Saturday, July 19, 2014

Warning! Words Ahead!

Every time I think of walking away from Blogging something hideous comes up that I feel requires comment.

I have noted this week, on two gardening blog sites, a warning placed at the bottom of the page, alerting our newest citizens, the Thumbsters, that into their sub-literate, post-literate, a-literate world has come a blog post or article requiring that they read WORDS.

389 words! is one warning. OMG the Thumbsters howl. Really, they say, then forget it.

5,200 words ! warns the website describing xeric gardens that do not waste water.

5200 words whine the Thumbsters. Has the writer never heard of an Easy Read? And who even knew there were that many words. We thought, like, you know, that there were only 140.

Imagine the relief of  senior high school Thumbsters discarding their Iliads, and Chaucer, and "Bleak House" at McKay Used Books. Books that weigh more than three I-phones, full of boring descriptions and unlikeable characters.  The days of "The Dead Poets Society" are over.

The day of the Text Message Novel is at hand-

And don't worry. It won't be a "Long Read".

*My discouragement earlier this week was caused by an apartment flooded by a corroded hot water heater and by a gum abcess. Enough to turn anyone into a pessimist.

There, I've said it in twenty eight words. Just enough not to abuse our tee-tiny attention spans!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Go Watch The Lightning Bugs

Do not turn on the news tonight. Seeing it will do you no good. There is not one thing one can do about any of it, and  going outside to see the lightning bugs will ease your spirit. Listen for the nighthawks, and watch for the clouds bringing tomorrow's rain.

Hate and war and revenge will never go away. The original sin was Cain killing Abel, and every day Cain's descendants kill their brother again. 

Here is what A.E Houseman wrote:

" Stars, I have seen them fall

But when they drop and die

No star is lost at all

From the star-sown sky.

The toil of all that be

Helps not the primal fault:

It rains into the sea,

And still the sea is salt"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Other Blog

My other blog-Tales of a Nashville Gardener- is now The Nashville Gardener. I was forced to leave Wordpress because of technical glitches with photo uploads.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Have Fun Storming the Castle".

A month ago, when last I posted, the War with the Rabbits had just begun.

Now it is escalating beyond repellent granules to violence and the building of fortifications.

The other night I turned the hose on one of the unholy snackers, and sent him fleeing into the next yard, where I hoped he might meet the big black and white cat. The next day, after planting some hardy begonias, I built a stick fort, hoping a good stab in the belly might be a deterrent.

The weather is not helping. Almost a month without rain means that the lawn is dry hay, and the flower garden is honey and figs and paradise.

Every time I drive over to this garden at least six members of the Rodentry are sneaking around, having just sampled choice bits of this and that.

Where are the coyotes when you need them?

Friday, June 6, 2014

High Clover

My friend, who owns the Green Hills garden I write about, has pet rabbits, so I need to be careful what I say about that branch of the Rodent-ry. Her indoor rabbits have good manners and are litter box trained. They sit on the couch out at my friend's farm up on the Plateau, and listen to her husband play the guitar. They eat special rabbit food, and never go near her garden.

The little beasts in Green Hills are not so civilized. They eat what I plant, and usually in the first days after I plant it. Blue Woodland Phlox. Purple Gomphrena. The Heart-leaved aster.

Nibbled to nubs.

Notice the blossoming clover in the photo. How abundant it is! How tasty it must be! But who wants to eat clover everyday, when there is a smorgasbord in the flower beds-

I asked my friend about rabbit repellant,but she was worried it might hurt them. Well then, how about the homemade concoctions that some other frustrated gardeners advise? Lovely mixtures that include dish washing detergent, red pepper flakes, human urine, crushed garlic cloves , and rotten eggs.

Or- I may try a method I used several years ago in my vegetable garden. I took plastic forks and knives and dotted them about with their business end up. Of course this is not practical in a long border, but it might give the rabbits second thoughts about chewing down certain plants.

Aversion Therapy.

In my other friend's garden in West Meade, there is no rabbit damage, nor do the deer I see on the lawn next door come near, for that friend has Shetland Sheepdogs who number in the double digits. But I am thinking of using the Fork Trick there as well, for nothing decimates the brittle stems of a salvia faster than a hound pack headed up to the wood verge at top speed.

Pestifers. That is what I call these four legged destroyers. Whether they hide in holes under shrubs or sport AKC registration papers.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Nothing Changes

Politicians are the only people one can vilify with impunity, for if you do not specify what party- or even what country-most of your fellow humans agree with you!

Here is a snippet from a book titled "The Essay", that I pulled out of the free books bin at McKay Books. It is from an essay by Jack London, who describes how his working class birth made him long for a different life. As a young man he became an oysterman, and briefly a criminal:

"One night I went on a raid amongst the Chinese fisherman. Ropes and nets were worth dollars and cents.It was robbery, I grant,but it was precisely the spirit of capitalism. The capitalist takes away the possessions of his fellow-creatures by means of a rebate, or by a betrayal of trust, or by the purchase of senators and supreme- court judges. I was merely crude. That was the only difference. I used a gun."

And from "The Craft of Gardens",by Ji Cheng, a garden designer from the age of the Ming Dynasty (translated by Alison Hardie), Maggie Cheswick writes this in the Foreword-

"- and since the Ming was a repressive and autocratic dynasty, it reinforced the option of a gentleman to reject public office and devote his time to the advancement of his spiritual,literary, and artistic gifts in the elegant setting of a garden. The great Ming artist Wen Zhengming(1470-1559), who partly designed the Zhuo Zheng Yuan, or Garden of the Unsuccessful Politician, in Suzhou, made only one brief and unsatisfactory excursion into public employment and then, calling himself always an amateur, he lived for a time among the watery mazes of this lovely place, devoting himself to poetry and painting."

Well, one of our previous Presidents, who no one calls much of a success, did retreat to Texas to paint pictures of himself and his feet, as they stuck out from the water in his bathtub. I do not know that he ever gardened, though he had been pictured on his presidential time-outs clearing brush and complaining about armadillos.

"The Garden of Sagebrush and Possums on the Half-Shell". That is what the Chinese might call it-

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Late May in a Nashville Garden- May 22, 2014

Here are some photos from the West Meade garden I take care of. How fresh and bright everything looks in May!