The First Bloom!

By , May 30, 2007 12:11 pm


Today the children were excited to discover the first bloom from one of the perennials we planted last year…this lovely Columbine!Try gardening with your children! Read my recommendations here.

We are about to leave for a much hotter place and shall be truly unplugged for the next few days (I do hope we’ll be plugged into an air conditioner at least!)…

Delayed Gratification

By , May 28, 2007 10:20 am

A bare-root Rose de Rescht – ugh!! But, there is at least a tiny sign of life (see the little red shoots)

One of the tasks I accomplished these past few weeks was ordering and planting my new roses. For any interested gardeners out there I ordered:

  • From David Austin: Mme Alfred Carriere, Roseraie de l’Hay, Graham Thomas, and Rose de Rescht.
  • From High Country Roses: Pat Austin, Ballerina, Louise Odier, Buff Beauty, Henry Hudson, and Frau Dagmar Hartopp.

Being an extreme nerd, I research extensively just about any project that I undertake. Last summer I bought some rose books (see bottom of post for titles) and tried to find suitable roses for my conditions. I searched for some shade tolerance (due to all my Ponderosa Pines), good disease resistance (I have too many other needy creatures to mother without fussing over roses as well), and decent repeat bloom (if I am going to all this trouble, I don’t want to have just one show of flowers per year). After nearly a year of reading and note-taking, I came up with the selection above.

I figure that one example of each rose should be an interesting experiment. I will see what does well and what does not and can replant accordingly if necessary.

The only problem is that the David Austin roses were sent as bare-root roses and thus require a lot of imagination to visualize the beauties they will (hopefully) become!

Much of gardening involves delayed gratification which is not really my forte. I don’t mind hard work, but I like results…and I like them NOW. Therefore I am not sure why I like gardening so much. I guess because the results are usually very much worth the wait.

Plus, I have a good imagination and can look at my wooded lot seeing not trees and rocks and lots of dry dirt, but an English rose garden, misty with dew. OK. I know my piece of high-elevation Arizona forest will never be a dewy English, cottage garden. But, I can always hope!

A more hopeful sight, these roses were shipped in pots and look like real roses already, albeit small. This one is Buff Beauty.



Books that helped me:

Flower Fairies of the Spring (Cicely Mary Barker)

By , May 25, 2007 9:42 pm

This sweet series of books contains the poems and illustrations of Cicely Mary Barker, arranged by season or subject. Since it is now spring, I feature Flower Fairies of the Spring. These little books were first published in 1923 and the language and pictures do feel like they come from the past.

Despite the age of the book however, it is still charming and fascinating today. My 6 year-old fairy-loving daughter frequently requests one of these poems before bed. Be advised, the language is quite sophisticated and some children, particularly younger ones, might be bored. Perhaps you might want to check it out of the library first.

Each two-page spread introduces a different flower fairy through a poem and accompanying illustration. For example, first are The Crocus Fairies, then The Colt’s-Foot Fairy, followed by The Celadine Fairy, etc.

Since Cicely Mary Parker was English, many of these flowers may not be so familiar to American readers. Perhaps it could be a good introduction to a botany or gardening lesson or discussion?

The illustrations are gorgeous. The fairies are lovely and expressive. For the pictures alone, this book is worth a look. Recently, the “Flower Fairies” have become quite commercialized. This series is the classic original and contains no modern, commercial references whatsoever.

I believe that these poems and illustrations can be found all together in a large volume, but I like this series since the books are quite small (about 5.5″ x 4.5″) and seem all the more magical because of their tiny size.

Other books in the series are:

Wooden Ramp Racer

By , May 25, 2007 8:45 pm

We have an old version of the Maxim Ramp Racer that I found on Ebay about five years ago. It has only four levels and the ramps are straight with no bumps. There is just one “lane,” so only one car can be launched at a time.

My kids (girl, boy, and baby girl) have LOVED this ever since I first got it. The cars go speeding down the track and drop down onto the level below with a satisfying “click, clack.” It is really quite fascinating to watch, and listen to. My only criticism was that it would have been more fun with parallel tracks so kids could really race the little wooden cars to see who wins.

I decided to feature this toy on my blog and searched for it on Amazon only to find – the Deluxe Ramp Racer! This one has five levels, wavy tracks, and two lanes (hooray!) for real racing! I am so excited that I may have to upgrade to this version for our next family birthday.

This toy is all wood, including the cars. Ours has seen some very rough times but has never broken so I can certainly attest to its durability.

Blog For Peace

By , May 25, 2007 8:15 am

June 6th is the day of the 2nd Blog Blast For Peace. Last November, Mimi Lennox organized the first Peace Blog Blast, and it was apparently a resounding success.

The idea is that anyone who wishes to participate should write a peace-related post on June 6th entitled “Dona Nobis Pacem” (“Grant Us Peace” in Latin). At Mimi’s site you can also create your own “Peace Globe” to put on your post and for Mimi to put on her site too. She also has a banner that you can get (like the one in my left sidebar) to help spread the word.

I like this idea because it simply involves the idea of getting together for peace, regardless of political and religious affiliations, or even nationality. It is a positive statement rather than a negative, reactionary one. Obsidian Kitten has a wonderful post (which is far more thoughtfully written than this hurried one) about the power of positive energy.

I just wanted to let people know about it. Feel free to join in or not. Visit Mimi’s blog for more info plus banners and globes.

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