Category Archives: Flower Arrangements

MAXINE’S VASE

If you are going to grow flowers

You’ll eventually need a vase

Or two………….dozen.

Somewhere over the last few decades

I developed the habit

Of finding old vases

At garage sales

And estate sales.

At first I wanted crystal vases.

That’s what my mother had

And now her vases grace my dining room china cabinet.

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Mother loved crystal.

And so do I.

Then early in our marriage

John & I ventured to Europe.

Where we discovered pottery

In Florence

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And Barcelona

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And lugged a bit of it home.

But my vase collecting

Really kicked in after we settled in here

And began to make connections with people

Of all ages.

Many of these were women I knew from church.

It seems when you’re a Presbyterian in these parts.

You have a long

And interesting life.

So as these and other ladies around town died

I would go to their estate sale

And find a single thing

That would remind me of them.

The first was this vase

From Gladys.

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Gone now probably 30 years

I still remember her spunky nature.

Eventually I focused my purchases

On painted pottery from the 40’s and 50’s

McCoy is the best known brand

Thus you can find many knock offs

Of their soft color palette.

I’m partial to white, yellow, soft blue and lime green.

My mother in law’s blue pitcher is a favorite

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Along with a yellow vase my friend Marilyn

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Brought from her mother’s home in Louisiana.

Then there is this terrific lime green Claire Lerner

That I found at a neighbor’s garage sale

At a cost of $1.25!

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I have two rules.

Don’t go crazy on price $10. – $15.

Is usually my max.

And you have to know where you are going to store it

Before you bring it home.

The second rule has forced me to slow down a bit

Since my garden house cupboards are filling up.

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So it was this history

That followed me to the estate sale of

My friend, my neighbor, my fellow Presbyterian

And wise women extraordinaire

Maxine Sanford Austin.

Maxine died this year at the age of 102.

Her life

And her home

Were filled with treasures.

She was a poet

A teller of tales

A loyal friend

And fiercely opinionated.

I just loved her.

When she married in 1933

Her mother made her wedding veil.

Long and trailing

With lace flowers embroidered on it.

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Her daughter Ann wore it in 1961

And Maxine wore it when she married again in 1993…

At the age of 80 something!

She was both traditional

And non traditional

All rolled into one.

It took me three trips of wondering through her home

To find my memory memento of Maxine.

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I can’t tell you anything about this particular vase

I’m guessing it was from her mother’s travels.

She told me once that after her father died

Her mother began traveling around the world.

It’s very different from any other vase I own.

Doesn’t fit the mold.

Won’t have a shelf of similar stuff to join.

It’s unique.

It’s Maxine.

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AWARENESS

by Maxine Sanford Austin

In every day we have, dear Lord,

Let us truly see

The things we should:

The flight of bee.

The flash of bird,

Sun on a brilliant flower,

Then thunder heard

Before a sudden shower.

In all things, dear Lord,

Let us truly know

That this is Thy World

And in our actions show

That we truly know.

Thanks Maxine,

Gail

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Filed under Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Hydrangea, Uncategorized, Vases

SHARING SEASON

Gardeners are known for sharing.

They love to share

Information

Plants

Flowers

Seeds

Cuttings

And, of course, the bounty of their gardens.

Zucchini comes to mind.

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For me it’s all of the above

But mostly flowers.

I have long contended that flowers

“Are food for the soul”.

That we need flowers

Just like we need food.

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I think this goes back to college

And John.

When we first began dating

He brought me flowers several times a week

For months on end.

The most spectacular was that first spring.

He brought me an enormous bouquet

Of Iris.

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Years later I realized that florists don’t sell that kind of Iris.

You know them – German Bearded Iris.

The kind that grow in little old ladies gardens

In college towns.

I’m not sure she intended to share!

His choice of vases was most unique.

A plastic pumpkin

Left from Halloween.

Simply had to marry the guy after that!

And so in the ensuing 40+ years

I’ve made it a point to make bouquets

And spread them around.

I’m pleased to say that Elliott and Kristina

Are carrying on the same tradition.

Kristina rarely leaves home for an evening with friends.

Without a bouquet in tow.

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And she always has fresh flowers throughout their home

When we come to visit.

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I must confess here that this year my bouquets are going

Not to individuals so much

As to places.

