2013 was the Season of Extreme Gardening. I cut down two diseased and weary bushes, sawing and yanking their roots from the dirt, making space for ferns, lemon thyme, the red-toned lilies. I pitchforked a sketchy patch of weeds in the lawn, reveling in unearthing a foot-deep mess of clay, rocks, metallic household detritus, pottery shards, an old toothpaste tube, hunks of concrete—replacing it with my favorite topsoil-organic planting mix (albeit purchased and from not-entirely-sustainable source material). And for my first time, planted grass seed.
Amazingly enough, considering how happy the squirrels were to find this freshly softened territory for acorn planting, the grass took hold and in 2014 is a nicely thick zone of green. Green, of course, is the symphony of June in the northeast. It’s everywhere, and everywhere delightful. Toward the end of the month, however, my attention turned to the grace notes, the trills, the accents that spice up the homefront landscape. With the intention of capturing the more exotic colors, I stepped out with scissors in hand and snipped a selection of blossoms. The original primroses, aka buttercups, came from a single plant that my mother gave me. Now, they are sprinkled throughout the gardens. The hollyhocks (a fabulous birthday gift) and the roses were also my plantings. Mona planted the lilies, salvia, daisies, and those whose names I do not know. She knows all the names, understands who likes what type of soil. My method extends to checking sun vs. shade, choosing something I like the looks of, prepping the ground with aforementioned mix, and hoping for the best. It’s a good combo of approaches, actually, yielding an ever-surprising assortment of floral personalities.
Scanning these delicacies is an extraordinary experience. After figuring out how to place them for the best view and without being crushed, the next hurdle is an unbypassable message: “When you scan with high resolution, the image size may be large or a long time may be required for scanning. Therefore, select an appropriate resolution setting. For details, click the Help button.” Help! Why does the interface for this magnificent machine, whose capacities extend to 4,800 pixels per inch, chide me for being inappropriate? I want them to be large, I enjoy practicing patience as the images take several minutes to load. And the results astound me.
Text and images by Catherine Rutgers © 2014