Just when I think
May overcome me
Take care of yourself and stay safe,
Just when I think
May overcome me
Take care of yourself and stay safe,
Most of the country has experienced
What seems to be the longest winter
In recent memory.
Our winter has been
In and out.
Bitter cold days
Sprinkled into sunny winter glory.
But it simply has not rained.
Fires 100 miles to our west
Attest to our dry fall and winter.
Thankfully it starting raining on a recent Friday night
And continued through Saturday.
Bringing hope to my garden
With each drop.
The Japanese Maple trees
Are sighing with relief.
They leafed out on schedule
Only to be frozen a couple of times.
Creating the saddest looking tree
I’ve seen in a long time.
Now, with this moisture
They have begun the process of
Putting on new leaves.
And things are budding out.
With their attending ants.
And those stunning Japanese Tree Peonies.
They don’t last long
A few days of bloom and they are gone.
Yet, they are so worth growing.
With these buds
And so it is with gardeners.
Whose spirits have frozen
More times than we can count.
But with the rain comes
And gardeners thrive on
You can tell that spring is winding down.
The temperature is rising slightly.
There are fewer rainy days.
And the big garden jobs are done.
The few pots I have are planted.
Tulips have been pulled.
And the plants I couldn’t resist
Have nestled into their new home.
Now comes the weekend
When there is time
Doing the little things
That you’ve been walking past
Till the time was right.
Digging and thinning the Iris.
Hanging the sticky traps for those nasty thrip.
Spreading the crushed egg shells around the Hosta
Hoping to discourage the slugs and snails.
Planting the first Zinnias in the bare spots.
Staking, trimming and caging the tomatoes.
It’s going to be a good tomato year
Since I’m all ready seeing blooms and tomatoes
And finding time to see the world
Through my macro lens
Discovering a pollen laden bee
Inside a Hollyhock bloom.
I so enjoy puttering.
P.S. In my last blog I said that there was not a farmer in my generation.
I stand corrected and apologize.
My sister Ann took delivery on her new tractor this week.
She’ll use it as she tends her 40 acre pecan grove.
Planted by our father.
Which she inherited
And is improving.
So she can pass it on
To the next generation.
Each fall when I order tulips
I check the calendar for the next spring.
I try to time them to bloom
For my annual Easter Egg Hunt.
Easter can swing wildly over a month
From late March to late April.
Then you throw in the weather changes
And you’ve got a challenge.
I’ve been pretty lucky over the last few years
And somehow managed
To have some kind of blooming tulips.
Perfect for photo ops of all kinds.
Last fall knowing that Easter would be relatively late this spring
I ordered the latest blooming variety I could find.
French Blend from Colorblends.
I’ve been planting these in the front bed
For several years.
And they always bloom well behind
The varieties I plant in the back.
So this year I decided to plant both areas to French Blend.
The days we hit the high 80’s in February
Made me a little nervous
The leaves came popping out of the ground
At record speed.
Then March began to actually act like March
And the whole process stalled.
This week the yellow tulips in the back starting blooming
And now a few in the front are popping with color.
If these cloudy days hold on for another week.
It looks like I’ll have another Easter
Please know this has nothing to do with any special gardening skills.
It’s simply planning
Backed up with faith.
A pretty good combination.
Has always been a blessing
To the soul.
After decades of gardening
And listening to thunderstorms
Move through the countryside
Just this morning
Another side of spring rain.
It rained last night.
Most of the night I think.
So we woke up
To an emerald green world
On a cloudy Sunday morning.
Any good gardener knows
After a good rain
It’s important when you walk through
To stay on the path
To keep from compacting the soggy soil.
Rain also means
That you won’t get to do much digging
For a day or two.
The result is that
Rain slows me down.
It focuses me on the beauty of the garden.
Not the “to do” list
In my head.
Rain washes away the clutter
In my mind
So I can see.
Four years ago
When we were planning the first Good News Easter Egg Hunt
We didn’t have a lot of children in our congregation.
So we encouraged everyone to invite
And neighbor’s children
And friend’s children.
And they did.
Two families from Wichita have come home every year.
So I was elated
When Elliott and Kristina
Began making plans to bring Henry & Harper
Here for their first Easter.
Traveling with twin 8 month old babies
Is brave to say the least.
But they have been amazingly relaxed parents.
Last Saturday afternoon
We gathered in the garden.
Many of these children have been coming every year.
They are very comfortable in my garden
They know they are welcome to wonder through it all
As long as they stay on the path.
They can even leave their name in chalk.
Fewer and fewer each year are concerned about
Ladybugs crawling up their arms.
This year one child even made my
“Why do we release ladybugs in the garden” speech spontaneously for me.
Sloan realized that we were a bit deprived
In the signage department
And convinced her mom to fix that problem.
As more children have come to our church
Our numbers have grown.
It’s common to have three generations of families come.
Sometimes even four.
Which is why I was thrilled when
My uncle George dropped by
To meet Harper & Henry.
George is the last of my father’s 12 siblings.
It was a poignant moment to see them together.
The past meeting the future.
Gardens have always been a gathering place
A place of reflection
A place to pass along knowledge
Generations of life happen in a garden.
I’m so pleased that some of those memories
Are being made each Easter
In my garden.
Thank you for this personal indulgence. I promise to get to serious gardening next week!
Blogging is a curious adventure.
Some weeks ideas pop into my mind
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
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
And Belinda’s Dream.
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.
Then two that I dug and brought
From my old garden
Are the best they have ever been.
If only I knew their name.
It’s poppy season here.
And the rosy red ones that dot my garden
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.
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?
I’m not sure I really want to know the answer
To my questions.
I love the mystery.
And of life.
Every time I looked at my garden this week.
Alan Lerner’s words from Camelot
Kept going through my head.
“It’s May, It’s May
The LUSTY month of May.”
And lusty it is.
I don’t know how Mother Nature pulls it off
But every year on Mother’s Day
My garden hits its spring stride.
There is still much to come
But this week
With lots of blousy blooms.
Perhaps it’s Mother Nature’s way
Of honoring mothers.
Those who nurture
And encourage things to grow.
Happy Mother’s Day
Four generations of the women of my family circa early 1950’s
One of the last things I do at the end of the gardening season each fall
Is one of the first things to bloom come spring.
It’s a gift we gardeners give ourselves.
Just at the end of the season
When we’re almost too tired to do another thing
And our knees really don’t want to bend down
Comes the time to plant Tulips.
Some years it’s hard to get it done.
But when spring comes I’m oh so grateful that I did.
Last fall I planted the path to the garden house
With my favorite varieties
Packed the trenches
Covered them with pansies
And let them sleep.
We had also added a new bed on the landing in the front.
Which was planted with a new variety
Of tulips called French blend.
They have proved to be perfect for this spot.
This variety bloomed a little later than those in the back.
Which has turned out to be a good thing.
You see this is a very sunny place.
Surrounded by bricks
Without a drip line.
So the only thing I know to plant there for summer is periwinkles.
But since periwinkles don’t like cold wet weather
You have to wait till May to plant them.
So having a tulip that is still blooming
This last weekend in April works well.
They’ll last a few more days
Then it will be time to pull them up
And plant again.
The cycle goes on.
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
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
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.
It was a glorious afternoon.
And to top it off The Redbud trees were still in full bloom
Providing a marvelous backdrop for
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.
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.)
Exploring the compost pile
Trying out the chimney of the outdoor fireplace
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.
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.
When I noticed Kay’s granddaughter
Walking along the garden house path
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