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

Rainy Days and Mondays

Another cold and rainy day in the Pacific Northwest and a Monday besides.  Though all things are green in the garden, work will have to wait.  We have been promised a day of sunshine this week and are hoping the promise is not vain.

Tucked inside, Mom and I play cribbage (don’t ask who won) and Tiger watches nearby, happy to be where we are.

Benji is tuckered out from last night’s prowling about and curls up for a good nap near the fire.  He is dreaming of tonight’s adventure.

There are worse ways to spend a Monday I suppose.

~  Susanne

Working in the Garden on a Rainy Morning

I woke up this morning to the sound of another torrential downpour and after much consideration over a steaming latte decided I would not be deterred.  There would be enough breaks in the rain and places to shelter;  I would proceed with plans to work in the garden.

I would target my herb bed where the rosemary had become a tree crowding out everything else.  Out he would come to be replaced with a smaller version that hopefully would be contained.  I would add another variety of lavender to the bed and surround it with some new varieties of mint.  One simply cannot have too much lavender.

I would plant the fuschia starts along with some basket stuffers and hope they do better than last year.  Isn’t spring gardening (like spring baseball) all about hope?

And I would stop to admire the delicacy of the azalea, the faithful and often underappreciated workhorse of the Northwest garden.

That would have to do for today.

~ Susanne