My husband’s new Siberian Iris is in bloom!
My reading in April really dropped off, due to some happy busy-ness. Reading time was given over to Spring garden projects, a visit from our daughter for the first time in most of a year, and the call to be outdoors by the return of very pleasant weather.
I was able to finish two books in April. The first one was Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell, (which I loved). The second one was The Consequences of Fear, by Jacqueline Winspear, (a fun addition to her Maisie Dobbs series). I also made a little more progress in my long-term project of reading The Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a book that is both painful and fascinating to read.
I must confess that not spending so much time reading during the day was delightful. It is simply wonderful to be outside in the sunshine after the long gray days of rainy winter/early spring in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s been such a busy week here so I’m really happy that today is Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. It is wonderful to be spending some time reading again!
The week was happy-busy. Our daughter, now vaccinated, came to visit for the first time since last year. She is an avid gardener, so while she was here, we visited three garden centers for inspiration and specific plants, dug a new flower bed in front of the bicycle/gardening shed my husband has built, and ordered a load of garden blend soil. She was a wonderful help with these Spring gardening projects, and since the sun shone all week, we were able to get those projects mostly finished. Byron and I were sad when she left for home, but look forward to a return visit from her next month.
Today, after such a sunshiny week, it is raining. Perfect readathon weather! My readathon plans are minimal this time. Nothing fancy…no special snacks or anything. Just reading and more reading. I have a number of books I’d like to finish today. I’m in the middle of Jacqueline Winspear‘s latest book, The Consequences of Fear. I’ve borrowed a few books from the library, and my Kindle is loaded, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.
I’ll keep a list on this post of the books I finish, so check back later to see what I’m up to.
HAPPY READING, EVERYONE!
First, I bought the audiobook of Monty Don‘s, Down to Earth, because I thought it would be fun and inspiring to listen to while I’m doing other things like knitting or cleaning up flower beds. It was! But I quickly discovered that I needed a print version of the book, as well, because there was so much excellent information, and so many inspiring ideas, that I will need to refer back to throughout the year. It is full of gardening wisdom and I loved listening to it, then reading it. There is so much for me to learn from this easy and enjoyable book.
One favorite bit from the book was the section about wildlife in the garden:
“An immaculate garden is a hostile place to most wildlife. Beautifully weeded borders, with every fallen leaf and twig gathered and disposed of, hedges kept constantly crisp and grass mown to within a fraction of its life may make a certain sort of gardener glow with pride but will provide little comfort for most of our birds, mammals and insects.”
I must admit that I do NOT have an immaculate garden! I call the east side of our property “the wilderness area” because the hedge is overgrown and there is little order to it at all. But, as a consequence, we get many little birds that visit us, a family of scrub jays nest there each spring, too many squirrels that think they own the place, and an occasional owl or hawk. The view out our kitchen window is a bit unruly, but always entertaining. Throughout our quarantine, watching the wildlife outside has been a huge comfort and entertainment for us.
So, for any gardeners out there, this book by Monty Don is highly informative and entertaining. If it’s a little too early to start your planting yet, take a little time and enjoy this book. You’ll come away with great ideas for your garden.
One of the things I love about living in Oregon is that winters are mild and the “spring” garden really comes to life in January and February! I guess our reward for the very dark and rainy days of November and December are the early bulbs in bloom in early February! Around here, my gardening friends plant their Sweet Peas on President’s Day! That all just fills my heart with gardening joy!
These snapshots from my yard and garden give you an idea of what early February is like in an Oregon town 30 miles west of Portland, up against the Coastal Range, 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean!
It’s been a strange January, weather-wise. We had one very short sprinkling of snow that I would have missed entirely if I had slept-in another hour that morning! The temperatures have been unseasonably warm, and everything seems to be getting ahead of itself — one bulb blooming in early January, other bulbs coming up all over the place now. I’m not complaining, but it does seem unusual.
Here are some January photos from around the yard.
My Dad and Mom created a rock garden the summer I was five years old.They turned a small sloping lawn into a beautiful garden. I remember going for family drives, looking for rocks. We all loved that! I just recently found this old photo of my dad in front of the rock garden, and it reminded me of that happy time.
I’d already been thinking of creating a small rock garden in what I call our “triangle garden,” the space between our angled driveway and our vegetable garden. Finding the photo of my Dad in front of his rock garden made it seem absolutely right for me to go ahead and build my own.
However, we discovered quickly that rocks are not very accessible around here. When I was little, we lived right next to the mountains, so it was only a quick drive up the canyon to find loads of big and very interesting geological specimens! For some reason, there aren’t many rocks along the roads around here and our really interesting rocks were collected from farther away. Fortunately, our daughter is in the process of building a big garden at her new home in Washington State. She’s spent the summer digging rocks out of the area they want to garden. We think perhaps all the rocks that should be here in Oregon are in her back yard! All those rocks you see lined up so neatly in the photo on the left came out of that dug up space in the photo on the right. She’s developed strong digging muscles! And each time she visited us this summer, she brought a load of rocks for our rock garden.
So, I am not quite finished collecting rocks and planting, but my little rock garden is close to being done. I’ve planted a variety of perennials, some pansies for winter color, and a whole bunch of bulbs for spring color. There is still room for some colorful annuals that I’ll plant next Spring. I’m just loving this autumn gardening project.