Category Archives: Garden House

THE GOOD NEWS EASTER EGG HUNT V.5

Family

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Kids

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Gardens

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Friends

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Community

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These are the things I love

Once a year

They all roll into one afternoon.

Five years ago

My friend Kay and I hosted the first

Good News Easter Egg Hunt

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For members of our church

Our neighbors

And extended families.

It quickly became a tradition.

Once again this year

Family…Kids…Gardens…Friends and Community

Came together on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The crafts this year

Were musical instruments.

Which brings me to my friend Eddie Lou.

It’s always handy to have a music teacher

At your side.

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And that’s where we’ve been.

Side by side for the last forty plus years.

Church choir.

Raising kids

And now grand motherhood.

So it was natural

That the three of us would plan this year’s event.

Kay a master at the grand motherhood thing

And entertaining children.

Eddie Lou & Kay

Eddie Lou using her well honed teaching skills

To help children create

Rain sticks

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And Drums

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And Shakers

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And Tambourines

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More details were worked out by

Kara, Abbey and Tashana.

While Andrew and Katie provided

Bags of candy for all the kids.

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Megan filled 700 Easter eggs,

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And Monica supplied her famous lemon cookies

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The Ladybug release has become the highlight of the afternoon.

With kids not just expecting

To have bugs crawling up their arms.

They actually look forward to it.

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Needless to say

It takes a village

A community

To create memories

To nurture

To simply share

In the joys

Of Life!

Gail

Thank you Beth Young and Jennifer Cole for the use of your marvelous pictures.

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Filed under Butterflies, Children in the Garden, Easter Baskets, Easter Egg Hunt, Garden House, Gardening Friends, Grandchildren, Gratitude, Lady Bugs, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, 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

PREPARING FOR THE INEVITABLE

This is the time of the year

When we know what’s coming

Whether we want it or not.

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Sometime in the next few weeks

It will freeze

Mother Nature will play with us a bit first.

A few “light frosts”

Will take out those heat loving friends.

Basil is usually the first to go.

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Followed by annuals of all kinds.

Then finally will come the dreaded

“KILLING FROST”.

There are many years where I am ready for a freeze.

But most years it’s a sad day for me.

So I’ve learned over the years

To do a little October preparation

For the inevitable November freeze.

I’m not a great indoor gardener.

I don’t have tons of plants that I care for in the winter.

But I do try to have a good supply of herbs

Basil and rosemary to be specific.

Awhile back I planted my winter basil pots.

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They have been sunning in my south office window

Last spring when I way overbought Rosemary Arp

Because it’s supposed to be hardy here.

I put a few in two small pots

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Which will soon join the basil upstairs.

Today I decided to save a few of the plants

In my big patio pots

So I potted up the variegated Swedish Ivy

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And the Plumbago.

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Then I put the potted plants back in their giant pots

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When the freezing west wind blows

All I have to do is pick up the pots

And take them to the garden house.

I’ve done this for years with the Foxtail Ferns.

They spend their entire summer in their winter pots

Buried in the patio pots.

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It saves me time on a cold November afternoon.

And it saves my back a bit.

Now if I can just find the time to turn all that basil

Into pesto

I’ll be ready for the cold days to come.

This year I have something new to fill those days.

Did I mention I have two new grandchildren???

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Gail

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Fall, Foxtail Fern, Garden House, Grandchildren, Plumbago, Variegate Swedish Ivy

EASTER – CHILDREN – GARDENS

Sometimes holding an annual event

Can be well…dicey. Expectations increase.

People can get tired of the same thing.

The odds for good weather decrease.

Not so if children are involved

And Easter eggs filled with candy. DSCN3793

So, yesterday we hosted the 3rd

I’d say it’s safe to say Annual 1st Presbyterian Church Easter Egg.

Each year Kay, master of children’s  Christian education

Mixes things up a bit. DSCN3730

And this year we decided to invite the families

Of our neighboring church St. Matthews Episcopal.

We have been lucky with the weather all these years.

And this year was no exception. DSCN3766

It was a glorious afternoon.

And to top it off The Redbud trees were still in full bloom

Providing a marvelous backdrop for

The blanket of tulips leading up to the garden house. DSCN3752

Now you realize this is just luck.

No gardener has any say about when things bloom in the spring.

And if you try to plan it – it simply will not happen.

So you might as well just give it up

And hope for the best.

This is an attitude I’ve had to learn.

Fortunately, I had an excellent teacher.

My mother was the most relaxed hostess I’ve ever known. SCAN0001

Oh she would get “flustered” as she would say.

But she learned during the wild ride of her life.

To relax and enjoy it.

So yesterday as 50 or 60 children

(We don’t really know how many came.)

Were running through the garden. DSCN3781

Releasing lady bugs DSCN3736

Listening to the resurrection story DSCN3756

 

Exploring the compost pile

Trying out the  chimney of the outdoor fireplace

And gathering Easter Eggs DSCN3768

One child brought back a wonderful memory of my mother

And the grace that she showed so many people during her life.

It happened during a family Sunday School Class party

Of many of these very people.

It was in the late 1980’s and we decided to have the party

At my parent’s home in the city.

Big house – big yard – big draw.

Dozens of us showed up and swarmed the place. Image (4)

At one point several young mothers were standing in the kitchen

Visiting with mother as Cristina, maybe 3 or so

Appeared with a bouquet of flowers for the hostess.

Freshly picked from her own flower beds.

Beth, her mother, turned ashen.

Mother bent down and thanked

And likely hugged Cristina.

She was thrilled with the gift.

So yesterday

When I noticed Kay’s granddaughter

Walking along the garden house path

Snapping off tulips DSCN3798

I smiled

Then laughed

What a gift this memory is.

Children and Gardens and God.

If you don’t have children to invite into your garden.

I hope you’ll find some

To teach about nature

And grace.

Happy Easter,

Gail

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Filed under Easter Baskets, Easter Egg Hunt, Garden House, Gardening Friends, Redbud Trees, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips

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

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

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