From Diana - A February Blog


From Diana – A February Blog

I am in an embryo. The garden outside my window shows all he beauty of winter. Everything that is green holds a burden of snow. Limbs of tress crisscross in a new outline showing me their splendour. basswoods and catalpas reach for the sky. Apples, pears and apricots hold splashes of white in odd places making them plump. The nut trees show a fresh vigour as if there is testosterone toughness in all of them. I get a quick peak at the cross hatching of the alleé. The blood red, scalding colours of cardinals and finches bring fire into my world.

Three days ago Deutsche Welle was here, the German radio network that goes all around the world. The presenter is Sian Griffiths, who is Welsh. So, the two of us had wonderful conversations about old Irish and Welsh legends and myths. Both of us laughed and admitted our fascination with the ancient world. The program will be aired next week and then streamed for later listening.

Here in the garden the arboretum is incorporated into the general garden design, this is a practical plan. We walked The Circle, which is an avenue of walnuts, butternuts and shagbark hickories. Then we viewed the orchard with its collection of mother trees of apples, pears and sour cherries from Siberia. The kingnuts to the south were too far away to appreciate. 

Somehow nobody notices the double fencing system we must maintain around each and every tree. A fine mesh keeps rodents at bay and the larger, welded wire fence anchored into the ground is to keep the deer away. They are amazingly smart, so the outer fence has to be tall and wide. Every October Christian and I remove, repair and remake this fence system.

The snow was too deep for much more wandering, but we managed to get close enough to the big Canadian blue fir, for a photograph.

Diana meets with Sophia Rabliauskas of Pimachiowin Aki in September 2013 to discuss the vital importance of this land and forest.

Diana meets with Sophia Rabliauskas of Pimachiowin Aki in September 2013 to discuss the vital importance of this land and forest.


I have also finished a manuscript, a testimonial of a scientist on Pimachiowin Aki, I have been preparing to help Sophia Rabliauskas and here people preserve a huge area of the Boreal forest system of Manitoba called Pimachiowin Aki, or the land that gives life. It is their second bid for a UNESCO World Heritage designation for 2016. This designation is not just for the land of the five First Nations who live there. It is for you too; so, help me to make this happen by learning more about this remarkable place.

To learn more about Pimachiowin Aki click HERE

Jeff McKay, my director called me from Winnipeg yesterday. I could hear the snow banks grunt with weight as he spoke. I have to pack a suitcase for some winter shots in the Boreal forest, in particular, of the jack pine which is the New World equivalent of the Scots pine. These trees are the foundation species of the Northern world. I must pay attention to warm clothes and long-johns.

By the way for those of you who are reading this in Japan, long-johns are a piece of clothing you would never dream of wearing. They are like stockings that go up to the waist and cover the kidneys. Men usually wear them. And women always recoil from them – but, they will join other fancy frills in my suitcase. Now, remember, don’t breathe a word of this to anybody!

I have exciting news. Another rare pear seedling from a Menie mother has broken dormancy and is putting up two cotyledons. My Russian duchess apples are showing signs of radicle growth. These, too, will be planted today. They are for Hidden Harvest in Ottawa.

To learn about the amazing work being done by Hidden Harvest in Ottawa, Canada, click HERE

My wonderful agent, Stuart Bernstein, in New York will have a birthday on the 29th of this month. But that day does not exist. This Bernstein baby was born in a leap year. According to old Irish tradition this day is open season on such prey!! More to follow….

Diana will be in Winnipeg on Monday February 24th! Join her at McNally Robinson Booksellers to hear about the new book, The Sweetness of a Simple Life!  Event details HERE

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