Friday, June 08, 2007

Garden Gossip

It was mid morning, and I was out in the garden playing coffee vendor to Husband and the dear Dog (he gets a biccie).

On my way back in I was waylaid in the garden (as usual - a weed here, an overabundance of sunflowers there). Once I am bent over tending to weeds I have no concept of time, - just pure enjoyment and devilish satisfaction!

Miss Callie, the cat, lay at my feet, drowsing with one eye partly
open, just in case. All seemed quiet until I became conscious of a small bevy of rosy breasted finches chittering and floating around some seeds that had escaped from the bird feeder above them when the wind blew the top off it. I stopped to watch, delighted with the way they swooped and rose, all the while chattering to each other.

While I stood watching and listening a gorgeous butterfly flew around me and landed on the beautiful red Europa ro

Did I have my camera? Of course not, - but the butterfly seemed to be resting and I took a chance on creeping back to the house for it - when I returned he had not moved!
After about five minutes he stirred himself, flew to a neighbouring peony, and began to feed vigorously. Well, I guess that's what he was doing... The peonies are not doing well this year, - did I plant them too deeply when we brought them from the Lost Garden?

Continuing along the garden path, (which I noted was sprouting all sorts of weeds and was badly in need of more mulch) I spied two large bumble bees visiting amongst the delphinium.

I suppose one might call this the Delphinium Cafe and Delicatessan, catering to butterflies, bees and the occasional humming bird (oh, not likely, - wrong colour) With camera in hand I continued taking pictures, noting that the first shasta daisy has opened its petals, and that the perennial sweet peas are forming buds. These sweet peas are descended from the ones that Husband's mother started in 1918. on the original orchard that his grandfather planted on the Penticton Upper Bench.

Watch f
or pictures, - glorious pinks and mauves and whites.....

The Abraham Darby rose has some particularly beautiful emerging buds... and at that time of the morning the blue flax was still enjoying the early sunshine. Soon after noon they have all closed shop and spend the afternoon preparing for next morning's splendid display.

The Oriental Poppies did not fare well in this week's wind and rain, and some are looking rather blowsy, doncha know. But there are fresh young buds opening each day to keep the dance hall open.

And Joining them in the Dance are the Poppies that came surreptitiously from the Lost Garden, hidden amongst a peony bush, or in the Shasta Daisies. They have multiplied all through the garden, and promise a gay show.

The seeds for these poppies came from my Sister's garden, and this is
what they looked like the first year we planted them in the Lost Garden.

The one remaining Ir
is blooming in the garden sighs its last goodbye, as beautiful as all its cousins gone before it.

Beside it the Mock Orange is blooming in delicate splendour, surrounded by one of the ubiquitous hollyhocks!!!!

When I went out tonight to see how the garden fared all was quiet, except for one small goldfinch supping on Nyger seed, too shy and quick to have his picture taken.

A miniscule patch o
f volunteer Evening Scented Stock perfumed the night air and beckoned me to linger within its fragrance.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Watching the footage of the catastrophic storm in Calgary last evening, I was taken back in memory to the spectacular summer storms of my childhood in that same country.

From there I reminisced about other fond memories of those summers that I spent in Calgary with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and I recalled a small essay I had written about them thirty-five years ago, when I was taking a workshop in creative writing.

An excerpt......

...........Sometimes at night when I cannot sleep I move in memory through my Grandmothers' houses. Between the two I divided each long summer of my middle childhood. I linger at each room, each corner, each shrine of memory, and gradually the aura of those days secures me as a child in childhood's safe, warm bed. The nasturtiums that grew along the paths at my Town House Grandmother's; the cool damp refuge from the heat of a summer's afternoon under the small back porch where the chickweed grew; the hallowed spot where the beloved cocker spaniel found eternal rest under a constant bed of cosmos. Surely those cosmos lay fresh and sweet even under winter's frosty blanket, which I never saw. To me it was a place of summer; of love and tenderness, among loving, tender, sentimental kin.

I remember the joy of meeti
ng my gentle, white-haired grandfather on his way home, laden with treasures from the ice cream department of the dairy where he worked. It was childhood's enchantment to wait eagerly through the day for his nightly treat, and childhood's awe and delight at the amazing butter sculptures my uncle carved for exhibit at the summer fairs; the three bears in golden, buttery indignation; Cinderella in a shimmering yellow coach.

I remember the mysteries of my maiden auntie's dresser - the creams and perfumes and the lovely oaken chest that held her hopes. And I wonder what became of the filmy pink negligee my mother knitted for her to beguile an errant sweetheart, alas turned fickle.

At my Country G
randmother's I travel through the upstairs bedrooms where all the aunts and uncles grew up in friendly confusion. I remember tea beneath the covers, between the grandparents, early in the morning. And I wonder how many people start the day so delightfully now. And if they do, who brings them their fragrant cup?

I remember the or
derly stacks of wood, the pails of cool sweet well water which stood together upon the table in the corner, my grandmother's treacle pudding, the feeling of the prairies in the thirties. Frightening dust storms and gorgeous, splendid displays of lightening such as I have never seen since. I remember catching the enormous, great grasshoppers to milk them of their tobacco; waiting patiently for a curious groundhog to pop up between the noose so carefully laid around his entrance. And I remember turning cartwheels for incredible distances across the prairies, with my cousins.

The memories crowd warmly one upon another, pressing me gently into sleep and sweet forgetfulness of present problems. They lie there, a background to my life, until I once again recall them to mind with pleasure, or until a sudden flash of memory is triggered by a fragment of music, or scent of flowers. The Skaters' Waltz brings a tear, inevitably, - the hundreds of frosty, Sunday afternoons that the band played, the skaters twirled and glided, and the memories gathered softly in the corners of the soul........

I think I warned you that this was sentimental kin, and I have inherited the gene! Also, these are memories written thirty five years ago, when I was Mid-life and Menopausal with three teen agers. Life was much more complicated than it is now.

P.S. Here is the House on the Prairie ca 2000.
My Grandfather built this house almost a hundred years ago, and when it was ready to be lived in he sent for my Grandmother and their seven children, who had stayed behind in England. My mind boggles at an ocean voyage at the beginning of the last century, with a family of seven, - and then a long and arduous train trip across Canada to Calgary.

My Town Grandmother followed Grandfather from Ontario with a family of five. Grandfather had taken the oldest son with him to help establish a home in the west.

What brave and sturdy creatures these pioneer Grandmothers were!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Unfolding of a scarlet wonder....

Early Saturday morning I wandered the garden path, watching for new blooms, measuring with my eye the overnight growth of the Shasta's, and noticing with dismay the weeds that appeared to have usurped precious garden space, seemingly full grown in the night hours!

I came across the Oriental poppies, and the little pregnant bud that graced an earlier blog.

Her time had come and I quickly scanned my inner time clock, - did I have time to take pictures before the day began in earnest, - would it be a quick unfolding, or would the poppy be slow to release those silky crinkled petals that now light up the garden with their fiery, scarlet dance.

I have heard the poppy called a "coarse" flower, not long lived, - and I know its significance as a flower of sacrifice and remembrance. But to me its ephemeral beauty can be the epitome of gaiety as it nods and dances in the summer breeze.

Here is what I saw as this particular poppy bud opened its scarlet petals to the morning sky.

And all before breakfast!!!