Every spring these hostas miraculously emerge through a shady patch of bare earth beside the front walk: first small pale green points, then unfolding leaves, a spray of buds, and finally the blossoms. Now whenever I depart or return I am treated to a whiff of their rich heavy scent.
Clematis, pansies, primroses, lily-of-the-valley: our tiny city garden is bursting into bloom.
For today, a sketch and a poem.
—John Milton (1608-1674)
To give the dog his four daily walks is no fun for anybody, including the dog, when it’s under the blazing August sun or an icy November rain. But what a pleasure it is in spring, when each walk brings a surprise, and the buds of a morning walk have unfolded into pale pink blossom by afternoon.
This is a sketch of a neighborhood tree from our homeschooling Botany block.
If you want to plant a tree in your DC garden this spring, Casey Trees, which was founded in 2002 to protect the city’s tree canopy, is offering a rebate of up to $50 per tree (three trees maximum). Now is the time to ensure the cool, leafy green shade of summer.
Today is the birthday of Washington, DC carpenter and builder Harry Wardman (1872-1938), who is responsible for many of our neighborhood’s houses (although once he achieved success he no longer wielded the hammer personally). For a picture and bio, please see Wild About Harry.
I post this ever-so-timely poem, along with a sketch of a neighbor’s garden, in honor of William Wordsworth (1770-1850), whose birthday it is today.
For another Wordworth poem, a bio, and a painting, please see My Heart Leaps Up.
A few weeks ago a fierce thunderstorm blasted our area. The following morning the neighborhood was strewn with dozens of enormous broken branches—all in bud. A little sadly, we brought home a few sprays and put them in water, the vases of bare twigs giving our table a poignant wintery appearance.
The buds, unaware of their fallen state, are now confidently unfolding and bringing forth their hidden treasures, but in miniature. This one is from a pink dogwood tree. The four bracts that usually unfold to a 2″ or 3″ diameter are here only about 5/8” across. But still beautiful.
Today is the birthday of Shakespeare and Company founder Sylvia Beach. For a sketch and a mini-bio, please see Paris Memory.
Here is friend and neighbor Susan, whose birthday it is today, and who, in all the years I have known her, rarely appears anywhere (except perhaps the theater) without a bag containing at least one current knitting project. Over the years I’ve watched beautiful pieces flow from her talented hands, destined for family, friends, or strangers in need: scarves, hats, sweaters for all ages, socks, and blankets—including a beautiful off-to-college afghan for her daughter Sara made of leftover scraps from years of Sara’s knitted garments. Each square carried distinct memories. At a recent gathering, we discovered that most of us happened to be wearing scarves Susan had made for us.
Her knitting alone might be a sufficient lifetime achievement, but Susan is also a rich literary and artistic resource, an endlessly interested and enthusiastic traveler through the world and through life, a doting mother, a fabulous cook, and a fun, funny and generous friend and human being. Happy, happy birthday, Susan, and many more to come!
Another neighborhood tree sketch, this one by my daughter. If this IS a sugar maple, does that mean we could be tapping trees right here in Woodley Park, DC?