Friends and birthdays

A moment to appreciate friends–and it’s kind of fun to do this here, knowing that probably you will read this and know who you are! I will intersperse friend stories with some garden photos from yesterday.


My friend who is an artist and also a horse friend called on my birthday and sang me a Swedish birthday song over the phone–of course I was out in the garden, but I loved hearing it on the message machine. Later that morning she came over for coffee and brought homemade pie and whipped cream! We sat on the front porch watching a black swallowtail butterfly trying to decide which flower to land on. Later yet we met at the barn to ride, and then she and her husband and I with mine went for dinner in Potsdam. Talk about a perfect day! So here is what I was doing that morning when she called:

new raised bed

I was building a small raised bed. It has two wheel-barrow loads of old horse manure from the barnyard. I planted some dahlia there. I’m not sure what else to plant in it–the soil is too rich for the nasturtium seedlings I have–I’ll get giant billows of leaves and no flowers. Sunflowers would be too tall, and so would delphinium. Maybe I’ll plant some cat mint there.

The iris continue to open this week. Here is a fun colored one.

small iris

Another friend I appreciate lives near the big river, and is one of the most warm-hearted people I know, without being gushy. She’s very comfortable to be around, and always has a twinkle in her eye. She also really “gets” it that I can get freaked out at social events. I am very good at disappearing and most people don’t notice. But she does, and I’ll never forget once she climbed her long steep driveway on a party evening, to where I was sitting in the car, waiting for the party to be done and my partner to be ready to leave. She came walking up to the car window with a beer in her hand and proceeded to chat away casually as if there was nothing at all weird about a guest at her party bugging out and sitting in the dark in a car alone. She’s a very accepting person, and she probably doesn’t realize how much that little chat meant to me.

Poppies doing their thing

My friend by the river is married to another friend that I don’t see often but that I appreciate very much. Her good energy and spirit have left their own trace on this garden, as she used to live here. Since the day I first came here eleven or twelve years ago we’ve crossed paths here many times–you could say we are related by marriage. This friend has the gift of grace. She’s graceful physically–you can tell she has done years of yoga– but also emotionally. I’ve never had anything but a friendly greeting and warm hug from her, and she always seems to know the right thing to say. She can talk to anyone, and is intimidated by no one–she is graceful, but I feel there is also a lot of backbone underneath. I admire her a lot. Lacking her conversational fluency and ease, I’ve never told her that!

intermediate iris icy blue

Another friend I appreciate works at the college bookstore and is kind enough to the world to bring in small bunches of flowers to sit in little vases near the check-out counters. Today were orange azaleas. The other day were astonishing parrot and other tulips. The combinations are often surprising and unusual, or extremely simple. The flowers have a lot of personality–her arrangements allow the flowers to be who they are. It’s a gift, and I love it that she shares it with all and sundry who show up to buy a pencil or a cup of coffee.

hesperis matronalis Dame’s Rocket

My best friend in the world is my sister. She’s the one with the herb wheel that I have been posting about on this blog. There are too many things to appreciate about her–I couldn’t possibly list them all. So I won’t even try–I’ll just say that: she’s my best friend, and the one friend I never for a day forget to appreciate and be thankful for.

yellow iris

My “other”  sister–my sister-in-law– is another friend I appreciate. She and I go to tack shops–yes, another horse friend–and swap garden plants, and play Klezmer music together (she plays violin). She introduced us to the wonderful farmers’ market in her home town; I also admire her impressive career as a scientist.

more Dame’s Rocket, with a patch of false dragonhead (Physostegia virginiana)

These Dame’s Rockets all came from two little plants I pulled up and stuck in a plastic bag in Jeanne’s soggy swampy backyard back when she lived in Warsaw, Wyoming County. They spread like crazy, and I love them. They complement the orange poppies and cool them down a little.

Ground ivy and a mossy rock: giving the “weeds” their due

I also appreciate my fellow blogger friend who has that same grace I notice with my friend V. My blogger friend makes you feel, when you run into her, that running into you is the best thing that’s happened to her all day.  How does she do that?! I’d love their secret. My blogger friend is beautiful, she glows. And she’s a teacher through and through–the teacher part comes out when I ask for advice about blogging. You know the kind of teacher who loves to share what they know, and really wants you to succeed, and never misses a chance to praise every possible little victory or success you manage. Also she is a wonderful writer, and I love reading her blog.

delphinium seedlings, waiting to be planted out

Before ending this very long post, I have to report on the La Reve rescue I pulled off yesterday. It was a good day for transplanting: cloudy, wet, calm, cool. I dug up a bunch of La Reve oriental lilies, gorgeous pink lilies that I bought at a flower show in Troy with my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law almost 10 years ago, so they are important to me, and I didn’t want to let the lily bugs get them. Here’s a picture of them last year in bloom:

La Reve lilies

Here they are in their new home, located where I can keep the bugs off them:

La Reve lilies

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