Category Archives: Gardening Friends

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.

s

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

BENIGN NEGLECT

Yesterday I took a friend on a little tour through my garden.

Frankly, it was embarrassing.

I knew I hadn’t spent much time in my garden

For weeks.

But I hadn’t realized what bad shape it was in.

It has a major case of “the flops”.

Between the rain

And Peg looking for bunny rabbits

Plants – especially cockscomb – have fallen down everywhere.

Paths are almost impassable.

Weeds are well…being weedy.

It isn’t pretty.

Luckily, today was a spectacular day.

Cool with a high of around 65 degrees.

And cloudy all day long.

So I spent the day doing what I should have done all along the way.

Cutting back

Pulling out.

I think I have mentioned before

I have a problem of shall we say “editing”.

I let too many tiny seedlings

Grow into giant plants.

Too much of a good thing like cockscomb

Will strangle even a rose bush.

Rosa Julia Child and New England Asters

Rosa Julia Child and New England Asters

Tomato plants run amuck

Will completely shade other plants into oblivion.

So even though it’s very late in the season.

I’m whacking away.

Hopefully they’ll be time for all of this to recover.

And just in case there isn’t.

I’m throwing lettuce seed in all the empty spaces.

It’s a little late for that, too.

But what the heck

You never know

If you don’t try.

So the lesson here is simple.

From time to time

You have to cut things back

Or completely pull them up and compost them.

Begin again.

As the decades roll by its harder and harder to do that.

At least for me.

Familiar is comfortable.

Safe.

But then you end up living in the shade of your past.

You just don’t grow as much in that shade.

Not good

For roses

Or for people.

Fall officially begins next week.

Enjoy,

Gail

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Fall, Gardening, Gardening Friends, late summer garden, Lettuce, roses, Timing, Uncategorized

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

Perspective

Debra's view of the garden house

Debra’s view of the garden house

 

A few weeks ago

My friend Debra came for a visit.

This is not unusual.

She comes often.

Usually we have an agenda.

But this time we had a few unscheduled hours.

And she wanted to take pictures in the garden.

Now, you need to know that Debra loves photography

And…she’s very good at it.

You can easily tell which pictures are hers

And which are mine.

Her avocation photography

Connects to her vocation mammography.

She is trained to see detail.

To look for the smallest speck on a mammogram.

When she finds them.

And unfortunately she finds many.

It’s life altering.

For her patients…for her.

So seeing my garden through her eyes

Makes me see it differently.

In more detail.

Poppy and Poppy Seed Pod

Poppy and Poppy Seed Pod

To relish the small things.

The accidents of nature

The purposefulness of it all.

Now that I’m into my 6th decade

I’m making a conscious effort

To broaden my view.

Not to get stuck where I’ve always been.

To look at things differently.

To value what I’ve known.

But keep looking forward.

To see my world through a new lens.

Through someone else’s lens.

These past few years have been a constant awakening.

Wise women Jane & Betty with Debra

Wise women Jane & Betty with Debra

In many aspects of life.

I know where I’m anchored.

Where I really began to learn this

Was in my garden.

Thanks, God.

Gail

P.S.  You, too, Debra.

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Filed under Garden House, Garden Photography, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Larkspur, Perennials, Poppy, Shasta Daisy, Uncategorized, Wise Women

Mid Season

Yesterday was the first Saturday in a long time

That I spend the whole morning in my garden.

I didn’t dash to the farmer’s market

Didn’t run flowers to the church for Saturday Manna

I was selfish.

I started early in the sunshine

And as the heat came on

I followed the shade.

Weeding

Deadheading

Planning

Thinking

Praying

It’s mid-season here on the plains

We have an 8  – 9 month growing season.

So that makes mid- July just about the middle

Of the time between first and last frosts.

It’s too hot to transplant.

So maintenance becomes the routine.

But…mid-morning a friend came through my gate.

Hydrangeas were on her mind.

Her’s are planted under a Magnolia tree

A giant Magnolia tree.

