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Dickens helps make paper pots

Dickens helps make paper pots

We nearly reached 50F/10C one day last week. Of course it was a work day so I did not get to fully enjoy it. Nonetheless when I left work it was sunny and drippy still. I did not have to zip my coat or wear gloves and my scarf was lightly draped around my neck. The air felt fresh and humid from all the melting snow. And then, in intimations of things to come, my allergies flared right up and I spent the rest of the evening enjoying itchy, burning eyes. While the week ahead will not see 50F, the forecast for each day is at or a little above freezing and then dropping below freezing each night.

Spring seems to be making an attempt at an early arrival. I had best find my bottle of allergy medicine. Sigh. In the good old days I used to be able to make it until early to mid April before taking antihistamine every day. Then I’d get a break around mid-June for a few weeks before having to take them again through frost. A couple years ago my June break disappeared and I had to start taking them at the end of March through frost. I hope this year is a fluke and I won’t have to start taking them in February especially since frost is coming later and later every year. I might have to eventually break down and see an allergist to — I’m not sure what — reassure me that taking over-the-counter loratadine for months on end is not going to cause me any kind of harm. If you don’t have seasonal allergies consider yourself lucky. That I do and that I also love gardening and cycling and being outdoors in general creates a special kind of misery that will only continue to get worse as the climate gets warmer.

But enough complaining and feeling sorry for myself, there are plenty of other people with problems worse than mine.

On a happier note, I seeded peppers in sprouting pots today. We are doing cayenne, paprika,

This is how to fold a paper pot

This is how to fold a paper pot

pepperoncini, jalepeno, orange bell and a mini red bell. Last year we had no luck at all with the peppers. Most of them didn’t sprout and the ones that did were weak and tiny and died shortly after being moved outdoors. Hopefully we will have much better luck this year. Long-term weather forecasting is suggesting our summer might be a hot one. Perfect pepper weather, though not so great for the humans of the house.

I had to make more paper pots for the seeds so while I did paper pot origami, Bookman worked on the baby blanket he is crocheting for a coworker and we watched the final episode of History of British Gardening. I learned that I have been mispronouncing Gertrude Jekyll’s name since forever. I’ve been saying “Jek-ill” and it is apparently “Gee-kill”. But then the Brits pronounce words in weird ways in general like how do you get “ho-kum” out of Holcombe and “lester” out of “Leicester”? There were so many words in this series of garden shows that I could not comprehend, mostly place names but not always, that at times the host might as well have been speaking something other than English. Do those of you in the UK ever feel that way when you hear Americans speak or do you think we have just gone and ruined a perfectly good language?

Dickens, paper pot inspector?

Dickens, paper pot inspector?

Dickens decided to help me make pots. Lucky for me he did not feel compelled to help for long.

The leek and onion seeds I planted last Sunday have already begun to sprout. Next weekend it is tomato time.

Friday I picked up Richard Mabey’s newest book The Cabaret of Plants from the library. My turn has finally come and oh, it is going to be such a treat. Here is a little something from the introduction:

[We have] mostly sublimated our interest in the existence of plants into pleasure at their outward appearance, and the garden has become the principal theatre of vegetal appreciation. Plants in the twenty-first century have been largely reduced to the status of utilitarian and decorative objects… We tend not to ask questions about how they behave, cope with life’s challenges, communicate both with each other and, metaphorically, with us. They have come to be seen as the furniture of the planet, necessary, useful, attractive, but ‘just there,’ passively vegetating. They are certainly not regarded as ‘beings’ in the sense that animals are.

It is Mabey’s goal in the book to challenge that view. Does it make me odd that I find that really exciting?