Category Archives: Zinnia

PUTTERING AROUND

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.

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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

To putter.

You know

Doing the little things

That you’ve been walking past

And ignoring

Till the time was right.

Digging and thinning the Iris.

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Hanging the sticky traps for those nasty thrip.

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Spreading the crushed egg shells around the Hosta

Hoping to discourage the slugs and snails.

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Planting the first Zinnias in the bare spots.

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Staking, trimming and caging the tomatoes.

It’s going to be a good tomato year

Since I’m all ready seeing blooms and tomatoes

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And finding time to see the world

Through my macro lens

Discovering a pollen laden bee

Inside a Hollyhock bloom.

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I so enjoy puttering.

Gail

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bees, Generations, hollyhocks, Hosta, Nature, spring, Tomato, Uncategorized, Zinnia

BACK IN THE GARDEN

I’ve been gone the last two weekends

Which meant

No time in the garden.

It takes a lot to get me out of the garden

Two fall weekends in a row.

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But a visit with Harper & Henry

And the out-of-state wedding

Of a dear friend’s son.

Collided

Leaving me out of the garden.

While we were gone

We got a big rain

Six inches of rain

To be exact.

So the ground is just right

For fall rituals.

Moving things

Pulling up spent Cockscomb

And just generally puttering around.

This is the time of year

Where the present

And the future meet.

In the garden.

Spring flowering bulbs

Have started to arrive.

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Though the soil isn’t quite cool enough

To bury them yet.

My potting bench is covered with

Little containers of seeds.

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Glimpses of things to come.

And the Dahlias hit their stride.

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But the action isn’t all outside

Normally this time of the year I’m making pesto.

But our hot summer

Combined with my negligence in keeping the basil from bolting

Landed me with tons of bitter basil.

So there’s no pesto this year.

Instead I’m planning to freeze

Cubes of herb butter

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For winter cooking.

And the kitchen windowsill is filled with

Tomatoes in different stages of ripening.

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It’s a defensive move

Against whatever four-legged devil

Is dining on my almost ripe tomatoes

Every night.

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They get them just before they ripen on the vine.

So I’ve figured out just how long I can leave them

Then pick them before they are stolen.

Now I don’t mind sharing a few

But they are taking more than their fair share.

October

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You just can’t beat it

For perfect days in the garden

For relishing in a season well spent

And planning for the future

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bees, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Herbs, Seeds, Tomato, Uncategorized, Zinnia

ARRANGEMENTS

One of the joys of having abundant flowers

Is sharing them.

I don’t have a lot of exotic plants.

But I have flowers.

And fall brings arm loads

Of late summer’s glory.

Cockscomb is the staple

This time of year.

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And the beginning

Of every arrangement I make.

If you cut it long

You’ll have lots of branches

To hold other less stable stem in place.

And the color

Just oozes a fall feeling.

I’ve nominated myself

In-house florist

At church

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As well as Loaves & Fishes.

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They are willing to indulge me

And let me bring flowers each week.

Since friends drop vases by

When they clean out their cabinets.

I always have a good supply.

You can create reasons

For other flower fairy gifts.

This week included

A “thank you” bouquet

To a fellow L & F board member

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And a “hello” bouquet

To a new family

Moving on the block.

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It’s a simple way

To keep the cockscomb

Trimmed away from the path

And to share the glory of the season.

Someday when life slows down.

I’d love to do this all the time.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

“I must have flowers always and always.”

Claude Monet

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, cockscomb, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Uncategorized, Zinnia

EDITING DAYS

You may not know this

But there are two “gardening deadlines”

Here in my Zone 7 garden

That fall on the 4th of July.

I’ve learned over the years

That the 4th of July is the last time

To plant Zinnias for fall bloom.

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I know

Most of you planted yours weeks

If not months ago.

In my over-planted piece of this planet

I don’t have space for Zinnias

Until I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur

That have gone to seed.

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Yesterday I went a little beyond just pulling up the dead stuff.

I went a little crazy.

My garden is now 11 years old.

As a result

It’s overgrown in may places.

So along with the waning Poppies and Larkspur

I dug up two Rose bushes

About a dozen blue Veronica Spicata

Several white Iris

Some Purple Coneflower

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An a lonely Gloriosa Daisy or two.

Normally, I wouldn’t excavate quite so much

Especially since I have no idea who will adopt these plants

So, I’ve taken a new approach.

Let’s call it the “Urban Dumpster Method”.

In cities if you want to get rid of something

Just lean it against your dumpster

It will disappear long before

The Sanitation Department has a chance.

So this afternoon

I put my garden abundance on the curb

With a sign saying

“Free Plants

Take what you want – need a sunny home”.

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When I last checked they were all still there.

I’m hoping for a swarm of midnight gardeners.

To take this stuff off my hands.

So I’ll feel good when I attack the rest of the garden

Tomorrow.

The second deadline has to do with mums.

If you have the old-fashioned kind

That grow and grow

This is the time to give them one last

Harsh trim

So that they will be thick and full

Come fall.

May have to fudge on this one a bit.

That’s what I love about gardening.

There’s always grace.

Gail

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Filed under Calla Lily, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Perennials, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, roses, Uncategorized, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia

ARRANGING THINGS

It’s the height of summer here.

