Category Archives: Larkspur

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

EDITING DAYS

You may not know this

But there are two “gardening deadlines”

Here in my Zone 7 garden

That fall on the 4th of July.

I’ve learned over the years

That the 4th of July is the last time

To plant Zinnias for fall bloom.

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I know

Most of you planted yours weeks

If not months ago.

In my over-planted piece of this planet

I don’t have space for Zinnias

Until I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur

That have gone to seed.

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Yesterday I went a little beyond just pulling up the dead stuff.

I went a little crazy.

My garden is now 11 years old.

As a result

It’s overgrown in may places.

So along with the waning Poppies and Larkspur

I dug up two Rose bushes

About a dozen blue Veronica Spicata

Several white Iris

Some Purple Coneflower

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An a lonely Gloriosa Daisy or two.

Normally, I wouldn’t excavate quite so much

Especially since I have no idea who will adopt these plants

So, I’ve taken a new approach.

Let’s call it the “Urban Dumpster Method”.

In cities if you want to get rid of something

Just lean it against your dumpster

It will disappear long before

The Sanitation Department has a chance.

So this afternoon

I put my garden abundance on the curb

With a sign saying

“Free Plants

Take what you want – need a sunny home”.

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When I last checked they were all still there.

I’m hoping for a swarm of midnight gardeners.

To take this stuff off my hands.

So I’ll feel good when I attack the rest of the garden

Tomorrow.

The second deadline has to do with mums.

If you have the old-fashioned kind

That grow and grow

This is the time to give them one last

Harsh trim

So that they will be thick and full

Come fall.

May have to fudge on this one a bit.

That’s what I love about gardening.

There’s always grace.

Gail

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Filed under Calla Lily, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Perennials, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, roses, Uncategorized, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia

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.

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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.

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And a row of adult sized chairs along the perimeter.

Henry and Harper found a chair and settled in

For whatever was to come

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Not to mention Larkspur run a muck.

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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.

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They were generous.

A little on the plants

A little on their grandfather’s shoes.

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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

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

MIRACLES

This morning’s sermon was about miracles.

A reminder of those familiar Bible stories

And a challenge to think about miracles

In life today.

For gardeners this is not really a challenge.

We spend our time observing nature

Digging in the dirt

(Sorry Daddy – soil)

And watching what are for me

Miracles everyday.

Who among us can turn this

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into this?

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Plant a seed or plant

and you end up with this…

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or this…

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or this…

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It can’t possibly be what we do.

I for one, can’t even imagine how this happens

Yet it does.

Season after season.DSCN4493

Year after year.

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Now there are weeds along the way.

This particular season it seems to be

Crab grass in my garden

And there are years when

Things don’t go as we hope and plan.

For instance it’s another year of limited hydrangea blooms.

But all in all

The miracles are there

Every day.

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We just have to stop

And look

And open ourselves to see them

Everywhere.

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Gail

 

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Filed under Clematis, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Lilies, Miracles, Perennials, Poppy, roses, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Stella d Ora Daylily, Uncategorized

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

STARTING AND STOPPING

At long last we’re getting rain.

Not tons of it

But rain just the same.

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Soft showers

Interspersed with real rain.

Throughout this long weekend.

So my gardening has followed the rain.

Starting and stopping

As the weather allows.

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It’s actually nice.

Cool days

Soft soil

Perfect for weeding

And planting more seed.

So I’ve decided to run a little experiment.

Since we are having a bit cooler than usual spring.

I’m thinking I still have time to plant

Cool season seeds.

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Lettuce – Arugula – Radishes – Bush Beans

I know

It’s way past time to plant these.

But I’m experimenting with a little

Micro climate vegetable gardening.

So…as I’ve weeded the edge of the garden

And along the paths

I’ve planted all of the above.

Some in sun like I’ve always done

And this year in dappled shady areas

To see if I can have fresh greens

Later into the season.

We’ll hope it works.

I’ll let you know.

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And when it rained

I arranged flowers

In my friend Beth’s fun Fiesta pitchers.

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And oh yes…

There was this.

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While thunder rolled through the state

The Thunder rolled over the Spurs.

What a fun weekend!

Gail

P.S. I realize these pictures have nothing to do with the subject.

But pictures of seed packets and hoes just are all that much fun!

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Filed under Arugula, Bouquets, Flower Arrangements, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Lettuce, OKC Thunder Basketball, Poppy, Radishes, Seeds, Stella d Ora Daylily, Uncategorized, Vegetables