Monday, May 3, 2021

Notes to Self, May


You like bulbs to poke out from between things with more body; the lonely pompom on a stick look is not it. 

Come fall, move all the bulbs from around the edges of the banana bed. The double daffs into the spaces between the grasses; the tulips into the big bed. 

The narrow bed shaded by the plum tree doesn't have enough light for narcissus. Move the lovely tiny singles with the red-edged cup into the banana bed. 

The short tulips at the front of the big bed were magic there because of their stature. Now they need someone to grow up between/over/around them. 

Went to the Wapato Island farm plant sale w A. Planted motherwort (hahaha, planting weeds/ planting medicine) next to the sage in the banana bed. Planted an artichoke in the paver circle. Skullcap back under the protection of beloved Western Red, who is thriving, growing so much. Marshmallow over by the fig in the South strip. 

The lupine is so lush and huge so idea how long it will last.

Threw down saved strawflower and zinnia seeds last night in the West bed, and in the hole of the big bed on the right.

Want more red peonies there against the shrub backdrop. 

Need to pull and distribute the narcissus that are pushed back into the anemone and under the mock orange. Can thread them into the dahlia spot maybe? Will they tolerate that?

After this bloom, need to prune the mock orange.

The South strip needs reconfiguring so that the path will work better for bikes this summer. 

Worried the big vine maple will be squished soon between Cedar and Manzanita.

I am of the nature to grow old; there is no way to escape growing old

I am of the nature to have ill health; there is no way to escape having ill health

I am of the nature to die; there is no way to escape death

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change; there is no way to escape being separated from them.

My deeds are my closest companions; I am the beneficiary of my deeds, my deeds are the ground on which I stand. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020


by Audre Lorde

What am I ready to lose in this advancing summer?
As the days that seemed long
grow shorter and shorter
I want to chew up time
until every moment expands
in an emotional mathematic
that includes the smell and texture
of every similar instant since I was born.

But the solstice is passing
my mouth stumbles
crammed with crib sheets and flowers
dime store photographs
of loving in stages
choked by flinty nuggets of old friends
undigested enemies
preserved sweet and foul in their lack
of exposure to sunlight.
Thundereggs of myself
ossify in the buttonholes
of old recalled lovers
who all look like rainbows
stretching across other summers
to the pot of gold
behind my own eyes.

As the light wanes
I see
what I thought I was anxious to surrender
I am only willing to lend
and reluctance covers my face
as I glue up my lips with the promise
of coming winter.


Friday, November 6, 2020

Season of gorgeous death

All that you touch 
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes You

The only lasting truth 
Is Change.

Is Change.

That's Octavia Butler, of course.

As wind,

As water,

As fire,

As life,


Is both creative and destructive,

Demanding an yielding

Sculptor and clay.

God is Infinite Potential:

God is Change.

Your teachers

Are all around you.

All that you perceive,

All that you experience,

All that is given to you, 
Or taken from you,

All that you love or hate,
Need or fear

Will teach you --
If you will learn.

God is your first
and your last teacher.

God is your harshest teacher:



Learn or die.

I love Death, so I don't hear this last bit as an invitation to escape her. I hear it as a declaration of fact: if you try to hold change still, you will lose touch with what is most alive. 

Thank you, plants. Thank you, season of gorgeous death. Thank you, Ms Butler. I bow to the lessons.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

There is no way out of a spiritual battle


rant :: diane di prima

You cannot write a single line w/out a cosmology
a cosmogony
laid out, before all eyes

there is no part of yourself you can separate out
saying, this is memory, this is sensation
this is the work I care about, this is how I
make a living

it is whole, it is a whole, it always was whole
you do not “make” it so
there is nothing to integrate, you are a presence
you are an appendage of the work, the work stems from
hangs from the heaven you create

every man / every woman carries a firmament inside
& the stars in it are not the stars in the sky

w/out imagination there is no memory
w/out imagination there is no sensation
w/out imagination there is no will, desire

history is a living weapon in yr hand
& you have imagined it, it is thus that you
“find out for yourself”
history is the dream of what can be, it is
the relation between things in a continuum

of imagination
what you find out for yourself is what you select
out of an infinite sea of possibility
no one can inhabit yr world

yet it is not lonely,
the ground of imagination is fearlessness
discourse is video tape of a movie of a shadow play
but the puppets are in yr hand
your counters in a multidimensional chess
which is divination
& strategy

the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.

the ultimate famine is the starvation
of the imagination

it is death to be sure, but the undead
seek to inhabit someone else’s world

the ultimate claustrophobia is the syllogism
the ultimate claustrophobia is “it all adds up”
nothing adds up & nothing stands in for
anything else



