Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Walk in the garden

April is half over, and just like clockwork, my annual spring arthritis flare-up has arrived - a not very welcome return guest. Fortunately I have learned a thing or two, like the importance of not giving into the urge to be in the garden all day every day because overdoing things only prolongs the misery. And that the worst feelings of self-pity can be alleviated by nothing more than a walk through the garden. There's enough there to make the most miserable person feel better.

The fawn lilies, for example. We're blessed with hundreds of them, in all the shady beds around the house. And this year it's a bumper crop, thanks (I think) to all that scratching and flicking and digging the chickens did before The Great Divide. These are spirit lifters nonpareil, with their gorgeous speckled leaves and the sheer whimsy of their slowly lid-flipping blooms.

The catkins of the curly hazel tree along the fence line have erupted, giving us a reason to stop and admire the berserk curly pandemonium. I have to wonder about what evolutionary advantage is at work here...

The huckleberry bushes growing near the coop are a favourite of the chickens - in the summer, once all the berries at chicken height have been eaten, Hector jumps up to grab more, then drops them on the ground for his hens to enjoy. And when even those berries are gone, Kim weighs down the taller branches with string and cinder blocks, so the chickens can enjoy every last berry.

Every time I visit our local nursery I'm captivated by the deep indigo hellebores they have. But I've been reluctant to fork out the money to buy a couple, especially since we have about half a dozen hellebores in the garden already. One, in particular, is blooming abundantly this year, working hard to show it can stand up to its showier cousins at the nursery.

I think this is a spirea. I love its colour, especially in the sea of green this time of year. We have a few shrubs in the woodland part of the garden, and they're letting us know they're feeling neglected and a bit crowded out by ferns and salal. Transplanting might be in order.

No, Frankie is not a plant in the garden, but he makes my heart happier than one. Unfortunately he's having a sore April, too, because of what might be a pinched nerve in his neck. So he and I are laying low together, content in the knowledge there will still be gardens to play in and balls to catch when we're feeling better.


Doc said...

Hector the gentleman. Hope you feel better soon....and Frankie as well.

jeanives said...

Lovely photos as always; thanks for the beautiful reminders since I am crabbing about another cold wet day.
Sorry to hear you are hurting and Frankie too. He was definitely frisky last week when we saw him.

Alison said...

How old is Frankie? As he approached 15, my parents' dog had some odd nervous-system thing in his neck or shoulders that made his back end go out if he tilted his head. I wonder if nerve trouble in that area is a common older dog issue.

At any rate, good for you for taking time to stop and see the flowers. (I did get home early enough tonight to play in the garden, yay!)

Miriam said...

Frankie is almost 12, so he's getting up there. It was the strangest and most awful thing - he went to bed one night behaving completely normally, and the next morning when we got up he was in terrible pain - he couldn't lift his head, and his back end was all curled under - he could hardly walk. His x-ray was normal, and he responded quite well to prednisone, muscle relaxants and pain killers, so the vet's best guess is that something happened to pinch a nerve in his neck. He's doing quite well now, but the real test will be what happens when he's weaned off all the meds. Oh, the worry!

Shim Farm said...

Sorry to hear about your arthritis flare-up, and poor Frankie, too! Are you on an anti-inflammatory diet for your arthritis?

Your garden looks lovely. Spring is such a magical time of year, isn't it?

Here's to hoping you and Frankie are on the road to recovery.

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