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Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Early spring

The vernal equinox — the first day of spring — arrived on March 20 at 05:14 Universal Time. This is its earliest arrival since the year 1896.

A sunny day, quite warm for March,
with little wind calls one to stray
outdoors to face the springtime chores
while bent, on knees, or on all fours.

The winter left its mark this time
with frost-browned stems, leaves, buds exposed,
but there’s a buzz of life around
that fills the heart without a sound.

A sunny day, quite warm for March,
green shoots and nodding daffodils
bring colour to this early spring
as those above cheep, tweet, and sing.

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Growing smart

Weeds suffer, waiting for the chance
to lead the ones a merry dance
who like their gardens neat and trim
with just the lovelies they put in.

Weeds suffer, but become quite smart
develop stealth to quite an art.
Seeds seem to fall where others grow
or out of reach of hand and hoe.

Weed suffer, though of Nature true
unlike most cherished, men accrue.
Of course, the former are all free
and beauty oft demands a fee.

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A gardener and his garden
A case of love and hate
The weeds and bugs are waiting
As he opens the gate

The flowers are looking healthy
The lawn is not too bad
The tree’s about to blossom
Which makes him feel quite glad

(more…)

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Garden of dreams

It was pleasant in that garden
where the gnomes all stand in rows
but now though it rains most fry days
not a sausage ever grows.

Two old wizened trees are standing
with their trunks now at half-mast,
creepers pulling them down slowly
to reveal what still holds fast.

There’s a greenhouse brown and aging,
thankful to be free from pane.
No more hammering and howling
from the storms with hail and rain.

Earth is crumbled, gray and failing,
yearning for the roots of old,
leaves of those it still remembers
tempering the heat and cold.

Look! There sits the owner snoozing
in the afternoon sunlight,
perhaps dreaming how things might be
in a gardener’s delight.

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It’s really amazing. Well looking at it through my eyes it is and perhaps yours are showing you the same thing.
It’s getting to be a real effort to open the local newspaper. Even this regional source of local, often useful gossip is still whispering in people’s ears not to forget to take their second poisonous flu shot, and also that the planet is in danger from poisonous CO2 which plants love with all their hearts and which Nature allows us to breath out. What they still don’t admit outright is that the first may result in one’s untimely, possibly painful death, and the second via the Copenhagen Treaty is going to further financially cripple our generation and those to come through exorbitant carbon taxes.
Have you read about that interview with Tony Blair, one of the warlords involved in the invasion of Iraq? I quote from the MailOnline article.

“Mr Blair told Ms Britton (the interviewer) that it still would have been right to have invaded Iraq even if it was known then that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
The threat posed by Saddam to the wider region meant it was right to remove him from power, he added.”

So, if the western leaders don’t like what you’re doing or even thinking about doing then watch out!
Well, it’s freezing outside at last though the afternoon temperature is still managing to show a few degrees above zero. It’s been on the mild side until recently and the annuals in the garden are still managing to produce a few late flowers.
For the first time we’re going for an artificial Christmas tree this year to avoid the January cleanup. Whether it’s a positive move for the environment is difficult to say.

From the site artificialchristmastreesonline we read of the advantages of artificial trees (with my hopefully helpful comments under each item):

1. When you buy an artificial tree it will last longer than a real tree.

True, hopefully about a hundred times as long to cover the costs.

2. Studies have shown that the artificial models for sale are usually thrown out after ten years

Well at least that agrees with our guarantee period.

3. You can feel safer when you purchase the artificial trees because they are not a fire hazard.

Well that’s an advantage.

4. Designer models such as Fraser Fir and Hamilton Spruce can be found online.

Handy, though we bought ours from a garden centre.

5. Unique pre-decorated and pre-lit models are available for the best price.

Ours was without, but I know people who would value this.

6. Artificial trees are generally inexpensive, because they are made of cheap materials, whereas many live trees are of poor quality and can deteriorate quickly.

Well ours cost nine times the price of a real tree and its quality cannot be directly ascertained either.

7. Decorative tinsel can be added to make your tree look special.

Umm.

9. Artificial trees don’t litter the floor with pine needles like real trees do,

Now that’s one of the reasons we went to great cost.

10. If you don’t like the smell of pine artificial trees won’t bother you or cause allergies

Mixed feelings about this one.

11. If you do like the smell of pine you can buy a special pine spray for your tree.

Oh, well that’s eliminated the difficulties raised by 10 but at an extra cost.

12. Artificial trees can’t rot like real trees can.

That’s true, but they can break.

