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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wolverine Weather

MY MAIZE AND BLUE DAY, a new children’s picture book by Old Mission resident Sonja Richards and illustrated by Pauline Vialle (the same duo who brought us THE COMET KID, a kids’ story of fishing that parents and grandparents love, too) is this week’s featured new book in at Dog Ears. Purchase a copy at the store and fill out an entry form for a drawing to win two tickets to a 2008 University of Michigan football game! What fun, eh? (I’ll be mailing entry forms to the author, not pulling the winning form myself, in case anyone wondered.) Plenty of people around town sport maize and blue, and I hope they get their names in the goldfish bowl for the drawing, but anyone from anywhere who buys the book is eligible for the drawing. All Dog Ears copies are signed by the author, too, as are copies of THE COMET KID.

One of my favorite northern Michigan plants, the highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) is blooming now. Here is a view of one just south of Omena, with the bay in the background, but you’ll notice it on many of the back roads of Leelanau County. Every year I covet these shrubs for our home grounds, and every year the season gets away without my having acquired any, but when the next June comes I enjoy the wild ones all over again. LANDSCAPING WITH NATIVE PLANTS OF MICHIGAN, by Lynn M. Steiner, gives it a good review. Maybe I’ll score a couple from a local nursery this month! I love viburnums in general in all their variety. The old ‘Chenault’ I planted in the old corner Dog Ears location (Mill & Nagonaba) is still doing well.

In my home gardens, it’s iris time. My favorites are the small, delicate, deep purple Siberians, but I have large bearded iris in many colors, gifts over time from a gardening friend, and they have their own blowsy, overblown charm, these painted ladies of my higgledy-piggledy garden.

Finished FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON this morning. The ending was not a surprise, as the early chapters gave hints of what was to come, but while it was very sad, in many ways, to see Charlie regress, especially to see the window close between him and Alice, in another way, while Charlie’s early life lacked intellectual depth (as will his later life), and the high period of his mind soared far above what most of us will experience, the general arc of his life is but an exaggerated line mirroring our own. We all come from darkness into the light for a brief period of bloom.

A couple back from six months in Florida complained yesterday about Michigan weather. Ha! If they’d been here all winter, they’d think this June beautiful, rain and all. My gardens are loving it! It's what I call Scottish weather, remembering the fabulous gardens of Scotland, where I was cold the whole week, and my feet were never dry, but the towering foxgloves made it all worthwhile. Here and now, viburnum does it. And no, it's not nearly as cold and wet in Leelanau County as it was in Scotland, either.

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