Category Archives: Ferns

EMERGING HOPE

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The last  few weeks I’ve spent removing the blanket of leaves from my garden.

It’s a tedious but necessary task.

Last fall John mowed up the leaves from the yard

And dumped them on my garden.

It’s a natural way to protect the garden from winter.

I’m grateful he took the time to chop and distribute all those leaves.

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But once spring begins.

It’s time to remove the blanket

And let the sunshine in.

This is not a quick haphazard job.

It needs to be done carefully

To protect the tender shoots

Emerging from their winter’s sleep.

The new life that is sprouting forth.

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As a result I spend hours on the ground

At eye level

Observing miracle after miracle.

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Nurturing the garden

And my soul.

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Each spring I am in awe of this process.

What may look like a garden of dirt one week

Will quickly begin to unfurl

With hope.

And hope does not disappoint us.

Gail

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Filed under Ferns, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hosta, Peonies, spring, Spring Clean Up, Timing, Winter Garden

THE GARDEN HOUSE IN WINTER

I mentioned last week

That I was ready for a rest

From the garden.

That is true.

It’s part of the rhythm of gardening.

But the real truth is it never really stops.

There are plants that I drag in

To carry over to spring.

This year its Plumbago

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And Foxtail Ferns

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That will require watering

And watching over.

And sweeping up of all those dropped leaves.

Then there’s the Christmas cactus

That Kristina gave me a few years back

That will be bursting into bloom soon.

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There are hydrangea drying

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And Cockscomb.

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Soon I’ll have Amaryllis to plant.

But it’s a slower pace inside.

A cozy place

To putter

To plan

To think

Even though I don’t really enjoy cold weather.

I do have to admit

There are parts of winter

I embrace.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gail

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Filed under Amaryllis, Christmas Cactus, cockscomb, Fall, Ferns, Garden House, Hydrangea, Plumbago, Uncategorized

A STATE OF HORTICULTURAL CONFUSION

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This is the time of year that really messes with my head.

On Friday it was cold

And wet

And windy.

Frost and freeze warnings

Running through our part of the state.

But…it’s only mid October.

We should have at least 2 more weeks before a freeze

Maybe as long as a month.

So do I believe the forecast.

Drag all those ferns inside

Depriving them of a few more weeks

Of open air and sunshine.

Because once they are in

They are in.

Too heavy to lug back and forth.

Or do I just cover them for the night.

I opted for the later

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And got lucky.

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But basil is a different story

It begins to pout at anything below 50 degrees.

So I cut it all

And put it in the sink

Awaiting the energy to make it into pesto.

The red pesto is done.

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But the green is more labor intensive.

So here we are on Sunday night.

Still with a sink full of basil.

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Maybe tonight.

But it’s the front yard

That truly suffers from

Horticultural Confusion!

You’ll notice I haven’t written much about Hydrangea this summer

That’s because after not 1 or 2

But 4 freezes stretching to the very last day of April

My Hydrangea have bloomed very little this year.

Until now.

So as the mums, which line the front of the hydrangea bed,

Are budding and blooming.

So are the Hydrangea.

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Thankfully for the most part they are in the same color family

So it seems to work.

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Then there’s the true front yard mystery.

Lettuce.

Growing along the grassy edge

Of the new bed John created

On the front landing.

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Lettuce!

I’ve never planted it here.

The closest would be the pot on the landing

But how did it jump so far?

And that my friends is what I love about gardening.

The mystery.

No need for answers

Just revel in the mystery.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, Boxwood, container gardening, Fall, Ferns, Gardening, Hydrangea, Lettuce, Timing, Uncategorized

FAITH

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It happens every year.

When I finally get winter’s blanket of leaves removed

I wonder where everything has gone.

Sure the early blooming show offs are visible

The Iris and Peonies.

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And Larkspur sprouts are everywhere.

But right now I’m wondering why is there so much dirt showing.

And what is lying in wait beneath?

My friend Suellen used to call every spring

To tell me that everything had died over the winter.

Then…she’d call back in a week

Saying it’s OK.

And we would have a good laugh

Remembering the same conversation from the year before.