On Saturday I pluck whatever is happy

For church on Sunday.

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Then during the week

Loaves & Fishes gets a bouquet.

A cheerful greeting for the volunteers

And clients who come in need of help feeding their families.

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Now all of this is well and good.

Lovely really

But it doesn’t hold a candle to the real pros

When it comes to sharing from your garden.

Those of you who focus on vegetables

Leave the rest of us in the shade.

Just this week

Kelly came by with a basket of green beans.

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Yum!

Earlier in the week the Koehns

Brought tons of cucumbers and squash of all sorts

To Loaves & Fishes.

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Mitch brought squash, too

Ann gave her weekly supply of basil

And assorted veggies.

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Then yesterday the fun and lively members of the Freed family

Called at the end of the Farmers Market

To donate what was left to Loaves & Fishes

I met them there.

Their 4 sons, daughter and her friend

Unloaded hundreds of pounds of freshly picked produce

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Peppers

Eggplant

Squash

After working at their produce stand all morning.

They loved the cooler.

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What a great family

Working together

Laughing

Sharing

Those are lucky kids.

I know

I come from the same kind of family

And it has painted my life

With sharing.

Gail

Early 1950's

Early 1950’s

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Filed under Basil, Bouquets, Farmer's Market, Flower Arrangements, Gardening Friends, Herbs, Iris, Uncategorized, Vegetables

LARKSPUR – THE NEW BLACK

Most women own way too many black clothes

I am among them

But we all know that black “goes with everything”

And it does.

So every time the fashion industry

Wants to sell a new color

They dub it

“The New Black”

I’ve decided that larkspur

Is the new

And the old

Black of the garden.

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It truly does go with everything.

This spring is an amazing example.

I’ve been a little under the weather since the first of May

Very little time has been spent in the garden

As a result every single seed that dropped last spring.

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Has bloomed and bloomed.

Never got around to thinning

Or just plain murdering

All that volunteer larkspur.

I’ve been cutting away at it

Making arrangements when needed.

But it hasn’t made a dent.

It’s everywhere

And it’s thick.

Some paths are impassable.

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But it’s true.

It goes with everything.

Now we all know that purple and yellow

Are a great combination.

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Being “secondary” cousins on the color wheel and all.

But it’s also great with pink roses

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And crisp white lilies

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And softer shades of yellow

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And the more golden ones.

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So when I was forced to the gardening sidelines in early May

And the A team took over

God knew exactly what to do.

Let the larkspur have its way.

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Spread it everywhere

Bringing cheer and happiness to every corner.

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Once again

Gardening echoes life

Or does life echo gardening?

Step aside – pull back – relax

God’s got it covered.

Gail

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Filed under Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Larkspur, Lilies, roses, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

MEGAN

A couple of decades ago my job was designing, installing and maintaining perennial flower garden

All around town.

It was fun and very hard work.

During the summer maintenance season

I would hire daughters of friends to help me.

Megan, Cristina and Ashley outlasted them all.

For instance Megan’s sister Katie told me at the end of the first…and only summer for her.

“This has been fun, but I don’t ever want to do this again.”

But it was Megan who just kept coming back.

She worked from Jr. High through High School.

Then in college she would come back each fall to help me plant bulbs.

Even post college she was there for me digging trenches

And burying bulbs.

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We’ve had great conversations

That have matured with each year.

We often talked about the garden party I would have for her.

When she married.

Last fall when Megan came for our bulb planting ritual

There was only one subject of conversation

JP

So it was no surprise that at Christmas Megan and JP were engaged.

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After years of dreaming about Megan’s wedding and parties

The planning began.

What’s that saying about making plans.

“If you want to make God laugh…tell him your plans.”

Well God must have doubled over with laughter at this one.

Because JP is in the Navy

Scheduling of everything was on Navy time.

In this instance that means fast.

A mid-April wedding was planned not at home

But in Corpus Christi where JP was stationed.

No problem…if there’s anything Megan loves as much as JP and gardens

Its’ the beach

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But there was only time and space for family and a few close friends.

No problem…we’ll have a reception here

In my garden

Just like we planned

Sometime in Mid-May when all is happily blooming!

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Well…maybe not.

JP and Megan have to be in their new destination by May 6th.

