Gardener’s rant

By country roads they’re spraying herbicide

Let’s chop and mow and raise our ‘No Spray’ signs

Let’s say no to poison — send those trucks away.


Now is the time to plant new seed

not to cull in the name of noxious weeds

Roadside trims are still enough.


A gardener’s work is never done

We toil from dawn to setting sun.


Only when hungry bugs bite and prowl

do we surrender, throw down our trowels.

I was working outside all day, both in the vegetable garden and in the yard mowing and putting up NO SPRAY signs, leaving little time to write. I thought I would write a haiku but ended up with this.

©2017 Ontheland










Perennial: ‘lasting for a long time’

Sometimes a long time

feels like forever

and then we forget

about the conditions

that perpetuate.

Right soil


gentle winds, ample sun

friendly fauna,

attention and effort

to support, to protect

knowing that

what appears


may die and not return.

©2017 Ontheland




May rains

We’ve had an unusual stretch of rain and clouds. 


such abundance!

the creek is now a river

tumbling to the lake


city pond

new willow tresses

fill mirror 

After days of rain

faithful gardener returns

to kneel, sprinkling seeds

©2017 Ontheland


Straw, dirt, logs and twigs

careful mounds packed for decay,

this gardener’s dream:

black earth mountain richness feeds

a riot of spring flowers.

©2016 ontheland

Hugelkultur is a method of creating a new garden bed by layering logs, branches and twigs and covering them with alternating layers of organic materials such as  leaves, straw, compost, soil, and so on.  Digging in my yard is next to impossible as the topsoil is thin and there is an abundance of clay and rock. So this fall I constructed my first ‘hugel’ mound.   I placed straw and soil on top of  branches from a huge pile of brush left out back by previous inhabitants.  In spring I’ll add composted manure, liberally sprinkle with seeds, and cross my fingers. For more info and illustrations, visit this Permaculture magazine article.

Tanka poem in response to Carpe Diem Tanka Splendor #27: decay

End of June Vegetable Garden Visit

Welcome to the second 2016 visit to my vegetable garden—all photos were taken in the last days of June.  I can’t show every angle so I select shots that I think may be of interest.  June was a dry month and I thought growth was slow.  Yet when I compared pictures from this time last year, I discovered that some parts of the garden are farther along.  I need patience and gained perspective.

I start with the beans.  The tall bamboo poles (on my blog masthead) are a statement of growth.  I love how pole bean vines wind upwards.


The zucchini plant is growing rapidly.  In the bottom left corner: yellow dill umbrella flowers and a single calendula flower bloom.  In the upper right corner: bean plants.


Here is a closeup of a calendula flower between the garlic plants.  About five years ago, I planted dill and calendula—they have self-seeded ever since.


The cucumber plants are growing:


Peppers are starting to show.  They emerge from tiny star flowers.

Pepper flower


I harvested three beets today.

Peas emerge from delicate white flowers.  They are flourishing and will be finished soon.


Vegetables that didn’t make it to this photo post are winter squash, onions, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli (a story in itself).  Thanks for visiting!

©2016, all rights reserved by



Roll in the mud and track it into the house–#Writers Quote Wednesday, #BeWoW

As snow fell outside, I browsed The Napanee Beaver, a local paper.  This headline caught my eye: ‘My top 5 garden resolutions’.   It’s  pleasant to think about gardening while I wait for the storm to end–and I imagine that, as I write, some of my readers may be out in greenery.   Mark Cullen’s resolutions have a spiritual leaning, titled: ‘Think’, ‘Peace’, ‘Love’, ‘Nature’, and ‘Quiet’.  These words captured me the most:


Nature is everywhere.  It is in the air that we breathe and every sinew of our bodies.  We are a part of nature and a product of it. Think about that next time you are tempted to yell at the kids for bringing mud into the house.

At this time of year I can be almost nostalgic about tracking mud in–no kids here, but between me, my partner, and the dogs, we track in enough muck.  Sure, I try to leave my shoes outside the door, but dirt gets in anyways–and then I mop it up.   The free spirit and breath of spring attract me to Mark Cullen’s words.  Mark Cullen is a well-known Canadian gardening guru who appears on TV and radio and  authors a  gardening  website.

Inspired by thoughts of mud, I found another quote, this one by Carl Sandburg.  It speaks for itself I believe:


There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.

Carl Sandburg was an American author and poet living from 1878 to 1967; winner of three Pulitzer prizes for works of poetry and his biography of Abraham Lincoln.  I tried to find out where and when he said these words, but was not successful.

This post is in response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday, hosted by Colleen Chesebro of Silver Threading and Be Writing on Wednesday (BeWoW) hosted by Ronovan Hester of Ronovan Writes.  Please visit these sites for more quotes and reflective writing.


On a Crescent Moon–Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge #67


This evening I stayed out in the garden after the sun went down, with a crescent moon above.  I was warm enough in the chilly weather with a cozy jacket, hat, and work gloves on; motivated to keep working with the knowledge that winter is fast approaching and that clearing needs to be done.  Clearing involves pulling up plants and cutting  them up for the compost bin; taking down the trellis and bamboo poles; emptying soil from containers, and so on.

I enjoyed being outdoors tonight. The temperature was nice and cool for working and there were no pesky mosquitoes.  I was listening to music on my iPhone as I worked.  A purist might wonder why I didn’t tune in to the sounds of nature, but it was a quiet night and my 21st century soul needed/wanted some music.

I decided to write a haiku for Ronovan’s Weekly Challenge, based on this evening’s activity, and stopped putting things away in the garage to type a few ideas into a notes app.  The prompt words that I had to keep in mind are “Cheer” and “Call”.


On a crescent moon, winter calls, gardener clears,

Winter calls, gardener clears, calmed in music’s cheer.

For full challenge details and links to other responses, please visit Ronovan Writes

©2015, All rights reserved by