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Free choice paint chip poem

Linda Kruschke’s paint chip poetry prompt this week left the choice open to us. I wrote a very clunky 20 line rhyme, which only had the merit of being factual. Then I decided to try haikus. My Grandma wasn’t a gardener, so didn’t have any hydrangeas, but I guess a little poetic licence is permissible!

Linda was busy coordinating a writing competition. She writes:

So today I’m just posting a few paint chips with no other details. It’s a free write week. Do with these three paint chips whatever you want.

The words and phrases you have at your disposal are stepping stonegrandma’s hydrangeas, and heirloom tomato.

Have some fun with this one, with no parameters to hold you back.

Spring thoughts

Plants are sprouting shoots.
Grandma’s hydrangeas were blue;
Our lace-caps are pink.

Heirloom tomato
Plants’ crop may be tastier
Than we remember.

Growing sunflowers
Is sometimes a stepping stone
To having bird seed.

What I read in August 2016

This is the latest in my series of posts about books I have read.  One way to find my earlier posts about books is to scroll down until the categories appear in the sidebar and click on Books.  Or click here.

August seems to have flashed past.  I have spent more time gardening, knitting, playing the piano and going for walks.  Although most of my regular group activities are suspended for the holidays, I have not read as many books as in recent months.

The first book I finished reading was a beautiful library book, which I found on a display to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter.  I have now returned it and am writing from memory.   Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell is a lovely book in sections. There is a section about Beatrix Potter’s life and one about visiting some gardens, which have strong connections with her.  There are many illustrations including her paintings of plants.  This is a very well-produced, readable book by an American author, who has produced a similar book about Emily Dickinson.  (Emily Dickinson’s Gardens.)

The other book I read in August was a historical novel.  The Maid of Buttermere by Melvyn Bragg  tells a story, which was something of a sensation in its time.  Buttermere is a small village (and lake) in the English Lake District.  The maid of Buttermere was the beautiful daughter of the innkeeper.  I have read other books by Melvyn Bragg and found it difficult to keep track of all the characters.  Although this book includes a list of characters as an appendix, it does not give any further details about them.   The book paints a picture of life in remote rural communities in the time of the Lake Poets.

It is a racy tale, which takes a while to develop, but then has elements of suspense and adventure, which kept me reading to the end.

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Gardening notes

Our garden is a mass of colour from May onwards.  Four varieties of true geraniums –pink, white, blue and a low-growing one I call rock geranium – aquilegia, (also known as columbine) and other flowers contribute colour.

Recently I have been trying to bring a little order into the explosion of new growth.  Although I spend hours in the summer dead-heading, the pink geranium was threatening to become the dominant species.  Left to itself our garden would only have ferns, geraniums, spurge (which I pull up on sight) as well as shrubs including potentillas, hydrangeas and hebes.  Another perennial, which has to be kept in check is alchemilla mollis (Lady’s mantle).  The seedlings are easy to weed out, but the mature plants become very large.  The flowers are pale green and turn brown as they go to seed.  I chop them off ruthlessly as soon as any brown appears. Some still manage to escape and produce new plants.  You can have too much of a good thing!

Aquilegia among the geraniums

Aquilegia among the geraniums

I have to admit that in recent years I have not done enough gardening and some plants, which could have been removed easily, are now causing problems by growing close to the roots of taller plants.

I am reminded of two of the sayings I grew up with: Nature abhors a vacuum and Laziness has to be followed up.

Plants grow in every available space and try to invade neighbouring areas, such as paths and lawns.  A job, such as pulling out a small plant, becomes a much larger one if the plant is allowed to become established.

At one time we had over one hundred iris flowers in bloom.  These were the irises, which grow from bulbs not rhizomes.  Over the years they have disappeared leaving only a few.  At first it was a mystery.  Had they rotted?  Our conclusion was that they had been eaten by a field-mouse.  A hole in the ground had been a mystery, but we do sometimes see a long-tailed mouse in our garden.  It is a pity that it preferred irises to Spanish bluebells.