Well, almost summer. If it weren’t for the flowers, we wouldn’t recognize the arrival of the seasons. The weather has been fluctuating a lot lately and gradually settling on warmer days. Being a fair-weather photographer, I pick the days to take a walk or step out to the back yard. If the weather is not that great, there is always Dave’s Supermarket, with filled shelves.
Early May, the first flowers to bloom were the very short iris reticulata, some in the front garden and some in the back. While not yet in bloom the foliage of coreopsis has been giving us green coverage in the front yard with its finely textured leaves. By now, it is covered with tiny buds ready to burst into a yellow carpet covering much of the front garden. Against that fine texture, other plants lay some stems as if from a geometry lesson: This is called the diagonal! The ever elegant Siberian iris foliage has been up since the beginning of May too.
In the backyard, in between the flower beds, we have crushed rock paths. They extend to the far end covering about a third of the garden. The main reason for that is the ever invasive plants we have not been able to eradicate in 45 years. Since we moved in, the bittersweet has been trying to grab the garden. It actually climbed, covered, and choked a pine tree in the neighbor’s yard and killed it. We had the root cut, dug up as much as we could, poured vegetation killer and even kerosine! After that, we covered the area with plastic and put the crushed stone on top for decoration. Despite all that, a few days ago the gardener pulled out a good chunk of bittersweet from one of the flower beds!
Along with that, a very invasive bamboo has been sending its tentacles, which now extend to six properties. Our neighbor behind us will have her garden totally rototilled to get to its roots. We’ll see! In case you may be wondering about the hippo lurking under the stones, it was a gift from Elif to me. I love hippos and have a small collection of figures. One day, Elif found this stylized hippo sections for the garden, and we have been feeding it since!
One of the trees I really enjoy in the spring is the redbud tree a few doors down from our house. When in bloom, it looks like a purple torch, and as it drops the flowers on the sidewalk, they form a pink carpet. The weather did not allow me to see much of it this year, but I managed to catch a cluster of flowers on its thick branches. During these walks, I have seen once more the rising jungle in empty lots with, yes, more bittersweet and lovely wild roses although they are not in bloom yet. The trees, the branches, the foliage, all reminiscent of Tarzan movies.
On a rainy day, I took my camera to Dave’s market once again. By now, almost all the front desk staff seem to know me; I raise my camera to show it to them, and they wave me to go ahead. The boxed fruit fridge is a favorite stop, and the strawberries put on the best show. This year, they are also particularly tasty. Among the vegetable bins, I was attracted to an interesting arrangement of colorful small potatoes, and could not pass up the yellow-orange pepper. I even took the time to place it on the shelf below for better presentation. I also found a brand of soup John Lennon would have liked: Imagine! The purple onion sat in the bin like a majestic planet in a nearby galaxy! I managed to find more repetition in patterns and colors on the shelves and called it a day. But I still don’t understand why the caps of caffeine-free Pepsi are yellowish, and those with caffeine are white; shouldn’t that be the other way around?
One nice day, Jim suggested that we visit once again the restoration project of Coronet, a schooner yacht dating back to 1885. The project is undertaken by IYRS, International Yacht Restoration School, in Newport and has been going on for quite a while. The expected completion is still a couple of years away. The schooner is in a special restoration area which is open to the public. Enclosed with heavy plastic, space is quite substantial to accommodate a boat of its dimensions. You can read more about the Coronet and its history on the IYRS website.
The schooner, perched on heavy supports, is mostly covered now and no ribs are visible from outside. The most interesting parts were the “knees” that looked actually more like gigantic feet. In fact, one had some metal rods stuck on it and reminded me of a foot undergoing acupuncture treatment. The knees are made from the roots of hackmatack tree, also known as Tamarack. Bent almost at 90-degree angles, the roots apparently provide sturdy supports for certain parts of the boat. We walked on the top floor with a lot of original parts and other paraphernalia on display and chatted with a couple of people working on the deck. After taking some photographs, we walked downstairs again and headed back to where Jim parked the car. When we first parked, we did not notice that we were right in front of Karma Pizza! We got a big kick out of that.
The weather has been steadily improving, allowing me to step outside more. By the end of May, the verdant nature pretty much covered the area. I even managed to capture, in the camera that is, some wild animals walking around the yards. Among the other finds were a school bus turned to a Cool Bus; an old storage cabinet put on the sidewalk for the trash to pick up yet still pretended to store something; a branch of bittersweet posing mysteriously, questioning my motives; and dried branches forming a curtain in front of other wilderness.
The backyard is now in bloom, wave one that is. The yellow loosestrife sets a nice backdrop for the elegant Siberian irises. Their color is hard to nail down as it keeps changing from blue to purple as you look at them from slightly different angles, or as the wind moves them. They last a day or so but new buds show up every day for a week or ten days. After that, the foliage still provides nice texture in the flower beds. We have multiple rose bushes that are blooming quite nicely, along with bearded irises on their tall, elegant stems. Several peonies put on a very nice show but almost all passed their prime. In the next few weeks, the coneflowers and monarda will start popping up. I hope they will all bloom by the time Elif and Mina arrive on July 4, and our cousins the next day.
Ready for the celebration in the backyard. Stop by if you are in the neighborhood!