The Constant Gardener?

Goodness what a week.  It started with a white woman threatening a black man with police for asking her to leash her dog in an area of Central Park reserved for birds and wild things.  It ended with riots.  In between, a white police officer knelt on a black man’s neck until he strangled him.  As I write, demonstrators are in Lafayette park across from the White House.  Tear gas has been deployed.  It’s like 1968.


Bees in the birdbath, drinking…

I remember 1968.  I was a child, but I remember Martin Luther King being assassinated in April and Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June.  In April I was over at my friend Karen’s and my mother had come to pick me up, but the adults were discussing the murder.  In June, I was on a lake in Wisconsin where I turned 11 and every day I rowed out in a boat onto Loon Lake and caught and released little bullheads.  It was an idyll of family and friends, in the midst of which the adults talked about the murder.  Then there was the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  Holy Toledo.


I should have harvested this rapini before it blossomed, but they were delicious anyway.

Back in the 90’s I was visiting a friend in Chicago and saw signs welcoming me to the city signed by Richard Daly and had flashbacks. (For those who don’t know the politics of American cities, Richard J. Daly was mayor in the 60’s and Richard M. Daly, his son, was mayor in the 90s.  Another son was a Senator.)  “All the news just repeats itself/like some forgotten dream/that we’ve both seen.”  No wonder I keep listening to old John Prine songs.  The kindling for this night has been stacking for a long time.


Foreground: bee balm; the rest is a fence of love-in-a-mist, something we could use instead of teargas.

I am disgusted and I fear for my country and its democracy.  I am afraid our lunatic President will declare martial law.  I am afraid the election will be cancelled and we won’t be able to get rid of him.  I am afraid the election won’t be cancelled and my fellow citizens will re-elect him.  Note that all the other news of the week, like more attacks on the free press and Twitter’s attempt to tell people to look further at the President’s assertions, as well as reaching a death toll of 100,000 from COVID-19 went unmentioned in my little ramble.  It’s been a hell of a week.


Thank God for flowers.

I baked cheese scones this morning,  the recipe from  Ellen Hawley’s Notes from the UK.


And delicious they were.

I did my laundry and cleaned the house.  I went to the garden.  The garden helped.  There were peas.


Find the pea pods. Yes, that’s mint in there…

There were flowers.


Larkspur, Nigella, Sweet Pea, Lavender, and that yellow bit–bolted mustard greens…and a bit of parsley I’m letting blossom for seeds.

Last week, I did some work, too.  I had been going to save seeds from the chard.  Looking at the wall of it, I wondered how much chard seed I actually needed, decided, and then pulled out all but what would supply enough.  Then I put in a new bean enclosure, since the peas are currently occupying the only other one.


The new bean enclosure with the old one in the background holding the peas…surrounded by mint and oregano.

I’ll be in the garden again tomorrow to plant the Plot Against Hunger garden for summer.  We’re working with a variety of pantries and organizations and the PTA President and I have a call with the Arlington Public School nutritionist on Monday to talk about the possibility of distributing vegetables through them.


Nigella that haven’t opened fully yet and a few poppy pods.

So there’s some hope.  Let’s do what we can, raise hell if we have to, and not waste time looking for an easier world.

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54 Responses to The Constant Gardener?

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Dark days. God Bless you and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ellen Hawley says:

    We’ve been hearing from friends and family in Minneapolis–a mix of anger, fear, rumor, shreds of hope. I share your fears. And admire what you do to keep hope alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TanGental says:

    Interesting how ahead your peas are of mine. This year’s chard is going great guns though and we’ve been eating it for ten days.
    Youre having a rough old time socially but even Trump will pass eventually. We’re suffering an excess of stupid politicans here too. And given your population you’re actually doing better at dealing with covid than us. We now look at excess deaths as a better comparator between countries. Is that a statistic you get to see?

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes, we’re seeing those, too. I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around it yet. I do hope you’re right that this will pass. As for my peas, when it’s a warm winter, I plant them in February, so they start going and then sprint at the first hint of warmth. Our chard is still tiny, but I had some that wintered over and was eating that…Thanks for coming by.


  4. KerryCan says:

    I keep hoping our old friend, Gordon Bok, is right and the world can turn toward the morning once again. What a ghastly week. Thank goodness for the gardens.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We fear for you, Lisa. It is so good that you have the gardening

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SueW says:

    I’ve been following the news with horror. I am so sorry that this is happening to your wonderful country.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    Yes, John Prine was right, history just keeps repeating itself. It has been a hell of a year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bruce G. says:

    Just obeying Maxine Waters’ call for violence and hatred. That woman should be behind bars.


  9. I can no longer read of the horrors coming out of the USA. But I read this Lisa and I am sorry for you and all the good people who live there. It seems the country is on a wheel that spins round and round and every circle repeats with increasing disregard for honour, for freedom, for human rights, for human kindness and global unity. I am glad the garden helps you get through.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    You’ve well-expressed my feelings of late. It feels so overwhelming sometimes. Thank god we have the garden, I’d be in worse shape without it.
    Hope things improve soon. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What a post! In language both spare and clear, you hit it right on the piton, as we Francos would say. I was struck by every single thing you wrote, but what really stopped me was the line about not wasting time looking for an easy answer. From your lips to God’s ears.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sylvie Ge says:

    Beautiful flowers! Being a Jungian (amateur), when I see scenes such as those we are witnessing, I see the shadow of a community lashing out. I see it as us, as part of us( I don’t know if it makes sense). I understand your fears (I think). What a strange world we are living in.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. shoreacres says:

    In 1968, I was in college. We’d already been through the assassination of President Kennedy, and then the horrors kept coming: just as they do today. I posted a true but humorous Texas tale on my blog today, and wondered about my decision, but after reading your post, I think I understand the impulse. Like a garden, a biscuit, the laundry, the cleaning — the sharing of stories and smiles are so very human. We need to do everything we can to hang on to our humanity. The forces arrayed against it are strong.

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes. There’s that dichotomy with carrying on day to day and engaging with the moronic inferno, processing it and figuring gout where you are. I wanted that in there, in spite of the fact I was so angry I needed to write about it.


  14. João-Maria says:

    Your kalanji looks so pretty, even timid; I’m envious, because mine never catches one. I’m in West Mediterranean, not East, whence it originally comes, so that might be the reason behind it. I’m sorry about your political turmoil; we’re lucky that our politicians, although still risibly corrupt, are at least more even-tempered. But I’m sending you all my prayers!, for safety and improvement.


    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks for coming by, commenting and sending prayers. We need them. I did not know that name for the nigella. It’s bushy and about 3 feet high, but I think that’s because it gets more rain here than in the Med–east or west. I love its blossoms every year and wait for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Love how the gardens are looking and they are a bright spot in dark times. I echo your sentiments exactly though I’m not nearly so astute in verbalizing them. Well said. I know too many that don’t agree. Makes me so sad. I think I’d like one of your scones to drown my sorrows right now. They look so good. My love in the mist is up too and waving at me gloriously. Do take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. An excellent post, Lisa and your last sentence is an important call to action. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lisa, these are extraordinary times. You’ve written beautifully about all of it. Thank you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. tonytomeo says:

    Normally, I prefer the vegetables. The flowers are nice today instead. I am sorry that I can not read much of this one today. I am worn out from it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Zambian Lady says:

    The peas photo brightened my day. I heard that pea flowers are fragrant, but will only believe when I smell them myself.


  21. Maria says:

    The Nigella flowers are fascinating. You brought those to my attention today.


  22. Great post, and full of common sense. It’s important to realise that presidents will pass but gardens will go on forever. Well, until the end of the world, which is slightly different.

    I was struck by the similarities between the pictures of troops on the streets being abused by protesters in both the 1960s and now. It is a shame that the human race really hasn’t made progress in the last 50 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. BillboardVagabond says:

    #ICantBreathe R.I.P George Floyd

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Brenda says:

    I’m just out of words, but agree with everything you said. One of the hardest parts of this summer is knowing that things are likely to get even crazier as we get closer to the election. … I was just interrupted by seeing a red squirrel heading up the pole of our swallows’ nesting box, presumably to try to snack on the nestlings … Fended him off, but I’ve never seen that before. Foxes in the henhouse all around us! Hang in there, and get ready to raise some hell.

    Liked by 1 person

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