Category Archives: Hydrangea

THE GARDEN HOUSE IN WINTER

I mentioned last week

That I was ready for a rest

From the garden.

That is true.

It’s part of the rhythm of gardening.

But the real truth is it never really stops.

There are plants that I drag in

To carry over to spring.

This year its Plumbago

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And Foxtail Ferns

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That will require watering

And watching over.

And sweeping up of all those dropped leaves.

Then there’s the Christmas cactus

That Kristina gave me a few years back

That will be bursting into bloom soon.

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There are hydrangea drying

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And Cockscomb.

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Soon I’ll have Amaryllis to plant.

But it’s a slower pace inside.

A cozy place

To putter

To plan

To think

Even though I don’t really enjoy cold weather.

I do have to admit

There are parts of winter

I embrace.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gail

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Filed under Amaryllis, Christmas Cactus, cockscomb, Fall, Ferns, Garden House, Hydrangea, Plumbago, Uncategorized

WINDING DOWN

You may recall that spring was a bit late this year.

With four freezes continuing through the end of April.

We had a late start to the season.

That’s why I have reveled in this glorious fall.

Endless days of crisp air

And sunshine

And all this color.

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I knew it would eventually freeze.

But I am grateful for the “catch up” time

Mother Nature has given us.

Last week it did finally freeze.

Not a light frosting

But what we gardeners call

A “killing freeze”.

I did pick

Green tomatoes.

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The last batch of produce for Loaves & Fishes.

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The last roses of summer.

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And cosmos.

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And hydrangea.

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But a hard freeze is inevitable.

Necessary really.

We need things to die

So that we can clean up

And put our child to bed.

Mounding it all up to compost

So that we can return it to the earth.

But before I can even begin to think about all of that

I have to finish planting

ALL THESE BULBS!!!

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What was I thinking?

So on Saturday

I began.

Digging trenches

One section at a time

Along the path

Leading to the garden house.

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Then over planting

With Pansies.

Now I won’t bore you with the details

Since it’s the same process

We walked through

In the front

A few weeks ago.

But I will tell you

I’m glad to have it done.

It’s a big job

That needs a chunk of time.

Pulling up

Cockscomb, cosmos, tomatoes and peppers

Can be done in small snippets of time.

As is the case in most years

I was ready for the freeze.

To rest.

Gail

The last rose of summer.

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Cosmos, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Green Tomatoes, Hydrangea, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized

COLORS OF THE SEASON

We are experiencing the glory of the season.

An amazing fall.

Driving through the older neighborhoods

I am stunned by the breathtaking

Gold of plain old Elm trees.

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By Kelly’s mature Ginkgo tree.

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And the American Elm in front of the church.

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For years gold was our dominate fall color.

Some red was dotted here and there.

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But to get lots of red you had to head east

To the Talahina trail, or Arkansas or New England.

And since we are human we always want

What someone else has.

A few years back

The Men’s Garden Club made a subtle effort

Called “Plant the Town Red”.

They encouraged people to plant

Redbud for spring.

Red Crepe Myrtle for summer.

And varieties of Red Maple that are happy here for fall

Autumn Blaze and Autumn Glory.

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Or Chinese Pistache.

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We were replacing the dying elm trees in our front yard

And were happy to oblige.

In four years

This is the reddest they have been.

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So the question is

Are maple trees like Hydrangea?

Does their color depend on the soil chemistry?

Or is it a question of maturation.

Do they have to be a certain age before they are actually red?

Or could it have been

A mix-up in tagging

Somewhere along the way

Before it came to live at our house?

Only time will tell.

But this year it doesn’t really matter.

I’m drinking in the gold

As it sparkles in the sun.

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As it takes my breath away.

As it reminds me that the season is winding down.

And like every season of every year.

We are not in charge.

Red

Gold

It’s all glorious.

I was afraid I didn’t have enough pictures for this blog

So on the way to church this morning

I stopped to take a few more.

After snapping a picture or two

I heard someone talking to me.

“There’s a better one in the back.”

A young man yelled out his window.

“I took a picture of it a few days ago.”

He was right.

It’s glorious.

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So after a blustery Sunday.

Leaves cover the ground.

Apple pies are in the oven.

It must be fall

And one more certain sign.

Happy Birthday, John.

