Tuesday, April 25, 2023


I love the brief period each Spring when forested landscapes
 look a bit like pointillistic paintings.

Things start happening fast at this time of year, even when the weather is all over the place. It was 32F this morning but when I visited the terrace garden to ponder a redesign, I discovered that the raspberry canes which had appeared completely dormant a few days ago are now sprouting leaves in lush abundance. Since part of the garden redesign directly involves the raspberry plants, I'd better get on it right away. Like yesterday.

A couple of years ago, I decided to level a section of the very sloped terrace garden. The project began with creating a retaining barrier at the downslope end, about 18 feet long and a couple of feet high, just above the raspberry plants. I built it using salvaged saplings dragged across the paddocks and pinned into place with metal fenceposts. Then I moved some of the soil from the uphill end of the plot to the downhill end, and spread a barn's-worth of used goat bedding over the whole thing. The result was a thrillingly level plot of about 18 feet by 12 feet.

This part of the terrace garden is where I usually grow lots of pole beans, and last year I reduced the bean rows from three to two so I could plant tomatoes and Turkish peppers there as well. And of course, zinnias, planted in a single row just above the raspberries, at the very edge of the retaining barrier. I may have been a bit unrealistic about the amount of space required by some of these plants; getting in amongst the tomatoes without treading on any stems - or tomatoes - was quite a trick by August. And the poor zinnias were growing in all sorts of leggy directions to access the bits of sunlight not already occupied by either the waving stems of raspberries to the West or the shrubby jungle of tomatoes to the East. They tried so hard!

Revisiting the glorious zinnias of 2019

I really missed having a wide  row of colorful zinnias last summer, and will plan better this year. But I'm also hoping to level out more of the terrace area, because it's so much more relaxing to work in the garden when I'm not at frequent risk of tumbling over.

Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed that doctors have started asking, "have you had any falls recently?" The first time, I was startled that a doctor could tell how clumsy I am just from the way I walked into the exam room! But when the same question came up again at my next annual physical, I decided it's one of those "age" things. I always answer honestly, of course, and the answer is always the same: "Yes, but not for no reason."