While much of Ireland has been cultivated for thousands of years, it still has wild places where the wind blows and howls. Wild things grow in the cracks in rocks, and the beauty of creation is untamed. I found many such places along the coast. These places are popular with the film industry simply because they are wild, free from the noises of civilization and possess rugged beauty. Alas, my vacation in Ireland wasn’t long enough to explore many of the wild inland mountains and bogs. I need to take another trip.
The basalt formation reaching into the sea that gave the site its name. This heritage site is always crowded with people unless it's being used in filming for the movies or TV. Scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed in this rugged area. The whole National Heritage Site along the North coast is huge.
The Burden is southwest of Gallway in county Clare. The area does have some farmland with shallow topsoil over the limestone. This area was so poor, even the English didn't want it. In the 1840's at the time of the great famine that killed a million people, the subsistence farmers in the Burren survived much as they always had because they didn't have English overlords dictating that they grow potatoes and they didn't share their meager crops with outsiders.
Lakes on the Kerry Peninsula. This is rugged basin and range country. Few people live here. They do have electricity but no internet. They don't even have a date for installing internet. Some locals don't know why they need internet--truly wild country. Note: This remote-seeming area isn't that far from the town of Killarney--about forty minutes by bus. The northern end of this lake system can be seen in my pictures of Killarney House gardens below in my Gardens of Irish Republic blog.
In the second week of May the gardens we visited in the Republic of Ireland were not a riot of color. The tulips and daffodils were gone leaving the rhododendrons and azaleas to carry the show. The structure and settings for the gardens, played a huge role in carrying the gardens through this gap in bloom. I was impressed at how well these gardens rose to challenge of providing interest during the transition. Of course there were enough azaleas and rhododendrons to please the garden visitors
Kylemore Abby sits a couple hours drive north of Gallway on the edge of a small lake. The azaleas were lovely. I found several places here where the gardens were farther through their season than my Seattle garden.
Killarny House gardens: Look at this setting! This long border and open lawns wouldn't do much anywhere else but here they beg the visiter to sit and contemplate the lakes and mountains of the Kerry peninsula. I loved the use of the tall waving grasses in this border, giving it a constant sense of movement.
Kilarney House gardens were a bit of a hidden gem. They weren't mentioned in any of our guide books and our tour guide casually mentioned they were open to the public as we drove past. They were well worth a visit. I found lots of unusual specimen plants. These blue columbine are finicky in my garden, but they thrive here.
Private garden in Kindle: The composition of the gray stone wall, yellow tree and purple flower caught my attention. The golden chain trees were blooming all over Ireland while we were there. They do better there than in my garden. I came home to find mine fried from one 80* day following a cold wet spell.
Azalea bed at the entrance to the Japanese Gardens and stud farm at Kildare. Since the main attraction here was the stud farm, hubby took one look at this and asked if the sculpture was supposed to represent a giant horse testicle. No. He was just grumpy because he's hauled food and water to too many horses.
Here we are at St. Stephen's green in the middle of Dublin. We stopped here at the end of our vacation. We'd spent the previous day touring Dublin. I was tired and the noise of the city was starting to get to this country girl. We entered the garden and the noise went away. The hedges effectively blocked the sound of traffic and a half-million people buzzing about. Blessed quiet. Slip into this garden in the heart of Dublin to get refreshed.
Ireland sits at the same latitude as Juneau and Ketchican Alaska, or Newfoundland and Hudson’s Bay. Despite its northernly location, it has a climate close to that of Seattle. The Roman explorers called it Hibernia—the land of perpetual winter. That is a bit of misnomer as anyone who experiences real winter can tell.
Ireland doesn’t get much freeze in the winter. I saw plants there that would freeze in my Seattle gardens. With the temperate climate Ireland has beautiful gardens. I visited as many as I could in the brief time we were there in early May.
Ireland is really just one big garden Not all gardens are planned in minute detail. Some of the gardens are open fields enclosed by hedgerows and stone walls. In early May these were blooming with Hawthorn and Gorse
Photo: Jacob Jaconovich on a small Gerry
“I still remember the day after the emperor set fire to my portion of the city as if it were yesterday” – Philippe Rouseff on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday.
I took my wife to Mass more to please her than from any desire of my own. I watched as the priest lifted the loaf and intoned the words, “On the night in which he was betrayed…” Bile rose up in my throat at the words. I knew betrayal.
