peachyteachy

For realsies

Even When the Sun is Not Shining, Spinal Tap Delivers July 3, 2013

hydrangea hosta fernMy garden is happy, because there’s been a lot of rain, and I am here every day to take care of it.  Some of my favorite stuff in the gardens are the foliage color and textural compositions.  These mobile images that I emailed to myself do not want to become larger within the post.  Apologies to my far more accomplished photographer/readers–advice graciously accepted. If you could see them better, you could see a lacecap hydrangea, a Japanese painted fern, and a little hosta called Golden Tiara up there.  Below, ferns are growing through a weathered bench.  I love that sort of thing as well. Shoot me, though, if I cross the line to wagon wheels and toilets planted with flowers.  I’m whimsical, but not that damned whimsical.

bench

I freaking love flowers.  I am also a big fan of container gardens, especially ones with different things going on. In the blue pot below, I have these gorgeous Lemon Gem marigolds–they are so much greater than run-of-the-mill marigolds, because their foliage smells lemony, and the flowers are edible.  Amazing.  The big leaves are those sweet potato vines—I dug them out of the pots last fall and saved them over the winter.  It took awhile, but they are taking off now, which makes me absurdly happy.

marigold

Happy July Third, flower people.

In a slightly related note, I would like to propose that a new tradition be launched, in the spirit of the annual Thanksgiving playing of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.”  July third listening of Spinal Tap’s “Listen to the Flower People” starts today! Share with your friends! Here we go.

 

The Dorkess of Botanica May 6, 2013

 

That’s my street name.

While lots of folks have been out running various numbers of Ks over the weekend, and getting somehow tie-dyed in the process (see Color Me Rad), I have been seeking my color in the purple-hued Checkered Lilies  that are coming into their own amidst  creamy Sailboat narcissus. See the Checkered Lilies down there, all cozy with the white forget-me-nots? Be still, my heart.

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Never heard of Checkered Lilies?  Let the Dorkess of Botanica enlighten you.  Fritillaria meleagris is the correct, Latin name—for those of you who give a rip.  Lilies are something entirely different.  I can’t help it.  I am cursed with an encyclopedic memory for plants, especially flowers.  I feel disingenuous if I use common names that mislead and misrepresent. As a result, people mistakenly say “Gesundheit” around me, at least when the conversation rolls around to gardening.

I have also been waging war on the DMZ of vinca vine that tries to sneakily take over more desirable and better behaved citizens of my backyard.  For many, this would truly be tantamount to shipping out to an overseas destination for jungle-machete-ing. For me, it is a charming recreation of  The Secret Garden, where I am the rescuer of delicate treasures that have been overgrown and lost for so long.  For example, I have an old, double white lilac in my back yard. When we moved in three summers ago, I had to take down a black walnut that had insinuated itself right on top of that lilac.  It had been weakly attempting to reach into the sun enough to throw a bloom or two, but it was a sad old thing. And black walnut trees are in the business of poisoning things that try to grow underneath their canopies, so they can find no purchase in my landscape.

Most folks would probably have pulled it out and started with something new. But lilacs are so incredible, can live for well over a century, and are part of what I consider the history of the land upon which we dwell.  My mother would as soon rip out an old lilac bush as she would rip out her toenail.  It’s just a gross and painful thing to endure; why would you do that on purpose? Instead, I cut back dead wood, and have been careful to allow the new branches to grow freely.  This year, there are a handful of buds about to open, and this is a triumph for the Dorkess of Botanica.

Consider the amazing wonder of greenitude that is the unfurling of hostas.  I can gaze at this green and feel my stress level drop, despite a hellish afternoon at work.  If I could just bring my class to my garden, things would be so different.  This would, however, be an unquantifiable, unscorable “different,” and therefore, it would not count.  Wait. Stress level. Greeeeeeeen.

hosta waking up

And THIS green:

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That is hakenochloa, Japanese forest grass.  And lysimachia nummularia “Aureum”. I’m sorry, but it is. And if you want THAT plant, you have to know that. It also goes by the sweet, old fashioned moniker: Creeping Jenny.  It’s a creeper, can be invasive, so go for the gold kind, because you are never going to get rid of the old school, green one. So you want to plant that next to your mean neighbor’s parking strip or something.  Very passive-aggressive.  If I could plant it in some of my students’ desks, you bet I would. It would reduce their stress, probably.

This baby fern can make me emotional. This is why I am the unchallenged Dorkess.

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Lettuce Pray April 18, 2013

Filed under: education,humor,teaching,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 8:30 pm
Tags: ,

A pre-Common Core blood bath testing reflection. . .

peachyteachy

This is a lettuce garden that is growing in my home.  It lives in a Clementine box.  I love the lettuce garden, but I don’t expect it to be able to read graphs or do 3-digit by 3-digit multiplication, even if I taught it in every way possible, many, many times. I do, on the other hand, expect my classroom students to have more success than salad greens would.

The good news is that, in our urban “failing” school (that’s the affectionate nickname folks like to call it), a few of my students show evidence of these kinds of skills that I have been diligently teaching for months.  But the majority seem to suffer from the “Men In Black” syndrome.  One of my astute colleagues detected this phenomenon as we noticed some of the appalling responses to math questions on the state tests.  It was as if, she noticed, they…

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