Category Archives: spring

EMERGING HOPE

DSCN3451

The last  few weeks I’ve spent removing the blanket of leaves from my garden.

It’s a tedious but necessary task.

Last fall John mowed up the leaves from the yard

And dumped them on my garden.

It’s a natural way to protect the garden from winter.

I’m grateful he took the time to chop and distribute all those leaves.

DSCN3426

But once spring begins.

It’s time to remove the blanket

And let the sunshine in.

This is not a quick haphazard job.

It needs to be done carefully

To protect the tender shoots

Emerging from their winter’s sleep.

The new life that is sprouting forth.

DSCN3434

As a result I spend hours on the ground

At eye level

Observing miracle after miracle.

DSCN3430

Nurturing the garden

And my soul.

DSCN3433

Each spring I am in awe of this process.

What may look like a garden of dirt one week

Will quickly begin to unfurl

With hope.

And hope does not disappoint us.

Gail

DSCN3447

Leave a comment

Filed under Ferns, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hosta, Peonies, spring, Spring Clean Up, Timing, Winter Garden

SEEDS – THE BEGINNING & THE END

My father often told me that he didn’t want to slow down as he aged.

 

Mother and Daddy riding in a parade circa 1962

Mother and Daddy riding in a parade circa 1962

 

Parkinson’s Disease forced him to

But it wasn’t his idea.

He would say

“If I sit down I’ll go to seed.”

Time and Parkinson’s won out

And his life slowly wound down.

But never completely

He conducted a meeting about the future of public education in Oklahoma

On the Thursday before he died the next Tuesday.

He got his wish

He never went to seed.

But going to seed is a natural event in a garden.

Flowers come from seed

And most go back there sometime during the season.

That process has begun in my garden

The “going to seed” sequence

Follows the blooming sequence

So since Poppies are the first

Of the “self seeding annuals” to bloom

They are the first to go to seed.

So the process looks something like this

Bud

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bloom

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seed Pod

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dried Seed Pod

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next spring it will begin again.

This week it’s the Larkspur’s turn

I know

It’s late

But remember that the season

Could be as much as 1 month behind normal.

So the Larkspur blooms have begun to turn

To seed pods.

DSCN1386

I’ll let some dry out in the ground

But not all.

I can’t imagine how much Larkspur there would be

If I let it all “go to seed”.

So I’ve begun the process of pulling up Larkspur

And laying it on the garden house floor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To dry

So that I have seeds to share

With anyone who would like some.

And what goes in the space created

When I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur?

What else but

Zinnia and Cosmos seeds.

They will go through the same bud, bloom and seed process

During the second half of the season

Hollyhocks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cleome

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And crazy Cockscomb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Will follow.

These are the things that give my garden that look of abundance.

They fill in between all the flowering shrubs and perennials.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, though the actual plant dies after one season

The seeds fall to the ground

Waiting patiently for the next year.

Popping up in new and unexpected places.

Teaching me each season.

It’s the cycle of nature

A going backward

So that we can go forward.

Nature

Pay attention to it.

Take time to observe it.

It has much to teach us.

Gail

DSCN1373

3 Comments

Filed under cleome, cockscomb, Cosmos, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Larkspur, Perennials, Poppy, roses, Seeds, self seeding annuals, spring, Uncategorized, Zinnia

MEGAN

A couple of decades ago my job was designing, installing and maintaining perennial flower garden

All around town.

It was fun and very hard work.

During the summer maintenance season

I would hire daughters of friends to help me.

Megan, Cristina and Ashley outlasted them all.

For instance Megan’s sister Katie told me at the end of the first…and only summer for her.

“This has been fun, but I don’t ever want to do this again.”

But it was Megan who just kept coming back.

She worked from Jr. High through High School.

Then in college she would come back each fall to help me plant bulbs.

Even post college she was there for me digging trenches

And burying bulbs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve had great conversations

That have matured with each year.

We often talked about the garden party I would have for her.

When she married.

Last fall when Megan came for our bulb planting ritual

There was only one subject of conversation

JP

So it was no surprise that at Christmas Megan and JP were engaged.

564703_10152408461635473_1891472253_n

After years of dreaming about Megan’s wedding and parties

The planning began.

