Espaliered apples

For the first time, our apple espaliers look like the real deal (we planted them five or six years ago, depending on whose memory you're asking). Their trunks have thickened up nicely, and they have the beginnings of gnarled spurs (the bits that bear the fruit). They are loaded with blossoms! This is all in thanks to Matt's careful pruning and training.

But getting apples is not easy. With diligent spraying of Surround, an organic clay-based barrier to keep out the evil curculio bug, we can coax a modest crop. Then, when squirrels haul our whole harvest up into the neighbor's maple tree, we can dodge the cores as they're hucked at us from above.

None of this matters to me, though, because I am wholly sustained by beauty, and I do not need to eat food.


Chocolate vine

This is chocolate vine, Akebia quinata. I have it growing on an old sawed-off telephone pole in the yard, which is a good place for it, because when I mow around it, it gets all its lashing tentacles whacked off. And if it didn't receive this twice-monthly amputation, it would surely start snatching small-to-medium-sized mammals and bundling them into its dark, hungry folds.


April's pear

The weather cooled down just in time to make the pear tree last, and I have been savoring its blossoms from the back porch. I have also been doing a lot of laundry, because warmer weather means dirtier clothes. And because my stinky old dog keeps messing her bed.

More daylight hours give me more energy, which I am putting toward cleaning up clients' gardens, drawing pictures, and hiking. My own garden is dusty and dry, so I've started watering the kale, arugula, sorrel and lettuce seedlings.

My sore back agrees with the calendar: all of a sudden, it seems to be April.


Sammy awaits Rose's return

My neighbor, Rose, keeps a tidy house. Her lace curtains are clean and closed in perfect halves. When she goes out, though, Sammy parts them with his damp doggy nose, and presses up against the window. Rose tsks him on her way back up the walk, arms full of library books. Sammy wiggles in anticipation and smears the glass.

For Illustration Friday's "Return" theme this week.