Category Archives: Uncategorized

Foraging for Poetry

My wicker basket swells. I forage for our supper but poems cling like lace on lichened branches stanzas tumble from the boughs as copper petals catch the breeze. ~ Jo Parfitt, “Foraging for Poems,” 2017 Fall in Southern Oregon is a great time to forage in our gardens and neighborhoods for home décor because there’s [...]

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Caps Off to the Yellow Jackets

I clean in a swarm of yellow jackets, sure they won’t sting me, so they don’t, though they can’t resist the fish, the slime, the guts that drop into the bucket, they’re mad for meat, fresh death, they swarm around whenever I work at this outdoor sink with somebody’s loving catch. ~ David Young, “A [...]

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A lesson in verse about sprinkler head maintenance

“In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” ~ Baba Dioum, Coordinator General for the Conference of West and Central African Ministers of Agriculture Baba Dioum, a Senegalese forestry engineer, spoke these words as he presented a paper [...]

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A goat for the gorse

Each sunny day upon my way A goat I pass; He has a beard of silver grey, A bell of brass. And all the while I am in sight He seems to muse, And stares at me with all his might And chews and chews. ~ Robert William Service, “The Goat and I,” 1933 Robert [...]

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Flowers by the sea

When over the flowery, sharp pasture’s edge, unseen, the salt ocean lifts its form—chicory and daisies tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone but color and the movement—or the shape perhaps—of restlessness, whereas the sea is circled and sways peacefully upon its plantlike stem ~ “Flowers by the Sea,” William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) Perhaps it was [...]

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Barrels of flora

“Wine is poetry in a bottle.” ~ Clifton Fadiman, American editor and author (1904-1999) Some might say wine is poetry in a barrel, and I could say the same for plants. I’ve had success growing a variety of flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs and dwarf-sized trees planted in wine barrels in my garden at home and [...]

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“Smoke gets in your eyes” so stay inside

“When your heart’s on fire You must realize Smoke gets in your eyes.”  ~ “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for the 1933 musical, Roberta. I realize this old show tune is not really literature. However, it has been around for a good long time, and at least [...]

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Childhood memories of growing eggplant

“To this day, I cannot see a bright daffodil, a proud gladiola, or a smooth eggplant without thinking of Papa. Like his plants and trees, I grew up as part of his garden.” ~ Leo Buscaglia,”Papa My Father,” 1989 As I was growing up in Central Florida, I was part of my dad’s garden, too. [...]

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Lend a helping hand to your tall perennials

“He stands erect by bending over the fallen. He rises by lifting others.” – Robert Green Ingersoll, noted agnostic and politician (1833–1899) In Sunday’s column (July 15, 2018), I wrote about the merits of staking vegetable plants: to prevent misshapen plants and broken stems, to reduce exposure to disease from the foliage or fruit touching [...]

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Marigolds: A case of mistaken identity

“Let who will praise and behold The reserved marigold.” ~ “The Choice,”  George Wither (1588-1667) English poet and satirist George Wither mentions many flowers in his poem, “The Choice”; however, there is no doubt that many 21st century gardeners consider marigolds to be the right choice for their flower beds. In Wither’s day, marigolds were [...]

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  • About the Authors

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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