NO WORDS

Most weeks

As I sit down to write

The words just flow.

This week

I seem to have no words.

At least not about gardening.

This week I want to tell you my story.

It’s an old story

Over 30 years ago.

But it’s an important one to me

And my life.

And it’s timely

With the devastating news

Of last week’s suicides.

I am among the millions of people

Who have suffered from clinical depression.

Most of my friends will be surprised by that.

I’ve never kept it a secret

But neither have I advertised it.

And frankly it was so long ago

Some of you may have simply forgotten.

I have not.

It was a very tough time.

I had had a miscarriage

The year before Elliott was born

So suffice it to say that I was a prime candidate

For depression.

Mine would likely be categorized

As postpartum depression

It’s depression

All the same.

I fought it for a long time.

By the time Elliott turned two

It became obvious

That I had to deal with it.

I distinctly remember where I was

When I told John I had to get help.

He was supportive from the beginning.

It wasn’t easy for either of us,

But he was there.

Fortunately for me a local therapist

Had recently spoken to the Stephen’s Ministry class

I was taking at church

And I liked her.

I knew where I could go for help.

I spent 6 months in one on one therapy

Took the anti-depressants the doctors prescribed.

And was involved with a therapy group for another 6 months.

Bit by bit

I got better.

She saved my life.

I have long felt

That therapy is the best gift

I’ve ever given myself.

Over the ensuing decades

I’ve gone back to therapy

For a tune up

As life has thrown me a few curve balls.

Why am I telling you this?

Most of the people who read this are friends.

But it’s going out there into cyber space

And that means people who don’t know me

Now know something very personal.

But that’s the point.

Those of us who have been there.

Have to tell our stories

Openly and honestly.

We are the very people

Who can make a huge difference in people’s lives.

We know the pain

And we know how help changed,

Really saved our lives.

If you can

Tell your story.

It may help someone

To get help.

And listen to people.

Really listen to them.

Encourage them.

Ask them if they need help.

Then help them find it

If they need it.

Without help

Think of all of the life

I and so many more

Would have missed.

Gail

 

 

 

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FREEZE TEASE

It happens almost every year

About this time.

A predicted freeze

That doesn’t materialize.

Most years

I’m ready for a freeze.

But not this year.

I want to hold on

For a few more weeks.

Enjoying the last of the Dahlias.

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And making a few more arrangements.

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I like the rhythm of fall.

Shorter days.

Cooler temperatures.

A little more time to linger

In the garden.

This weekend

I’ve watched a spider

Spin and re-spin

It’s intricate web

Outside my kitchen window.

(Which explains the poor quality of the picture.)

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You have to admire

The ambitious little spider

Who works all day creating this miracle

That glistens in the sunlight.

Only to have someone

Or something

Walk into it

And do damage.

Yet when I wake up the next morning

There it is

Put back together.

Perseverance.

It’s one of the great lessons of nature.

Gail

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there someday.”

A.A. Milne,   “Winnie-the-Pooh”

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Filed under Bouquets, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Flower Arrangements, Gardening;Perennials, Perennials, Uncategorized

CHANGE

Fall arrived this week.

I think it followed us home from the mountains

Since the temperature drop

Coincided with our return.

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It was an abrupt change.

But a welcomed one.

It’s the time of year

That I begin to think

About how I can change my garden.

Places that are overgrown

Or neglected

Or just tired

Are the stuff

Of my daydreams.

I get this way

Every year about this time.

But somehow this year

Feels different

I seem to be ready

For some big changes.

Just not sure what they are.

I do know I want more Dahlias.

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They are the star of the late fall garden.

And what stunners they are.

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When my friend Kelly moved a few months ago

She left me her wonderful tomato cages.

They are stacked behind my garden house.

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I plan to paint them green

And install them as Dahlia cages next spring.

We were gardening neighbors for years

So it will be a fun way to remind me

Of our gardening adventures

Whenever I walk into the garden.

Change

Some of us fight it

Others embrace it at every turn.

My parents embraced it.

Risking everything they had worked for

To make a major life change.

It worked well for them.

I think gardens teach us to embrace change.

After all

We are not in charge anyway

So how could we not.

Gail

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

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Love Zinnias…Mildew and All

One of the main goals

Of my garden

Is to have cutting flowers

All season long.

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And because the foundation

Of my garden

Is perennials

I rely on self seeding annuals

To fill in the gaps between

Perennial bloom cycles.

It starts in the spring

With Poppies and Larkspur

Then comes the heroes of summer

Cleome and Zinnias.

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Poppies, Larkspur and Cleome

All manage to return on their own.

They just show up and bloom their hearts out.

Zinnias return on their own

But to a lesser degree.

So I have to plant Zinnia seeds each year.

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The good thing about that

Is that I can time them…a bit.

I want zinnias blooming in the fall

Just as the Monarchs migrate to Mexico.

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Photo Credit “Devra” Mitchell

So I don’t plant the seeds

Until June.

I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur

After they go to seed

And plant Zinnias in their place.

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In my neck of the woods

I have until July 4th

To accomplish this.

Zinnias do have one bad characteristic.

They are prone to mildew.

Which is another reason

Not to plant them too early.

Spring rains will do a number on them for sure.

Since summer is the dry season around here

It’s perfect for growing zinnias.

We’ve had 7 1/2 ” of rain

In the last 3 weeks!

Mildew has arrived.

The plants are really ugly

But the flowers are the same

Sunny happy faces that I love.

They are perfect cutting flowers

Playing nice with all kinds of other blooms.

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It’s another life lesson of nature.

A crusty outside

Often accompanies

A loving heart.

Gail

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, Fall, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Larkspur, late summer garden, Poppy, Seed Catalogs, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized, Zinnia

TINY TREASURES

I was raised by depression era parents.

