Category Archives: Dahlias

RAINDROPS ARE FALLING ON OUR HEADS

 

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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

GRATITUDE

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This morning our minister, Andrew, spoke about gratitude.

This afternoon I’ve been puttering away in my garden.

A place where it’s almost impossible not to feel grateful.

And I am.

For the glorious weather we have been having.

For the gift of fall roses

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That seem a bit different from their spring sisters.

Perhaps they’re a little sturdier knowing that

They are among the last of the season.

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For the abundance of tomatoes

Both green

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And ripened.

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For peppers that take all season to grow.

And come into their own as others fade.

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After all, if I were a pepper

I’d wait till all that squash finished showing off

Before I made my appearance.

And you can’t write about gratitude this time of year

Without talking about dahlias.

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They are among the most amazing of all the things I grow.

And yes, I’m even grateful for cockscomb.

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But…

As glorious as this day has been.

And as giving as my garden continues to be.

It pales in comparison to my friend Suellen.

Last week after 11 years of silence.

The miracle of the Cochlear implant was turned on for her.

And she can hear.

Think of it.

The voices of young grandchildren she had never heard.

Birds singing

Crickets

Music

Even traffic.

There’s likely no one else I know

Who’s more grateful tonight.

There’s a community of those who care about you

Who are grateful to the bone.

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Gail

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Filed under Bouquets, Cochlear Implant, Dahlias, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gratitude, Green Tomatoes, late summer garden, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized, Vegetables

IT’S HERE

It arrived over the weekend.

A bit later than the lunar calendar

But you could feel it in the air

Cool

Crisp

Fall

I love this time of year.

Beginning in August

We can hear the high school band

Practicing each morning

Soon after

It’s the sound of the Friday night football crowd.

Shortly after that

The whistle of the train in the park

Is silenced.

It’s the seasonal rhythm

Of the sounds of my backyard.

The change of season

Is also happening

In my garden.

Monarch butterflies

Stop for nectar

On their way home for the winter.

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Others flitter about.

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The roses give us another burst of bloom.

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Praying mantis appear

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Along with some of spring’s lady bugs.

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Dahlias are glorious in this weather.

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And we all know what happens to cockscomb in the fall.

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Basil is reaching for the sky

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Which means it’s pesto making time.

Peppers finally begin to come on

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And speaking of obstinate vegetables

Tomatoes are happy!

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So am I.

Hope you have a happy fall week.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Butterflies, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Herbs, Lady Bugs, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Holiday Blog Break

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It’s a holiday weekend.

Cooler than usual

For Labor Day.

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So I think instead of taking time

Out of the garden

To write.

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I’ll just take a short

Blog break.

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Be back soon.

Happy gardening.

Gail

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CLEANING HOUSE

Every gardener needs an unkept place.

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A place to park your wheelbarrow,

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And the city composting bins

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And the stack of bricks

Leftover from the patio remodel.

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And my compost tumbler

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And the old potting bench

Lovingly built by John

Years ago at my first big garden.

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And miscellaneous clay and plastic pots.

For me it’s the area behind my garden house.

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And it really needed a good cleaning.

So this was the weekend.

It’s actually driven by the fact that

My garden house floor is littered with

Larkspur, Poppy and Hollyhock stems

That have been drying out for several weeks.

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You see if you compost them when you first cut them back

You’ll be very sorry.

Seeds don’t actually break down in my compost

It just never gets hot enough.

So I dry out the stems and thus the seed pods.

Shake them out good

And save the seeds.

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Only then is it safe to compost the stems.

If you do this too early

You’ll have compost full of seeds

Which will be like seeding your garden to Larkspur

Or Poppies or Cockscomb come fall.

When your garden is new

That’s not such a bad thing.

But if you keep doing that

Year after year.

Oh my

So the garden version of Dominoes began

On Saturday morning.

In order to make room in this area

For all this dried stuff.

It went like this.

Load up and haul away 2 years of plastic flats and little pots.

Luckily my favorite green house – the Garden House

Reuses these so I don’t have to add to the land fill.

Take bags of last spring’s leaves

To Loaves & Fishes for their new garden beds.

Thankfully John has learned never to put leaves on the curb.

They will find their composting home sooner or later.

Then dig up compost and take it to where I’ll be testing out

A fall vegetable garden spot.

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Plant lettuce in the empty spaces

Along the edge of the garden.

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Move some of those leftover brick to finally finish out my path.

How excited will the kids be next Easter

When they discover they can walk the path

Through the garden – end to end.

I haven’t had a day this productive

In months.

Tired hands.

Tired body.

Now this kind of work

Doesn’t really make for pretty garden pictures.

So I’ll just dot in a few

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Without any real connection.

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But as always

There seems to be a lesson here.

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The beauty of a garden begins

Deep within the soil

Waiting for someone to come along

To care for it.

To nurture it.

To bless it.

Just like people.

Gail

Dahlia in Elliott & Kristina's Garden

Dahlia in Elliott & Kristina’s Garden

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Fall Vegetables, Garden House, Gloriosa Daisy, hollyhocks, Larkspur, late summer garden, Lettuce, Poppy, Seeds, Uncategorized

HALF TIME

If you count the days between
The last freeze of winter
And the first freeze of fall
You will find that we are at half time
Of the gardening year
Here in zone 7
So is the season half over?
Do we just maintain from here on in?
Cup half empty.
Or do we revel in the days to come?
Cup half full.
If you look closely
You’ll find that some things
Are just beginning
Or beginning again.
For instance.
I don’t plant my Zinnias
Until the Larkspur and Poppies
Have died and made room for them
So they are just beginning to bud out.

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The Arugula on the other hand.
Has gone to seed
Giving me a second crop.

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Which is great
Since I’m a fan of Arugula
Tomatoes are ripening on the vine
Except for the ones my nighttime visitors
Have dined on.
But volunteer tomatoes
Are just beginning to bloom and set fruit.
And because we are having a great summer
Eight inches of rain in July!
The roses are budding and blooming.

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Dahlias are equally happy

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And Cleome has re-seeded itself

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After those dastardly harlequin shield bugs a few years back.
Earlier in the spring I cut the tall garden phlox back
And it has paid me back with lush blooms.

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They came a little later
But it was worth the wait.
And of course the Cockscomb
Is beginning its takeover of the garden.

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And Peg spends endless hours in the garden

Doing what we have dubbed

“Bugging”

She loves the hunt.

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So here we are at half time
Enjoying the view.
Yes, there is much that can be done.
Much that actually needs to be done.
But for now I’m just taking it in
Knowing that there is much more to come
Much more to give.
Gail

PS. If you have extra garden produce please drop it by Loaves & Fishes Monday, Wednesday or Friday 9 – 12 or call for special drop off times. With kids out of school we are seeing more and more people in need of food. And what’s better than fresh garden produce shared.

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Filed under Bugs, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Harlequin Bugs, Larkspur, late summer garden, Perennials, Poppy, Tall Garden Phlox, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zinnia

MARY, MARTHA & BUMBLEBEES

 

It’s been a glorious week here for gardening.

Imagine.

Mid-July

Three days of rain.

Slow soaking

Drenching

RAIN

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Cool crisp mornings

And bike riding evenings.

Which, of course, leads to weeding.

The ground is soft and willing

To let the weeds go.

What joy.

All of this means that I’ve spent the week

Crawling around my garden

Pulling weeds.

It’s amazing the difference a week can make in a garden.

And I only spent a few evenings

And Saturday there.

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From my ground level vantage point

I’ve noticed that this year

It seems that lots of Bumblebees

Have decided to call my space home.

During this morning’s sermon on Martha and Mary

It occurred to me that Bumblebees are the blend

Of these two sisters

That Andrew, our minister, was encouraging us to strive for.

 

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They are known for their Martha like busyness.

Buzzing about all day.

Even major pieces of music have been composed

And played and played

About the busyness of the Bumblebee.

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They have work to do

And they do it.

Constantly.

Or maybe not.

I’ve noticed this week

That they also rest.

I have found them during the middle of the day

Being Mary

Nestled into an east facing Hollyhock blossom.

Sheltered from the afternoon sun.

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I imagine that they sleep there as well.

But the place I most often find them

Is fast asleep in the spent blooms

Of the Disco Belle Hibiscus.

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I have a habit of walking through my garden

First thing in the morning.

As I walk I often deadhead a bit.

Popping off spent blooms here and there.

But I’ve learned  that morning is not the time

To deadhead these perennial Hibiscus.

Here they start blooming around the 4th of July.

And if you deadhead consistently and properly

You’ll have some blooms through Labor Day.

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And these are BLOOMS.

The size of dinner plates.

But they only last one day.

And as they close their petals

At the end of their single day of glory

They create a soft cocoon.

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That Bumblebees consider

A perfect bed and breakfast.

They seems to have struck

A balance in their life.

Doing the work that God created them to do.

And just “beeing”.

Enjoy the week in your garden.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Bumblebee, cleome, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hardy Hibiscus, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Uncategorized