Category Archives: Garden Writers We Love

Maple Bacon March Morning

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“A Carrion Crow Under Snow in Annecy” by Pierre Selim, via Wikimedia Commons.

Maple Bacon March Morning

A towhee’s red-rim eye caught sun yesterday,
relentless before the rain followed up

a moonless night of clouds
buffering the barred owl’s call.

On the wire, swallows step sideways,
making room. The flicker chooses

the chimney crown, drumming
his way to sex and vaunted chests.

A stellar jay follows my sleight of hand
feeding the crows on the mailbox,

the hand that mixed the fat with kibble
for the crows who stayed

through ice and several feet of snow.
The crows who like the fat the best

and for whom I ate the bacon.

—Tricia Knoll
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Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet with two books in print – Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press 2016) and Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press 2014). Website: triciaknoll.com

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Sound of Winter

sound-of-winter

Sound of Winter

Soft through the night the snow doth fall
To blanket walks and fieldstone wall,
It lightly touches trees and vines
And gloves the hands of sleeping pines,
A veil across the street lamps face
A pantomime in frosted lace.

(Poet’s notes: January 11, 1991, 5″ snowfall in New York City)

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Virginia with her grandchildren, Erica and Mikey. Photo by her son Michael.

Virginia Gambardella lives in New York, only three miles from where she grew up. Her dad was a naval engineer and adventurer, and her mom, who sometimes called her “lamb’s lettuce” was a dressmaker for Bergdorf Goodman (she made all of Virginia’s clothes). Virginia has one son and three grandchildren and enjoys: people, holidays, antiques, nature, gardening, fishing, decorating, fashion, sharing knowledge, cooking and baking. She describes herself as “a memory keeper to the extreme”—she even kept her son’s baby teeth. She’s a cancer survivor, a pancreatitis survivor, a widow, and the re-inventor of her life, “as necessary.” She likes to exercise and spends every vacation at the beach with family.

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Citizen Science

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Ginko biloba leaf, Arboretum Volcji Potok. Photo by Mihael Simonič, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Citizen Science
December 1, 2016 – Portland, Oregon

Six weeks beyond our usual first frost
ginko leaf-notes fly down the street,
clog gutters. We know this, expect this.

Then an ornamental plum
pushes out shy buds, laced
with caution. Careless.

Spoon tips of daffodils up a half-inch,
hyacinths a quarter. Gold nasturtiums,
the nasturtiums pay no never mind

if we hauled in a Christmas tree,
brushing aside their trailing vines
radiant on the stone path.

Mountain snowpack stacks up,
ski resorts open, and while revelers
rejoice, the valley is rain upon rain.

Let winter come says the sundial
to the valley. Arugula, rose bud,
feverfew, shasta daisies, calendula

and violets are deaf to warnings,
pretend new normals and record
settings are all they know

in this the freezing-over moon.

—Tricia Knoll
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Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet with two books in print – Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press 2016) and Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press 2014). Website: triciaknoll.com

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An Underground Affair

First published in Greenwoman #4, December 2012.

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“Naked Ladies” by Laura Chilson

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Do you remember your first kiss? How about your first lover? Well, during winter, that’s what we gardeners must do. We must remember the sweet earth of our gardens, even while it’s blanketed and hibernating under ice and snow. I’m living without my husband again, therefore, my sexual relationship is nil. If you’d like to think of me engaging in infidelity, go for it. I’m boringly devoted, though. Ignore that for this column. Let’s pretend I’m very naughty and am having an affair with the bulb. Like winter can be for gardeners, traipsing around with the memory of luscious dirt on our hands and longing for that tactile transference between hands and earth, we can envision all the boyfriends (and girlfriends) of our past in full detail. I remember one of my Berlin boyfriends, when I lived there as a nanny, to have a particularly sweet breath when he blew on my ear. Oh my, here we go. I’m planting the memories of every Berlin boyfriend in the ground this fall. What will spring bring me?

What possibly can a currently sexless gal say about sex in the garden at this time of year? My friends tell me—talk  about the produce section, sexy vegetables like cucumbers and the longer sweet potatoes. But I’m thinking of a certain tactile tuber, glabrous yet man-like. And the image of a flowering naked lady. Although these “naked lady” bulbs don’t grow in Colorado, in my California childhood I planted them with my grandmother. Grandmothers can be sexy, c’mon. Instead of a MILF, the ones who hold bulbs in their hands loosely, and drop them gently into the crevice of the ground, those are called GILFs.

That particular bulb got its name or its “nakedness” from their bulbous promise, when they jut forward in Spring, thrusting up only green spikes, without anything to show, naked, in fact, until at the ends form a bulky bud. When their flower pulses forth, opening into, in this case, an amaryllis, their ruddy pinks aren’t bashful as they dance in your front yard.

