Yes, that's the powerful effect of the succulent, slightly-peachy burst of the first ripe Winona strawberry of the year for Maia. We have a 100 square-foot patch of these guys in the garden. It started as 50 plants from Gurney's last year, and probably holds 400 or so this year—all from runners. And that's after we thinned it out. A really prolific grower. My guess, based on the berries currently forming and from last year's yields, is that we'll get about 200+ pints of strawberries from that 10' x 10' square of yard. Not bad for a $20 investment in bare-root plants and a few hours a summer of weeding. And is there really any amount of money worth being able to get your daughter out of bed instantly (she's an even bigger night-owl/morning sleep-monster than I am) with a single word? "Strawberries!"
It's actually a banner day here at the Arthur Street Agricultural Station (as my wife sometimes laments), as we also got the first blooming rose of the year from our Morden Sunrise shrub. The Morden Sunrise is one of the Canadian Parklands roses. Our Champlain and Winnipeg Parks roses (also both Ag Canada roses, the former from the "Explorer" series and the latter also from the "Parklands" series) are thriving and about to bloom as well. All three survived our extraordinarily long winter without fuss and bloomed wildly last year (their first) without problems. Apart from some composting, mulching, and weeding, we only used Bonide's systemic rose care--and that sparingly. Thus encouraged in my neophyte gardening, I've installed several other of the Ag Canada roses around the yard this year: a William Baffin to hold down the fort between our two raspberry beds, a couple of John Cabots to climb an empty corner of the fence behind the asparagus and butterfly garden, as well as George Vancouver and Hope for Humanity shrubs to fill in what used to be a large patch of grass between our four blueberry bushes (which, frankly, are probably terminal, despite my best efforts to amend the soil/fertilize/etcetera).
So now, that Morden Sunrise:
Of course, a rose is a rose is a rose. Except, I think Gertrude Stein's famous line (reused again and again throughout her career—and parodied relentlessly, cf. this Wikipedia page) is about more than a thing being a thing, about a noun's own ability to announce or advance it presence (about both itself and about its referents && note: wouldn't it have been a gas if Wittgenstein and Gertrude Stein had gotten the chance to have tea?). Quite apart from the sly suggestiveness of Stein's line (about which she later said, "I think that in that line the rose is really red for the first time in a hundred years."), is the even more suggestive, much more sly, and, I think, more useful fact (again: if only we could have gotten L.W. and G.S. together for a chat!) that not only do things carry in their raw state a kind of radiant suggestiveness that can be all the more powerful for having been stripped away of our explicit attempts at glomming meaning onto them (they have plenty enough, if only we pay attention to them), but...
That they do this even though, in the course of things, almost everything to which we would like to attach some "thinginess" is almost impossibly variant (no, I promise, I won't go into Aristotle's metaphysics here—though it was once worth quite a chuckle when a classmate of mine inadvertently asked about Socrates P-ness in a seminar given by Norman Dahl). Even this Morden Sunrise rose (not red!) ranges from an almost fiery orange to a pale yellow depending on the heat and humidity at the time it blooms (they'll be almost pure yellow later in the summer, and if you grow them in the warmer states, they're almost never tinged with the deep orange you'll get here in Minnesota)—and yet it is every bit a rose.
All of which is to announce that I've turned 40 (Wednesday), am surprisingly not dead yet, and have decided to crank this blog back in action again (OK, I promise: really. This time. If it matters to you.). It seems to me that in my attempts to crank out the next GAN (yes, an ambition I still hold, even after all these long years since I first blew myself away reading The Adventures of Augie March in the back rows of an Intro to Logic lecture), I have given too little attention to the possibilities of blogging. Especially its opportunities for building community, passing on small bits of knowledge (evidently, from the traffic from this post, knowledge of bourbon is in high demand: it's the most-trafficked ), and gaining unexpected knowledge from the odd corners of the world. So look for more on gardening, the cosmopolitan ethics of living in a world of 10B people, the occasional sideways crack at culture, etcetera.
But for now, enjoy the roses, folks. As for me, I've got to figure out the connection between radishes and the condition of the human soul...