Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Garden Report #131

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

A Special Blessing for All Mothers Today
“God could not be everywhere so he invented mothers” 

Mothers are always remembered
• Writers write: It is another Mothers’ Day, the second Sunday of May. No doubt, many of you have some wonderful stories of your mother to share, and I would be pleased to read them.

Sons have a special relationship with their mothers. I will vouch for that statement. One of my fondest memories is being six years old and learning to ride my bicycle. I was a ‘big boy’ and no longer wished to be seen riding my trike. After supper, each night in the spring of 1957, Mom would take me out for my ride. She would hold the back of the bike seat while I pedalled. One night, I said to Mom “we are going really fast!” as my little legs pumped up and down. I looked behind and Mom was a hundred feet back. She had let go of the bike. I felt the exhilaration of riding the bike by myself and the fear of not having my Mom to prop me up. For those who are a bit slow on the uptake, this is a metaphor for life itself.

I was fortunate. I got to keep my Mom until I was fifty-eight, while many others lost their moms much sooner. I appreciated that. When my mother was dying, just before she passed, I spoke the only words I could muster and said “thank you for being my Mom.” Those six words encompassed our life together and how I felt.

The next day, my sibs and I gathered at the funeral home to make the arrangements. The funeral director, a lovely woman, asked if we wanted to spend one last time with Mom, in their chapel. I was dubious of the point of this offer. I hesitated. The woman said “some people find it beneficial.” I put my scepticism aside and went into the chapel. There were candles lit, Mom was in her favourite dress, lying in her coffin, looking as if she were asleep. My sister and I gathered ourselves emotionally, knowing that we would not see her again, until it is our time to grace the steps of heaven, and we asked Mom to forgive us for all the trouble we had caused her. Now, if you know my sister and I, and you remember us from when we were teenagers, you already know we had a very strong need to ask Mom for forgiveness. What we put that poor woman through when we were teenagers. We needed to do that. Thank her for being our Mom and ask her forgiveness.

I still celebrate Mothers’ Day. Maureen is the mother of our three adult sons. Lisa is the mother of our granddaughter. Mothers surround us in the neighbourhood. Let me assure all of you that even after they pass away, mothers still look after their children no matter how old we are. Whenever I cross the street, I will always hear my mother’s voice saying “now look both ways and don’t cross until it is safe to do so.”

• Readers write:

• Sandra Rayson always has nice things to say and when she says nice things about me, that is even better. Humility is something I still must work on before I meet with St. Peter. “I received The Garden Report #130 with much gratitude & respect for your efforts & faithfulness. Even if you never win a Juno or Emmy, I hope you know how much heartfelt respect & gratitude there is out there for you in the world, particularly this community which you have served faithfully for years. Please feel free to publish any or all of the above in the subsequent issues as they come from my heart.”

• Denise Cook issues a correction on my behalf, which aids in the development of my humility. “Sir Paul is Wednesday, August 14th not Monday.”

• Coffee lovers unite! CJ gives us another place to check out, rate and discuss. It’s almost as if there is homework when reading The Garden Report. “Rod – apropos Frank Flegel’s comment. I’m now convinced that the best cappuccino in Regina is at The Artful Dodger. Ordered one this weekend, for the first time since they got their machine and took a cappuccino seminar with Collective Coffee owner from Saskatoon. I was in heaven. This is traditional capp – meaning, it doesn’t taste like a milky latte – it’s an excellent balance of coffee, steamed milk and foam. They have really figured out the micro foam method. It was creamy and strong throughout the entire drink. They serve Intelligentsia coffee, by the way, which is an excellent small batch roaster. If you love a great capp, this will be an experience.”

• Roberta Nichol shows why she is the resident President of The Good Eaters’ Club-Garden Report Division. “I'd like to get myself down to the Farmer's Market--- is it on Wednesday, as well, now, or just Saturdays at the moment? I'd love to get my paws on a bunch of rhubarb. That's one of my favourite spring flavours, rhubarb. I have a coffee cake recipe with rhubarb that's to die for. It's also good in salads--- roasted, with a bit of sugar on it, to provide a glaze. Mmmmm..... and of course, muffins, along with strawberries.”

• Dani Mario was also in a mood for issuing compliments. I am beginning to wonder how much this pampering is going to cost me. “...and you, from ‘proficient blogger’ to ‘why haven't you written a book yet’?! Still loving your musings.”
Cherry Lane Greenhouse

• Garden Tip: If you have a lot of shade in your yard, but still need a good groundcover, there are two that will fill in the larger areas, fairly quickly. The first is quite well known and has several names. ‘Snow on the Mountain’ is the most common name but others call it ‘Variegated Goutweed’ or ‘Bishops’ Goutweed’. There are gardeners who will turn up their noses at this plant but I am not a snob. This plant grows very fast and fills in lots of territory and if that is your need, then go with it. Here is the kicker. It is very aggressive and it can spread into unwanted areas if you are not vigilant. I have it in my yard and because I am a very attentive gardener, it rarely jumps into beds where it is not supposed to. When it does, it gets chopped out before it can spread. If you need some, I can let you dig a few clumps from my garden, no charge. The second plant is not near as aggressive but it does a lovely job as a ground cover in the shade. It is Lamium, also known as ‘Arch Angel’. There are several varieties so read up and choose the color and variety that works best for you.

