Mr.Fothergills Oriental Choice Mixed Poppy Seeds
Thank you to Barb of Skittles' Place, for starting a new award to help make the world a kinder, gentler place and to Curmudgeon (http://www.secondeffort.blogspot.com/) for thinking that my wee blog makes a contribution to that effort.
Barb "made this award for people who 'Shine their light throughout the Blogoshere. Some do it with humor, others with creativity, and others with their kind and thoughtful natures.'"
I am not sure which category applies to my wee blog, but I am happy to be part of any of them. I began my virtual conversation to help make my new world real to myself and to others and the first few posts were tentative. The virtual and the real worlds --you can decide which is which--have developed along parallel lines: once I made the first tentative steps it got easier and each step seemed to lead to the next. Now I have about 150 posts and people who have never met me read about life here at the very edge of Scotland.
Neither the virtual nor the actual transformation has been immediate or easy. Each time I walked into the overgrown grass of the tennis lawn just outside my back door, I pulled out an armful of wildflower-weeds. Their long stalks filled my arms in a pose reminiscent of a beauty queen making her triumphal walk down the front of the stage. I had the chutzpah to try to reclaim even that small part of the lawn an armful at a time because I had similarly reclaimed a piece of a little wetlands behind my house in the States by pulling up Queen Anne's Lace an armful at a time. It took a lot of armfuls.
That same fragile first season of reclaiming that part of the lost garden, I clipped the tops of stinging nettles as they were going into seed. My husband laughed at me. "They are weak now, I explained, and at least I will keep the seeds from making any more. Next year will be easier." And it was. I cleared the nettles completely from one small corner and I meant to make a lovely planting there to celebrate and to keep the nettles from coming back.
I had been working on the notion that I could conquer a small piece of the yard or the house and then move on to the next. I forgot that those reclaimed spots would not stand still any more than a young child can stay squeeky clean and wrinkle free long enough to get a proper photo or to impress someone. This summer has not been good for farming or for gardening: the weather has been dreadful and my time for gardening has been pre-empted by real and imagined Other Demands, so the nettles were threatening to take back their corner.
In that same spirit of stepwise hopefulness with which I have taken on everything in these past three years, during one brief sunny afternoon I cleared the returning nettles and planted a packet of Mr. Fothergill's Oriental Choice Mixed poppy seeds along with some Calendula and nasturtiums that I had bought for my kitchen garden, which has been irretrievably lost to this season of Other Demands.
I covered the tiny black poppy seeds with sand so that I could watch them grow. A gentle soaking rain came shortly after I planted them,so I had great hopes for the poppies, but those hopes dwindled with each disappointing look at the bare earth until I forgot about them. And then one day in the company of my cats I saw some leaves that looked like poppy leaves except smooth where I expected fuzzy. Even so, I was happy to see them, but by now the season was so shortened that I did not expect to see them flower. I forgot about them again.
The winds picked up, the weather stayed cold, and the presumed poppy leaves were joined by a short, stocky calendula that bloomed even though it was only half the size it should have been--- a jester in the garden. It made me smile, "Bloom where you are planted," I said to my cats, but I still had no great hopes for the poppies or the other seeds.
I visited a friend in town whose garden makes my eyes water with the joy of it as well as the pangs of jealousy that I confess rose up in me as I looked at her careful rows of colorful plants, including beautiful purple poppies. As we stood in her garden and talked, I gladly accepted her offer of seeds and then I noticed the not-quite as I would expect it poppy leaf-- smooth where I would expect fuzzy, exactly like the leaves on my Mr. Fothergill's poppy seeds. And in due time, my own poppies bloomed and presented me with one purple poppy which was quickly blown to smithereens, but several others in a range of hues have blossomed and if these poppies behave as expected, they will continue to seed themselves and to join me in battle against the nettles in the corner.
My blog and I have much in common with Mr. Fothergill's seeds: hopefulness both in the planting and the sharing. And now thanks to Barb, others may visit this space and I have been invited into other gardens.