A Fruitful Summer Day in the Garden

Endless sunny days and so far I have worked very little in the garden.  Things grow and produce despite my neglect, but still it’s time for some maintenance.  Even an hour or two will accomplish a lot.

First, the Strawberries

Although I’ve been harvesting them for a month I still see a few stragglers remaining.  I always imagine they are anxiously waiting for me to come pick them, afraid of being left behind.

“I’m here, ” they call out.  “Don’t forget me.  I’m juicy and red.  Look just under the leaves and you will see me.”

I did and found many more than I expected.

Next up, the weeds

Once in the garden I see more work to be done and tackle the most glaring and obvious: the tallest of the weeds to be pulled, the volunteers to be moved or disposed of, the empty spots to be filled in.  The dahlias I planted last year didn’t come up again so I pulled the weeds that had taken their place.  This opened up a spot for a zealous rose and traveling lavender, both of which had sprung up unbidden nearby.  They earned it!

The Pollinators

Some of the work is best left to others, the pollinators for instance.  The bees busily worked the lavender like those on a mission but still left something behind for the moth.

The blooming and the ripening

I wander about the garden, stopping here and there to admire the flowers

and anticipate the promise to come; the ripening of these tomatoes for instance,

and biting down on one of these apples in the fall, the first I have ever grown.

And don’t forget to pet the cat

And what’s time spent in the garden without a furry friend?  Invariably I am joined by one or the other of my two cats who follows along and begs my attention.  I always oblige. Today it was the handsome Tiger.

A cool drink and it’s time to go.

A day well spent in the garden.

~ Susanne

Soos Creek Botanical Garden

After the rain showers this week,  I visited the lovely Soos Creek Botanical Garden today.  It was a rather spontaneous decision, made while drinking my latte at the Starbucks next to the gym where I was supposedly headed next.  But the rain had stopped.  Fresh air and a walk would be better than the treadmill, wouldn’t it?  Of course it would!   And I’d only been to the Soos Creek Garden once before, even though it’s only a thirty minute drive down the road. Time for another visit.

A few volunteers were the only ones I saw as I walked through the Carlmas Long Borders promenade, the centerpiece of the garden.  The grass was still wet and the flowers fresh with raindrops from the day before.  Beautiful color exploded on each side.

Afterwards I wandered on paths through native woods, including a cedar grove and alder grove, and made my way down to the creek.

I headed back up to where I started, to the top of the expansive lawn where the Schaefer Pond Garden was peaceful and serene.

Soos Creek Botanical Garden is 22 acres of garden and woodlands, exactly the size of the Tiffany Park Woods that are currently being destroyed in my neighborhood. I guess it’s some consolation to know I can visit the lovely Botanical Garden for a safe and scenic walk in the woods.

Before leaving, I bought some plants, dropping my money in the donation box, and went home to find a place for them in my yard.

Much better than the gym I have to admit.

~  Susanne

The Faithful Ones in the Early Spring Garden

Under a light rain I venture outside to the spring garden and admire the faithful flowers blooming there. These are the ones who really do bloom where they are planted, requiring little if any assistance from me.

I planted the Clematis a few years ago to fill in a spot of chain link fence.  It has been pleased to do that and more, happily climbing overhead onto nearby evergreens, spreading color everywhere.

This Rhododendron, though completely neglected by me, blooms heartily every year in spite of it.

The Candytuft gets no special attention either,

yet fills the air with its sweetness, attracting the attention of two residence cats, Benji and Tiger, who also appreciate its scent.

Sweet Woodruff provides a nice bed for the bird bath and kitty watering hole,

while this uninvited intruder fills in where I can get nothing else to grow

providing a nice background for a portrait of the handsome Tiger.

All are happy in the spring garden.

~  Susanne

After the Rain

After the promised high temperatures enjoyed their run for little more than 24 hours, they left abruptly and thunder and lightning and heavy rain took their place. We sat inside, watching and listening, occasionally poking our head out to see the jagged spires light up the sky.

