Category Archives: 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

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Saturday morning dawned cool, cloudy.

And sad.

Sloan dubbed them “mean teenagers”

The group that swept through our neighborhood

Stealing and smashing pumpkins Friday night.

Two solid block of streets littered with pumpkin parts.

And little girl’s broken hearts.

Since they smashed the pumpkin

Sloan had grown from seed.

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In the early morning dampness

We all dragged our poly carts out and cleaned up the mess.

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Shortly after that

The sun came out.

And the day began again.

This was the weekend I’d set aside for planting tulips

In the new bed at the front landing.

You may recall I ordered these

From a new (to me) catalog

Called “Colorblends”.

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Because I hadn’t ordered from them before.

I was a little nervous

Would they be big and firm?

What you need to grow glorious tulips

Come spring.

I was not disappointed.

They are great.

I followed my tried and true method of bulb planting.

Plant lots in a smallish place.

It gives you a burst of color

And stops people dead in their tracks.

Guess I have to confess and give an exact example.

Okay, I bought 500 tulips for this new bed

The L shaped bed is approximately

One foot wide by eighteen feet long.

And if you’re planting that many bulbs

You won’t dig 500 holes.

Dig a trench

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Placing the dirt in a wheel barrow

Or on a tarp close by.

My trench was about 4″ – 6″ deep.

I’ll plant annuals here after the tulips fade.

Which means they will likely rot

From summer’s watering.

So I consider them an annual.

And don’t plant them too deep.

Once the trench is dug

Sprinkle bone meal

Then mix it with the loosened dirt.

Place the bulbs point end up

Close together but not touching.

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Refill the trench.

Gently at first to keep from knocking the bulbs over.

Pack it down from time to time

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You should be able to replace all of the dirt.

This year I’m over-planting

With solid purple pansies.

There’s a lot of yellow in this tulip mix

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So I’m thinking the complimentary color scheme

Will be fun.

Now you may recall I’ve written a similar blog

Each fall at this time.

But this year is different

New bed

New tulips

From a new source.

And…you may also recall

That my tulip planting buddy Megan.

Married and moved to Florida.

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Where I’m guessing

She won’t be planting any tulips

In her zone 9 flower beds.

I missed you Megan

Both your help and our conversation.

Some new helpers arrived

Dressed in their cowboy boots

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After attending “Family Farm Day”

At the museum.

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Interesting concept here in the farmbelt

That you go to the museum to learn about the farm!

They may be city girls

But they are not afraid of dirt.

They helped me refill the trench.

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Having a great time

Throwing the dirt.

In the trench

On each other

And in those cute new cowboy boots.

Today we added the purple pansies.

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And watered it all in.

Megan’s sister Katie refers to this

As “the enchanted neighborhood”.

She’s moved back to raise her family here.

Saturday proved her right.

It’s not perfect.

Clouds will roll in.

Your pumpkin may get smashed.

But even a four-year old will bounce back.

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And bask in the community and love

Of this neighborhood.

Gail

“The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is.”
Fred Rogers

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Filed under Fall, Fred Rogers, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Lady Bugs, Pansies, Pumpkins, tulips, Uncategorized

INSPIRATION

Every garden is a constantly changing organism.

Some times it just takes on a life of its own

Other times the human in charge

Has a moment of inspiration

And makes intentional “improvements”.

Last spring while visiting the Dallas Botanical Garden

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John and I had one of those

“Inspired moments”.

But let’s back up a bit.

When we bought this house

Every conceivable area

Was lined with monkey grass.

Now you need to know that I

Well….OK…I hate monkey grass.

It is aggressive – moving not inches

But feet into a flower bed.

And no matter what you edge the bed with

Bermuda will grow up and over

and into the monkey grass.

Then there’s the nut grass

That initially looks like monkey grass

Until it shoots up over night

And is a foot taller.

I know people love this stuff

But I have been on a decade long campaign

To murder as much as possible.