13. Artificial trees are easy to assemble and store away.

True. I wouldn’t like to dissemble and store away a real one 🙂

14. Artificial trees don’t weigh much to assemble and store away.

Not much difference in our case.

Well I wish you joy and success with your Christmas decorating.

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Well, for those of you who might have missed me :-), I’ve been busy in the garden the last two days. Rotting stakes had to be replaced around raised flower beds and across a stepped pathway. Not that I’m talking about anything big, you understand, but just fiddly because it’s all crammed into such a small area. We have clay soil here which tends to hold anything is comes into contact with in an iron grip, making stake replacement a strenuous, backbreaking task.
For those who might be interested, my tools are a rubber mallet for whacking the stakes sideways and downwards, a trowel for general digging, an old metal knife for the tricky corners, secateurs for cutting away unhelpful roots and knee pads for support and to relieve pain. The use of feeling fingers is an unfortunate necessity for some operations. This inevitably results in soft hands becoming blistered and cut while peeling layers of clay from stakes that, apart from one or two friendlier types, have no intention of being removed. All in all, not really work conducive to the fermentation of literary ideas.
I’m taking a break today to recover before continuing. A few more stakes have yet to be replaced and a portion of a somewhat sunken tiled terrace has to be raised. Getting the six sided tiles together and in a horizontal line, of even height but sloping gently downwards to carry rain water away, is the tricky part which has captured my imagination lately. I wonder how I did it last time but that was so long ago and the information is apparently buried deep. I seem to remember long planks, sticks with string attached and a spirit level of course, or in this case a spirit almost level :-). Oh, and some luck.
Although my own career has been in meteorology, a largely theoretical pursuit, I somehow mostly manage to make a good showing when working with the hands in and about the house, not that I’ve had any formal training but possibly because of something hereditary I always like to think. My grandfathers, whom I unfortunately never knew, were both builders. My father was also successful as an engineer in heavy industry, climbing eventually on merit into management circles. So something might have rubbed off, as it were. Who knows?
The sunlight has been very strong here lately, partly because it’s midsummer but also due to the high ultraviolet content. The authorities are saying that more than fifteen minutes direct sunlight can be harmful to exposed epidermal layers. The northeast wind we now have is bringing relatively cooler air from Scandinavia which is very clear due to its passage over largely non-industrial terrain or water. So shade seemed imperative and to this end I employed an old portable parasol which worked fine.
I would have preferred to have carried out the work in the later spring but somehow the weather just didn’t play ball. Lands with a sea climate, such as ours, have exceedingly changeable weather, rarely remaining dry for more than a few days at a time, except in summer when the garden really needs it :-). Then it can remain dry for three weeks at a time.
Well, the garden has a renewed fresh look about it already, which makes all the work and pain worthwhile. I hear showers are underway from the south this evening and tomorrow so it might be a while before operations can recommence.

Have a better one!

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Nature’s ways

That’s the trouble with gardens, things grow in them, unexpected things that look like expected things. I always had a thing about moss and treated it as a weed, but now I’m not so sure. I read that the Japanese cultivate it and treasure it in their gardens. I’m still pulling and raking it out though, until I can think of some way to like it.
There are crafty wild plants that grow close to others so that you don’t notice them unless you bend very close, and sometimes not even then. They might finally give themselves away, even to the short sighted, because their leaves suddenly appear significantly different or twice as large, or because the plant they are sheltering under has died of fright. By then they’re often already big and have probably done their thing and don’t care what happens. These rough and tough gangsters of the garden must be used to sudden endings.
There are still quite a few old decaying leaves lying around on the grass, but I’ll leave them to the worms, that, I understand, love pulling them down inside their homes to eat. We part time gardeners need all the help we can get.
The annuals are still hanging on, as the temperature still refuses to dip much below freezing, even at night. They’re flowering still but very slowly now, at a snails pace compared to their summer romps, and I suppose they’ll run out of steam before Christmas, like me. Perhaps they’re overly optimistic and are having a go at stretching their lives to two years, hoping that the mild weather will keep going till spring erupts. Nature is full of surprises but I don’t give you much chance guys, ladies, whatever. The longer living varieties that are not yet asleep are, of course, tittering over all this talk of short lifetimes. I can hear them in my head.
The trees have grown their buds before nodding off, so they at least are optimistic about next year. Of course they haven’t heard about credit crises, global warming or cooling and have no idea how fast ice ages can come and go; never heard of rising sea levels and asteroids crashing down. Wish I hadn’t, didn’t.
They’re lucky, just doing their thing as best they can for as long as they can, that’s how life should be.
Nature goes its own way despite the arrogance of man’s assumptions.

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