I live in the past. I have a memory of a freeze toward the end of May, probably decades ago. Therefore I always hesitate to put any annuals out much before Memorial Day. I see geraniums, impatiens, and even tomatoes for sale at the various nurseries and always think, “They’ll be sorry.” It turns out I always wish I had put my own out since it never seems to be like it used to be. How’s that for an elderly woman’s sentence. Honestly, I should try to keep up.
I think I’ll devote this column to comments I’ve received from readers in the past few months.
Pat at David Finkelstein’s office sent me to Oak Bluffs to see the incredible stone wall just before the turn into the Ocean View. It was covered with the most amazing cobalt blue, ground-hugging plant. It resembles ground phlox although I had never seen a phlox in that color. That same day I had an errand at Vineyard Gardens. Don’t you know they had a big display of said plant for sale. It is Lithodora, the Grace Ward cultivar. Naturally, I promptly purchased one. The tag says it flowers in summer and will take, and actually prefers, some shade. Thanks, Pat, for the heads-up.
Allan Tasman e-mailed the Gazette and they passed it on to me (remember I do live in the past and have no computer). Allan spends winters in Louisville, Kentucky. He wanted to agree with my observation that cilantro takes like soap. He likened it to being punished for foul language by having his mouth washed out with soap. He told of a story in the science section of the New York Times that said those who think cilantro tastes like soap have a genetic variation which affects 20 per cent of the population. Now, you know.
Harriet Barrow gave me some literature from the coalition to prevent the destruction of Canada geese. By the way, it is Canada goose not Canadian. The Canada goose is under federal protection through the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Many folks, I’m sure, wish this were not true. They can certainly be a nuisance. Their favorite habitat has lots of short, tender grass for grazing, a fresh-water pond for drinking and security, and no predators. In other words, they like golf courses, parks, waterfront estates, cemeteries or manicured complexes.
To alter this preferred habitat, plant large borders of ground covers, trees and shrubs, and allow grass to grow taller. Geese do not like walking through tall grass. Substitute fescues for Kentucky blue grass. Discourage the feeding of wildlife in public areas. At home, a trained border collie or similar breed is very useful in herding geese and chasing them away. Noisemakers, flags and scarecrows have been somewhat successful, as well as fake swans. Otherwise, I guess one must accept the constant source of free fertilizer.
Kitty Burke read that the chelone or turtle-head plant can repel the red-lily beetle. I need to find out more about the use of ammonia in their demise.
Thalia Scanlon rang to mention the big sale at COMSOG (Community Solar Green House) beginning on Saturday, May 12, and lasting the month. They have a large variety of heirloom tomatoes and peppers as well as ornamental baskets. All questions regarding tomatoes can be directed to Thalia. She knows all there is to know about them.
Steve Sennet gave me a printout taken from Sun Magazine, called The Butterfly Effect, about Julia Butterfly Hill on activism, tax resistance, and what she learned from a thousand year old tree. Perhaps you remember that Julia spent 738 days in the upper branches of a giant redwood in the late nineties. She was protesting the plight of the redwoods being cut by loggers from Oregon to Big Sur. Ninety-seven per cent of the trees had been cut down. The article encourages us to take personal responsibility for our place on earth. She says that when we throw something “away” we must think there is a place called “away”. Every action has an impact on the world. Choose wisely.
I am almost finished with the Rachel Maddow book, Drift, about the unmooring of military power. It is a story of America’s decline into an over-funded and unchecked national security state. Her explanation of the Iran Contra affair is the best I’ve ever read. Even Roger Ailes, the chairman and CEO of Fox News, called it a book worth reading. He agrees she makes valid arguments that our country has been drifting toward questionable wars and draining our resources without sufficient time and input.
Rachel takes on both Republican and Democratic presidents. She compares the constitutionally granted authority of the presidency with the abuse of executive power in the last 50 years. Her dedication page reads “To former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Oh, please let me interview you.”