Endless sunny days.

And because we had all those wonderful

Badly needed rainy days.

The humidity is back

Big-time.

So what’s a gardener to do.

This time of the year is basically for maintenance.

Deadheading and weeding and watering are the order of most days.

I love it because it can all be done in little snippets of time.

But there is one more activity for high summer.

Flower arranging.

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For some reason I don’t bring a lot of flowers into my house.

I have a few here and there

But mostly we enjoy them from the inside of the house

Or on the morning garden walk.

So it’s great fun

When I have a reason to make flower arrangements.

Friday night was just such a reason.

We were one of several host couples

For a shower for our minister Andrew

And his bride to be Katie.

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Now it’s too hot to have the party in my garden

So it was held at a local lodge.

Decades ago it was part of an amusement park

And has been lovingly restored.

So along with chamber music

Yummy food

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Including crab claws In honor of Andrew’s Maryland roots

Family from home

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Church members

And local friends

We needed flower arrangements

And lots of them – 26 to be exact.

First order of business

Find 26 vases.

I’m embarrassed to say that 25 of them

Were alive and well living in my garden house!

The schedule went like this.

Weekend before dig out all the vases

And wash them

Tuesday the vases were taped with cross hatch pattern

To hold the flowers in place.

It was also the day to cut Euonymous.

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And Hydrangeas.

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They last for days if you sear the end as soon as you cut it

And let them rest in buckets of water up to their necks.

Wednesday morning Linda came to help with the harvest.

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We cut buckets of Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Dahlia & Dusty Miller

We added bits of White Balloon Flower, Veronica Spicata, Hellebore leaves and blooms.

Linda and Virginia each cut a bucket of Zinnias – one fuchsia and one pale pink.

I even used the blooms on the radishes that should have been pulled long ago.

Wednesday night the arranging began.

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Linda, David, Mary and Gay came on Friday morning to complete the arranging

And haul it all to the lodge.

It takes a village!

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Friday was a warm evening.

Not just the temperature.

But the people, the place and the occasion.

There’s something wonderful about small towns.

When I looked around the room

There were people I had known for decades.

We have raised our children together.

We have buried our parents together.

We have thrown a million wedding and baby showers together.

We have welcomed newcomers together.

Those newcomers have become new friends.

What is there to do in a garden

In the mid- summer heat?

Share it.

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Photo Credit David Meara

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Bridal Showers, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Euonymus, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Radishes, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Vases, Veronica Spicata, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia

SEPTEMBER’S SONG

I have long loved fall.

You would think as a passionate gardener

That would not be the case

With the season winding down and all.

Certainly I know what is coming

An end will come with its inevitable freeze.

But here in the middle of September

Winter is still a bit out of reach.

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And what a September it is.

Endless days of crisp air and sunshine.

This is the time of the year

That the garden slows

And so do I.

My weekend gardening days

Move at a more reasonable pace.

Which gives me time to observe.

Bumble bees in flight.

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Baby praying mantis

Blending in with zinnia leaves.

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Even a large praying mantis

Outside the kitchen window.

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Orb spider spin their amazing webs.

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Butterflies bask in the soft fall sun.

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And peppers finally have their day.

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This is also the time of year

That pots come into their own.

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They begin to ooze over the side

With the fullness of the season.

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I’m not great with annuals

But September makes me look like I know what I’m doing!

Plants that were cut back in mid summer

Are coming into full bloom again.

 

Smaller…more contained than their spring version

But just as lovely.

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The last few years

I’ve taken a new look at fall

As a time to plant.

As I pull up things that are spent

Cockscomb mostly

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I plant seeds in their place.

So mixed leaf lettuce, arugula and carrot seeds

All were planted today.

Not in tidy little rows

Like most vegetable gardens.

But in the empty spaces.

I know I’ve said it many times

But fall seems like the time to repeat

The value of taking time

To observe nature

It’s seasons

It’s changes

It’s lessons.

Enjoy the week,

Gail

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Filed under Arugula, Bugs, Bumble Bee, Butterflies, Carrots, cockscomb, container gardening, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Gloriosa Daisy, Orb Spider, Peppers, Seeds, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zinnia

A SIMPLE DAY

Yesterday dawned cool and cloudy.

Rain had been predicted for the day

But it didn’t materialize

And so we had a simple Saturday.

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My maiden voyage as a grandmother

Meant that my garden

Was completely ignored

For the last half of August. 

Abandoning my garden for grandchildren

Is a no brainer.

But it does mean that the garden

Is well….overgrown

It needs serious deadheading

As well as a clean sweep of weeding. 

But instead of going head long into the garden

I was more in a meandering mood.

So I slowed down  

And worked at a more relaxed pace.

Along the way

I ran across a few late summer friends.

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Orb spiders are making there return

After a year’s absence.

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The count in the back is up to 3.

I’m thinking we should name them this year.

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They hang around for quite awhile

So it seems a naming is in order.

And the monarchs are beginning to migrate.

They love the zinnias that are just now coming into their own. 

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A late blooming Hollyhock

Kept a bumblebee happy for some time.

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And all the while

Coco kept watch

Over the garden.

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They joys of simplicity

They are ours for the taking.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening;Perennials, hollyhocks, Orb Spider, Perennials, Zinnia