When you live on the Rock, it is almost impossible not to volunteer. Hardly a day goes by without some opportunity to do something good for someone around here.
Once I had the space ready and the deer fencing in place, the time came to tackle the task of choosing the perfect trees to plant. In this column I’ll share with you what choices I made and why.
I’ll admit I got a little spoiled this past fall. When you’re weeding beneath a tree practically dripping with ripe fruit and the homeowner tells you to help yourself, what does any sane person do? You know it. You reach up and avail yourself of succulent pears, juicy apples and peaches to die for.
I hesitate to say that this winter’s rain has set a record here on the Rock. Somebody out there would surely arm-wrestle me over that. Until recently, weather gauges — even the good ones — were not always reliable. So I will politely avoid an argument over this being the wettest winter ever. It just feels like it.
Even though the first day of spring is officially a long ways away, you don’t want to wait much longer to set this year’s vegetable garden plans in motion. That’s because our mild climate makes late February the perfect time to sow snow peas, fava bean and many varieties of carrots, radishes and onions directly in the ground.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Love is in the air, chocolate fills every store shelf and lovers put on public displays of affection at every opportunity. But, although we like romance as much as anybody and we take love seriously here on the Rock, talking about such things can make us squirm.
There’s a shrub I think we ought to see more of around here, especially in the wintertime when a spot of cheerful color in the garden is just what some of us need to lift our spirits. It’s called beautyberry, or Callicarpa.
January’s a good month to be thankful and wishful. After all, there’s not much else to do; it gets dark too early, the tides are too high for beach walking, and it’s too cold outside.
Despite swaths of Washington recently getting pummeled by heavy snow, I’m convinced either Mother Nature has hopped on a freighter heading to parts unknown or is holed up somewhere gorging on brownies spiked with wacky weed and way too much sugar.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a child the one thing I could always count on finding on Christmas morning was an orange or tangerine in the toe of my Christmas stocking. I suppose this was a holdover from the days over a century ago when citrus fruits were considered exotic treasures during the cold depths of winter in these parts.
Long, long ago – about 15 years, to be exact, BFB (before Facebook), BTW (before Twitter) and BSP (before smart phones) – a few passionate people on Whidbey Island were very upset that the Rock had no local public radio station to call its own.
If you like the look of holly but want something fragrant and non-invasive, consider giving Osmanthus heterophyllus a try. This member of the olive family has holly-like leaves with one to four spiny points on each side and small, white, four petalled flowers that bloom in the fall. You can easily distinguish between holly and O. heterophyllus by the arrangement of the leaves on the stems. Holly leaves occur alternately, while Osmanthus are opposite.
I guess it’s time for “The Talk.” No, not that talk. Not unless you’re an adolescent who stumbled upon this gardening column by accident while searching your grandma’s kitchen counter for the missing jar of Nutella and you need the lowdown on the birds and the bees. No, this talk is about not planting invasive species in your garden or giving amnesty to noxious weeds and other big, bad plant bullies.
I was happy to see that enrollment in Coupeville’s public schools is on the rise after steadily declining for the past decade. The town’s been feeling a bit arthritic and it needs a burst of youthful energy. We can use more kick-ball screaming and jump-rope rhyming; hopefully that will help drown out the clatter of so many canes and walkers.