The Clueless Gardener

"fanaticus sine potestas"

Monday, February 28, 2011

stellar's jay contemplates daff buds

I realize this visual, courtesy my windowsill, is somewhat underwhelming next to Mr. Oudolf's passionate meadowscape shown below, but check the title of this blog and understand.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

a bit of cheer for mud season

...I believe this is by Piet Oudolf, and isn't it gorgeous!  I just came across it and it made my day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Regarding bulbs....

click to blow this up; it's pretty teeny.

I guess these might be the spindly-est shoots ever to peek out of the vegetable crisper, so keeping fingers crossed that these daffs and tulips actually produce blooms.

out of the fridge, into the sun...

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fainting.....astrantias, veronicas, sweet February!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Clueless Loves Alice!

Here is Alice Otterloop, holding up the whole world, a world that of course, belongs entirely to her.  Don't we all  dream of feeling this much in command of things!  But she is slightly mistaken. She thought she heard her kindergarten teacher telling her class the story of Alice, the giant whose job it was to keep the whole planet safely on her shoulders.  Except Miss Bliss had said, "Atlas," not "Alice."  Oopsy!

This particular cartoon, one of my very best favorites in the whole wide world,  is drawn by the incomparable Richard Thompson. [His comic strip, "Cul de Sac," is syndicated in newspapers, and can be read online at]  I stumbled upon a chance to acquire this original drawing, and am now thrilled beyond description that it is now mine--reader, I bought it!

I wanted to put it on the blog here to help publicize "Team Cul de Sac," a drive to raise funds for Parkinson's Disease research.  Lots of cartoonists are going to be drawing Alice or other characters from "Cul de Sac," and these will be collected in a book for cartoon lovers to purchase.  For more details, try this link, I hope it works:

At any rate, MINE MINE MINE MINE is now mine.   Never did selfishness feel so good; Midas couldn't feel a bigger frisson running all that gold through his stubby, hairy fingers.   And it's all for a very good cause.  [More of Richard Thompson's  fab art is available at, courtesy of the tireless Chris Sparks.  Thanks, Chris, for all your efforts!]

Thank you for reading, and I promise to write or draw about gardening next time...

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Fond Memory

to read what it was like to eat brekkie  in this pretty sugar shack, see below...

Chowing Down in Sugaring Season

This is a beautiful photo, courtesy of The Internets, of the grounds of Gray's Sugarhouse, a maple sugaring shack in Ashfield, Massachusetts.  I have blissful memories of two visits to Gray's family diner for flapjacks and crispy bacon during syrup-making season, at least a decade ago.  The Gray family still makes its maple products, but as far as I can discover, the "restaurant" has not  been opened during the 4 weeks of March into April for some years now.
But just for some Clueless wintertime fun, let me tell you how wonderful it was.  We'd take a snowy drive from Egremont, Massachusetts over to Ashfield, which took around an hour.  Down a dirt road, directed by a friendly man to park opposite the road leading to the sheds and barn.  Stomp through the soggy snow to join a line waiting patiently to get inside.  Once we'd cheerfully waited a good 45 minutes, most of it outside, we are directed to our seats around the counters in the dining room.  The seats are tree stumps, sanded and finished, and are as comfy as any stool at any diner.  The light fixtures are light bulbs, encased in those hand-held triangle cheese graters.  Beyond charming!  The family and friends of Gray's are acting as cooks, waitstaff and cashiers.  We can wander down and watch the syruping process.  There is maple sugar candy, syrup and other goodies for sale.  In addition are beautiful notecards with linedrawings of sugaring scenes [One of them is at top].  The food is delish, the atmosphere so jolly indeed.  As we buy our goodies and pay for our breakfast, the urge comes over me, so I head over to a very nice and immaculate  outhouse for the ladies.   After a quick wander over the nearby grounds,  into the car and back home, tummies full and spirits contented.
All over New England, sugar shacks can be found, and I am hoping to find one for this season.  But I'll always love Gray's best.