Category Archives: Hellebores

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

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

ARRANGING THINGS

It’s the height of summer here.

Endless sunny days.

And because we had all those wonderful

Badly needed rainy days.

The humidity is back

Big-time.

So what’s a gardener to do.

This time of the year is basically for maintenance.

Deadheading and weeding and watering are the order of most days.

I love it because it can all be done in little snippets of time.

But there is one more activity for high summer.

Flower arranging.

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For some reason I don’t bring a lot of flowers into my house.

I have a few here and there

But mostly we enjoy them from the inside of the house

Or on the morning garden walk.

So it’s great fun

When I have a reason to make flower arrangements.

Friday night was just such a reason.

We were one of several host couples

For a shower for our minister Andrew

And his bride to be Katie.

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Now it’s too hot to have the party in my garden

So it was held at a local lodge.

Decades ago it was part of an amusement park

And has been lovingly restored.

So along with chamber music

Yummy food

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Including crab claws In honor of Andrew’s Maryland roots

Family from home

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Church members

And local friends

We needed flower arrangements

And lots of them – 26 to be exact.

First order of business

Find 26 vases.

I’m embarrassed to say that 25 of them

Were alive and well living in my garden house!

The schedule went like this.

Weekend before dig out all the vases

And wash them

Tuesday the vases were taped with cross hatch pattern

To hold the flowers in place.

It was also the day to cut Euonymous.

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And Hydrangeas.

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They last for days if you sear the end as soon as you cut it

And let them rest in buckets of water up to their necks.

Wednesday morning Linda came to help with the harvest.

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We cut buckets of Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Dahlia & Dusty Miller

We added bits of White Balloon Flower, Veronica Spicata, Hellebore leaves and blooms.

Linda and Virginia each cut a bucket of Zinnias – one fuchsia and one pale pink.

I even used the blooms on the radishes that should have been pulled long ago.

Wednesday night the arranging began.

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Linda, David, Mary and Gay came on Friday morning to complete the arranging

And haul it all to the lodge.

It takes a village!

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Friday was a warm evening.

Not just the temperature.

But the people, the place and the occasion.

There’s something wonderful about small towns.

When I looked around the room

There were people I had known for decades.

We have raised our children together.

We have buried our parents together.

We have thrown a million wedding and baby showers together.

We have welcomed newcomers together.

Those newcomers have become new friends.

What is there to do in a garden

In the mid- summer heat?

Share it.

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Photo Credit David Meara

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Bridal Showers, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Euonymus, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Radishes, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Vases, Veronica Spicata, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia

FAITH

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It happens every year.

When I finally get winter’s blanket of leaves removed

I wonder where everything has gone.

Sure the early blooming show offs are visible

The Iris and Peonies.

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And Larkspur sprouts are everywhere.

But right now I’m wondering why is there so much dirt showing.

And what is lying in wait beneath?

My friend Suellen used to call every spring

To tell me that everything had died over the winter.

Then…she’d call back in a week

Saying it’s OK.

And we would have a good laugh

Remembering the same conversation from the year before.

Faith

It’s as important to gardening as fertilizer, healthy soil and water.

It’s the belief that a tiny green frond

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Will unfurl into a gorgeous fern.

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That the precious buds on my Japanese Tree Peony

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Will soon take my breath away.

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That come June

These few leaves at the bottom of what looks like a stick plant

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Will give astonishing blooms.

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The robins have returned.

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Lady bugs and honey bees abound

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Peg is on her never-ending bunny search

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And the Hellebores are blooming their hearts out.

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It must be spring.

Faith

All we need to do is trust

And believe.

And as my friend Jerry used to say

Do the best we can…

God will take care of the rest.

Take time to breathe it all in.

Gail

 

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Filed under Bugs, Ferns, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Grape Hyacinths, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Lady Bugs, Larkspur, Peonies, Perennials, Redbud Trees, Violets

Easter Egg Hunt

I love gardens

And children

So it is with great joy

that once again we hosted

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The 1st Presbyterian Church Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.

My friend Kay is my partner for this.

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She gives her considerable talent, creativity, energy and education

To the children of our church each week.

She does the lion share of the work for this event

Along with other talented friends.

Four generations of friends, neighbors and church members gather for the fun.

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When you think of it, what better place for an Easter event

Than in a garden.

But you may recall I was concerned that because Easter is so early this year

That my garden wouldn’t “look good”.

