Category Archives: Daffodils

ROOTS & WINGS

In my core I am a flat lander.

A fourth generation flat lander.

As a kid I was taught by example

To be in awe of sunsets.

My father loved them.

A get everyone up from the dinner table

To admire them

Kind of loved sunsets.

He traveled the world

Met fascinating people

But was never happier

Than when standing in his own front yard

Taking in the full 180 degree sunset

In the evening sky.

We do have some pretty spectacular sunsets.

And thunderstorms.

My friend Mike Klemme has captured many of them.

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Copyright Mike Klemme

 

I know this place.

With it’s long growing season.

I know that sometime in late January

I can start looking for buds on the Hellebores

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And by Valentine’s I’ll see the first nose of a daffodil.

If not an out and out bloom.

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I know that each fall when I spread the summer’s compost

Around my garden

I can expect a spring crop of worms

The size of small snakes.

Happily digging their way through

The rich soil they helped to create.

But for the past few years

I’ve been cheating on my garden.

I’ve taken up gardening

In another place.

A place that couldn’t be more different

From home.

Where here there is a generous 9 – 10 month growing season.

There the last freeze date isn’t until June 15th

And the first freeze date can happen anytime after Labor Day.

Really….three months.

How do people live like that.

For me it’s because of my grandchildren.

So I’m learning to garden again.

In a new place.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Home is still home.

But I now have the opportunity

To grow things

That absolutely hate it here on the plains.

I’m trying my hand at

Lupines

And Delphinium.

Oriental Poppies

And even Foxglove

Which I have no luck with

No matter where I try.

I’m learning how to out wit

These guys.

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Though they seemed to have eaten

Most of said Poppy buds.

Most challenging of all is the soil.

They don’t call them the Rocky Mountains

For their light airy loam.

Even staking up a delphinium bloom

(to make it more accessible to the deer)

Is an excavation project.

But the mountain air

Does make for glorious color

In all that grows there.

So, I’m literally putting down part time roots

In a new place.

In order to give the next generation

Wings.

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Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Daffodils, Delphinium, Digitalis, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Grandchildren, Grandchldren Generations, Hellebores, Lupine, Poppy, Uncategorized

Garden Travels

It’s finally here…Spring!

Officially on Wednesday.

It’s just a bit soon here to begin digging.

You can start cutting back all that brown dead stuff

And racking back that protective coat of leaves.

But instead of standing at the window

Staring into the backyard

Wringing my clean hands

I’ve been lucky this past month

And gotten to visit not one,

But two glorious botanical gardens.

About 3 weeks ago Virginia, Debra and I

Spent an afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden.

I’m not really a desert person – Virginia is

It was after all a garden, so I was happy to tag along.

So glad I did.

There was a bit of Chihuly glass.

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If you don’t know Chihuly glass

Get to know it

It’s art…beyond belief.

Butterflies were another draw for me.

A butterfly pavilion had been added for the next few months.

Being in a small enclosed space with hundred of butterflies.

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Or…flutterbyes as I like to call them.

Is…well…like having God doing a fly by.

Really low!

Now, I’m not someone who travels a great deal.

Quite the opposite.

I love being home.

Somehow just two weeks later John and I were heading to Dallas

It was warm and sunny while we were there.

Yesterday on our way out of town we visited Dallas Blooms.

And bloom it does!

The Dallas Arboretum was lit up with no less than

500,00 spring flowering bulbs.

Bed after bed of daffodils and tulips.

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Underplanted with violas of every combination.

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Pots of Ranunculus

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Shouting “It’s Spring”

Planter boxes with the tallest ornamental cabbage known to man.

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We were in Texas after all

Brides taking their wedding portraits amongst the glory of it all.

And many princesses complete with crowns, gowns and velvet couches!

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There’s a tradition there I need to explore.

Then there were these two darling boys.

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Who I was certain had found a lady bug

or caterpillar

or some wonder of nature

Because they had turned their backs on this breathtaking beauty.

Look closely

It’s an iPad!

Somehow I kept from screaming at them.

It’s starting here.

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Hellebores are always first.

Patches of daffodils are beginning to bloom

Next will come forsythia and flowering pear trees

Then the big parade begins

I can’t wait

I’m just grateful for such a splendid preview.

