Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Janustory Day 24

Janustory Day 24: A warm breeze ruffles my hair as the sun begins to set and I’m going to need to build a shelter for the night.

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I think we all need shelter at some point. I am torn between loving a sheltered garden with trees as my ceiling and the wide open spaces of the prairie. When I was a little girl, I made a secret cave out of the old yews back behind the garage. They were ancient and huge so I could easily make a little nest beneath the branches. There were seats and shelves, even a pretend fire pit. I played there with my dolls for hours, making up adventures. This is one of the structures my coworkers crafted for the children's garden at my former garden center workplace. It held up pretty well to the winds and storms, with occasional reinforcement. Where to you go for shelter or to hide?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Janustory Day 23

Janustory Day 23: I have achieved an open patch and looking up to a brilliant sky swept with clouds, suddenly feel that all is not lost.

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The days are getting longer and it's almost light until 5:00 now. It's been a very grey January, even more so than usual. It might be time for another visit to palm trees and orchids to cheer this weary soul. Speaking of orchids, I have managed to keep one alive for about a year. This is quite an achievement as I am not particularly gifted when it comes to houseplants. Trees, trees I can grow like wildfire, but they do tend to thrive on benevolent neglect sometimes. Houseplants like African violets do just fine, but temperamental ones, no dice. Maybe I'll be able to coax this orchid into reblooming. We shall see.

So far the black orchid (Encyclia cochleatum)  survives. Maybe it will bloom again like this?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Janustory Day 20, 21, 22...

Janustory Day 20: At last I have reached the leaf litter below and I pause to take in this strange huge new landscape.

Janustory Day 21: Each crooked stem, green leaf, and grain of gritty soil has become an entirely new country and I am a foreigner.

Janustory Day 22: I wonder where my other intrepid team members landed after our laboratory shrinking and if they are entirely lost or also exploring.

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Good heavens, I am behind! This is what happens when I wander down the rabbit hole of an old short story idea. Finally, yesterday, we were treated to sunshine and nearly 60 degrees. As I shoveled the mysterious muck of soil, gravel, and clay back into the hole around our brand spanking new sewer access hatch, birds were singing and squirrels scampering. The new trench went through part of a flower bed, and I was delighted to find a chunk of one of my favorite cranesbills (Geranium sanguineum var. striatum) lurking in the pile of soil. I've tossed it back in the bed with a scoop of dirt and we'll see if it makes it. It's quite possible. They are very tough plants.

The hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) and Dave the Elm (Ulmus davidiana) soak in the sunshine.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Janustory Day 19: Flowers for Sanity

Janustory Day 19: I cling aching and helpless as a summer shower tries to drown me, each heavy raindrop a merciless waterfall.

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It has felt like a heavy day. I am grateful that my local grocery store ships in pots of primroses for dirt cheap each winter. They sell like hotcakes and it's understandable why. Who doesn't love a small pot of cheerful flowers on a gloomy winter day? I keep them on the windowsill where they get plenty of sun, but stay chilly. Today - flowers for sanity.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Janustory Day 18

Janustory Day 18: As I inch down the stem’s thick buoyant hairs, a deluge of water nearly knocks me into space.

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Rain can knock us off our feet, ruin our plans, bog down our travel, and mess up our lives. It also nourishes, fertilizes, waters, and cleanses the world. I tend to take a horticulturist's view of rain - good for the earth. And I say that as someone with an old house and somewhat porous basement. Still, I like walking in the rain. I like messing about in puddles. I've enjoyed observing the dynamics of the rain garden and how water moves across my little patch of land. The big snowdrop patch seeded itself in what seems to be a damp patch. Anytime I've planted them drier, they struggle. So it seems we each need a degree of moisture in our lives.

Katsura's (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) waxy leaves will hold a light rain.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Janustory Day 17

Janustory Day 17: How am I ever going to find the other members of the team with my radio broken?

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It seems our mini-thaw will continue and we might see temps in the 50s. And they say global warming is a myth. Well, we're all interconnected, aren't we? So today I chose a photo of a marbled orb weaver spider in all her fishnet stocking glory in the middle of her web. End of summer spiders are glorious and I always feel privileged when one takes up residence in the garden. Feast away on those mosquitoes! And look downright dapper while doing it. The spiders and I have a rule. No spiders indoors in the living spaces. Their place is the cellar where they can eat things I don't want to know about. Yes, it's a cellar, not a basement. Trust me. It might be haunted, but the spiders aren't telling.

Hello, beautiful!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Janustory Day 16

Janustory Day 16: After crafting a braided rope from the calyx fibers, I’ve freed myself from my narrow prison.

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It's being a typical January weather day - raining, freezing rain, and perhaps snow. Quixotic. I've started walking around my local pond in a renewed effort at exercise. What I'm finding is the small treasures hidden in a familiar landscape. Yesterday, that treasure was the mystery of ice. The pond is locked in shifting ice and as it breaks and reforms, new and fascinating shapes form. This pond is part of the stormwater system, so it often floods and holds water. Thus, it's been planted extensively in bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and they are quite happy. These two have started to form knees, so clearly, they're the right plant in the right place. However, ice has created its own magic and given these two trees frosty ballet skirts. So, while they may be imprisoned in ice, it looks like escape is possible.