What’s that saying about making plans.

“If you want to make God laugh…tell him your plans.”

Well God must have doubled over with laughter at this one.

Because JP is in the Navy

Scheduling of everything was on Navy time.

In this instance that means fast.

A mid-April wedding was planned not at home

But in Corpus Christi where JP was stationed.

No problem…if there’s anything Megan loves as much as JP and gardens

Its’ the beach

555802_739051822325_1035822274_n

But there was only time and space for family and a few close friends.

No problem…we’ll have a reception here

In my garden

Just like we planned

Sometime in Mid-May when all is happily blooming!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well…maybe not.

JP and Megan have to be in their new destination by May 6th.

OK we’re flexible

May 2nd it will be.

A simple ice cream social with wedding cakes

Friends and family in attendance for the perfect send off.

Well…maybe not.

The morning of May 2nd brought

Sleet

Rain

Clouds

30 mile an hour north winds

With gusts to 40

DSCN0414

OK God I get the idea.

Thankfully for once I half way believed

Our over zealous weather forecaster

And cut every tulip that was blooming

The Saturday before the party.

They spent the week in the safety of my spare refrigerator.

DSCN0743

And the day before the party Kay – Megan’s mother suggested

“We might want to go ahead and cut whatever else we need.”

So we cut buckets of Boxwood and Viburnum

And even cut a few Lilacs from Kelly’s yard.

DSCN0734

We simply brought the garden indoors.

Now there’s no doubt that I was disappointed

That I couldn’t give Megan the garden party of her dreams.

But here’s the thing.

When Thursday night came.

Megan and JP were beaming

Friends who have watched her grow up

Family who loved her from the moment they knew she was coming into this world.

All of us were there

Eating gelato and wedding cake.

DSCN0747

And sending Megan & JP out into the world

Knowing that they are deeply loved.

That they are rooted and grounded in this place with these people.

As my sister Pat said at Elliott & Kristina’s wedding.

“We have loved giving you roots and wings

It is the greatest satisfaction of our lives.

Know that we celebrate with you as you join hands,

Spread your wings and fly.”

Here’s to a happy life Megan

And gardening all over the world.

All my love,

Gail

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Bridal Showers, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening;Perennials, Perennials, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Wedding Flowers

TULIP TIMING

DSCN0562

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.

DSCN0545

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.

DSCN0581

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!

Leave a comment

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

DSCN0405

Featuring frozen Tulips

DSCN0417

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.

DSCN0432

With plants and seeds donated from Atwoods.

And the help of volunteers from Chisholm Schools.

DSCN0434

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

DSCN1943

Before it goes to seed.

Planted a flat of alyssum

DSCN0342

The one spring annual that can withstand

Next week’s promised last freeze

Then spent a few minutes sitting among the tulips

DSCN0499

They are like children.

When you bend down to their height

DSCN0514

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

DSCN0445

2 Comments

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

ANTICIPATION

Remember that old ketchup commercial?

An upside down bottle

Cap off

Carole King singing “Anticipation” in the background.

But the ketchup just wouldn’t come out.

This spring  feels like that ketchup.

It just can’t get started.

And so we awoke this Palm Sunday morning

To yet another snow.

DSCN0034

After all it is still  March!

But I’m just a little anxious.

The fact that I’m having the church Easter Egg hunt next weekend

And my yard hasn’t even been scalped

Is driving me just a bit!

So today I did a little “snow gardening”

DSCN0047

Yes, it was cold.

And windy.

But after putting on tights, pants, sock liners, socks, boots, wool sweater, coat, glove liners, gloves & ear muffs

Combined with sunshine and a wind block.

It was pretty toasty out.

Smiling violas kept me company

DSCN0035

Just waiting for companion tulips to appear

The leaves were wet with snow

But they rack up just like dry ones.

DSCN0029

And there is life beneath.

The hope of spring

DSCN0043

Of garden days to come.

Of blooms to breath in

And share

Of life!

Sunshine’s on it’s way.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Easter Egg Hunt, Forsythia, Hellebores, Rake, spring, Uncategorized, Viola, Winter Garden

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

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

EASTER EGGS

There is a long legacy of eggs in my family.

