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SIMPLE DELIGHTS

Late summer provides a bit of a respite

From the heavy work of a perennial garden.

Sure there is still deadheading

To keep the blooms coming

And weeds to be pulled.

But my garden is in that “in-between” time.

It’s a bit early to start digging things up

And moving them around.

Something I love doing.

So late last week

When my friend Beth

Reminded me that

“the simplicity of a water drop on a petal

Can delight our inner self”

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It helped me to slow down

And look for that simplicity.

Tonight when I was making a little arrangement

For the breakfast room

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And a praying mantis popped out.

It was shear delight.

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I quickly relocated it to the garden.

Then as I moved the arrangement to the table

Another appeared.

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What are the chances of having two praying mantis

In the same arrangement?

Pretty slim I’d say.

It reminded me of the moment last spring

When all the babies hatched.

I was lucky enough to happen to walk by

At this moment.

 

A few weeks later

Nature repeated itself for Harper & Henry

When they found their own delight.

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Finding delight in simplicity.

Thanks for the reminder, Beth.

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Bugs, Children in the Garden, cockscomb, Dead Heading, Flower Arrangements, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Grandchildren, Perennials, Praying Mantis, Uncategorized

DOG DAYS ARRANGING

Since I garden in the southern great plains

There are things I’ve come to expect

In late summer.

Grasshoppers come to mind.

 

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Photo credit Debra Mitchell

Humidity is definitely a factor.

And it is often accompanied

By heat.

As I look out onto my garden.

I almost feel like I need to apologize

To the brave plants

Basking in the heat of the day.

Yet, some plants seem to not just survive

But thrive.

I can’t take credit for too much planning

But I do know I want cutting flowers

All through the growing season.

So there is some intentionality

To my methods.

And as a result.

When I went to cut for my Sunday church bouquets

I was pleased to find plenty to pick.

So how does this work?

If there’s a star in my garden

All season long

It has to be Annabelle Hydrangea.

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I have a hedge of five planted at the east end.

They have bloomed since late May.

Starting with fluffy white blooms

And maturing to the lime green that I love

Since it goes so well with many other flowers.

I’ve cut them all season

And they still have lots to give.

That’s why I’ve added them to the corners of my garden house.

And last fall in a front bed.

I even wanted a hedge of them in front of our new fence

But lost out to John’s desire for more Crepe Myrtle.

The next jewel of late summer arrangements

Is tall garden phlox.

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If you cut it back in the spring

The blooms will be delayed until early July here

And they will still be going strong in August.

These two flowers alone

With their big blousey blooms

Are a great foundation for arrangements

Large and small.

Cleome is another gift this time of year.

It’s a funky flower that brings interest to both the garden

And arrangements.

CLEOME OR SPIDER FLOWER  - FULL SUN - 3 ' - 4'  - SELF SEEDING ANNUAL

Cockscomb is just beginning to come into it’s own.

So start cutting and don’t stop

Or you’ll have a cockscomb only garden before you know it!

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Now fill in with some blues and purples in the Veronica family

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Add Zinnias

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Maxmillion Sunflowers

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And Dahias.

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And you have a “Dog Days” arrangement

That will make you smile each time you pass by.

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Like much in life

I can’t change the heat of August

But I can find joy in the blossoms

It produces.

Take care,

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, cockscomb, Dahlias, Flower Arrangements, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Maximillian Sunflower, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia

GUESS WHOOOOSE COMING TO DINNER

About 5:00 this afternoon

I looked out a window

Into the front yard

And something caught my eye.

Elliott had told us

That he had seen an owl in our yard

And sure enough

It was back.

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I watched it for some time

Then found John to make sure he didn’t miss it.

After awhile owl #2 joined the party.

We stood at the front door and watched.

I snuck around the side of the tree

To get closer for a better vantage point

And for pictures, of course.

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Ultimately we had to leave for dinner

When we returned we realized

There were now 3 Great Horned Owls visiting.

We sat in the car for the longest time

Not wanting to disturb them.

Unfortunately, the neighbors weren’t as cautious

And after about 3 hours they flew away.

I’m hoping they will return soon.

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I have a childhood memory of my father

Actually catching an owl

To show his curious daughters

Only to be wounded by the owls sharp talons.

Then a few years back

A little screech owl took up residency

outside our breakfast room window

For a few days.

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It watched us

As much as we watched it.

Which leaves me to wonder

Is nature as curious about us

As we are about nature?

I certainly hope so.

Gail

“Perhaps he does not want to be friends with you until he knows what you are like.  With owls, it is never easy-come-easy-go.” 

― T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone

 

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Filed under Great Horned Owl, Owl, Uncategorized

GOOD NEWS EASTER EGG HUNT v.7

 

It’s become a sort of tradition

The Good News Easter Egg Hunt.

Happening on the Saturday between

Good Friday

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And Easter Sunday.

John and I are the official host

But it’s actually put together by the Nurture Committee at our church.

Nurture.

I really like that word.

It is defined as

“To care for and encourage the growth or development of someone or something.”

And that is what we do

As a church

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As a committee

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And as individuals.

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Encourage one another.

What better place to nurture someone

Than in a garden

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A happy garden is one that is not necessarily

Well tended.

But well nurtured.

The difference to me is that a well nurtured garden

Is done so willingly – lovingly.

Often people walk into my garden

And remark how much work it must be.

The truth is it is not work at all

To me

It’s the place I go

To think

To sing

To ponder.

I love sharing it

With the children

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And families who come every year.

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There are many ways to nurture a child.

Inviting them into your garden

To romp and play

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To explore and discover

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To create

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img_1156Is, to me, the very definition of nurturing.

Gail

Thank you to Abbey, Andrew, Beth, Eddie Lou, Katie, Kay, Keith, Mary, Megann & Tashanna

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Filed under Easter Egg Hunt, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Generations, Grandchildren, Uncategorized

WHERE DO GARDENERS GO IN WINTER?

Usually by the time of the first killing freeze

I’m ready to hang up my pruners.

I’m fortunate to live in a place

With a long growing season.

But I do appreciate the break winter brings to me.

First freeze is normally followed by

A flurry of holiday activity.

So by the time we ring in the New Year

I’m ready to settle in with a good book

And the multitude skeins of yarn I plan to whip

Into something fun for H & H.

Along about now I begin to get itchy.

I’ll step into the garden on a sunny afternoon.

Looking for the first bud on the Hellebores.

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Or I’ll take a slow walk around the garden looking for

Daffodil and Tulip noses peeking out through the frozen earth.

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Last weekend I found both.

I instructed them to retreat

Knowing the “polar vortex” was coming.

Fortunately, I’m far enough south that they will survive.

So far during this colder than usual winter

I’ve been able to dump bagged leaves into a compost area.

Organize my endless supply of deadheads and saved seeds.

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And, of course, order more.

Seeds that is.

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I’m planning to try some new annuals to add to my standards.

China Aster is the one I’m most excited about.

We’ll see if those big fluffy blooms are in my future.

So where do gardeners go in the winter?

Mostly inside their heads

With the help of endless seed catalogs.

And flower farmers Instagram feeds.

It’s a busy season.

 

Happy garden dreams,

Gail

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Daffodils, Hellebores, Seed Catalogs, Seeds, Uncategorized, Winter Garden

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

It’s happened again.

A bumper crop of Cockscomb.

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If I looked back

I imagine I have written

A similar blog

Most every year

About this time.

But this year

Cockscomb is crazier

Than most.

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Perhaps it is the cumulative effect

Of years of Cockscomb

In my garden.

Whatever the cause

It’s carpeting the front of my garden.

Which means I have to pick

Lots of it

To prevent it from going to seed.

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I can’t compost the blooms

That would only mean more

Next year.

I can’t bring myself

To put it in the trash.

That goes against the composting code.

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So…the last few weeks

I’ve taken to cutting big bunches

And just dropping them by

Local florists shops.

It’s kind of a reverse thing

Flowers going in

Rather than flowers going out.

Luckily I live in a small town

And know these florists well.

Sometimes the answer to the problem

Is counter intuitive

Reverse logic

Or just plain simple.

Share what you are given.

Gail

 

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Uncategorized

IT’S BUGGY OUT THERE

There’s a wonderful benefit

When the heat of summer hits.

And last week

The heat hit crazy hard.

Fortunately so did the bugs.

I love watching bugs in my garden

But I think of that as a late summer

Or fall activity.

This year

They seem to have come early.

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Starting a few weeks back

I’ve been seeing

Baby Orb spiders.

Caterpillars

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And baby praying mantis

Everywhere.

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I don’t know

If their early arrival

Is a good thing

Or a bad thing.

I do know it’s

It fun.

It also means

As I continue to weed and deadhead

That I have to make sure

I’m not composting

Any baby bugs.

Yikes!

Wouldn’t want to do that.

So I’ve been careful to relocate

Anything I might displace.

This morning I was treated

To “nectar harvest”

Among the Phlox.

I grabbed my nifty

Iphone telephoto add-on lens

And stood patiently

On the edge of a patch of Phlox.

I was rewarded with a visit

From this butterfly

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Flitting around the Phlox

And then it’s friend

The Hummingbird Moth

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Joined in the feast.

I was reminded of the many things

I’ve learned from my garden

And not just about gardening.

Patience

The power of observation.

The value of diversity.

It’s all there

Just waiting to be

Discovered.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Bumble Bee, Butterflies, Compost, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hummingbird Moth, late summer garden, Nature, Praying Mantis, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized