DEAR GAYLA: Word of the moment—and of the day, month, season, and entire garden year: resilient. From the minute the deafening hail descended on May 21, to what seemed like endless rain at times, to no rain this fall in weeks, a gardener—and a garden—must be ever-ready to bounce back, right? [read more…]
I’M BLAMING LIZ GILBERT for my sudden craving for a massive writing project to hold me prisoner for years. That’s what I imagine it took her to write such a layered and wildly original tale as “The Signature of All Things,” her new novel. It’s the story of plant-passionate Alma Whittaker, born in 1800, who, “was never scolded for returning home with muddied boots and hems, so long as she came home with good specimens for her private herbarium.” Lucky girl. I had such fun this summer reading an early copy, I bought four extras to share now that it’s out. [read more…]
MY SISTER CALLED this morning to wish us well on a dozen years together–”us” being me and Jack–but at first I didn’t know what she meant. I lose track of dates in this rural life, but she had not forgotten: It is 9/11, the darkest day, but also the day that I met Jack. I suppose you could call him my silver lining–or at least a black-and-white one. A recollection on finding some small comfort in a large cat. We wish you all comfort, too.
MY MOTHER KEEPS SPOUTING some crap about how my catnip is really called Nepeta cataria. See the words “pet” and “cat” in there?—I’m telling you, she talks in word puzzles, though she’s no Will Shortz. She blathers on that it’s “a perennial that self-sows” (what?). She says you can “start it from seed yourself pretty easily indoors.” Nonsense! Catnip is best grown this way: Make like a chicken, and sit on it. Catnip requires daily periods of incubation, as I’m demonstrating above, and when treated this way will not require any other pinching, and will not spread around. I am a cat, so I should know. My other Master Catnip Gardener tips: [read more…]