When I was growing up we raised chickens.

And as a result – eggs.

It was a family effort. 

Daddy raised the chickens

Mother, Pat, Ann & I gatherer, cleaned, candeled and sold eggs.

Ann, me, Pat and Mother gathering eggs late 1950's

I still have one of the wire egg baskets from those days

As well as that chicken nest in my garden house.

Perhaps that’s why my mother loved to die Easter eggs.

Every mother does things for their children at holidays.

Creating memories and all.

But I’m pretty sure that Easter egg dying

Was actually for mother.

I just don’t remember any other college students

who came home to die Easter eggs.

I think she did it even if we weren’t there!

So it’s with that heritage in mind that I volunteered

to have the Easter Egg Hunt for the children at my church.

Now granted no child in 2012 would be happy with a hard-boiled egg.

Even if it was died turquoise with their name etched with a wax pencil.

But it’s an Easter Egg Hunt just the same.

And I couldn’t have a bunch of kids in my garden

Without giving them a little gardening lesson.

So we added a lady bug release to the activities.

Aphids attacked my roses right on cue.

So the lady bugs had plenty to eat.

We divided the 20 plus children into 3 groups.

Three adults were strategically placed around the garden.

Each had a watering can full of water.

On cue they and the children watered an area of the garden path.

Then along we came with the bag of lady bugs.

They had been chilling in my refrigerator since the Fed Ex man delivered them on Wednesday.

Thank goodness we didn’t put the eggs on top of them!

Now, I’ve been doing lady bug releases in my garden for years.

Ever since my friend and neighbor Patti discovered Buglogical.com.

She and I would share an order each spring.

Lately, the neighbor children have come to share the fun.

But….

I’ve never done this with quite so many children.

 

So, I was a little concerned.

You never know how a child will react.

Or adults for that matter. 

When lady bugs feel the warmth of your hands

They awake from their sleep and begin crawling.

Usually up your arm.

All of these children loved it.

They were – shall we say – naturals!

Children, parents, grand parents even great grandparents had a splendid time.

 

A time for friends old and new, children, bugs and all that is ours in nature.

Easter – telling and sharing the good news.

Experiencing life in a garden.

It was a good day.

Happy Easter.

Gail

7 Comments

Filed under Bugs, Easter Egg Hunt, Gardening Friends, Lady Bugs, spring, Uncategorized

YUMMY SPRING

 

 

I love the progression of Spring.

Each week brings some new spectacular blooms

The colors are so bright – so clear.

A neighbor's "Tulip Drive"

The weather allows me to spend hours in the garden

Soaking it all in.

Nothing renews me like the slow progression

of my garden emerging from the earth

or the cracks in the patio bricks.

Slow progression.

Not this year.

It’s as if John Phillip Sousa has come back to town

and is conducting a fast march through the season.

I was planning on writing about a single plant this week

Wisteria

Early in the week I was drooling over my wisteria.

Driving around town taking pictures of wisteria all over town.

Gay discovered this one in our neighborhood.

It’s at least 30 feet high and has attached itself to a tree row between 2 houses.

Then Debra’s gift of  OSU tulips began to open as a nice buttery yellow

and ended the week a great orange.

Next the Parrot Tulip Blumex began to open

and open.

I can’t stop taking pictures of them.

It’s all happening way to fast.

After all it’s only the 31st of March.

Roses are budding

actually the first bloomed TODAY!

Iris are also on the fast track with lots of buds popping up.

But the most breathtaking gift of the day is my

Japanese Tree Peony

You may remember it from last year.

Bought it at least 10 years ago.

Tiny, expensive root it was.

Transplanted to two different gardens.

Accidentally sliced it in half at one point.

Waited patiently – most of the time.

This year it has 14 giant buds.

They open at night

So on a spring morning I am surprised .

This morning I was as my mother would say “flabbergasted”

SIX blooms the size of my hand

Absolutely yummy.

Since it’s so very warm I’ve put my green market umbrella over it

To give it shade.

Because the blooms don’t last long.

So…if you want  to bask in its glory.

Better come tomorrow!

Gail

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Parrot Tulips, roses, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Wisteria

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

1 Comment

Filed under Garden House, Redbud Trees, spring, Uncategorized