Category Archives: Perennials

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

A GOOD DAY

I love the mundane.

Now I realize that isn’t “culturally correct”.

But really, there is nothing like a day of regular.

And that is what today was – mundane – regular – wonderful.

After a quick trip to the last Farmers’ Market.

I headed straight to the back yard

The goal was to finish transplanting on “the hill”.

It began about a month ago.

I was tired of the vinca minor running the show.

So I began to dig it up

And pull it back like a carpet.

Then I transplanted 5 big ferns.

I’m not sure but I think they are Cinnamon ferns.

They’ve settled in nicely.

So, today was the day to dig the hostas in the front bed

And bring them to their new home on the hill.

These were planted about 3 years ago.

They were bare root so they were tiny.

Unfortunately they just get too much sunshine in the front

And the last 2 summers they have simply fried.

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So a home on the hill under the shade of the old cedar trees

Should make them much happier.

The root balls were the size of small trees.

I’m thinking they’ll be just fine.

Smaller hostas were also relocated.

Layered in the front between the Hellebores and Ferns.

I did have my assistant gardener close by

She has figured out that when I dig

Worms appear.

And she loves worms!

Unfortunately some things disappeared.

My favorite pruners can’t be located.

My best guess is I buried them under one of those

Very large

Very heavy

Hostas.

Didn’t have the energy to dig around for them.

Hopefully they’ll surface tomorrow!

There are lots of little surprises

In the fall garden.

So on this

Mundane

Regular

Wonderful

Saturday night.

I thought I’d share a few.

May you find the blessings

Of a mundane day soon.

Gail

 

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Filed under Clematis, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Farmer's Market, Ferns, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hellebores, Perennials, Plumbago, Pruners, roses, Shade Garden, Tall Garden Phlox, TRANSPLANTING

THE FIRST CRISP MORNING

It’s here!

That feeling of fall.

Cool

Crisp

Refreshing

Renewing

So….rather than sit inside and write a blog.

I’m going outside

To let fall soak into every cell of my body.

I will follow this with the blog I wrote – almost completely.

Last week.

But never sent.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse

Off what’s blooming

In My Garden

Enjoy the week,

Gail

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Filed under cockscomb, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Green Tomatoes, late summer garden, Peppers, Perennials, roses, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zinnia

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

Perspective

Debra's view of the garden house

Debra’s view of the garden house

 

A few weeks ago

My friend Debra came for a visit.

This is not unusual.

She comes often.

Usually we have an agenda.

But this time we had a few unscheduled hours.

And she wanted to take pictures in the garden.

Now, you need to know that Debra loves photography

And…she’s very good at it.

You can easily tell which pictures are hers

And which are mine.

Her avocation photography

Connects to her vocation mammography.

She is trained to see detail.

To look for the smallest speck on a mammogram.

When she finds them.

And unfortunately she finds many.

It’s life altering.

For her patients…for her.

So seeing my garden through her eyes

Makes me see it differently.

In more detail.

Poppy and Poppy Seed Pod

Poppy and Poppy Seed Pod

To relish the small things.

The accidents of nature

The purposefulness of it all.

Now that I’m into my 6th decade

I’m making a conscious effort

To broaden my view.

Not to get stuck where I’ve always been.

To look at things differently.

To value what I’ve known.

But keep looking forward.

To see my world through a new lens.

Through someone else’s lens.

These past few years have been a constant awakening.

Wise women Jane & Betty with Debra

Wise women Jane & Betty with Debra

In many aspects of life.

I know where I’m anchored.

Where I really began to learn this

Was in my garden.

Thanks, God.

Gail

P.S.  You, too, Debra.

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Filed under Garden House, Garden Photography, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Larkspur, Perennials, Poppy, Shasta Daisy, Uncategorized, Wise Women

Time & Weeds

Border Dahlia

When people visit my garden.

They often ask 2 questions.

The first

“How much time do you spend here?”

The answer is simple.

Not as much as I like.

Tall Garden Phlox

Tall Garden Phlox

The last few summers have been well…hot!

Which means that my long summer Saturdays in the garden

Have been more like mornings and evenings.

But the truth is my garden does not require endless hours of work.

And because I enjoy it…it doesn’t seem like work at all.

I’ve also changed my expectations.

Endless hours outside just don’t seem to happen

So I do a bit here and a bit there.

It’s amazing how much can happen in a few minutes.

So I focus on weeding and deadheading in small areas.

Peg helps?

Peg helps?

Which brings me to the second question.

“Where are the weeds?’

Once again the answer is simple.

Everywhere!

You just don’t notice them.

So how does this work.

There are two things that I’ve accidentally discovered

To keep the weeds away.

I’ve never planted according to instructions.

I almost always plant too close together.

Way to close together.

The pleasing results of overplanting

The pleasing results of overplanting

Which means the plants shade out the weeds.

Or simply don’t leave room for them to grow.

Granted it’s a little crowded

And some plants don’t have room to reach their full glory

But, for me, it works.

The second thing is those wonderful self-seeding annuals.

It begins with Larkspur in the early spring.

And ends with cockscomb from now till it freezes in the fall.

Throw in the zinnia and cosmos that I plant each year

And my garden is filled with “filler flowers”.

Zinnias & Cockscomb - "Filler Flowers"

Zinnias & Cockscomb – “Filler Flowers”

Which is better than “filler weeds”!

The truth is that lately I’ve been pulling up as many baby cockscomb plants

As I have weeds.

So you might think of it as a friendly weed

That blooms nicely.

And is great in arrangements.

"Filler Flower" arrangements

“Filler Flower” arrangements

I’m really trying to keep it out of the very front of my garden this year.

So, I guess it turns out that what some consider to be garden problems.

Are really just how you look at it.

Much like life!

Gail

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Daffodils, Dead Heading, Fall, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Larkspur, late summer garden, Perennials, self seeding annuals, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Zinnia

MOVING DAY

The Dahlias didn’t put on their usual show last fall.

Perhaps it was the hot summer.

More likely it’s the shade created by the neighbor’s mulberry tree.

I don’t want the mulberry tree to go away.

It takes me back to my childhood.

On our way to church in late spring

Daddy would stop along a county road

We’d all jump out and start picking and eating mulberries.

For those of you who don’t know mulberries, they stain.

Big time.

So there we would be in our Sunday best.

Standing in a ditch

Eating mulberries.

Mother was fairly laid back about it all.

Thanks for that example, Mom.

Back to Dahlias.

So if I want Dahlias, I’m going to have to move them.

I knew this last fall

When Elliott was home he suggested moving them to the NE corner of the garden house.

Good idea.

But that space was full of plants.

So first I moved the Digitalis – Foxglove to the other side of the garden house.

Then I dumped lots of compost to settle in for the winter.

Earlier this spring I moved the Aloha roses to their new home across the path.

So, yesterday was moving day.

I decided to round the corner, too.

That meant digging up the Butterfly Bush.

I think it’s moving to Megan’s – if she’ll have it.

New Dahlia Bed

New Dahlia Bed

Next came digging up the dozen or so Dahlias that survived.

I’ve ordered more – lots more.

Emory Paul – that big glorious dinner plate Dahlia.

Along with Kevin Floodlight – a yellow favorite

Fleurel which is white.

Lilac Time, and the bi-colors of Avignon and Mom’s Special.

Since the ones I dug are of unknown lineage

And the new ones are all complimentary in color.

I just mixed them together.

Except for Emory Paul which creates a backdrop against the garden house.

There is no great trick to planting them.

Bury them about 6 – 8 ” deep like a Daffodil.

You can usually tell which end is up by the blunt end of the old stem.

It will take them a bit to come up

So place a marker by each one you plant.

Dahlias have a growth habit that is well…wild.

To say they need staking is an understatement.

They need staking and caging and anything else you can dream up.

Several years ago I came up with a system that works pretty well.

I use the triangular wire tomato cages you can find at garden centers.

I place them side by side

Alternating them to form a box.

Cover the entire area with cages.

Then stabilize them by connecting them with cable ties.

Now because these are tall heavy blooms

I go one step further.

Lace a 4′ piece of rebar through one side of each cage.

Are you beginning to get the picture!

Now we wait.

Gardening does teach you patience.

Fall will bring amazing results.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

P.S. Here’s what’s showing off this week.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Amaryllis planted in the garden

Amaryllis planted in the garden

 

 

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Filed under Amaryllis, Compost, Dahlias, Digitalis, Fall, Garden House, Garden Planning, Gardening, Oakleaf Hydrangea, patience, Perennials

COLUMBINE

One of the things I love about my garden

is shade.