The Emperor, one of my closest associates--a cousin even, had struck at the heart my railroad operation in an effort to destroy my family business. I pressed my lips together to stifle the urge to cry out in anger as the priest held up the cup. When Christ was betrayed, only one man died. I wondered how many thousands burned when I was betrayed.
As the faithful shuffled forward to take their bread and sip from the cup, I shifted in my seat and pondered why that bastard crime boss, Wu, a better man than my cousin, had sent his wife to my offices to warn one of the bookkeepers about the impending purge. As the bookkeeper raced from the building, she screamed, “Fire! The army is coming! Fire! Flee!” Who else had been warned that the emperor’s army marched against the city? Who had time to flee?
I had no desire to spend a Sunday afternoon working, but at three in the afternoon, I met with two railroad supervisors to survey the damage to almost a square kilometer of the city. I expected to find tall burned skeletons of tenement buildings. Nothing remained but stone foundations and ash. The emperor had been thorough.
We drove up to the deserted M’TK station. Blowing ash shifted and settled after the passage of my car. My stomach churned wondering how many of my employees’ ashes mixed and blew among the debris of burned buildings.
The brick and slate train station still huddled beside the tracks the lone survivor in a wasteland. Soot now stained the red bricks the same black as the rest of the borough. We stood and looked over the desolation—nothing moved, nothing lived. I wanted to hope that some of my people survived, but hope refused to kindle here among the ruins. The workers were only indigenous northerners, laborers, but they stocked my warehouses and loaded my trains.
The Central Region supervisor looked up. “What the hell?”
I followed his eyes and soon made out a string of boxcars pulled by the station’s yard-gerry slowly rolling toward the station. Filled with the horror that lay around me, I stared transfixed at the approaching apparition. If I were a superstitious man, I’d have turned and fled in fear of death and ghosts. I refused to take my eyes off of this small sign of life.
When the gerry with it’s string of boxcars towering above it, rolled to a stop at the station, the operator dressed in railroad coveralls lifted a woman down from the first boxcar. A young boy about ten jumped to the ground. This family appeared to be like any other of the northern poor—dirty and ragged.
The man introduced himself as the assistant stationmaster. He unlocked the station for us and assured us that he had locked the station’s ticket money in the safe. He seemed respectful enough. He kept his eyes lowered as custom dictated for a man of his station.
I heard the eagerness in my voice, “Have you seen signs that some of my people survived?”
“I haven’t seen anybody within a kilometer of the station. Wu warned me, so I had time to move the equipment. I suppose others had time.”
I shook off my melancholy for a moment. “Listen, you saved my equipment and the money in the station. I must give you a reward. What do you want?”
The man answered immediately. “The Stationmaster ran away when he heard about the army. I stayed long enough to save your equipment. Give me the stationmaster’s job, and let me live here with my family.” For the first time, the man looked me in the eye.The sharp intelligence I saw in the eyes of a northerner surprised me. The man’s humility returned when he asked for help to assist his cousin from the train.
Curious about the new stationmaster, I helped lift his cousin in a wheelchair from the boxcar. I almost recoiled from the reek that still clung to the air inside the car. I recognized the stench that is created when many unwashed bodies are packed close together. I picked up a small piece of waste paper flecked with fish scales. The evidence before my eyes and nose told me that many people, probably northerners with their love of fish, had very recently been packed into this car. In my mind, I saw people filling the boxcars to flee from the fire. I suspected that my new stationmaster had his own reasons for his secrecy, but the knowledge that some of my workers had survived revived a hope that settled into my heart.
I turned to the humble man beside me and forgot a lifetime of lessons about the indigenous people from the north. I suddenly saw not a worthless, northern laborer but a man created in the image of God. I saw the man who had saved my people, a man of honor and compassion. I wondered if he thought of me as just an oppressive Southerner.
How did laborers see the elite? Did they think all of us are as cruel and evil, as I now saw my cousin the emperor to be? I reached out to shake the stationmaster’s hand, fearful for the first time in my life of being rejected. –
This story is told from the perspective of the young boy mentioned here in the book M’TK Sewer Rat: End of an Empire. This is the first record of Mr. Rouseff’s side of the story of the day he met his longtime friend Jacob Jaconovich then the assistant stationmaster.
Chapter 1 Lucy Learns She Has a Home.
Lucy hadn’t slept decently for almost two weeks, not since Mrs. Celia, who oversaw the orphanage where she lived, told her that her birth family had been located and she had a living brother and a grandfather.
