Monday, April 22, 2024

Earth Day 2024 ~


I've never had luck growing beautiful hellebores in my garden, or delphiniums, lupins, euphorbia, Japanese anemones . . . . .  and many more plants I recall were easy peasy to grow in my childhood home in Devon, England. My mother, among so many other creative jobs and hobbies, also had a green thumb and worked wonders in our small gardens in front and back of the bunglalow. People passing by on foot, which most did back in those days before everyone sailed by on wheels, stopped and admired our front garden. Around the small lawn were beds of mixed shrubs, some evergreen others flowering, including fuchsia, always a favorite. A fragrant lilac was tucked in a corner, pyracantha espaliered up a wall below a bedroom window. Perennials such as peonies and dahilas were so abundant they would take your breathe away. A boxwood hedge, trimmed to around four feet surrounded everything. Our soil was rich, our rain came often, and we never needed a garden hose for watering. 

I don't recall people celebrating "Earth Day" as being a named day back then. Every day was a day when we acknowledged our beautiful planet. Continents, countries, oceans, mountains, deserts, landscapes. . . . . . . . everything, everywhere, it was earth and we were grateful for everything it provided. Having seen a lot of this planet during visits to all seven continents, I have wonderful memories of special places. . . . . and hopefully will see even more!

Okavango Delta - Botswana 2010

Maasai Mara - Kenya 2016

Chilean Fjords - 2018

Enjoy the day celebrating our planet EARTH - let us all do our best to save it and keep it beautiful.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Complicated - but there's always the garden!

Since my last post life has been complicated. 
I want my days to be like my bits and bobs around the house, neat, clean, organized, tidy and in top working order. Instead, these days, and past several weeks, I've been inundated with home projects, some planned, others nasty surprises, ranging from emergencies, to 'fix its' that are not actually broken but "let's do it now and be safe rather than sorry later".

I'm not going into the sordid details, just know nothing lasts forever in a home be it plumbing, electrics, roofs, outdoor structures, or even perfect gardens. Things age, wear out, break, disintegrate, fall off, blow away . . . . . . and even grow too big to manage, like 100 ft oak trees and 10 ft azalea shrubs. Who knew that taking down a tree that size might some day cost $5,000! Our biggest tree still stands and we say a little prayer when the wind picks up, wondering why the builder didn't clear the land before sitting our little house on it forty years ago. The azaleas we embrace and love their huge size with thousands of blooms right now.

As homeowners we sometimes turn a blind eye to maintenance issues, especially those of us who know very little about building and the length of time products last before dripping, cracking, corroding etc.  At times like this I wonder why I didn't decide to spend my life married to a plumber/electrician/sheetrock/painter/handyman. Even better a general contractor who could help out with everything in the home requiring attention and, with a snap of his fingers, have a reliable service person there with the right tools, a working pickup truck (that doesn't drip oil on the driveway!), who uses tarps and drop cloths and eventually fixes everything perfectly . . . . . . . and doesn't talk down to me or make me cry!
Are you getting the picture here?  

Yes, it's my garden and I love it. I sometimes complain wishing we could move to a new place with no repairs, less maintenance, no garden to weed, on one level with no stairs, no lawn to mow, no large trees to fall on us when the winds pick up . . . . . . . . . . .  and then I recall the months stretching into years of the pandemic and how having a garden perhaps saved my life.  All those days spent in the garden, on the front porch, back deck, away from the mosquitoes in the screened gazebo, were days I remember with love. The garden was my safe haven while the world was in turmoil.
Gardens here are at their peak of loveliness right now - the southeast brings a springtime where everything blooms profusely. It was my reason for moving here all those years ago when Bob's company flew me down to Raleigh in April 1977 for a weekend to look around - he was already working here - to see if I liked it and would want to make my home here.  I fell in love and had no doubts about living here . . . . . . . knowing immediately I would so enjoy having a real garden like I had in England as a child.