Which bulbs give you the most wham-bam-thank you-Ma’am for your buck? There are too many to list but some of my faves are the many hybrids of tulips. Plant them anytime; but usually, in Colorado, you’ll need to open the earth as it still offers a supple surface, mostly in late September or October. Crocus, hyacinth, and mini-daffodils cluster around the spring, popping color at your feet, as if you are the queen and they cower and lust for your presence. Plant the tiny joys around the tall and papery iris and you’ll be sure to excite anyone walking by in spring.

Not all bulbs are bulbs. You can’t be fooled by their testi-like appearance. Corms are described as being “swollen, underground” and only have one “growing point.” A gladiola and crocus have this base. There are rhizomes which lay on their backs, growing horizontal. Lily of the valley will take over a whole yard, inseminating the air with their heavy scent, but only in milder climates with enough humidity (U of I, 2012). Denver would have to exhale, all at once, an exalted breath after sex, to create that kind of humidity. Tubers mass-propagate the dahlia and begonia, bulbs broad in the middles, pulsating out in bunches under the surface tuft (Dave’s Garden, 2012).

What can a gardener do with these tempting underground treasures? There are so many bulbs, and so much lust for the earthen tubers. One bulb enthusiast had a positive experience planting the naked lady, or amaryllis, in Tucson. She wrote, “I’m from Tucson, AZ and my Uncle Charlie brought some bulbs out from Minnesota to me. . . I have planted them on the west side of my home but has afternoon shade from my Southern Oak trees.” Joan Bolten (2012) of Santa Barbara Garden Design claims on her blog: “In August, the show begins, seemingly overnight. Stout, brownish-purplish stems rise rapidly out of the earth.” The rising is what sustains our thoughts through winter. In spring, as with all creatures, the libido returns, and our buried jewels thrust up from a cracked, warm earth.

Bulbs are like an orgasm, they will burst forth in folds if you coax them out of the ground. Bulbs promise spring sex, and, during the winter, we can envision scenes of their jutting forth. Plant them in Fall, and sense their growing interest, as they sustain your enthusiasm through winter. One day you will see flat dirt. The next, a shoot will be unsheathed, and finally, you’ll see gold, purple, reds, oranges, and pinks dot and dance, undulating and naked. What would my grandmother think of this carnal scene? Well, she’s the one who planted them. I’m sure she remembers all the boyfriends of her past, too. We’re all human.

Bibliography

  1. Joan Bolten, Santa Barbara Garden Design, http://www.santabarbaragardens.com/articles/128_amaryllis_nls/arti_128.php
  2. University of Illinois Extension. (U of I). 2012
  3. Dave’s Garden http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2377/

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Born in Northern California, Elisabeth Kinsey was raised among her Italian and Jewish families. She is pursuing a PhD at the University of Denver. She teaches writing (redundant but rewarding), and her published works appear in Greenwoman Magazine, Ask Me About My Divorce, Seal Press, Wazee Journal, The Rambler, and Emergency Press among other journals. Elisabeth can be called upon to speak about: divorce, zone 5 gardening, and Northern Italian cooking.

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Upon This Diversity, the Garden Rests

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Statue of Liberty Arm, 1876, Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Via Wikimedia Commons.

 

As I prepare to do a bit of fall cleanup and plant my 510 flower bulbs, and we all prepare to vote, Tricia graces us with a “riff on the Statue of Liberty.” Perfect!
—Sandra Knauf

Upon This Diversity, the Garden Rests

the withering
end of day lilies
your tired, your poor

huddled masses
yearning
the knockout roses

the squash and cuke
climb the trellis
tempest tossed

calendula and yarrow
lifting
the golden lamp

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Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet with two books in print – Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press 2016) and Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press 2014). Website: triciaknoll.com

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October

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Image from Wikimedia Commons, attributed to http://www.ForestWander.com

October

The gesture of October is sneaking
rain-green back into dry moss,
painting north to drop
hand-me-down leaves
to the ground’s open palm.

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Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet with two books in print – Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press 2016) and Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press 2014). Website: triciaknoll.com

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Today through Saturday, October 1st – ZERA AND THE GREEN MAN – 99 Cents!

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Quote from Zera and the Green Man (drawing by Mike Beenenga). All posters are by Lisa Repka.

 

I should have told everyone about this Monday, but it’s been one of those weeks.

Anyhow, my young adult novel is on sale, Kindle edition, and I think you should download it today or tomorrow! I really want you to read it!

I’m currently making notes for the sequel, and will be writing it this fall and winter.

Here’s the link! Tell your friends!

XO,

—Sandra Knauf

 

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