Monday, March 16, 2009

Cleaning Beds

The sun was out and the warm days of garden cleaning up are upon us. The gardens in So Cal were dry, I liked the turtles in the pond. Every where I went I wondered where the water was coming from, having recently read Cadillac Desert.

Removing old leaves and branches, finding green things underneath, takes my mind off water projects in the west and disappearing rain forest and brings me back to my own little space. I have the gift of time this year, to do the job right. Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) doesn’t mind the leaf mulch, grows right through them. Googled, it looks like the S of B bulb is a native of the Middle East, edible, dried for long journeys, some people hate it because it becomes a pest in the garden, multiplying like crazy. It is not too intrusive for me, I can pull it where I don’t want it.

The very hardy, small, late fall, spready, mum I got at the perennial exchange is light green under the leaves.

I also grow a number of fever few (Or rather don’t pull them. I like to crumble the dry flowers where I want the seeds to grow the next year. They tend towards being biennial, though sometimes take one year to bloom) (Tanacetum umparthenium, also called Chrysanthemum parthenium and Martricaria parthenium. I don’t know why this plant has three names, but I suspect the ornamental Chrysanthemum industry has made the taxa favorable to themselves). My Mother’s old neighbor used to encourage the gathering of feverfew seeds to cull the single blooms and encourage the double flowers. The fashion of single blooms has returned. The blooms are white, good accents. People use the plant medicinally. (You can buy the dried plant in capsules that a lab has tested and found the amount of active ingredients. Testing seems prudent in this case, as it is a blood thinner).

I have a perennial geranium that survives here in Zone 5 (some say we live in zone 6 now). It is coming along as well, along with many little green things that I have yet to identify. I would make poetry about the green things coming up. Spring is a magical time. It is good to be filling my compost rings and bending and getting dirty again after the winter.


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