Category Archives: Poppy

THE GARDENERS

 

One of the thing that intrigued me

About Monet’s garden

Was how you keep it looking so good

For 500,000 visitors a season.

IMG_0117

 

A challenge to say the least.

So I was curious about the gardeners.

IMG_0369

Normally in this situation I would simply

Sic Debra on them.

After all she is a most curious person

And has a way of interrogation that is

Gentle and charming.

IMG_0389

But we had a couple of problems,

One, the gardeners were at work.

And we were there during their busy hours.

So we were asked not to bother them.

Then there was the fact

That they spoke French

And I don’t.

But you can learn a lot

By observing from afar.

IMG_0043

One question was about poppies.

They pulled them up

By the root

Just as the last bloom wilted

Before the seeds had matured.

FullSizeRender (15)

Yet they look like

They have self-seeded.

IMG_0227

So the unanswered questions was

How?

Do they dry the green pods

And save the seeds

To sprinkle in the snow?

My suspicion is that they return

To the garden

Via compost.

I never got the answer.

But sometimes mystery

And unanswered questions

Are just as much fun!

So since I wasn’t sure

Of the fate of these green pods

Packed with seeds of a color of poppy

I had never seen before.

A few seemed to find their way

Into my pocket.

IMG_0261

Couldn’t wait to get them home

And dried

And sprinkled

Into my own garden.

But….the last night

Someone commented about how fast customs moves

With the use of drug dogs.

And since these are the very variety

Of poppies that the USDA has banned in quantity.

We decided to leave them behind.

Kristina really wanted to see her children again.

_DSC9067

And not get caught up

In a gardening tour

Drug bust!

You would think that pulling all these poppies.

Would leave giant gaps in the color.

But as soon as one plant was pulled

Someone else came along

With a plant just as tall in hand

And planted them in the empty space.

While we were there

They replaced the poppies

 

With Cosmos.

IMG_0049

Three foot tall cosmos.

Which took me to

Wander through shall we say

The “guts” of the place.

The greenhouses.

IMG_0363

And cold frames

IMG_0360

Where they are grown.

They were filled with plants

Ready for the big show.

I found the  yellow wheelbarrows

I had noticed throughout the garden

Brimming with plants

Headed to the compost pile.

IMG_0390

They were stacked against the fence

Just like mine at home.

For me

Seeing the process

Was just as interesting

As the finished product.

I think it was there

That I found

My gardening Monet muse.

IMG_0361

Gail

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.  So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”

Claude Monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Compost, Cosmos, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Nature, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

DEWY DETAILS

On Tuesday morning at Monet’s garden

We found it covered in heavy dew.

I made two entries into my journal

 

DETAILS

On my second morning in the garden

I’m struck by the details.

Granted it is a mass of abundant bloom

But it is the detail

That draws me in.

The light streaming through the poppy leaf

Highlighting the drops of dew

Along it’s edge.

IMG_0375

 

Allium

Resembling firecrackers

As they go to seed.IMG_0353 (1)

Bees

FullSizeRender (15)

And bugs.

IMG_0226

Details take time.

Time to slow down

Enough to notice.

To breathe them in

To ponder them

To absorb them.

In most of my life

I am not a detail person.

I see the “big picture”

And look forward.

But over the years of gardening

I’ve trained my eye to look

For the details.

img_03051.jpg

And thankfully

My brain

Has trained my eye

To slow down.

To stop

To take it all in.

Being here at Giverny

In the quiet of the morning.

Allows the time

To see and feel the details

Of dew

Of new flowers opening.

FullSizeRender (15)

The last of the protective shell

Of a poppy blossom.

Before it hits the ground.

FullSizeRender (14)

This place is magical

I can see why Monet was such a productive artist

With this to inspire him.

The painter inspires the garden.

The garden inspires the painter.

 

 

HEAVY DEW

This morning the garden

Is bathed

In heavy dew.

FullSizeRender (14)

It coats

And nurtures

Each leaf

And blossom.

IMG_0370

A giver of life

Refreshing the blooms

For another day.

IMG_0376

So what is my heavy dew

Refreshing me each day?

What do I allow myself

to be bathed in?

What oozes into my pours

To nurture me

For the new day?

 

Gail

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.   So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”
Claude Monet

Once again the really good pictures are Debra’s!

Leave a comment

Filed under Allium, Garden Photography, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Poppy, Uncategorized

MONET’S GARDEN

There are some gardens

I have dreamed of seeing

All my gardening life.

This month I was lucky enough

To spend time in one of them.

Monet’s garden in Giverny, France.

IMG_0201

It was an extraordinary opportunity.

A week staying in a manor house

With private access each morning

Before the garden opened to the public

And each evening

After it closed.

As John put it when I first told him about it

“You have to go.”

Fortunately Kristina was up for a trip.

As was Debra.

So the three of us

Set out for France.

Spending a few days in Paris

Where chocolate mousse is served

In a soup tureen!!!

IMG_0203

Before traveling north to the countryside.

We were part of a group of 12 women

Mostly from the west coast

Who had some connection to

Elizabeth Murray…

Who years ago was

The first woman gardener at Giverny.