Her parents had died, but her real live brother and grandfather were looking for her.
Now, her suitcase, filled with her newest clothes, stood by her door, and her beautiful smoky blue suit hung on a peg ready for her to wear in the morning. She’d bought new shoes, cute bluish-grey pumps with a little strap to wear for the occasion of meeting her birth family.
Aunt Gwen had glanced at the cute pumps and good suit and pushed Lucy’s bangs out of her eyes. “Maybe you better wear walking shoes and casual clothes. Your family doesn’t live near any towns or villages.”
Lucy ignored Aunt Gwen. She wanted to look her very best for her real family.
Papa Jake, the president of the country sat down beside her in the Compound library where she did her homework. “I’m familiar with that area somewhat. You best wear sandals for the trip to the border. Native peoples in Mesa and Montsea provinces wear sandals.”
Alone in her room, Lucy stroked her cute pumps. They did have a strap on them like sandals. Lucy turned the shoes over in her hands, remembering how other children at school wouldn’t play with her before Mrs. Celia came and moved her orphan family into The Compound and gave them pretty new clothes. The first thing she learned in school was that children who aren’t pretty and don’t have pretty clothes aren’t liked. She lifted the shoe to her nose and sniffed the new leather smell, believing there was a greater chance her family would love and respect her if she looked beautiful and stylish. A tear ran down her cheek as the fear of rejection broke out of the prison in her brain where she kept her most horrific memories. Her family had thrown her away before. Her stomach knotted with the desire to be loved and accepted now.
At dinner, Mrs. Celia seemed to understand Lucy’s fears that her birth family wouldn’t love her and hugged her saying, “Wear whatever gives you confidence. Pack your comfortable clothes where they’ll be handy when you need them.”
Lucy had long imagined her mother would have been just like Mrs. Celia, who seemed to understand a girl’s heart and loved everybody, even children who sometimes misbehaved or didn’t do their schoolwork. She’d never known her mother and felt just a little bit thankful there wasn’t a mother somewhere to compete in her heart with Mrs. Celia.
Lucy knelt at the communion rail after Compline. She lit a candle, placing it carefully in a holder. “Father in Heaven, thank you for my brother Curtis. Forgive me for feeling thankful my parents had not thrown me away and forgive me for all the years I feared they had. I wish they’d lived, but I’m thankful they hadn’t just…” Tears slid down her face. She fished in her pocket for a tissue to blow her nose. “I don’t mean to be sinful, and I’m really thankful I have a grandpapa and a brother.” She looked up when she felt someone beside her.
Papa Jake knelt beside her at the rail. He wiped at her tears with his handkerchief, then turned and sat on the kneeling rail beside her. “Now, tell me what has you so upset.“
“Am I bad for feeling thankful when my parents are dead?” Lucy sniffed and blew her nose on the handkerchief Papa had given her.
He patted her shoulder. “No. No, you’re not wrong. It’s a good thing to be thankful your parents loved you. It’s good to be thankful that you know the history of how you came to be placed in an orphanage.” He adjusted his weight on the narrow rail. “Your family must have been very poor. Some of our mountain communities are poorer than anything you’ve seen in the city. Your Grandpapa wouldn’t have had anybody to take care of you while he worked long hours. He may not have had food for a baby.” Jake looked up into the dark reaches of the cathedral dome. “In my travels, I’ve met people who have little more than a hut, who live off lichens, roots and whatever small animals they can find. When you visit your brother and grandpapa, you’ll see such poverty. I don’t want you to be discouraged or shocked. The poverty is one reason I want all our people to adopt a modern lifestyle.”
Lucy nodded and sniffed, but Papa Jake’s admonitions about poverty flew over her head as her overactive imagination conjured an image of her grandfather in faded and tattered clothes standing at the door to small one-room cabin holding out his arms to his returning granddaughter. The words to describe her relief at being assured her parents had loved her do not exist outside the human heart.
After two weeks of worry, tears, thanksgiving, and fear, Lucy boarded the first morning train to Mesa City. She managed to sleep a little once the train left the station. She was accustomed to traveling with Mrs. Celia to visit the other orphanages, so she confidently wheeled her suitcase to the platform for the train north. She sniffed the spicy scent of meats and sweet treats prepared by vendors in stalls beside the station. Her stomach growled asking for food. Her throat constricted. She glanced again at the stall selling fried bread with honey and cinnamon on it. She sat on a bench. I’ll get fish and bean cakes on the train.
