Thursday, May 29, 2008

I finally found a valerian plant and a packet of Lemon Gem marigolds. We have enough tomato plants already, having grown them from seed since February (probably 25 plants comprising over 15 varieties) but I couldn't resist buying one anyway since I've never seen or heard of it before: Brown Berry. Doesn't that sound perfectly awful? It's supposed to be small fruited, very sweet, and...brown. I saw a corylus contorta, which I'd wanted, but passed on it, I couldn't justify it at $40, especially with no place to put it.

Also we went to an arboretum today with the baby. I've already deduced that he isn't all that crazy about flowers. He did like the arboretum though; was amused by pocket gophers running around and seemed to like the various trees, even the flowering ones. There were several very large trees with branches touching or almost touching the ground. When I was a kid, trees like that we common. Now it's an experience for the poor kid to be awed and enthralled by as most of them have been logged. I also got to see my friend, the stewartia pseudocamellia and the lovely ginkgos. There are no other stewartias in the park so that tree will probably never make seed- they aren't very common.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spring...sweet spring

We've been out and about a lot looking at plant life (stores, woods, other people's gardens, etc). The fritillaries are really drawing me in this year. We saw, oh...must have been about a hundred of them...Frittilaria pudica on a sunny, rocky hillside near HWY 2, F melagris here in our own garden (e also have F. Persica, but it isn't in bloom this year, and possibly F raddeana if it lived, which I doubt), F. Imperialis and F. michailovskyi (I think) at the Healing Garden in Sandpoint. These are really enchanting little plants. I am thinking I'd like to have a small bed specifically for fritillaries and to try to collect as many as we can find. Since they only bloom in spring, I suppose we'd ether have to plant other bulbs or perennials, or perhaps a loose groundcover such as Vinca that they could push up through easily. Some that I haven't seen in person yet include F. pallidiflora, uva vulpis, acmopetala,and F verticillata (which strike me as especially interesting because it is a climbing fritillary with curling tendrils! How cool is that?)

Looking at other people's gardens on a regular basis (i.e., while driving or walking by) is useful because it gives one food for thought, a chance to see what you do and don't like. It is much better to observe results in someone else's yard if you can, than to unwittingly create another catastrophe or what I would call a "white bread" garden. I've decided I don't like the following :
  • Single plant width rows of any bulb, especially tulips
  • Plants massed right at the edge of the property in a meager little 12" wide bed.
  • Anything planted in single width rows, with the exception of espaliered fruit trees and trees planted as an allee`. Smaller things just look pathetic and pitiful in sparse, skimpy rows. Lilacs might work though, because they're full and billowing.
  • Roses spaced exactly so apart, more so if it is also a grid. If they're all the same height (24" -36") it becomes even more disgusting. Group them! Plant other things with them!
  • Most hanging baskets dripping with petunias. I sometimes do see one that I like. Red, white and blue color scheme hanging baskets are particularly nasty.
  • Prostrate or low growing evergreens planted at the edge of a lawn or corner, all by themselves, or right next to a building. They look shitty by themselves. They need the contrast of another shape nearby to give them character. This could be a columnar evergreen, a boulder, or another shrub or tree carefully selected. If they just perch there like that, all alone, they look like old scruffy doormats..even worse if some careless person has whacked them with the lawnmower or if grass has grown up through it.
  • Concrete landscaping blocks, statues, etc...except when such has been aged with mosses, weathering, etc. Colored concrete is, IMO, as trashy as you can get without succumbing to baling twine or old tires or plastic lawn ornaments.

Plants I am stilling looking for:
  • valerian
  • Lemon Gem type marigolds- the edible signet marigolds.
  • Corkscrew Corylus
  • Species clematis
  • comfrey (yes, comfrey)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back again.

Ok folks. I've opened it back up again now that the custody case has been resolved (for the time being, anyway). As you can see, I haven't been terribly busy here in the interim; along with the court case, there was a college class, all sorts of medical appointments for six kids, 40 hours of work a week, a little bit of gardening, and more assorted obligations and tasks than I want to think about right now.

However, my next class is Psychology 101 (I think) which should be fairly easy, so things should pick up here in a week or so....assuming I don't get caught up in a last minute planting frenzy (food's getting more expensive all the time). I've gotten to appreciate algebra somewhat, but it just hasn't been my favorite subject.....

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I think you might be surprised, dear reader, to learn that I'm now friendly to the woman I was so annoyed by at the library. She's actually become one of my favorite customers. I'm like that a lot. I frequently develop hasty, poorly thought out aversions to people for petty reasons, and then recant at a later date. It makes me ashamed of myself at times.

What else?

We've planted all the large trees- apples (which will be espaliered here as well, no room for them otherwise), cherry, magnolia stellata, Japanese maple, chokecherry, apple seedlings, and hazelnut. I've also replanted most of the bulbs. Still forlornly awaiting reunion with their mother earth: the roses, daylilies, herbs (primarily lemon balm, marjoram, and peppermint) and various perennials. I got a few things planted this morning, but I haven't been feeling that well, so....all in good time.

I find myself pining for goats and sheep. I could do more with the sheep as I love to spin, dye, knit, crochet, and weave the finished yarn, but the goats are my true love....even though I can't drink the milk. Yes, I do realize I could raise Angoras or Cashmeres. For me it really isn't about the product, it's the animal. I don't feel like myself without them. At any rate, it's a wound which is unlikely to heal quickly, as land here is still outrageously priced and the zoning regs illogically allow predatory animals which attack people, pets, and wildlife and make lots of noise at night and whose poop you can't use for gardens, but prohibit any species which has even remote practical uses, such as rabbits.

Math is going badly even though I got the Midterm worked out. I cannot wrap my brain around the concept of factoring trinomials or quadratic equations. I have read the math book over and over.....and it just is not making sense to me. The finals are in less than a week....eeek. If I really want to be a botanist, I have got to nail this.

Also, I haven't painted or even drawn anything in months. At this point I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will again, or will it be like the goat, an essential part of me amputated and left to die alongside the rat race highway.

And I think that if I can just get a spinning wheel and buy or barter for some wool, I'll salvage something of what I'm missing. I'll at least have the scent of the animal......

This is all sounding so morose, and I don't mean for it to. I just really need to find a different line of work, and my body is so shot that it can't be the outdoorsy grunt work which I'd otherwise be perfectly happy to do. Yeah, I think I need to get out tomorrow morning and garden...otherwise I'm going to get depressed if I continue thinking about these things.