Category Archives: Larkspur

CLEANING HOUSE

Every gardener needs an unkept place.

DSCN1946

A place to park your wheelbarrow,

DSCN1942

And the city composting bins

DSCN1940

And the stack of bricks

Leftover from the patio remodel.

DSCN1941

And my compost tumbler

DSCN1938

And the old potting bench

Lovingly built by John

Years ago at my first big garden.

DSCN1939

And miscellaneous clay and plastic pots.

For me it’s the area behind my garden house.

DSCN1947

And it really needed a good cleaning.

So this was the weekend.

It’s actually driven by the fact that

My garden house floor is littered with

Larkspur, Poppy and Hollyhock stems

That have been drying out for several weeks.

DSCN1899

You see if you compost them when you first cut them back

You’ll be very sorry.

Seeds don’t actually break down in my compost

It just never gets hot enough.

So I dry out the stems and thus the seed pods.

Shake them out good

And save the seeds.

DSCN1895

Only then is it safe to compost the stems.

If you do this too early

You’ll have compost full of seeds

Which will be like seeding your garden to Larkspur

Or Poppies or Cockscomb come fall.

When your garden is new

That’s not such a bad thing.

But if you keep doing that

Year after year.

Oh my

So the garden version of Dominoes began

On Saturday morning.

In order to make room in this area

For all this dried stuff.

It went like this.

Load up and haul away 2 years of plastic flats and little pots.

Luckily my favorite green house – the Garden House

Reuses these so I don’t have to add to the land fill.

Take bags of last spring’s leaves

To Loaves & Fishes for their new garden beds.

Thankfully John has learned never to put leaves on the curb.

They will find their composting home sooner or later.

Then dig up compost and take it to where I’ll be testing out

A fall vegetable garden spot.

DSCN1889

Plant lettuce in the empty spaces

Along the edge of the garden.

DSCN1910

Move some of those leftover brick to finally finish out my path.

How excited will the kids be next Easter

When they discover they can walk the path

Through the garden – end to end.

I haven’t had a day this productive

In months.

Tired hands.

Tired body.

Now this kind of work

Doesn’t really make for pretty garden pictures.

So I’ll just dot in a few

DSCN1933

Without any real connection.

DSCN1927

But as always

There seems to be a lesson here.

DSCN1931

The beauty of a garden begins

Deep within the soil

Waiting for someone to come along

To care for it.

To nurture it.

To bless it.

Just like people.

Gail

Dahlia in Elliott & Kristina's Garden

Dahlia in Elliott & Kristina’s Garden

4 Comments

Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Fall Vegetables, Garden House, Gloriosa Daisy, hollyhocks, Larkspur, late summer garden, Lettuce, Poppy, Seeds, Uncategorized

HALF TIME

If you count the days between
The last freeze of winter
And the first freeze of fall
You will find that we are at half time
Of the gardening year
Here in zone 7
So is the season half over?
Do we just maintain from here on in?
Cup half empty.
Or do we revel in the days to come?
Cup half full.
If you look closely
You’ll find that some things
Are just beginning
Or beginning again.
For instance.
I don’t plant my Zinnias
Until the Larkspur and Poppies
Have died and made room for them
So they are just beginning to bud out.

DSCN1668

The Arugula on the other hand.
Has gone to seed
Giving me a second crop.

DSCN1697
Which is great
Since I’m a fan of Arugula
Tomatoes are ripening on the vine
Except for the ones my nighttime visitors
Have dined on.
But volunteer tomatoes
Are just beginning to bloom and set fruit.
And because we are having a great summer
Eight inches of rain in July!
The roses are budding and blooming.

DSCN1701
Dahlias are equally happy

DSCN1688
And Cleome has re-seeded itself

DSCN1704
After those dastardly harlequin shield bugs a few years back.
Earlier in the spring I cut the tall garden phlox back
And it has paid me back with lush blooms.

DSCN1676
They came a little later
But it was worth the wait.
And of course the Cockscomb
Is beginning its takeover of the garden.

DSCN1682

And Peg spends endless hours in the garden

Doing what we have dubbed

“Bugging”

She loves the hunt.

