Category Archives: Gardening

A JOB WELL DONE

Last week’s predicted freeze

Did not materialize.

But we didn’t know that

Last Monday

When a full crew of Master Gardeners

And friends

Gathered at Faith Farm

To pick everthing on the vine.

And pick we did.

341 pounds of peppers and green tomatoes

And eggplant and turnips and radishes

And green beans and cucumbers.

Bringing us to an all time record

Of 4,027 pounds of fresh organic produce.

That’s a ton…well 2 tons actually

All going to provide our hungry neighbors

With the freshest possible produce.

It’s a mission that is easy to wrap our hands

And hearts around.

Over time it has become more than a mission

To those of us who come.

We have become a sort of gardening family.

Moving through the garden twice a week

Catching up on family news

Sharing stories of our own gardens

And ideas of how to grow even more

At Faith Farm.

Spending a few hours each week

In a garden

With fellow gardeners

On glorious spring days

And the dog days of summer

Growing vegetables

For hungry neighbors

Is a joy.

Thanks everyone.

Gail

“The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

Cesar Chavez

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Filed under Community Garden, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Turnips, Radishes, Green Beans, Cucumbers, End of Season Rituals, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening, Green Tomatoes, Hunger, Master Gardeners, Peppers, Radishes, Uncategorized

THE POWER OF A SEED

My mother loved to garden.

Her only problem was

That for much of her life

She lived in two different towns

At the same time.

Sometimes even two different states!

That made tending a garden

A bit of a challenge for her.

When Daddy finally retired

They added a greenhouse

To the house on the farm.

She would putter there for days.

I watched her tenderly

Prick out baby lettuce plants

And give them their own home.

Knowing that since they lived in the country

Chances were pretty good

That a mouse

Would likely enjoy more lettuce

Than she would.

But she kept at it

Year after year.

She died suddenly one summer

While we were all on vacation together

Leaving everything in her life

And her greenhouse

As something of a still life.

One glorious fall day

I walked into

Her untended playpen

To find it full of vines

Covering floor to ceiling

And loaded with dozens of

Baby Boo Pumpkins.

She had been gone

For over a year.

Yet the power of a seed

Brought her right back

To me and my memories

Of her in this place.

Perhaps that’s why

I have an endlessly

Growing collection

Of seeds.

They connect me to the past

And show me

The hope of the future.

Gail

“A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo

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Filed under Fall, Farmers, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Generations, Oklahoma Gardening, Pumpkins, Seeds, Uncategorized, Wise Women

It’s Buggy Time

Late summer is buggy

In my garden.

I don’t really know why

But there are always good bugs.

Last year the Orb spiders

Were everywhere

Spinning their zig zaggy webs

To my amazement.

This year I’ve only had a few visit.

Though this guy did claim

The inside of my garden house

As his new home.

But Praying Mantis are

Everywhere.

One day I rescued seven

From the clippings

Headed to the compost bin.

Lately, my garden has taken flight.

I spent hours

Over two days

Watching this Swallowtail

Feast on tall garden phlox.

Thankfully, I hadn’t gotten around

To deadheading it.

An now I wouldn’t dream of it

Even though it’s really ragged.

Last Wednesday at Faith Farm we counted

THIRTEEN swallowtail caterpillars

On one bronze Fennel plant.

The Monarch butterflies

Are flitting everywhere

And then there is this new friend.

Actually they brought the whole tribe

Right to my garden.

I have hundreds on what else

But Cockscomb.

And we all know you can’t have just

One Cockscomb.

My research tells me

They are harmless Goldenrod Soldier Beetles.

Actually a bit beneficial

Dining on aphids and “other plant pests”.

All of this fluttering and flying and buzzing

Makes a sunny afternoon

Stroll through the garden

A joy.

But then

When isn’t a garden

A joy?

Gail

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” ~Author unknown

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, cockscomb, Community Garden, Dead Heading, Garden House, Gardening, Goldenrod Soldier Beetle, late summer garden, Nature, Orb Spider, Praying Mantis, Spider Web, Swallowtail Butterfly, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized

THE MYSTERY CONTINUES

A month or so ago

I wrote about a 12 foot tall sunflower

That had planted itself

At the front of the garden.

A sort of “magic bean” situation.

Over this month I have cut dozens

Of blooms from this tower of sunshine.

It simply makes me smile

Everytime I look it’s way.

But the blooms have faded

And it’s setting seeds.

So I decided that today was the day

To chop it down.

After church I went out my back door

Only to be stopped in my tracks

By something glistening in the sunlight

It was large – really large.

A very industrious spider

Had spun a web on the side

Of the sunflower.

But the really amazing thing

Was that it connected the other side

Of the web

To the cedar tree TWENTY FIVE FEET away.

I’m not making this up.

My neigbor Torry and John

Are witnesses.

We have no idea

How this was accomplished

Simply a miracle

In my own backyard.

It reminds me of something Elliott said last week

When we had all climbed the side of a mountin

To help H & H look for fossils.

Some in our group scoured a big area

While H & H just kept digging

And looking in a small space around them.

Elliott noted that looking closesly

Right in front of our eyes.

Revealed more and more.

Looking closely.

Slowing down to observe.

Delighting in the mystery of nature.

Time well spent.

Gail

” When one tugs at a single thing in nature they find it attached to the rest of the world.”

John Muir

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Filed under Fossils, Gardening, Grandchildren, Grandchldren Generations, late summer garden, Miracles, Mystery, Nature, Oklahoma Gardening, Spider Web, Sunflowers, Uncategorized

POPPY PLANS

Years ago,

When I designed

And maintained gardens

For other people,

I had a friend with a sandy spot.

We planted purple larkspur

And red poppies.

I have repeated that combination

In my current garden.

They are the star of my late May

And early June garden.

When they finish blooming

Seeds fall.

This pattern has repeated itself

Each year in this garden.

But…

One day I was walking the neighborhood

And saw a PURPLE poppy.

The generous neighbor gave me seeds

Then I ordered a few more packets of

Lauren’s Grape poppy.

This year

For the first time

I have PURPLE poppies.

They are divine.

Now I’m trying my best

To keep the red ones in the “red bed”

And creating an area just for the purple ones.

I know…I know

It’s an attempt to manipulate nature.

Not a smart idea.

After all birds and winds and who knows what else

Move these tiny seeds around the garden.

The organizer in me just has to give this a try.

I’m marking the color of wayward plants

With pink tape

Hoping to get them back into their assigned seat.

If Mother Nature will indulge me

This one tiny bit of control.

I promise after this

I’ll surrender!

Gail

2 Comments

Filed under Garden Photography, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Larkspur, Nature, Oklahoma Gardening, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

IT’S MAY!

There’s a line

In the title song of Camelot

That rings in my head

This time of year.

“It’s May

It’s May

The lusty month of May.”

I’m pretty sure they were singing

About a garden.

Iris

Peony

And Roses

Are hitting their stride

Just in time for Mother’s Day.

So sharing seems like

The natural thing to do.

Thanks for coming girls.

Happy Mother’s Day

To every conceivable kind of mother.

Gail

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Filed under Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Generations, Iris, Mother's Day, Peonies, roses, Uncategorized

THANKS FOR GIVING

Gardeners are known

To be generous people.

We like to share plants

And seeds

And plans

And tomatoes.

It’s just in our nature

To spread our joy around.

I have to admit though

That I do covet

My time in my garden

Time is something

We just can’t grow

No matter what zone we live in.

That’s why I’m so grateful

For the generous gardeners

Who help at Faith Farm.

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Every Monday and Wednesday

Throughout the growing season

This crew shows up

And works hard.

We start in February

Planting onions

And carrot seeds

And ended just a week ago

Prepping the the beds

For their winter’s nap.

They have planted

Harvested

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Washed

And loaded

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Thousands of pounds

Of fresh organic vegetables

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That we grow

For our hungry neighbors

Who come to Loaves & Fishes

For help in feeding their families.

All of them are either Master Gardeners

Or related to a Master Gardener.

 

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They come on the crisp mornings of spring

The glorious days of fall

And all that heat and humidity

In between.

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We’ve had a great season

Getting to know each other better

As we’ve spent hours

Picking and weeding

And trying to figure out

Why all that spring rain

Made the cucumbers

So unhappy.

We learn a little

Share a little

And give a lot.

Thank you Martha, Dennis, Kay, Janelle,

Clayton, Diane, Jenny, Linda & Michael.

You have made a difference

To so many.

Gail

P.S.  This is where I planned to place a great picture I took of all the crew.  Unfortunately, I can’t find it AYWHERE.  So just imagine these generous souls, or better still imagine yourself in this group or others around the country…gardening and giving.

 

 

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Filed under Carrots, Community Garden, End of Season Rituals, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hunger, late summer garden, Master Gardeners, Onion, Uncategorized, Vegetables

CHANGE

Fall arrived this week.

I think it followed us home from the mountains

Since the temperature drop

Coincided with our return.

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It was an abrupt change.

But a welcomed one.

It’s the time of year

That I begin to think

About how I can change my garden.

Places that are overgrown

Or neglected

Or just tired

Are the stuff

Of my daydreams.

I get this way

Every year about this time.

But somehow this year

Feels different

I seem to be ready

For some big changes.

Just not sure what they are.

I do know I want more Dahlias.

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They are the star of the late fall garden.

And what stunners they are.

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When my friend Kelly moved a few months ago

She left me her wonderful tomato cages.

They are stacked behind my garden house.

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I plan to paint them green

And install them as Dahlia cages next spring.

We were gardening neighbors for years

So it will be a fun way to remind me

Of our gardening adventures

Whenever I walk into the garden.

Change

Some of us fight it

Others embrace it at every turn.

My parents embraced it.

Risking everything they had worked for

To make a major life change.

It worked well for them.

I think gardens teach us to embrace change.

After all

We are not in charge anyway

So how could we not.

Gail

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

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Filed under Dahlias, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Praying Mantis, Uncategorized

Love Zinnias…Mildew and All

One of the main goals

Of my garden

Is to have cutting flowers

All season long.

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And because the foundation

Of my garden

Is perennials

I rely on self seeding annuals

To fill in the gaps between

Perennial bloom cycles.

It starts in the spring

With Poppies and Larkspur

Then comes the heroes of summer

Cleome and Zinnias.

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Poppies, Larkspur and Cleome

All manage to return on their own.

They just show up and bloom their hearts out.

Zinnias return on their own

But to a lesser degree.

So I have to plant Zinnia seeds each year.

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The good thing about that

Is that I can time them…a bit.

I want zinnias blooming in the fall

Just as the Monarchs migrate to Mexico.

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Photo Credit “Devra” Mitchell

So I don’t plant the seeds

Until June.

I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur

After they go to seed

And plant Zinnias in their place.

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In my neck of the woods

I have until July 4th

To accomplish this.

Zinnias do have one bad characteristic.

They are prone to mildew.

Which is another reason

Not to plant them too early.

Spring rains will do a number on them for sure.

Since summer is the dry season around here

It’s perfect for growing zinnias.

We’ve had 7 1/2 ” of rain

In the last 3 weeks!

Mildew has arrived.

The plants are really ugly

But the flowers are the same

Sunny happy faces that I love.

They are perfect cutting flowers

Playing nice with all kinds of other blooms.

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It’s another life lesson of nature.

A crusty outside

Often accompanies

A loving heart.

Gail

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, Fall, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Larkspur, late summer garden, Poppy, Seed Catalogs, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized, Zinnia

TINY TREASURES

I was raised by depression era parents.

They were not over the top tight

But let’s just say I never leave a room

Without turning off the lights.

They were however

Extravagant in all the right places.

Loving, giving, sharing.

I’m a lucky lady.

What I experienced in childhood

Shows up over and over again

In my garden.

I guess that’s what you can attribute

My seed collecting to.

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I simply can’t throw anything away

That might turn into a plant

In someone else’s garden.

The problem is

In a garden the size of mine

That’s a ton of seeds.IMG_3316

You can’t just let them all drop to the ground

Or your garden will become

Even more of a jungle.

Now seeds are generally tiny

So you would think I’d have room

To store endless amounts.

That’s what I thought

Till it got totally out of control.

Last spring

I dug all of my seeds out

From the places I’ve stashed them

And put them in these clear jars.

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Plants like Purple Coneflower

And Gloriosa Daisies

Are just too big

Or too prickly

For the space I have.

Luckily my friend Martha

Has five acres that she is planting

To flowers for pollinators.

We garden together at Faith Farm

Twice a week.

So I’ve been taking

Grocery sacks full of deadheads

To her for the past several weeks.

I love finding good homes for things.

Right now my potting bench

Is covered with German Bearded Iris

Waiting to go back in the ground.

Some will go here

Others still need a home.

Zinnias are drying

Along side dahlias.

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Dahlias are a new challenge for me.

I really don’t know what I’m doing with them yet.

Much research ahead of me.

So what do I do with all of this.

Some goes into my garden

But most are

“Up for adoption”.

Because there is only

So much Larkspur

And Cockscomb

A garden can handle.

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I hope you will come by my house

This fall and make a few selections

From my seed inventory.

Because seeds need to be spread around

And given homes

Where they can take root.

Loving, giving, sharing.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

Gail

 

 

 

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Nature, Perennials, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Uncategorized, Zinnia