Saturday, March 28, 2009


Steve and I started feeding the birds and squirrels back in those ugly, traumatic days after Katrina, when the hurricane’s winds had stripped the vegetation from the area’s shrubs and trees, and the receding floodwaters had left neighborhood gardens brown and dead. Now, Steve throws out big scoopfuls of seed and nuts and cracked corn every morning before he leaves for work. Our garden is an oasis of birdsong played out against the splash of the fountains (and the occasional “Meow! I want one of those!” from our gang of fascinated, ever-hopeful inside cats).

But this is the first time we’ve looked out the window to find ducks in our garden. I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, given that we live only a couple hundred feet from a canal. But it was still enough of a treat to send me scrambling for my camera.

Bye, guys! Ya’all come back now, you hear?

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Friday, February 20, 2009

A Car Full of Roses for Valentine’s Day

Steve and I spent the Saturday before Katrina at City Park’s Botanic Gardens Plant Sale. Every couple of months, the volunteers at the Pelican Greenhouse used to help raise money for the park by putting on a sale of old-fashioned plants and roses that do well in New Orleans (not all green things love our heat and humidity). There weren’t a lot of people at the sale that morning, which surprised us until we were driving home up Metairie Road and saw shops with big signs in the window that read, CLOSED FOR HURRICANE. We looked at each other and said, “Hurricane? What hurricane?” (From which you can tell we don’t watch much television and so were oblivious to the fact that the hurricane that was supposed to be heading for Florida had shifted to take aim at us.)

A couple months later, we took time off from working on our gutted house to go look at what the hurricane had done to City Park. We had to drive the long way around to get to the Pelican Greenhouse because there was STILL water sitting in the dip under the railroad tracks. The greenhouse itself was a shattered wreck; the pots of the plants that hadn’t sold that fateful Saturday were strewn about wherever the receding floodwaters had left them. We’d been attending those plant sales regularly since before we were even married; a lot of wonderful memories of good times, sunshine, and laughter were associated with that greenhouse. Steve parked the car and we just sat in silence for a moment, looking at it.

If you’re wondering why I’m blogging about this now, it’s because last Saturday, on Valentine’s Day, City Park had its first Pelican Greenhouse sale since Katrina. It’s taken them a long time to get the greenhouse back up and running, and they’re still trying to replace all their cutting stock. Volunteers were going around the sale asking regulars, “Do you have a Phyllis Byde? You do! Can we have cuttings?”

It’s nice to be able to give back, after all the joy those sales have given me.

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