There is no way out of a spiritual battle
There is no way you can avoid taking sides
There is no way you can not have a poetics
no matter what you do: plumber, baker, teacher

you do it in the consciousness of making
or not making yr world
you have a poetics: you step into the world
like a suit of readymade clothes

or you etch in light
your firmament spills into the shape of your room
the shape of the poem, of yr body, of yr loves

A woman’s life / a man’s life is an allegory

Dig it

There is no way out of the spiritual battle
the war is the war against the imagination
you can’t sign up as a conscientious objector

the war of the worlds hangs here, right now, in the balance
it is a war for this world, to keep it
a vale of soul-making

the taste in all our mouths is the taste of power
and it is bitter as death

bring yr self home to yrself, enter the garden
the guy at the gate w/ the flaming sword is yrself

the war is the war for the human imagination
and no one can fight it but you/ & no one can fight it for you

The imagination is not only holy, it is precise
it is not only fierce, it is practical
men die everyday for the lack of it,
it is vast & elegant

intellectus means “light of the mind”
it is not discourse it is not even language
the inner sun

the polis is constellated around the sun
the fire is central

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Bulbs, April, November


Always struggle with the area around the fig tree in spring. In late summer and fall the whole south bed is overwhelmed by the Pennisetum grasses I keep dividing (an invasive here, turns out) - maybe when I move the back line of sturdy yellow diffs out, I'll push a bunch in around the base. 


Will I leave these dahlia bulbs in the ground? Or risk trying to over winter them in storage?


Another good place for some sturdy bland daffodils - this strip by the deck. Everything I plant there I end up moving, except strawberries. 


Filled the north side of this bed with double daffs, the south side with the tall dark purple tulips that I wish were black. Moved two Panicum from elsewhere. The Nasella have thrived everywhere I stuck them - in the spring they were almost the only friends in this bed. Divided the orange flowered echinacea, prayed over them all to thrive. Not sure if I will keep those lilies there. Maybe they will resonate shape-wise with the banana in spring?


Last bag of bulbs to plant are these gorgeous dark leaved tulips - who knows if they will be sturdy. I want to put them in the big bed, just there to the right. 






Wednesday, October 28, 2020

May (remembering)

In May, I thought, I'd like two more of these peonies in this East-facing Western edge of the garden. There is a sort of wall of older plantings there that defines the back edge of what we see from the kitchen, against the blackberries in the squatter yard. It is an undefined spot, where we can't decide if we need a path or not. Later in the summer, big grasses grow up and bend forward, and the Highbush Cranberry behind explodes with new growth and the peony greens are buried in the mess. But in May, oh how my heart sings (along with nearly every other gardener's I'm sure, and, from the evidence, all the bees as well) to watch this tender queen unfurl her paper petals to bare her sparkling cunt. 

No cops. No prisons. Total Abolition.

Early May seeding... where did I get okra seed? I think I just wanted to see the flowers. Turns out they don't stay long enough to really witness. Not one of the okra that grew were truly edible. And the peppers and eggplant are still out there, finally finding their stride, as frost approaches. There was such a long, silly cycle with keeping the seedling pots on the proofing shelf of the oven, where it was too dry and not bright enough. When I finally moved them to the window and covered them with plastic, things started to poke up more willingly. Just last month in the great basement clean out of fire season 2020, I found the heat mat on the rat slab, under the camo netting curtain we finally threw out. I think next spring I'll try to seed in the greenhouse. 

The peas ended up growing fine in the stone circle, but they were plagued by slugs, as I realize now everything that I planted in there this summer was. Too many places to hide. It feels like that spot wants to be a larger accent planting, anyway. Maybe a tree. 

In contrast, the fava beans overwintered so well loose in the West bed. Beautiful, productive. The calendula bloomed so much and I appreciate them - but that orange is not my garden color. Can I get the cultivars with pale petals to self seed like that?

Wow, how the back edge explodes with growth. I can't even remember it being so low and managed. Reminds me to properly prune all over again.

Precious friend from Rebecca's garden, poking her delicate head up in the side strip. I think it is hard for tender new things to get going over there because of the web-mat of oregano roots. Maybe I'll look for her this moving season and see where else she might shine better.

Yes, committing to move the peonies. Eliminating that back path. Shifting the Coyote Brush that doubled in size from the center of that bed to further back. Dividing the grasses so some of them can come forward. The peonies are two different colors. Maybe I'll separate them. Maybe I'll let the pink one go.

Progression shot; closer to the end of May. The mullein starting to show their truth. 

I grew fennel!

How those allium bulbs define the garden for their time! Then disappear so I forget them.

The tomatoes did well tucked against the house. The flowers I seeded at the end of May were well timed to step into holes in the garden in late June when the big wave of spring bulbs and greenery and calendula had faded out. Those zinnia and amaranth and strawflower are beginning to blacken in the garden now, but their season was long and glorious.