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The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson

Artwork by JoDee SamuelsonOh you darling buds of May, how we welcome each one of you! Cheerful crocuses and daffodils, do not leave us so soon! Oh well, at least you’re here now and we’re going to love every minute of your presence. Spring is always a miracle. Life returning to these shores, sun ascending, red soil gleaming, fish jumping, children and puppies rolling in the warm earth, featherless baby birds falling out of nests. It’s all immediate and transient and wonderful.

But this is not a time to sit back and relax: we must get ready for our Spring Perennial Sale. Cove women, mostly, are potting violets, phlox, ribbon grass (beware!), foxglove, oregano, spearmint, rhubarb, peonies, sedum, matricaria, rose campion, jacob’s ladder, bee balm, lungwort, mugwort… How can anyone not love a perennial sale? Everything is cheap, and a perennial is truly a gift that keeps on giving. As for manure, how can you garden without it?

One of the Cove’s advantages for an event like this is that we have a cove. That sky blue (or grey) water is the perfect backdrop for green shoots and sprouts. Muffins and coffee don’t hurt either. Thank goodness for perennials! They ask nothing of us but occasional ruthless thinning. No one minds sharing a clump of daylilies—in fact, please take some more.

The road out from town is pretty good now that the frost heaves have settled and we’ve had time to get personally acquainted with this year’s potholes. How about spending that Bonshaw/Strathgartney Trans-Canada highway infrastructure money on pothole and bridge repair? A skiff of new pavement here and there wouldn’t hurt either. No one will object to these ventures and every politician will earn plenty of Brownie points.

Folks in the Cove aren’t quite sure what Plan B is all about. Is it to make things easier for truckers? Our small hills must seem modest enough to anyone who’s driven on Maine’s Airline Highway or through the Charlevoix region of Quebec or in the Rocky Mountains or along California’s Coastal Route. Truckers seem a hardy independent breed, not looking for sympathy. Surely fuel prices cause them more distress than hills.

We have one long hill leading down into the Cove. Sometimes in winter it can be a bit treacherous but we want to keep it. We don’t have enough hills! We wish they were higher! PEI had to build its own ski hill! In the good old days, horses had to strain to pull heavy loads up hills and there was some reason to complain if a road was too steep; but today every vehicle on the Island can make it up any hill that we can throw at it.

Does everything have to be practical and useful? To quote Zen master Zhuangzi (ca 300 BC): “All men know the use of the useful, but nobody knows the use of the useless.” Are hostas useful? Who knows, but they sure can grow. See you at the Perennial Sale.

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