Faith

It’s as important to gardening as fertilizer, healthy soil and water.

It’s the belief that a tiny green frond

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Will unfurl into a gorgeous fern.

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That the precious buds on my Japanese Tree Peony

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Will soon take my breath away.

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That come June

These few leaves at the bottom of what looks like a stick plant

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Will give astonishing blooms.

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The robins have returned.

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Lady bugs and honey bees abound

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Peg is on her never-ending bunny search

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And the Hellebores are blooming their hearts out.

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It must be spring.

Faith

All we need to do is trust

And believe.

And as my friend Jerry used to say

Do the best we can…

God will take care of the rest.

Take time to breathe it all in.

Gail

 

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Filed under Bugs, Ferns, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Grape Hyacinths, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Lady Bugs, Larkspur, Peonies, Perennials, Redbud Trees, Violets

A GOOD DAY

I love the mundane.

Now I realize that isn’t “culturally correct”.

But really, there is nothing like a day of regular.

And that is what today was – mundane – regular – wonderful.

After a quick trip to the last Farmers’ Market.

I headed straight to the back yard

The goal was to finish transplanting on “the hill”.

It began about a month ago.

I was tired of the vinca minor running the show.

So I began to dig it up

And pull it back like a carpet.

Then I transplanted 5 big ferns.

I’m not sure but I think they are Cinnamon ferns.

They’ve settled in nicely.

So, today was the day to dig the hostas in the front bed

And bring them to their new home on the hill.

These were planted about 3 years ago.

They were bare root so they were tiny.

Unfortunately they just get too much sunshine in the front

And the last 2 summers they have simply fried.

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So a home on the hill under the shade of the old cedar trees

Should make them much happier.

The root balls were the size of small trees.

I’m thinking they’ll be just fine.

Smaller hostas were also relocated.

Layered in the front between the Hellebores and Ferns.

I did have my assistant gardener close by

She has figured out that when I dig

Worms appear.

And she loves worms!

Unfortunately some things disappeared.

My favorite pruners can’t be located.

My best guess is I buried them under one of those

Very large

Very heavy

Hostas.

Didn’t have the energy to dig around for them.

Hopefully they’ll surface tomorrow!

There are lots of little surprises

In the fall garden.

So on this

Mundane

Regular

Wonderful

Saturday night.

I thought I’d share a few.

May you find the blessings

Of a mundane day soon.

Gail

 

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Filed under Clematis, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Farmer's Market, Ferns, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hellebores, Perennials, Plumbago, Pruners, roses, Shade Garden, Tall Garden Phlox, TRANSPLANTING

PASS ALONG PLANTS

One of the things I love about gardeners

Is there willingness to share.

I’ve mentioned this before.

Sharing is so prevalent

It’s even  been given a name.

Pass Along Plants.

Sally's Pass Along Larkspur

Sally’s Pass Along Larkspur

Most well-kept gardens

Produce babies.

Lots of them. 

And there’s a need to find them each a good home.

At least that was true when I first started gardening.

After all I had been given plants by my friend Sally to start my garden.

I should certainly pay it forward

When the time came.

The truth is it’s impossible to find each seedling a new little bit of heaven.

But I still try.

Twice this season I’ve had the chance to share lots of plants.

First my friend Mary wanted to fill in some empty spaces in her flower beds.

She moved a few of her things around.

Divided some hostas

And dug from my garden.

Ferns, Gloriosas, Purple Coneflowers, Larkspur.

And a Rosebush which had a Helianthus growing up the middle.

Then last weekend Megan came.

Megan & her trunk full of plants

Megan & her trunk full of plants

She got here as I was finishing up the big dahlia dig.

So she got a bit of this and a bit of that.

Ferns, Stella d’ Ora Daylilies, a mystery Day lily,

Two pieces that fell off one the Blushing Bride Hydrangeas.

They are real babies, but patience will reward her.

More Gloriosa Daisies, Purple Coneflowers, tall garden Phlox and Larkspur.

A Butterfly Bush

Dahlia tubers

Tiger lily bulbs that appeared in the mail without being ordered.

And volunteer Hellebores – which I’ve never had to offer before.

