Circling Around to Spring

It’s spring! I think. No, really, it has finally gotten warmer, and the Master Gardeners had their annual plant sale. My sister and I were there first thing, as usual, but we didn’t go overboard for a change. For one thing, one has to plant what one buys, a fact that is usually forgotten in the face of a barn full of inexpensive plants, and the crush of humanity trying to get to them first. Also, not being able to see through steamed up glasses due to my mask slowed me down. (I read they sold out of 1600 tomato plants in four hours.)

The invasive, but beautiful, lupine in my meadow garden disappeared a couple years ago. I bought one of them, not knowing where I would put it; missing it, but not wanting to pull it out of my blueberries again. I got the brilliant idea when I got it home, to put it along the new fence where I used black plastic over the winter to kill the buttercup (well, some of the buttercup): the battle of the invasive plants. I returned to the sale a few hours later for more, but they were gone. Maybe I could also plant California poppy (also invasive, also disappeared from my garden), or morning glories, and let them all duke it out. I have a feeling I know who the victor will be.

The pea plants are tall, the edible flower box is growing (I’m not sure if they are supposed to be thinned), the sunflowers have sprouted, the wildflower bed is not growing great yet, the lettuce has just begun (I hope it picks up the pace), I just planted bean seeds—a little late, but it’s been so cold. And the hoses and slug bait/crushed eggshells are out. Now, I wait and watch and see what does or does not happen.

Double dog dare you to get in the box, sweet buttercup.

I had a small fir removed down at the house that blocks my view of Bawfaw Peak beyond town to the west. I’m probably not supposed to cut the hard won fir tree line after the adjacent forest harvesting forty years ago, but I don’t like to be hemmed in. Also removed: three large twisted together non-native holly trees, now the birch and maple can grow better. (I would like to remove much more scruffy deciduous stuff, but I guess I won’t—not without some hardy and sure-footed dude with a chain saw.) Creating the long view and space for change. (I know, it won’t be for long.)

While the buttercup is the bane of the garden, there are other invasive “weeds” I love, and that have my blessing to grow any darn place they want: violets, forget-me-nots, and wild geranium.

If I sold euphorbia for the price you can buy it at Lowe’s, I could pay a gardener for years to pull the grass and weeds from my mother’s and my sister’s gardens (the latter of which is all euphorbia at the moment, until it’s overtaken by the sweet peas that invade from the lower forty). Actually, I’m thinking of moving the divider I placed at the edge of my mother’s garden, and just letting the grass have a little more real estate.

I’ve given up on the planter box by the front door. Under the overhang, it gets no water nor sun. And the past two or three years, something underground has eaten whatever I plant there. So I made a beach with a few of the million rocks in boxes in the storage room, saved for crafts. Lightening my yard work load. (If you missed the 10-part story of the great clean-out, you can read a condensed version here.)

The Indian pipe is growing in the woodlot, where I need to do a third clean up from this never-ending winter. In the Seminary Hill Natural Area, I found a blooming, recently broken tree. My neighbor, Robert, says it’s Cascara. Usually the bloom of the fast growing tree is too high to see. Perhaps there won’t be enough nutrients through the shattered trunk to bloom again before it dies, but the blossoms were beautiful on the day I walked by.

There’s lot happening in the woods, in fact. It’s bustin’ out all over: honeysuckle, true Solomon seal, inside-out flower, blackberry.

Instead of weeding and picking up twigs on sunny Sunday, I went to Seattle to see my boys. Adrian asked me to read a new book to him (twice), he hasn’t wanted that for a long time. And, of course, pretend stories: the stuffies had a birthday party and played freeze tag and hide-and-seek on his bed. Elliot scored a goal in his soccer game and had a bunch of saves as goalie. The child is not afraid to fall on the ball—his mommy’s son. And we went to Carkeek Park, a couple miles from their home, to fly Adrian’s new yard sale kite, with no wind, and search for sea glass—by which they mean, any glass found by the sea.

Returning home, there was another sundog over the interstate. No photo, I was driving. My friend Bonnie Rae (whose stunning bird photography can be seen here) tells me indigenous peoples say sundogs are a sign of change, I’ve seen two in a week, and I’ve seen only four in a lifetime. Summer is coming; and this week I’m public speaking at the Chehalis Rotary meeting about storycatching. Stepping out of my circle of comfort; that’s change.

Each boy found me a heart rock at the beach. My heart is full.

8 thoughts on “Circling Around to Spring

  1. I have shot-weeds. The sweet, white flower heads are lovely until they spread seeds everywhere. I’d take buttercups over them any day. (I also have white-crowned sparrows, Wilson’s warblers and house finches). I have decided to let all things be as they are. Weeds, birds, a tangle of flowering morning glory … and somewhere in this wild space lies the heart of everything. So grateful for your garden sharing. I am learning a new way of paying attention.

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    1. Oh, yeah, I have tons of that. It can be easily removed though, at least temporarily. I assume you don’t have buttercup, or you wouldn’t choose it. If I just stay in my corner chair in the living room and just watch the sky and the birds at the feeders, I can’t see the wild nature reclaiming my property. I am considering.

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  2. So much wonderfulness. I read somewhere that some of our weeds are not “invasisive”, they’re “naturalized.” I’ve been pulling the wild geranium cause I thought it was a weed, but you’re right they are pretty. And I’m pretty sure you should advertise for a “hardy and sure-footed dude with a chain saw”. You’ll get lots of responses I’m sure, though perhaps not all welcome ones. And, those boys. So lovely. I measure growth by whether we can fit in a chair together – mine and theirs…

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    1. Buttercup is invasive enemy advancement in unwelcome territory (also ivy and Scotch broom–but there’s none of that on my property). I’ll give you “naturalized” for the rest. 🤣 Adrian and I were squishy in the chair, but he unhesitatingly declined to sit in my lap.

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      1. Yeah, buttercup here to. And something prickly looking. Hard pass on the “pretty” blackberry. I once lived in a house with morning glories that covered the 100 yard fence, planted from one seed the neighbor said. Soon after moving in I dreamt that they grew so long they completely covered the entire house.

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      2. Yikes to the morning glories. Maybe I should rethink planting that on my fence. I planted passion flower on the chainlink fence between my yard in Raleigh and the neighbor’s driveway. A crazy spectacular flowering vine, that beautifully covered the ugly fence. I spent the next four years pulling it out of my yard and the planting strip on the neighbor’s side. Fortunately I never had to deal with kudzu.

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