The Catalpa Forest

the catalpa tree in the side yard
Dominates.
catalpa tree and sunset
A late bloomer,
She wears lace in June
on her sunlit green dress


Luxuriously, she gives with abandon all she has —
blossoms, twigs, branches, seeds, leaves…

The birds and the wind
deposit her bean pod necklaces
far away at the grassy edge of the hillside. 


Every spring there is a new little tree.
Or three.
The catalpa forest grows
and the wind is sweet with the orchid blooms.

Her waist is not small nor dainty,
Eleven feet around,
No arms could encircle her.

Green lichen covers her bark,
And winter shows her true form
of gnarled, aged branches.

Birds and bees love her,
and so does the hammock.

The view is unforgettable
on a June Sunday afternoon.
Birdsong and breeze and the billowy green
bring gentle rest to the needy soul.

Reblogged this from June a couple of years ago….

The Gloriousness of June

I THINK
I will write you a letter, 
June day.
Dear June Fifth,
you're all in green,
so many kinds and all one
green, tree shadows on
grass blades and grass
blade shadows. The air
fills up with motor
mower sound. The cat
walks up the drive
a dead baby rabbit
in her maw. The sun
is hot, the breeze
is cool. And suddenly
in all the green
the lilacs bloom,
massive and exquisite
in color and shape
and scent. The roses
are more full of
buds than ever. No
flowers. But soon.
June day, you have
your own perfection:
so green to say
goodbye to. Green,
stick around
a while.
         -- James Schuyler

James Schuyler has written the perfect poem: a love letter to a day in June. Not just any day. Today.

June green is unlike any other, vibrant and alive, still nourished by the spring rains, not yet ruined by hot sun, nor eaten by insects. Next to the June green, the peonies are more vibrant, the sundrops more sunny, the daisies more pure. Yes, June green is more.

The gardens are planted, red pears and green apples are growing, cherries are ripening, birds are nesting, perching, and singing.

The wild primrose opened in Sunday’s sun and surprised the surrounding motley plants. Her dazzling yellow perks up the shabby shed and makes the neighboring weeds look more stately. 

The new gate opens wide and the new fence keeps the fruit trees in and the riffraff critters out (so far).


If I stand by the garden gate I can watch the grape vines growing, their tendrils curling around and around. The grapes are too small still to be more than a vague hope. Will they be sweet? Will they be juicy? Will they be jam or wine?

The cherries are yellow, blushing pink. I ate one today, still sour, still small. Bluebirds are nesting in the eaves of the porch; wrens are nesting by the door. They can have some cherries as long as they share the deep blue June sky.

Dear June fifth, you are glorious. You are enough.

Where Violets Grow and other thoughts from the garden

Who bends a knee where violets grow, a hundred secret things shall know.” – Rachel Field

I’m putting in a little herb garden at the cottage.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.
Basil, Dill, Cilantro, and Chives, too.

It rained this morning and I bought plants in the mist. It seemed right somehow, to be buying seeds and plants in the spring rain.

In early early spring Mr. H.C. tilled up a long space of dirt in front of the peonies, day lilies, and the lilac bush. These old favorites were here when we moved in — just a long line of perennials that had weeds and grass in the bed and really needed something else to make them look pleasing. It’s in the back of the house, so I mulled around various ideas: a cut flower garden, more perennials, even transplanting the peonies so they could bloom where people could see them. Because really, peonies need to be seen, not hidden away in the back yard. But from what I’ve read, peonies don’t really take to being transplanted. And these two peonies are Very Large, Old Favorite varieties from way back when…

What do you think of a long line of herbs in the front?

Yes, I liked the idea too. And because there is lots of space, four blueberry bushes will be planted there next to the herbs. And caged. Because we have deer, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and a groundhog (with two babies!) who live under the tool shed. And a large opossum knocked on the front door last night. I really don’t know if opossums like blueberry bushes, but my guess is they probably do… And the rabbits around Apple Hill are unafraid of anything. Look how close little Flossie let me get to her last night:

So I’ve been weeding this new herb bed. I don’t really mind for it lets me breathe, think, pray, drink in the beauty of spring, and lean on the shovel. For awhile I was pulling up all the little violet plants, and then I wondered why in the world was I pulling them up? Violets are among my favorite spring wildflowers, and I certainly don’t care if they grow among the herbs. Violet flowers are edible and look beautiful in salads or sugared on cakes. In my old back-to-the-land hippie days I made violet jelly once. It didn’t taste like much, but oh, it was the most beautiful shade of fuchsia. The leaves are edible too, so I tried a couple of young tender violet leaves. They don’t taste like much either, but then neither does spinach raw from the garden…

My second favorite wild flowers are daisies. I’ve found several patches growing wild around the cottage, so I moved them into the bed as well. And if the little herb garden gets taken over by daisies and violets, well, that’s fine with me. It’s called the Que Sera Sera method of gardening.

My herbs are planted, seeds and plants both, and the blueberries are being planted as you are reading this. And there’s plenty of shovel-leaning going on too…