The edge of our front landing

Has been lined with monkey grass

Which was invaded with Bermuda grass

And then variegated Vinca major.

Quite simply it’s a mess.

Then came the inspiration.

The boxwood backed beds

With glorious tulips in the front

Underplanted with violas.

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Aha…we could do that on the landing.

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It’s taken a few months

To locate enough of the right sized (small) boxwood.

Negotiate the location of the boxwood with John.

And find brave souls to dig out the perpetrator.

Thank you Alex and David.

This week John planted the baby boxwood.

And gave them their first haircut.

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Now for my fun.

I’ve ordered lots

Actually probably too many

Of a new variety of tulips.

Something called “French Blend”

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From a new company “Colorblends”

Who’s catalog just appeared in my mailbox.

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It’s described as “an all-color blend of long-stemmed tulips

Bright as lantern globes.”

Garden porn if ever I’ve heard it.

The Colorblends catalogue is interesting in itself

In that it does the mixing for you.

Offering dozens of tested combinations

of glorious tulips.

Tempting very tempting.

Now, I’m also repeating last years

Glorious tulip mixture

On the path to the garden house.

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A mixture of Darwin Hybrid tulips

Golden Apeldoorn

Ivory Floradale

Jaap Groot

Ollioules

Salmon Impression

Silver Stream

World Peace

And the best tulip ever

Pink Impression

Will be mixed and thickly planted

Along the brick path.

All from my long standing supplier K Van Bourgandien.

I think I may have lost it!

I’ve doubled my tulip order

The very year

That Megan, my bulb planting friend

Married and moved to Florida.

Surely someone will take pity on me

And come some glorious fall afternoon

To dig trenches

And plant

This inspiration.

Gail

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Filed under Boxwood, tulips, Uncategorized

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.

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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

Garden Travels

It’s finally here…Spring!

Officially on Wednesday.

It’s just a bit soon here to begin digging.

You can start cutting back all that brown dead stuff

And racking back that protective coat of leaves.

But instead of standing at the window

Staring into the backyard

Wringing my clean hands

I’ve been lucky this past month

And gotten to visit not one,

But two glorious botanical gardens.

About 3 weeks ago Virginia, Debra and I

Spent an afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden.

I’m not really a desert person – Virginia is

It was after all a garden, so I was happy to tag along.

So glad I did.

There was a bit of Chihuly glass.

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If you don’t know Chihuly glass

Get to know it

It’s art…beyond belief.

Butterflies were another draw for me.

A butterfly pavilion had been added for the next few months.

Being in a small enclosed space with hundred of butterflies.

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Or…flutterbyes as I like to call them.

Is…well…like having God doing a fly by.

Really low!

Now, I’m not someone who travels a great deal.

Quite the opposite.

I love being home.

Somehow just two weeks later John and I were heading to Dallas

It was warm and sunny while we were there.

Yesterday on our way out of town we visited Dallas Blooms.

And bloom it does!

The Dallas Arboretum was lit up with no less than

500,00 spring flowering bulbs.

Bed after bed of daffodils and tulips.

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Underplanted with violas of every combination.

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Pots of Ranunculus

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Shouting “It’s Spring”

Planter boxes with the tallest ornamental cabbage known to man.

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We were in Texas after all

Brides taking their wedding portraits amongst the glory of it all.

And many princesses complete with crowns, gowns and velvet couches!

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There’s a tradition there I need to explore.

Then there were these two darling boys.

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Who I was certain had found a lady bug

or caterpillar

or some wonder of nature

Because they had turned their backs on this breathtaking beauty.

Look closely

It’s an iPad!

Somehow I kept from screaming at them.

It’s starting here.

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Hellebores are always first.

Patches of daffodils are beginning to bloom

Next will come forsythia and flowering pear trees

Then the big parade begins

I can’t wait

I’m just grateful for such a splendid preview.

Take in a little spring this week.

Gail

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Filed under Butterflies, Daffodils, Forsythia, Hellebores, Ornamental Cabbage, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Viola