Her Hydrangea on the other hand have

What we diagnosed as “failure to thrive”

We think the Magnolia is a bit greedy with the water.

And likely nutrients too.

So the solution for now is auxiliary water

In the form of a soaker hose at the base of the Hydrangeas

Turned  on Oh So Slowly.

This should allow the water to go deeply into the root zone.

And not run off.

It’s worth a try.

I’m going to drop by soon and see if we can’t find some more hospitable homes for them.

She and I are close in age.

We are definitely at the same stage of life.

Empty nest

Worked a lot

Volunteered a lot

So what comes next.

She’s seeking

So, it occurs to me once again

That gardens do reflect our lives.

If we pay attention.

My garden is full of life

Here in the middle of the season.

Just like my friend.

They both have much left to give.

And hopefully time to give it.

So how do we re-arrange our lives.

Cutting out the stuff that overgrows

And crowds out the good things.

Even maybe shades them out completely.

Keeping extraneous thing cut back – pruned – deadheaded.

To let in the light.

It’s a challenge.

And a continual effort

To keep our gardens

And our lives

Going where we are to go.

Glad I have a garden and friends to share in the journey.

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Dead Heading, drip irrigation, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, Uncategorized

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

HYDRANGEA HEAVEN 2012

A single H. Macrophyllia Endless Summer Hydrangea Bush

A single H. Macrophyllia Endless Summer Hydrangea Bush

Nature has a way of evening things out.

Last year my Hydrangeas bloomed

And fried within days.

It was sad

Oh so sad.

This year is Hydrangea Heaven.

I’ve seen banks of Hydrangeas on Cap Code.

They inspired me to plant my own.

But never did I dream that they would put on such a show.

All over this part of the country

Hydrangeas are blooming gloriously.

And making up for last year.

Thank you.

Now I realized that in my short 1 + years of blogging

This is the third blog about Hydrangeas.

In previous blogs I’ve told you

Where to plant

Morning sun afternoon shade

If possible.

How to water

Drip

And what fertilizer

Manure.

If you want the long version you can go back to May and July blogs of last year.

So this year I’m going to just enjoy.

I do want to report that I’ve been cutting like mad this week

Sharing them with

A new mother

A bride and groom for their wedding

Bucketsof Wedding Hydrangea

Buckets of Wedding Hydrangea

Which I love doing

Since my friend Martie did me the same favor 8 years ago.

Memorial flowers for the church

In memory of the real lady of this house

Whose name was Ivy.


As well as table decorations for

Saturday Manna

and a Sunday church picnic.

But isn’t that the point of all of this.

Sharing.

I love an abundance mentality.

There’s plenty for everyone

If we simply share.

Hope you will share yourself with someone this week.

Gail

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Filed under Bouquets, drip irrigation, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hydrangea, Manure, Wedding Flowers

THY NEIGHBORS GARDEN

Gardening is for me

a solitary pastime.

I love having people drop in

to see what’s blooming.

But I spend hours alone in my garden

Singing to myself

Admiring my work

And plotting my next adventure.

Roses & Iris

Roses & Iris

Perhaps that’s why I love having gardening neighbors.

Someone close by to share with

and borrow from.

Kelly and I have been that kind of gardening neighbors

Even before we were actual neighbors.

Now that we are only a block apart we are

Dangerous together.

Between the two of us we are constantly changing things.

Sharing things

Learning things

Our gardens complement each other. 

Where mine is good-sized.

Kelly’s is mammoth.

Where I have endless varieties of perennials

Kelly wisely has focused on flowering bushes.

She has much more space to fill

And filling it with annuals or 4″ perennials is

Well….unimaginable.

She moved back to this part of the country from Seattle.

There she had learned a great deal about Roses and Peonies.

She brought that knowledge with her.

And has over the years adapted it to our “slightly” different climate.

She helped me overcome my fear of growing Roses.

Rosa Aloha

Rosa Aloha

I in turn introduced her to Hellebore.

Hellebores

Hellebores

Over the years she has planted a “river” of them.

That’s the thing I love about gardeners.

They are so willing to share.

