Category Archives: Cosmos

THE GARDENERS

One of the thing that intrigued me

About Monet’s garden

Was how you keep it looking so good

For 500,000 visitors a season.

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A challenge to say the least.

So I was curious about the gardeners.

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Normally in this situation I would simply

Sic Debra on them.

After all she is a most curious person

And has a way of interrogation that is

Gentle and charming.

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But we had a couple of problems,

One, the gardeners were at work.

And we were there during their busy hours.

So we were asked not to bother them.

Then there was the fact

That they spoke French

And I don’t.

But you can learn a lot

By observing from afar.

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One question was about poppies.

They pulled them up

By the root

Just as the last bloom wilted

Before the seeds had matured.

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Yet they look like

They have self-seeded.

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So the unanswered questions was

How?

Do they dry the green pods

And save the seeds

To sprinkle in the snow?

My suspicion is that they return

To the garden

Via compost.

I never got the answer.

But sometimes mystery

And unanswered questions

Are just as much fun!

So since I wasn’t sure

Of the fate of these green pods

Packed with seeds of a color of poppy

I had never seen before.

A few seemed to find their way

Into my pocket.

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Couldn’t wait to get them home

And dried

And sprinkled

Into my own garden.

But….the last night

Someone commented about how fast customs moves

With the use of drug dogs.

And since these are the very variety

Of poppies that the USDA has banned in quantity.

We decided to leave them behind.

Kristina really wanted to see her children again.

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And not get caught up

In a gardening tour

Drug bust!

You would think that pulling all these poppies.

Would leave giant gaps in the color.

But as soon as one plant was pulled

Someone else came along

With a plant just as tall in hand

And planted them in the empty space.

While we were there

They replaced the poppies

 

With Cosmos.

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Three foot tall cosmos.

Which took me to

Wander through shall we say

The “guts” of the place.

The greenhouses.

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And cold frames

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Where they are grown.

They were filled with plants

Ready for the big show.

I found the  yellow wheelbarrows

I had noticed throughout the garden

Brimming with plants

Headed to the compost pile.

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They were stacked against the fence

Just like mine at home.

For me

Seeing the process

Was just as interesting

As the finished product.

I think it was there

That I found

My gardening Monet muse.

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Gail

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.  So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”

Claude Monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Compost, Cosmos, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Nature, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

RAINDROPS ARE FALLING ON OUR HEADS

 

July-1-2014-US-Drought-Monitor-Map

For several years now we have been living under “extreme drought” conditions.

Going back to the summers of 2011 and 2012

We’ve been below normal rainfall.

And those summers were hot….really hot.

Last summer got better.

A little more rain.

A little less heat.

Then came the summer of 2014.

What a gift.

Mild temperatures.

Crisp morning.

And rain.

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During June it was as if we lived in Camelot.

Remember the line?

“The rain never falls till after midnight.”

Well that’s where we’ve been living.

Camelot.

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OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

Especially since Camelot is fictional.

People kept saying

What till July.

So when July came

And it got cooler

We were amazed.

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Last week we got several days of rain.

Alternating between hard driving rain

And soft gentle misty drips.

With mornings in the low 60’s

And days struggling to hit 70

We were in heaven.

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Humans love these days.

But gardens

Well gardens come alive.

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It’s amazing to me the difference that rain makes.

I know it’s a fact

Given the extra nitrogen that comes with rain.

But I am amazed each time

I walk through my rain soaked garden.

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There’s something about standing in rain.

Soaking it in

From the roots

To the tips of the last petal

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Letting the goodness that falls from the sky

Wash over an entire garden.

We are all attuned to the weather these days.

For good reason.

It takes drastic swings

And is entirely unpredictable.

Perhaps we need to take a cue from the garden

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And stand in the rain

Soaking in the goodness

Experiencing the renewal it brings.

To all kinds of lives.

Gail

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Filed under Calla Lily, Clematis, cleome, Cosmos, Dahlias, hollyhocks, Mandavilla, Oriental Lilies, Rain, Tall Garden Phlox

WINDING DOWN

You may recall that spring was a bit late this year.

