16 May 2006

Home is the gardener, home from the Hill…



You know the old saying about how visitors or fresh fish are only good for three days? Well, I sort of feel that way about traveling. By the end of day 3, I’m ready to come home, because at heart, I AM a homebody. The sweetest feelings in the world are #1 Seeing my longsuffering spouse’s smiling face as he waits for me at the airport. #2. Seeing Scotts Bay and the pasture and roof of our home appear in view as we come over the hill about a mile up the road from home. #3 The welcoming purrs and snuggles of the furball brigade—even Nibs, the three legged wondercat who normally scolds me for a day after I come home, allowed me to pick him up and listen to his purr. And of course #4, walking around the yard seeing what has grown while I was away.

Ottawa was marvelous, it truly was; we members of the Professional Writers Association of Canada were treated like royalty at the Delta Ottawa
where we stayed as well as at the venues where we had functions; the National Press Club, the War Museum, and on assorted tours.

Visiting the gardens at Rideau Hall with Ottawa’s chief Landscape Architect, and with Lucie Caron of the National Capital Commission, as well as seeing the tulip displays along the Rideau Canal, was one of the highlights of my trip. The Byward market, with its vast selection of plant vendors and fruit and veggie stands, as well as great crafters, made me very glad I couldn’t take plants home in my suitcase.


Hearing Ken Alexander, publisher of The Walrus Magazine speak at our gala banquet on Saturday night at the War Museum was another complete delight. And of course we all hope that he, Heritage and Culture Minister Bev Oda, and other MPs and guests at that dinner enjoyed our a capella version of Barrett’s Privateers, sung by a gang of us especially for their listening pleasure!

So I left with many fond memories of Ottawa and of our PWAC conference, and came home to fling myself into work. But one of the first things we did was last evening, when we headed down into the woodlands behind our property to go counting red trillium.

Yes, counting red trillium. If you’ve never seen a red trillium (Trillium erectum) in bloom….you’ve missed a rare and lovely treasure.

Counting trillium isn’t like doing a census. (whoops, must get that finished, too)…it’s just a spring ritual that hubby and I conduct because it makes us ecstatically happy. Wandering through the woods, seeking out the plants in their favourite spots, and capturing them on film—well, digitally on film—is one of the highlights of May. Last year, we missed doing this because the spring was cold and late, and I spent two weeks right after our annual conference dealing with the death of my father, so this year we were determined to get out as soon as possible.

In half an hour, covering maybe an acre of woodland, we counted 165 trilliums in bloom. That doesn’t include the younger plants that aren’t flowering this year, of which there are also plenty.



Trilliums can’t take full sun, so those that were growing in the area that is now clearcut are gone. However, we have two dozen plants at home, about half of which are in flower, with younger stems coming up regularly, the result of rescuing half a dozen plants from the clearcut a few years ago. While these plants are a survival story and make my heart glad, it’s the wild ones that really excite both of us.

And therein lies a secret to true love. My big fisherman, my piece of North Mountain granite, my solid and strong but gentle husband, not only loves cats and me…(not necessarily in that order)…he is so excited every spring to greet the flowering of the red trillium, and to count the number of blooms we can find. And if a man can be joyful over the blooming of a wildflower…well, it’s small wonder that I found my soul mate in him, when we first met, and still feel that way years later.

Now, it’s time to deal with the profusion of growth in our gardens, so there may not be any postings for a bit…I’ll be in the garden if you’re looking for me!

1 comment:

  1. Welcome home! Enjoy reading your column in the Herald and your blog. Excellent tips!

    ReplyDelete

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