What am I thinking about this week? I am bursting with garden thoughts. After almost a year of isolation, my Zoom life has taken charge and in just this month, I have attended more live zoom calls and meetings than in all other months combined. So, one thing on my mind is botanicals.
I virtually attended the January meeting of the Trustees Garden Club in Savannah GA. Jenny Cruse-Sanders from the State Botanical Garden gave a fascinating Zoom presentation on Plants, Nature and Gorgeous China.
For centuries, the science of studying the plant world has informed through the gorgeous renderings by botanic artists. The life of the plants translated on porcelain is immortalized and we can enjoy these treasures hundreds of years later.
Imagine the time when we can again gather, set a table of beautiful botanic China, and enjoy friends and family in 3D. Until that time, isn’t it great that we can turn to Zoom to stay connected with people, ideas and yes, the garden.
Christmas is but a few days away. The hustle and bustle of previous years is dissipated, gratefully so. I for one do not miss the frenzy. Record snowfalls in some parts of the U.S. and cold temperatures everywhere encourage Christmas bakers to practice their art. Snowball cookies, or nut butter balls, pressed sugar cookies, chocolate turtles and Christmas buckeyes, are all waiting to be devoured. Gifts of orange and walnut sweet breads are baked and delivered to friends. (The oranges are shared offerings from our neighbor’s citrus trees!)
My New Mexico family will be missed, as will my New York family. Joyfully, Connecticut arrives tonight.
In recent days, walking on our beautiful Island has brought a calm and peaceful feeling. Somehow knowing our New Mexico family is enjoying the great outdoors and walking their own path makes me happy.
Not together, but part of the same and taking time from the business of life to move forward on paths to happiness.
Merry Christmas. Let the sparkle fill your hearts!
When a lockdown occurred in March, did we think that those two weeks would extend to 9 months? The first Pandemic progeny are being born. So what have you been doing? It is obvious to anyone who subscribes to my Blog, that I haven’t found more time for more posting!
End of the day sunsets still manage to draw me to the water. A golf cart ride away in the summer, and with a jacket and hat, still an appealing before dinner ride on clear nights in Autumn.
There is so much more time spent in the kitchen as we try to make the most necessary activity, also entertaining. The NYT Sunday edition has a new page, suggesting 5 recipes to try cooking at home. Sparking a little more creativity, I have tried many of them.
Endless new series on tv to start and finish. The Queen’s Gambit is enthralling! Maybe it’s a touch of ADHD, but I can’t sit still through all that viewing, so there is a lot of stitching to accompany all the movies and series in the evening. One project completed, another one started.
It is still perfect weather to be working in the garden, both at our farm plot and around our home in Savannah.
Thanksgiving will be sad this year, with our family staying put in New Mexico, Connecticut, and New York. We plan to have our dinner with a couple in our neighborhood . It will be outdoors, weather permitting. To bring some early cheer into our lives, the Christmas decorating has started.
It begins at the front door, changing the cushion covers, remove the pumpkins, start to add pine cones and pillows. More to come. Those light fixtures need a swag or bow…
I really did feel joy as I pulled out all of past years’ decorations and the memories they hold. It will be a different holiday time this year but one thing that remains… the glory of a sunset at the end of the day.
Have you started to travel? Instead of getting in a car or on a plane or boat, are you visiting with friends and family afar through a Zoom call, Skype or FaceTime call? We made a 14 hour car trip in June/July to NY/CT because those virtual visits did not measure up to the REAL thing. That was bliss.
When our Taos NM family asked us if we wanted to visit them in September, our airline tickets were purchased pronto. Notice I haven’t mentioned the reason everyone has halted non-essential travel? I will attempt to write this post without mentioning the name of the scourge.
I am afraid of flying. And I am as afraid of dying as is normal. But I was more afraid of going another year without BEING with our son and DIL. The love of family and the Land Of Enchantment is a strong pull. The moment I walked out of the Albuquerque terminal, I felt it. A visceral emotion that overtook me as I inhaled the light air; the landscape enfolded me.
The landscape. The Rio Grande.
Sangre de Christo Mountains. The road past hay fields and horses,
the apple trees, Our son’s life. We had been missing all of this. And ….there were puppies to hold, puppies to feed, puppies to clean up after, and puppies to love. It’s hard to start the day without a smile, if there are puppies!
I hope no one on our 4 flights was sick. I hope that no one on our 4 flights gets sick. Eleven days have passed, since our return, so I think I can say, it was, for us, a safe trip. Who knows when I will follow my heart out West again, but this thing I won’t speak of, can’t stop me from trying.
Looking back at this blog over the years, you might not know a pandemic swept the world in 2020. This blog doesn’t reflect the life altering event of which no one is immune. Before summer slides by, as three seasons before have done….let me tell you what the quarantine and isolation have been like for a gardener on Skidaway Island.
Actually, we have been among the fortunate ones. So far only 100 or so cases have been reported on our little Island of about 14,000, and for the first few months we didn’t hear of any but two. My Photos file is filled with the usual groups of sunsets, flowers, plants and landscapes. Despite Covid 19, the natural world started to come to life in March, even as the humans retreated and stayed at home. Guess what, the natural world doesn’t need humans!