With four freezes continuing through the end of April.

We had a late start to the season.

That’s why I have reveled in this glorious fall.

Endless days of crisp air

And sunshine

And all this color.

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I knew it would eventually freeze.

But I am grateful for the “catch up” time

Mother Nature has given us.

Last week it did finally freeze.

Not a light frosting

But what we gardeners call

A “killing freeze”.

I did pick

Green tomatoes.

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The last batch of produce for Loaves & Fishes.

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The last roses of summer.

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And cosmos.

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And hydrangea.

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But a hard freeze is inevitable.

Necessary really.

We need things to die

So that we can clean up

And put our child to bed.

Mounding it all up to compost

So that we can return it to the earth.

But before I can even begin to think about all of that

I have to finish planting

ALL THESE BULBS!!!

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What was I thinking?

So on Saturday

I began.

Digging trenches

One section at a time

Along the path

Leading to the garden house.

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Then over planting

With Pansies.

Now I won’t bore you with the details

Since it’s the same process

We walked through

In the front

A few weeks ago.

But I will tell you

I’m glad to have it done.

It’s a big job

That needs a chunk of time.

Pulling up

Cockscomb, cosmos, tomatoes and peppers

Can be done in small snippets of time.

As is the case in most years

I was ready for the freeze.

To rest.

Gail

The last rose of summer.

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Cosmos, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Green Tomatoes, Hydrangea, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized

The Untended Garden

I have often wondered how long a garden lasts

When there is no one there to tend it?

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A season?

Maybe two?

I’ve come close to getting my answer this spring.

I’ve spent very little time in my garden

Since May

And…well…it’s a mess.

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Oh, not to the casual observer

But to me

The gardener

Who knows the bones and body of this place

It’s a mess.

The larkspur is well past its prime.

And should be long gone.

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In this year where everything is about 2 weeks late

Cockscomb is all ready starting to bud and bloom

Crab grass and clover think they’ve died and gone to heaven

Because I’ve let them grow

Unfortunately.

There’s a forest of baby trees.

Mimosa, Elm, Maple and Pecan

Planted by well meaning squirrels last winter.

And so you lovers of mulch

Are likely wagging your “I told you so” finger at me.

Remembering the tough stance I took on the stuff last week.

But the truth is for me

Well, I’m standing my ground

Even at this stage of disarray!

Here’s why.

I rely on a variety of self seeding annuals to give my garden

That lush cottage feel.

We’ve talked about them before

Poppies, Larkspur, Hollyhocks

And the 3 C’s Cleome, Cosmos and Cockscomb.

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Without them I would find myself needing a lot more perennials.

Now I love them all

But to have so much renew itself each year

Is a strong statement of life.

If I covered my garden with inches of wood chips.

Few of these seeds would work their way into the soil

And grow and bloom.

So what do I do to prevent those much maligned weeds.

Nothing.

I don’t use a pre-emergent

And I don’t mulch.

I accept them as part of this creation

I don’t plant them

But they just keep coming

So there must be some reason for them.

And I think I’ve finally figured it out.

They are there to slow me down.

To make me sit in my garden

And pull weeds.

You really can’t see the details

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And touch the earth

Unless you sit

And dig

And pull

Disturbing the soil along the way

Just long enough to experience

The life within.

Gail

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Filed under cleome, cockscomb, Cosmos, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Shasta Daisy, Uncategorized

SEEDS – THE BEGINNING & THE END

My father often told me that he didn’t want to slow down as he aged.

 

Mother and Daddy riding in a parade circa 1962

Mother and Daddy riding in a parade circa 1962

 

Parkinson’s Disease forced him to

But it wasn’t his idea.

He would say

“If I sit down I’ll go to seed.”

Time and Parkinson’s won out

And his life slowly wound down.

But never completely

He conducted a meeting about the future of public education in Oklahoma

On the Thursday before he died the next Tuesday.

He got his wish

He never went to seed.

But going to seed is a natural event in a garden.

Flowers come from seed

And most go back there sometime during the season.

