nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘flowers

garden escapes: where did they come from?

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When I find a plant in a ditch or roadside where it has no business to be, I wonder how it got there. Of course, the mechanism is usually plain. Some plants have arrived by seed, others by horizontal roots. But how did they get into the garden if that is where they came from?

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This weekend, we found three plants which made me wonder how they arrived in the community where they now grew: bouncing-Bett (Saponaria officinalis), white sage (Artemesia ludovinciana) and harebell (Campanula rotundifolia).

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escapes

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Where did they come from?

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33 bouncing bett cropped

bouncing-Bett (Saponaria officinalis)

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bouncing-Bett, common soapwort

Saponaria officinalis

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pink blur along the road

fills the ditches

perhaps she loved colour

or needed mild soap

to wash delicates

gloves sullied in the garden

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6 Morehouse Corner white sage cropped

white sage (Artemesia ludovinciana)

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white sage

Artemisia ludovinciana

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hugs the edge of the road

a slash of silver

in a matrix of green

perhaps he sought

smoke and smoulder

sacred odour of the smudge

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20 Wiggens Mill harebell cropped

harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

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harebell

Campanula rotundifolia

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in the margins of the road

harebell catches

found among the grasses

perhaps they wished to play

dress-up with lady’s thimbles

reminded them of home

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Be safe, wear your mask.

All my best,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

August 5, 2020 at 7:00 am

garden escapes: starting a project

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This summer, one of my main occupations will be to work on a collection of poems about garden escapes.  Specifically, this means abandoned gardens, plants left behind when homes or communities are abandoned. This work is being supported by a Creations Grant from artsnb.

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I have a short mantra to refer to these abandoned plants: “die, thrive or escape.” In a way, the project theme can be used as a metaphor for any abandonment. For example, when someone abandons a relationship, the one left behind can languish, or pick up and start over, or just leave, find a place to start over. I will be watching for these metaphors throughout my project.

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For today, I have to arrange my materials and get started with a plan for my project.

  • To start I have my grant application (outlines what I intend to do), a bit of reconnaissance work I did in 2018 to develop some ideas for the project, six blog posts from that time and eight older poems that fit the theme.
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orange day-lilies, found in many of new Brunswick’s ditches, are escapes from older gardens

  • To identify abandoned communities, I can refer to information sources and databases developed by others:  the Facebook pages Abandoned New Brunswick  and New Brunswick Upon Days Faded where interested people post photos and short anecdotes about abandoned houses and buildings; the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website called Place Names of New Brunswick: Where is Home? New Brunswick Communities Past and Present https://archives.gnb.ca/Exhibits/Communities/Home.aspx?culture=en-CA; additional information on communities will be available in Census Records at https://www.ancestry.ca/; various maps including the New Brunswick Atlas (Second Edition); Google Earth and the associated Street View; maps posted in the Facebook page New Brunswick Upon Days Faded; the Walling Map of 1862 which I have used in other projects, F. Walling, Topographical Map of the Counties of St. John and Kings New Brunswick: From Actual Surveys under the direction of H. F. Walling (Publishers W.E. and A.A. Baker, New York, 1862); and, the Monograph about place-names in New Brunswick, Ganong, William F. A Monograph of the Place-Nomenclature of the Province of New Brunswick. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada: Second Series 1896-97, Volume II, Section II. 1896.
sample Walling map

a sample of the Walling Map for an area in Kings County, New Brunswick. The map shows individual buildings and houses from 1862.

  • For anecdotal stories about the gardeners and their gardens, I plan to use the resources of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick since often diaries and other documents contain amazing bits of information about New Brunswick history. Obtaining anecdotal information about abandoned gardens is tricky during the time of COVID-19 since social distancing means ordinary interviewing is not easy.  I will use the websites above to obtain some information and, where possible, talk to people I encounter. I will create a Facebook Page called Abandoned New Brunswick Gardens to obtain some of these stories.
  • For plant identification, I have my own skills as a botanist and my trusty guides: Harold R. Hinds, Flora of New Brunswick, Second Edition: A Manual for Identification of the Vascular Plants of New Brunswick, University of New Brunswick, 2000; A. E. Roland and E. C. Smith, The Flora of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Museum, 1969; Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny, A Field Guide to Flowers of Northeastern and North-central North America, 1968; and the website The Plant List: A Working List of all Plant Species (this is to verify plants names since I use older plant guides). http://www.theplantlist.org/

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My methodology is simple:

  1. identify possible abandoned homes and communities and create an efficient plan to visit these places
  2. drive to these locations and look for plant species that may be garden remnants
  3. photograph the sites and plants
  4. make notes about the sites, the plants encountered and various sensations encountered (sight, smell, taste, touch and sound)
  5. do pencil drawings of some plants and locations
  6. obtain any anecdotal or archived information about the former communities, their gardens and their gardeners
  7. write the poems using all the information collected

I am going to write mostly free verse but I will also use some poetic forms, for example the ghazal and the pantoum.

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Sounds like fun!

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Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare) is an introduced plant in New Brunswick.  These are plants found on the New Ireland Road in Albert County, New Brunswick. In 1866, there were 68 families in the community (Source: NB Archives); today all the houses are gone.

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I will keep you up to date on my adventures and show you some of the plants I find. If you know of any abandoned gardens in New Brunswick, or abandoned communities, please let me know! I will acknowledge you in my book!

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This work is supported by a Creation Grant from artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board)!

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All my best,

stay safe,

Jane

spring flowers

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Our dominant ground greenery at this time of year is from the leaves of lily-of-the-valley (Convalleria majalis). Like emerald flames they light up the yard. And now they are in bloom. The fragrance is amazing!

All my best

and please stay safe at home.

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 3, 2020 at 9:59 am

Pearly everlasting

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H. 'Pearly everlasting' October 27 2018 Jane Tims

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Pearly Everlasting

Anaphalis margaritacea L.

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Pearly Everlasting

sign of summer’s passing

yet – immortelle

picked by the road

by the armload

hung from rafters

children’s laughter

runs beneath

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downy leaf, woolly stem

white diadem

perfectly matched flowers

thatched in gold

dry and old

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Linnaeus named

for Marguarite

memory sweet

paper petals keep

pale perfume

summer grace

in a winter room

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Published as:  ‘Pearly Everlasting’, The Antingonish Review 92, 1993 and at niche poetry and prose, August 20, 2012 here

Copyright   Jane Tims   2012

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 14, 2019 at 7:00 am

Canada lilies by the highway

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On a drive to Chipman today we came back via the old Trans Canada (now Highway 105) through Grand Lake Meadows. The Canada lily (also called meadow lily), Lilium canadense, is in bloom. Each plant holds its lily chandelier above the other field vegetation. They are bright orange with dark spots and hang downward.

 

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This seems to be the time of year for lilies. I have three varieties of day-lily in my garden and when one finishes its blooming, another begins.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 20, 2019 at 7:33 pm

saving the bees

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A while ago a friend of mine gave me an interesting ‘save the bees’ planting card. The white bee-shaped card is embedded with seeds. These seeds, if planted, will grow into wildflower species the bees like.

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As you may know, bee populations are struggling. Since bees pollinate plants, they are responsible for the continued success of all the plant species we rely on. The ecosystem is like a tangle of connected threads and the loss of any one connection is a loss to the system.

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Yesterday I planted my seed card in my deck box. I will let you know what grows!!! I am also a believer in leaving wild flowers to flourish on my property. I only mow once a year, I never use pesticides and dandelions are my friends.

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The Save the Bees card is from www.beebythesea.com a source of natural products . For more information about helping the bees, see Buzz About Bees at

https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/save-the-bees.html

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All my best!

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 2, 2018 at 6:30 pm

volunteers

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volunteers

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I forget to mow.

Volunteers

shoulder in

from every side.

Burnished trumpets of daylilies,

cerulean forget-me-nots,

pagodas of bugleweed

overtake green.

I forget to mow.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

flowers along the sidewalk 5-10

with 6 comments

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flowers along the sidewalk in Saint-Xandré (image from Street View)

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Day 5-10 1 Logbook

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Day 5-10 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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On May 9, I took my virtual bike along the streets of a town called Saint-Xandré.  The sidewalks were planted with roses and flowers the color of petunias.  I could ‘smell’ their spicy scent as I peddled by …

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flowers and greenery line the main streets of Saint-Xandré (image from Street View)

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Since I can never get close enough to identify the flowers, I just imagine they are similar to flowers found here at home.   As I passed one yard, the heady smell of white lilacs filled the air …

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these flowers remind me of the white lilacs in our yard at home (image from Street View)

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One of the houses reminded me of how I would like our cottage to look.  I love the calmness of the greens on the shutters of this house …

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a charming house with cottage appeal (image from Street View)

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We have a way to go before our cottage looks like the one above.  We have just installed our big front window and will finish the siding later this spring.  Our cottage started its life as a shed.  We intended to build something bigger, but as time went by, we realised –  it is the perfect size for us …

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our cottage/camp/cabin at the lake is under construction

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Best View: pots of flowers along a street in Saint-Xandré …

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

June 3, 2013 at 7:00 am

maple blossoms

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This week, as Red Maple (Acer rubrum) flowers bloom, the woodland blushes scarlet.  In the driveway, a tree-shadow of blossoms has begun to form, as the flower clusters reach their peak and then drop to the ground.

Each flower is a puff of reddish-pink bracts surrounding the male and female flower parts.  The stamens (the male part of the flower) consist of a thin filament topped by a dark anther where the pollen is formed.  The pistil (the female part) is made of a style topped by a stigma; once fertilised by pollen, the maple seeds will form here.  Red maple flowers may have both stamens and pistils, or may be only male or only female.  The flower looks like a tiny fireworks, the burst-effect created by a bundle of stamens or stigmas.

When I went to Dalhousie University in Halifax, I always loved the flowering of the Norway Maples (Acer platanoides) in spring.  Their flowers are green and most people mistake them for new leaves.  I used to wonder what the ecosystem consequences might be if the flowers were bright orange or purple instead of green.

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red maple blossoms

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across brown sky

strontium bursts of bright

sparks bloom

against dark

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©  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

April 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

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