The split personality required to be a gardener and a writer has caught me off guard. Again. Where’s Jake Gittes when I need him to slap some sense into or outta me. “I’m a gardener! I’m a writer! I’m a gardener!” So gardening won the arm wrestle this week. Hence, I’m too sore to dip into the old mailbag for the queries of kindly readers.
In the lovely, wacky weather pattern rains of last week I dug up 50 square feet of lawn. I’m doing this in one foot lengths so my husband doesn’t notice. He likes the Connecticut style of our gardens because it looks just like his childhood home. I mutter, “When Daddy comes back from the Great Beyond to pay the water bill you can have your Connecticut garden here in the flipping desert.”
So on Mother’s Day a group of us packed up our sore muscles for a carefree hike from Switzer’s picnic grounds to JPL. This jog is about ten miles long. Although as I recall it, it seems more like 37 miles. Ensuring that I won’t be doing my Olympic training in the Lawn Pull this week.
Soon, California poppies will grow wild among the freeways after a massive planting initiative sweeps the state. The Revolution will be printed on the website.
So, the good news: The wildflowers are in still bloom! In our canyon ramble we saw wild Penstemon, prickly cucumber, yarrow, scarlet bugler, a multitude of sages, sugar bush, and an amazing Our Lord’s Candle inflorescence. Nodding directly into our path, we had to duck to avoid this giant branch. With hats and sunglasses on, deep in conversation, we weren’t really even paying attention to the scenery at that moment. I missed this agave bloom entirely. Luckily, its intoxicating scent called me into the moment, and we all stopped and admired her beauty. The next time you go do stop in reverence in that last stretch, approaching JPL. A huge prehistoric looking agave stand, like something out of Planet of the Apes, is not to be taken lightly. There are forces at work in this world.
You, too, can be a force. And this Is one of those times. Our friends at Arlington Garden, Betty and Kicker McKenney, the Constant Gardeners, sent around an email last week. It’s time to prepare for a poppy uprising this time next year! The California poppies at Arlington Garden are nearly spent and are now working to produce seeds for next year’s flower show. They’ve increased mightily at Arlington Garden, so it’s time to collect and store. Now, here’s the McKenney’s twist. In this the second annual seed collecting event, they’re asking for volunteers to stop by and snip the pods that have dried to a tan color. Bring a brown paper bag for the pods. They need to dry completely so they can release seeds that won’t moulder. The Garden will store the seeds or you can take ‘em with you. Keep in a cool, dry place. In the fall, as you’re getting onto the freeway for your morning commute, or when hiking your favorite trail, release your seed collection. Into the wild! Yeah, you hear that right! Let the seeds fall free! So that next year we can read a gardening column noting all the beautiful California poppies in bloom in all sorts of public places. The revolution begins with you.
By Sandy Gillis