nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘garden

harvesting herbs

leave a comment »

The colder nights have arrived and I have decided it is time to harvest my herbs.

~

I have a lot of parsley in my deck garden. All summer, I have snacked every day on the leaves, loving the taste, the fresh air feeling that is the result.

~

~

I enjoyed the harvest as well. With scissors, I cut the parsley leaves just below the branching of stems.

~

~

I checked each set of leaves for bugs but the parsley is remarkably bug-free.

~

~

I harvested into my colander, washed the leaves and set them to air-dry. Once the leaves are dry, I will load them into my drier, a Salton VitaPro. In a drying time of about three hours, I will have enough parsley for winter cooking.

~

I have followed a similar process with my basil. Everything around me smells really good!!

~

Hope you are enjoying your own produce if you are lucky enough to have a garden.

Enjoy your day.

Stay safe.

Do. Not. Get. Covid. Fatigue!

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

revising poetry

with 2 comments

After a full month of working on my artsnb project ‘garden escapes,’ I am conscious of the passage of time. My deadline is November 1, 2020, and meeting this deadline requires completing the poems and other deliverables.

~

At this point (I began on July 1, 2020), I have completed my field work (visits to various abandoned communities), done drafts of 70 poems, placed these poems in seven tentative subject groups, and considered how I will approach revisions. I know I will also write a few more poems based on material collected.

~

The subject groups (not in order) are:

  • all that remains
  • my mother’s garden
  • invaders and volunteers
  • the gardener
  • whispered stories
  • a glimpse of history
  • the shape of a garden

~

~

I meet regularly with a writing group known as Wolf Tree Writers. I have read a few of the poems at these meetings and received lots of suggestions. I think the most important suggestion has been: ‘ask yourself, where is the metaphor in this poem?‘ I have taken this idea seriously. I do want these to be poems about communities and garden plants. But each poem has to work harder – it has to comment on some social truth addressed (the metaphor).

~

When I began this work, I spent a full day on metaphor, considering how garden escapes would relate to issues or problems we face as humans.  The fundamental requirement for a garden to escape is – it must be left alone to decide its own fate. In our lives this could be a metaphor for:

  • accomplishment – you can write a song, but you have to let it go to see if it will flourish. This applies to the results of various endeavors: paintings, quilts, stories. Collections are a particular type of accomplishment; people often belittle ‘stuff,’ but I think particularly of things passed on from one generation to another (jewellery, books, souvenirs). Like the plants in a garden, accomplishments must make it into the right hands, the right conditions of soil and sun.
  • influence – you can talk to people and try to nurture them, but only time will tell if influences take hold. Some of our influence is directed and purposeful; you can try to be a good teacher to your children but eventually they must leave home and only then will lessons take hold or wither. Gardeners will plant a scarlet runner bean and end up with a lupin; parents can plant a ‘carpenter’ and end up with a ‘financier.’ So much of influence is accidental, transferred by chance. Think of influencers like ‘kindnesses,’ ‘chance encounter,’ ‘place’ and ‘accident.’  Also, ‘influence’ must be abandoned for a while and then re-discovered and the value found.
  • abandonment – the abandonment of children/family can occur in so many ways: adult children lose their parents, children are orphaned or abandoned, parents are left to fend for themselves as they age. Each of these situations can be examined using the metaphor of the abandoned garden.

~

~

So my first duty in revision will be to examine each poem for the embedding of metaphor. Sometimes the metaphor will already be there. Sometimes I will need to add a phrase or line for clarity. Sometimes the whole poem will have to be reconfigured to include a clear idea of metaphor.

~

When more substantive revisions are done, I have a revision checklist aimed at detailed revision.

