And in the the Garden was . . . .

What is your memory of gardens?

Like so many things, my memory of gardens is of books. I had plants in my yard as a child – the mint patch that defied any attempts to plant something else; the clump of cattails that I can never quite be certain actually existed; dandelions, used on cheeks as yellow blush; Azaleas, flanking the path to our house like two shaggy, ornamental lions; pokeweed, the berries happily used to stain our fingers brightest pink. But all of these, except for the dandelions and pokeweed, were inert. A background, as it were. Flat and interchangeable with imagination.

In books gardens often are characters. Even when they are not, there is a certain kind of book that, without ever having any actual gardening in it, still speaks of them in hushed voices. Certainly Anne of Green Gables would make anyone long for glades of velvet violets, and most older books sprinkle fresh flowers about until you’re certain they are being conjured out of air. But it is Mandy and the Sunflower Garden and Cicely Mary Barker’s faeries, and even the water colored flowers in one Ariel picture book, that I draw my definition of a garden from. Those and The Secret Garden, which filled many a day with the exulted wonder of seeing things grow. Maybe that is why I am discontent with giving up and washing my hands of green things, or maybe it is less conscious than that, an assumption, seeded into mind during childhood, that gardens are as much a fact as breathing and cake. Even Bilbo had gardens. Gardens large enough to justify hiring someone just to tend them.

My plans for my garden this year are modest. We reap what we sow, after all. No fig trees. No hand built containers. Just seeds. And a blueberry bush. My parents have two large planters that they’ve never used which I have relived them of, and I’ll need to get dirt, of course, but other than that my shopping is done. Well, mostly done. I do want to get some Arp Rosemary. And maybe some lemon grass. But other than that my shopping is done. My list is a funny, malformed thing. Half practical, half fanciful. There are no roses, none of the heavily scented flowers I dreamt of last year. No larkspurs, which always make me think of Nancy Drew. Mary Crawford would likely not be too inspired by what is essentially going to be a scraggly vegetable patch. The drama is to be supplied by echinacea, luffa gourds, chard, and nasturtiums, but otherwise it is all business. All small lettuce and baby bok choy, long thai egg plants and small french radishes. And herbs  – fanciful ones, chervil and rue and crinkled garden cress.

In all of this, it is apparent that the thing which grows strongest in my garden, besides the mint and the weeds and the love-in-the-mist, is my own undaunted optimism. Perhaps that is the flower most worth cultivating.

 

 

 

Skipping a Beat: Or, the Tempo Revs Up

Dear Readers,

I have been thinking of you quite often over the past few weeks. For one thing, I really wanted to post at least once every month this year, and was all ready to pop in on the last day of March, even if my entry only said “Made it!” And yet, somehow, I missed it. For once it is productivity that is stopping me, for now when I have both energy to do something and time to do it I find a dozen different projects lie happily at my feet. Thus the theme of this blog, I suppose. A woman of many hobbies, and devote of none.

To show how much I’ve thought of you I have some pictures. They prove my intent to share these mini-milestones, for I certainly do not take them for myself, and I have yet to start instagraming. See, here’s one from March showing the first little seedlings:IMG_0687

Behold, arugala (I’m pretty confident about this, but considering the lemon balm/lime basil incident. . . . ). There are also little poky leaves which are either cress or borage (or lemon balm, I suppose). Now that they are developing real leaves I’m siding towards borage. The dill is coming out too now, its seedlings like little blades of split grass. A volunteer army from last years horridly lanky pair. Saturday I went out and “weeded” as an excuse to stare deeply into the dirt and soak up the beautiful warmth of the sun. I did a little thining, and confirmed that the mundane looking seedlings in the door-wise corner are indeed cilantro, as I hoped. The seedlings smell of it all ready, and I wait in hungry anticipation for the summer. All I need now is for some of the winter thyme to show itself and my joy will be complete, as far as the large box goes.

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Look, whales!

Oh, what is this picture? Knitting? Yes, do not be shocked, this is a glimpse of a Christmas present for the Geekette. Finished in March and given hastily before I could find yet another thing wrong with it. I am really happy about them, but those decreases on the left hand! Finishing wool mittens in March was an excellent strategy to chase away the chill weather, but not a good idea if you want immediate confirmation of their long-term comfort. That’s okay, they are done and it’s not her birthday. I can cultivate a little patience for the weather’s whims.

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Now this is really for you, I have been learning HTML and CSS. Prior to this I’ve picked things up mainly by poking into themes and making Decollate – fun but maddening. This time I am trying to learn from the ground up. I have watched the first few videos of Do Not Fear the Internet, interspersed with the appropriate lesson section from Code Academy. Here is my review of Code Academy after completing their basic website course: they make things quite easy to follow and allow hands on application to drive each point home. I love this way of learning, their use of badges and percentages, and their general layout. Only three things have annoyed me so far:

1) The window where you get to see your changes magically manifest is buggy (in Safari) and instead of scrolling you have to select the contents and drag in order to see anything below the top two inches.

2) The website likes to refresh and Boot You Out. I googled it and, for once, I’m not the only one with this problem. Frustrating but not really a big deal (it usually saves your progress).

3) The course I’m taking is how to make a website. We had just gotten started on the topic that I really, really care about – positioning – when they pulled out the magic wand and shouted “Bootstrap.” I think bootstrap is cool and all, but not in a class. Please teach me how to actually position things first, and then introduce me to possible shortcuts. I’m taking their HTML & CSS language course next and I’ll let you know if it covers the subject any better.

Between these two sites I am learning quite a bit, and you can keep up with my progress here (when I finally insert a link ^_^ EDIT: Done!). Eventually I will be able to make my own theme, and then there will be no stopping me (bwhahaha!). Look forward to it!

 

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A more recent picture of sprouts.