Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Outer Limits

With “hopes but no plan,” John Levett wanders London’s outskirts, finding attempts, recoveries, and many posthumous hedges.


Trimmer’s delight, Hayes

Photo: John Levett

By John Levett

I’m currently reading the first volume of Roy Foster’s history of modern Ireland from 1600—modern enough. I’ve fortunately arrived at the point in my life where I can now read histories purely for the pleasure of fine writing & scholarship rather than as source material for a course that I might be giving in some future year. Foster is a writer who overpowers but gently so. The breadth of his reading and intimacy with the subtleties of his characters and their places in the scheme insinuates so easily that the joy of the reading of it suddenly awakens within; there comes a small offering of thanks that sometime around 1944 my mother decided we all need history and I was going to get some. For ever.

In the olden days historians looked liked a piece of history; looked as if they’d lived it, created it, were there at its birth and had the crevices, canyons and rivulets in their faces to show their experience. I’m guessing that Foster has the landscape to show for his labours.


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Posted by Julie on 04/10 at 01:43 PM
Culture & SocietyGardening & LandscapeTravelPermalink

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Cons and Pros and the Joneses

How a gardening pro got us moving, if in a different direction from his own.


Amateur (l) and Pro (r) in coexistence

April 8, 2009,  Austin, Texas

Photo: Human Flower Project

We’ve been running a con job on the neighbors since January. For a blissful spell we are no longer keeping up with the Joneses. Temporarily, we ARE the Joneses (pay no attention to that bombed out area where lawn should be!).

People strolling babies and dogs have come by and remarked, “Looks great!” from the street. We beam and in the interest of time usually refrain from full disclosure.

Of course, with many of these folks, disclosure is not necessary. They saw the place “before” and saw Stan and William and Alfonso out there moving earth around. We didn’t do it, they did. But we did dig – into the old savings account just as the whole economy went kerpluey.

We bought what we could afford, a bed that wraps the corner (new) and reworking of three other beds closer to the house that had become hideous due to a combination of impulsivity and neglect. To economize, we scratched off our wish list a fine new buffalo grass lawn —thus the bombed out expanse from which you will avert your eyes—and any professional work at the side or back of the house. We decided to keep these spots all-amateur, partly to save money, partly because we couldn’t bear turning the whole cheeseball over to the pros.

So here you have it, or we should say “them.” Two ideas and two executions.  The truth is we really like them both.

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Posted by Julie on 04/08 at 10:57 PM
Gardening & LandscapePermalink

Monday, April 06, 2009

Back Up for Poppy Day

California’s state flower has its own day, April 6. But climate change doesn’t abide by what’s law in the Golden State.


Eschscholzia californica and more at Antelope Valley Park (3/28/09)

Photo: Dan Pierce

In the land of propositions, California,  April 6 is Poppy Day, a celebration of the state flower by legislative decree (1973).

Californians, understandably, cleave to their state flower with more ardor than Kentuckians do to goldenrod or Massachusetts-ites do to Trailing Arbutus.  Eschscholzia befits “the Golden State” and from we can tell, abounds in many parts of this huge, and climatologically diverse part of the world.

There’s even a 1700 acre state park—Antelope Valley California Poppy State Reserve – with optimal conditions, environmental protection, and seven miles of trails through poppy fields. Terrific (though past its peak, we understand). Could it be that with global warming, spring’s Poppy Day will need to “fall back” by a week or so? Consider also the findings of Conservation International: that “the California floristic province is today only a quarter of its original extent, due to commercial farming and (sub)urbanization.”

This we learned from the University of British Columbia’s dazzling Botany Photo of the Day. Daniel Mosquin got a jump on Poppy Day by featuring Eschscholzia californica on April 3. Don’t miss the links to Eric’s glorious photos of the bloom along California 140, near the entrance to Yosemite.

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Posted by Julie on 04/06 at 11:39 AM
EcologySecular CustomsTravelPermalink
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