Woebegone, Wet, and Wah-lliterative

Late February is such a tricky time in the garden. Our climate is mild enough so that I can (in theory) get out there and garden, get started with all the things that I have been chomping at the bit to do over the long winter months. And then, it starts pouring. I know this is a classic spring garden rant, and my mama didn't raise no whiner, so I'll try not to disgrace her with too much blubbing. But it's just so wet, and the soil is so cold and I can't tell from one day to the next what will happen. Wah Wah Wah!

Bentwood Gate Saga Part I

One of my projects, besides the hillside, is a bentwood gate, made from elder. It is precisely half done. It is right now under the eaves, with all the pieces measured and cut, standing dutifully by like wooden soldiers encamped behind my house, awaiting orders. And I am awaiting a dry day or two so I can finish it. It has been bucketing for the past week! I hope the wood is all right. The book I have been reading as a reference for this project 'Making Bentwood Trellises' by the knowledgable Jim Long, warns that the wood can lose it's flexibility in just 24 hours. I cut these branches over a week ago, and am not sure where to find more elder branches that are as straight and as thick. I am fretting over it like a hen over her chicks, and I am wishing I picked a different hobby, like Gussie Finknottle's: newts. So harmless, and they love the wet weather. I could take my newt sailing on rhododendron leaves, or on elder branches lashed together, down the rainwater stream in the gutter across the street. I would name him Huck, and we could have adventures.

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Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.