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Thursday, May 28, 2020

The darling buds of May

"Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May."  And how.

(Image from a past spring of my Abraham Darby rose from David Austin.)

May is a balmy, blissful, sometimes treacherous month. This May has been stressful on various fronts. I sometimes feel as if I'm clinging to a wind-tossed bough. Why the heck did they rock that poor baby in the tree tops, anyway? Crazy nursery rhyme.

Cold winds blasted my darling buds and frost struck not once, but three times, after early spring warmth had lured everything out. My roses suffered. I even had iris buds freeze for the first time and the peonies were knocked back or out. Asiatic lilies froze beneath my efforts at covers. Weather can be sinister, and yes, I take it personally.

Despite a perilous spring, abundant beauty cloaks our green valley this misty morning, and my beloved garden is rebounding--including the roses. I've mulched them with rich wormy compost, added organic rose fertilizer, and I'm using Garden Sentinel, a new biofungicide/bacteriacide spray from Gardens Alive, an organic online company. Its based on a naturally occurring bacteria and is helping fight the black spot that struck after the frost damaged their leaves. I also use liquid kelp to give the plants a boost. If the Japanese beetles arrive again in a plague of Biblical proportions, there are organic products for that too. Mostly I do hand-to-hand combat.

On the family front, May hit hard when our oldest daughter Alison, in her late 30's, was stricken with a blockage in her colon and underwent emergency surgery. She went from not feeling well to being in severe pain in a matter of hours. Thank God she had a highly skilled surgeon who got her through the surgery and successfully removed the mass. In hindsight, the pain was a blessing in disguise because it urged her to seek help. The pathology report says the tumor was cancerous and had spread to one of the several dozen lymph nodes the doctor took out, so she will have to undergo chemotherapy this summer. He assures us that chemo has come a long way in recent years and is confident she will make a full recovery. We pray so with all our hearts. If you have an encouraging cancer survivor story to share please do. We've lost too many dear friends and family to this monster.

Of course, we've still got Covid to hide from. Virginia is among the worst states for it, but we have a new C-word to worry us. I'm thankful for modern medicine. This is scary. 

I'm also open to good rose growing suggestions.

And God bless us everyone.


  1. Wow... What a beautiful explanation of everything. May God bless your daughter and all others who face this cruel disease. God bless all :)

  2. I'm thankful Alison is on the road to recovery. Our eldest had breast cancer ten years ago. Her primary doctor pooh-pooh her insisting on a mammogram and said the spot was small and she should wait six month to see if it changed. I urged her not to wait. In the meantime she saw a friend who wore a turban and talked with her. The friend had the same experience but the cancer had spread in six months. our daughter immediately called the friend's breast surgeon, who did a biopsy. She had a rapid, aggressive type cancer and had a lumpectomy right away. The oncologist said in six months it would have spread into the chest cavity. So, a successful story! It's been ten years now and she is supposedly cancer-free. Treatment has advanced a great deal.

    1. Thanks Caroline. Thank heavens your daughter sought a second opinion, and thank you for your encouragement.

  3. I always love your blogs! Your flowers are spectacular. So pleased about your daughter!

  4. Only the best to your daughter's recovery. Cancer is a scary thing. My husband's mom died of it at 55 years old. The picture of your Abraham Darby rose is exquisite. This year in Central PA we had a series of frosts, and all the lilacs have no blooms. My fiddle heads were frosted as well. The ferns that finally sprouted again are now anemic-looking. Sending positive thoughts.

    1. Thanks so much. We had frozen lilacs too except for one. Bummer.

  5. Praying your daughter does well with chemo and can be cancer free by the end of the year.


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