OK we’re flexible

May 2nd it will be.

A simple ice cream social with wedding cakes

Friends and family in attendance for the perfect send off.

Well…maybe not.

The morning of May 2nd brought

Sleet

Rain

Clouds

30 mile an hour north winds

With gusts to 40

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OK God I get the idea.

Thankfully for once I half way believed

Our over zealous weather forecaster

And cut every tulip that was blooming

The Saturday before the party.

They spent the week in the safety of my spare refrigerator.

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And the day before the party Kay – Megan’s mother suggested

“We might want to go ahead and cut whatever else we need.”

So we cut buckets of Boxwood and Viburnum

And even cut a few Lilacs from Kelly’s yard.

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We simply brought the garden indoors.

Now there’s no doubt that I was disappointed

That I couldn’t give Megan the garden party of her dreams.

But here’s the thing.

When Thursday night came.

Megan and JP were beaming

Friends who have watched her grow up

Family who loved her from the moment they knew she was coming into this world.

All of us were there

Eating gelato and wedding cake.

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And sending Megan & JP out into the world

Knowing that they are deeply loved.

That they are rooted and grounded in this place with these people.

As my sister Pat said at Elliott & Kristina’s wedding.

“We have loved giving you roots and wings

It is the greatest satisfaction of our lives.

Know that we celebrate with you as you join hands,

Spread your wings and fly.”

Here’s to a happy life Megan

And gardening all over the world.

All my love,

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bridal Showers, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening;Perennials, Perennials, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Wedding Flowers

“PERFECT” GARDENING DAYS

I’ve never been a fan of the word perfect.

After all I grew up on a farm

Where nothing is ever perfect.

I did marry an attorney

Whose job it is to be perfect

God has such a sense of humor!

I try not to use that word.

But there are times when it truly does apply.

This weekend turned out to be full of “perfect” gardening days.

Which is surprising since last Wednesday we had an ice storm

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Featuring frozen Tulips

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And Redbud trees.

So when yesterday dawned cool and cloudy

I was ready to garden.

As you may recall last fall we opened a new client choice food pantry

For hungry people in this part of the state.

We serve over 800 individuals and families each month.

And we are working hard to provide them with healthy food choices.

So naturally we decided we’d grow some of that food.

A generous soul named Michael has worked tirelessly to organize this project.

A month ago 10 raised beds were built.

And yesterday morning we planted them.

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With plants and seeds donated from Atwoods.

And the help of volunteers from Chisholm Schools.

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In 3 hours we planted 10 raised beds.

Stuffed them full of early season veggies and greens.

What a gift!

The day continued with…what else…a nap!

Nothing better than napping on a sunny spring afternoon.

Then I began to work on the roses that I have so ignored all spring.

Each rose got a good drink of water laced with 1/4 cup of Epsom salts.

They gulped it right up.

Next I finally got around to cutting away the dead

And tying New Dawn to the fence

It gets a bit unruly from time to time.

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A couple of quick flower arrangement for Sunday’s church services

And the day was done.

This afternoon was less focused.

Just piddling around

Trimmed the hedges outside the kitchen window

Pulled more of that @#$#@ poa anna grass

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Before it goes to seed.

Planted a flat of alyssum

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The one spring annual that can withstand

Next week’s promised last freeze

Then spent a few minutes sitting among the tulips

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They are like children.

When you bend down to their height

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You enjoy them so much more.

An unexpected clap of thunder

Brought a soft brief spring shower.

God watered everything in.

It was a “perfect” gardening weekend!

Gail

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Filed under Alyssum, Bouquets, Dead Heading, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Hunger, Redbud Trees, roses, Seeds, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Vegetables

VISION

Three years ago Elliott & Kristina bought their first home.

To say they had “vision” is an understatement.

Their timing was incredible.

The house had been on the market for sometime.

The front had a mammoth awning.

I’m thinking it distracted couples with lesser vision.

Then there was the backyard.

It was….well…frightening!

But this is no prima donna couple.

They are after all, both descended from gardeners, farmers & ranchers.

They could see what it could become.

Vision.

Not everyone has it.

But they possess it.

And they weren’t afraid of work.

So they began.

I guess you would call the first stage demolition.

Thankfully, I’m a state or so away so I missed this stage.