Take in a little spring this week.

Gail

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Filed under Butterflies, Daffodils, Forsythia, Hellebores, Ornamental Cabbage, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Viola

Time & Weeds

Border Dahlia

When people visit my garden.

They often ask 2 questions.

The first

“How much time do you spend here?”

The answer is simple.

Not as much as I like.

Tall Garden Phlox

Tall Garden Phlox

The last few summers have been well…hot!

Which means that my long summer Saturdays in the garden

Have been more like mornings and evenings.

But the truth is my garden does not require endless hours of work.

And because I enjoy it…it doesn’t seem like work at all.

I’ve also changed my expectations.

Endless hours outside just don’t seem to happen

So I do a bit here and a bit there.

It’s amazing how much can happen in a few minutes.

So I focus on weeding and deadheading in small areas.

Peg helps?

Peg helps?

Which brings me to the second question.

“Where are the weeds?’

Once again the answer is simple.

Everywhere!

You just don’t notice them.

So how does this work.

There are two things that I’ve accidentally discovered

To keep the weeds away.

I’ve never planted according to instructions.

I almost always plant too close together.

Way to close together.

The pleasing results of overplanting

The pleasing results of overplanting

Which means the plants shade out the weeds.

Or simply don’t leave room for them to grow.

Granted it’s a little crowded

And some plants don’t have room to reach their full glory

But, for me, it works.

The second thing is those wonderful self-seeding annuals.

It begins with Larkspur in the early spring.

And ends with cockscomb from now till it freezes in the fall.

Throw in the zinnia and cosmos that I plant each year

And my garden is filled with “filler flowers”.

Zinnias & Cockscomb - "Filler Flowers"

Zinnias & Cockscomb – “Filler Flowers”

Which is better than “filler weeds”!

The truth is that lately I’ve been pulling up as many baby cockscomb plants

As I have weeds.

So you might think of it as a friendly weed

That blooms nicely.

And is great in arrangements.

"Filler Flower" arrangements

“Filler Flower” arrangements

I’m really trying to keep it out of the very front of my garden this year.

So, I guess it turns out that what some consider to be garden problems.

Are really just how you look at it.

Much like life!

Gail

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Daffodils, Dead Heading, Fall, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Larkspur, late summer garden, Perennials, self seeding annuals, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Zinnia

Winter Garden

 

 

February 2011

There’s a stillness about the winter garden.

A slower pace.

Quiet.

I love that

I need that

So on a recent sunny January day I spent some time strolling

It’s a hopeful journey.

Daffodils sticking their noses up.

Larkspur running amuck

Greening up everywhere.

My mystery perennial fern bigger and greener

than it ever was last summer.

But the brightest sign of hope…

The first bud on Helleborus

An amazing plant that is always the first to show new life in my garden.

It’s still time for the garden to rest.

For this gardener to rest. 

To stroll quietly through the garden

To putter in the garden house

To contemplate the season to come

Time to study OK drool over the catalogs clogging my mailbox

For now…

Quiet time

Hopeful time of things to come.

Gail

 

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Filed under Daffodils, Ferns, Hellebores, Larkspur, patience, Uncategorized, Winter Garden

A DIFFERENT KIND OF “BLACK FRIDAY”

Thanksgiving Weekend.

I love the slow pace of this 4 day weekend.

At least the way it used to be.

Before Black Friday came along.

For me, I simply can’t get into the retail version of the day.

So yesterday I had a different kind of “Black Friday”.

I spent the day in the garden.

Digging in God’s great black earth.

Things are winding down in my garden.

Almost to a crawl.

But there is always something to do.

Megan and I are still trying to get our scheduled afternoon of bulb planting.

Because it’s getting a little late in the season

I went ahead and planted everything except the tulips leading to the garden house.

Lilies were the first on my list.

You may remember I’d gone a bit lily crazy on my order this year.

I have 25 mixed Oriental Lilies

They are going on the east side of the garden.

In front of a bank of Yews

Behind the Digitalis bed.

Or should I say the hoped for Digitalis bed.

I plan to try again with them in the spring.

This area lends itself to a trench as opposed to big oval holes.

It’s the same principal though.

Don’t dig a hole for each bulb.

And, because these come out of the ground a bit later.