I haven’t always had shade.

But this garden has several areas.

 

 

It’s not the deep woodland shade

but rather “partial or dappled shade”.

This means that sometime during the day

a litttle sushine comes through.

The best is morning sun.

The problem with shade is color.

It’s hard to come by on a consistent basis.

Most perennials that bloom in the shade

bloom in the early spring.

Leaving many months in need of a color boost.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Columbine loves dappled shade.

It’s happiest in cool mountain air.

Making it a natural for the state flower of Colorado.

But it also likes living on the Great Plains.

As long as you give it some shade for part of the day.

I’ve grown it both from seed and plants.

Originally I got it started from plants in 3″ pots.

Like most perennials it takes a few year for them to get established.

I didn’t pick any blooms the first few years

That let  them go to seed

and make babies.

Then I read that the more you cut the blooms

The more the plant blooms.

So I began to cut these dancing blossoms.

Then near the end of season

I let them go to seed.

After the seed pods dry on the plant

I pick them and crush them

in areas that I would like to have more Columbine.

So far it seems to be working.

Ah Spring!

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Columbine, Gardening;Perennials, Perennials, Shade Garden, spring, Uncategorized

DAHLIA FEVER

Dahlias are the showiest flower I grow.

They come late in the season here.

Imagine their tubers growing silently in the ground all season.

Waiting patiently for everything else to have its moment in the sun.

Then, just when you think it’s too hot and tired for anything else to happen

Dahlias bloom.

And bloom.

It’s no small bloom.

The giant dinner plate Dahlias are just that.

Giant.

The size of your head giant.

Kevin Floodlight Dinner Plate Dahlia

Who can resist growing flowers  that big.

Certainly not me.

And now I seem to have hooked Elliott and Kristina.

They have wonderful Dahlias growing against their neighbor’s garage wall.

I’ve had a Dahlia bed ever since we moved here.

This garden had the perfect place.

A skinny spot near the fence where the garden’s edge curves.

And so it was that first spring I ordered Dahlias.

Way too many Dahlias.

All of them the giant dinner plate variety.

For years they have supplied me with drama for fall arrangements.

White and burgandy dahlias with Belinda's dream roses and green hydrangea

People literally gasp when they see them.

September arrangement for church

But not so much now.

The neighbor’s Mulberry tree and a Redbud that John’s planted in the back of my garden

Are now shading both ends.

So it’s time to move.

The Dahlias that is.

When Elliott was here last month we found a new location.

The east side of the garden house

Dahlia's future home

It gets full sun till the middle of the afternoon.

And there seems to be nothing growing in its direction.

So it should stay sunny for years.

It’s at the back of the garden.

So it can provide support for the taller than anything else in the garden plants.

The problem is.

It’s all ready full of plants.

So my big fall project is to find homes for everything there.

And move as many of them as possible.

I began with the Digitalis.

I’ve transplanted all of them to the south side of the arbor.

They seems to be happy.

It actually rained shortly after they were transplanted.

Zinnias and Cockscomb are blooming there now.

They will simply be pulled up at the end of the season.

The biggest part of the project is the large Aloha Rose.

I brought it from my previous garden.

So it’s accustomed to being dug up.

I’ve found a new home for it on the other side of the path.

This is good for many reasons.

Not the least of which is the fact that with roses on both sides of the path

I often do a zig zag as I walk through to avoid the thorns on long rose canes.

I’m hoping to get it moved this fall.

But will wait  a bit since it’s finally blooming.

I’d like to enjoy a few more blooms before I start digging.

After the rose is moved I’ll cover the area with manure and compost.

I’ll work it in a bit to allow it to further break down over the winter.

Come spring it will be a rich home for Dahlias.

Now the only question remaining is when to dig the old Dahlias.

Technically, I should dig them every fall since they are only hardy to zone 8.

But…my little zone 6b – 7 garden has kept them warm for years without digging.

If I dig them now I have to keep them someplace cool and dry this winter.

I think I’ll give it a try because….

Guess what I want to plant in their now semi-shady location.

I’ve been seeing some new varieties in my garden catalogs.

What else…

HYDRANGEAS!!

Enjoy the sunshine,

Gail

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Filed under Compost, Dahlias, Fall, Garden House, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, Perennials, roses, TRANSPLANTING, Uncategorized