Spring Has Sprung – II

It was a strange winter – uncharacteristically mild for the first half and the more typical bitter cold and miserable for the second. Each day the garden reveals a little more of what survived. Sometimes the most delicate of things seems to come through while more hardy plants have suffered.
Almost a daffodil

Not quite Wordsworth’s host but….

A mature hosta breaking through.The beginning of a mature hosta which will end up measuring about 2 feet across.

In bloom
A bit more like it!

I don’t recall planting these tulips but they’re blooming.

Sadly it looks like my minature Turkish tulips didn’t make it through the cold. If I were staying I’d be tempted to plant more. They are the mother-bulbs brought to Holland from Turkey in the 17th century and cultivated, crossbred and morphed into what we now think of as Dutch tulips.

ANZAC DAY – A Postscript

Newfoundland Blue EnsignI’m surprised when reading the Wikipedia entry for Anzac Day to see that April 25 is commemorated in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It’s not common knowledge outside Newfoundland that the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American unit to see active duty in Gallipoli.

Though the casualties and deaths the Regiment suffered at Gallipoli pale Royal Newfoundland Regiment Crestbeside those of the Australians and New Zealanders they were not so fortunate at the Battle of the Somme: 801 men went into battle on July 1, 1916, the following morning only 64 men answered morning roll call.

The figures from that day [57,470 casualties, 19,240 dead on the British side alone] are stomach turning: so much was lost so little gained.

Plus ça change!

ANZAC Day – April 25

In 1972, at the height of the American War in Vietnam, Eric Bogle composed what is, I think, one of the most powerful anti-war songs ever written. Sadly this song about an event in 1915, written in 1972 is as topical and as heart-breaking in 2007.

This is a version by the Pogues and the incredible video montage was created by SmileyNoir and posted on YouTube on October 29, 2006.

Don’t Fence Me In!

The fence in the tree Back in 1987 we spent Easter Weekend visiting Palanque – it was an incredible experience on more levels than could be imagined – scenically, archaeologically, historically and from a travel anecdote angle (a hotel on stilts over a mosquito-infested swamp, contentious French tour groups, and threats to call the Governor of Chiapas.) However one of the lasting images was the jungle vegetation insinuating itself into the fabric of the city. One of the guide books suggested that if left unattended the jungle would, once again, reclaim the temple complex within a few years – nature always takes back her own.

Well that side fence in my backyard is a great example of that phenomena. Our yard is surrounded by mature trees – unfortunately some of them are that dandelion of arboriculture, the Manitoba Maple. Once the MM has planted it’s seed (you should excuse the expression!) and has taken root nothing will stand in its way. Obviously this slat from the fence first had the nails knocked out of it, then was pushed to one side and finally surrounded by the growing tree. This man-handled piece of wood didn’t stand a chance against one of its living, growing relatives.

Ain’t nature incredible.