Be sure and mark them so you won’t dig them up.

The saddest sound in the garden is a shovel slicing a lily bulb

Or a daffodil….or tulip…or dahlia.

I know I’ve sliced them all.

Then off to plant Trumpet Lilies.

These are golds, yellows and whites to fill in what I all ready have.

Next came the tulips that Debra gave me.

She selected black (Queen of the Night), white ( Maureen) and orange (Daydream)

For her dad’s garden.

So she gave me a few in memory of my dad.

Both of them taught at OSU during their “second careers”

So it is fitting. 

Then, I never can resist Parrot tulips.

This year I’m doing Rai a purple and green with a touch of white.

And Blumex – kind of pink and orange.

Now, I know, most of you finished your bulbs weeks ago

And you are likely pulling your Christmas decorations out of the attic today.

But…there is still a bit more to do.

The pumpkin tower I’ve had in the front pot

Is well…over.

So I buried a few daffodils in a plastic pot.

Actually I did the lasagna method but with all daffodils.

Then I buried the pot within the pot.

This is important because my front pot sits right out in the open.

Lots of cold air swirling around it all winter long.

The double layer of pots will provide a little insulation.

I covered it with pansies.

We’ll see what kind of winter we have.

And how they survive.

I likely have another day or two in the garden this season

The afore-mentioned garden house tulips

and I’m still hoping to move that rose bush.

Though it is likely too late.

Normally by this time of the year I’m ready to be done.

But not this year.

I’m enjoying these days of digging.

Winter is closing in.

But for now

Fall is still with us.

Who could ask for anything more.

Here are the last of the season’s flowers.

Still blooming happily.

Take care,

Gail

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Filed under Daffodils, Dahlias, Digitalis, Fall, Garden House, Gardening, Oriental Lilies, Trumpet Lily, tulips

BULB PLANTING TIME

It’s the time of the year when I begin my frost dance.

Or should I say “threat” of frost dance.

You know the routine.

The first few nights you just throw a sheet or towel over a few tender plants

Then you drag most of the ferns in to the warmth.

After a few more sunny days

It happens again.

Freeze warnings

You begin to take them seriously.

You start picking things.

Almost ripe tomatoes

Not quite mature peppers.

Then the freeze frenzy really sets in.

One cold windy morning you yank every green tomato off the vine.

Cut cockscomb to the ground.

 Whack away at armloads of roses and zinnias

Dig up baby basil plants for your winter supply.

Then lie in wait for mother nature to kill everything you’ve nurtured all year.

After several nights of freeze warnings

It finally happens.

The first hard freeze.

The killing freeze.

With the end of one season

Another begins.

So now it’s time to plant…….

Spring Flowering Bulbs!!!

Even though I won’t actually plant my bulbs till later in the month.

I thought I’d send along this primer.

Here’s what I know about planting bulbs.

As with all of gardening the health and size of the bulb will determine the quality of bloom.

So look for big bulbs that are firm.

Make sure there is no mold present

Soft moldy bulbs will only turn into compost not flowers.

Tulip bulbs should still have their brown “skin” attached.

We talked about bulbs a bit in August in two prior blogs.

Planning Time and Planting Hope

So lets cover how to plant all this stuff.

First – find a gardening friend

Make a pact to help each other plant bulbs.

This friend may be a spouse, a child, a sibling, a neighbor

Or if you’re lucky you have a Megan.

Megan has helped me plant bulbs for well…

I don’t remember how long.

We use the “lasagna” method. 

It saves labor

And makes for glorious blasts of color.

Which means you never….never….never

Plant in rows.

Instead if you want to line an edge

Dig a series of oval holes.

Good sized holes

Because you will put a minimum 7 daffodils and 11 tulips in each hole

Dig the hole 6 ” –  8″ deep.

Mix in a little Bone Meal

Place the daffodils pointy end up

(That is very important !)

Make sure they don’t touch – or they will rot!

Use odd numbers 7 – 9 – 11.

Cover with a few inches of soil

Add a bit more Bone Meal

Then place Tulips

Again pointy end up.

To get a good show use at least 11 tulips or more.

Then repeat soil and Bone Meal

Top off with Dutch Iris.

Then refill to ground level.

Actually a little higher since it will settle when you water it all in.

