Category Archives: Digitalis


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.

unnamed (3)

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


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

If not an out and out bloom.


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


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.

IMG_0994 (1)

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








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


The Dahlias didn’t put on their usual show last fall.

Perhaps it was the hot summer.

More likely it’s the shade created by the neighbor’s mulberry tree.

I don’t want the mulberry tree to go away.

It takes me back to my childhood.

On our way to church in late spring

Daddy would stop along a county road

We’d all jump out and start picking and eating mulberries.

For those of you who don’t know mulberries, they stain.

Big time.

So there we would be in our Sunday best.

Standing in a ditch

Eating mulberries.

Mother was fairly laid back about it all.

Thanks for that example, Mom.

Back to Dahlias.

So if I want Dahlias, I’m going to have to move them.

I knew this last fall

When Elliott was home he suggested moving them to the NE corner of the garden house.

Good idea.

But that space was full of plants.

So first I moved the Digitalis – Foxglove to the other side of the garden house.

Then I dumped lots of compost to settle in for the winter.

Earlier this spring I moved the Aloha roses to their new home across the path.

So, yesterday was moving day.

I decided to round the corner, too.

That meant digging up the Butterfly Bush.

I think it’s moving to Megan’s – if she’ll have it.

New Dahlia Bed

New Dahlia Bed

Next came digging up the dozen or so Dahlias that survived.

I’ve ordered more – lots more.

Emory Paul – that big glorious dinner plate Dahlia.

Along with Kevin Floodlight – a yellow favorite

Fleurel which is white.

Lilac Time, and the bi-colors of Avignon and Mom’s Special.

Since the ones I dug are of unknown lineage

And the new ones are all complimentary in color.

I just mixed them together.

Except for Emory Paul which creates a backdrop against the garden house.

There is no great trick to planting them.

Bury them about 6 – 8 ” deep like a Daffodil.

You can usually tell which end is up by the blunt end of the old stem.

It will take them a bit to come up

So place a marker by each one you plant.

Dahlias have a growth habit that is well…wild.

To say they need staking is an understatement.

They need staking and caging and anything else you can dream up.

Several years ago I came up with a system that works pretty well.

I use the triangular wire tomato cages you can find at garden centers.

I place them side by side

Alternating them to form a box.

Cover the entire area with cages.

Then stabilize them by connecting them with cable ties.

Now because these are tall heavy blooms

I go one step further.

Lace a 4′ piece of rebar through one side of each cage.

Are you beginning to get the picture!

Now we wait.

Gardening does teach you patience.

Fall will bring amazing results.

Enjoy the week.


P.S. Here’s what’s showing off this week.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Amaryllis planted in the garden

Amaryllis planted in the garden




Filed under Amaryllis, Compost, Dahlias, Digitalis, Fall, Garden House, Garden Planning, Gardening, Oakleaf Hydrangea, patience, Perennials


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,



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



Perhaps it’s time for a little catching up.

A review of where I am this spring.

Remember the roses that froze to the ground last winter?

Well, they are doing quite well and….

They are still pink!

The roses and peonies were in full glorious bloom last week when we had an unfortunate few days of mid to high 90 degree weather – with wind.

As it happens some years, the bloom life of these glorious spring standards was shortened.

I hate it when that happens.

But it’s a fact of gardening life.

So…I’ll begin dead-heading a bit earlier than usual.


Sounds like a rock band doesn’t it!

It’s actually one of the most important things I do to keep my garden blooming all season.

Dead-heading is simple.

It’s removing the spent blooms of plants so that they can begin the bloom cycle again.

Now…not every plant will re-bloom.

Peonies for instance do not.  So you just remove the stems of the spent blooms to tidy them up a bit and leave them be for the rest of the season.

I don’t usually cut mine back to the ground until the next spring when new growth appears.

Iris both German Bearded and Dutch also should also have their bloom stems cut back as far as possible once the last buds have bloomed.

Spent bloom stems of German Bearded Iris waiting to be dead headed.

But…leave the greenery to die back on it’s own.

We’ll fiddle with them a bit more later on in the season.


Many roses on the other hand will repeat bloom if you deadhead.

Hybrid tea roses and any old-fashioned rose that is remonant or repeat bloomers will give you more flowers.

To dead head them cut off the spent bloom to at least the first set of 5 leaves.

If the rose-bush needs shaping you can cut them even further down the cane.

Pink Belinda's Dream rejuvenated and ready for dead heading.


That’s it – no big mystery here.

For me it’s kind of a zen experience.

Doesn’t require loads of concentration so you can lose yourself in this bit of gardening.

And…you’ll be rewarded with new buds and blooms within a few weeks.

Now, the spring flush is by far the most breathtaking but the scattered blooms throughout the season bring me great joy.


Then there are things that I don’t dead head.

I want them to go to seed.

Digitalis or Foxglove are among them. 



I’ve worked hard to get them going in my garden and I want them to spread so I’m restraining myself from cutting any for a few more years.

Hopefully someday I’ll have patches of their amazing towers of bell-shaped blooms all over the place.

A closer look.

Columbine is a mix of these methods.

The more you cut it the more it blooms.

But at some point usually when it starts to warm up I quit cutting and let it go to seed.

Once the seed heads have dried up – late June or so – I’ll pick them and scatter them in shady areas.

It’s worked pretty well in my loamy soil and I have new columbine babies each year.

Self seeded Columbine by the garden bench.

I’ll give more deadheading instructions as the season goes along.


Other activity includes finally planting my Caladium and Elephant Ear bulbs.

I’m a little behind on those but better a little late than too early with bulbs.

Remember – both of these like to be planted in the shade though their faces can extend into the sunshine.

The basic rule with any bulb is to plant them as deep as the bulb itself.

Not a big deal for Caladiums,

But…you’ll have to dig a BIG hole for the Elephant Ears!

Both will have to be dug in the fall here in zone 7.

Since we are expecting a week of glorious low 70’s weather I think I’m going to finally transplant a Blushing Bride Hydrangea to a new roomier home – got a little carried away with my purchasing a few springs ago – no big surprise.

This morning Pam cut flowers and made them into bunches to sell at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow.

I’ve added some herbs – Rosemary, Sage and Mojito Mint along with bags of mixed lettuce.

So drop by the coop table at Grand & Garriott between 8 & 11.

 Flowers, herbs and lettuce ready for Saturday's market.

Last weekend I spent time with Elliott and Kristina in their garden.

We planted new Dahlias – one of Kristina’s favorite, set out tomatoes and peppers and put out Lady Bugs.

Giving lady bugs a new home.


But mostly we simply enjoyed being in their garden, having meals in the garden, talking about gardening and visiting the nursery. 

As Elliott was growing up I sometimes wondered what part of that experience he would take with him into his adult life.

Although he didn’t really garden much then he was constantly exposed to this need to dig in the soil and grow things in our home and with both sets of grandparents.

It stuck.

He is drawn to the earth.

I am thankful.

Enjoy this glorious weather.






Filed under Columbne, Dead Heading, Digitalis, Farmer's Market, Gardening;Perennials, Peonies, roses