Yesterday morning I spent rather a long time doing something I had wanted to get at for years: transplanting a clump of wild gladiolus--the scions of a single plant I found under the nandina shrubs on the north side of the property in the first spring after we moved into the house.
I don't think I actually planted them in this spot, but thanks to our furry denizens (some of whom later nearly destroyed the entire patch after developing a taste for the bulbs) some ended up next to the sidewalk that extends from our back door to form a large square area within which a brick patio and our greenhouse have been erected. After said near-extinction, I thought I'd lost them again after the deep freeze in February of 2021, but they're incredibly hardy and keep coming back no matter what happens.
|The wild gladioli in May of 2021(lower right)--after Snowmageddon|
Unfortunately, their growth had been so exuberant that they had obscured a large part of the sidewalk. I had thought for several years that they needed to be dug up and transplanted, and some lower-growing replacement needed to be found.
On a whim, I got out my garden/archaeology tools (my old Marshalltown mason's trowel and a soil screener), as well as my spading fork, a couple of nippers, a large rusty iron nail, a little Japanese twig saw, and a foam pad for kneeling), and went to work. This was probably not a great idea, given my current age-related joint problems, but the weather is warming up and I wanted to take advantage of the temperatures (in the high 60s yesterday, and 80s today). Indeed, I was rather sore by the time I had enough of the job done to quit for the day, but enjoyed the work--even though it turned out to be more arduous than I had expected. And I broke my spading fork. After that, I had to use a regular spade--pictured below, along with some of the other tools and my assistant, Molly.
The weather, after some very cold spurts, quite a bit of rain, an ice storm (which affected us very little), is now tempering out. The skies have been lovely, with evidence of the winds that we have grown to expect as we head to spring (now only a month away).
These days, when not scruffing about in the clay, I spend time musing on mortality, as one does when confronted with the brevity of existence. We've lost two close friends within the last couple of months, and I came into the house yesterday to the news of President Carter's entering into hospice, and President Biden's trip to Kiev on the first anniversary of that needless, wasteful war in Ukraine. The recent earthquake in Turkey brings back memories of much less violent events in my childhood, but stories that have emerged from that catastrophe are both horrifying and heartening.
I'm especially moved by Jimmy Carter's choice to forego further hospitalization and to end his long and inspiring life at home. This was a choice my own father made, when his thyroid cancer could no longer be treated effectively. I have been grateful ever since that my children and I got to see him in his own den, next to his ham radio setup, surrounded by books he loved and the family that cherished him. I wish everyone could come to the end of their lives in peace and relative comfort. For those who face war and disaster, there's little any of us can do but to support efforts to relieve some of the anguish. It feels incredibly inadequate, but it is something. And so is remembering them, and finding ways to end political violence and to mitigate natural disasters by building better and safer places to live.
As we move from one season to another, my natural pessimism fades a bit. Things really could be worse, and attending to the accidental garden provides some equilibrium, at least for a time. But now I think I'll go and enjoy the company of The Beloved Spouse and our "daemons" (in Philip Pullman's usage). The rest of the transplanting can wait until tomorrow.
End note: The Marshalltown trowel link included above is to a post on Owl's Cabinet of Wonders, from my MOOC period of existence, nearly a decade ago. I truly enjoyed the online courses offered through Coursera and other venues, and am glad I had the foresight to include some of the materials in the blogs.
It is interesting how much detail one can find in an item when tasked to describe it. It's a good exercise to undertake.
Plants can be remarkably robust. You did very well with dividing your wild gladioli. It's hard work. I have a wooden barrel full of agapanthus and I know that dividing them will destroy the barrel but then I might get some flowers!
The world can be a depressing place but seeing nature doing her best helps to dispel the gloom somewhat. There is little cause for optimism in Ukraine, I fear, and their spring will only bring forth fresh assaults.
It's good to see a long life well-lived drawing to a peaceful conclusion - something we all aspire to.
Thank you once again for your kind words, Janice. You and I have been "together" in the blogosphere for a very long time, and I've always enjoyed reading about your life and times. I haven't always been particularly faithful, but I do appreciate your perspective. As an avowed anglophile, I especially enjoy your across-the-pond views of (as one of my favorite of your countrymen has famously put it) life, the universe, and everything.
I'm glad you got to do a little gardening. It looks like a worthwhile effort. I don't care for gardening but my wife loves it. I provide the "muscle" as needed.
I'm at the age where I see quite often people in the obituary section of the paper. Friends and coworkers. I talked to my last boss before I retired. He has ALS and he is quite philosophic about it. I had another coworker die in a motorcycle accident earlier this week.
Thank you for a great post.
My spouse is the gardener in our family. I used to be more into gardening but my back problems of the last 10 or so years make me more of a spectator than a doer. I enjoyed hearing about your wild glads because it reminds me of ours. In our zone 5b clime glads are not supposed to overwinter but we've had several that have survived at least three winters. It got to -5 earlier in February so we'll see if they survived yet again. I, too, ponder mortality. Several of my co workers over the years have died (mainly from cancer) along with my childhood best friend, whom I knew for over 50 years. And, the son of someone at my company died on his 17th birthday a couple of months ago, hit by an impaired teenage driver. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com
Really a beautiful sky. Nice to see your cat helping out with gardening chores!
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