Then we hit the leftover seeds for more goodies.

We dug

And visited

And laughed

And remembered our “professional” gardening days together.

During her Junior High and High School days.

It gives new meaning to sharing.

Sharing gardens

Sharing lives.

The timing was perfect

Just as the Larkspur was hitting full stride.

Larkspur & Friend

Larkspur & Friend

The Larkspur growing from seeds given to me by Sally

Who got it from her mother.

Generations of plants ago.

Life is good.

Gardening makes it even better!

Gail

 

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Filed under Dahlias, Ferns, Gardening, Gloriosa Daisy, HELIANTHUS, Hellebores, Hosta, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Seeds, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized

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

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

BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED

For years I’ve drooled over pictures of homes in the south.

All those gloriously tall trees

Dripping with Spanish Moss.

It all seems so romantic

So splendid.

John & I have talked about a trip to Charleston for a long time.

So when this summer failed to produce a vacation.

We decided to do something completely out of character for us.

A September trip.

John did his usual research and before we knew it we were off to Charleston.

And since we had met a man from Beaufort, S. C. on our “urban sailing vacation” a few years back.

We decided to visit his beloved hometown.

The fact that John’s favorite author Pat Conroy resides there only sweetened the deal.

And then as if that wasn’t enough we learned that the Charleston Preservation Society was having their fall home and garden tour.

It was meant to be.

So off we flew to Charleston.

Now…I ‘m sure you are thinking that the pictures of Charleston will begin here.

And they should.

But I didn’t take any.

Weird, but somehow after all that dreaming we just didn’t click.

So…we decided to move on  to Savannah.

Savannah is built on a grid

The planner a Mr. Oglethorpe (I think) wisely included 24 “squares” in the plan

22 survive today.

They would now be known as “green spaces”

What a forward thinker.

Most have a statue

All have enormous old live oak trees.

Dripping with moss.

Now I expected some sort of Southern Living gardening extravaganza of color.

Wrong.

I kept looking for banks of glorious Hydrangea

Color filled cutting gardens.

OK

What’s going on here.

A few pots here and there but really…no color.

Then it hit me.

The thing about all those glorious old trees is

Shade.

They create shade

Lots and lots of shade.

The kind of shade that only allows green to grow.

Moss, ferns, hostas, boxwood.

And oh how green it is.

The humidity hovered around 95% our entire trip

Afternoon showers came almost daily.

So what was needed here was a paradigm shift.

What I came to see simply doesn’t exist here.

Time to start admiring green

And foliage.

And small “secret gardens”

And the seashells poured into the roads centuries ago.

It’s that “seeing thing” again.

If we look we will see.

And appreciate.

And then there were the houses of Beaufort.

We saw them all.

Courtesy of a charming young guide named Carly.

She’s passionate about history.

We walked the town with her for 2 1/2 hours listening to her slow southern drawl.

She told us how Beaufort was founded in 1711 so that makes it 300 years old this year.

The town decided to identify all the trees that have been there from the beginning.

300 year old trees – imagine.

As you can see they are beyond description

They call them Birthday Trees.

I like that.

Then there were the homes.

Old gracious homes.

As it turns out one of these homes we have known for some time.

It’s the house where my favorite movie “The Big Chill” was filmed.

But before that it was also the home in “The Great Santini”. 

The book that got John hooked on  Pat Conroy’s writing.

So what is the lesson in all of this for me.

It is that simple saying

“Bloom where you’re planted.”

I’ve admired these old homes and their charms for years.

As it turns out they are gorgeous.

But they are really old.

Which means lots of work.

And the giant trees that surround them

Equally amazing

But giant trees create endless shade.

So though I consider myself contented.

I am even more so

After all

My garden has sun and shade.

We have a 9 month growing season here.

Which gives me days and days in the garden.

Then just when I wear completely out.

The freeze comes.

And with it needed rest.

So perhaps we are where we are supposed to be.

Or…maybe we adjust to where we land.

It’s really up to each of us

To choose to bloom.

Gail

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Filed under Ferns, Gardening, Hosta, Live Oak Trees, Moss, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Uncategorized, Zinnia