Category Archives: Gardening

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.”

IMG_5569

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.

DSCN7028

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

IMG_0988

He’s grown into quite a capable gardener

Growing vegetables for their family

And flowers for Kristina to arrange

And share with friends.

IMG_5125

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

5

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.

IMG_5649

Who lives in the valve box

Of the park’s sprinkling system.

Or helping with Jojo’s “work”

In the yard.

IMG_5585

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

IMG_1041

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

Thanks for indulging m

 

 

2 Comments

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And much more

Basically he’s handy – very handy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A few years back he built this screen

To help hide the back of the garden.

IMG_0108

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

IMG_0116

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.

IMG_0107

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

DSCN7068

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.

 

IMG_0111

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

Leave a comment

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

FREE RANGE OR HOVER MOTHER

Recently I had the great joy

Of helping to care for my grandchildren.

In my case that’s twin 22 month-olds

Harper and Henry.

IMG_5026

Or as I sometimes call them H2W.

They are as you would expect

Perpetual motion

Times 2.

So their parents wisely

Planned a few activities in advance.

On Tuesday morning

We headed to the Denver Botanical Garden

For a class on Sunflowers

Designed for 18 – 24 month-olds.

The room was all set up for the class.

An oval rug for sunflower story-time.

Toddler sized table and chairs for the 2 dozen or so participants

Which included 3 sets of twins.

IMG_4993

And a row of adult sized chairs along the perimeter.

Henry and Harper found a chair and settled in

For whatever was to come

IMG_5001

Kristina and I found a chair in the adult section.

When the sunflower art session started

We realized we were the only adults

Not hovering above their child.

IMG_4990

Now, I’ve heard the phrase “hover-mother”

But I’d never seen it in action.

Folks, it’s real.

Where Henry and Harper created abstract masterpieces.

IMG_5003

Other’s somehow formed perfect rows

Of perfect sunflowers.

It made me think of my garden

Am I a “hover-mother” gardener?

I love to putter around my flowers.

Deadheading – staking things,

Moving plants to what I think is a better location.

When I got home I realized that I’m likely

More free-range.

What with that crazy hollyhock having returned

To the front of the garden.

DSCN6902

Not to mention Larkspur run a muck.

DSCN6897

Later in my visit

The weather warmed up enough

For us to play outside.

Elliott provided plenty of water.

For Harper and Henry to play in.

IMG_5154

They were generous.

A little on the plants

A little on their grandfather’s shoes.

IMG_5157

 

And eventually a little on each other.

Parenting styles seem to be like gardening styles.

Some of us need to be all hands on all the time

While others step back and let nature be

What nature can be.

I’m thankful we seem to be

A free-range family.

Gail

IMG_5039

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Children in the Garden, Gardening, Grandchildren, Gratitude, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Sunflowers, Uncategorized

LIVING ON THE EDGE

Planting home vegetable gardens

Is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

I think it’s great.

Especially if home gardeners

Share their abundance with a local food pantry.

10920950_419699834851340_2860742791622277861_n

But for some reason

I haven’t been able to convert even a section

Of my perennial border

Solely to vegetables.

I convince myself this is OK

Since my abundance of flowers

Supply the nectar

For hundreds of bees.

DSCN0784

I’m thinking they are pollinating

Vegetable plants all around town.

I also consider flowers

“Food for the soul.”

But the truth is I’m not that great at growing veggies.

This season alone

I’ve gotten a total of 5 tomatoes from 3 plants

One of which has now been eaten

IMG_2638

By a tomato hornworm

May he rest in peace.

DSCN6099

And something ate my three brussel sprouts plants

I am good at leafy greens.

Leaf lettuce and arugula are my favorites.

I can also grow radishes galore.

DSCN4814

So I’m doing my bit for the local food movement

Planting the edges of my garden.

IMG_2632

And a pot here and there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have a hard time remembering

When it’s time to plant things.

So last winter I took the local Extension Service calendar

And input it into my personal google calendar.

Which means when it’s time to plant something.

It pops up on my calendar.

Now I remember it’s OK to plant my fall garden

In August.

Last weekend I cleaned out the spaces

Where there were weeds

And sprinkled seeds for

Carrots, radishes, arugula and lettuce.

They I planted peas around the dahlia cages.

IMG_2622

It’s not the vegetable garden of my parents

With neat rows and room for towering corn plants.

But it works for me.

Fitting in things along the edges.

Finding the time and place to grow the things

I really want.

And not trying to force myself

To fit it into a standard mold.

Life changes with time

Finding the time and place

For those changes

Can be challenging.

When we figure out how to do it.

It’s wonderful.

Gail

IMG_2579

1 Comment

Filed under Arugula, Bees, Brussels Sprouts, Bugs, Carrots, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, late summer garden, Lettuce, Radishes, Seeds, sugar snap peas, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables

FAMILY VOLUNTEERING DAY V.2

DSCN5419

Yesterday was time for fall clean up

At Faith Farm.

It’s been an astounding first year of

“Gardening for Good”.

