Category Archives: Peonies



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.


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.


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

It’s the belief that a tiny green frond


Will unfurl into a gorgeous fern.


That the precious buds on my Japanese Tree Peony


Will soon take my breath away.


That come June

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


Will give astonishing blooms.


The robins have returned.


Lady bugs and honey bees abound


Peg is on her never-ending bunny search


And the Hellebores are blooming their hearts out.


It must be spring.


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.




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


Gardening is for me

a solitary pastime.

I love having people drop in

to see what’s blooming.

But I spend hours alone in my garden

Singing to myself

Admiring my work

And plotting my next adventure.

Roses & Iris

Roses & Iris

Perhaps that’s why I love having gardening neighbors.

Someone close by to share with

and borrow from.

Kelly and I have been that kind of gardening neighbors

Even before we were actual neighbors.

Now that we are only a block apart we are

Dangerous together.

Between the two of us we are constantly changing things.

Sharing things

Learning things

Our gardens complement each other. 

Where mine is good-sized.

Kelly’s is mammoth.

Where I have endless varieties of perennials

Kelly wisely has focused on flowering bushes.

She has much more space to fill

And filling it with annuals or 4″ perennials is


She moved back to this part of the country from Seattle.

There she had learned a great deal about Roses and Peonies.

She brought that knowledge with her.

And has over the years adapted it to our “slightly” different climate.

She helped me overcome my fear of growing Roses.

Rosa Aloha

Rosa Aloha

I in turn introduced her to Hellebore.



Over the years she has planted a “river” of them.

That’s the thing I love about gardeners.

They are so willing to share.

Actually, I can be a little annoying that way.

I’ve been known to give TMI  too much information!

This  week is a good example of that sharing.

I did a flower arrangement for a bridal shower.

I needed hot pink and oranges roses.

Since my Katy Road Pink is blooming out of it’s mind right now.

Rosa Katy Road Pink

Rosa Katy Road Pink

I’ve got the pink part covered.

Orange on the other hand is a problem

Especially since it’s one of the few colors I don’t do.

Lucky for me Kelly has a whole row of the most glorious orange roses.

It’s a Weeks Rose called Colorific.

Rosa Colorific

Kelly's Row of Rosa Colorific

And it is terrific.

So I took my favorite pruners and a bucket of water down the street

And cut a few.

Roses ready to arrange

Roses ready to arrange

Now it won’t be long till I can return the favor

Because next week Kelly needs 14 table decorations. 

I have lots of spring bloom

Wild Orchid

Wild Orchid

And an endless amount of Euonymus for filler.

So you’ll find her cutting in my garden.

And because those Colorific Roses are so terrific.

I’m thinking of adding a few to my garden.

Shower  Arrangement

Shower Arrangement

Gardening neighbors.

Good friends.

If you don’t have one.

I hope you find one soon.

It doesn’t get much better than this.


And speaking of gardening friends,

my friend Debra sent this marvelous quote.

“I think gardening is nearer to godliness than theology. True gardeners are both iconographers and theologians insofar as these activities are the fruit of prayer ‘without ceasing.’ Likewise, true gardeners never cease to garden, not even in their sleep, because gardening is not just something they do. It is how they live.”

Vigen Guroian, from The Fragrance of God





Filed under Bouquets, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hellebores, Peonies, roses, Wedding Flowers



Perhaps it’s time for a little catching up.

A review of where I am this spring.

Remember the roses that froze to the ground last winter?

Well, they are doing quite well and….

They are still pink!

The roses and peonies were in full glorious bloom last week when we had an unfortunate few days of mid to high 90 degree weather – with wind.

As it happens some years, the bloom life of these glorious spring standards was shortened.

I hate it when that happens.

But it’s a fact of gardening life.

So…I’ll begin dead-heading a bit earlier than usual.


Sounds like a rock band doesn’t it!

It’s actually one of the most important things I do to keep my garden blooming all season.

Dead-heading is simple.

It’s removing the spent blooms of plants so that they can begin the bloom cycle again.

Now…not every plant will re-bloom.

Peonies for instance do not.  So you just remove the stems of the spent blooms to tidy them up a bit and leave them be for the rest of the season.

I don’t usually cut mine back to the ground until the next spring when new growth appears.

Iris both German Bearded and Dutch also should also have their bloom stems cut back as far as possible once the last buds have bloomed.

Spent bloom stems of German Bearded Iris waiting to be dead headed.

But…leave the greenery to die back on it’s own.

We’ll fiddle with them a bit more later on in the season.


Many roses on the other hand will repeat bloom if you deadhead.

Hybrid tea roses and any old-fashioned rose that is remonant or repeat bloomers will give you more flowers.

To dead head them cut off the spent bloom to at least the first set of 5 leaves.

If the rose-bush needs shaping you can cut them even further down the cane.

Pink Belinda's Dream rejuvenated and ready for dead heading.


That’s it – no big mystery here.

For me it’s kind of a zen experience.

Doesn’t require loads of concentration so you can lose yourself in this bit of gardening.

And…you’ll be rewarded with new buds and blooms within a few weeks.

Now, the spring flush is by far the most breathtaking but the scattered blooms throughout the season bring me great joy.


Then there are things that I don’t dead head.

I want them to go to seed.

Digitalis or Foxglove are among them. 



I’ve worked hard to get them going in my garden and I want them to spread so I’m restraining myself from cutting any for a few more years.

Hopefully someday I’ll have patches of their amazing towers of bell-shaped blooms all over the place.

A closer look.

Columbine is a mix of these methods.

The more you cut it the more it blooms.

But at some point usually when it starts to warm up I quit cutting and let it go to seed.

Once the seed heads have dried up – late June or so – I’ll pick them and scatter them in shady areas.

It’s worked pretty well in my loamy soil and I have new columbine babies each year.

Self seeded Columbine by the garden bench.

I’ll give more deadheading instructions as the season goes along.


Other activity includes finally planting my Caladium and Elephant Ear bulbs.

I’m a little behind on those but better a little late than too early with bulbs.

Remember – both of these like to be planted in the shade though their faces can extend into the sunshine.

The basic rule with any bulb is to plant them as deep as the bulb itself.

Not a big deal for Caladiums,

But…you’ll have to dig a BIG hole for the Elephant Ears!

Both will have to be dug in the fall here in zone 7.

Since we are expecting a week of glorious low 70’s weather I think I’m going to finally transplant a Blushing Bride Hydrangea to a new roomier home – got a little carried away with my purchasing a few springs ago – no big surprise.

This morning Pam cut flowers and made them into bunches to sell at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow.

I’ve added some herbs – Rosemary, Sage and Mojito Mint along with bags of mixed lettuce.

So drop by the coop table at Grand & Garriott between 8 & 11.

 Flowers, herbs and lettuce ready for Saturday's market.

Last weekend I spent time with Elliott and Kristina in their garden.

We planted new Dahlias – one of Kristina’s favorite, set out tomatoes and peppers and put out Lady Bugs.

Giving lady bugs a new home.


But mostly we simply enjoyed being in their garden, having meals in the garden, talking about gardening and visiting the nursery. 

As Elliott was growing up I sometimes wondered what part of that experience he would take with him into his adult life.

Although he didn’t really garden much then he was constantly exposed to this need to dig in the soil and grow things in our home and with both sets of grandparents.

It stuck.

He is drawn to the earth.

I am thankful.

Enjoy this glorious weather.






Filed under Columbne, Dead Heading, Digitalis, Farmer's Market, Gardening;Perennials, Peonies, roses