Category Archives: Gardening;Perennials

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

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

CLAIRE AND CONSTANCE

On Wednesday we traveled to Vargeneville sur la Mer

On the Normandy Coast

To visit the Mallet sisters

Claire and Constance

And their homes and gardens.

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Claire lives on the family estate

Le Bois de Moutiers

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Built by her ancestors

One of whom was a Haviland.

As in china.

Gardens and china.

I’m in double heaven.

It was designed by the then young British architect

Edwin Lutyens in the Arts & Crafts style.

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It’s a splendid house

A home really.

Unlike many period homes I’ve toured

This one was inviting

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Full of life and light

Streaming into the house

Through large and plentiful windows

And back out with a view of the forest

Leading to the sea.

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The grounds and the gardens

Were designed by Lutyens and the owner Guillaume Mallet

In conjunction with Gertrude Jekyll

The renowned English garden designer

Who brought us the perennial border

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And a more relaxed feel to gardens

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The garden is walled

And divided

With crisp clipped yew hedges.

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There are sweeping perennial borders

Doing what they do best.

Amaze and inspire.

Claire is tall and stately

And ever so gracious

Walking the garden with us

Pruners in hand

Snipping away as she goes.

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She reminds me of my friend Nancy

Elegant

Full of grace.

She tells us the stories of how the home and garden

Came to be.

Of the war years when it was occupied.

Of the art

And family treasures

That have been sold

To help pay for the upkeep of the estate.

When my family was struggling with

What to do with the family farm

Hers was having the same conversation

On another continent.

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From Claire’s home

We traveled to see Constance.

At 85 she gardens 4 -5 hours a day.

I like this lady.

She is shorter

More casual

And fun.

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Her garden reflects her personality

Less formal

Wild in areas

 

And on a smaller scale.

Widowed for 20 years

With both children living abroad

Most of the year

You might think she is alone.

But something tells me

People are drawn to her.

Kristina was.

Constance reminded her

Of  her own spunky grandmother.

They had a long visit

Including a tour of her home

Which is much smaller

More intimate.

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She told Kristina

Her garden was inspired by Gertrude Jekyll

Since she was a friend of her parents

And grandparents.

“She was in the milk of my bottle.”

Constance drank her in

In a sense.

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Gardening is a common bond

Through generations

And across continents.

Gail

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”
Gertrude Jekyll

http://www.boisdesmoutiers.com/index.php

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Garden Planning, Gardening;Perennials, Generations, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Perennials, Pruners, Uncategorized, Wise Women

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.

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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.

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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

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By a tomato hornworm

May he rest in peace.

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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.

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

Planting the edges of my garden.

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And a pot here and there.

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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.

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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

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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

A SIMPLE DAY

Yesterday dawned cool and cloudy.

Rain had been predicted for the day

But it didn’t materialize

And so we had a simple Saturday.

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My maiden voyage as a grandmother

Meant that my garden

Was completely ignored

For the last half of August. 

Abandoning my garden for grandchildren

Is a no brainer.

But it does mean that the garden

Is well….overgrown

It needs serious deadheading

As well as a clean sweep of weeding. 

But instead of going head long into the garden

I was more in a meandering mood.

So I slowed down  

And worked at a more relaxed pace.

Along the way

I ran across a few late summer friends.

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Orb spiders are making there return

After a year’s absence.

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The count in the back is up to 3.

I’m thinking we should name them this year.

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They hang around for quite awhile

So it seems a naming is in order.

And the monarchs are beginning to migrate.

They love the zinnias that are just now coming into their own. 

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A late blooming Hollyhock

Kept a bumblebee happy for some time.

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And all the while

Coco kept watch

Over the garden.

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They joys of simplicity

They are ours for the taking.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Orb Spider, Perennials, Zinnia

A SIMPLE DAY

Yesterday dawned cool and cloudy.

Rain had been predicted for the day

But it didn’t materialize

And so we had a simple Saturday.

DSCN5005

My maiden voyage as a grandmother

Meant that my garden

Was completely ignored

For the last half of August. 

Abandoning my garden for grandchildren

Is a no brainer.

But it does mean that the garden

Is well….overgrown

It needs serious deadheading

As well as a clean sweep of weeding. 

But instead of going head long into the garden

I was more in a meandering mood.

So I slowed down  

And worked at a more relaxed pace.

Along the way

I ran across a few late summer friends.

DSCN5009

Orb spiders are making there return

After a year’s absence.

DSCN5079

The count in the back is up to 3.

I’m thinking we should name them this year.

DSCN5088

They hang around for quite awhile

So it seems a naming is in order.

And the monarchs are beginning to migrate.

They love the zinnias that are just now coming into their own. 

DSCN5097

A late blooming Hollyhock

Kept a bumblebee happy for some time.

DSCN5093

And all the while

Coco kept watch

Over the garden.

DSCN5107

They joys of simplicity

They are ours for the taking.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Orb Spider, Perennials, Zinnia

PUSHING TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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.

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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.

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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

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To the first blooms of Iris

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And Peonies.

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With lots of buds coming soon.

Life beyond the garden

Brought this delightful note

From the lady who delivers our morning paper.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

EMERGING HOPE

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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.

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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.

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As a result I spend hours on the ground

At eye level

Observing miracle after miracle.

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Nurturing the garden

And my soul.

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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

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

Arranging With A Purpose

You may not know but…

This is Rally Weekend

At least it is at my church.

That first weekend after Labor Day.

When people return to the pew.

It’s an unofficial new beginning

In many churches.

This year we also were re-dedicating

A room that has recently undergone a remodeling.

All of this required flowers

Lots and lots of flowers.

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So I spent Saturday morning

Arranging flowers

Something I love to do.

It all actually started on Friday night.

If you have the time

And remember

It’s best to cut flowers in the cool of the day.

Morning is the best

Evening will do.

Cut what you think you will need

And let them sit over night

In buckets of water.

Soaking up moisture from end to tip.

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If the stems are thick

Or woody

Make a slit in the bottom of the stem

To ensure they get a good drink.

Brunch was being served in the breezeway.

Which is basically a large open space.

That means a large arrangement is called for.

Luckily I have a big white vase

Just right for this space.

Big surprise!

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I also happen to have

Several other white vases

Two tall and narrow

And two low.

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All of which will do nicely.

Now I must confess that there is one flower

I have little to no luck growing.

Sunflowers

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Imagine that

I live on the prairie

Where they grow wild everywhere

But I can not get them to grow

In my own backyard.

So…because they are so wonderful

And absolutely say

Look at me

It’s fall.

I had to buy a few

To add to my own

Cockscomb

Dahlias

Phlox

Roses

Veronica

And Zinnias

Suddenly you have 8 fun fall arrangements.

Getting them to the church

Required the help of my friend Mary

Sitting in the back seat holding on.

And a second trip where

The flowered filled brass vases from the sanctuary

Were buckled into the backseat.

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Transportation is always interesting

And often truly comical.

I love doing this.

You never really know when you start

What you are creating.

It seems that each time I make arrangements

They turn out differently.

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But isn’t that what gardening is all about.

Enjoying the journey

Trusting the process

Having faith that it will be OK

That there is enough.

An abundance mentality.

Gail

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, cockscomb, Fall, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, late summer garden, Perennials, roses, Sunflowers, Tall Garden Phlox, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia