First thing every morning I peek out my little hall window and scan the hillsides for the silhouettes of bears on the ridge. They've been spotted around here lately, and I am convinced that they're up there scouring the hills for berries. Then, I peep into the herb courtyard to watch the Black Phoebe dip into the fountain and the hummingbirds nectaring at the aloe blossoms. Finally, I step out into the garden and am just as filled with wonder as I was in my childhood. This is "twig time," and it is one of my favorite seasons of the year.
I'm holding a handful of promises. Scions soon to be grafted onto my existing fruit trees.
The interlacing twigs on my sleeping fruit trees have captivated me for the past few weeks. I love this time of year when the buds swell on the branches. On rainy days, the drops dangle from the naked twigs, each one highlighted and shining like a gem.
Twiggy pear tree decked in Spanish Moss. I planted this pear only 3 years ago. It has already grown a couple of feet. I'm training it against the fence.
A tangle of grape vines I started from one single twig about 4 years ago. Now the vine is ten feet tall and is beginning to roam across the big arbor over our farm table. I've planted these grapes at the foot of each arbor post.
The twigs pruned from nectarine, pluot, pear, and Santa Rosa plum were too beautiful to toss into the compost pile. I think they look gorgeous starkly outlined against the window. In a couple of weeks, they will bloom in shades of pink and white.
A sculptural Brown Turkey fig twig and shadow.
This mid-1800's chart was the last gift from my Mom before she passed away. Tattered and torn, but I love it just as it is. So full of life, so full of wisdom, and so full of twigs!
Twigs in the little hallway alcove Jeff uncovered and restored.
Thick elderberry twigs. These are from Sambucus, the music tree. The center pith of the elderberry twigs is easily removed, and the twigs can be fashioned into flutes. These were a gift from Mardi Niles, and they're bound with together with old wire. I think they're fabulous.
My twiggy painting of a nest (see the reflection of my Mom's chart?).
Twigs in the entry hall.
A twiggy wreath over the fireplace. That is my girlfriend Stephanie Roth Sisson. She is a FABULOUS illustrator and has probably done books you've enjoyed. She is currently doing the Princess Posy series of books. We had our Kiddie Writers meeting at my home this week. Steph is sharing artwork.
A perfect ending to this very twiggy week was the 17th annual Scion Exchange and Grafting Party of my local chapter of California Rare Fruit Growers. It is fantastic. Fruit enthusiasts from our area bring in bare root trees and scions. Seasoned grafters give demonstrations of various grafting techniques. They draw quite an enthusiastic crowd. The meeting is held at Cal Poly State University, which is less than a mile from our home.
BYOB-you have to bring your own bags and then, as you peruse the tables with dozens of varieties of fruit trees, you simply slip the scions into your bag and REMEMBER TO LABEL everything. I flunked this one because I got so excited I forgot to make notes.
These grape cuttings are like the ones I started over our arbor.
I couldn't believe the diverse colors, shapes, and choices! There were so many knowledgeable people there demonstrating and helping with choices. That was my problem; I couldn't make an intelligent choice. I wanted all of them and I wanted a yard twenty times the size of the one we have, but I can barely keep up with this one.
The grafting demonstration lured in dozens of onlookers. He used a small wood plane to even out his "whip and tongue" grafts.
Such a miracle.
Something for all ages.
Even something for my age...a bare root pomegranate, which is reclining on my patio until tomorrow. Oh, ok, I already have one, but can a girl have too many pomegranates? And this one begins bearing in September and is still bearing now. Thin skinned and a bush rather than a big tree. This has a great shape already and will look perfect against our blue wall. This is an 'Early Wonderful.' Good name. It is wonderful.
Here is my wish for YOU. Go outside, rain, snow, or sun, and look closely at your twiggy bushes and trees. They're packed with energy, life, and beauty. In just a few weeks, they'll burst forth and amaze you yet again.
P.S. Anyone who wants to join my Grimy Hands Girls' Club must send me a snail mail address. A surprise will be sent to you compliments of me and of the fabulous Renee Shepherd. Seeds to test and please all you Grimy Hands out there...give us your honest opinion. Also, coming soon...a book giveaway for followers and a special extra for GHGC members.