Gail

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Filed under Chinese Pistache Tree, Elm Trees, Fall, Gingko Tree, Hydrangea, Maple Trees, Redbud Trees, Uncategorized

A STATE OF HORTICULTURAL CONFUSION

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This is the time of year that really messes with my head.

On Friday it was cold

And wet

And windy.

Frost and freeze warnings

Running through our part of the state.

But…it’s only mid October.

We should have at least 2 more weeks before a freeze

Maybe as long as a month.

So do I believe the forecast.

Drag all those ferns inside

Depriving them of a few more weeks

Of open air and sunshine.

Because once they are in

They are in.

Too heavy to lug back and forth.

Or do I just cover them for the night.

I opted for the later

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And got lucky.

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But basil is a different story

It begins to pout at anything below 50 degrees.

So I cut it all

And put it in the sink

Awaiting the energy to make it into pesto.

The red pesto is done.

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But the green is more labor intensive.

So here we are on Sunday night.

Still with a sink full of basil.

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Maybe tonight.

But it’s the front yard

That truly suffers from

Horticultural Confusion!

You’ll notice I haven’t written much about Hydrangea this summer

That’s because after not 1 or 2

But 4 freezes stretching to the very last day of April

My Hydrangea have bloomed very little this year.

Until now.

So as the mums, which line the front of the hydrangea bed,

Are budding and blooming.

So are the Hydrangea.

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Thankfully for the most part they are in the same color family

So it seems to work.

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Then there’s the true front yard mystery.

Lettuce.

Growing along the grassy edge

Of the new bed John created

On the front landing.

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Lettuce!

I’ve never planted it here.

The closest would be the pot on the landing

But how did it jump so far?

And that my friends is what I love about gardening.

The mystery.

No need for answers

Just revel in the mystery.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, Boxwood, container gardening, Fall, Ferns, Gardening, Hydrangea, Lettuce, Timing, Uncategorized

MAXINE’S VASE

If you are going to grow flowers

You’ll eventually need a vase

Or two………….dozen.

Somewhere over the last few decades

I developed the habit

Of finding old vases

At garage sales

And estate sales.

At first I wanted crystal vases.

That’s what my mother had

And now her vases grace my dining room china cabinet.

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Mother loved crystal.

And so do I.

Then early in our marriage

John & I ventured to Europe.

Where we discovered pottery

In Florence

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And Barcelona

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And lugged a bit of it home.

But my vase collecting

Really kicked in after we settled in here

And began to make connections with people

Of all ages.

Many of these were women I knew from church.

It seems when you’re a Presbyterian in these parts.

You have a long

And interesting life.

So as these and other ladies around town died

I would go to their estate sale

And find a single thing

That would remind me of them.

The first was this vase

From Gladys.

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Gone now probably 30 years

I still remember her spunky nature.

Eventually I focused my purchases

On painted pottery from the 40’s and 50’s

McCoy is the best known brand

Thus you can find many knock offs

Of their soft color palette.

I’m partial to white, yellow, soft blue and lime green.

My mother in law’s blue pitcher is a favorite

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Along with a yellow vase my friend Marilyn

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Brought from her mother’s home in Louisiana.

Then there is this terrific lime green Claire Lerner

That I found at a neighbor’s garage sale

At a cost of $1.25!

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I have two rules.

Don’t go crazy on price $10. – $15.

Is usually my max.

And you have to know where you are going to store it

Before you bring it home.

The second rule has forced me to slow down a bit

Since my garden house cupboards are filling up.

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So it was this history

That followed me to the estate sale of

My friend, my neighbor, my fellow Presbyterian

And wise women extraordinaire

Maxine Sanford Austin.

Maxine died this year at the age of 102.

Her life

And her home

Were filled with treasures.

She was a poet

A teller of tales

A loyal friend

And fiercely opinionated.

I just loved her.

When she married in 1933

Her mother made her wedding veil.

Long and trailing

With lace flowers embroidered on it.

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Her daughter Ann wore it in 1961

And Maxine wore it when she married again in 1993…

At the age of 80 something!

She was both traditional

And non traditional

All rolled into one.

It took me three trips of wondering through her home

To find my memory memento of Maxine.

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I can’t tell you anything about this particular vase

I’m guessing it was from her mother’s travels.

She told me once that after her father died

Her mother began traveling around the world.

It’s very different from any other vase I own.

Doesn’t fit the mold.