After breakfast, she sat looking out the window without seeing the fields and rivers flying past her window. What will Grandpapa be like? The letter from the nuns said it’s my brother who’s looking for me. Will Grandpapa be angry that I’m visiting? What will we eat? Do they eat lichens like Papa Jake said? Surely they must have some sort of hut. Will my brother hug me? Do they speak the common language? What if they speak a dialect I don’t know? She got up visited the restroom for the dozenth time.
A voice on the intercom interrupted her fantasy in which her brother, a big mountain man like her adoptive brother, U’Kee, handed her a bouquet of wildflowers and said, “You look just like I remember Mama.”
Tears slid down Lucy’s cheeks as the conductor’s voice echoed through the car. “Three-rivers station. Arriving at three-rivers. This is the end of the line. Check that you have all your packages and luggage before you get off the train. Thank you for traveling with Rouseff Rail Services.”
Will Grandpapa accept the granddaughter he sent away sixteen years ago? For all of Lucy's adventures you can find the book at: https://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Goes-Home-Sewer-Book-ebook/dp/B07JYKKSF1/ref
The old woman saw the bench sitting alone and thought it looked lonely sitting there beside the path through the woods. She rested her weary body on it and patted its moss-covered wood in gratitude for this respite on her daily walk.
She sat and let her eyes flutter closed as her mind drifted into the past. She remembered the red dress she wore the night she first saw Carl. Her lips curved in the slightest of smiles as she remembered her young love--so tall and strong. She chuckled in her mind as she remembered how he couldn’t take is eyes off of her. She snorted. “He couldn’t take his eyes off of my breasts is more like it.” Her memories gave her energy enough to push herself to her feet and move on.
The next day the bench still waited for the old woman to rest on its aged wood. She patted the mossy surface and let her eyes drift closed. She smelled the damp air as the weak sun tried to dry up the last of the night’s rain. She remembered the big flood. Their house sat on a small knoll surrounded by water. Many of their neighbors had not been so lucky. Carl had taken his rowboat from house to house rescuing stranded neighbors and bringing them home. She remembered how she’d fed forty-three people soup and bread. She sighed pushed herself to her feet and resumed her walk.
The next day, the old woman greeted the bench as an old friend. She sat and remembered when her babies had come. A tear rolled down her cheek as she remembered the grave of little Marie. She’d been born so tiny, but had fought so hard to live. “Dear Lord, take care of my baby. I miss her,” she prayed then pushed herself to her feet to continue her journey.
On the fourth day, the old woman sighed as she eased her frail bones to the rough surface. She didn’t have to wait for the memories. They flooded her senses. She remembered when her son, Dale, went away to war and the day he came home in a coffin. She remembered how Carl had held her as he cursed the foolishness of men who make war. She remembered how Beth grieved for her brother then followed him a few months later as cancer claimed her body. The old woman heaved a great sigh and thought, “Soon,” as she struggled to her feet.
On the fifth day, the old woman stumbled as she approached the bench. What memories would torment her soul today she wondered? A great sigh welled up from the depths of her being, but no memories of loss plagued her today. Today, she remembered traveling with Carl to Venice. They’d stayed on the Lido. She remembered how he held her hand as they rode in a gondola. They ate lunch and drank wine in St Marks’s plaza. He bought her a cameo on a chain. She bought him a yellow tie with lions on it. She remembered the warm sun of Italy and longed to be warm and loved.
After her happy memories of Italy the old woman approached the bench the next day, hoping for visions of the good days when Carl held her in his arms and made her laugh. She thought of Carl and her knees gave out as she lowered herself onto the bench. Instead of joy, she remembered the night he passed on. She remembered wondering when her handsome young husband had become an old man. A warm feeling spreading from her heart surprised her as she remembered how Carl had turned to her at the very end and whispered, “I’ll be going now. Always remember that I love you and will love you ‘til the end of time.” The old woman pressed her hands to her heart to hold the memory of Carl’s love inside her as she struggled to push herself upright.
At the end of the week, the old woman tottered and wheezed as she made her way to her bench. The young nurse had told her to say inside because the wind blew so cold, but the nurse didn’t know anything. At the bench, she remembered. She lived again. As the elderly woman sank down on the rough wood, she longed for her mate. She closed her eyes but no memories flooded her brain. She thought, “It is cold I best go in.”
She smoothed the folds in her red dress and looked up to see Carl. His voice warmed her tired body as he almost lifted her from the bench. “Come my love, the children are waiting.”