We will soon surpass 3,000 pounds of fresh organic produce

DSCN5435

Grown for Loaves & Fishes

And given to our hungry clients each week.

Freshly picked, organic produce

Given to people who otherwise might not have food on the table.

Week after week, Charity and a small group of volunteers

Have harvested literal 1 1/2 tons of food.

DSCN5438

And it’s a good thing

Since July was the busiest month ever at L & F

Serving 954 households…YIKES!

But we want to do more

With the space we have.

So yesterday we began a simple transition

From less ornamentals

DSCN5432

To more raised beds.

DSCN5434-001

We moved some from L & F

Over to Faith Farm

And set them in place

With the help of Jim

DSCN5429

Our perennial volunteer

And a couple of friends from the Air Force base.

DSCN5433-001

We were also joined by a group of young women

From the 2020 club at Chisholm Middle School

DSCN5428

They’ll graduate in the year 2020

Which gives us lots of time to train them

As gardeners.

DSCN5439

They have great potential

Because even a big ole tomato horn worm

Didn’t scare them.

Instead they were fascinated.

Gotta love girls who likes bugs!

DSCN5425

They were all great help

DSCN5426

So I hope they’ll be back

Another day

For another installment

Of this great adventure.

Feeding the hungry

Fresh, organic vegetables

And lots of love.

Gail

Leave a comment

Filed under Bugs, Community Garden, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Lettuce, Raised Beds, Uncategorized, Vegetables

PUSHING TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE

DSCN4575

There’s a theory when designing a perennial border

That plants should be placed according to their height.

Short in the front

Tall in the back.

Kind of like the order of an elementary class picture.

And orderly it is

Or would be

If everyone stayed put.

But over time

Things seem to move around.

I rely on several self seeding annuals

To fill in between the perennials, flowering shrubs and roses.

DSCN4504

So over the years the number of plants increase

As do the seeds they produce

And the more disorganized it all becomes.

This has been going on for a while now

But this year

It’s as if everyone has run out of patience

And pushed to the front of the line.

Especially my lovely pink Hollyhock.

DSCN4486

The seeds came from Patti when she lived next door.

The number has sadly reduced over the years.

This year I only have one good stand.

Right on the front edge of the garden.

DSCN4498

Tall

Stately

And totally in the wrong place.

Now, in case you don’t know Hollyhocks

They don’t transplant

Because they have a tap-root.

So, where they sprout

Is where they stay.

The other major offender of front to back order

Is Larkspur.

DSCN4528

Lately it seems to want to sprout

Along the edge of every path.

Then it lays down on the path

It has totally covered the Stella d Ora

I thought I was edging my garden in

All those years ago.

DSCN4529

So, exactly how am I to restore “order”

To the front of this border.

Simple

I don’t

I surrender.

My garden has very deep beds

For that reason I’ve made brick paths

To divide it into manageable pieces

Giving me a place to walk

And keeping me from compacting the soil.

But it also gives me a logical path for wondering.

And wondering is something I love to do

Because often I

Wander as I wonder.

Gail

DSCN0958

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Larkspur, patience, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Stella d Ora Daylily

GARDEN QUESTIONS

Blogging is a curious adventure.

Some weeks ideas pop into my mind

All week-long.

Other weeks

Like this one

The mind is a void.

Not an idea at all.

So with the clock ticking away

On this Sunday evening.

I simply went into the garden

Breezy evening that it is

And clicked away.

Like any garden stroll

Questions arise.

So tonight

We’ll just do a little review

Of what’s blooming.

And ask a few questions

That popped into my mind.

The roses continue to bloom

And thrill my soul.

The staples in my garden

Are Katy Road Pink

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And Belinda’s Dream.

DSCN0044

But this week

Some new and old friends

Have been making me smile.

In my quest to add yellow roses

Sorry Daddy (he disliked yellow roses)

Julia Child is happily blooming away.

DSCN4147

Then two that I dug and brought

From my old garden

Are the best they have ever been.

If only I knew their name.

DSCN4145.

It’s poppy season here.

And the rosy red ones that dot my garden

DSCN4169

Remind me of my neighbor Patti

And the fun we had gardening

Back and forth over the fence

That attempted to divide our yards.

I can’t look at a poppy or a lady bug

Without smiling and remembering Patti.

Now for the questions

What’s the deal with the Redbud trees?

The are loaded

No, over loaded with seed pods.

DSCN4163

So much so that the branches are

Hanging even lower than usual.

It seems to be a good year for seed pods

Not only Redbuds

But the Silver Leaf Maple has produced

Enough “helicopters” to replant

The southern plains.

So…did you ever wonder

Why columbine has these funny little

Spear like things coming off

The back of the bloom?

DSCN4184

I’m not sure I really want to know the answer

To my questions.

You see

I love the mystery.

Of nature

And of life.

Gail

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbine, Gardening, Redbud Trees, roses, spring

PERENNIAL PLACES

At some point early in my gardening days

I decided on a perennial garden.

My memory is it grew out of my desire to have flowers to cut.

My friend Sally passed along some Gloriosa Daisies

The morning the backhoe showed up in her garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was off to a good start.

Over the ensuing decades I’ve bought,

Been given, planted, nurtured and killed

More plants that I care, or would want to count.

I’ve had two big perennial gardens

With a borrowed temporary garden in between.

Yet, every year this time I’m amazed with what I see

In my own backyard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s the rhythm of life

Played out in a growing season.

It is life

With all of its surprises and disappointments

Joys and sadness.

This has been a week

That has reminded me

Of my life chosen to live

In this “perennial place”.

In the span of a few days

I’ve watched my garden

Go from dying back tulips

DSCN3994

To the first blooms of Iris

DSCN0890

And Peonies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With lots of buds coming soon.

Life beyond the garden

Brought this delightful note

From the lady who delivers our morning paper.

DSCN3895

A few curves thrown my way

And friends who have decided the time has come to retire

Yet struggle with that decision.

I was blessed with surprise May Day flowers

Delivered by charming little girls

And their caring mothers.

DSCN3880

The week ended appropriately

With the hope of the next generation.

A garden baby shower for Megan & JP

And their baby boy to come this fall.

DSCN3944

The new week began this morning

With communion

In a place where I have worshipped

For over 40 years

With people I’ve known a few months

And others many decades.

IMG_1179

Perennial places.

They give us roots

To grow and blossom.

Deep roots to keep us upright

When the winds blow and bend us.

Deep roots to strengthen us.

Deep roots to grow branches

That encircles our lives

Individually and together.

Gail

DSCN3952

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Baby Showers, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Peonies, tulips

EMERGING HOPE

DSCN3451

The last  few weeks I’ve spent removing the blanket of leaves from my garden.

It’s a tedious but necessary task.

Last fall John mowed up the leaves from the yard

And dumped them on my garden.

It’s a natural way to protect the garden from winter.

I’m grateful he took the time to chop and distribute all those leaves.

DSCN3426

But once spring begins.

It’s time to remove the blanket

And let the sunshine in.

This is not a quick haphazard job.

It needs to be done carefully

To protect the tender shoots

Emerging from their winter’s sleep.

The new life that is sprouting forth.

DSCN3434

As a result I spend hours on the ground

At eye level

Observing miracle after miracle.

DSCN3430

Nurturing the garden

And my soul.

DSCN3433

Each spring I am in awe of this process.

What may look like a garden of dirt one week

Will quickly begin to unfurl

With hope.

And hope does not disappoint us.

Gail

DSCN3447

Leave a comment

Filed under Ferns, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hosta, Peonies, spring, Spring Clean Up, Timing, Winter Garden

PASSIONS COLLIDING

DSCN3395

Yesterday began with a long list

And a few hardy souls.

It was the first spring clean up day

At Faith Farm.

DSCN3393

Over the winter two of my passions collided.

Feeding hungry people and gardening.

Hope Outreach, another local non-profit

Had built a wonderful garden about 8 years ago.

Recently they decided that they needed to find someone else to operate it.

Fortunately, that word got to Loaves & Fishes

And as of the 1st of the year

Faith Farm became a production and teaching garden of Loaves & Fishes.

Imagine a place where we can grow vegetables

Pick them in the morning

And give them to pantry clients in the afternoon.

Fresh organic produce in the hands and tummies

Of those least likely to get have access to fresh organic produce.

You gotta love a deal like that!

 

But remember we run Loaves & Fishes on a shoestring

With 99% volunteers. 

Faith Farm will be the same

One paid employee

A passionate, knowledgable gardener named Charity

10170813_1436690673241612_1959272570_n

And lots of volunteers.

But where will they come from

We had maybe four people who worked the beds at L & F last year

But we need legions of volunteers to pull this one off.

So it was yesterday morning that we planned our first volunteer work day.

We spread the word and hoped for 10 maybe 12 people.

Bit by bit we stumbled into the crisp morning air.

DSCN3390

And began to attack Charity’s very ambitious list.

People kept showing up.

Mostly middle school kids.

4 – H boys

DSCN3397

honor society members & cheerleaders

IMG_2495

grandchildren

DSCN3394

kids

10168005_1436703949906951_1125695028_n

21 in all

We chatted and worked and experienced new things.

A few early spears of asparagus right out of the ground

Made a first time fun mid morning snack.

The sun and the sight of it all warmed my heart.

We are meeting our mission from the beginning.

10155357_1436703879906958_1782354085_n

Growing healthy vegetables and showing others how to do the same.

Then there’s the added joy of community.

Bringing all kinds of people to a new place

DSCN3401

Having fun, learning

And helping others.

Saturdays don’t get much better than that!

Gail

Your next chance to help at Faith Farm  and Loaves & Fishes is Saturday April 12 during Family Volunteer Day.

Sign up by April 2nd and you’ll get a free t-shirt and lunch courtesy of the sponsor 1st Presbyterian Church. 

Call 580-540-9830 to join in the fun.  Or message Jennifer on our Facebook page Loaves & Fishes – NW Oklahoma

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Community Garden, Gardening, Gratitude, Hunger, Raised Beds, Spring Clean Up