Monday, May 31, 2010


This is what I believe--knowing that so such of the world shares anti-Semitic feelings disguised as anti-Zionism,  no Israeli soldier would attack a highly publicized blockade unless there was gross provocation. I deplore the death of the nine blockade runners and the injuries suffered by  Israel's Shayetet 13. Nevertheless, my support of Israel and its people remains unwavering. Jews everywhere will suffer the consequences of this event. Anti-Semites will use it to justify their hatred. I remain with Israel in solidarity and in hope for a peaceful future.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


May ends with a burst of of blossoms. Achillea, campanulas, clematis, sweet william, irises, lavender,  peonies, and roses make cottage gardens into  places of enchantment. My own garden is lovely, if looked at selectively. These days writing takes up most of my time and I find it  impossible to cope with the explosion of weeds that follows a good rain. Bindweed, creeping charlie,  the poisonous  tree of of heaven, wild cherry trees invade the flower beds, slurp up the nutrients meant for less aggressive plants, threatening to suppress everything on their path.
I do not use chemicals in my garden. If the roses develop  black spot, as they invariably do, they get the tough love treatment. If insects feast on the basil, i let them. Between these plagues and the herd of deer that took up residence in  my neighborhood a few years ago, only the toughest plants survive. Old roses and thorny shrubs  usually survive Bambi's depredations. Gooseberries yield a respectable crop. Quince is another story. It sets fruit that promises a glorious harvest, but in autumn all manner of fungi and  insect attack the fruit and render it inedible.
Maybe it is naive to try to garden organically in this part of the world.  Maybe it is folly to try to combine writing and gardening unless one is Vita Sackville-West. I persist out of the mad hope that one of these days everything will order itself beautifully. Who know? Ii might be right.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


                                                                 Tigerella tomato seedlings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The day is cool and misty. In the garden, Noisette roses, peonies and Canadian  are full bloom. The much maligned multiflora rose bushes exude a warm scent of cinnamon that more than makes up for its aggressive tendencies. The wood thrush unwinds a silvery chain of song in the green woods. The man in my life brings me  a glass of blanc lime and we talk about France, books, family ties.  I want to linger in this moment, but I have to review a bestseller in which suburban  characters totally adore each other as they sit  on squishy sofas wearing strappy sandals. This is, apparently the nec plus ultra of summer reads.  Balzac it isn't. Sigh.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


There is much more to come. The garden enters into its glory in May, but I am snowed under with books to review, interviews to prepare. Patience, mes enfants. Read my book blog entries about Scott Turow'a newest book and his talk with NPR's Scott Simon at the Smithsonian at or