Won’t have a shelf of similar stuff to join.

It’s unique.

It’s Maxine.

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AWARENESS

by Maxine Sanford Austin

In every day we have, dear Lord,

Let us truly see

The things we should:

The flight of bee.

The flash of bird,

Sun on a brilliant flower,

Then thunder heard

Before a sudden shower.

In all things, dear Lord,

Let us truly know

That this is Thy World

And in our actions show

That we truly know.

Thanks Maxine,

Gail

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Filed under Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Hydrangea, Uncategorized, Vases

VIBURNUM

My current garden is my 2nd perennial garden.

We moved into this house shortly after

I quit designing garden for other people

So I brought with me all of that experience

Mistakes and good ideas

Successes and failures.

This garden is bigger than any other I’ve had

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So I made the conscious decision

To use more flowering shrubs.

And as is typical in spring

Every week something new would bloom

And I’d go out and buy 3 of them!

There was method to my madness

Flowering shrubs take up space

Lots of it

They also give literal armloads of flowers

Which are fun

To cut and share

So the bones of my garden are

Hydrangea & Roses

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Lots of these

Because they give you so many blooms

Off and on during the season

There are fewer Peonies

Because they just bloom once.

But who can live without them!

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Then there are those early spring-flowering bushes

That take on a life of their own

Forsythia, Quince, Spirea, Lilac

And Viburnum

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You may know it as Snowball bush.

That first spring I bought 3

I don’t actually remember where I first planted them

Somewhere in the middle I think

In a sort of triangle.

By the next spring

I realized I had made a mistake

They were going to get too big for their present home.

So we dug them up and moved them.

Now remember that these were all 3 about the same size.

Two were moved to the west gate.

Where they reside today.

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What’s wrong with this picture?

Why the left side is not as healthy as the right

Is likely a conversation for another day.

Then there is the third one.

We couldn’t really come up with a logical place for it.

So we just put it in a hole on the far east side of the yard.

Along side of few other “homeless” plants.

We never did find it a real home.

Over the years it has driven me crazy.

I’ve actually wished it would die.

It’s under one of our big old cedar trees

And keeps growing into it.

I’ve whacked away on it

Year after year

Just to keep it kind of under control

Or so I thought

I guess I must have missed its annual haircut last spring.

Because this year

It’s well … GIGANTIC

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And loaded with blooms

Which is wonderful

Because with the late spring

My yard has been pretty void of blooms.

So I’ve been cutting and cutting.

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Armloads of flowers are such fun

To cut

And share

The stems are woody

So when you cut them

Be sure you either slice or smash them

And feel free to cut away

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Because a happy Viburnum

Is a big Viburnum

So why is it that sometimes

The things that annoy us the most

Turn out to be our best friends

When nothing else is blooming!

Enjoy this wonderful weather.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Forsythia, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, Peonies, Perennials, roses, Snow Ball Bush, Uncategorized, Viburnum

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

VISION

Three years ago Elliott & Kristina bought their first home.

To say they had “vision” is an understatement.

Their timing was incredible.

The house had been on the market for sometime.

The front had a mammoth awning.

I’m thinking it distracted couples with lesser vision.

Then there was the backyard.

It was….well…frightening!

But this is no prima donna couple.

They are after all, both descended from gardeners, farmers & ranchers.

They could see what it could become.

Vision.

Not everyone has it.

But they possess it.

And they weren’t afraid of work.

So they began.

I guess you would call the first stage demolition.

Thankfully, I’m a state or so away so I missed this stage.

There was not  a lot to save.

The decision was made to take out even the Aspen trees.

Since, though they are lovely

They actually are a bit of a nuisance.

A single wispy tree will turn into a grove of Aspen

Right before your eyes.

Great for mountainsides.

Not so much for backyards.

The giant deck

Was replaced with a lovely flagstone patio.

Carefully layed by Elliott with help from friends.

My parents used Colorado Red flagstone

Inside and outside the “new house” at the farm.

So there was symmetry here.

Meanwhile in my garden.

I was potting up babies from all over my garden

And buying a few.

By June my friend Vivi and I loaded it all up

And drove this garden to its new home.

The humidity in my car was stifling.

Kristina and I spent a long weekend planting away.

Adding roses and hydrangea from a local nursery.

There’s a saying about perennial gardens

The first year they sleep

The second they creep

And the third they leap!