There was not  a lot to save.

The decision was made to take out even the Aspen trees.

Since, though they are lovely

They actually are a bit of a nuisance.

A single wispy tree will turn into a grove of Aspen

Right before your eyes.

Great for mountainsides.

Not so much for backyards.

The giant deck

Was replaced with a lovely flagstone patio.

Carefully layed by Elliott with help from friends.

My parents used Colorado Red flagstone

Inside and outside the “new house” at the farm.

So there was symmetry here.

Meanwhile in my garden.

I was potting up babies from all over my garden

And buying a few.

By June my friend Vivi and I loaded it all up

And drove this garden to its new home.

The humidity in my car was stifling.

Kristina and I spent a long weekend planting away.

Adding roses and hydrangea from a local nursery.

There’s a saying about perennial gardens

The first year they sleep

The second they creep

And the third they leap!

Welcome to year three

We visited again a few weeks ago

What a transformation.

Perennials are oozing onto the grass.

Morning glories dance along the fence

Greeting each new day

Thyme suns itself on the flagstone.

Cleome spills over the edge of the narrow bed

And little juicy golden tomatoes grow practically wild.

Elliott seems to enjoy puttering around the yard.

Growing not only flowers,

But vegetables as well.

Kristina never misses a chance to make a flower arrangement.

Taking them to friends, her office

And sending guests home with a freshly cut bouquet.

They both enjoy foraging dinner from the garden

And entertaining as well.

This year the Kentucky Derby fell on Cinco de Mayo

Calling, of course, for a Cinco de Derby party.

It’s reported that a good time was had by all.

And…the creeping thyme can handle a lot of foot traffic.

Vision.

It brings sunshine to the world.

Enjoy this glorious week

Gail

Peg at the Morning Glory Gate

Peg at the Morning Glory Gate

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Filed under cleome, Flower Arrangements, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Gardening;Perennials, Herbs, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Lupine, Morning Glories, Perennials, roses, Sunflowers, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Food, Flowers & Basketball!

It has been awhile since Elliott and Kristina came home just for fun.

So a few weeks back they planned a weekend home.

Who doesn’t love it when their children come home!

It turned out that their timing was splendid.

They flew in to OKC on Thursday night.

Now, last Thursday was no regular Thursday night.

It was game 2 of the NBA Finals

And in case you haven’t heard the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the Finals.

This entire state is sleep deprived from watching and attending the playoffs

And now THE FINALS!

Oklahoma is Thunder CRAZY!

I am Thunder CRAZY!

Unbelievably, my friend Virginia had 3 extra tickets

So Elliott & Kristina met Virginia and me in

THUNDER ALLEY just before the game started.

Be patient…I’m getting to the gardening part of the weekend.

The experience of a Thunder game is something else.

It’s the loudest arena in the country – bar none.

To say the fans are loyal doesn’t begin to describe them.

The games are fast and fun.

So fast that almost all my pictures are a blur.

We came up 4 points short.

Tonight will be a different story!

GO THUNDER!

Because there was no schedule for the weekend.

We just played.

Kristina and I baked.

Cherry pie on Friday

And Kristina’s amazing bread on Saturday.

Unlike me she has no fear of anything relating to yeast.

This girl can bake!

We attended an evening with William Faulkner at the Chautauqua.

We arranged flowers for church.

And some for a Father’s Day visit to the cemetery.

Went to the Farmer’s Market.

Dug carrots

 

I think I need a little help in this department

I have a few questions for Kristina’s mom Mary.

She knows vegetable growing.

Harvested Poppy Seeds.

And herbs for summer grilling.

 

Even pulled some weeds.

John and Elliott played golf.

Off to the golf course

Off to the golf course

And watched a little, too.

And we all ate and laughed and laughed.

Nightly Braum's stop

Nightly Braum’s stop

Watching your child grow into adulthood

And build their life is a curious experience.

It’s full of every known emotion.

For me it’s mostly wonderful.

Kind of like gardening.

Enrich the soil.

So that they can be well rooted.

Water, love and encourage.

God will take care of the rest.

Happy Father’s Day, John.

And thanks for coming Elliott & Kristina.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Baking Bread, Bouquets, Carrots, Cherries, Farmer's Market, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Herbs, OKC Thunder Basketball