What’s New Out There?

This seems to have been the longest winter in history. At last the weather warms up. Early flowers pop up. Seasonal birds arrive. The first tough plants pop up in the garden.

Here are my  brave radishes. They peeked out of the poor soil and looked around. I know they shivered last night, but they toughed it out. Today was cool and breezy except for a few moments when the sun came out. I’m sure the radishes grew a few millimeters in that short sunny time.

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The potpourri of volunteer perennials was cheery this year. You can tell I’m not a regimented gardener. Things are allowed to grow pretty much wherever they want to. Do you see the evidence of a nocturnal visitor? He’s chewed the tops off many of the leaves and stems of the muscari (those blue flowers). Just think how many there would have been if the mysterious long-eared visitor would stick to eating carrots like he’s supposed to.

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Nearby is a birdbath – you can see its base in the top right corner of the above photo. A birdfeeder stands among the rhodos. It’s a perfect place for the birds, having all their requirements: food, water, and shelter. They can duck into the thick bushes easily to escape the odd hawk, eagle, or owl that hangs around here.

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The robins have been here for several weeks now, but they aren’t seed eaters so they won’t be wasting time at the feeder. What I do see there often are chestnut-backed chickadees, house finches, and pine siskins which, like the other finches, are light brown, but they have  yellow patches on their wings and tails.  The towhees scratch around on the ground – the place they like best, and that’s a good thing. Someone has to clean up the mess the others make.

The latest visitors, golden-crowned sparrows, don’t usually stay long. Maybe two weeks or so and then they’re gone. They stop here again on their way south at the end of the summer.  I love their song. They’re so patriotic, singing over and over again, “Sweet Cah-nah-duh.” In the next picture, three of them are each sitting on the tip of a mugo pine branch. The bright pink rhodo on the right is one my sister gave me about twenty years ago. It gets more beautiful every year.

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The last thing I want to post here today is my lovage. I love the name of it. In German it’s Liebstoeckl, which is also about love. This plant needs to be weeded, but it’s growing nicely in spite of me. Mainly it’s used for flavouring soups and gravies. It’s like the organic part of OXO flavouring.

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My mother gave me this lovage, dug up from her backyard on Vancouver Island. I was living in the Queen Charlotte Islands at the time and she felt sorry for me not having a nursery handy. She sent me all sorts of plants, which miraculously survived the week to ten days in a box in the postal service. When I moved back to Vancouver Island I dug up the plant and brought it with me, but first there were several friends who wanted a piece of the plant so I gave them chunks of it to start their own plants.

When I moved into my place on Vancouver Island, I again gave away pieces of the plant to friends who seemed interested in having some of it. I moved three times over the years and took that plant with me each time. The lovage offspring thrive in many gardens now.

My mother died 31 years ago, and still I have that lovage plant that she sent me 37 years ago. It has become a treasure over the years. I can’t  imagine being without it.

30 thoughts on “What’s New Out There?

  1. My goodness, you have all kind of things growing compared to here! We are just beginning to think about planting anything in the garden.

    Isn’t it wonderful that you can take a plant like that lovage with you almost wherever you go! We have some iris growing very well here in Montana that came from my wife’s mother in Colorado. From there we took them to Arizona, then here. Lots of good things to remember when we see them in bloom!

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  2. You have a beautiful garden, and the story about the lovage you received from your Mother is so sweet. We still have quite a bit of snow on the ground here, so it will be a little while yet before we can even think about planting.

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    • It’s a good thing there are so many other beautiful things about Alaska. And I guess your growing season is relatively short, but it’s so wonderful to see the first patches of bare ground and later the first sprouts of things in the garden.

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  3. Beautiful garden, beautiful pictures! I also love the lovage and have one too. Also I brought a lilac shoot from Canada all the way to the Czech Republic and its huge now (after 18 years). Its comforting to have a plant with which you can remember good times. Especially in your case, this lovage from your Mom. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Yes! I thought I remembered that you had a piece of this friendly plant. I think you had a piece of it when we lived in the Charlottes but is it the same one you have now, or did you buy a new one? I know they’re easier to get in Europe than here.

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  4. Love the photos, Anneli! That rhododendren does get more beautiful as the years pass, much like its previous owner. (ha ha ha) I also have a very large lovage plant growing my garden. The windstorm last night really did some damage to it, so I must stake it up and make sure it keeps growing. Thank you for sharing another chunk of it with me.

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