She has returned each year for 33 years.

Maintaining friendships with gardeners.

IMG_0090

And making more friends along the way.

This was the first year she has taken a group

To the garden.

We were along for the second week.

And fortunate to have learned about it.

Over the next few weeks

I want to share this experience with you.

So let’s begin at the beginning.

I first became aware of Elizabeth

When I bought her book “Monet’s Passion”.

It was a resource book for my garden design days.

I highly recommend it.

Decades later I would learn that she offers

“Days of creativity” in her home.

And journey to Monterrey

With friends for my 60th birthday.

IMG_4047

When she emailed last fall

Telling me about the trip

I got just the tiniest bit excited

And spread that to Kristina and Debra.

I would like to thank my friends

Who patiently listened to me for 6 long months

Anticipating our trip.

We gathered at La Reserve just outside Giverny

On a Sunday afternoon.

IMG_9083 (1)

Twelve women

Two from Australia

Two from Oklahoma

One from Colorado

Seven from Northern California.

Some had come to paint.

_DSC9054

Some to draw.

Others to photograph

img_0230.jpg

And me who wanted to sit

On one of those famous green benches

And write.

_DSC8937

To wait for my Monet muse.

To walk the paths of this garden he created.

To see the famous light that so inspired him.

To breath the garden air.

To simply take it all in.

Because our time in the garden

Was before it opened

Each day began with a “pre-breakfast snack”

At 6:30

Which is really no problem since the sun

Came up at 5:30!

We gathered at the gardeners gate

And entered through their “shed” which was Monet’s first studio.

IMG_0365

Images etched in my mind over decades

Pale to the reality before me.

Color everywhere.

IMG_0327 (1).JPG

Flowers I have known and grown

Others that are new to me.

Then there is the famous light

Ever changing

Moment by moment

Turning poppy petals into small stained glass works of art.

IMG_0017

Elizabeth points out the window to Monet’s bedroom

And tells me that each morning he would open the windows

To see what was in bloom.

A habit I have with my own bedroom window

Overlooking my garden

You can tell this is a garden

Created by a gardener

Who also happened to be an artist.

_DSC8493

Thanks for indulging me.

Gail

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

Claude Monet

The photos I will share over the next few weeks are from Debra, Kristina and me.  I’m guessing you can tell which ones are from Debra!  Thank you for sharing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Poppy, Uncategorized

ROOTS

I woke up this morning

Thinking about roots

A word that has a double meaning in my life

Since I have deep roots in the prairie

Being the fourth generation to

Live on these plains.

I come from a long line of farmers

My father

O1bellmon7_10-01-2009_07DO5PQ.jpg

Both grandfathers.

The great grandfathers

Whose story I know

And likely those whose stories I don’t know.

And my mother

Grandmothers

And great grandmothers

Image (2)-002

Who farmed along side

Their fathers and husbands.

So I’m genetically connected

To the land.

It’s interesting to me

To see how this genetic predisposition

Translates from generation

To generation.

My great grandfathers

And grandfathers farmed to survive

On the plains .

During the Dust Bowl.

To provide for their large families

Who helped them work the land.

My father’s generation

Would have to be more creative

To continue to farm.

Many taking non farm jobs

To help make the farm work.

Then came my generation.

SCAN0011

No farmers among us.

But in me farming morphed into gardening

Serious gardening.

Rooted in a love of watching things grow.

Knowing that the weather can be

Your greatest friend

Or foe

Now comes Elliott’s generation

HB06-044

In the span of a few weeks

His graceful old Redbud tree was

Frozen while in full bloom.

His beautiful Hostas were

Shredded by a 20 minute hail storm.

Only to be snowed upon the next week.

Gardening is tough

Even if or especially if you are an urban gardener.

I believe that because gardening is tough

It makes people

Tough

Resilient

Patient

Hopeful

So I’ll go to my garden

To replant dahlias

That didn’t survive the

Frigid blast of early December.

I’ll rejoice in the two purple Poppies

IMG_0508

That will multiply in coming years,

And I’ll thank God

For the deep roots

Of my garden

And my life.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Farmers, Generations, Gratitude, Hosta, Poppy, Redbud Trees, 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

DSCN4463

into this?

DSCN1215

Plant a seed or plant

and you end up with this…

DSCN4510

or this…

DSCN4437

or this…

DSCN4506

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.

DSCN4431

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.

DSCN4323

We just have to stop

And look

And open ourselves to see them

Everywhere.

DSCN4384

Gail

 

4 Comments

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

STARTING AND STOPPING

At long last we’re getting rain.

Not tons of it

But rain just the same.

DSCN4222

Soft showers

Interspersed with real rain.

Throughout this long weekend.

So my gardening has followed the rain.

Starting and stopping

As the weather allows.

DSCN4190

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.

DSCN4212

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.

DSCN4270

And when it rained

I arranged flowers

In my friend Beth’s fun Fiesta pitchers.

DSCN4185

 

And oh yes…

There was this.

DSCN4187

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!

Leave a comment

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

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