They were not over the top tight

But let’s just say I never leave a room

Without turning off the lights.

They were however

Extravagant in all the right places.

Loving, giving, sharing.

I’m a lucky lady.

What I experienced in childhood

Shows up over and over again

In my garden.

I guess that’s what you can attribute

My seed collecting to.

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I simply can’t throw anything away

That might turn into a plant

In someone else’s garden.

The problem is

In a garden the size of mine

That’s a ton of seeds.IMG_3316

You can’t just let them all drop to the ground

Or your garden will become

Even more of a jungle.

Now seeds are generally tiny

So you would think I’d have room

To store endless amounts.

That’s what I thought

Till it got totally out of control.

Last spring

I dug all of my seeds out

From the places I’ve stashed them

And put them in these clear jars.

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Plants like Purple Coneflower

And Gloriosa Daisies

Are just too big

Or too prickly

For the space I have.

Luckily my friend Martha

Has five acres that she is planting

To flowers for pollinators.

We garden together at Faith Farm

Twice a week.

So I’ve been taking

Grocery sacks full of deadheads

To her for the past several weeks.

I love finding good homes for things.

Right now my potting bench

Is covered with German Bearded Iris

Waiting to go back in the ground.

Some will go here

Others still need a home.

Zinnias are drying

Along side dahlias.

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Dahlias are a new challenge for me.

I really don’t know what I’m doing with them yet.

Much research ahead of me.

So what do I do with all of this.

Some goes into my garden

But most are

“Up for adoption”.

Because there is only

So much Larkspur

And Cockscomb

A garden can handle.

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I hope you will come by my house

This fall and make a few selections

From my seed inventory.

Because seeds need to be spread around

And given homes

Where they can take root.

Loving, giving, sharing.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

Gail

 

 

 

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Nature, Perennials, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Uncategorized, Zinnia

THE SPIDERS ARE COMING

On Friday I commented

That I hadn’t seen a single

Orb Weaver Spider this year.

Well, I must have some sort of

Internal bug clock

Because Saturday morning I walk into the garden

And presto.

Not one,

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Not two

But I find four young orb spiders

Spinning their zig zaggy web.

 

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I love this harbinger of fall.

They have fascinated John and Debra

And me

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And the girls next door for years.

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Their presence is just one sign

That the season is winding down.

This happy bug is another sign

That fall is on it’s way.

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Signals

Signs

Something’s coming.

Watch.

Observe.

Learn.

And enjoy.

Gail

Here’s what all was blooming in my garden this week for the Sunday arrangements.

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SIMPLE DELIGHTS

Late summer provides a bit of a respite

From the heavy work of a perennial garden.

Sure there is still deadheading

To keep the blooms coming

And weeds to be pulled.

But my garden is in that “in-between” time.

It’s a bit early to start digging things up

And moving them around.

Something I love doing.

So late last week

When my friend Beth

Reminded me that

“the simplicity of a water drop on a petal

Can delight our inner self”

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It helped me to slow down

And look for that simplicity.

Tonight when I was making a little arrangement

For the breakfast room

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And a praying mantis popped out.

It was shear delight.

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I quickly relocated it to the garden.

Then as I moved the arrangement to the table

Another appeared.

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What are the chances of having two praying mantis

In the same arrangement?

Pretty slim I’d say.

It reminded me of the moment last spring

When all the babies hatched.

I was lucky enough to happen to walk by

At this moment.

 

A few weeks later

Nature repeated itself for Harper & Henry

When they found their own delight.

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Finding delight in simplicity.

Thanks for the reminder, Beth.

Gail

 

 

 

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DOG DAYS ARRANGING

Since I garden in the southern great plains

There are things I’ve come to expect

In late summer.

Grasshoppers come to mind.

 

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Photo credit Debra Mitchell

Humidity is definitely a factor.

And it is often accompanied

By heat.

As I look out onto my garden.

I almost feel like I need to apologize

To the brave plants

Basking in the heat of the day.

Yet, some plants seem to not just survive

But thrive.

I can’t take credit for too much planning

But I do know I want cutting flowers

All through the growing season.

So there is some intentionality

To my methods.

And as a result.

When I went to cut for my Sunday church bouquets

I was pleased to find plenty to pick.

So how does this work?

If there’s a star in my garden

All season long

It has to be Annabelle Hydrangea.

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I have a hedge of five planted at the east end.

They have bloomed since late May.

Starting with fluffy white blooms

And maturing to the lime green that I love

Since it goes so well with many other flowers.

I’ve cut them all season

And they still have lots to give.

That’s why I’ve added them to the corners of my garden house.

And last fall in a front bed.

I even wanted a hedge of them in front of our new fence

But lost out to John’s desire for more Crepe Myrtle.

The next jewel of late summer arrangements

Is tall garden phlox.

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If you cut it back in the spring

The blooms will be delayed until early July here

And they will still be going strong in August.

These two flowers alone

With their big blousey blooms

Are a great foundation for arrangements

Large and small.

Cleome is another gift this time of year.

It’s a funky flower that brings interest to both the garden

And arrangements.

CLEOME OR SPIDER FLOWER  - FULL SUN - 3 ' - 4'  - SELF SEEDING ANNUAL

Cockscomb is just beginning to come into it’s own.

So start cutting and don’t stop

Or you’ll have a cockscomb only garden before you know it!

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Now fill in with some blues and purples in the Veronica family

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Add Zinnias

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Maxmillion Sunflowers

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And Dahias.

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And you have a “Dog Days” arrangement

That will make you smile each time you pass by.

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Like much in life

I can’t change the heat of August

But I can find joy in the blossoms

It produces.

Take care,

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Flower Arrangements, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Maximillian Sunflower, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia