Category Archives: Redbud Trees

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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That will multiply in coming years,

And I’ll thank God

For the deep roots

Of my garden

And my life.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

GARDEN QUESTIONS

Blogging is a curious adventure.

Some weeks ideas pop into my mind

All week-long.

Other weeks

Like this one

The mind is a void.

Not an idea at all.

So with the clock ticking away

On this Sunday evening.

I simply went into the garden

Breezy evening that it is

And clicked away.

Like any garden stroll

Questions arise.

So tonight

We’ll just do a little review

Of what’s blooming.

And ask a few questions

That popped into my mind.

The roses continue to bloom

And thrill my soul.

The staples in my garden

Are Katy Road Pink

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And Belinda’s Dream.

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But this week

Some new and old friends

Have been making me smile.

In my quest to add yellow roses

Sorry Daddy (he disliked yellow roses)

Julia Child is happily blooming away.

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Then two that I dug and brought

From my old garden

Are the best they have ever been.

If only I knew their name.

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It’s poppy season here.

And the rosy red ones that dot my garden

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Remind me of my neighbor Patti

And the fun we had gardening

Back and forth over the fence

That attempted to divide our yards.

I can’t look at a poppy or a lady bug

Without smiling and remembering Patti.

Now for the questions

What’s the deal with the Redbud trees?

The are loaded

No, over loaded with seed pods.

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So much so that the branches are

Hanging even lower than usual.

It seems to be a good year for seed pods

Not only Redbuds

But the Silver Leaf Maple has produced

Enough “helicopters” to replant

The southern plains.

So…did you ever wonder

Why columbine has these funny little

Spear like things coming off

The back of the bloom?

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I’m not sure I really want to know the answer

To my questions.

You see

I love the mystery.

Of nature

And of life.

Gail

 

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Filed under Columbine, Gardening, Redbud Trees, roses, spring

EASTER – CHILDREN – GARDENS

Sometimes holding an annual event

Can be well…dicey. Expectations increase.

People can get tired of the same thing.

The odds for good weather decrease.

Not so if children are involved

And Easter eggs filled with candy. DSCN3793

So, yesterday we hosted the 3rd

I’d say it’s safe to say Annual 1st Presbyterian Church Easter Egg.

Each year Kay, master of children’s  Christian education

Mixes things up a bit. DSCN3730

And this year we decided to invite the families

Of our neighboring church St. Matthews Episcopal.

We have been lucky with the weather all these years.

And this year was no exception. DSCN3766

It was a glorious afternoon.

And to top it off The Redbud trees were still in full bloom

Providing a marvelous backdrop for

The blanket of tulips leading up to the garden house. DSCN3752

Now you realize this is just luck.

No gardener has any say about when things bloom in the spring.

And if you try to plan it – it simply will not happen.

So you might as well just give it up

And hope for the best.

This is an attitude I’ve had to learn.

Fortunately, I had an excellent teacher.

My mother was the most relaxed hostess I’ve ever known. SCAN0001

Oh she would get “flustered” as she would say.

But she learned during the wild ride of her life.

To relax and enjoy it.

So yesterday as 50 or 60 children

(We don’t really know how many came.)

Were running through the garden. DSCN3781

Releasing lady bugs DSCN3736

Listening to the resurrection story DSCN3756

 

Exploring the compost pile

Trying out the  chimney of the outdoor fireplace

And gathering Easter Eggs DSCN3768

One child brought back a wonderful memory of my mother

And the grace that she showed so many people during her life.

It happened during a family Sunday School Class party

Of many of these very people.

It was in the late 1980’s and we decided to have the party

At my parent’s home in the city.

Big house – big yard – big draw.

Dozens of us showed up and swarmed the place. Image (4)

At one point several young mothers were standing in the kitchen

Visiting with mother as Cristina, maybe 3 or so

Appeared with a bouquet of flowers for the hostess.

Freshly picked from her own flower beds.

Beth, her mother, turned ashen.

Mother bent down and thanked

And likely hugged Cristina.

She was thrilled with the gift.

So yesterday

When I noticed Kay’s granddaughter

Walking along the garden house path

Snapping off tulips DSCN3798

I smiled

Then laughed

What a gift this memory is.

Children and Gardens and God.

If you don’t have children to invite into your garden.

I hope you’ll find some

To teach about nature

And grace.

Happy Easter,

Gail

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Filed under Easter Baskets, Easter Egg Hunt, Garden House, Gardening Friends, Redbud Trees, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips

DISSONANT HARMONY

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Sometimes I forget

Just how much

Music and gardens have in common.

Until this morning.

Before I left for church I reminded myself

When I get home to cut that single RED tulip

Blooming wildly in the midst

Of all those perfect pastel beauties.

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It has somehow survived the year

And returned to bloom again.

But it doesn’t fit into this year’s color scheme

So…off with it’s head.

I thought.

It’s probably the only tulip

That’s ever been saved from cutting

By the tenor section!

Here’s how.

We were practicing for our annual

“Palms to Passion” service this morning.

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Doing a simple yet glorious version of

“God So Loved the World”

We were sounding pretty good

Except for one measure when those aforementioned tenors

Were moving from note to note ahead of us

The melody loving soprano section.

The tenors should know this by now.

I thought.

Then I took a moment

And actually looked at the music.

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They were singing it correctly.

Our parts were not the same.

We, the sopranos, were the dissonant ones.

Intended to be different from one another.

Imagine that…

Dissonant harmony in a church choir.

For some reason

This moment really resonated with me

And I began thinking that

Music is like a garden

Which is like life.

Sometimes it’s the very things that sound off tune

That resolve into true beauty.

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It’s the differences that make us richer

And deeper.

Sameness is comfortable

Appealing initially.

But it is in the bounty of difference

That we experience the true nature

Of all that God created.

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Music and gardens.

Some of Her best work!

Gail

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Filed under Gratitude, Redbud Trees, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips

COLORS OF THE SEASON

We are experiencing the glory of the season.

An amazing fall.

Driving through the older neighborhoods

I am stunned by the breathtaking

Gold of plain old Elm trees.

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By Kelly’s mature Ginkgo tree.

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And the American Elm in front of the church.

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For years gold was our dominate fall color.

Some red was dotted here and there.

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But to get lots of red you had to head east

To the Talahina trail, or Arkansas or New England.

And since we are human we always want

What someone else has.

A few years back

The Men’s Garden Club made a subtle effort

Called “Plant the Town Red”.

They encouraged people to plant

Redbud for spring.

Red Crepe Myrtle for summer.

And varieties of Red Maple that are happy here for fall

Autumn Blaze and Autumn Glory.

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Or Chinese Pistache.

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We were replacing the dying elm trees in our front yard

And were happy to oblige.

In four years

This is the reddest they have been.

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So the question is

Are maple trees like Hydrangea?

Does their color depend on the soil chemistry?

Or is it a question of maturation.

Do they have to be a certain age before they are actually red?

Or could it have been

A mix-up in tagging

Somewhere along the way

Before it came to live at our house?

Only time will tell.

But this year it doesn’t really matter.

I’m drinking in the gold

As it sparkles in the sun.

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As it takes my breath away.

As it reminds me that the season is winding down.

And like every season of every year.

We are not in charge.

Red

Gold

It’s all glorious.

I was afraid I didn’t have enough pictures for this blog

So on the way to church this morning

I stopped to take a few more.

After snapping a picture or two

I heard someone talking to me.

“There’s a better one in the back.”

A young man yelled out his window.

“I took a picture of it a few days ago.”

He was right.

It’s glorious.

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So after a blustery Sunday.

Leaves cover the ground.

Apple pies are in the oven.

It must be fall

And one more certain sign.

Happy Birthday, John.

Gail

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Filed under Chinese Pistache Tree, Elm Trees, Fall, Gingko Tree, Hydrangea, Maple Trees, Redbud Trees, Uncategorized

TULIP TIMING

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For years I’ve planted tulips along the path to my garden house.

I’ve chosen to cluster them all there

Rather than dotting them around the garden

The effect is quite good.

Even dramatic in a good year.

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I’ve also hosted many spring parties in my garden

But I’ve never gotten the two events coordinated.

Until this year.

Back in January we began planning a bridal shower for my friend Gay’s daughter.

The best day was last Saturday, April 20th.

Gay asked if my tulips would still be blooming.

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No chance I replied.

I’ve never known tulips to last that long.

Now this is the latest and coolest spring I can remember.

In fact, there is yet another freeze predicted for next week.

So the tulips began to bloom.

And bloom and bloom.

They have lived through no less than 4 overnight freezes

Including one complete with ICE!

They’ve just kept on keeping on.

Flushed with sunlight

And backed with still blooming Redbud trees.

Ali and Friends

Ali and Friends

Yesterday they really strutted their stuff.

Which only means one thing.

I want to plant more next year!

Gail

PS:  Hopefully after the final “last freeze” next week we’ll get to really dig in and start gardening!

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Filed under Bridal Showers, Garden House, Redbud Trees, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Timing, tulips, Uncategorized

“PERFECT” GARDENING DAYS

I’ve never been a fan of the word perfect.

After all I grew up on a farm

Where nothing is ever perfect.

I did marry an attorney

Whose job it is to be perfect

God has such a sense of humor!

I try not to use that word.

But there are times when it truly does apply.

This weekend turned out to be full of “perfect” gardening days.

Which is surprising since last Wednesday we had an ice storm

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Featuring frozen Tulips

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And Redbud trees.

So when yesterday dawned cool and cloudy

I was ready to garden.

As you may recall last fall we opened a new client choice food pantry

For hungry people in this part of the state.

We serve over 800 individuals and families each month.

And we are working hard to provide them with healthy food choices.

So naturally we decided we’d grow some of that food.

A generous soul named Michael has worked tirelessly to organize this project.

A month ago 10 raised beds were built.

And yesterday morning we planted them.

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With plants and seeds donated from Atwoods.

And the help of volunteers from Chisholm Schools.

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In 3 hours we planted 10 raised beds.

Stuffed them full of early season veggies and greens.

What a gift!

The day continued with…what else…a nap!

Nothing better than napping on a sunny spring afternoon.

Then I began to work on the roses that I have so ignored all spring.

Each rose got a good drink of water laced with 1/4 cup of Epsom salts.

They gulped it right up.

Next I finally got around to cutting away the dead

And tying New Dawn to the fence

It gets a bit unruly from time to time.

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A couple of quick flower arrangement for Sunday’s church services

And the day was done.

This afternoon was less focused.

Just piddling around

Trimmed the hedges outside the kitchen window

Pulled more of that @#$#@ poa anna grass

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Before it goes to seed.

Planted a flat of alyssum

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The one spring annual that can withstand

Next week’s promised last freeze

Then spent a few minutes sitting among the tulips

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They are like children.

When you bend down to their height

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You enjoy them so much more.

An unexpected clap of thunder

Brought a soft brief spring shower.

God watered everything in.

It was a “perfect” gardening weekend!

Gail

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Filed under Alyssum, Bouquets, Dead Heading, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Hunger, Redbud Trees, roses, Seeds, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Vegetables

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 Re-generating Tree

When we bought this house almost 8 years ago

The backyard had been the domain of one very large labrador retriever

He wasn’t much of a gardener.

More like a plant eater.

As a result there was very little here.

A few straggly bushes of unknown lineage.

Giant arbavidae hedges on the east edge

and dissecting the backyard.

All of these are now history.

But there was one mature Eastern Redbud.

It’s probably 50 – maybe 60 years old.

It’s tall and stately.

Providing shade near the garden house.

It is sadly nearing the end of it’s natural life.

Each spring for the past 3 or so years fewer and fewer branches leaf out.

Big chunks seem to die each winter.

It litters the ground with branches each time the wind blows.

Now, you need to know that we love Redbud trees.

John has planted 6 since we moved into this house.

Knowing that we will not likely see them reach maturity.

Much like whoever planted the original one.

But every spring when they bloom

John seems to find another spot just perfect for a Redbud.

There’s some history for this love in my family.

I remember my parent giving Redbud saplings

As an official gift since it is the official state tree.

They are native here and grow wild along creek and river beds.

Look as you travel the interstates and backroads over the next few weeks. 

They are blooming wildly now.

So… back to my dying backyard Redbud.

Just as the big chunks began to die

We noticed a sucker coming from the base of the tree.

The next spring…a few more.

Now, they are almost as tall as I am

Recently I’ve noticed blossoms along the main branches

New life.

Imagine giving birth at 60!

We are coddling this new growth

In hopes that the intersection of death and new life

Will fill the void.

As is often the case this cycle repeats itself in nature

And in life. 

Endings mark new beginnings.

And so it will be with our Redbud tree.

We hope.

Gail

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Filed under Garden House, Redbud Trees, spring, Uncategorized

Lenten Compost

 

 Probably the most asked gardening question this time of year

is how soon can I start. 

We all get spring fever.

Wanting to dig up something

or plant something.

I have followed the same schedule for years

decades really.

“If by the middle of March the 15 day forecast looks good

Let the fun begin.”

And it’s worked.

I’ve saved myself from doing lots of damage over the years

Until this year.

After this remarkably warm winter

Everything is ahead

way ahead.

I have tulips blooming on St. Patty’s day ahead!

St. Patty's Day Tulips

Which I guess means I’m behind.

But I’m not going to think like that.

I’m going to pace myself

So today I broke out my friendly leaf sucker and began.

John had placed the blanket of chopped leaves and grass

on my garden last fall.

Now it must come off

and head to the compost pile.

But first I dug up the end of last year’s leaves fully composted and

spread them around my little “hill”.

This rich remnant of leaves has been home to worms the size of small snakes.

Three wheel barrows full are now enriching the heretofore ignored east end of my garden.

The hole this created has been filled with the contents of one side of my composter

and an endless pile of chopped leaves.

The beginning of the next batch.

A friend sent me a Lenten devotional about composting.

It says that the metaphor of compost is fitting for Lent.

From death comes life.

It’s true .

In gardening.

In life.

Gail

P.S.  The Redbuds are lighting up this part of the world.

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Filed under Compost, Forsythia, Redbud Trees, tulips, Uncategorized, Violets