The stark contrast to pandemic life on Skidaway Island, came when we ventured forth to New York City in July. On the island of Manhattan, humans are needed. Except for a few pockets of green and a good sized pocket called Central Park, the concrete, stone and steel world would take a long time to revert back to a natural place. We parked by our first home together, a condo on the Upper East side. When the street tree died right in front of our ground floor garden apartment, I spent a lot of time getting the City to replace it. I must be old, because that tree has grown so tall!
The only thing similar about our first home and our current home, is a leaning tree and the iron fencing.
Downtown areas in New York were just opening up at the start of July, but the Upper East side was eerily quiet. The boarded up store fronts were so depressing but by now, I hope things are getting back to normal, whatever that will be….
On the street where you live, anyone can tell who the gardeners are among the residents. They will have a killer container, one that wasn’t purchased at the local box store, leading to the front door. Or if it is mass produced, that container will be filled with an array of beautifully assembled plants. And if the plants are not an unusual assortment, but maybe just red geraniums, then they are always perfectly groomed, no dead leaves, and predictably blooming with gusto and always the most vibrant you have seen.
On my street, you can find me year round. Not just one container, but 93 (no, not all at the front door.) This month, look for me where the Crinum asiaticum (giant crinum lily) is blooming at the mail box!
What do you think about drive by garden hopping? I am bereft that there are no organized garden tours in 2020. I have a need to stroll some gardens! Here I am, so close to NYBG, and they are closed! It is sad!
Is it wrong to snap photos of gardens and beautiful yards from the street? After all, you can look at any property in the world, almost, from Street View or from the air, on Google maps.
I am sure you aren’t allowed to sell or make money on those photos taken of private property. But I feel sure that any gardener or proud property owner would be flattered that you thought they were worthy to share on your blog.
Driving around the Old Greenwich area, near where I am staying, has been a delight! The hydrangea are spectacular this year! Yesterday, this homeowner (below) got my blue ribbon. The abundance of plant material! Some I did not recognize….stump the horticulture judge! Can you name every plant? What do you think of the living fence being grown? I would like to try that! Do you think those posts are set in cement? I really need a garden partner on these drive bys! I have so much garden conversation bottled up! What about you?
With the Covid virus raging in the world, I thank God for Nature’s offering. There is so much calm to be found in the garden…a natural relief from stress. There is evidence all around us that people are spending more time outdoors in their gardens and allowing themselves to breath deeply….and let the worry over the virus blow away with the soft breeze. It is a way to take care of your emotional health until we get this behind us. Take care!
Hey y’all in the North! Bet your veggies are just taking hold, and the bugs and diseases are about to creep in! Here on coastal Georgia, we are already harvesting! Already dealt with caterpillars and worms and whitefly! Captain Jacks dead bug spray was my organic go to, along with trusty Neem Oil. Before any critter can even think about taking a bite, here is what I brought home yesterday for a little window ripening time. Yum!
It is so easy to get lost in the tumble of days produced when a Pandemic seizes the world. Saturday? Thursday? The usual timetable gets thrown aside and the rhythms of your life are upended. The day ends, you watch the glow of sun recede and you’re embarrassed that you have little to show in terms of productivity.
But then #something very ordinary happens, and you remember what it is like to have a method and a madness to your day. Our garage door broke, irretrievably broken, the steel facing of the door ripped away as the bolts no longer held…what a mess.
So now, you are pressed into action. make the calls, get the estimates, examine the options!
Taking breaks from the garden play and chores, we hopped aboard the golf cart to see what our neighbors had chosen for garage doors.
Apparently a broken garage door requires an essential service, so we now have been stirred from our stupor of days. Try not to lose your way forward. We will don our masks, and stand at a distance, and try to get this done. Slowly, ever so slowly, the world will try to defeat this virus and get back to some sense of normalcy. We can hope we have all learned something…how to be quiet, how to be still, and yet we will continue to have to deal with broken doors….
Weather permitting, we try to walk at least once a day, and that does not include the short walks with the dogs. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful place.
There are walking paths along both the Eastern and Western Marsh. Our walk along the Western Marsh was lovely, quiet and breezy, with warm sunshine. With a view like that, creating a garden is almost superfluous.
The architecture on this Island is regulated, but there are still many different styles to be seen. There aren’t many blue homes, but this one was handsome.
We passed along the side of a tabby house, that we had viewed when we were searching for a home here. Glad we didn’t choose it because a new home was built on the side, and seems to block the former view of a particularly appealing lagoon.
Fountains and water features are often part of Island gardens here. On this particular walk, I discovered a fountain I had not seen before.
This is a very difficult time to be living through, and I know so many people are suffering without being able to see and be with their families and friends. A simple walk does a lot to clear the mind, though it doesn’t change the reality. Another thing I look forward to, is a visit by the fox family in my back yard. The two kits have been coming out in the evenings. I am insisting they keep a wide social distance from my two beloved dogs! So far, we are coexisting nicely.