That process has begun in my garden

The “going to seed” sequence

Follows the blooming sequence

So since Poppies are the first

Of the “self seeding annuals” to bloom

They are the first to go to seed.

So the process looks something like this

Bud

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Bloom

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Seed Pod

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Dried Seed Pod

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Seed

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Next spring it will begin again.

This week it’s the Larkspur’s turn

I know

It’s late

But remember that the season

Could be as much as 1 month behind normal.

So the Larkspur blooms have begun to turn

To seed pods.

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I’ll let some dry out in the ground

But not all.

I can’t imagine how much Larkspur there would be

If I let it all “go to seed”.

So I’ve begun the process of pulling up Larkspur

And laying it on the garden house floor

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To dry

So that I have seeds to share

With anyone who would like some.

And what goes in the space created

When I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur?

What else but

Zinnia and Cosmos seeds.

They will go through the same bud, bloom and seed process

During the second half of the season

Hollyhocks

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Cleome

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And crazy Cockscomb

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Will follow.

These are the things that give my garden that look of abundance.

They fill in between all the flowering shrubs and perennials.

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So, though the actual plant dies after one season

The seeds fall to the ground

Waiting patiently for the next year.

Popping up in new and unexpected places.

Teaching me each season.

It’s the cycle of nature

A going backward

So that we can go forward.

Nature

Pay attention to it.

Take time to observe it.

It has much to teach us.

Gail

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Filed under cleome, cockscomb, Cosmos, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Perennials, Poppy, roses, Seeds, self seeding annuals, spring, Uncategorized, Zinnia

FAST FORWARD GARDEN!!

Rosa Colorific on it's second round of blooms

Rosa Colorific on it’s second round of blooms

This has been the most incredible spring.

It began early

and is lingering.

I love it.

Lilies and Larkspur

Lilies and Larkspur

It seems we haven’t had a freeze since almost Valentine’s Day.

The result is one of the prettiest springs I can remember.

It also means that my plants are blooming way ahead of schedule.

At least 3 maybe 4 weeks ahead.

A fast forward spring.

People were picking tomatoes on Memorial Day for heaven’s sake.

All of this means I’ve hit that “peaceful puttering time” early.

The “peaceful puttering time” is when the rush of spring ends.

Everything is planted.

And moved.

And tucked in to grow.

So now begins the first big weeding sweep.

Last Summer's Zinnias

Last Summer’s Zinnias

When the weeds are gone I”ve sprinkled zinnia and cosmos seeds.

And this year the cosmos seeds are actually sprouting.

Especially where I dropped an entire pack of seeds!

Puttering also includes deadheading.

Gloriosa Daisies

Gloriosa Daisies

Which is often done on my morning walk through the garden.

This year I’m also taking an oath to truly thin out the cockscomb.

You remember cockscomb.

It absolutely takes over the garden in fall.

So I’m determined to manage it better this year.

We’ll see.

Then there is the field of nut grass moving toward the strawberry patch.

It is the hardest weed to get rid of.

If  you pull it up

It multiplies.

So as much as I hate to admit it I’m going to spray it with round-up.

It’s the only way over the years that I’ve found to rid it from my garden.

I promise not to use much.

Next I think I’ll tackle the area around my compost bins.

It’s filled with this spring’s empty pots

And last falls end of season leaves and stuff

That hasn’t hit the composter yet.

I’ll stake up a few of those Orienput lilies I planted last fall.

Their heavy budding heads  are drooping.

My other weekend task is to move some mums around in the front bed.

We reconfigured it a bit earlier in the spring

So I need to move some to fill in gaps here and there.

As you can see there is a different pace in the garden.

Slower.

Less list driven.

More relaxed.

Easy days to putter

And play.

And enjoy.

I plan to take it all in.

Slowly.

Hope you have some puttering time in your week.

Gail

P.S.  Here are a few pictures of last weekend’s wedding.  Thanks for the pictures, Pat.

My nephew Will

My nephew Will

Dinner by the Big Pond

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Cosmos, Dead Heading, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Orienpet Lilies, Timing, TRANSPLANTING, Uncategorized, Zinnia