Through the Year

Both for exercise and mental health, I have been walking faithfully in the woods near my home, almost every day. Perhaps it is because I went to Nature Training School as a child, but I want to know the names of all the plants I encounter as I traipse through the forest. Many names I know, from that long ago training, and I learn more each time I walk and notice a plant I hadn't really "seen" before. Upon returning home, I look to my various resources to try and identify the newest plants that have captured my attention.


Early May found me in Austin, Texas at the Annual Meeting and Educational Conference for The Herb Society of America. I had planned to write on May Baskets for this month's blog, but since it is now the middle of the month, I thought I would share some of the highlights of my trip.

Purple Flowers

April is a month of new beginnings, when spring generally arrives (for real) and when lots of people start to plant their gardens. April is also the month when Arbor Day is celebrated, and is a good time to consider planting trees for future generations.

Carolina Allspice

March is often a curious month, with changes in weather and days of sun and rain. Our unusual winter is holding true as we march into spring. red-winged blackbirds arrived at the feeders the third week in February, and the spring peepers started their chorus the earliest I have ever heard them - March 13.


Perhpas we have not seen the last of winter here in Massachusetts, but the days are growing longer. Last year at this time, we had over 80" of snow. The lack of snow cover this year is startling to any gardener, who prefers that a nice blanket of snow covers all important perennials and protects them from drying winds. It also provides a good measure of moisture, seeping into the ground at the first thaw. We are now experiencing signs of spring, besides the almost freakish warm temperatures.

"And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,

   And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;

To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd

   Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -

Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,

   The regrets of remembrance to cozen,

And having obtained a New Trial of Time,

   Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen'"

Purple Flowers

"The trees are bare, wild flies the snow,

     Hearths are glowing, hearts are merry -

High in the air is the Mistletoe,

     Over the door is the Holly Berry.

Never have care how the winds may blow,

     Never confess the revel grows weary -

Yule is the time of the Mistletoe,

     Yule is the time of the Holly Berry."

William Stanley Braithwaite


"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colors are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow, Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."

Lin Yutang


"I am rich today with autumn's gold,

     All that my covetous hands can hold;

Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,

     A goldfinch on a milkweed pod,

Huge golden pumpkins in the field

     With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,...

Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss

     With autumn glory such as this!"

Gladys Harp

Lucille Tomato Soup

It looks as though I have totally missed a month of blogging. August just slipped through the cracks, and I can't retrieve it. So I'll just have to move forward with September, which is a better month, anyways. August brought us an earthquake (though I never felt it) and a hurricane wannabe, who left plenty of destruction in her wake just the same. An ancient apple tree on my property gave up, and about one-third of a persimmon was felled by high winds. I have never - in the 27 years I've lived here - been without power for more than around 24 hours.

Fairy Garden