Thursday, April 30, 2020


Tuesday we went plant shopping at Fred Meyer. It's a sort of big box store with good prices on common plants. Yesterday we went plant shopping at one of our favorite nurseries, Vassey's in Puyallup. They were set up for sanitary conditions and self distancing and we enjoyed shopping and finding the plants we were after.

One of the things we were after was Impatiens. We use a lot of them along the edge of the patio under the cedar tree.

I got to thinking about the name of this flowering plant, Impatiens, and decided it should be the official plant of the season. People everywhere are experiencing impatience. 

Social distancing is causing loneliness.  Business closures are causing financial hardship. Parks and recreational facilities are causing boredom and lack of opportunity for fun and exercise. 
Everywhere, on all news sources, I am hearing and seeing now that we need to open up!

Conspiracy theorists on right wing media are doing their best to convince folks that this COVID-19 shutdown is all a hoax designed to hurt Trump's chances for reelection by purposefully ruining the economy. They have made the pandemic political. They are calling for herd immunity; let the virus run rampant because it only kills old people. They are hitting their mark with many who are tired of quarantine and want to have their freedom, and in many cases, their livelihoods back.

On the other hand medical and scientific experts are urging caution. Where we have managed to lower the curve and slow the spread of the virus down, we have been able to keep up with the medical needs of those who are stricken by the virus. In places like New York, where the virus ran a muck, we saw how health care providers and facilities were overwhelmed. 

The virus is not going away. We do not have a cure for it. We are still learning about how it acts. There are still huge unknowns. Some states are ready to open everything up. Some are extending their stay-at-home rules. Others are compromising, doing limited openings. 

Some companies are forcing their employees back to work, with loss of jobs and no unemployment insurance the result if they don't report for work, even if the plants are still not safe places to work. Some people who are hurting financially may have no choice.

  For those of us who do, we will have to rely on our own good sense to guide us. We are entering into a vast experiment driven not so much by science as by Impatience!

Don't be a bloomin' idiot. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

It's Time to Start Planting

We visited the Garden Center at the Fred Meyer store this morning. We didn't bother with the groceries or the clothing or the automotive or any of the other many departments. We tried our best to avoid other shoppers, especially those who showed up without masks. We were only interested in plants.

We had made a list of what we wanted to fill or refresh our patio and porch pots and planters We found much of what we wanted. I'm going to start on some smaller pots this afternoon. We have a rainstorm coming tonight, and then after that we'll be cleaning pots and planting them up.

We plan to visit a favorite nursery tomorrow. We will be looking for a few special things, and just want it to be a fun outing. It's harder to enjoy being out when there is so much yet to avoid.

Spring is in full bloom here now. The "bloomin' wall" is doing its thing along the driveway.

The Lewisia are blooming on the front porch.

The Black Mondo grass and Angelina sedum are looking good under the bonsai bench. 
The Golden Hop is growing a half a foot a day, and will soon be lifted and trained unto the gate.
Tom's geraniums from cuttings are out of the greenhouse and will take their places next week.

May Day is Friday. While we are still on most restrictions here in Washington State, time moves on and the seasons progress. It's time to plant!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tulip Fest

In my last post I said we have our own little Tulip Festival right here. Friday evening I picked a new bouquet of flowers for the kitchen table. Then Saturday morning as I was eating my breakfast, I realized something.

We have our own real life poster too. Big may be better, but smaller is good too. 

A week ago RoozenGaarde invited our local news organizations to take drone tours of their display gardens and growing fields. I encourage you to click on the link and take a tour of what we are missing this year. Of notable difference is the geometric quality of many of the display beds this year. Striking and beautiful.

Yes all of the bulbs were planted last fall, with the idea that the displays would be enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors, who would also spend money. Like everywhere, the economic impact here is severe. 

Is the beauty wasted if no one sees it?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Tulip Festivals, and Other Things on My Powder Room Walls.

It was with great sadness that we accepted the fact that we are not allowed to travel north to the Skagit Valley for the Tulip Festival this year, but we have good memories and mementos of past festivals. 

Each day on Face Book I have been posting photos of the display gardens and growing fields at RoozenGaarde that I took in 2018. That was a time perfect for photography, with a white sky and growing fields right behind the display gardens. Since they rotate the fields every year, that is not always the case. My header photo is one that I took that day. 

Each year there is an official poster painted by a local artist. This is the poster for 2020.
Most of us will only see it on line this year. Other years I have always looked for copies of the official poster and have collected some as card size over the years. Most are framed with something I found in an old box of frames that we had. I few of the newer cards got purchased frames. They are all hung on our powder room wall, which is also our mud room, garden clothes room, and all around gardening themed space.

 Looks like I need to do some straightening again. There are also some gardening theme ornaments, some seed packs from Colorado that Jill gave me when she lived there, and some old chalk ware I picked up at yard sales. 
 These are special cards I found yeas ago. 

 Close ups of some of the previous Tulip Festival posters. 

 Last year I switched from collecting cards to collecting magnets. I was out of space. This is 2019.
These are travel treasures: a little felted picture from a gift shop near a Stave church in Norway, a plaque from Santorini, dried edelweiss from Austria. 

Another find in a gift shop.
 A book plate I bought from a street vendor in Amsterdam and framed. I loved it because to me it looked like a grandmother sharing her garden with a grandchild, something I did often with my young grands. 
 I always have some kind of pottery and floral arrangement in this corner. Dried hydrangeas still fill the bill until I get more flowers in the garden that I want to pick. I took away the Easter eggs but left the chicks and ducks. 
On the back wall is a hanging of a fabric panel I framed and quilted, and more of my pottery collection. 
And not in my bathroom, but on my kitchen counter where I can smell them often, a bouquet of lilacs Jill sent with Isaac yesterday. He came over to get some seeds for a science project.  
Flowers are everywhere here now. I have a tulip fest in my own back yard. Life is good, even if it's not great. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Rain and Relief

It's raining, finally. 

The pollen has been thick over everything, and our gardens are getting dry. We have not had rain in all of April so far. So much for April showers.

But today, on Earth Day, we are getting a cleansing, moisturizing, welcome rain. We will appreciate the rain.

 The new leaves on the Lady's Mantle hold rain like jewels as the pollen puddles in the middle. 

 The tulips were going over too fast, Now they will last longer. 

The rain has just begun. Now I will appreciate from inside.

I am feeling relieved today not just because of the rain. Yesterday I had my latest echo cardiogram. I have been dreading it ever since the last one, six months ago, because that one was so painful and the bruising from the probe lasted most of those six months. I didn't know how I could stand another. I emailed my cardiologist about a month ago, asking if there was some other test I could have for aortic valve stenosis, but there isn't. I told her why I was dreading another echo and she said she would put a note on the referral. 

I don't know if that did the trick, but something was different. The technician was none too friendly as we got started. I asked for, and got, a pillow to put between my knees to help with my sciatica, which I explained to her as a reason why I might need to move during the 40 minute procedure. I mentioned how much the last one hurt and that I would try to be a good patient, but there were no guarantees this time. She told me she was the one who had done the last echo, and she always did them the same way. But something was different. I didn't argue. I was just quietly relieved as she proceeded without putting undue pressure on the probe, didn't really even hit the sore spots she had dug into last time, and I was comfortable throughout the whole procedure. As she finished up, she quietly said "You did it." 

Yes, I did. So did she. I thanked her.

I have to wait well into next month to get the results. I will try to get a phone appointment instead of the in person one I have scheduled. Precautions were taken. We were met in the parking garage, still in the car, had our temperatures read and were given masks. We used supplied hand sanitizers. There we no other patients in out waiting area. We felt safe. But staying home is safer. 

