Category Archives: Dahlias

SHOVEL SEASON

It’s been a glorious weekend here.

70 degree days

Lots of sunshine.

We are told tomorrow

Will be another story.

This on again off again weather

Has given me the chance to do

Some important fall chores.

So let’s just call this

The weekend of shoveling.

On Saturday I purchased

15 – 40 pound bags of manure

That’s 600 pounds!

I’ve developed a great system

Have it loaded into the back of my SUV

At the store.

When I get home

I just wheel the wheelbarrow

Up to the back of the car.

Split the bag open

And slip it into the wheelbarrow.

I never have to lift one of those big bags.

Then I just shovel 4 – 5 shovels full

Onto each Rose, Hydrangea and Hosta

In my garden.

It does two things.

Provides winter protection.

Serves as a slow fertilizer

Come Spring.

It also makes you a little tired

And sore.

You also may find

A few more Easter Eggs.

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But by Sunday afternoon

I’d recovered enough

To attack the compost pile.

All those leaves, garden clippings and food scraps

Turn into a rich garden amendment

By fall.

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So I got out my handy little shovel

And scooped it into my wheelbarrow

Spreading it onto the garden.

I got about 1/4th of it done today.

There is still more shovel time

In my future.

Having the right equipment

Makes chores like this

A lot easier.

Years ago John gave me this little shovel.

For Mother’s Day.

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Last summer he snapped the handle

On the original.

He quickly replaced it.

A small shovel is a real help

For a gardener’s back.

I did have a friend to help me

With all the shoveling.

This giant praying mantis reappeared.

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I first met it a few weeks ago

When it landed on my dahlias.

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Now it seems to be scurrying around

Looking for a place to hide out

For the winter.

This is not the glamorous side of gardening.

It doesn’t make for lots of

Pretty pictures.

But digging in the earth

Playing in the dirt

Is the beginning of any garden

And perhaps a new gardener.

Photo credit Kristina WynnePhoto credit Kristina Wynne

Gail

P.S.  Thank you to everyone who has kindly mentioned the Oklahoma Gardening video of my garden house.  My favorite comment was from my friend Kay…”I’ve never seen it so clean.”  How true that is!

 

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Filed under Children in the Garden, Compost, Dahlias, End of Season Rituals, Fall, Garden Tools, Grandchildren, Hosta, Hydrangea, Oklahoma Gardening, Praying Mantis, roses, Shovel, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Dahlias, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Praying Mantis, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Bugs, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Flower Arrangements, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Orb Weaver Spider, Praying Mantis, Sage, Uncategorized, Zinnia

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

“RRANGEMENTS”

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I bought these little enameled vases

Years ago

At “Crazy Days”

And only remember using them once.

Until Harper and Henry discovered them

One Easter.

They spent most of that Friday

Snapping off tulips

To make “rrangements”.

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So, of course, I had to send some home with them.

Later that year when I visited.

I noticed these little vases all over their house

They were constantly changing the flowers

Kids love to pick flowers

And they seldom leave enough stem

To actually put in a vase.

So these tiny renditions

Were just the ticket.

Kids also learn by watching.

And they have a splendid example

Of arranging in their mother.

In all the years of their marriage

There are always flower arrangements around

When we visit.

In the guest room

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On the fireplace mantel

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And kitchen window sill

Along with the dining table.

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The kids have picked up on this

Often having flowers in their room.

Luckily, Elliott is good at growing flowers

Supplying dahlias and roses and hydrangeas

All season long.

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It’s the simple things

That we often remember about our childhoods.

The smell of my mother’s pies in the oven.

The warmth of the fire that my father

Built each winter day.

Standing over my grandmother’s floor furnace

Making my night gown into a warm balloon.

The roses at her front door.

I’m thankful for the memories

That Kristina and Elliott are creating

For their family.

And happy that flowers are part of those memories.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Gail

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Children in the Garden, Dahlias, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Grandchildren, Gratitude, Hydrangea, roses, Uncategorized, Vases

BACK IN THE GARDEN

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.

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But a visit with Harper & Henry

And the out-of-state wedding

Of a dear friend’s son.

Collided

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.

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Though the soil isn’t quite cool enough

To bury them yet.

My potting bench is covered with

Little containers of seeds.

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Glimpses of things to come.

And the Dahlias hit their stride.

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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

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For winter cooking.

And the kitchen windowsill is filled with

Tomatoes in different stages of ripening.

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It’s a defensive move

Against whatever four-legged devil

Is dining on my almost ripe tomatoes

Every night.

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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.

October

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You just can’t beat it

For perfect days in the garden

For relishing in a season well spent

And planning for the future

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

FLUTTERBYS

For weeks now

I’ve been seeing the signs

Orb spiders have arrived

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Praying Mantis are hanging around

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As are Locust.

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Dahlias have made their debut

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I can hear the band practice

At the high school football field.

Cockscomb is everywhere

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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.

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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

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Transplant roses

And make extravagant flower arrangements.

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Because fall is the season of bounty

In my garden

For that I am grateful.

Gail

Surely this is the last Easter egg out there!

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

ARRANGING THINGS

It’s the height of summer here.

Endless sunny days.

And because we had all those wonderful

Badly needed rainy days.

The humidity is back

Big-time.

So what’s a gardener to do.

This time of the year is basically for maintenance.

Deadheading and weeding and watering are the order of most days.

I love it because it can all be done in little snippets of time.

But there is one more activity for high summer.

Flower arranging.

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For some reason I don’t bring a lot of flowers into my house.

I have a few here and there

But mostly we enjoy them from the inside of the house

Or on the morning garden walk.

So it’s great fun

When I have a reason to make flower arrangements.

Friday night was just such a reason.

We were one of several host couples

For a shower for our minister Andrew

And his bride to be Katie.

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Now it’s too hot to have the party in my garden

So it was held at a local lodge.

Decades ago it was part of an amusement park

And has been lovingly restored.

So along with chamber music

Yummy food

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Including crab claws In honor of Andrew’s Maryland roots

Family from home

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Church members

And local friends

We needed flower arrangements

And lots of them – 26 to be exact.

First order of business

Find 26 vases.

I’m embarrassed to say that 25 of them

Were alive and well living in my garden house!

The schedule went like this.

Weekend before dig out all the vases

And wash them

Tuesday the vases were taped with cross hatch pattern

To hold the flowers in place.

It was also the day to cut Euonymous.

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And Hydrangeas.

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They last for days if you sear the end as soon as you cut it

And let them rest in buckets of water up to their necks.

Wednesday morning Linda came to help with the harvest.

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We cut buckets of Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Dahlia & Dusty Miller

We added bits of White Balloon Flower, Veronica Spicata, Hellebore leaves and blooms.

Linda and Virginia each cut a bucket of Zinnias – one fuchsia and one pale pink.

I even used the blooms on the radishes that should have been pulled long ago.

Wednesday night the arranging began.

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Linda, David, Mary and Gay came on Friday morning to complete the arranging

And haul it all to the lodge.

It takes a village!

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Friday was a warm evening.

Not just the temperature.

But the people, the place and the occasion.

There’s something wonderful about small towns.

When I looked around the room

There were people I had known for decades.

We have raised our children together.

We have buried our parents together.

We have thrown a million wedding and baby showers together.

We have welcomed newcomers together.

Those newcomers have become new friends.

What is there to do in a garden

In the mid- summer heat?

Share it.

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Photo Credit David Meara

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Bridal Showers, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Euonymus, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Radishes, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Vases, Veronica Spicata, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia