Sunday, April 20, 2008

A More Sublime Post on Buckthorn, Loosestrife, Teaching

An evening in the upper 70s will change a man (woman, too, I'd imagine). Things sure did pop today--warmest day of the year. Both maples are near bloom, the willows are very green, and below the Mellow Yellow spiraea has begun to bloom. The variegated foliage of Lysimachia punctata ‘Alexander’ yellow loosestrife is pink in spring, but that'll turn to cream with yellow flowers in summer. (don't confuse this plant with that nasty invasive purple kind)














The freaky awards go to Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' elderberry and Rhamnus frangula ‘Ron Williams’ Fine Line buckthorn. Like spiders or something halloween-ish.




















And the wasps are back; can't say I missed those much. One buzzed me. Pollinators or not, yellowjackets and me are like eggs and tabasco sauce--it's just wrong. However, our regular evening diners were here again tonight: a pair of cardinals. The male always gets the feeder, the female the grass below. What patriarchy have we here? But he does swoop down a few feet from her, hops over, and I swear they kiss--they do actually touch beaks, but only briefly. I've seen this several times now. Please, no one email me and tell me he's regurgitating seeds for her.

The end of the school year is two weeks away and I am sad and excited. Sad because 1) so much grading is coming up and 2) I've had (who knows if my students have had) my favorite class to teach ever in my 7 years of college educatin' (well, it's maybe more like a tie, a close tie). It helps that roughly half want to be there, given it's upper level poetry literature--a break from freshman comp was also fan-freaking-tastic--but it also helps that they are all terribly bright, engaging, and fun to talk to in class or out. There's so much more I wanted to cover with them but didn't--I mean this not in the sense of boy, there's so much poetry to look at, but boy there's so much more I wanted to challenge them with because I know they'd run with it in exciting ways and there's a lot I wanted to hear their opinions on. I will miss them. I hope they are not reading this post right now--I know some have found my blog, and I'm a bit vulnerable right now.

11 comments:

Anna said...

What are you going to do for the summer? Sounds like you are a great teacher and I would imagine they love your wit. If they found your blog then they will really appreciate you.

They weather has changed me and I'm a different color now. I was white and now I'm red. I was comfortable and now I itch. I'm also 10lbs lighter due to hauling plants all over the nursery and getting my flower beds in shape. So yes, the weather has changed me.

WiseAcre said...

Our loosestrife is at the same stage. I wish it kept that early purple coloring.

I am so happy to live in a university town and have friends and relatives that work at them. It gives me an opportunity to confirm your observations the students are bright, engaging, and fun to talk to. It's such a different impression than you would normally get of today's youth :)

tina said...

I just purchased Fine Line 'Ron Williams' for my garden here in Tennessee. The research I have done says it is a mid western plant, usually used for hedges. Maybe you can tell me something about it as NO ONE here grows it or has even heard of it. I put it in a shady garden to the left of a shed door since it will stay narrow. Grows fast or slow? Flowers? Picky about soil and water? Thanks!

ourfriendben said...

"Poetry literature," eh Benjamin? That's a bit disturbing in the Tabasco-and-eggs category (says the person with an MA in poetry and an MS in horticulture, so pay me no mind). At least your students were truly engaged, a tribute to both you and them. And summer is coming! Hope you'll be writing your own poetry then, both in and out of the garden...

Frances, said...

All I can say is hmmmmm. Good for you on all counts.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Nicely done. Why don't I visit here more often? Ob, that's right. There aren't 48 hours in a day.

Must try harder. I appreciate a literate blog. Not all that oozing on about what's blooming. We ALL have good stuff blooming, right? (Well, maybe just some of us.)

Great image of the cardinals.

Robin at Bumblebee

Robin (Bumblebee) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benjamin Vogt said...

Anna--this summer? Shoot, enjoy some time off, visit family, and write a book. I do get tired of teaching and the school year--major burn out!
WA--Well, I do have plenty of the "typical" students. And there has been a general trend that scares me: namely, students more willing to try and get you, the teacher, to do the work. They get (or think they get) very clever about it. Maybe I'm getting old, maybe it's always an issue, but the lack of effort is always strong, and the lack of thinking outside yourself--outside your little box--is very prevalent. But again, I suspect that's universal.
Tina--I'm going into my first full year with this buckthorn, so I know little. Any soil should work, and mostly sunny to full sun is what I hear it need. I've got mine on the east side of the house in mildly damp clay. It's unique in that it's been trimmed up to look like small tree. Sorry I can't be more helpful! Ask me again in a year!
OFB--I am SUPER ANXIOUS to get back to my own writing, but not poetry, a memoir. Did you get an MA in writing poetry or just lit?
Frances--I knew I had to make you think better of me after my last post. :)
Robin--OMG there are so many gardening blogs now! I can't keep up for th elife of me and I know I'm missing out. It's crazy. But I agree with you--yup, stuff is blooming, isn't there more to life? I've got varied interests, and I put them all here as I like. Eh well. Stop by again when you find those 48 hours.

tina said...

Now Benjamin, in a year we'll both be in the same place! We shall see whose lives and thrives and if they both do well, then it is a pretty good plant.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Tina--Yes, glad you caught me. I'll race you? I think it's a pretty versatile shrub, though. I always research the heck out of plants before putting them in the ground, as I don't like losing $30-50 on a shrub, for example, and I don't like maintenance much.

tina said...

You would not believe it but I paid $7.49. One of the benefits of being military is that exchange store. Sort of like Wal-Mart but no tax and wide variety from all over the world. They get neat plants our local off base stores don't. Update on the buckthorns in one year!