Welcome to year three

We visited again a few weeks ago

What a transformation.

Perennials are oozing onto the grass.

Morning glories dance along the fence

Greeting each new day

Thyme suns itself on the flagstone.

Cleome spills over the edge of the narrow bed

And little juicy golden tomatoes grow practically wild.

Elliott seems to enjoy puttering around the yard.

Growing not only flowers,

But vegetables as well.

Kristina never misses a chance to make a flower arrangement.

Taking them to friends, her office

And sending guests home with a freshly cut bouquet.

They both enjoy foraging dinner from the garden

And entertaining as well.

This year the Kentucky Derby fell on Cinco de Mayo

Calling, of course, for a Cinco de Derby party.

It’s reported that a good time was had by all.

And…the creeping thyme can handle a lot of foot traffic.

Vision.

It brings sunshine to the world.

Enjoy this glorious week

Gail

Peg at the Morning Glory Gate

Peg at the Morning Glory Gate

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Filed under cleome, Flower Arrangements, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Gardening;Perennials, Herbs, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Lupine, Morning Glories, Perennials, roses, Sunflowers, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables

The Morning Walk

When I first began to garden

I unconsciously created a habit.

The morning garden walk.

I distinctly remember going out each morning

To walk through my first garden

To observe the changes

That can happen over night.

For instance, Lilies open in the night.

As do the blooms on Hardy Hibiscus.

So even though I walk along the same path each day

The path in spring

The path in spring

It’s different every time.

And summer

And summer

Subtle changes.

But change just the same.

The irony of this is that

We used to laugh at Daddy

When he would go to “check on” the wheat.

We accused him of spending time

Watching the wheat grow!

Every farmer does it

And they should

Just walking through the garden or wheat field.

Helps find things.

The first buds of spring.

Hellebores in January

Hellebores in January

Things that need to be done.

Bugs that have arrived to do good

Or not.

Remember last summer’s Harlequin bug invasion?

Diseases at their beginnings.

Weeds – always a few.

But I don’t stop to solve these problems on the morning walk.

No, the morning walk is simple to take it all in.

To enjoy

Nature's accident

Nature’s accident

To smile

To observe

Curious Peg

Curious Peg

To wander

And to wonder.

Gail

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Filed under Diseases, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Harlequin Bugs, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Japanese Tree Peony, Lady Bugs, Oriental Lilies, Perennials, Shasta Daisy, tulips, Uncategorized

Mid Season

Yesterday was the first Saturday in a long time

That I spend the whole morning in my garden.

I didn’t dash to the farmer’s market

Didn’t run flowers to the church for Saturday Manna

I was selfish.

I started early in the sunshine

And as the heat came on

I followed the shade.

Weeding

Deadheading

Planning

Thinking

Praying

It’s mid-season here on the plains

We have an 8  – 9 month growing season.

So that makes mid- July just about the middle

Of the time between first and last frosts.

It’s too hot to transplant.

So maintenance becomes the routine.

But…mid-morning a friend came through my gate.

Hydrangeas were on her mind.

Her’s are planted under a Magnolia tree

A giant Magnolia tree.

Her Hydrangea on the other hand have

What we diagnosed as “failure to thrive”

We think the Magnolia is a bit greedy with the water.

And likely nutrients too.

So the solution for now is auxiliary water

In the form of a soaker hose at the base of the Hydrangeas

Turned  on Oh So Slowly.

This should allow the water to go deeply into the root zone.

And not run off.

It’s worth a try.

I’m going to drop by soon and see if we can’t find some more hospitable homes for them.

She and I are close in age.

We are definitely at the same stage of life.

Empty nest

Worked a lot

Volunteered a lot

So what comes next.

She’s seeking

So, it occurs to me once again

That gardens do reflect our lives.

If we pay attention.

My garden is full of life

Here in the middle of the season.

Just like my friend.

They both have much left to give.

And hopefully time to give it.

So how do we re-arrange our lives.

Cutting out the stuff that overgrows

And crowds out the good things.

Even maybe shades them out completely.

Keeping extraneous thing cut back – pruned – deadheaded.

To let in the light.

It’s a challenge.

And a continual effort

To keep our gardens

And our lives

Going where we are to go.

Glad I have a garden and friends to share in the journey.

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Dead Heading, drip irrigation, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, Uncategorized