Hello fellow readers, Walking Jolee the morning after attending Comfort Zone Camp, a grief camp for kids, became a reflection of cherishing the season’s magnificence unfolding. We count on it from year to year; some may take it for granted. Others marvel with gratitude.
I notice the light green foliage of forsythia coming in, mixing with the golden flowers, still plenty to enjoy. It propagates by layering. Branches bend atop the soil and readily root. Perennials are emerging, too, inviting us to divide them to share with others, reminding me of a column long ago worthy of a refresher.
When to divide and share perennials
Many say it’s best to divide spring and summer blooming perennials in the fall and fall bloomers in the spring. That way, all of the plant’s energy can go to root and leaf development rather than flowering.
But I believe most perennials recover better if divided in early spring, just as new growth emerges no matter when they bloom. The root systems are full of stored energy, and they are less likely to suffer physical damage and leaf evaporation, known as transpiration. Plus, the young foliage is easier to dig around. (There’s more how-to on Dividing Perennials link below).
Jolee came upon a fox den
If I may share a story that occurred before leaving for Comfort Zone Camp. I volunteered as a “floater,” a behind-the-scenes role, allowing me to attend a lifelong friend’s milestone birthday party on Saturday. Michele lost her husband unexpectedly in June.
I spotted Jolee in the woods midway up the hill behind the vegetable garden while getting into my truck to head to camp Sunday morning. Curt blended into the scene wearing a moss-colored hoodie.
“We found a fox den.”
“Is Jolee interested or fearful of the pups?”
“No, she’s more focused on the squirrels.”
The pups likely smell like other dogs, which she loves, unlike her predecessor Miss Ellie Mae.
After camp, while having dinner, we could see the three adorable fox pups, also called kits or cubs, frolicking. I grab my camera and attach the zoom lens. Branches impede a clear shot, but I notice the momma fox on a fallen tree watching over.
Charlie Mackesy – Sharing Comfort
One of the gifts I gave Michele is a book also given to me. ‘The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse,’ illustrated and handwritten by Charlie Mackesy. I cherish my copy read several times; each time is a new experience. Today an excerpt in the intro rang out, “I hope this book encourages you, perhaps, to live courageously with more kindness for yourself and others. And ask for the help when you need it— which is always a brave thing to do.”
Asking for help is being brave was shared during the memorial service, the concluding event of the weekend camp also attended by parents and guardians. Indeed we need each other, especially during tough times.
In Charlie Mackesy’s book, the boy and the mole meander into the wilderness.
“It’s the wild,” said the mole. “Don’t fear it.”
“Imagine how we would be if we were less afraid.”
Asking for help is brave.
Then the boy and mole are sitting on a branch in a tree looking at the stars and moon. A red fox walks below them.
In the next scene, the mole is not afraid of the fox despite his rant: “If I wasn’t caught in this snare, I’d kill you.” The mole chews the wire to set the fox free. They become friends.
Then comes profound wisdom from the mole. “One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things.”
This morning while taking Jolee out for the first call, she launches out like a racehorse for squirrels; none are in sight. But there’s the momma fox sauntering up the hill, keeping a watchful eye on her den. We both stand silently, watching her. Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com (and your favorite Podcast App.)
There’s more to this story in Episode 43:
Meaning of Memorial Day featuring Comfort zone Camp.
More about Charlie Mackesy