Category Archives: Shasta Daisy

The Untended Garden

I have often wondered how long a garden lasts

When there is no one there to tend it?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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

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.

1 Comment

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

THE LATE SUMMER GARDEN

The late summer garden.

There comes a time in summer

When you have to decide.

Let the blossoms linger

Or…cut them back so that they can bloom again in fall.

That’s what I’ve spent much of the last week doing.

Cutting back.

Deadheads from this week's efforts.

I may be a bit late.

It’s always hard to tell.

After all we don’t know when the first freeze will come.

At this point we can hardly imagine a freeze at all.

But before we know it we’ll be looking back at this summer.

We get a lot of bad press in this part of the country about weather

Much of it self-inflicted

Some people gripe about gardening here.

But for me the truth is this is a great place to garden.

We have 4 distinct seasons.

Granted they get a little confused some years.

And occasionally we miss one all together.

But almost every year I can garden for 9 months.

Sometimes 10.

What more can you ask for.

When one of my first gardening clients, Liz, died on New Year’s Eve.

I remember going into my yard to cut a few flowers to add to an arrangement to take to her home.

Liz loved arranging flowers. 

She was an artist.

She knew color and scale.

Even on days when she wasn’t feeling well I would find her out in her cutting garden when I came by for the weekly maintenance.

Frequently there will be daffodils and hellebores on Valentine’s Day.

But in order to do this you have to plan and…

You have to be ruthless this time of year.

It also means that you’ll have less color for a few weeks.

Unless, of course, you planted zinnias during late June.

The purple wedding zinnias are starting to bloom.

Then, they will pick up the slack when it comes to garden color.

My friends Martie and Cheri have both reported the first zinnia blooms in the last few weeks.

The Monarch Butterflies will be grateful to them.

Soon they’ll begin their flight to their winter home in Mexico.

The sunny flat faced blossoms of zinnias give them all the food they need for the trip.

Zinnias awaiting visitors

There have been years where they absolutely come in flocks to dine on late summer zinnias.

So what you may ask am I whacking away at.

Tall garden phlox.

Too tall phlox

This year it’s been really tall since I didn’t get it cut back in the spring.

And for some reason I haven’t cut much of it for arrangements.

Along with phlox other hot summer staples Gloriosa Daisies and Purple Coneflower have gotten harsh hair cuts.

Pladycodan (Balloon Flower) also got whacked severely.

Shasta Daisies are still blooming. 

Just deadhead them to keep them going.

No severe treatment here.

Though I do need to dig and divide them come fall.

Basically this time of year there’s not much else to do but deadhead and weed.

Or in simpler terms putter.

And enjoy!

Gail

P.S. I know I’m repeating myself, but I’m seeing more and more trees around town in
severe stress.  Drag a hose to any tree or shrub at your house and let it trickle.
Move it in concentric circles for a day or two.  Soak it slowly to go deeply. 
You’ll actually hear them thank you!

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Filed under Dead Heading, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, late summer garden, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Shasta Daisy, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Zinnia

TRANSITIONS

There comes a time in the garden

When things change.

It’s a subtle change most years.

But you know it’s coming.

With this week came the transition from spring to summer.

(Although the heat dome seems to have confused us a bit.)

Nature is so wise.

Spring flowers can survive cool or even cold weather.

But not heat.

A hotter than usual spring means the flowers come and go quickly.

I don’t like it when that happens.

Summer flowers can take the heat.

They bask in it.

So nature in her wisdom gave us summer flowers for those hot days.

They begin their reign around the first day of summer.

The work horses of the summer garden are

Gloriosa Daisies  (Rudbeckia)

Gloriosa Daisies - Rudbeckia

Purple Coneflowers  (Echinacea)

Purple Coneflowers courtesy of Debra

Shasta Daisies

Shasta Daisy - I think this variety is "Alaska"

Tall Garden Phlox –Daylilies – Zinnias – Cosmos

We’ll visit each of these over the summer

But this week let’s begin at the top of the list.

Gloriosa Daisies (Rudbeckia) are like sunshine. 

Glorious Gloriosa Daisy

Their bright sunny faces start appearing in June and will continue till fall if deadheaded.

As with most flowers the first blush of the season is the biggest and boldest.

You can start them in your garden with seeds or with plants.

There are many varieties – some solid yellow some with brown centers.

The only variety I’m not crazy about is Goldstrum Rudbeckia.

I like the flower OK, but it’s growth habit is a problem for me.

Within the first year or two it will form a large dense clump.

Th kind of clump you think of with major shrubs. 

It’s a big too aggressive for the average backyard garden.

If you have a field to cover then be my guest.

Gloriosa patches have planted themselves here and there throughout my garden.

Some are short with small blooms.

Others are bigger and bolder.

Since many of my garden plants are pass along plants I don’t know many variety names.

Sorry.

My first Gloriosa’s came from my friend Sally early one December.

A backhoe was in her garden and she lifted plants as quickly as she could rescue them.

I was the lucky recipient.

She had gotten them from her mother’s garden.

Gloriosas are especially pretty in early June next to purple Larkspur.

Gloriosas and Larkspur

Nature has a wonderful sense of color that way – arranging for complementary colors to bloom at the same time – such wisdom.

So plant them in full sun and they’ll reward you each year.

They’ll even make babies if the last seed heads are left on in the fall.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) has much in common with Gloriosas.

They both have a daisy like flower.

They like sun – though Echinacea will also do well in part shade.

They will rebloom if deadheaded through the summer.

And make babies from seed pods left alone late in the season.

They also make patches of color in the June garden.

The petals of Echinacea begin life standing straight out.

Newly opened Echinacea blossoms

After a day or two they begin to droop.

Just a fun addition to their personality.

Shasta Daisies belong in this group.

Bright open flowers.

Straight stems.

Same self seeding habit.

Lover of sun.

Debra captured this bee visiting a sunny Shasta Daisy

You can divide Shastas by dividing the clump in spring or fall.

Or from deadheads dropped along the way.

Because these flowers produce lots of blooms they are great for cutting.

Buckets of flowers cut from my garden waiting to be arranged.

Flower arrangements summer 2010 - ready to party!

You’ll still have many left even after making the biggest arrangement imaginable.

Summer arrangement June 2010

Cutting instructions are almost the same for all three.

Cut when the petals are open, but the center disk is tight.

Condition for several hours or overnight beginning with slightly warm water.

Strip the foliage off Echinacea and Shasta’s.

Leave it on for Gloriosas and also split the bottom of these stems about an inch or two.

You can do the same to the others if the stems are old and woody.

Gloriosa’s can be a bit picky and wilt down easily.

I find that it’s best to cut them at the joint rather than cutting so long with several branches jointing out.

I don’t remember this every time and have killed a few along the way.

So there you have it.

Three great choices for the “dog days of summer”.

Enjoy!

Gail

Summer's "Dog Days" flowers in full bloom

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Filed under Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Shasta Daisy, Uncategorized