I hope you are at a time and place where you can appreciate the beauty of our Earth on this 50th Earth Day. I know that Earth is relieved that we are polluting her less these days. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

My Hall Tree

My hall tree tells a story of life in the time of COVID-19.

You may recall my post of March 4th, where I extolled the joys of our Sounders season opener.  The match was scheduled for noon on Sunday, March 1st. We rode the light rail into the city early, so we could have breakfast at The Market.
 At the match, which the Sounders won, we met up with Jill and Irene. We were there with 43,000 other soccer fans, all having a great time. 
Later that day the family all met up at a restaurant to celebrate Jill's birthday
That all seems like a world ago now.

Before the March 1st Sounders opener, I dug out all of our supporter gear from where it had been stored in the guest room closet. I hung up the scarves we would use for this season, and loaded up the stadium bags and the hall tree basket with all of the hats and gloves and ponchos and other paraphernalia we would need for the winter into spring home matches, We were ready to go.

That first week in March, the corona virus began to spread. The first case in the US had been discovered January 21st in a man living near Seattle who had traveled to China. He was  hospitalized. But then the virus erupted in a long term care facility and the first death occurred February 29. Warnings began to circulate that the virus was now in the general population and care should be taken to wash hands and not touch your face, but life went on as normal. 43,000 people attended a soccer match in Seattle. 

The second Sounders match was scheduled for Saturday March 7th. There were warnings but still no restrictions. We debated if we should go, but decided we would use precautions but go as planned. There were 30,000 people at the stadium. We used latex gloves on the light rail, washed our hands and wore warm gloves at the match, and cleaned everything when we got home. 

By March 11 we were in lock down. On March 12th schools were closed. On March 15th bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and all social gathering spots were closed. Sporting events were postponed or cancelled. Our Sounders season had come to a halt.

By now all of us have had similar experiences. The history of COVID-19 is being written. We have no idea what or when the final chapter will be recorded.

Several weeks ago, as I was dusting during another Monday house cleaning day, I looked at the hall tree, sighed, and started taking everything down. You can't put your life on hold. You have to move on.
But I didn't stuff it all back in the closet. It is all just folded up and stored in the basket. We move on, but with hope. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Clipping and Zooming

It was that time of the years again, time to get the lawn tidied up. As a somewhat OCD type person, I need to have my edges sharp and tidy.

I haven't been doing much yard work due to my back issues, but one thing I can do is crawl around on my knees. This job calls for plenty of that. 

I didn't re-cut the edges this year with a shovel like edging tool, Since I have left them in pretty good shape last fall, I figured I could just get by with re-cuttting with my long handled grass sheers, cutting just a bit into the sod. The worked pretty well.

We have a big lawn with a LOT of edges, so I spread this work over three or four days, interrupted with that day trip to Whidbey Island. I cut a section and then with bucket and trowel, cleaned up the trimmings and weeded out weeds and straying grass from the edges. That's the hands and knees part. 

I finished on Friday afternoon in the sunshine. This morning a light rain is falling, making everything glow. We haven't had any rain all month so it is a welcome change. Besides, I overdid it yesterday in the push to get the job finished, so today is a rest day. 

Here's how it looks though. My OCD is calmed for now.

 I'm hoping the cooler weather will slow down the tulips. I don't want them to go away too fast. 

As of this week, we have leaves! The Japanese maples are so beautiful at this stage. 

And about that Zoom part. Yesterday being Friday and also granddaughter Irene's birthday, we book ended the day with Zoom meet ups. Our breakfast group has been getting together electronically via zoom, and we are having fun with it. 40 minutes goes fast.

Irene had a Zoom party with four of her besties during the day after they arrived at the Whidbey cabin. BTW, at the same time, Isaac was taking a math test remotely. Technology is playing an important role in keeping us together these days

In the evening we had a Zoom birthday party with Irene and her two sets of grandparents and her Aunt Jan. 
We sang Happy Birthday, watched her blow out her 15 candles, and open her cards and gifts. We laughed and had fun.