Actually, I can be a little annoying that way.

I’ve been known to give TMI  too much information!

This  week is a good example of that sharing.

I did a flower arrangement for a bridal shower.

I needed hot pink and oranges roses.

Since my Katy Road Pink is blooming out of it’s mind right now.

Rosa Katy Road Pink

Rosa Katy Road Pink

I’ve got the pink part covered.

Orange on the other hand is a problem

Especially since it’s one of the few colors I don’t do.

Lucky for me Kelly has a whole row of the most glorious orange roses.

It’s a Weeks Rose called Colorific.

Rosa Colorific

Kelly's Row of Rosa Colorific

And it is terrific.

So I took my favorite pruners and a bucket of water down the street

And cut a few.

Roses ready to arrange

Roses ready to arrange

Now it won’t be long till I can return the favor

Because next week Kelly needs 14 table decorations. 

I have lots of spring bloom

Wild Orchid

Wild Orchid

And an endless amount of Euonymus for filler.

So you’ll find her cutting in my garden.

And because those Colorific Roses are so terrific.

I’m thinking of adding a few to my garden.

Shower  Arrangement

Shower Arrangement

Gardening neighbors.

Good friends.

If you don’t have one.

I hope you find one soon.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

Gail

And speaking of gardening friends,

my friend Debra sent this marvelous quote.

“I think gardening is nearer to godliness than theology. True gardeners are both iconographers and theologians insofar as these activities are the fruit of prayer ‘without ceasing.’ Likewise, true gardeners never cease to garden, not even in their sleep, because gardening is not just something they do. It is how they live.”

Vigen Guroian, from The Fragrance of God

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hellebores, Peonies, roses, Wedding Flowers

EASTER EGGS

There is a long legacy of eggs in my family.

When I was growing up we raised chickens.

And as a result – eggs.

It was a family effort. 

Daddy raised the chickens

Mother, Pat, Ann & I gatherer, cleaned, candeled and sold eggs.

Ann, me, Pat and Mother gathering eggs late 1950's

I still have one of the wire egg baskets from those days

As well as that chicken nest in my garden house.

Perhaps that’s why my mother loved to die Easter eggs.

Every mother does things for their children at holidays.

Creating memories and all.

But I’m pretty sure that Easter egg dying

Was actually for mother.

I just don’t remember any other college students

who came home to die Easter eggs.

I think she did it even if we weren’t there!

So it’s with that heritage in mind that I volunteered

to have the Easter Egg Hunt for the children at my church.

Now granted no child in 2012 would be happy with a hard-boiled egg.

Even if it was died turquoise with their name etched with a wax pencil.

But it’s an Easter Egg Hunt just the same.

And I couldn’t have a bunch of kids in my garden

Without giving them a little gardening lesson.

So we added a lady bug release to the activities.

Aphids attacked my roses right on cue.

So the lady bugs had plenty to eat.

We divided the 20 plus children into 3 groups.

Three adults were strategically placed around the garden.

Each had a watering can full of water.

On cue they and the children watered an area of the garden path.

Then along we came with the bag of lady bugs.

They had been chilling in my refrigerator since the Fed Ex man delivered them on Wednesday.

Thank goodness we didn’t put the eggs on top of them!

Now, I’ve been doing lady bug releases in my garden for years.

Ever since my friend and neighbor Patti discovered Buglogical.com.

She and I would share an order each spring.

Lately, the neighbor children have come to share the fun.

But….

I’ve never done this with quite so many children.

 

So, I was a little concerned.

You never know how a child will react.

Or adults for that matter. 

When lady bugs feel the warmth of your hands

They awake from their sleep and begin crawling.

Usually up your arm.

All of these children loved it.

They were – shall we say – naturals!

Children, parents, grand parents even great grandparents had a splendid time.

 

A time for friends old and new, children, bugs and all that is ours in nature.

Easter – telling and sharing the good news.

Experiencing life in a garden.

It was a good day.

Happy Easter.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Easter Egg Hunt, Gardening Friends, Lady Bugs, spring, Uncategorized

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