Tall Hollyhocks

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Tall Hollyhocks

Well, it isn’t quite an English Country Garden, but we now have some tall hollyhocks, and I mean TALL holly hocks. My beloved isn’t short, in fact she’s taller than me, but these hollyhocks are HUGE. Douglas Bader and Reach for the Sky are in a similar league.

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Six, foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch … I guess that was a week or two ago. Looks like an eight foot, nine foot, ten foot bunch to me right now. Maybe I should write the Hollyhock Boat song. I’d need to get someone else to sing it for me though. Somehow, this is my Island View in the Sun, doesn’t quite cut it for me. And I hope I don’t have to cut them. Not until the snow flies start breeding anyway. And that makes me wonder: has anyone ever actually seen a snow fly? I know I haven’t. But then, I’m just an ignorant immigrant. I am happy to admit it. That way, nobody can discriminate against me.

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The snow flies? They went that way. This way, that way, all ways lead to the Hollyhocks in Island View. And they are so beautiful. Even painters want to paint them.

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Oops, sorry: that was last year’s. And so was this painting: last year’s hollyhock preserved for ever. Well, I am not so sure about that anymore, either. But well done Geoff Slater. And many, many thanks.

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Holly Hobby Hocks

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Holly Hocks

So, I go to St. Andrews for one day to see Angelica, Geoff, Gwynn, Heather, Kalina, Karen, Lucinda, Mitchell, Pierre, and William, and look what happens to my hollyhocks while I am at KIRA. I guess it has something to do with the proximity of the Kingsbrae Garden: my hollyhocks got jealous and wanted me back.

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They were all so pleased to see me. Radiant and smiling, laughter all over their little faces. Little? Hey, they are growing every day, from saucers to side or sandwich plates and all too soon they will be as large as dinner plates.

Hopefully, they will last. My beloved says these hot summer days will quickly diminish them. I hope not. Alas, the foxgloves have gone already. Heavy raindrops battered their flowers and away they went. No winter gloves now for the little foxes. They will have cold paws.

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The sunflower buttons are awaiting their day in the sun. Prepping, not preening, they will soon unfold and follow the sun’s circuit with their faces. We certainly hope so. Meanwhile, consider the hollyhocks, they neither spin, nor do they weave, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

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Gardens

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Commentary:

How can I write about gardens without beginning with my own garden? Last year’s single stem hollyhock has this year turned into a hollyhock ‘bush’ with ten separate flowering stalks. Yesterday, only one flower adorned the plant, today some seven to ten blossoms have appeared. I am amazed by the presence of so much beauty. Never before have hollyhocks graced our garden. Now I can do nothing but give thanks.

But there are other gardens. Kingsbrae Gardens for example have been mentioned  on this blog before, and I have written a book about them. Many of you will have seen the video we made. If not, the video One Small Corner can be seen by clicking on the link, as can the gardens and the book.

That said, welcome to another set of gardens. Click on the link, and you will be able to discover them and visit them for yourself. Come along, play the game. You know you want to!

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Bottle House 2

 

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The Bottle House 2

Here, as promised, is the bottle house 2. This time we visit the chapel, and what a lovely spot it is, as you will see, if you are brave, play the game, and click on the next link to the bottle house 2 The last time I visited, rain was falling, not heavy rain, but a light sprinkle that set the skies free and watered gardens and flowers. I should have some photos of the gardens too. If I have, I will post them. I promise!

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Bottle House, PEI

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Bottle House, PEI

A house made entirely of bottles? Well, not quite: the bottles are set in concrete, but the light … the light is unbelievable. Fragmented, many-colored, a tribute to he man who thought of the idea and then turned it into reality. House and gardens are both well worth visiting and I will do two posts on the bottle houses. Houses, for in fact there is more than one house. There is also a tiny chapel and I visit it every time I go to Prince Edward Island.

Be brave. Play the game. Take a look for yourself by clicking on one of the links to the bottle house.

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Fisher King

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King-Fisher-King

King-fisher, wounded wing, Fisher-King
ruling a shallow lake, water-logged,
beaver-gnawed trees, trunks and branches

rotting under water, green growth bearded
upon them, lily-padded the pond,
transformed year after year, to meadows, silt

gathering, filling in smaller channels,
only the mainstream flickers, flows beneath
freckled sunshine. Change hides in plain sight.

All things wither, perish. Cherish this changing,
these modified moods, sun and cloud, the land
recovering, coming back to fertility.

Swift the flight of the swallow’s low dip,
mottled the osprey, aloft in her nest.
King-fisher flying, return of the King.

Tangled Garden

 

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Tangled Garden
(1916 AD)

indoor daffodils
drink water
dosed with chemicals
survive in a vase
refuse to crumple
won’t furl their flags

outside
sunshine and shade
Cape Daisies Peonies
Sunflowers
Black-eyed Susan
threading her colored ribbons
through butterflies
and Bees Balm

towering the Hollyhock
seeded by a surprise wind
coming in from nowhere

weeds crowd together
vox populi
these dandelions
beloved of the gods
ubiquitous
totally indestructible

Kingsbrae 1.1

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Conference Call
(for Anne, Carlos, Elise, and Ruby)
Kingsbrae 1.1
1 June 2017

Face to face, the five of us,
a gallery of artists, meeting
together for the first time
in a virtual reality unlike
the ones we ourselves create.

Our opening words simulate
a game of chess, slow and
hesitant, then speeding up,
slowing down, accelerating
as we gain more confidence.

Faces become names, voice
and tone take on deeper
meaning, one of us smiles,
some of us smile back. Then
smiles turn to laughter as
formalities break down.

In growing fellowship, we work
on the where, how, and why,
of what we will be doing
when we meet at Kingsbrae.

Journal: Anne organizes two conference calls in May and we are able to talk online and discuss what we intend to do when we gather together at Kingsbrae. It is a little slow at first, but we soon warm to each other and the ideas flow.  It’s not easy for us to pull everything together, for we are so different. Our group contains an artist in multi-media (Anne), a musician from Peru who plays the pan pipes (Carlos), a sculptor, (Elise), a painter (Ruby), and a poet (Roger).

Now the First of June has arrived. Anne and Elise are already on the road. Carlos is in the air, flying in from Lima to Toronto, and then on to Fredericton, where he will be met later today by Roger. Ruby is all packed and about to set out. She will probably head right past my house as she travels to St. Andrews. Depending on the actual time of arrival of Carlos’s flight, we will either meet tonight in Kingsbrae or else early tomorrow.

Expectation is high. My own artistic antennae are twitching, and I am sure that everybody else feels the same: fortunate, lucky, charged up with artistic energy, in a single word: blessed. Soon the creative adventure will start. Then let the magic wand wave and a fecund creativity will set in.

Gardeners

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Gardeners

when three bearded men
unbury winter’s bones they pick
at old wood scars dead trees and
their limbs now lying there lifeless

they dig deep at flowerbeds
uprooting a riot of Japanese
Knot Weed untangling roots
all tangled and twisted with
Bees’ Balm and perennials
that stray across borders
unwelcome immigrants neither
barriers nor fences can possibly hold

they probe between flag-
stones where wintering birds
and squirrels and chipmunks
cracked the seeds and wild weeds
that grow there and flourish

but where would the land be
and what would it accomplish
without helping hands
and the power of strong fingers
and fresh eyes that spot those
intruders who diminish
the space where good flowers
grow strong with fresh herbs
chives and oregano basil
and parsley peppermint sweet
crushed beneath feet

Comment: This was the day for Thursday Thoughts, but I don’t have any, save for those in the poem. How does Mother nature manage without us? What is the difference between a weed and a flower? Why do the dandelions dance in my garden and why so many, fresh every spring? What happens when the gardeners no longer garden and nature takes over? Is the wilderness that arrives really a wilderness? The garden that grows, does it really need us? Do we own the land, or does the land own us? The same with development: do we shape the land or does the land shape us? Was the wilderness a wilderness before we arrived? I watch the deer drifting past the trees in the garden. They are so tolerant, so aware of my presence. “Beware of the possessive,” my teddy bear tells me. “I’m not your Teddy and you’re not my master. The world exists without you possessing it. It will continue without you. And yes, I can hear you: ‘my flowers, my garden, my bees and my deer, my house and my grounds, my groundhog and my Teddy.”‘ “My God,” says the Teddy Bear who sits on my bed and hears me snore and watches me dreaming … “Whatever are you thinking?”