Saturday, 14 April 2018

Signs of Life - Six on Saturday

Tree of Life applique.

Last week, the rain left long enough for us to play catch-up in the garden.

This week it's a day of rain, a day of fog, another of rain, nary a blue sky.

While there's no sun, there are signs of life.

Sometimes signs where it seemed no life could be.

1.  Verbena bonareinsis

The animal trails take precedence in my garden designs - it reduces the risk of having a favourite plant beaten into submission.  After learning Mlle DoodleFace's paths in our last house, I dug out a new flowerbed.

What I didn't take into consideration was, chasing garden intruders veers a DoodleFace off the beaten path & into the fast lane.  Which is how two of my sleeping verbena bonareinsis got flipped head over heels out of their autumnal bed.

I stuck them into pots & hoped for the best.

We survived a Doodle rampage.

And the best happened.

2.  Chocolate vine.

After this plant arrived last year, it essentially did nothing but grow one thin spindly stem.  A pretty stem, but no buds.  Allowances have to be made for the young, so when we moved, it got invited to come along.

To be honest, after seeing photos of other SoS chocolate vines this year, all with tons of buds, I thought the worst about this fella's potential.  But I did tack its chicken wire to the shady side of the new potting shed.

Today, its waving new tendrils won it a place in this week's six.


It wasn't until I looked at the photo on my computer that I saw the buds.  Out I ran to check it in real life & yes, my vine is loaded with buds.  If you look near the bottom of the roof board, we got 'em.  Buds that start there & run all the way down.

3.  Pear tree.

Last year (its first year with us), this pear tree bloomed a little, but nothing to write home about.  Its pollination buddy, an Asian pear, failed to thrive, so there were no pears at our house.

Louise Bonne of Jersey being hugged by a fig tree.

As you can see, we now have tons of buds on this fella.  The nursery replaced the Asian pear, which has plenty of leaf buds but no flowers.  Will it be another pear-less year?  Only the Shadow knows.

4.  Gillenia trifoliata.

This is one of my new shade-loving plants.  I'd never had a gillenia before, but it's supposed to be a nice sized shrub that'd fill a corner with delicate foliage & pink flowers.

When it arrived as a little shrivelled brown stalk in a pot, let's just say it inspired doubts.

Pink profusion.

But the little brown stalk grew itself some lovely russet leaves.  It lives.

5. Laburnum

Two gardens ago, we had a laburnum at the end of the front lawn.  It self-seeded like blue blazes, spotting the boundary hedge with yellow blossomed chillen.

Hedge laburnum in bud 2 gardens ago.

I rescued one of the smaller hedge volunteers & potted it up, but it appeared to've died before the end of last summer.

As you know, no one gets left behind, so the pot came with us.

Laburnum dead stick.

And now it has leaves!  Did ever a scraggly stick growing in dirt, inspire so much joy?  (All the time, says you.)

6.  Afterlife.

I don't know about your dearly departed, but ours don't always rest in peace.  When a box fell out of the closet in the middle of the night, my response was - Duly noted - then back to sleep with plans to check it in the morning.

Box w/Mlle DoodleFace for gauge.

The Big Z is my late mother, a master quilter who continued to teach quilting into her early 90s, even though she'd moved into a nursing home.  The same move that brought this box to me all those years ago.

Here's the pattern with swatches pinned to it.

Jacobean Tree of Life.

Isn't that something?  Even in black & white, it's amazingly beautiful.  It has a comforting balance to it.

Besides the pattern, the box is filled with little bags of hand cut templates labelled in her writing, thread & needles & markers . . . yet the kit's not whole.

She'd appliqued the brown stems, pinned on the green leaves.  But there's no fabric for the blossoms or fruits.  As if she were interrupted in her work at the beginning of spring.

The kit unfinished.

Which wasn't my mother's way of working.  Before the pattern was traced, the templates cut, before a single tiny stitch got sewn, she would've picked out her fabric.  All of it.

But it is the way nature works, sending us spindly stems, dried sticks in the dirt, slumbering verbena with their roots in the air.  We wait for signs of life, nurture them, & subsequently nurture ourselves.

And that's me done talking until next week.

The way she left it.

But there's more to be shared over at The Propagator who hosts this meme.

Be sure to check out his comment section where SoS bloggers have left links to their own Six on Saturday gardens.

See you next week!


  1. You tell a moving tale, Lora. Will you finish the quilt, or will you keep it as it is?

    1. I don't have my mother's skill. I'll look for someone to fill her shoes, but it'll be a slow & thoughtful search. Her sense of colour was so specific, whoever takes over will need to sense that when choosing the other fabrics.

    2. that is a tough decision. I hope it works out well whenever it happens

    3. Thanks. Since I've had this box for years, I think it falling out of the closet was someone's idea of letting me know it was time to get on w/it already. O dear!

  2. I checked my Akebia this morning too and the flowers have arrived. I will post about them soon. I'm happy to see that there is a life after life ... as much in the gardens as thanks to the discovery of your mother's quilting kit

    1. Definitely life after life (or after Doodle rampage) in my garden. If my mother has life after life, I hope there's tons of colour & music wherever she is.

  3. Ah, what a lovely find, if a huge responsibility! Good luck with your pears - is it not self-pollinating? We only have one pear tree and get a good crop.

    1. No, it's not self-pollinating but maybe, if the Asian pear doesn't catch up, there's another pear tree in our neighbourhood to help us out. If not, it's still a really beautiful little tree.

  4. I share your excitement over the discovery of new buds. Here's to more.

    1. One can only hope. And then in some instances, fruit to follow.

  5. Doggie desire lines - I like it. Glad your chocolate vine is coming into bud. Pretty pear blossom - here’s hoping it proves fruitful.

    1. I hope the pear pollinates, as well. My favourite fruit!

  6. Is it wrong of me to say that I initially thought Big Z was actually in that box. In some reduced form. Sorry,can't be unthunk now.

    1. No. It can't be unthunk. And that box lives in my bedroom. Thank you for that. ;-)

  7. A clever linking of garden and life Lora, I really enjoyed reading it. I hope you can find someone to finish your mother’s tapestry and that we can all see it one day.

    1. Glad you enjoyed. I really need to shake a leg about getting a quilter lined up.

  8. Yes, I think the box fell for a reason, too!

  9. I always look forward to reading abput a Doodle Rampage.

    1. It's quick, it's unexpected & it's full of goof. Always.

  10. I so love your writing Lora. Your mother sounds amazing and your respect for her talent does you credit. I hope you find an appropriate quilter as it would be great to se the Jacobean Tree of Life come to life.

  11. I hope I do, too. I'm so taken w/the pattern she traced, I've thought about framing it, but I think the marker would eventually fade. Might be best to keep that in the box. Hopefully the right quilter & I will find each other.