Sunday Song: Gardens

Right now, if all has gone according to plan, I should be in a quite beautiful place with one of the most beautiful people I know. And I’ve seen and heard some beautiful things already this week. Got me thinking about gardens, actually.

I know I’ve posted a lot of Secret Garden before, but what can be more appropriate for garden photos?

Right. Get that playing, and let’s have a wander through the gardens at Brown’s Point Lighthouse, shall we?

Browns Point Heritage Garden I

So it seems “Keeper Brown also… maintained a flower garden featuring daffodils, tulips, peonies, and roses.” We’ve definitely got tulips.

Browns Point Heritage Garden II

The Dash Point Garden club planted and maintains the Heritage Garden now. Here’s a bit about it:

Oscar and Annie The two gardens in front of the house are named in honor of the first lighthouse keepers, Oscar and Annie Brown. Oscar’s log of their 30 years at the lighthouse includes descriptions of the various plants the couple cultivated. Mavis Stears, curator of the Points Northeast Historical Society, combed through the log and compiled a list of plants that Dash Point Garden Club members try to incorporate in the gardens.

Oscar’s Garden includes several types of hebe, mahonia, roses, bleeding heart, foxglove and columbine. Annie’s Garden includes peonies, lavender, hardy fuchsia and a couple of trees to represent the apple orchard she once tended.

I don’t usually go gaga for gardens – I like stuff growing wild – but these were truly beautiful. Especially the bit with the bleeding heart.

Browns

Wandering through there, I’m reminded that gardens are quite lovely. There was an English garden in front of one of the old Victorian houses in Prescott, Arizona that I always slowed down to view on the way by. Serene and lovely. I determined right then and there I’d have an English garden if I ever had a garden at all, but that was before I discovered Zen.

Browns Point Heritage Garden IV

Japanese gardens in general are my cup of green tea these days. I like how they evoke the natural world while being something more. Pure art, those. I find a serenity there I find in no other garden. But the gardens here evoked another kind of tranquility, and moreover didn’t try to regiment the plants like so many gardens seem to do. A little order, coaxed rather than imposed, and juxtapositions of form and color that draws one in.

Browns Point Heritage Garden V

When I am an old woman, I hope I shall have gardens. I like getting my hands down into the good earth. I like giving things room to grow, and watching them flourish. It’s just too bad I have a black thumb. Perhaps by the time I’m older, I shall be wiser in the ways of green growing things with brilliant blooms. If not, I’ll cultivate rocks. That I can do. And I’m apparently quite good at moss, judging from the carpets of it growing where my fuchsia plants lived their brief lives. I can’t claim much credit there. Moss round here will grow anywhere you don’t make a determined effort to kill it. I’ve even got some growing happily on the bare deck. I’ve left it alone. I find moss lovely and fascinating, and it’s soft and springy, and it was rare where I grew up. I could do a moss garden. Moss, and rocks, and patterns raked in gravel, and perhaps, if I’m very lucky, a flower or two: that will be my garden, when I grow old.

What is yours?

My Bebbe’s First Fourth

The little girl’s in bloom, and this morning, she also had a perfect little drop of water dangling from one of her leaves. So I figured it was time to assault you with yet more photos of the fuchsias:


And that’s all I shall subject you to until they’ve grown up a bit. According to the tags, some of these buggers can reach six feet in height. Deary, deary me. They grow up so fast…

Mah New Bebbes!

I woke up haunted by the memory of the fuchsia plant I’d left behind. Y’see, the Arboretum gift shop was closed when we went yesterday, but they still had the Arboretum-grown plants sitting outside, and there was this Starry Trail fuchsia that gave me the puppy-dog eyes (metaphorically speaking). He was still there when I went back! And here’s my beautiful baby:

Of course, I couldn’t condemn him to a life as an only child (although my cat and I don’t mind our status). So I chose him a sister, a cute little Madame Cornelissen:


I’ll have better pictures of them once they’re a little older and the wind isn’t blowing. I’m sure you’re all beside yourselves with excitement.

One of the most thrilling things about moving to the Northwest for me was the potential of having surviving fuchsias. I’ve always loved them, but they don’t love Arizona, alas. Now I have a baker’s rack full o’ em, and I anticipate many happy years watching them grow. Maybe they’ll even give me grandbebbes.

I didn’t just spend my day chasing plants. I made the mistake of passing by Half-Price Books in Redmond whilst on my way to the hobby shop in a fruitless search for a home for the rock collection. Did I say passed by? I meant that only in a temporary sense. Book stores are like black holes for me, especially book stores where books can be had for cheap. This one turns out to be two stories. And they have a ginormous science section. Did I say ginormous? I meant that only in a temporary sense. It’s rather smaller now that I’ve been through it…

Another Reason to Plant an Organic Garden

No, it’s not just because Michelle Obama’s doing it, although she makes it look good:

Michelle Obama helped with spring planting in the White House garden yesterday, along with some of the WH kitchen and grounds staff and students from Bancroft Elementary School in DC.

This is a great teaching moment on nutrition and activity in a nation where childhood obesity has become rampant. More and more children are taking diabetes and blood pressure medications, and that costs us all.

As Michelle Obama said yesterday (via WH transcript):

This is one of the main reasons we’re doing this, is that what I’ve learned as a mom, in trying to feed my girls, is that it is so important for them to get regular fruits and vegetables in their diets, because it does have nutrients, it does make you strong, it is all brain food. And when you go to school, it is so important for you to have a good breakfast, to make sure in your lunches that you have an apple or an orange or a banana, that you have something green when you eat any meal, lunch or dinner.

And we’re looking to you guys to help educate the country, not just in your own homes, but other people as they think about how to plan their meals for their kids, to think about the importance of making sure that we have enough fruits and vegetables. And doing this garden is a really inexpensive way of making that happen.

This is fantastic and sorely needed. Kudos to the WH and Michelle Obama for doing it, and for using the WH podium to promote healthy, sustainable gardening. And, more important, healthier eating for the nation’s children.

Those are all excellent reasons to grow an organic garden, certainly. But you know what’s also a good reason? Doing so really gets up the chemical companies’ noses:

However, the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) — which represents agribusinesses like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and DuPont Crop Protection — are unhappy that no chemicals are being used on the food:

Fresh foods grown conventionally are wholesome and flavorful yet more economical,” the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) wrote the first lady last month a few days after she and fifth-graders from a local elementary school planted the White House Kitchen Garden.

“As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S. in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply.”

In other words, “Pour some fucking chemicals, lady!” Aren’t they funny when they’re in a snit? And if they’re this upset over a lil ol’ garden, imagine how they’d be if Michelle Obama started an actual organic farm.

You know what I think she should do next? Free range chickens on the South lawn, baby, yeah! I can’t wait for the howls of outrage from the industrial chicken farms.