Category: Gardens and Gardening

Book # 23 in 2018: “Mad Enchantment” by Ross King

Posted June 25th, 2018
Mad Enchantment

Every time I pick up a Ross King book, it’s longer and weightier. Brunelleschi’s Dome was a little bit of a thing, perfect for reading on a transcontinental flight. Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling was longer but then the Sistine Chapel ceiling is a better documented creation. The Judgment of Paris was longer still and…

Book # 12 in 2018: “The Good Good Pig” by Sy Montgomery

Posted April 9th, 2018
Book # 12 in 2018: “The Good Good Pig” by Sy Montgomery

I read Sy Montgomery’s Soul of an Octopus (2016) and it permanently decreased my options on the sushi menu. The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood (Ballantine/Random House, 2006) may not permanently put me off pork, but it will make me consider the nature of each life that ends up on my dinner…

Book # 11 in 2018: “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

Posted April 2nd, 2018
Book # 11 in 2018: “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

My maternal great-grandfather, Elwyn Greeley Preston Sr., established for his family a summer retreat on Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. He acquired several contiguous parcels of land on Mooney Point and filled in a number of marshy areas to create firm ground on which to build camps for himself and for his four sons…

La Jolla 2: In the Flight Path Above the City

Posted January 12th, 2016
La Jolla 2: In the Flight Path Above the City

Planes roar down from the west, above Balboa Park and I-5, to the runways at Lindbergh Field about every minute or so during the day. The first plane seemed loud but in a familiar way—I did, after all, live here in the 1980s. We woke to a pearly Monday sunrise and the promise of a…

Our Friend Vince

Posted July 1st, 2015
Our Friend Vince

Our grill is no less used that the stove. It produces a perfect roast chicken and keeps the smell of onions out of the house. When red peppers are cheap, we blister a few dozen over the flame and freeze them in olive oil for whenever we need them. And, of course, it does an…

Šeima Means Family 6: In the Loops

Posted May 24th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 6: In the Loops

You think you know what to expect but you really don’t. I had a vision of the Nemunas Loops Regional Park (Nemuno kilpų regioninis parkas) as a sprawling area, a place needing vigorous hiking skills or better yet a car. The park is 25,171 hectares—a quantity that meant nothing to me. That’s 61.8 acres, though,…

Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

Posted May 17th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

It was possibly the best day of the trip. Or maybe not best. Maybe it is the one most firmly nestled into my visual cortex, the collection of images most likely to reappear when I am asked about Lithuania, what I experienced, what I remember. In television programs like Who Do You Think You Are?…

Down to New England 5: Monuments, Memorials and Memories

Posted June 28th, 2014
Down to New England 5: Monuments, Memorials and Memories

This was the branch that most frightened me, the one most perfectly positioned to do irreparable harm to the monument. Lower and smaller branches had already been removed, opening space around the slender column surmounted by its neoclassical urn. Four of us—two on the ground, two in the tree—studied the weight of the limb, its…

Elegy

Posted March 19th, 2014
Elegy

When I was about twelve or thirteen, I read Sterling North’s Rascal, a memoir of a year during World War One and the raising of a baby raccoon. North was much the youngest of four siblings; his sister Theodora was the practical member of the family and the one who stood in for their mother,…

Back in the Garden

Posted March 15th, 2014
Back in the Garden

The ground is soggy, the sun is bright and the wind whips up now and then. Although there are patches of snow and ice here and there, there is no sense of winter, only the certainty of spring. The garden is a wreck. There is so much dead foliage, not just the detritus not cleared…