August 21, 2021; Case Note No. 13
Ah, summertime! And the livin' is easy. And abundant. It is late August, that glorious time of year when Gaia is resplendent in her brightest colours, and boundless in her generosity as She nurtures to maturity and perfection Her gifts of fruits and vegetables! Of course, of course, it's me, Ms. AAngyl, the unicorn. Having moved to my house on Shore Road in late October of last year, I did not have a chance to experience the joy of summer in that place, while I was still embodied as a horse. So this year, from above, I am taking in a great view of all that I missed.
As you may know, I was instrumental in finding our little piece of paradise on Cape Breton Island. When my patient Margaret first laid eyes on the small blue-and-white cottage with its untouched fields full of wild vegetation, she named her new home Wildflower Cottage, and resolved to keep the property as true to its natural state as she could. (Some might even say, "Weeds are her friends." But her horticultural philosophy is to co-create with Mother Nature, and see how their joint projects work out.)
In keeping with the cottage name, wildflowers of all kinds grow side-by-side across the front deck. These were grown from seeds that were randomly tossed from mixed seed packets. It keeps Margaret busy watching to see what kinds of flowers will appear, and when, among the tightly-packed stems and leaves that grow up, and cram themselves together with little space between. The Marguerites among were the earliest to bloom. Only their dry flower stalks remain now (serving as convenient supports for climbing wild Vetch plants that recently invited themselves into the garden, confident they would be welcome, given their strong resemblance to Beach Peas). The Poppies and Brown-eyed Susan's are late bloomers, just recently adding their showy blossoms to the display. Some native Queen Anne's Lace plants have also joined the party of late.
Down by my blue-and-white house, Mother Nature has worked closely with the human tenders of the big sand hill. Native beach grass has grown tall on the hilltop, forming a nice backdrop for the rows of root vegetables planted on the west-facing slope. Of course, of course, this fruit-loving granddaughter of Huckleberry Bey is very fond of berries of all kinds. The wild strawberry plants on Strawberry/Lupine Hill, and the rows of cultivated ones, have stopped producing berries. But the neighbouring fields are now filled with delicious ripe blueberries and blackberries. I can just taste them! You can be sure that I am also keeping a close eye on the progress of the carrots!
Meanwhile, Mother Nature has been very busy producing a profusion of flowering plants for the bees, on the open areas of the hill, and in natural hedges formed along the driveways that border each side of the property. A sea of wild flowers is seen everywhere, mainly in shades of yellow or white (Goldenrod, Queen Anne's Lace, and many others). New this year, a touch of lilac colour has been added, with the appearance of a large group of Fireweed plants.
You may also be aware that I am quite partial to Lupine plants. In Lupine news, most of the older generations growing on Lupine Hill ceased blooming in July, and subsequently went to seed. Many of their cleverly designed spring-loaded seed pods have now sprung open, and flung their contents to the wind, and the soil. However, some of the next generation of seedlings that grew up earlier this summer, recognizable as Lupines by with their distinctive starburst (palmately compound?) foliage, seem to have a different plan. Rather than wait until next June or July to bloom, presently, some of these tiny plants are sporting developing flower spikes that will likely mature into flower heads some time in September, and seed pods after that. My advice to these ambitious young plants is that they better be quick at making and popping their seed pods, if they expect their seeds to be successfully planted before the ground freezes!
In further Lupine news, the Lone Lupine is still alive, i.e., the one I watched growing in the rocky ditch beyond my ocean-view stall window, which Margaret subsequently transplanted in mid-June, to serve as a perennial headstone in my final resting place in Anne's field. At the time, a few mixed wildflower seeds were also scattered around my site. Unfortunately, the flowers on the Lone Lupine did not have the support they needed to go on to form seed pods. All that remains of the flower spikes are some tall, dry sticks. However, in a touching show of support, a ring of Alyssum plants grew up there, and are seen blooming all around the base of the Lone Lupine. Their tight clusters of tiny white flowers mark the spot, and can be seen even from a distance. In other benevolent gestures, Mother Nature filled a large semi-circular area of the field to the east with bay (laurel) plants, and filled in most of the remaining area with Heal-All plants, whose flowers make such tasty, healing tea.
No hot summer day in August on Shore Road would be complete without a trip to our beach for a refreshing swim. Nor without a night there, to marvel at meteor showers, or warm to a driftwood bonfire on the beach, with special effects provided by excelsior-like clumps of crinkly dried kelp, endowed with a remarkable ability to withstand the flames. In excelsior Deo!!