Partygirl told me we would have roses blooming for Mother’s Day, and she was right. Last week there was one lone blossom, but now there are plenty. I am especially pleased with Falstaff, because of its misbehavior last year. I have a rose called Montezuma, you see. It is an aggressive, conquering sort of rose, with monstrous thorny canes and dozens of blooms all through the summer. Falstaff, planted last year right by the Montezuma, turned strange in midsummer and appeared to be competing with Montezuma. It was an unequal contest, of course, because Montezuma is an in-your-face hybrid tea and Falstaff is an English rose. But Falstaff responded to Montezuma’s challenge by growing one cane, straight up, until it was taller than Montezuma, and topping it off with just one blossom.

Frankly, it looked stupid. I was disappointed with it. I decided to separate them. I planted a New Dawn, a pale pink climber, in between the two. She has  had the desired effect of calming those boys down a bit, and Falstaff now has a dozen blooms ready to open. Falstaff has a really intoxicating fragrance, so there is no need for him to feel inferior to Montezuma or even competitive. Fortunately, Joe stayed out of the fracas.

We also have lots of strawberries. Last year, the birds ate them all. This year, we have netting preserving them. It makes the garden look veiled, but the birds — fat mockingbirds and cardinals, sleek blackbirds, and the occasional robin — have not yet gotten to the berries. They are ripening nicely, and we are hopeful of a harvest. I do not feel bad about the birds at all. We would have shared with them, but they were greedy and took all the berries last year, so this year they must do without.

The T-shirt is finished. Here is an impressionistic shot with the toy camera, which doesn’t actually look too bad. The fabric is soft and drapey and a little stretchy, and the overall shape of the thing is nice.

Below, though, is a close-up showing its many flaws.

The neckband doesn’t lie well, the unevenness of the knitting has not magically righted itself, the intarsia is sort of muddy-looking, and it just generally looks badly-knitted. Is this the result of using cheap yarn? Did I become a bad knitter while I wasn’t looking?

And what should I do about it? I could take out the neckband and do it over, but I’m not sure that the rest of the thing is worth the trouble. I may also wash and block it in hopes of having some startling improvement take place in the process. I may just keep it and wear it for gardening.

I had intended to make another, in Plymouth Stone Cotton, along with Pokey. Hmm.

It is Mother’s Day. #2 son asked me, having seen an ad touting jewelry for Mother’s Day, whether I would prefer diamond earrings or a clean house and a cup of tea. I told him honestly that I would prefer the latter. #2 daughter will arrive, along with Dr. Drew, in time for dinner. I am doing enchiladas (beef with red sauce and chicken with white), a black bean casserole, steamed vegetables, and a chocolate gateau which will serve as a belated birthday cake for my husband. Between church and dinner, my boys will have the opportunity to make me a cup of tea. We’ll see whether they will avail themselves of this opportunity or not.