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Flower Gardening Tips

There is still time to plant sweet peas and hardy spring blooming annuals like poppies, cornflowers, larkspur, agrostemma, godetia and California wildflower varieties that like to make growth before the weather gets too hot. Planting them in the fall means they’ll be up already with good sturdy roots, and just starting to show new fresh… Read more »

Early Spring Gardening Tips

Nights are really cold, rainy and wintery weather is definitely still with us, but you can tell the days are getting longer. Plum and flowering quince are blooming or budding up, and the earliest spring weeds are starting to grow. Around Valentine’s Day, you might start sneaking in a few hardy spring vegetables. If you… Read more »

Water Becoming

Water is only change Still depth in a mountain pool, now a tumble of light and movement slipping over the granite edge crashing downward, blown sideways, making its own weather Water becoming music A spring seeps from a canyon wall lilts and trickles, giggling down a hillside Finding stillness again Water becoming lupine begun as… Read more »

Vegetable Solace

I am a home gardener in exile, far from my native soil,. I farm in one huge planter long enough to inter both parents end to end, if that were the custom here; wide enough for six rows – little emissaries from the vegetable world – hopeful double winged brassica cotelydons – pak choi and… Read more »

The Lines We Draw

Even after all our careful preparation, planning the perfect home birth: reading, breathing, praying, the baby must come caesarean. We spend hours with the garden fork, crumbling the chocolate soil, tucking the treasured seeds in. Still, spring frost nips the bean shoots. An earthquake changes the meaning of ground beneath my feet. A rock beneath… Read more »

Season of the Swarm

Behind the white bucket on which I sit, a beehive is tuning up a whole orchestra of violins. The hum gets louder. The whirling vortex of golden bodies spins faster. The air is filled with living pollen grains Circling, never colliding. Sounds like danger. Smells like honey. The intensity of the sound diminishes as the… Read more »

Plum Blossom

Again the white foam of plum The clambering spray of clematis along the back fence Seedlings of sweet pea, forgetmenot and columbine, opening its tiny leafy fans. The varied thrush brightens day by day and practices its courting song The year exhales in fragrant bloom and green beginnings Today my daughter’s birthday, she pregnant, round… Read more »

Picking Raspberries on My 60th Birthday

Once I was a raspberry wife. In our own back yard the patch bloomed and fruited. You liked to prune but hated to harvest. Picking raspberries is so sensual: color as it deepens from red to garnet signifying full sugar, the pebbled nipple of fruit must yield to gentle touch. Like all fruit it lets… Read more »

Mating Season at Puddingstone Dam

Blackbird expands his epaulets, puffs up those otherworldly scarlet blazes edged with bright yellow. Brilliant wing patches slash  a window into another technicolor universe. His tiny clawnails grip the stems of the golden mustard forest, swaying eight feet tall, giant in this rainy spring. Song sparrow in the scrub says Chip chip, screeeeee. Every species… Read more »

I Bet the Seeds Came up Last Night

Pea paws thrust baby green fists through tender crust of soil Pak choi, Tiny brassica butterflies , Double winged cotyledons light on the surface tracing loops where the seeds were sown. Those must be lettuce Hinged bright green ovals that  trace a crooked row in front of hairpin spring onions laced with frilly parsley and… Read more »