Thursday, April 10, 2008

seed rescue, label, reindeer

Some packets of seed, which, just a couple of weeks ago, I left in the green house in a narrow wooden box ready for sowing, have been attacked by snails. The gastropods have nibbled and digested areas of the packets in some cases rendering them useless as containers. Today, I carefully collect the seeds, which have spilt and transfer them and what remains of them in the damaged packets to white envelopes, and label each - a satisfying little chore, which has some of the charm of collecting seeds in the wild for future planting. In the process, I have to disturb one small snail still at lunch.

My memory for the names of shrubs is weak. Half way up Mount Sion, an established shrub with close-knit heads of white flowers following the line of its branches, stumps me as it did last year. Then to my pleasure I spot a garden centre label. Spirea Aguta it says. It is a plastic label with planting instructions and designation still legible after several years. I am gratful for its longevity.

Last night on BBC 2 there was a documentary film about reindeer and the Sami people of northern Norway, who accompany the herds on their annual migration. It makes me think of W H Auden's poem, The Fall of Rome which concludes with the lines:
Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

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