Nurse Daphne leaned close to the window as she peered out and shook her head. She turned to one of the nursing assistants in the home. “Steven would you go out and bring Rose inside. That crazy old woman is sitting in the cold.”
One of the greatest joys in my life is the Pacific Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I go every year and wander among the display gardens, crafts, art, and products I could never afford. I think of it as being something like visiting Narnia. We walk through the doors and suddenly the flowers are brighter than in our gardens that still sleep. In early February my garden is like it being “always winter and never Christmas.” It’s really pretty dead, and this year it was still covered with patches of snow.
The garden show is spring before it is really time for spring. The flowers bloom without frost damage or water spots. The air is scented with fragrant hyacinths while my hyacinths at home are just sticking their noses out of the ground as if testing the temperature to see if they really want to come up and bloom. This year, they don’t.
As in a proper Narnia, the walls and gardens are both exotic and funky. A garden gate must have a window for the big people to look out and a lower window for the little people to look out. Narnia has houses for big people, little people, foreign people, nomads and of course the tower for the princess.
The sense of fantasy can be something as big as a dragon or as little as an herb garden. I looked at the charming little herb garden with the sweet little herbs growing so obediently in their little rows. This is Narnia, folks. I do grow herbs. My bay tree is ten feet tall. My rosemary is six feet tall despite the heavy pruning I give it every year. The parsley has gone dormant, but the thyme thrives. My tender herbs grow two feet tall and shade out or just overpower anything with in two feet of them. They aren’t nice. They’re thugs. They have to be in order to survive in the reality of my garden.
A tent in a garden is a wonderful place to hang out and listen to the birds, the wind in the trees, and the coyotes howling in the enchanted forest. At the garden show even the tent is unreal with it’s blown glass candelabra and rugs on the floor. In my own enchanted forest we can hear the wind and the birds and even the coyotes, but the tent better have a tarp over it to keep the rain out and why in the real world, does everything have to be an unnatural blue?
I want glowing orbs in my garden. Where do I get glowing orbs? What I do have is the rope lights inside the cold frame. This is just not the same as soft pink glowing orbs. These would be so lovely in the enchanted forest.
In Narnia, all the plants grow in tidy rows or circles. The sense of unreality expands in a garden with topiary, as all the shrubs grow in their proper form. Alas, the fantasy explodes when we find the garden designer working hard to keep his display looking fresh. I thought he would make a nice element in my garden but security got testy when I tried to drag him out to my car and stuff him in the trunk along with my new pruners and bulbs. I can still hire help from the local garden store, so I left this worker where he was.
Alas, even Narnia has it’s troubles. It lasts only five days before the whole thing is dismantled and disappears until next year. Meanwhile, my own garden will grow and bloom. The ducks and goose will waddle around eating slugs and pecking at weeds. They add a sense of funky movement to the garden. The birds come back from their warm winter homes. My garden will live again and be what it is, a little farm on the edge of an enchanted forest.
Acknowledgement: tony@redwoodlandscaptingand builders.com
The Annual Pacific Northwest Garden Show is winding down in Seattle. I visited for two days this year. This was my thirty-first garden show. I have attended every one of them. Why do I go back? Certainly the dreams of spring and summer during the cold wet winter are a huge draw. I love seeing all the color and smelling the spring flowers. The seminars are informative. I’ve actually found new products at the show that have made life easier for me. I always buy some chocolate bars from a company in Mt. Vernon. Maybe it’s the chocolate that draws me back year after year.
I really think it is the whole delightful combination of flowers, fragrance, lessons, light, products, music and inspiration that draws me back. I get inspired to think in new patterns. Thinking is hard. Having an event that stimulates so many areas of my brain through all my senses kick-starts my year after semi-hibernating all winter.
The product that ticked my sense of humor this year was the drone that sprinkles moss retardant on roofs. My hubby obsesses about moss on the roof. Twice a year we must apply moss killer to the roof. He even fell off the roof applying moss retardant. He really is obsessive about moss on the roof. Our roofs have a zinc strip across them to retard moss but hubby still climbs up there or sends his chore helper up there to apply more moss killer. Okay, I laughed at the drone. Seems like a lot of trouble just to keep moss off the roof.
My friend has a six-inch deep eco-lawn on her roof-all made of different kinds of moss. It grew all by itself and never needs maintenance. I’m not sure our roof will last any longer than the moss covered roof. I laughed at the drone and took the slip of information the sales rep wanted to give me.
