’t much like excessive heat, it will tolerate full sun if its feet are kept cool. The flowers are primarily pollinated by bees, but the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will often visit them as well. The foliage of this plant is known to be bitter so it’s avoided by Deer and other herbivores. In my own experience the deer have yet to touch the Chelone, so this species is something to cheer about by any rural gardener!

Lucky to have this plant in my garden due to a lovely share from another local gardener, in the six or so years since it’s established, the plant has multiplied from one single flowering stem into more than a dozen. With its strong stems, the clump doesn’t flop over after a rainstorm.

It’s worth noting that there’s a white flowering species called Chelone glabra that I’d like to get my hands on! A host plant for the endangered Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, and like their pink cousin they too will thrive in damp locations and shady glades.

It’s my hope to collect many seeds this year. I’ll be able to offer them online at my Etsy shop. The pollinators did their jobs well, seed heads are forming, and with a little luck the mild weather we’re currently experiencing means they’ll ripen before the first hard frost. Then I can get my hands on some! Culture/Info:

  • Foliage: Herbaceous smooth-textured.
  • Requires consistently moist soil.
  • Propagation Methods: By dividing the root-ball or from seed.
  • Direct sow outdoors in fall or early spring.
  • Stratify seeds if sowing indoors.
  • Seed Collecting: Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds.
  • Non-patented native perennial
  • Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Thanks for visiting. Happy Autumn! : )

What’s growing in the July garden on a WordlessWednesday