After the thorough pounding and rumbling and crackling for hours on end, the rain finally took a break and I ventured out to see what the storm had done, which was to make everything cleaner and fresher and greener.

Looking up I was most impressed by the clouds which hung dramatically and beautifully every direction I turned.

I hurried back inside before the next explosion of thunder and rain occurred, bringing with it a flicker of power outage while writing this post. Through my office window I capture the last image of the day. Oh!

That’s enough for tonight.

~ Susanne

A Tiger in the Garden

While waiting for my coffee to brew this morning I took a quick walk through the garden.  The dew was still fresh everywhere and I found the Lady’s Mantle covered in jewels.

I also found this handsome Tiger sleeping.

Maybe that’s why they call it a garden bed.

~ Susanne

Rainy Days and Setting Sun

By now you may have heard that we are experiencing the rainiest October through April in Seattle since 1895 when records began to be kept.  We have received almost 45 inches of rain since October 1st and April is not over yet.  And yes, it feels like it.

Still, when the sky clears I’ve become fond of chasing sunsets which manage to make an occasional dramatic appearance rainy day or not. Earlier this week I settled for the golden glow in the garden shortly before the sun went down.

And a few minutes later I enjoyed colorful clouds behind the evergreens.

One rainy day followed by a clear evening with two different garden views gave me a little more practice with my camera and the setting sun.

~  Susanne

Tiffany Park Woods Revisited

Behind my house in Renton there are 22 acres of woods.   You can see them through the fence in my backyard where they provide a wonderful backdrop of green making my own gardening efforts easier.

I have enjoyed their quiet beauty and the birds and wildlife who live in them. I’ve welcomed the deer who occasionally peer through the fence and let them prune my raspberry bushes when I forgot to close the gate.

Of all the friendly birds that have stopped by my yard (and there are many), my favorite was the red crested pileated woodpecker. I’ll never forget watching that giant bird with the bright red plume as he stopped for a drink and made my bird bath look small.  I have never seen another one in the wild.

It has already been a couple of years since we learned the woods had been sold.  At the time, neighbors voiced their complaints to the city and various hearings were held. Environmental studies were performed and inventories of wetlands, trees, birds and mammals were taken. But things being as they are it was only a matter of time until the clearing of the land and the building of the houses would begin.

I wonder how the trees feel about it?  Do they know the white tag or the blue tag or the pink tag pinned to their bark determines their fate?  Have the animals perhaps sensed what is coming and already relocated to more permanent homes?

Recently some friendly men came by and we asked them when work would begin.

“Soon,” they replied.

“But we have heard that for years,” we answered and laughed together.

But this time it really is soon. Their mission is to prepare the infrastructure to support the new homes.  Tree felling will begin within weeks and utilities should follow after. The peace and quiet will be gone for too long a time I fear. I wish it was already over and done.

I thought I would take a final walk through the woods before the logging begins and photograph what will be lost.  I follow the trail where young boys run and play and older boys walk their dogs.

I come across this comfy stool fit for a fairy.

and I find ferns with new spring fronds unfurling ..

The bleeding hearts are in bloom…

and the salmonberries are blossoming.

And of course there are the trees.

I find this tangle that will likely stick together while coming down.

They are ordinary perhaps, these Tiffany Park Woods, nothing special except to those who live near them.  Or in them.

I remember the first time I heard the deep hooting of the Great Horned Owl in the dead of night.  I wondered at the size of an owl that had such a booming voice resonating in the woods.  I got up hoping to catch a glimpse of him but of course it was too dark. Silly I know.  There are other owls too but I don’t know what kind. I’ve tried to remember the rhythms of their calls so I could look it up the next day.  But by morning I have usually forgotten.  I will miss the owls.

I grew up next to woods in West Seattle and have fond memories of the many hours spent in them; running on the trails, making beds of the ferns, and playing the games of childhood.  Maybe children don’t play in woods anymore.  But I still believe there is value in having some patches of wilderness in urban spaces.

The woods in Tiffany Park will soon be gone but my woods in West Seattle still remain.  For that I am thankful.

~ Susanne