~

revision checklist

  1. take out ‘which’ and ‘that’
  2. remove weak verbs (‘to be’)
  3. consider removing small words (‘the,’ ‘a,’ ‘so,’ ‘etc.’)
  4. try alternative words – words to contribute more
  5. exchange words used more than once with synonyms
  6. remove adverbs (many are ‘ly’ words) and gerunds (‘ing’ words)
  7. read aloud – watch for phrases or ideas that ring bells – may make it better/worse
  8. be truthful – when it isn’t right, return to truth
  9. check if singular or plural is correct
  10. consider passive voice – does it drag it down?
  11. check voice (child, scientist); don’t switch within poem
  12. consider end and embedded rhyme – select better words
  13. consider rhythm; count beats/syllables and read aloud to identify cadence errors
  14. for poems written in a particular form, check conformity to form

~

~

All of this is a continuing process. Even when I submit those ‘final’ poems with all their revisions, I may continue to work at poems for years!!!!

~

This work is accomplished as part of an artsnb Creations Grant.

~

All my best.

Stay Safe.

Don’t get COVID fatigue.

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 21, 2020 at 7:00 am

garden escapes: where did they come from?

leave a comment »

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?

~

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).

~

escapes

~

Where did they come from?

~

33 bouncing bett cropped

bouncing-Bett (Saponaria officinalis)

~

bouncing-Bett, common soapwort

Saponaria officinalis

~

pink blur along the road

fills the ditches

perhaps she loved colour

or needed mild soap

to wash delicates

gloves sullied in the garden

~

6 Morehouse Corner white sage cropped

white sage (Artemesia ludovinciana)

~

white sage

Artemisia ludovinciana

~

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

~

20 Wiggens Mill harebell cropped

harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

~

harebell

Campanula rotundifolia

~

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

~

~

Be safe, wear your mask.

All my best,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

August 5, 2020 at 7:00 am

abandoned gardens: a pantoum about lilacs

with 2 comments

Over the years, faced by change, some communities continue to thrive. Others, once vigorous, may decline and disappear. Sometimes, communities may hang on but individual homes may be abandoned. Abandonment can occur if the owner moves away or dies, or if aspects of the home become unsustainable (for example, a water source dries up).

~

DSCN0171 (1)

~

When a home is abandoned, what becomes of the vegetable garden, so carefully tended, or the flower gardens, each plant chosen with love and care?

~

Annuals are usually the first to go, although biennials may continue to grow for a year and some plants, like sweet William or pansies, may reseed. Perennials may thrive, sometimes for years. Rhubarb, chives and berry crops often continue to grow in a vegetable garden. In the flower garden, peonies, day-lilies and phlox may bloom year after year. Trees and shrubs often persist.

~

63 rhubard Dugan Road

rhubarb persisting in an old garden

~

In my poetry project about abandoned gardens, I want to learn more about various poetry forms. The poem below is written as a pantoum. A pantoum consists of four line stanzas. The second and forth lines of the preceding stanza are used as the first and third lines of the next. The first line of the poem may also be used as the last.

~

The poem below is written about an abandoned house in central New Brunswick. Keep in mind, these properties are still owed by someone and the owners may care a great deal about them and perhaps use the property if not the house.

DSCN0165 cropped

lilac bush next to an old house

~

lilacs persist

~

delicate scribble of winter wren

lilac, a cushion of shadow and green

props the abandoned house

roof rusted, clapboards and shingles grey

~

lilac, a cushion of shadow and green

at night leaves peer in windows

roof rusted, clapboards and shingles grey

features sculpted by overlapping leaves

~

at night they peer in windows

stare, front windows to back yard

features sculpted by overlapping leaves

scented panicles of purple bloom

~

stare, front windows to back yard

noses tuned to lilac sweet

scented panicles of purple bloom

lilacs persist and thrive

~

noses tuned to lilac sweet

roof rusted, clapboards and shingles grey

lilacs persist and thrive

delicate scribble of winter wren

~

~

lilacs~

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

~

Perhaps we can learn from the lilac …

persist and thrive.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 6, 2020 at 7:00 am

garden escapes: starting a project

leave a comment »

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.

~

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.

~

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.
DSCN0579

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/

~

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.

~

Sounds like fun!

DSCN0350

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.

~

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!

