So this is what August is like for normal people. The anointed that leave the office and life’s tetchy demands for a summer respite in the Hamptons. The chosen who, for six weeks or longer, remain away until the kids must return to soccer practice. It seems that except for Lutherans born in northern Michigan, the entire universe has always had the chance to savor this month (I have actually been to the Hamptons in August, albeit briefly, where I confirmed that the entire Universe actually goes there during this month. And they all drive). However Lutherans from Michigan have always worked in August. We are that way. [Read more…]
It seems an eternity since last smelling rain falling on warm earth, while visiting this sea of humanity. The latter platitude is more appropriately applied to Tokyo than any place on this earth, at least of those I have visited. I walked around the lake inUeno tonight after dinner, rain be damned, listening to the background buzz of a city overlaid by emotive cries of night herons and the swallowing, hollow gathump of bull frogs. While savoring the fine petrichor, I marveled in the fact that other life forms have successfully jived with such kinesis and infinite lay of (mostly) uninspired but seismically stable architecture and imponderable sprawl of concrete.
It is my sweet 16th visit to this country, the archipelago I fearlessly continue to negotiate by cutting wide and vulgar swaths through its language and etiquette. Yesterday I became imprisoned on the wrong bus that, after a gruesomely long haul, ended up where I had started instead of where I was going. [Read more…]
There was something horribly unsettling about the beautiful weather we had thus far experienced in the mountains of Taiwan. It was like finding a child’s room completely and utterly organized or our ill behaved dogs sitting when commanded, as if they had done something very bad or were about to. This was not the Taiwan that I knew from the past, the country whose atmospheric marinade permanently saturates your clothing and prunes your skin before you even set outside. During my last visit in 1999, seeds collected were 4 parts water, 2 parts misery and 1 part embryo.
So I took the first week here with a deliberate daily Thanksgiving, appropriate as it was the week of turkey fest, knowing full well that the irritable child that had unexpectedly said ‘I love you’ would soon again be acting out. The days were splendid and the views sublime. [Read more…]
So, looking ahead briefly. At last, I will be spending this autumn at Heronswood. The original Heronswood, that is. I’ve been there before and anticipate my return. But more of that later.
First, the present. But for a few updates, I have not contributed to this website for nearly 3 months. Shameful. Conventional wisdom says that I should have, in some manner, a presence on the web. I know this certainly to be true. As of 7/21/07, I am told that 67,732 gardeners have subscribed to this site. I am overwhelmed, appreciative of the support and encouragement, and very contrite that I have paid such little attention to the process. Yet still I believe in gardening when I have the time and even stronger, believe in writing when I have something of merit to say. Too often as of late, some horticultural blahgs I attempt to read are nothing but meaningless and embarrassingly concocted twaddle. I am acutely sensitive to contributing to an inchoate heap of words better composted. [Read more…]
Once again, I recognize my timidity through the discovery of an unexpected survivor within the expanse of safe and boring plants growing in my garden at Windcliff, pondering why I do not more often engage in attempted murder for the sake of luminosity. It is generally through these premeditated crimes and misdemeanors that I have been rewarded by the most amazing new plants. This year, I attempted a serial murder of a genus of terrestrial bromeliads called Dyckia and found myself mesmerized instead.
The genus Dyckia, a conglomerate of 120 or so species, are found primarily in South America. Though perhaps not the most euphonious of generic names, consider the choices available to the botanist who named it in honor of this Prussian botanist; Josef Maria Franz Anton Hubert Ignatz, Prince and Earl of Salm Reifferscheid-Dyck (1773-1861). Personally, I might have gone with Reifferscheidia. But whatever. [Read more…]