Stone Cold

I sat down at the bar at Hunter Gather alone.  It’s warm and dark, the kind of place strangers talk. A few other farmers, craftsmen, tradesmen types were always there at 4 p.m.  One time I was telling some guy a story. I’d explained how my farm is an hour out of town and that…

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A Mist of Tiny Leaves and All the Greens of Spring

Call it acid green or April-fresh or lime-jello-fake-green. This time of year spring greens catch my eye and soul to remind me that the life force is too strong to contain. Ryegrass or dandelion leaves, those dreaded yellow-green catkins pushing out pollen, that powerful color fades as spring turns into summer.  Heat makes most leaves…

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Southern Peat Bogs, Old Men and A New Farm Ethic

Sitting in a rocking chair, a tiny plate of deviled eggs in his football player lap, I guessed he was about 75.  He was almost a stranger yet immediately familiar. He had my father’s brogue, my uncle’s nose, and this family’s skills of storytelling, “Did you know Daddy used to run a peat company down…

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Holding Our Breath…..A Tree of Winter Flowers

   Fat buds of Prunus mume wait for the warmer days of winter. Starting around the turn of the year, I eagerly wait for both buds and warmth. Every cold gray day the bulging buds stand out, puffed up like they’re holding their breath along with me. We’re all waiting.     Then one lovely day the sun…

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Shadow & Light in The Garden

She made a point of coming by the garden twice a year to see what the old man loved.  She smiles at our secret jargon, Ben and I used only Latin names. No questions, no suspicion just eyes that said, I’m happy ‘cause yall are happy.

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Enthusiastic Children and Vines

Pay attention, indulge, wait, and be delighted. This month my buddy’s pre-teen boy is into magic. He’s showing me a card trick with a fake deck. He’s been through Egyptian mythology, dinosaurs and bigfoot.  His dad’s endless patience amazes me. The magic show commences with an elaborate introduction,     “On the death-day of the great…

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Crinum x augustum

Spectacular heads of flowers as big as a volley ball! Killer maroon coloring. Dramatic, sword like leaves to five feet tall. In zone 8, needs a warm spot — thrives in coastal, warm gardens.

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The Crinum of Downton Abbey

Victorian Britain was the epicenter of fashion, trends, politics, and horticulture.  Natural history and plants were serious studies, serious hobbies for the rich. Sailors, explorers, and traders brought plants from all over the world to tempt rich collectors. An abundant supply of coal meant hot-houses and conservatories allowed for tropical plant gardening. Those collectors who…

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It’ll Be Fine By Fall

Gardening, painting, sculpting. Those things have something in common– they all start with imagination of something you’ll bring to fruition. A vision. Sometimes these really hot days make me have visions.  Stifling hot. Swooningly hot. I chop some crinum down to the ground; it’ll be fine by fall, I think to myself. I weed, pulling…

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