Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hello Spring

Hope you had a nice Easter! It finally feels like spring here. The irrigation water has been turned on, I’ve seen baby ducklings and goslings, seed catalogs are arriving in the mail, and daffodils and tulips are peeking their heads out from the ground. Maybe I can get a few more goldfish for the pond now!

I’ve decided to try exercising again as my legs seem a bit better and I am not being plagued by the awful staph infection I had for months. It was really miserable. You could afflict your enemies with it and you would easily win a war because you would drive them all crazy with itching!

We sold our old motor-home since we have not used it for 10 years and don’t really plan on needing it anytime soon for a vacation. All the carpets have been cleaned for spring, too. We had the arborist come and give us advice about the diseased trees in the back yard and will have the dead ones taken down in two weeks. We also had the junk-man come and haul away all the brush from digging up landscaping in preparation for re-doing the landscaping in certain parts of the yard.

Hellebore flowers
One spring flower I thought about trying is the Hellebore. I saw it in a plant catalog and it is supposed to do well in shady places and can take drought like conditions. There is a big pine tree out front and a shady sort-of garden around it. Unfortunately the former owner imagined he was living in Washington State or back east where there is acid soil and lots of moisture, not in Utah where there is sporadic rain, alkaline soil, and a generalized desert climate, so lots of the plants that were here when we moved in have not done well. Azaelas…Rhododendron…Birch trees, really? Those need acid soil and the birches need lots of deep watering, which does not mean living in a relative desert. Oh well. The Japanese maple I planted seems to be doing well, but the Dogwood I planted died after the first winter. My bad I guess, for planting a dogwood, but I was trying to complement the northwest theme, when we first moved in.

The Hellebore has a checkered past it seems, folklore says witches used it to summon demons, and witches also to banish evil spirits. Guess it depends on if you are a white or a black witch. Harry Dresden has never used it! Popular names of commonly seen Hellebores are the Christmas Rose and the Lenten Rose. They are early bloomers- late winter and early spring. They have evergreen foliage and the flowers are mostly shades of purple, with green, green-purple, dark black purple, and white as well. Old cures using hellebore range from curing insanity, to getting rid of parasites, and treating gout, to curing paralysis. The Hellebore is also known to be poisonous. There are a few stories about the plant being used for shady purposes….in Ancient Greece, the Athenians were fighting a war and they decided to use ground, crushed, hellebore leaves to poison the enemy’s water supply. All the people who drank the water came down with severe diarrhea so the Athenians had an easy time conquering the city. It is also said that Alexander the great died from an overdose of Hellebore used as poison. Ingestion of the Hellebore can cause the runs, dizziness, tinnitus, vomiting, and cardiac depression.

Hmmm, after learning more about this plant, maybe I don’t want to plant it after all! It is pretty though and I like the rock-garden look of it. How about some Astilbe? Hosta? More Daffodil bulbs? Aye.

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