DSCN1708
So here we are at half time
Enjoying the view.
Yes, there is much that can be done.
Much that actually needs to be done.
But for now I’m just taking it in
Knowing that there is much more to come
Much more to give.
Gail

PS. If you have extra garden produce please drop it by Loaves & Fishes Monday, Wednesday or Friday 9 – 12 or call for special drop off times. With kids out of school we are seeing more and more people in need of food. And what’s better than fresh garden produce shared.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bugs, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Harlequin Bugs, Larkspur, late summer garden, Perennials, Poppy, Tall Garden Phlox, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zinnia

MARY, MARTHA & BUMBLEBEES

 

It’s been a glorious week here for gardening.

Imagine.

Mid-July

Three days of rain.

Slow soaking

Drenching

RAIN

DSCN1639

Cool crisp mornings

And bike riding evenings.

Which, of course, leads to weeding.

The ground is soft and willing

To let the weeds go.

What joy.

All of this means that I’ve spent the week

Crawling around my garden

Pulling weeds.

It’s amazing the difference a week can make in a garden.

And I only spent a few evenings

And Saturday there.

DSCN0588

From my ground level vantage point

I’ve noticed that this year

It seems that lots of Bumblebees

Have decided to call my space home.

During this morning’s sermon on Martha and Mary

It occurred to me that Bumblebees are the blend

Of these two sisters

That Andrew, our minister, was encouraging us to strive for.

 

DSCN0673

They are known for their Martha like busyness.

Buzzing about all day.

Even major pieces of music have been composed

And played and played

About the busyness of the Bumblebee.

DSCN0237

They have work to do

And they do it.

Constantly.

Or maybe not.

I’ve noticed this week

That they also rest.

I have found them during the middle of the day

Being Mary

Nestled into an east facing Hollyhock blossom.

Sheltered from the afternoon sun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I imagine that they sleep there as well.

But the place I most often find them

Is fast asleep in the spent blooms

Of the Disco Belle Hibiscus.

DSCN1618

I have a habit of walking through my garden

First thing in the morning.

As I walk I often deadhead a bit.

Popping off spent blooms here and there.

But I’ve learned  that morning is not the time

To deadhead these perennial Hibiscus.

Here they start blooming around the 4th of July.

And if you deadhead consistently and properly

You’ll have some blooms through Labor Day.

DSCN1620

And these are BLOOMS.

The size of dinner plates.

But they only last one day.

And as they close their petals

At the end of their single day of glory

They create a soft cocoon.

DSCN1621

That Bumblebees consider

A perfect bed and breakfast.

They seems to have struck

A balance in their life.

Doing the work that God created them to do.

And just “beeing”.

Enjoy the week in your garden.

Gail

DSCN1629

 

4 Comments

Filed under Bugs, Bumblebee, cleome, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hardy Hibiscus, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Uncategorized

The Untended Garden

I have often wondered how long a garden lasts

When there is no one there to tend it?

DSCN1595

A season?

Maybe two?

I’ve come close to getting my answer this spring.

I’ve spent very little time in my garden

Since May

And…well…it’s a mess.

DSCN1608

Oh, not to the casual observer

But to me

The gardener

Who knows the bones and body of this place

It’s a mess.

The larkspur is well past its prime.

And should be long gone.

DSCN1274

In this year where everything is about 2 weeks late

Cockscomb is all ready starting to bud and bloom

Crab grass and clover think they’ve died and gone to heaven

Because I’ve let them grow

Unfortunately.

There’s a forest of baby trees.

Mimosa, Elm, Maple and Pecan

Planted by well meaning squirrels last winter.

And so you lovers of mulch

Are likely wagging your “I told you so” finger at me.

Remembering the tough stance I took on the stuff last week.

But the truth is for me

Well, I’m standing my ground

Even at this stage of disarray!

Here’s why.

I rely on a variety of self seeding annuals to give my garden

That lush cottage feel.

We’ve talked about them before

Poppies, Larkspur, Hollyhocks

And the 3 C’s Cleome, Cosmos and Cockscomb.

DSCN1233

Without them I would find myself needing a lot more perennials.

Now I love them all

But to have so much renew itself each year

Is a strong statement of life.

If I covered my garden with inches of wood chips.

Few of these seeds would work their way into the soil

And grow and bloom.

So what do I do to prevent those much maligned weeds.

Nothing.

I don’t use a pre-emergent

And I don’t mulch.

I accept them as part of this creation

I don’t plant them

But they just keep coming

So there must be some reason for them.

And I think I’ve finally figured it out.

They are there to slow me down.

To make me sit in my garden

And pull weeds.

You really can’t see the details

DSCN1559

And touch the earth

Unless you sit

And dig

And pull

Disturbing the soil along the way

Just long enough to experience

The life within.

