SILVER BELLS AND COCKLE SHELLS


Tulips

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Watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

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How does it happen that all the trees are bare skeletal armatures one day, and the very next day they burst out into full leaf? Two weeks ago the entire town was blooming with flowering pear and redbud trees, and now that has given way to a beautiful green avenue on both sides of the downtown street. Now and then there is a Chinese magnolia finishing its seasonal bloom. Fremont was planned to be a “City of Trees” years ago, and it still lives up to that name in certain areas. It is difficult to maintain, since there are five separate districts, much like New York city, and covers a very large area.

My tulips and early crocus are only remembered by this painting, but the new apple and two new figs are showing promise, the kadota fig even has tiny fruit along some branches. There will be plenty to share this year, and I’m already sorting out ways to use them. The old fig which Dr. Advice whacked nearly in half, has forgiven him and sports small bunches of green at the tips of each branch.

The early plantings of primrose have given way to coriopsis and blue salvia. The perennial color scheme of blue and gold in tribute to Dr. Advice’s beloved University of Calif. But when the blue tends to purple, the University of Washington gets a nod.

My old bones mumble and grumble louder each year as I crawl around pulling winter weeds and now and then yell for a little help with a tough job , but every year we seem to make numerous visits to the nursery for more planting mix and seed, and come home with new azaleas, or just ‘one more’ something to tuck in the corner. Dr.Advice labors in another part of the yard stopping now and then to bring us a cup of tea or a cookie to eat under the old orange tree, before we begin our jobs again. His bones are older than mine, but they don’t seem to creak as loudly, which doesn’t seem fair does it?

My friend Judy helps tend one of the City-owned public gardens, and has been generous with things from her own garden such as brilliant orange clivia, which she has planted in a shady spot along with fern, and other things only known to her alongside a tiny old-looking bridge over a rock stream. I must get some of the clivia for one of my own shady spots. I had some years ago, and just as it looked as if it might bloom, my fellow-gardener chopped it out of the ground, thinking it was a weed! You can’t trust these old guys!

“I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly, give them fruit for their songs.” Joseph Addison