And do water it all in

The water will fill up the air pockets in the soil

This will keep it from freezing when it’s first planted.

If you’re really energetic or inspired you can cover it all with pansies.

Now….that’s a blast of spring!

We do a series of these “lasagna Holes” on each side of the path

Leading to my garden house.

This forms a full border that doesn’t look contrived.

You’ll notice that the biggest bulbs need to be buried the deepest.

So you plant from large to small bulbs with this method.

Lilies can be planted 3 – 5 to a hole

Or…you can dig a winding trench

Place the bulbs in a zig zag pattern along the trench.

I generally don’t plant anything else with them.

So…that’s pretty much how we do it here.

It’s a tried and true method you may want to try.

Or not.

After all gardening is personal.

We learn from each other.

We adapt to our own garden.

We create.

We wait.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, cockscomb, Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Ferns, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Grape Hyacinths, Green Tomatoes, Oriental Lilies, Peppers, roses, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Tomato, tulips, Uncategorized, Zinnia

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

To everything there is a season

And a time to every purpose under heaven

Familiar words.

And true.

I’ve come to realize over the years that some people seem to time their deaths.

I first realized this when a man named Bill Frass died.

Bill was a kind, gentle and happy soul.

He was also an Iris fanatic.

A plant your backyard full of Iris kind of fanatic.

I first encountered Bill when my neighbor Geraldine shared some of his iris.

After that he was my guide during the annual iris rhizome sale each July.

But the thing is Iris only bloom for a few short weeks each spring.

Somehow Bill managed to die while they were blooming.

His fellow Iris fanatics cut their precious children for his funeral.

The room was filled with Iris.

Full of the scent and aura that was Bill.

What a send off.

I’ve also read about Henry Mitchell.

For years he was the garden writer for the Washington Post.

He died after an afternoon of plating Daffodils with a friend.

Imagine.

Leaving this world with dirt under your fingernails

Having planted the hope of spring.

I like this plan.

But for me the most poignant is the story of when my father died.

It was two years ago this week.

My father was many things.

Most of all he was a farmer. 

His life would take him to meet world leaders

Their conversation would more often than not be about farming.

But there came a time in his late 80’s to stop his active involvement in farming.

It’s a gut wrenching decision echoed by families all through the farm belt.

His decision was made in typical Henry style.

Get the facts – make the decision – don’t look back.

So it was that spring that he came to his last harvest.

Elliott came home to be a part of his own history.

The wheat was cut.

It was a record crop.

All through that summer Daddy came three times a week to my home for lunch.

That had been his pattern for several years.

He could no longer stroll through my garden.

Instead we would sit in the breakfast room and watch the garden grow and change.

We would talk gardening, farming and politics.

I had a sense something was changing but didn’t know what.

He was winding down.

I think I’ve mentioned his theory on color in the garden.

Red.

Only Red!!!

Then there is my theory.

Everything but red.

Except in late summer

When the cockscomb takes over.

It’s the only red flower I grow.

It blooms wildly

Actually out of control this time of year.

There is one non red flower that Daddy liked.

Maxmillian Sunflower.

A late summer blanket on the prairie.

And so it was to be.

His last days came when his beloved country side was covered in Maximillian Sunflowers.

And cockscomb filled my garden.

The Wednesday before his Saturday services

Elliott and I drove through the countryside and cut sunflowers, cattails and maize.

Actually we stole the maize from the field of an old friend.

Along the way we laughed and cried a little and remembered.

We basked in the glory of the sunshine and a life well lived.

We took it all to the florist who filled two urns with fabulous arrangements.

They flanked Daddy as friends came from across the state

To say goodbye.

To tell stories to his grandsons.

To celebrate his life.

At the same time I asked my local florist Ryan to go to my garden

Cut everything he needed to make the casket flowers.

Make it red.

He did.

It is true.

To everything there is a season.

Even for giant spiders.  Sloan and Cassidy just came by on their nightly spider check.  It’s gone….till next season.

Gail

Thanks Elliott & Debra letting me use some of your pictures.

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Filed under Cattails, cockscomb, Daffodils, Gardening, HELIANTHUS, Iris, late summer garden, Maximillian Sunflower, Orb Spider, Sunflowers, Uncategorized