• This one you won’t believe: Now, I am the first to admit that I can be a ‘Chatty Cathy’ at times but last Sunday, I was turned into ‘Listening Larry’. I wanted to go for a walk and every block or two, one of my wonderful neighbours emerged from their homes and engaged me in conversation. It has been a long winter, we all agree, but I really wanted to cover some territory. I also, didn’t want to be rude. So I listened for awhile. You might think “what’s the big deal?” I was stopped seven times and my one hour walk turned into more than two hours. Maureen suggests the alternative is to be a jerk and “then no one will ever stop to speak to you”. Okay, okay. The complaint is finished.

• Difficult topic: Reader Ed Heidt is concerned and asks: Will you ever receive a kidney transplant? He writes “I am sort of surprised that there is no comment about your plea for a kidney from the week before. Any responses to that?” Rod’s note: There were four readers who expressed an interest. One has already been eliminated due to a prior illness. It is such a difficult decision that I protect the privacy of anyone even thinking of the being tested. Also, I do not want anyone who is considering being tested to think I am in the clear, as candidates get turned down for many different reasons. The more people who come forward, the better my chances will be. In short, I am still looking for that ‘gift of life’, a new kidney for me, albeit a used kidney.

• Tree bands: Tree bands should be left on until after all of the frost is out of the ground. Usually, the end of May is adequate. This year, I have not seen very many insects captured in these sticky traps. Hopefully, this means that the cankerworm population is on the decline. Wouldn’t that be a welcomed event?

Green grass such as this is well looked after
• Rabbit damage: Those cute little bunnies can do a lot of damage to your trees and shrubs. If they have been gnawing at your ornamentals, best to leave them for a few more weeks. Let the plant leaf out and see how much damage was done. If the bark was stripped off of the main stem, you usually have a problem. If it was only stripped on the lateral branches, then it is usually survivable. Again, give the plant a bit of time and see. Mother Nature rewards patience.

• Gardeners live good lives: We were at a banquet for ‘Wings Over Wascana’, a nature conservatory group, on Tuesday. We were the guests of Landscape Architect Ingrid Thiessen. I ran into a long time customer of mine who is a dedicated gardener and a naturalist. I asked how his garden was coming this year and he let me know that he hadn’t done very much, so far. I suspected I knew the answer but I asked the question anyways, “is your health failing?” It is. He only has four to six months left to live but there he was, out supporting the wildflower and bird people as he has done for many years. He knows his legacy. We visited for awhile, knowing that this would probably be the last time we spoke and he told me “I have no regrets and no resentments.” Gardeners are optimists. Gardeners understand the cycle of life.

• Great name: When our one of our sons was learning to speak, he referenced underwear as ‘hunger wear’. Now, if you can’t write at least six jokes from that give away, then you are not trying.
Valley River, Manitoba

• Garden Tip: Last week, I stressed the importance of checking and adjusting your sprinklers in the spring. I actually followed my own advice and found that one of my heads had come off (easy to put back on), one was broken off and one was missing the center, spray pattern part. This is not unusual, after the long winter.

• Flood report: Regina and area was not hit bad, in spite of our record amount of snow. What saved us were three things: a)The long, slow melt. The water did not come all at one time. b)The ground was dry from last fall and absorbed much of the snow pack and c)The fact that we were better prepared, than ever before, added to our saving grace. Even though the banks were not overflowing with water, I am still a supporter of The City’s preparation of sand bags, just in case. I hate fighting rear guard battles as does The City.

• Flooding in 1969: In the spring of 1969, Lumsden was under siege from an overflowing river. The call went out for volunteers to save the town. The school board asked for the senior students at Central Collegiate to help with the sand bags. They sent out a bus for us, we were allowed to cut class and the added bonus was that many more girls volunteered than boys. So, why wouldn’t I have done my part? We boarded the buses and they took us out to a sandbagging station and we started filling those burlap bags up. It was great fun. Twenty guys and about eighty girls. “Here. Let me lift that for you. Have you noticed what big muscles I have?” I was seventeen, what did you expect? How many times have I written that volunteer work always has its benefits and rewards.

A University of Saskatchewan lily introduction
• Low hanging fruit: In the news, recently, has been the story of Canadians who have off shore accounts. Apparently, some have been hiding money in The Cook Islands, Switzerland, The Bahamas and so on. According to the news, Revenue Canada seldom goes after these people as it would require many man hours, resources they claim they don’t have. Instead, Revenue Canada likes to search out low hanging fruit. The easy pickings, albeit low return investigations. Let me vouch for that. I pay my taxes. I don’t cheat. I am similar to most Canadians in my honest behaviour. I claim the deductions allowed me, such as charitable donations and medical expenses. Friday, I get a letter, demanding proof of those donations and medical expenses. Neither one of the claims is high or unusual. But, rather than chase down the millions in off shore revenue, they hope to sniff out a buck or two by going after people like me. They did this last year and everything matched up except for one prescription for thirty bucks that had to be moved into the next year. This is not a personal rant. I will send them their proof, just like I did last year. Rather, it is a more important question: When will Revenue Canada start going after the big bucks, rather than small but easy ones? Does the phrase ‘Penny wise-pound foolish’ enter into this equation?

Rayanna at six months-my lovely granddaughter

• Great show: Jodi Sadowsky knocked the socks off of her audiences, earning standing ovations for ‘Kafka’s Monkey’. We were there Friday night and Jodi’s character posed that Darwinian question, how far from the apes are we? If you are reading this early enough, there is one last performance at The Artesian at eight p.m., Sunday.

• And your point is: I ran into Dave Wessel on Saturday. He commented, “both of us get into trouble, the difference being, you are proud of it.”

• Thanks for reading…Rod McDonald in sunny Regina

No comments:

Post a Comment