Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Friendly Flowers

Although today is gray with rain in the forecast, May flowers bloom. April here was quite dry so the rain is welcome. Yesterday we spent three hours in the yard. We wrangled compost for the black gold that amends the clay-like soil. Then I planted and puttered while my husband mowed. Being outdoors and tending the garden is a balm for the soul. Many of the perennials in our yard came from friends. For now, the flowers are a nice reminder of friends I cannot see in person. A good friend, whom I met when we were both first year teachers in 1973, gave me the bleeding heart. It grows well in the micro-climate against a fence. Even though it gets a fair amount of afternoon sun, the fence protects it from the wind and offers a short time of shade.

The iris and old fashioned phlox were given to me by friend, now in her eighties who lives in Montana. She still is quite a gardener, growing plants inside and out. The iris are not big hybrids but grow a mid-size flower from a hearty plant. I seem to divide one patch or another every year. I have planted a few large hybrid iris but they are prone to disease in our yard. I stick with what grows easily and naturally.

I love the color and height of these old fashioned phlox. Late last summer, they were nearly choked out by ground cover. After I pulled the ground cover, I noticed two little starts between the shed and fence. I scooped them up and moved them back to their assigned spot.

I continue knitting the same projects, not new and interesting, but not unraveled. I finished the body of the gray Sunshine Coast (there's an oxymoron for you) sweater. Options for the bottom edging are none, three rows of garter stitch, or an i-cord bind off. Since I am not knitting it in a cotton or linen yarn, I chose the garter stitch edging. In my mind, stockinette in cotton would roll less than stockinette in this wool/alpaca blend? I might be making that up. If after blocking, the edgings flare or flip, I will take out the garter edges. Better a roll than a flare or flip. I put the first sleeve on the needles last night and am happily knitting around and around. I hope to finish before our temps reach 90 degrees.

When I have a few minutes to fill with knitting, I pick up the socks. While at the Carillon in the Car concert this week, I finished up the heel flap and turned the heel. Nothing makes me feel smarter than turning a heel. I'm not sure why this is so but it feels like a super power.

Jonah and I are enjoying Joseph Had A Little Overcoat by Simms Taback on our FaceTime calls. Joseph turns his worn overcoat into a jacket, vest, handkerchief, and then a button which gets lost. The end of the story, "Joseph made a book about it - which shows you can always make something out of nothing," appeals to both of us. The book won a Caldecott Award for its whimsical artwork. Last night I finished The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. I really enjoyed this story about the sweet but fierce and honest relationship between a six year old girl and her elderly grandmother. The short book, illustrated with line drawings, is full of beautiful descriptions of summer life on an island off Finland. I found it peaceful reading.

As we watch May unfold, I'll link to Kat and the Unravelers. May your reading be worth your time and all your flowers friendly and bright.



  1. Ah, flowers in the garden. Each year Fletch and I remember who gave us that flower or this flower or that shrub or this ground cover. Some from my brother, some from my Dad, some from clients that Fletch had. And, now, we have started giving some of them to Colin & Mailing. They are the gift that keeps on giving which is simply wonderful.

    Turning the heel on a sock always feels like magic to me. all of a sudden and voila! There you have a little cup (that doesn't look big enough for a heel - or at least not mine - but it always IS big enough - pure magic).

  2. I love flowers from friends and am contemplating giving out some daylilies that need to be divided. I feel the same way about turning a heel and marvel at it every time. It makes me feel smart, too, and I praise whoever came up withe the clever idea. The Summer Book sounds like my kind of book, and just what I'm in the mood to read now. I'm off to search for it - thank you!

  3. Your flowers are gorgeous - thanks for sharing them! It's been far too long since I've turned a heel... it might be time to flex some super powers!

  4. How lovely that you can look at your garden and be reminded of friends! We have quite a lot of perennials, including a very robust bleeding heart, but they were already planted when we bought our house. We've added two hydrangeas bushes to the front, and my mother planted some dianthus with my daughter a couple of years ago that we keep thinking has been killed by the winter but keeps coming back! This year we've planted some sunflowers that came from seeds gathered from flowers I received as seedlings from a friend a few years ago (and she, in turn, got the seeds from a woman who is now Pennsylvania's second lady!).

    Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is a favorite here. It's even better if read with a Yiddish accent. ;-)

  5. I have loads of iris buds but none have opened yet! Last week our weather returned to a wintry mix. Spring, sigh. Your flowers are just the reminder I needed of what will soon be here (and gone!)

    Your sweater looks lovely!

  6. Turning the heel on a sock is the most magical thing in knitting, I think! Whenever I do it, I wonder about the very first person who tried it. And I'm always so grateful she did! (I'm assuming it was a she . . . ) Clever, clever, clever! Thanks for sharing your garden with us. I love spending time in my garden -- it is so good for the soul. XO

  7. Your area is flowering beautifully. And thus, bringing lovely memories.

    The last book, The Summer Book, sounds delightful...

    Stay safe!

  8. bleeding hearts remind me of my back yard garden when I grew up living in the city. I have TRIED to grow them but I get too much sun even in partial sun. I'll enjoy yours. Loving your knits and off to see that cardigan on rav.

  9. I have also had that problem with the bottom of sweaters...the flip up or flare out. I picked up a trick once and it has always solved that problem. Before I start the bottom edging I decrease the amount of stitches by 10%. Then start the edging. Ever since I tried this I have never had a problem with the dreaded "flip".

  10. oh your flowers are lovely. I knit my sunshine coast with a plain stockinette edge and a firm-ish bindoff. it rolls just a little and I think it's a nice match for the cast on edge. of course mine is a plant-fiber blend, so I think your garter stitch choice is perfect! I'm looking forward to more reading with our little boys over the next month or two. thank you for the recommendations!

  11. There are buds promising the irises here. Buds on the columbine. The only thing blooming currently is clematis. I know my flowers will be smiling at us soon! I admire anyone who can knit garter. I fudge up the simple stitch all the time. I wish the night skies would clear so we could see the comet