Category Archives: Gardening

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

THE GARDENERS

One of the thing that intrigued me

About Monet’s garden

Was how you keep it looking so good

For 500,000 visitors a season.

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A challenge to say the least.

So I was curious about the gardeners.

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Normally in this situation I would simply

Sic Debra on them.

After all she is a most curious person

And has a way of interrogation that is

Gentle and charming.

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But we had a couple of problems,

One, the gardeners were at work.

And we were there during their busy hours.

So we were asked not to bother them.

Then there was the fact

That they spoke French

And I don’t.

But you can learn a lot

By observing from afar.

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One question was about poppies.

They pulled them up

By the root

Just as the last bloom wilted

Before the seeds had matured.

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Yet they look like

They have self-seeded.

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So the unanswered questions was

How?

Do they dry the green pods

And save the seeds

To sprinkle in the snow?

My suspicion is that they return

To the garden

Via compost.

I never got the answer.

But sometimes mystery

And unanswered questions

Are just as much fun!

So since I wasn’t sure

Of the fate of these green pods

Packed with seeds of a color of poppy

I had never seen before.

A few seemed to find their way

Into my pocket.

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Couldn’t wait to get them home

And dried

And sprinkled

Into my own garden.

But….the last night

Someone commented about how fast customs moves

With the use of drug dogs.

And since these are the very variety

Of poppies that the USDA has banned in quantity.

We decided to leave them behind.

Kristina really wanted to see her children again.

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And not get caught up

In a gardening tour

Drug bust!

You would think that pulling all these poppies.

Would leave giant gaps in the color.

But as soon as one plant was pulled

Someone else came along

With a plant just as tall in hand

And planted them in the empty space.

While we were there

They replaced the poppies

 

With Cosmos.

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Three foot tall cosmos.

Which took me to

Wander through shall we say

The “guts” of the place.

The greenhouses.

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And cold frames

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Where they are grown.

They were filled with plants

Ready for the big show.

I found the  yellow wheelbarrows

I had noticed throughout the garden

Brimming with plants

Headed to the compost pile.

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They were stacked against the fence

Just like mine at home.

For me

Seeing the process

Was just as interesting

As the finished product.

I think it was there

That I found

My gardening Monet muse.

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Gail

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.  So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”

Claude Monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Compost, Cosmos, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Nature, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

FLUTTERBYS

For weeks now

I’ve been seeing the signs

Orb spiders have arrived

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Praying Mantis are hanging around

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As are Locust.

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Dahlias have made their debut

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I can hear the band practice

At the high school football field.

Cockscomb is everywhere

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And Flutterbys

Are here.

Somewhere along the way

Butterflies became flutterbys

At our house.

Elliott loved them as a child.

Even bringing them into the house

To live…briefly!

When you think about it

Flutterby is a more accurate description

Of these late summer visitors.

The Monarchs are on their way

To Mexico.

And a few are stopping by

For a snack in my garden.

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They brought along their friend

The Tiger Swallowtail

Which has been impossible

To get on camera.

I can’t say enough about this season

Especially in a year

That brought such heat.

In some ways I find it

As much a source of renewal

As spring.

It’s cooler days

Are refreshing

Even though I know

My least favorite season

Is close behind.

For now

I’ll pick peppers

And tomatoes…finally

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Transplant roses

And make extravagant flower arrangements.

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Because fall is the season of bounty

In my garden

For that I am grateful.

Gail

Surely this is the last Easter egg out there!

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Gardening, Gratitude, late summer garden, Orb Spider, Peppers, Tomato, Uncategorized

PASSING IT ON

I consider myself very fortunate to have a garden.

It’s the place I go to work

Get sweaty

And think things through.

Or as my dad used to say

“To think the long thoughts.”

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Lately it seems I need that place

The “long thoughts” are occupying my mind

Much of the time.

Perhaps it’s a stage

Or my age

Or summer

When my schedule is a little freer

Than the rest of the year.

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One thing I do know

Is it’s important to pass this along

To the next generation.

As a toddler Elliott was by my side

In the garden

Then like all kids

He grew to want and need more freedom

And began to roam the neighborhood.

There were days in junior high

That I thought I had failed

To teach him to love the soil.

Not so

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He’s grown into quite a capable gardener

Growing vegetables for their family

And flowers for Kristina to arrange

And share with friends.

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I’m certain Elliott’s time on the farm

With my parents

Contributed to his deep appreciation

Of this earth.

So is it nature

Or nurture

I’ve wondered

As the next generation has come along

These past two years?

Can a child being raised in the center

Of a major city

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Grow into an appreciation

Of the earth

And the things that can be learned there?

Even at two

It seems we have our answer.

Both Harper and Henry

Love being outside

Constantly wanting to check in on

Sally the salamander.

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Who lives in the valve box

Of the park’s sprinkling system.

Or helping with Jojo’s “work”

In the yard.

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Henry seems especially interested.

So perhaps it’s both.

Being born into a family

With dirt under their fingernails

On both sides.

Carrying the name of family members.

And watching their parents

Love and appreciate nature

And the gifts that God has given us all.

Gail

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I’m home from vacation now and will get back to regular gardening stories soon.

Thanks for indulging m

 

 

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Filed under cleome, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Gloriosa Daisy, Grandchildren, Uncategorized

Marry a Carpenter

I think I’ve written before

About the great match of

A carpenter married to a gardener.

Over the years John has built

Fences and gates and arbors and potting benches

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And much more

Basically he’s handy – very handy.

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A few years back he built this screen

To help hide the back of the garden.

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You know

That place where you store things

Old broken pots

Millions of flats and plastic pots

That you haven’t gotten around to recycling.

Old hoses

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And whatever else you haven’t found a permanent home for.

This “hidey hole” has another side.

It’s where I park my double bin compost tumbler.

I literally wore one out last fall.

It’s taken us this long to get it replaced.

And John decided this time it needed a screen

So he built it.

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Nothing much has ever grown in the space

Opposite the compost tumbler.

So we talked about repeating

The plants that have done well

In the shade of the cedar tree

On the other side of the garden

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John planted Yews that will spread to create a backdrop

More Oak Leaf Hydrangea

And a passalong Hosta.

The largest I’ve ever seen

Which John divided into four large Hosta.

Who knows how big they will get.

 

I’ve also added two “Incrediball Hydrangea”.

They are pretty sad right now,

But since they are related to

Those wonderful Annabelle hydrangea

I’m hoping they’ll thrive like their cousins.

 

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All of this joined existing Hellebores and Ferns.

This fall

I’ll extend the brick path

And sprinkle in a few spring flowering perennials

To complete the space.

Thank you John for hours of hard work

In this hotter than usual summer.

This all started with the death of the old compost tumbler.

I was sad to lose my rusted out old friend.

You just never know what will grow

Out of loss.

Enjoy the week,

Gail

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Filed under Compost, Garden Planning, Gardening, Hellebores, Hosta, Hydrangea, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Uncategorized