Each year as winter drags on

I get anxious to get into my garden.

The early spring of the past few years

Have tempted me out earlier and earlier.

Yet mid-March hits and I’m all ready feeling behind,

Overwhelmed really.

As I look out my kitchen window

I see the roses that leafed out so quickly

I didn’t get them cut back.

There’s a tomato plant or two that never got pulled

And on and on

I used to do massive weekend long times of spring clean up

Lately I’m taking it in smaller doses

An hour here

An hour there

Not expecting to wipe it out in a day.

This seems to be a necessity

An acknowledgment of  more sand at the bottom of the hour-glass

Than the top!

But honestly, I like it.

It’s taken me awhile to get there

But I like it.

It gives me time to notice the little things.

The lettuce seed that blew onto the patio

Last fall as I planted lettuce in my pots.


The row of tiny grape hyacinths

Standing at attention

Having their moment

Before the tulips overwhelm them.


Larkspur popping up everywhere

Before it consumes my garden

With a river of purple blooms

The buds of the Japanese Tree Peony

Pregnant with possibility


And the bees

Busy drinking from the Cherry tree

In full bloom.


Sure there’s lots of cutting back

Shredded leaves to pull up

And some weeds here and there.

But this year

Each time I step into my garden

I think I’ll take this lesson from early spring

With me

And look for the little things.

Because after all

That is what life is made of.

Welcome back to my garden,








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A Tribute

The weather finally cooled down enough

For me to plant a few bulbs today.

So the first of my Oriental Lilies are now

Happily tucked away for their long winter’s nap.

As I was digging and burying

I got to thinking about what else

The election

And my dad.


Those of you who know me

Likely know that my dad was in politics

But first and foremost he was a farmer.

The 12 years he spent in Washington

Were broken up by trips home every other weekend

To get on his tractor.


There he would empty his head

So that he could think

What he called “the long thoughts”

He’d return to D.C. on Sunday night.

Ready to get back to the business of governing.

He was there in what is now being referred to

As the “Golden Age of the Senate”.

It was a time when members of Congress,

Though partisan,

Worked together for the good of the people.

There was give and take.

Sometimes you would win.

Sometimes you would lose.

There would always be another chance

To get things done.

But even then he still needed to literally touch the ground.

To keep him able to govern.

His father had registered him to vote while he was away at WWII.

So he didn’t exactly pick his party.

Maybe that’s why he was such an advocate

For two strong political parties.

He is often credited with resurrecting his party

In his beloved home state.


A party that is now unrecognizable to him

Were he still alive.

So what is it that made the generation governing

During this “Golden Age” so different.

So willing to stand up for what they believed

And yet able to listen and work with people

Who thought differently than they did.

In my dad’s case it had a lot to do

With how and when he grew up.

During the Depression

In the Dust Bowl.

Then there was his war experience.

In a tank

On Iwo Jima.


But I honestly think the greatest influence

On who he was

And how he governed

Was his connection to the earth.

Those of us who garden and farm and observe nature

Know that we rarely if ever

Get things 100% our way.

And we are never actually in charge.




And just the vicissitudes of nature

Rearrange our garden plans


So we learn to adjust

To compromise

To re-evaluate

And to change directions.

All of this is necessary to be a good gardener.

And in my opinion to be good at governing.

So daddy, I’ll be thinking of you Tuesday night.

And remembering a few nail biting election nights

Of our own.


Recalling how you taught me

To respect and trust the system

To work with not against people

And to love God’s great earth.















Filed under Election, Farmers, Politics, Uncategorized


I’ve been gone the last two weekends

Which meant

No time in the garden.

It takes a lot to get me out of the garden

Two fall weekends in a row.


But a visit with Harper & Henry

And the out-of-state wedding

Of a dear friend’s son.


Leaving me out of the garden.

While we were gone

We got a big rain

Six inches of rain

To be exact.

So the ground is just right

For fall rituals.

Moving things

Pulling up spent Cockscomb

And just generally puttering around.

This is the time of year

Where the present

And the future meet.

In the garden.

Spring flowering bulbs

Have started to arrive.


Though the soil isn’t quite cool enough

To bury them yet.

My potting bench is covered with

Little containers of seeds.


Glimpses of things to come.

And the Dahlias hit their stride.


But the action isn’t all outside

Normally this time of the year I’m making pesto.

But our hot summer

Combined with my negligence in keeping the basil from bolting

Landed me with tons of bitter basil.

So there’s no pesto this year.

Instead I’m planning to freeze

Cubes of herb butter


For winter cooking.

And the kitchen windowsill is filled with

Tomatoes in different stages of ripening.