I was still laughing over the drone when I got home and told my husband about it. He didn’t laugh. He looked at my pictures and asked questions then filed the precious contact information in his house-maintenance file. Sometime in the next year, we will have a drone flying over our house sprinkling moss killer on the roof. The garden show is life changing.
I fell in love with a culvert. This puppy must be six feet tall. I assume it’s real purpose would be for storm water runoff. However, set on it’s side in the garden, it would make a lovely entrance into my enchanted forest. We are really talking about a sewer pipe here-nothing fancy, but with landscaping it could be stunning and define where the road leaves off and the garden begins. Hubby looked at my pictures and commented, “You could plant a pink clematis by it and the flowers would hag down over it making it look like it belongs in the landscape. He’s right. Clematis Montana would be the perfect planting to go with a six-foot tall gray drain pipe sitting beside the driveway.
One of my favorite products at the garden show is the chocolate make by Forte Chocolates in Mt. Vernon Washington. I can’t say which is my favorite flavor, but the white chocolate with rosemary and pepper is one of my favorites. The Espresso Bean bar has flecks of ground espresso beans in it. They make an orange flavor and a honeycomb bar. I have no idea what the ones with nuts taste like because of my allergy to nuts.
Poor hubby fingered my stash of candy bars wistfully. “I wouldn’t think rosemary and pepper would be all that good.” He’s allergic to chocolate so he’ll never know. I got to thinking about how much I enjoy these weird flavored chocolate bars. Finally, from the depths of my brain, two ideas collided. I could make sugar cookies in my favorite candy bar flavors. I have lots of Rosemary in my yard. We have ground espresso beans. Hubby can get a hint of the wonderful flavors I enjoy in the chocolate bars.
So what keeps me going back to the garden show year after year for thirty-one years? The ideas and the brain stimulation pull me in. I see new ways to do things to make life easier or more fun. The garden show won my loyalty by stirring my sense of creativity.
Yes it is snowing. Yes, I know it snows other places. Here in the Puget Sound basin it doesn’t snow all that often so we consider it a bit of an event. Our municipalities are well aware that it doesn’t snow all that often and they spend accordingly. There is no point in investing in snow removal equipment that will sit unused for seven out of ten years. Snow usually melts off by noon anyway.
Thus when we have a snow storm that lasts several days, it is a major event. Most people are snowed in because side streets don’t get plowed and those side streets are on steep hills anyway. We’re the only place in the US that has hills that go from sea level to three hundred-fifty feet in ten blocks and gets snow. Our marine influence means that we don’t really get snow. We get an ice and snow sandwich. Right now we have a solid layer of ice under about a foot of snow. There is a half-inch layer of ice on top of our snow now, and more snow is falling to cover that ice.
So we have hills, the ice/snow layers and something else. Our neighbor was bragging about his four wheel drive jeep. It goes everywhere. His jeep is not going to go over the down tree in his driveway. We have vegetation that brings down power lines and blocks roads. Douglas firs particularly delight in throwing huge branches at us. Madrone are evergreen. Their broad leaves catch the snow putting weight on trunks made brittle by freezing temperatures and down they come. When it snows here, the power goes out.
Snow anywhere is a challenge for farmers. We have stock to tend and crops that need protection. Here, we’ve been having an El Nino winter with a warm off shore current. We had one frost that knocked down the dahlias and sent most things into dormancy. However the roses were sending out new shoots before this hit. My plants weren’t ready for freezing and snow.
I usually open my roadside stand with fresh homegrown organic flowers for Valentines day. We have quite a few plants that bloom in our mild winters. I use the native winter blooming honeysuckle, huckleberry, pussy willow, salal, winter blooming viburnum, and rhododendron-Christmas Cheer. I mix these with tulips from my greenhouse and sell the bouquets at my flower stand at the intersection in the village of Burton.
The flower stand was in my greenhouse getting dried out enough to paint when we needed to go to Texas for a funeral. Okay, I still had time to paint the thing and get it to the intersection for Valentines Day. We left for Texas. My daughter called and told us what was coming in.
We returned home to a winter wonderland. By sticking to the main roads we were able to drive as far as the bottom of our driveway. I’m afraid the best that is going to happen for Valentines day is pictures. I may make myself a huge bouquet with a hundred tulips that won’t be any good by the time we defrost.
Delinda McCann is a social psychologist, author, avid organic gardener and amateur musician.