21 February 2008
Flurries, feathered friends and other miscellany
I’ve mentioned before how we are often inclined to get something we fondly refer to as ‘flurries where winds blow on shore.’ After the brief respite--I did warn it would be brief!--we had one of those days and nights yesterday, and I’d estimate, judging by the look of the yard and the sides of the road, that we got about 4 inches of ‘flurries’. Of course, with those famous winds that blow onshore, there are places where fields are bare, and other places where drifts are quite tall. In our yard, however, things are mostly sensible—because of those mild days and rains that did take away a lot of the snow, about the deepest patch I can find is somewhere around three feet in length, stretching along the upper paddock fence line like a cresting wave down at the beach.
It's been amusing to watch the bluejays this morning, because the temperature has also dropped into the teens (about -10 C, I think). The jays are fluffed up to be the size of partridge, setting in the rhododendron and diving out during lulls in the wind to have a snack at the feeders. Even more fun was watching the cats watch the birds, although Spunky Boomerang and Simon Q are exhausted from all that activity and have decided that having a rest is more important than watching bird television, at least for a while.
In between working on assignments, I’ve been doing some reading up on—what else?—plants, poring over the latest magazines, books, and of course those plant catalogues that I love to mention. I’ve also been spring-cleaning my computer hard drive, sorting out articles and ideas, photos—oh me nerves, there are too many plant photos!—and generally pretending I’m being organized.
Something a friend said the other day ticked in my mind when in shuffling through my harddrive documents, I came across a quotation that I really like, and that sums up the way many of us like to garden; using the style of ‘benevolent neglect’. An editor friend of mine told me that a late gardener from up around Stewiake, NS, used to describe her garden thriving under her tender ministrations of benevolent neglect. Others have confessed to worrying so much over their gardens in the summer, overworking themselves sometimes in the quest to make everything look 'perfect'.
One of the things I do when giving talks or writing articles is encourage people not to stress over their gardens. Just relax and enjoy it all—we’re supposed to be gardening for the love of it, not to get all into a froth over having perfectly edged borders and flawless drifts of perfectly matched perennials, immaculately mowed and trimmed expanses of velour-green grass (blerk!) and everything just so, like something out of a Martha Stewart daydream. If that’s the way you want your garden and your yard, that’s fine with me—but let’s not stress about these things unduly. It's about gardening for joy, isn't it, and making our patch of earth a happier, more peaceful and lovely spot, isn't it?
What I can see of our back garden looks not so much like it’s suffering from benevolent neglect at the moment—instead, it’s just resting under a perfect carpet of snow. The wind exhausted itself and took a little pause, the flurries relaxed…and the sky smiled to empart a perfect winter sunset, just before the performance of the lunar eclipse, which others have already talked about, including Lisa at Greenbow's marvelous collection of photos.
After the grunge that emerged earlier in the week, I actually prefer this. Underneath, the garden sleeps, while I make plans to add to, amend, change, and encourage the plants already there…in moderation, and without stress. It is, after all, my labour of love and a labour in progress, not a deadline driven assignment.
Speaking of which--I'm always juggling deadlines, which is how I prefer to work, but occasionally bump up against one that is giving me a headache. So I'm a bit behind in my blog-reading, emailing, commenting, and so on, including replying to all your comments here on Bloomingwriter. For now, I'll just warmly welcome those of you who are new to visiting, thank everyone for their cheery and helpful comments (especially about hellebores, and Frances, I did get a couple boughs over top of my plant!), and will catch up on visiting others in the next few days.
And I'm a bit wistful, too; yesterday would have been my dad's 76th birthday, had he not been taken from us by early-onset Alzheimers several years ago. I feel him around me all the time, sometimes more strongly than others, and never as much as when I'm in the garden, or thinking about planting tomatoes. Miss you always, Dadums.