It’s a defensive move

Against whatever four-legged devil

Is dining on my almost ripe tomatoes

Every night.


They get them just before they ripen on the vine.

So I’ve figured out just how long I can leave them

Then pick them before they are stolen.

Now I don’t mind sharing a few

But they are taking more than their fair share.



You just can’t beat it

For perfect days in the garden

For relishing in a season well spent

And planning for the future









Filed under Bees, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Herbs, Seeds, Tomato, Uncategorized, Zinnia


This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.


And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots


More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.


Including a few Master Gardeners.


Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.


And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.


Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.


Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.


Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.


Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.


He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.


It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.








Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables


One of the joys of having abundant flowers

Is sharing them.

I don’t have a lot of exotic plants.

But I have flowers.

And fall brings arm loads

Of late summer’s glory.

Cockscomb is the staple

This time of year.


And the beginning

Of every arrangement I make.

If you cut it long

You’ll have lots of branches

To hold other less stable stem in place.

And the color

Just oozes a fall feeling.

I’ve nominated myself

In-house florist

At church


As well as Loaves & Fishes.


They are willing to indulge me

And let me bring flowers each week.

Since friends drop vases by

When they clean out their cabinets.

I always have a good supply.

You can create reasons

For other flower fairy gifts.

This week included

A “thank you” bouquet

To a fellow L & F board member


And a “hello” bouquet

To a new family

Moving on the block.


It’s a simple way

To keep the cockscomb

Trimmed away from the path

And to share the glory of the season.

Someday when life slows down.

I’d love to do this all the time.

Enjoy the week.


“I must have flowers always and always.”

Claude Monet


Filed under Bouquets, cleome, cockscomb, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Uncategorized, Zinnia


For weeks now

I’ve been seeing the signs

Orb spiders have arrived


Praying Mantis are hanging around


As are Locust.


Dahlias have made their debut



I can hear the band practice

At the high school football field.

Cockscomb is everywhere


And Flutterbys

Are here.

Somewhere along the way

Butterflies became flutterbys

At our house.

Elliott loved them as a child.

Even bringing them into the house

To live…briefly!

When you think about it

Flutterby is a more accurate description

Of these late summer visitors.

The Monarchs are on their way

To Mexico.

And a few are stopping by

For a snack in my garden.


They brought along their friend

The Tiger Swallowtail

Which has been impossible

To get on camera.

I can’t say enough about this season

Especially in a year

That brought such heat.

In some ways I find it

As much a source of renewal

As spring.

It’s cooler days

Are refreshing

Even though I know

My least favorite season

Is close behind.

For now

I’ll pick peppers

And tomatoes…finally


Transplant roses

And make extravagant flower arrangements.


Because fall is the season of bounty

In my garden

For that I am grateful.


Surely this is the last Easter egg out there!








Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Gardening, Gratitude, late summer garden, Orb Spider, Peppers, Tomato, Uncategorized


I consider myself very fortunate to have a garden.

It’s the place I go to work

Get sweaty

And think things through.

Or as my dad used to say

“To think the long thoughts.”


Lately it seems I need that place

The “long thoughts” are occupying my mind

Much of the time.

Perhaps it’s a stage

Or my age

Or summer

When my schedule is a little freer

Than the rest of the year.


One thing I do know

Is it’s important to pass this along

To the next generation.

As a toddler Elliott was by my side

In the garden

Then like all kids

He grew to want and need more freedom

And began to roam the neighborhood.

There were days in junior high

That I thought I had failed

To teach him to love the soil.

Not so


He’s grown into quite a capable gardener

Growing vegetables for their family

And flowers for Kristina to arrange

And share with friends.


I’m certain Elliott’s time on the farm

With my parents

Contributed to his deep appreciation

Of this earth.

So is it nature

Or nurture

I’ve wondered

As the next generation has come along

These past two years?

Can a child being raised in the center

Of a major city


Grow into an appreciation

Of the earth

And the things that can be learned there?

Even at two

It seems we have our answer.

Both Harper and Henry

Love being outside

Constantly wanting to check in on

Sally the salamander.


Who lives in the valve box

Of the park’s sprinkling system.

Or helping with Jojo’s “work”

In the yard.


Henry seems especially interested.

So perhaps it’s both.

Being born into a family

With dirt under their fingernails

On both sides.

Carrying the name of family members.

And watching their parents

Love and appreciate nature

And the gifts that God has given us all.



I’m home from vacation now and will get back to regular gardening stories soon.

Thanks for indulging m




Filed under cleome, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Gloriosa Daisy, Grandchildren, Uncategorized