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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Collards, Lilies, and Baptists

The bug wanted to go outside, perhaps to be with more of her own kind, so I put her on a blanket out in the yard while I finished planting the bed of collards next to the kitchen window.

It was starting to sprinkle, and the bug had just managed to roll off the blanket, pull up a large tuft of grass, muddy roots and all, and stuff the whole mess into her mouth when the lady across the road came over to meet her and say thanks for the pie we left at her house yesterday. Such a precious little angel, long blades of grass hanging out the sides of her mouth and mud all up and down her arms and, somehow, on the top of her head.

Cecilia, the neighbor, a somewhat older, very sweet Southerner who says she "upgraded" to Madison County from Oglethorpe, confirmed that there are antique spider lily (or surprise lily) bulbs in our front yard, and said that if we were concerned about the magnolia's health we could probably get someone from the county to come out and take a look at it for us. She also said that she'd been warned about two old ladies who come by and try to get newcomers to come to the Baptist church—"Have you been asked yet?" She said, "I mean, I assume you folks aren't Baptists either." (A bold assumption in this part of the country!) I said that Thalia comes from a long line of secular Jews, atheists, and geologists. She liked it. I think she'll make a fine neighbor. The good news, she said, is that the Baptist ladies love to swap plants.

These sprouted up in the last week or so in the space where the bug and I
are going to plant a secret garden.

The magnolia, which might be a hundred years old or more,
has spots on the leaves; the leaves on the interior branches are
kind of withered.

Outside the wall, I want to plant four or five dogwoods (and sourwoods if I can find some),
between us and the neighbors to the right. I'll also try to put some bulbs among the
dogwoods, and shape the "beds" in such a way that it's easy for the guy next door to
mow the grass on the opposite side.


barefoot baker said...

The Lycoris lillies are lovely. Does withered mean thirsty?

Deborah said...

geologist, atheists, jews... and you're planting collards? I think you might have left out african in that mix! I love collard greens and have loads of recipes (actually only one) but can give you some great stories about black folk growing collards from BedStuy Brooklyn, to Augusta Georgia! I've grown them for years and the best advice I've gotten was from a man in Virginia who told me to let them some stay in the ground to Thanksgiving hoping for a frost...