The grass was not picture perfect green.

Actually it’s mostly brown and still crispy.

Just a few things are blooming

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Forsythia, hellebore, pansies and violas

And plants are just emerging from their winter’s sleep.

When will I ever learn that I am not in charge here!

God has it covered…every time.

God…and Kay

She had many activities and stories.

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All of which told the story of Easter

Resurrection and new birth

From the live grass for the Easter baskets

Planted a month ago during Sunday School

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To the annual Lady Bug release

(Aphids don’t stand a chance in this garden)

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To enacting butterflies emerging from their cocoon

(A card table covered with a brown cloth)

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Learning about and experiencing nature

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Taking flight.

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Is there a better way to spend a glorious spring Saturday

Than to create memories for children and adults

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To experience nature

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And God

What a gift.

Happy Easter,

Gail

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Filed under Butterflies, Easter Baskets, Easter Egg Hunt, Forsythia, Hellebores, Lady Bugs, Uncategorized, Violets

ANTICIPATION

Remember that old ketchup commercial?

An upside down bottle

Cap off

Carole King singing “Anticipation” in the background.

But the ketchup just wouldn’t come out.

This spring  feels like that ketchup.

It just can’t get started.

And so we awoke this Palm Sunday morning

To yet another snow.

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After all it is still  March!

But I’m just a little anxious.

The fact that I’m having the church Easter Egg hunt next weekend

And my yard hasn’t even been scalped

Is driving me just a bit!

So today I did a little “snow gardening”

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Yes, it was cold.

And windy.

But after putting on tights, pants, sock liners, socks, boots, wool sweater, coat, glove liners, gloves & ear muffs

Combined with sunshine and a wind block.

It was pretty toasty out.

Smiling violas kept me company

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Just waiting for companion tulips to appear

The leaves were wet with snow

But they rack up just like dry ones.

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And there is life beneath.

The hope of spring

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Of garden days to come.

Of blooms to breath in

And share

Of life!

Sunshine’s on it’s way.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Easter Egg Hunt, Forsythia, Hellebores, Rake, spring, Uncategorized, Viola, Winter Garden

Garden Travels

It’s finally here…Spring!

Officially on Wednesday.

It’s just a bit soon here to begin digging.

You can start cutting back all that brown dead stuff

And racking back that protective coat of leaves.

But instead of standing at the window

Staring into the backyard

Wringing my clean hands

I’ve been lucky this past month

And gotten to visit not one,

But two glorious botanical gardens.

About 3 weeks ago Virginia, Debra and I

Spent an afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden.

I’m not really a desert person – Virginia is

It was after all a garden, so I was happy to tag along.

So glad I did.

There was a bit of Chihuly glass.

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If you don’t know Chihuly glass

Get to know it

It’s art…beyond belief.

Butterflies were another draw for me.

A butterfly pavilion had been added for the next few months.

Being in a small enclosed space with hundred of butterflies.

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Or…flutterbyes as I like to call them.

Is…well…like having God doing a fly by.

Really low!

Now, I’m not someone who travels a great deal.

Quite the opposite.

I love being home.

Somehow just two weeks later John and I were heading to Dallas

It was warm and sunny while we were there.

Yesterday on our way out of town we visited Dallas Blooms.

And bloom it does!

The Dallas Arboretum was lit up with no less than

500,00 spring flowering bulbs.

Bed after bed of daffodils and tulips.

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Underplanted with violas of every combination.

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Pots of Ranunculus

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Shouting “It’s Spring”

Planter boxes with the tallest ornamental cabbage known to man.

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We were in Texas after all

Brides taking their wedding portraits amongst the glory of it all.

And many princesses complete with crowns, gowns and velvet couches!

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There’s a tradition there I need to explore.

Then there were these two darling boys.

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Who I was certain had found a lady bug

or caterpillar

or some wonder of nature

Because they had turned their backs on this breathtaking beauty.

Look closely

It’s an iPad!

Somehow I kept from screaming at them.

It’s starting here.

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Hellebores are always first.

Patches of daffodils are beginning to bloom

Next will come forsythia and flowering pear trees

Then the big parade begins

I can’t wait

I’m just grateful for such a splendid preview.

Take in a little spring this week.

Gail

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Filed under Butterflies, Daffodils, Forsythia, Hellebores, Ornamental Cabbage, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Viola