It’s been a long month this week. Lots of stuff going on-I was thinking that not all of it is good, but who am I to say what’s good or not? Only time and perspective can make sense of some things. Maybe. In the meantime, all you can do is tend your own garden. And if you are lucky like me, you live next door to someone like my neighbor Bob who tends a lovely garden and shares it with the neighborhood. Here are some pictures.
I made a terrarium! It is currently happily situated in my kitchen out of the reach of curious paws (Read Boris) and I am enjoying having a little greenery around me. I used to have quite a few plants before Plumpton went on a feline scratch and fern mission. I made my terrarium at a class that crafter and plant expert Masha Zelen taught at the Woodstock Trading Company in Cherry Hill, NJ (you know, the purple building with two antique hearses parked out front.)
Masha makes terrariums and fills them with succulent plants, cute little polymer clay Gnomes and toadstools. If you like, she can make you a terrarium or teach you how to make your own. Woodstock owner Gladys Glass was so taken with Masha’s work that she invited her to teach a class for Woodstock’s customers. Masha showed up on class day loaded with glass containers, potting soil, assorted pebbles glass chunks and toad stools and a group of gnomes clamoring to be assigned to terrariums. We got to work as she took us through the steps of selecting plants and accessories and making our own little gnome and toadstool habitats.
Masha explaining how to care for a terrarium
The Gnomes were very well behaved considering how eager they were to be assigned to a terrarium.
Our finished terrariums. Don’t they look great? If your are interested in learning how to make your own terrarium or hosting a class, go to Masha’s Facebook page, Made By Masha, for more information and her contact information.
Aside from offering classic rock and roll memorabilia, beads, vintage posters and every type of incense this side of The Land of Frankencense, Woodstock hosts rock concerts on its lawn, drum circles, a yearly Maypole celebration and other family events. Get more information on Gladys’ Facebook page, here or follow Woodstock on Instagram.
And what about the fish, you ask? The big fish was exercising its fins in a huge tank as Gladys her husband and I entered a restaurant for dinner later in the evening. Working up an appetite no doubt.
They say that everybody always complains about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it. If you are at all into gardening, this Spring’s crazy weather has made things a challenge: Flowers opening early and freezing; buds opening up icing over and and falling off; rain and chilly weather that has made May seem more like Fall than Spring.
So Bob has faced challenges in the garden this spring and it’s not as full and lush as it usually is at this time of year. Even so, there are four turtles in the Koi pond and sometimes they sit in the sun stacked up on one another. Turtles really do that. I don’t have any pictures because they are camera shy, but you can see many examples here. And the turtles come out on the so far rare sunny days to bask in the sun and enjoy the flowers.
- O GOLDEN month! How high thy gold is heaped!
- The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung
- On wands; the chestnut’s yellow pennons tongue
- To every wind its harvest challenge. Steeped
- In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped;
- And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among
- The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung
- Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped
- The purple grape,–last thing to ripen, late
- By very reason of its precious cost.
- O Heart, remember, vintages are lost
- If grapes do not for freezing night-dews wait.
- Think, while thou sunnest thyself in Joy’s estate,
- Mayhap thou canst not ripen without frost!
- Helen Hunt Jackson
Embrace Autumn! If you’re in Philadelphia this weekend, try to catch one of these special events
I wrote about my neighbor Bob’s Urban Garden last year.
Since then, he’s built a wooden Koi pond complete with solar lights that keep it lit at night. Three of the Koi fish from last year are back and bigger (literally!) than ever. They have smaller Koi fish and two turtles to keep them company. Bob’s added a new ceramic fountain, Lilly pads, and an additional wooden tub of flowers in front of our house to give it badly needed curb appeal. Loki the cat is still around checking under cars for hapless pigeons. Barbara the Macaw had a good time mugging for the camera. While I was taking pictures, several people stopped by to admire.
Enjoy the slide show.
My neighbor Bob has created an unexpected jungle paradise (complete with a bright blue Macaw named Barbra) on the sidewalks of South Philadelphia. In addition to lush flowers, vines and elephant ear plants, Bob’s garden boasts an above ground wooden Koi pond complete with gurgling fountain and contented goldfish. Loki, the aptly-named pussy cat, has left the goldfish alone in favor of lying in wait under cars parked on the street, and terrorizing the hapless pigeons who venture under them to escape the summer sun.
Aside from window boxes, most urban gardens are locked up in community land plots or in containers hidden from the street. Bob shares his garden with the world. You don’t need an invitation to smell the flowers, say hello to Barbara or play with Loki. Bob’s urban garden has suffered surprisingly little vandalism which tells me that the passers by are truely enjoying this little nature sanctuary in the middle of a gritty urban landscape. If you click on the “view all images” bar above, you can enjoy my neighbor Bob’s garden, too.