Gail

DSCN1606

2 Comments

Filed under cleome, cockscomb, Cosmos, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Shasta Daisy, Uncategorized

SEEDS – THE BEGINNING & THE END

My father often told me that he didn’t want to slow down as he aged.

 

Mother and Daddy riding in a parade circa 1962

Mother and Daddy riding in a parade circa 1962

 

Parkinson’s Disease forced him to

But it wasn’t his idea.

He would say

“If I sit down I’ll go to seed.”

Time and Parkinson’s won out

And his life slowly wound down.

But never completely

He conducted a meeting about the future of public education in Oklahoma

On the Thursday before he died the next Tuesday.

He got his wish

He never went to seed.

But going to seed is a natural event in a garden.

Flowers come from seed

And most go back there sometime during the season.

That process has begun in my garden

The “going to seed” sequence

Follows the blooming sequence

So since Poppies are the first

Of the “self seeding annuals” to bloom

They are the first to go to seed.

So the process looks something like this

Bud

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bloom

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seed Pod

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dried Seed Pod

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next spring it will begin again.

This week it’s the Larkspur’s turn

I know

It’s late

But remember that the season

Could be as much as 1 month behind normal.

So the Larkspur blooms have begun to turn

To seed pods.

DSCN1386

I’ll let some dry out in the ground

But not all.

I can’t imagine how much Larkspur there would be

If I let it all “go to seed”.

So I’ve begun the process of pulling up Larkspur

And laying it on the garden house floor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To dry

So that I have seeds to share

With anyone who would like some.

And what goes in the space created

When I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur?

What else but

Zinnia and Cosmos seeds.

They will go through the same bud, bloom and seed process

During the second half of the season

Hollyhocks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cleome

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And crazy Cockscomb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Will follow.

These are the things that give my garden that look of abundance.

They fill in between all the flowering shrubs and perennials.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, though the actual plant dies after one season

The seeds fall to the ground

Waiting patiently for the next year.

Popping up in new and unexpected places.

Teaching me each season.

It’s the cycle of nature

A going backward

So that we can go forward.

Nature

Pay attention to it.

Take time to observe it.

It has much to teach us.

Gail

DSCN1373

3 Comments

Filed under cleome, cockscomb, Cosmos, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Perennials, Poppy, roses, Seeds, self seeding annuals, spring, Uncategorized, Zinnia

LARKSPUR – THE NEW BLACK

Most women own way too many black clothes

I am among them

But we all know that black “goes with everything”

And it does.

So every time the fashion industry

Wants to sell a new color

They dub it

“The New Black”

I’ve decided that larkspur

Is the new

And the old

Black of the garden.

DSCN1359

It truly does go with everything.

This spring is an amazing example.

I’ve been a little under the weather since the first of May

Very little time has been spent in the garden

As a result every single seed that dropped last spring.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Has bloomed and bloomed.

Never got around to thinning

Or just plain murdering

All that volunteer larkspur.

I’ve been cutting away at it

Making arrangements when needed.

But it hasn’t made a dent.

It’s everywhere

And it’s thick.

Some paths are impassable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But it’s true.

It goes with everything.

Now we all know that purple and yellow

Are a great combination.

DSCN1361

Being “secondary” cousins on the color wheel and all.

But it’s also great with pink roses

DSCN1380

And crisp white lilies

DSCN1331

And softer shades of yellow

DSCN1265

And the more golden ones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So when I was forced to the gardening sidelines in early May

And the A team took over

God knew exactly what to do.

Let the larkspur have its way.

DSCN1384

Spread it everywhere

Bringing cheer and happiness to every corner.

DSCN1395

Once again

Gardening echoes life

Or does life echo gardening?

Step aside – pull back – relax

God’s got it covered.

Gail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2 Comments

Filed under Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Larkspur, Lilies, roses, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

FAITH

DSCN0292

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.

DSCN0310

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

DSCN0374

Will unfurl into a gorgeous fern.

DSCN9130

That the precious buds on my Japanese Tree Peony

DSCN0367

Will soon take my breath away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That come June

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

DSCN0364

Will give astonishing blooms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The robins have returned.

DSCN0315

Lady bugs and honey bees abound

DSCN0399

Peg is on her never-ending bunny search

DSCN0394

And the Hellebores are blooming their hearts out.

DSCN0356

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

 

3 Comments

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