Thursday, November 18, 2010

Garden Delights and Running News

Perhaps eight, maybe ten years ago, I commented to a colleague who also gardens that I really loved a small tree, just below our department's building, one that managed to be festooned with both white flowers and large red berries at the same time. "Oh, the strawberry tree!" she responded, pointing out that it was a relative of the Arbutus (which some of you know as the Madrona).
I soon found my own Arbutus uneda at our favourite nursery, brought it home and planted it (more likely, cajoled Pater into digging the big hole and planting it). And for the last four or five years, every fall about this time, the "strawberries" that give the tree its common name begin to ripen into their cheerful, bumpy selves, right alongside the flowers that will become next year's fruit.
I love this tree even more after finding it growing wild along the roadside in the Beiras in Portugal, so that it reminded me of home there, and of holiday sunshine back here in the November gloom.
I even love peering into the dark depths of its interior, as my camera lens did here, to reveal the bright fruit within.
And against a blue sky, the tri-colour play is spectacular!
As for my foot, if I can bore you for a minute, my Pilates instructor, who runs one or two marathons a year and whose advice I trust, recommended I try Tegaderm and see what a short run felt like before deciding about Sunday's half-marathon. Tegaderm is a sort of second-skin clear adhesive used on burns and bedsores, as well as other wounds. I picked some up at the drugstore Tuesday night, got Pater to apply it over the blister and surrounding red tissue, and ran quite comfortably for an hour yesterday morning. Admittedly, by last night, after a long day of teaching wearing my boots, my foot was quite tender for the first time since the blister formed, but this morning it's not too bad (although the dratted itching has begun!). So I'm crossing my fingers that I may be running the Fall Classic Half Marathon after all.


  1. Lucky you. I tried to grow that tree here and failed completely. In other news, good luck with your foot.:)

  2. The Madrona looks lovely mater...we have an arbutus outside the front window and I am surprised that it grew in that location as we are a few blocks from the water and I always have seen them near the shore.

    Good luck with the run and the blister...

  3. What a neat trick, fruit and blooms all at one! Clever tree!

    Good luck with the running, hope you're able to participate in the race.

  4. What a lush, beautiful tree! Good luck with the foot, there is a considerable difference b/t ah hour and a half-marathon so I am confident you will 'listen' to the foot and proceed with care.

  5. Glad to hear there is good news re the foot. And what a lovely tree!

  6. That first image looks remarkably like a photograph taken by Huger Foote, google him and you will see what I mean.
    I remember that 'skin' from when Kitty sliced the palm of her hand open, it is amazing stuff so good luck.

  7. LPC: Perhaps you didn't abuse it enough -- ours grows in the most gravelly-poor soil imaginable (so v. good drainage) in full sun (such as we get here). The little one we planted at the seafront of the yard isn't doing as well, but that's because the deer keep chomping it, rather than because of the seaspray.
    Hostess: This one's not actually a madrona, but a smaller cousin and strawberry-sized fruit.
    So pleased that you allow the arbutus to coexist with the more polished parts of your garden - so many gardeners end up taking them out. We have three or four in our yard and I love them, despite the mess. I've seen them grow several blocks or more from the sea, but do notice that they are more likely to be on the edge of the wood than deeper in.
    Pseu: It is clever, isn't it! And pretty!
    Duchesse: Yes, I'll be listening -- it's a course that requires two circuits, so if I'm in trouble after the first round, I'll stop then.
    Tiffany: Do you have arbutus in Australia?
    Alison: I did google him -- and thanks so much for the compliment! His work certainly suits what my eye would love to record often. I love that blurred-yet-precise place at the margins between near and far, like a switch of attention, or at least of concentration. . .

  8. What a beautiful tree! I can see why it would bring such joy.


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