Category Archives: spring

TULIP TIME

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.

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Tulips

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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They’ll last a few more days

Then it will be time to pull them up

And plant again.

The cycle goes on.

Gail

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Filed under spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized

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

EMERGING HOPE

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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.

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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.

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As a result I spend hours on the ground

At eye level

Observing miracle after miracle.

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Nurturing the garden

And my soul.

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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

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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

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Bloom

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Seed Pod

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Dried Seed Pod

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Seed

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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.

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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

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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

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Cleome

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And crazy Cockscomb

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Will follow.

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

They fill in between all the flowering shrubs and perennials.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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

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