Category Archives: Gardening

ROOTS & WINGS

In my core I am a flat lander.

A fourth generation flat lander.

As a kid I was taught by example

To be in awe of sunsets.

My father loved them.

A get everyone up from the dinner table

To admire them

Kind of loved sunsets.

He traveled the world

Met fascinating people

But was never happier

Than when standing in his own front yard

Taking in the full 180 degree sunset

In the evening sky.

We do have some pretty spectacular sunsets.

And thunderstorms.

My friend Mike Klemme has captured many of them.

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Copyright Mike Klemme

 

I know this place.

With it’s long growing season.

I know that sometime in late January

I can start looking for buds on the Hellebores

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And by Valentine’s I’ll see the first nose of a daffodil.

If not an out and out bloom.

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I know that each fall when I spread the summer’s compost

Around my garden

I can expect a spring crop of worms

The size of small snakes.

Happily digging their way through

The rich soil they helped to create.

But for the past few years

I’ve been cheating on my garden.

I’ve taken up gardening

In another place.

A place that couldn’t be more different

From home.

Where here there is a generous 9 – 10 month growing season.

There the last freeze date isn’t until June 15th

And the first freeze date can happen anytime after Labor Day.

Really….three months.

How do people live like that.

For me it’s because of my grandchildren.

So I’m learning to garden again.

In a new place.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Home is still home.

But I now have the opportunity

To grow things

That absolutely hate it here on the plains.

I’m trying my hand at

Lupines

And Delphinium.

Oriental Poppies

And even Foxglove

Which I have no luck with

No matter where I try.

I’m learning how to out wit

These guys.

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Though they seemed to have eaten

Most of said Poppy buds.

Most challenging of all is the soil.

They don’t call them the Rocky Mountains

For their light airy loam.

Even staking up a delphinium bloom

(to make it more accessible to the deer)

Is an excavation project.

But the mountain air

Does make for glorious color

In all that grows there.

So, I’m literally putting down part time roots

In a new place.

In order to give the next generation

Wings.

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Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Daffodils, Delphinium, Digitalis, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Grandchildren, Grandchldren Generations, Hellebores, Lupine, Poppy, Uncategorized

“RRANGEMENTS”

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I bought these little enameled vases

Years ago

At “Crazy Days”

And only remember using them once.

Until Harper and Henry discovered them

One Easter.

They spent most of that Friday

Snapping off tulips

To make “rrangements”.

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So, of course, I had to send some home with them.

Later that year when I visited.

I noticed these little vases all over their house

They were constantly changing the flowers

Kids love to pick flowers

And they seldom leave enough stem

To actually put in a vase.

So these tiny renditions

Were just the ticket.

Kids also learn by watching.

And they have a splendid example

Of arranging in their mother.

In all the years of their marriage

There are always flower arrangements around

When we visit.

In the guest room

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On the fireplace mantel

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And kitchen window sill

Along with the dining table.

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The kids have picked up on this

Often having flowers in their room.

Luckily, Elliott is good at growing flowers

Supplying dahlias and roses and hydrangeas

All season long.

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It’s the simple things

That we often remember about our childhoods.

The smell of my mother’s pies in the oven.

The warmth of the fire that my father

Built each winter day.

Standing over my grandmother’s floor furnace

Making my night gown into a warm balloon.

The roses at her front door.

I’m thankful for the memories

That Kristina and Elliott are creating

For their family.

And happy that flowers are part of those memories.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Gail

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Children in the Garden, Dahlias, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Grandchildren, Gratitude, Hydrangea, roses, Uncategorized, Vases

RAIN, BLESSED RAIN

Most of the country has experienced

What seems to be the longest winter

In recent memory.

Our winter has been

In and out.

Bitter cold days

Sprinkled into sunny winter glory.

But it simply has not rained.

Fires 100 miles to our west

Attest to our dry fall and winter.

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Thankfully it starting raining on a recent Friday night

And continued through Saturday.

Bringing hope to my garden

With each drop.

The Japanese Maple trees

Are sighing with relief.

They leafed out on schedule

Only to be frozen a couple of times.

Creating the saddest looking tree

I’ve seen in a long time.

Now, with this moisture

They have begun the process of

Putting on new leaves.

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And things are budding out.

Iris

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Allium

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Peonies

With their attending ants.

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And those stunning Japanese Tree Peonies.

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They don’t last long

A few days of bloom and they are gone.

Yet, they are so worth growing.

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With these buds

Comes hope

And so it is with gardeners.

Whose spirits have frozen

And thawed

And frozen

And thawed

More times than we can count.

But with the rain comes

Hope.

And gardeners thrive on

Hope.

 

Gail

 

 

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Filed under Allium, Bugs, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Peonies, Perennials, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Uncategorized

WIND AND OTHER LUXURIES?

Wind.

Growing up on the plains

It has just been a part of my life.

My father always said that his mother,

A woman who kept house during the dust bowl

Putting wet towels around doors and windows,

Understood that wind was important to staying cool

In the summer.

And she never cursed it.

Rogers and Hammerstein even wrote it into

What would become our state song.

You know

“Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.”

I’ve always tried not to complain about the wind.

But these past few days have really tried my resolve.

The wind has been howling off and on.

One day it’s an unusually hot wind out of the south.

Then it turns on a dime and gives us a mid-April frigid north blast

Leveling my tulips for the third time.

With wind in the forecast for last Friday

I was fearful we might have to cancel a long planned fun morning

Of Debra and her camera in my garden.

But on Thursday she called to say she was coming.

Period.

Luckily my garden is somewhat protected

With old trees and a two story house

Covering it from the south and north.

It was still pretty

Shall we say breezy

When Debra arrived Friday morning.

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For the photographer in Debra

My backyard is something akin

To a village of bouncy houses

For a three year old.

She just doesn’t know what to jump on first.

The parrot tulips in the pots on the patio

Drew her in

And the clicking began.

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But the wind was wanting to play as well.

Some of the pictures were clear

Others blurred

And some take your breath away.

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It did not detour her

Finally declaring she would just wait

“The wind will die down…it always does.?

She moved from parrot tulips

To the more protected Hellebores

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To the tulip lined path

leading to the garden house.

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The light and the wind

Dancing around.

Creating opportunities

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And problems.

All of which were  joyfully accepted.

Her patience paid off.

As you can see by the results

I’m sharing here.

This reminded me of my grandmother.

Accepting what she couldn’t change.

Finding the good in what some would consider bad.

And just simply making the best of what you are given.

Some might call it Pollyannish.

Others perseverance

I call it grace.

Gail

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Filed under Garden House, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hellebores, Parrot Tulips, Pettit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Shade Garden, tulips, Uncategorized

A SUNDAY MYSTERY

I don’t surrender my fall weekends easily.

John’s 50th class reunion

Certainly justifies

A non gardening weekend.

586 graduates in the College High Class of ’67

13 National Merit Scholar Finalist.

Pretty impressive.

And a fun group of people, too.

So with little to report

From the garden.

I’ll just leave you with this

Mystery to solve.

We found this suspended in the Mandavilla

Just before we left on Friday.

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It’s still here this evening.

It’s not attached,

It’s just hanging ,

In the midst of a web

Connected to the plant.

I’ve been observing nature

Up close for a very long time.

This is completely new to me.

Anyone know what’s about to hatch

Right outside my back door?

Gail

“He who finds a thought that lets us a little deeper into the eternal mystery of nature has been granted great peace.”

                                                Albert Einstein

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Filed under Fall, Gardening, late summer garden, Mandavilla, Miracles, Mystery, Nature, Uncategorized

PLAY DATES

Ours is an “arranged” friendship.

When Bay and Debra moved to town.

Bay’s mother, Jean,

Was concerned that Debra wouldn’t have time

To meet new people.

What with two toddlers,

A new medical practice

And studying for her medical boards!

Jean asked if I’d give her a call.

I did.

The four of us went to dinner

And have been friends for decades.

Early on we decided we needed

Scheduled “play dates”.

This often consisted of trips to

The city.

Clothes shopping for kids

And long lunches.

During which we discovered

That we had been living

Somewhat parallel lives.

Over the decades play dates

Turned into scheduled weekly calls

When Debra moved to the city.

There were years where life overtook us

And we didn’t have much time to

Keep up with each other.

But ours is an easy friendship

Since we see the world

Through many shared life experiences.

Friday was the first scheduled play date

For quite some time.

The plan was to go to the city.

Run errands together

Have lunch

And great conversation.

But mid-week

I realized that my garden

Is full of bugs

This time of year.

And Debra is in full-blown

“Macro bug mode”.

Her Instagram tag line is

“Read images while at work.

Take images while away from work.’

She takes the most amazing pictures.

Birds in the winter.

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June flowers in Giverny

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And now bugs.

Early in the week.

I had spotted three orb spiders

And a big praying mantis.

But by Thursday night

I was down to one orb.

I feared I had gotten her here

Under false pretenses.

Friday morning she arrived

At sunrise.

Bearing gifts.

Her famed cookie dough.

The Holy Grail of Chocolate Chip cookies.

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I directed her to the surviving orb.

She began to click away.

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John couldn’t resist

Getting in on the day.

Catching bugs

To feed to the spider

For Debra to photograph.

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And before we knew it

Orbs began to appear.

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Totaling four in all.

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Next I found a praying mantis

Or two.

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So she clicked

And I scouted for bugs.

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She sees the garden through her macro lens.

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I see it as a gardener.

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I know where the bugs

Hang out.

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We were a good team

As usual.

It was a delightful morning.

Play.

It’s as important now

As it’s ever been.

Gail

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Monterey – 2010 with Debra & Kristina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, Fall, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Friends, late summer garden, Monet's Giverny, Nature, Orb Spider, Praying Mantis, Uncategorized

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE

This has been an unusual summer

On many fronts.

I’ve been gone half the summer.

Two weeks here

A week there.

Grand kids will do that to you

I’ve learned.

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Not that I mind

I don’t.

But I’m not used to flitting around

Like that.

Then there was August.

Days turned into

Weeks of mid-80’s

And there was the rain.

In a month when it might not rain

At all

We had 6 inches!

So…

Combine my absence

With cool temperatures

And gentle rains

And what do you get?

A jungle.

The Cockscomb is officially

Growing out of its mind.

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Zinnias have popped up

Everywhere.

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The Asters are blooming,

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And Cleome is still going strong.

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Then there is the crabgrass.

If you don’t pull it.

It just keeps growing

And growing.

I think I’ve filled

Four poly carts

With the stuff.

Yesterday I managed

To get about half way through

The weeding process.

With a little deadheading

Along the way.

That’s really all there is

To do out there right now.

That and enjoy Mother Nature.

Yesterday was a tough day

To be one of these.

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Not sure if it’s a moth

Or a butterfly.

First one was eaten for lunch

By a Praying Mantis.

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Then this Orb spider

Had another one

For dinner.

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I was still

In the garden

At dusk

When the locust chorus

Began singing

A familiar song.

Fall

Isn’t it yummy?

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, cleome, cockscomb, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening, Grandchildren, late summer garden, Nature, Orb Spider, Praying Mantis, Rain, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized