The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Monday, February 29, 2016


No, I’m not talking about a bird, I’m talking about a plant that appears this time of year.  Henbit is either a pernicious weed or a lovely wild flower, depending on one’s point of view.  Perhaps the henbit seeds do fly in with wind, perhaps it comes in on the feet of little birds, perhaps it just resides in the soil until the soil is disturbed by a hole dug for planting.  All I know is that it is indefatigable, springing up everywhere, appearing with the first mild days of late winter and early spring.  There are a couple of good aspects to henbit:  in a natural area, a swath of henbit, with its tiny purple blooms, is rather lovely; also, it is shallow-rooted and easy to pull.  It’s wonderful that henbit is easy to pull up, because it simply grows everywhere.  Besides indefatigable, another word would be ‘ubiquitous’.

An internet article says that henbit is also edible.  The article mentions that uncooked, it tastes like raw kale.  Kale is a currently popular leafy green vegetable that we have not yet acquired a taste for, so we have no plans to dine on henbit at this time.

Although henbit is not easy to deal with in the garden, it has its uses and its value. 

Rather like some fellow humans that we often encounter:  difficult to know how to deal with, sometimes, but nevertheless of value.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


One of our favorite, do-not-miss television programs is ‘CBS Sunday Morning’.  It is a magazine-type program, with segments on so many things, of which some are funny, some are informative, and some are poignant.  Back on August 30,2015, the program featured a piece on the Katrina aftermath.  There have been many articles on television and in the newspapers and magazines about last year being the tenth anniversary of the hurricane called Katrina and the aftermath of failed levees in New Orleans that caused an old and storied American city to be devastated.

But one story in particular was extra special.  Special because a military veteran and his wife have invested all of their savings, everything they had, to open and run a grocery store in a very low-income area, the Ninth Ward, the place that suffered the worst after Katrina.  And the place that is still suffering ten years afterward.  For instance, without this one grocery store, there would simply be no place for a great distance to buy food.  Not only that, but the next plan of this couple is to open a washateria, and they have other plans and dreams as well.  Why?  Because they are determined to be part of the solution for an area so terribly devastated and trying so hard to recover.

There are many wealthy people in this world who could have done this sort of thing, but they did not.  They could have at least contributed to the area, but they did not.  What the wealthy do not realize or remember:  they became wealthy because of the society and the economy, and they can be destroyed by that same economy if they do not encourage society and the economy by doing their fair share.


On the first full day of winter, the sun was shining, the temp was mild, we spent a bit of time that morning, what else, chopping some leaves.  Blooming in the garden were:  our one rose bush, violas and pansies, a few yellow marigolds, the orange species zinnias, the two pots of impatiens, dill, purple chrysanthemums and a pot of white pentas.  The marigolds have been remarkable; they reseeded themselves from a plant the year before, so I have collected some dry seed pods and will cast them out next spring and hope for more of this excellent variety, although I have very indifferent luck with growing things from seeds.  The little orange zinna has never died back.  Our back yard, what we call the garden, is sheltered by trees and fences, and what with the mild temps, it is still a haven for plants.

Lest it be thought that color is was rife throughout the garden, in actuality leaves are everywhere and many plants such as the dayliles are on their way back from winter rest. 

Now, we still have several weeks before official winter ends but days are very mild.  The flowering quince, which has bloomed all winter, is just amazing.  So many daffodils and jonquils are up and obviously planning to bloom. 

Every year I promise myself (and my husband) that we are done with planting bulbs, that there’s no more space, blah, blah, blah.  And every year, I really mean that.  But then a possibility occurs, I am left too long alone with a catalog, and, as I write this, I know that an order, a very small order, of only eleven bulbs is coming, five tuberoses, five crocosmias, and only one gladiola, but ah, what an exciting one. 

There is no particular superiority about being a gardener, but there is this one virtue:  we can have all sorts of failures and still believe in possibilities.  Now if we gardeners could just unite and do something about world peace!


So much keeps being said about ‘political correctness’ and I started to wonder what exactly political correctness is.  Particularly as so many presidential candidates keep speaking of political correctness dirisively, as if it is something to be avoided at all costs.

Well, I found a definition that political correctness is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against. “  It is also described as “courtesy, the showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others” and “good manners,  polite or well-bred social behavior.”

And further, a civilized society or country has a well developed system of government, culture, and way of life and that treats the people who live there fairly;  a fair justice system is a fundamental part of a civilized society.”

All of these descriptions of political correctness sound like the kinds of things most mothers try to teach their children:  good manners, not being rude, everyone being treated fairly.  Don’t all of these behaviors sound like what we need to do?  Doesn’t that make political correctness a good thing?

And that makes very confusing what so many people, including prominent presidential candidates are saying, that political correctness is a bad thing. 

Why do we suppose that prominent, important men, in the world’s spotlight while running for one of the most important and powerful jobs in the world, are telling us that we should be discourteous, unkind, unfair, in short uncivilized?

Do you suppose it is they who do not understand the meaning of political correctness?