Category Archives: Gardening Friends

COMMUNITY GARDENING

I have long been interested in community gardens.

They come in several different configurations.

It can be a large area divided into plots.

Each plot tended by a different gardener.

IMG_1301

Or it can be a place where a community comes together

To grow things.

For themselves

Or for others.

This spring I finally get to participate in a community garden.

IMG_1296

You may recall I wrote about planting it a few months ago.

It’s located at our new local client choice food pantry

And food resource center named Loaves & Fishes.

At the moment this garden consists of 10 raised beds.

 

Built as an Eagle Scout project.

IMG_7596

Then our volunteer extraordinaire David

Added 3 – 250 gallon rain barrels that are catching the rain water

From the roof of the building.

IMG_1285

After a 2 inch rain

They are full.

We’ve been cutting greens each week

To share with the clients who come to us for food.

Imagine going to a food pantry and getting a bag of freshly cut spinach

Or lettuce.

IMG_1232

Or Swiss chard.

IMG_1303

It’s just heavenly!

But we’ve had a few challenges along the way.

As it turns out our garden sits at the bottom of a slight bowl.

And it’s been

Well a bit of a pond.

So Saturday was Family Volunteering Day

At Loaves & Fishes.

DSCN1317

75 volunteers from the community,

A Cub Scout Troop

As well as the corporate sponsors for the day

Triangle Insurance

And Central National Bank

Came to help.

DSCN1318

They made quick work of spreading

A truck load of fill sand.

IMG_1290

Then moving gravel into the paths between the beds.

Within a few hours we went from pond

To problem solved.

It was an amazing transformation.

IMG_1325

Now this is really more hardscape work

Than actual gardening.

And we may have completely worn out this group of volunteers.

But the thing is

We are community.

Cheerfully helping

To solve a problem.

Growing great food

For people who really need it

And appreciate the care

We take to help them.

IMG_1299

For years my passion has been feeding people in need.

Now at Loaves & Fishes I get to watch others find their passion.

If you haven’t found a way to help others.

I hope you find a passion

And a home for it

That is as much fun as this wonderful community.

Or better still

Come and join us

Gardening for good and helping feed others.

Gail

P.S.  If you have extra produce or eggs from your own garden we would appreciate

Your bring them to Loaves & Fishes.  We’ll find them a grateful home!

 

2 Comments

Filed under Community Garden, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hunger, Lettuce, Rain Barrels, Raised Beds, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Uncategorized, Vegetables

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

564703_10152408461635473_1891472253_n

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

555802_739051822325_1035822274_n

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

DSCN0414

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.

DSCN0743

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.

DSCN0734

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.

DSCN0747

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

 

 

 

1 Comment

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

FAITH

DSCN0292

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.

DSCN0310

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

DSCN0374

Will unfurl into a gorgeous fern.

DSCN9130

That the precious buds on my Japanese Tree Peony

DSCN0367

Will soon take my breath away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That come June

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

DSCN0364

Will give astonishing blooms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The robins have returned.

DSCN0315

Lady bugs and honey bees abound

DSCN0399

Peg is on her never-ending bunny search

DSCN0394

And the Hellebores are blooming their hearts out.

DSCN0356

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

 

3 Comments

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.

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

 

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

3 Comments

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.

1 Comment

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

 

 

 

Leave a comment

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

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

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

5 Comments

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