For me it’s imperative that I leave my garden in August. I am so sick to death of the garden that if I don’t leave it, I might wreck it. This year, rather than growing beautifully without me and absence making the heart grow fonder, my garden, out of spite I think (or lack of rain), bloomed out and started to shut down. I missed the full bloom of the brugmansia – had I known that they only give one good show, I wouldn’t have bothered grow it (the pessimist in me knowing I’d miss it.) Happily, our kittehsitter, Z’s sister, enjoyed it for us (if a brugmansia blooms with no one to take its picture is it still beautiful? – Who cares.) Likewise, the night blooming cereus opened all up again and thank goodness Kayla caught it and was gracious enough to say she was awed.

Meanwhile we (Z, Nino, our family and friends) kicked back at “the lake”. My parents found a rental property that by some miracle has been left as its original vacationers intended: A cobbed together house on a rocky pine woods slope, with paths to the hammock and dock worn through huckleberry bushes and scrub oak. Half a dozen – just the right number – of rocking chairs on the porch, shelves full of books and an enormous collection of mugs, loon “artwork”, and one life-size wooden goose. I dove headfirst into crystal clear water and into some of the best books I’ve read in a long time (if you haven’t read Tinkers yet…) and for one week, went as far from any garden as I could possibly could.

Do you need to get away from your garden by now too? (or is it just me.)

(next up “Staycate”.)

Good neighbors

My neighbor, Walter is on a bender again this weekend blaring his four early 60’s vintage albums and I’m extremely wistful for all the good neighbors I met last weekend in Buffalo. I wish my friends and fellow garden bloggers lived much closer to me than the distant interwebs. I also wish that I lived in as sympathetic a neighborhood as the cottage district in Buffalo. In my neighborhood, all we seem to inspire in each other is increased volume. So (with thanks to Lynn for introducing me to the music) I’m here with all of my people. Turn it way up.

I miss you guys!

High time on the High Line

Just as my roses were starting; the very moment my gifted peonies were about to reveal their true color; when the elderberry began to bear flowers for the first time in its life; before the stipa grew feathers and the tansy, lace, I left town for NYC. It was high time to pay a friend of mine a visit and it’s been 4 years – much too long since I’ve been to The City. So on the eve of Memorial Day weekend, I landed in at Penn Station with both walking feet and a full bladder. (FYI, the ladies’ at Macy’s is on the second floor, all the way to the back.)

Of all the places that my excellent tour guide and I walked to, over, through or around (including but not limited to the Brooklyn bridge, Battery Park, Trinity Wall Street, Hank’s – a dive bar, the Old Town – an ancestral bar, the Brooklyn Flea, Staten Island, and Ditmas Park) the High Line impressed me the most. The High Line is a historical elevated freight train line hovering above the very edge of Chelsea. The track bed has been recently repurposed as a park with walkways, public event spaces, benches and what must be literally tons of cool, tough-as-nails plants. Not only do I find it a little bit incredible that hordes of people walk up stairs to get to it (though if I lived in NYC and didn’t have a garden bigger than my windowsill, I’d probably hoof it up stairs in search of a garden too) but its design is truly sublime. They’ve managed to plant a lot of interesting things from amelanchiers to alliums while leaving the merest hint of nostalgic windblown dereliction growing through the train tracks. It’s genius.

I feel like I could live in NYC. I’m envious that my friend’s neighborhood has more natural food stores and farm-to-table restaurants in a one block radius than I have within 25 miles. With a little practice, I feel like I too could maybe navigate the subway without always ending up in New Jersey. But RI is home. My garden lives here and I don’t have to climb stairs to get to it. (And my gifted peonies are still blooming – white, hugely puff-tastic and wicked fragrant. Thanks, Layanee!)

Follow through

CrocusSpring (I mean late winter) is the ultimate reminder to follow through on promises. I’m not much good at that. I’m happy to start something – like a half a dozen drafts of blog posts – but not so good at following through (half a dozen drafts unfinished). Nature always fulfills her promise though even if it looks like there’s no rainy-way she’ll be able to. And every once in a while even I have it in me to keep my word. I’ve been promising for years to go back and visit friends and family in Seattle and my chosen flight flies Thursday – with me on it.

dogwood budsIn the garden, as per usual, I am also making promises. While I’m away Z will get busy installing a window in the shed (he has no problem with follow through). And that of course means that this year, as soon as I’m back, I have no excuse not to follow through and paint it. I intend to hold me to it. And I’m saying it out loud – again – in hopes that another public declaration will fortify my typically shaky resolve.

my goofy byline I have also recently made a commitment to write a column – bi-monthly at least – for a local weekly. Which is cool but so far, harder to follow through with than I thought it would be. (You guys are much easier to write to. – why is that? ) And meanwhile, perversely, I’m finding it the most difficult to keep my promise to this blog. So in honor of spring’s promise I’m renewing mine. Whether or not I actually follow through.