UNFURLING

It’s no secret that I love spring.

Winter is a good rest time for gardeners.

But really

How much rest do we need.

Sometime in February

When my desk is covered

With gardening catalogs

I begin to roam the frozen back yard.

Hellebores supply me with first hope.

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They normally start showing their charming blooms

Around Valentine’s Day.

Lucky me.

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But generally it’s another month

Before the real action begins.

Unfurling.

Green dots begin to appear

Through the blanket of leaves.

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With each walk down the path.

More and more

Reach for the sun.

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And before I know it

The brown

Has turned to green.

The season begins

I’m home again.

Gail

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UNFURLING

It’s no secret that I love spring.

Winter is a good rest time for gardeners.

But really

How much rest do we need.

Sometime in February

When my desk is covered

With gardening catalogs

I begin to roam the frozen back yard.

Hellebores supply me with first hope.

DSCN0573

They normally start showing their charming blooms

Around Valentine’s Day.

Lucky me.

IMG_7269

But generally it’s another month

Before the real action begins.

Unfurling.

Green dots begin to appear

Through the blanket of leaves.

IMG_7264

With each walk down the path.

More and more

Reach for the sun.

IMG_7258

And before I know it

The brown

Has turned to green.

The season begins

I’m home again.

Gail

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TULIP TIMING

Each fall when I order tulips

I check the calendar for the next spring.

I try to time them to bloom

For my annual Easter Egg Hunt.

That’s tricky

At best.

Easter can swing wildly over a month

From late March to late April.

Then you throw in the weather changes

And you’ve got a challenge.

I’ve been pretty lucky over the last few years

And somehow managed

To have some kind of blooming tulips.

Perfect for photo ops of all kinds.

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Last fall knowing that Easter would be relatively late this spring

I ordered the latest blooming variety I could find.

French Blend from Colorblends.IMG_7487

I’ve been planting these in the front bed

For several years.

And they always bloom well behind

The varieties I plant in the back.

So this year I decided to plant both areas to French Blend.

The days we hit the high 80’s in February

Made me a little nervous

The leaves came popping out of the ground

At record speed.

Then March began to actually act like March

And the whole process stalled.

This week the yellow tulips in the back starting blooming

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And now a few in the front are popping with color.

If these cloudy days hold on for another week.

It looks like I’ll have another Easter

With tulips.

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Please know this has nothing to do with any special gardening skills.

It’s simply planning

Backed up with faith.

A pretty good combination.

Gail

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Filed under Easter Egg Hunt, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

Each year as winter drags on

I get anxious to get into my garden.

The early spring of the past few years

Have tempted me out earlier and earlier.

Yet mid-March hits and I’m all ready feeling behind,

Overwhelmed really.

As I look out my kitchen window

I see the roses that leafed out so quickly

I didn’t get them cut back.

There’s a tomato plant or two that never got pulled

And on and on

I used to do massive weekend long times of spring clean up

Lately I’m taking it in smaller doses

An hour here

An hour there

Not expecting to wipe it out in a day.

This seems to be a necessity

An acknowledgment of  more sand at the bottom of the hour-glass

Than the top!

But honestly, I like it.

It’s taken me awhile to get there

But I like it.

It gives me time to notice the little things.

The lettuce seed that blew onto the patio

Last fall as I planted lettuce in my pots.

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The row of tiny grape hyacinths

Standing at attention

Having their moment

Before the tulips overwhelm them.

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Larkspur popping up everywhere

Before it consumes my garden

With a river of purple blooms

The buds of the Japanese Tree Peony

Pregnant with possibility

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And the bees

Busy drinking from the Cherry tree

In full bloom.

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Sure there’s lots of cutting back

Shredded leaves to pull up

And some weeds here and there.

But this year

Each time I step into my garden

I think I’ll take this lesson from early spring

With me

And look for the little things.

Because after all

That is what life is made of.

Welcome back to my garden,

Gail

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A Tribute

The weather finally cooled down enough

For me to plant a few bulbs today.

So the first of my Oriental Lilies are now

Happily tucked away for their long winter’s nap.

As I was digging and burying

I got to thinking about what else

The election

And my dad.

governor-bellmon

Those of you who know me

Likely know that my dad was in politics

But first and foremost he was a farmer.

The 12 years he spent in Washington

Were broken up by trips home every other weekend

To get on his tractor.

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There he would empty his head

So that he could think

What he called “the long thoughts”

He’d return to D.C. on Sunday night.

Ready to get back to the business of governing.

He was there in what is now being referred to

As the “Golden Age of the Senate”.

It was a time when members of Congress,

Though partisan,

Worked together for the good of the people.

There was give and take.

Sometimes you would win.

Sometimes you would lose.

There would always be another chance

To get things done.

But even then he still needed to literally touch the ground.

To keep him able to govern.

His father had registered him to vote while he was away at WWII.

So he didn’t exactly pick his party.

Maybe that’s why he was such an advocate

For two strong political parties.

He is often credited with resurrecting his party

In his beloved home state.

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A party that is now unrecognizable to him

Were he still alive.

So what is it that made the generation governing

During this “Golden Age” so different.

So willing to stand up for what they believed

And yet able to listen and work with people

Who thought differently than they did.

In my dad’s case it had a lot to do

With how and when he grew up.

During the Depression

In the Dust Bowl.

Then there was his war experience.

In a tank

On Iwo Jima.

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But I honestly think the greatest influence

On who he was

And how he governed

Was his connection to the earth.

Those of us who garden and farm and observe nature

Know that we rarely if ever

Get things 100% our way.

And we are never actually in charge.

Weather

Bugs

Critters

And just the vicissitudes of nature

Rearrange our garden plans

Constantly.

So we learn to adjust

To compromise

To re-evaluate

And to change directions.

All of this is necessary to be a good gardener.

And in my opinion to be good at governing.

So daddy, I’ll be thinking of you Tuesday night.

And remembering a few nail biting election nights

Of our own.

HENRY BELLMON

Recalling how you taught me

To respect and trust the system

To work with not against people

And to love God’s great earth.

Gail

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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

GARDENING FOR GOOD

This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.

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And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots

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More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.

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Including a few Master Gardeners.

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Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.

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And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.

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Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.

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Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.

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Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.

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Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.

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He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.

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It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables