Category Archives: Gardening;Perennials

FREEZE TEASE

It happens almost every year

About this time.

A predicted freeze

That doesn’t materialize.

Most years

I’m ready for a freeze.

But not this year.

I want to hold on

For a few more weeks.

Enjoying the last of the Dahlias.

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And making a few more arrangements.

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I like the rhythm of fall.

Shorter days.

Cooler temperatures.

A little more time to linger

In the garden.

This weekend

I’ve watched a spider

Spin and re-spin

It’s intricate web

Outside my kitchen window.

(Which explains the poor quality of the picture.)

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You have to admire

The ambitious little spider

Who works all day creating this miracle

That glistens in the sunlight.

Only to have someone

Or something

Walk into it

And do damage.

Yet when I wake up the next morning

There it is

Put back together.

Perseverance.

It’s one of the great lessons of nature.

Gail

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there someday.”

A.A. Milne,   “Winnie-the-Pooh”

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Filed under Bouquets, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Flower Arrangements, Gardening;Perennials, Perennials, Uncategorized

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

SIMPLE DELIGHTS

Late summer provides a bit of a respite

From the heavy work of a perennial garden.

Sure there is still deadheading

To keep the blooms coming

And weeds to be pulled.

But my garden is in that “in-between” time.

It’s a bit early to start digging things up

And moving them around.

Something I love doing.

So late last week

When my friend Beth

Reminded me that

“the simplicity of a water drop on a petal

Can delight our inner self”

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It helped me to slow down

And look for that simplicity.

Tonight when I was making a little arrangement

For the breakfast room

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And a praying mantis popped out.

It was shear delight.

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I quickly relocated it to the garden.

Then as I moved the arrangement to the table

Another appeared.

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What are the chances of having two praying mantis

In the same arrangement?

Pretty slim I’d say.

It reminded me of the moment last spring

When all the babies hatched.

I was lucky enough to happen to walk by

At this moment.

 

A few weeks later

Nature repeated itself for Harper & Henry

When they found their own delight.

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Finding delight in simplicity.

Thanks for the reminder, Beth.

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Bugs, Children in the Garden, cockscomb, Dead Heading, Flower Arrangements, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Grandchildren, Perennials, Praying Mantis, Uncategorized

DOG DAYS ARRANGING

Since I garden in the southern great plains

There are things I’ve come to expect

In late summer.

Grasshoppers come to mind.

 

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Photo credit Debra Mitchell

Humidity is definitely a factor.

And it is often accompanied

By heat.

As I look out onto my garden.

I almost feel like I need to apologize

To the brave plants

Basking in the heat of the day.

Yet, some plants seem to not just survive

But thrive.

I can’t take credit for too much planning

But I do know I want cutting flowers

All through the growing season.

So there is some intentionality

To my methods.

And as a result.

When I went to cut for my Sunday church bouquets

I was pleased to find plenty to pick.

So how does this work?

If there’s a star in my garden

All season long

It has to be Annabelle Hydrangea.

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I have a hedge of five planted at the east end.

They have bloomed since late May.

Starting with fluffy white blooms

And maturing to the lime green that I love

Since it goes so well with many other flowers.

I’ve cut them all season

And they still have lots to give.

That’s why I’ve added them to the corners of my garden house.

And last fall in a front bed.

I even wanted a hedge of them in front of our new fence

But lost out to John’s desire for more Crepe Myrtle.

The next jewel of late summer arrangements

Is tall garden phlox.

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If you cut it back in the spring

The blooms will be delayed until early July here

And they will still be going strong in August.

These two flowers alone

With their big blousey blooms

Are a great foundation for arrangements

Large and small.

Cleome is another gift this time of year.

It’s a funky flower that brings interest to both the garden

And arrangements.

CLEOME OR SPIDER FLOWER  - FULL SUN - 3 ' - 4'  - SELF SEEDING ANNUAL

Cockscomb is just beginning to come into it’s own.

So start cutting and don’t stop

Or you’ll have a cockscomb only garden before you know it!

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Now fill in with some blues and purples in the Veronica family

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Add Zinnias

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Maxmillion Sunflowers

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And Dahias.

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And you have a “Dog Days” arrangement

That will make you smile each time you pass by.

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Like much in life

I can’t change the heat of August

But I can find joy in the blossoms

It produces.

Take care,

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Flower Arrangements, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Maximillian Sunflower, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia

IT’S BUGGY OUT THERE

There’s a wonderful benefit

When the heat of summer hits.

And last week

The heat hit crazy hard.

Fortunately so did the bugs.

I love watching bugs in my garden

But I think of that as a late summer

Or fall activity.

This year

They seem to have come early.

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Starting a few weeks back

I’ve been seeing

Baby Orb spiders.

Caterpillars

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And baby praying mantis

Everywhere.

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I don’t know

If their early arrival

Is a good thing

Or a bad thing.

I do know it’s

It fun.

It also means

As I continue to weed and deadhead

That I have to make sure

I’m not composting

Any baby bugs.

Yikes!

Wouldn’t want to do that.

So I’ve been careful to relocate

Anything I might displace.

This morning I was treated

To “nectar harvest”

Among the Phlox.

I grabbed my nifty

Iphone telephoto add-on lens

And stood patiently

On the edge of a patch of Phlox.

I was rewarded with a visit

From this butterfly

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Flitting around the Phlox

And then it’s friend

The Hummingbird Moth

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Joined in the feast.

I was reminded of the many things

I’ve learned from my garden

And not just about gardening.

Patience

The power of observation.

The value of diversity.

It’s all there

Just waiting to be

Discovered.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Bumble Bee, Butterflies, Compost, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hummingbird Moth, late summer garden, Nature, Praying Mantis, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized

CALLA LILIES

Calla Lilies have long been a favorite of mine.

There is something about their simple elegance

 

That draws me in.

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They remind me somehow of Audrey Hepburn

Elegant

Graceful

Spunky.

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I didn’t even try them in my garden

For the longest time.

The catalogs said they weren’t hardy

In my zone.

And I steer away from anything

That has to be dug in the fall.

It’s all I can do to get everything buried

Come fall

Let alone start digging things up.

But several years ago I decided

To give it a try.

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After all in my gardening lifetime

I’ve gone from a zone 6

To 6b

And now we are Zone 7.

Not good news for the planet for sure.

But it has meant that I can leave more things

In the ground come time for a freeze

Amaryllis

Dahlias

And now Calla Lilies

Seem to survive our winters.

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The first few years

Were mostly foliage.

Which is fun

Since their foliage

Is speckled

Like a child’s freckled nose.

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Then I began to get a few flowers.

Which I have loved

But seldom cut.

Cut flowers don’t last as long

As when they are still connected

To their mother plant.

So I’ve just loved them in the garden

Rather than in a vase.

Then came this year.

All the patches of Callas I’ve spread

Throughout the shady parts of my garden

Over the years

Have bloomed.

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One plant has bloomed out of it’s mind

NINE blooms so far.

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I’m still not cutting any.

I just like them in their natural state.

Some things simply like to be

Left alone.

I have days like that!

Gail

I’m an introvert… I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.

Audrey Hepburn

 

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FIREWORKS

There are some plants

That simply light up my garden.

Spring brings us soft pastels

While falls favors

Rich jewel tones.

But summer has different ideas.

Hot days bring hot colors.

They need to be bright

To show up in all this sunshine.

Phlox is shining this week.

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We were gone last week

Returning last night

To the bright light patches

Of tall garden phlox.

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It’s an old garden plant

That I love.

The bees love it too.

With its open face

It provides nectar

For all kinds of buzzing things.

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It’s also a wonderful cutting flower

Just a few blooms

Fill in any arrangement.

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It does spread

But not too fast.

I’ve dug quite a bit this year

Sharing it with friends

And transporting some

To that Rocky Mountain garden.

But there is still plenty here.

Another of its fine qualities

Is that it tolerates sun

And partial shade.

And it plays well with others.

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In my book

It’s a keeper!

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bees, Bouquets, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized

HOLLYHOCK HOTEL

Saturday morning was

Cool, crisp and cloudy.

A very lovely way

To begin summer.

We got 3/4″ of rain last night.

What a blessing!

As I headed into the garden

I saw that last night’s rain

Had knocked down

That crazy pink Hollyhock

That’s insists on living

At the front of the garden.

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When I started righting it

I noticed that almost every bloom

Had a sleeping bumble bee inside.

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They were all sleeping in

Which allowed me the chance

To whip out my cell phone

Plus my handy little macro lens

And seriously invade their privacy.

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The only way I would get this close

Is if the bees are sleeping.

In other words

You may not want to try this at home!

I could even see one breathing

So I’ve included a short video

Of a breathing bee

With birds providing the background music.

Such fun.

When the clouds cleared

And the sun began to shine

The bees began to stretch and yawn

And eventually fly on to

Pick up breakfast.

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I headed on for a day of weeding.

We were both happy.

Looking forward

To a productive Saturday

In my garden.

With the sun going down

Behind the garden house

I walked by the hollyhock.

Looks like everyone’s tucked in

For the night.

Gail

P.S.  Thank you to all who responded to my blog post about my depression.  Many of you openly told your own story.  Those ripples in the pond will help countless people.  Please keep talking about your experience and listening to those who are hurting now.

 

 

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Filed under Bees, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Uncategorized