~

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

~

All my best,

stay safe,

Jane

Small, small garden

with 2 comments

Arthritis means my days of the big garden are over. But I can still enjoy digging in the earth, planting seeds, pulling weeds and harvesting, just on a smaller scale.

~

On our deck are two Veg Trugs (Lee Valley Tools used to sell them) and one bag of soil, slit open and supported on a metal frame. In the ‘gardens’ I have two snow pea plants, three yellow wax bean plants, three parsley plants and one cucumber plant.

~

~

Each day for the last month, I sit on the deck and nibble on my ‘harvest for the day.’ Sometimes it’s one bean pod and a snow pea pod, sometimes two beans, sometimes a cucumber sandwich. Seems small, but I think I enjoy these little sessions more than the buckets of produce I once harvested from my garden.

~

Written by jane tims

August 30, 2019 at 7:00 am

How high can I climb?

leave a comment »

Not that high. But I will have to figure out how to get those beans. I planted what I thought were yellow-wax beans on my deck. And they turned out to be yellow pole beans. I threw a couple of weighted strings into the maple and of course the beans climbed.

~

~

~

All my best, Jane

Written by jane tims

August 13, 2018 at 7:00 am

Tendrils

with one comment

My cucumber vines are still thriving …


~

And the tendrils are still so charming!


~

This one wants to pull up a chair!


~

On Friday, I had my first cucumber salad from my vines!

~

Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 7, 2017 at 7:20 am

finally !!!! spring

with 4 comments

Finally, spring!!!  The last bit of snow is melted from our lawn (although there are still patches of snow in the woods) and I have crocuses in bloom!

~

This past weekend, I attended a strategic planning event at Falls Brook Center in west-central New Brunswick.  Falls Brook Center is a non-profit group working within the community to teach skills for more sustainable living.

~

Setting goals for an organisation is never easy and we enjoyed a welcome break from all the group discussion and brainstorming when one of the program coordinators gave us a short workshop about how to make seed sprouters from newspaper.  In the past, I have often used peat pots, milk cartons and even Styrofoam cups to start my seeds.   Making plant pots from newspaper is easy, saves money, and reduces waste!  And making the pots is fun!

~

We used PotMaker® to make our seed pots. PotMaker®  is made in Canada by Richters (Goodwood, Ontario, L0C 1A0)  http://www.PotMaker.com . The kit includes two wooden shapes, one to wrap the newspaper into a tube, and the other to ‘crimp’ the lower part of the tube into a closed pot.

~

010_crop

~

This morning, after a few minutes of rolling newspaper strips and tucking ends, I have enough pots to start a new batch of herbs for my kitchen window garden! Now, all I have to do is fill the newspaper pots with some planting mix and sprinkle some seeds.  The pots support one another and keep their shape even wet.  They can be planted directly into the garden … the roots grow through the paper and the pots disintegrate.

~

020_crop

~

~

greenhouse, early spring

~

dead plantings rustle

skeletons brittle

pods and packets rattle

whisper me to the greenhouse

~

weak sunshine warms the glass

my prints a path on late snow

meltwater sinks into grass

soaks into clay

~

bits of crockery

wooden handles

leaf mould and sand

soil pressed into pots

~

the gardener

awakened from winter

rooted in moss and clay

~

~

Published as ‘greenhouse, early spring’, Canadian Stories 15 (87), Oct/Nov, 2012

Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 28, 2014 at 10:01 am

the color of September #4 – a toasted tomato sandwich

with 6 comments

~

Of all the produce of September, I think I enjoy tomatoes the most.   I like fried green tomatoes, tomatoes in chili con carne and toasted tomato sandwiches.   If you have never eaten a toasted tomato sandwich, you should try one.  Toast two pieces of whole wheat bread, slice the tomatoes very thin and add mayo, salt and pepper.

~

Now that I have finished my watercolor of tomatoes, and they are no longer needed for the still life, I think I’ll have another sandwich …

~

September 14, 2013  'tomato red'   Jane Tims

September 14, 2013 ‘tomato red’ Jane Tims

~

Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

September 23, 2013 at 7:30 am

%d bloggers like this: