Tag Archives: Dahlia


This morning’s sermon was about hope.

Looking for it in times that seem hopeless.

Now for instance.

And finding it in the small spaces.

The cracks of life.

So this afternoon

When I headed to the garden house

To plant even more seeds

It seemed like a natural way

To spend the afternoon.

Planting hope.

I’ve gotten rather obbsessed with seeds this year.

Trying a few new varieties

And methods.

I keep reading about starting Dahlias from seed.


How can that be.

Convincing that little dried up

Kind of seed looking thing

To sprout

And become this

Photo Credit Debra Mitchell

Is well

More than even the most Pollyanna among us

Could hope for.

But why not at least try.

So I got out the Dahlia breeding book I bought.

And read through the incredibly detailed instructions.

Then I realized

I’ve seen this done before.

Damp paper towels, seeds a plate….

My father did this every year

Before he planted his wheat.

He tested the seed he had saved

For germination.

I distinctly remember a saucer

Sprouting in the kitchen window.

So there it was

A sermon on hope

Followed by a fond memory

Of a man who thrived on it.

What a day.


“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”

Desmund Tutu


Filed under Butterflies, Dahlias, Farmers, Uncategorized


They say that first impressions are important.

Hopefully as a culture we’ve evolved to giving ourselves

More than a few seconds to get to know each other.

But the first impression of a garden

Can draw you in.

Ever since John built this lovely arbor

Over the back gate


I have loved the entrance

To our back yard.

How it beckons you

To reveal “the rest of the story”.


But over the past few year.

It’s gone through some pretty severe changes.

You may recall that we lost

This charming old Mimosa tree

A few years ago.


It still hurts my heart to think about it.

It created a canopy for the entry

And shade for the plants just inside the back gate.

Which means I had a glorious bed of some of my favorites.

Hydrangeas and Caladiums.

With Impatiens dotted in.

And a part-time home for lettuce.

In summer Hydrangea, Caladium and Impatiens spill onto the sidewalk.

But when the tree was gone.

This once shady haven

Began to bake in the noon day sun.


We have planted a replacement Cherry tree.

Buying the biggest one we could find.

Even taking out the fence to get it in.

But it will be years before it creates

The kind of shade we had known.


So the Hydrangeas have been transplanted

To a cooler home

And replaced with Dwarf Crepe Myrtle

The Caladiums and Impatiens have gone missing

Replaced with an old friend I haven’t used in years.


It’s spinach-like leaves provide a backdrop

For the deep purple blooms.


Mixed in between

Is orange and yellow Lantana.


So my cool bed

Is now a hot spot.

Both in temperature

And color.



I seldom invite it

But once I embrace it

I grow

Just like my garden.



Lots of Dahlias coming soon.


Filed under Uncategorized


A cool front came through on Friday night

Making Saturday a perfect gardening day.


Most of the day was in the 80’s

Not bad for late June.

So Coco and I spent the entire day


The thing about having record rains in May

Is that June brings lots of weeds.

I’m not complaining

We so needed the rain

As do many

Who have not been as blessed.

It’s just a simple fact

With rain

Comes weeds.

I don’t really mind weeding

Though I did get a bit tired of it

By Saturday night.

But weeding gives you

A “plants-eye” view of the garden

Since you are sitting or crawling along the ground.

It’s a very different viewpoint

Than walking through a garden.

A change of perspective

A paradigm shift

So here’s what I noticed

As I crawled amongst the weeds

I have some serious something going on

All through my garden.

It’s a white powdery film on



And Roses

And Euonymous

And who knows what else.

I’m guessing it’s moisture related.

I’ve been cutting back the affected areas

If possible

But that isn’t always the case.

I dislike spraying things on my garden

So I try to avoid that.

If you have any suggestions

Let me know.

There are also lots of those nasty

Little black worms.

They love to eat the leaves


Of Gloriosa Daisies

Purple Coneflowers

And Sunflowers.

Which is interesting

Since they all have prickly leaves.

They show up overnight

In mass

They will totally cover a leaf

And suck the life out of it.

Which makes it easy to gently pull off the leaf

And step on it till all are dead.

Gardening is such a gentile pastime!

But the view from the ground

Is not all weeds and bugs.

It’s also the vantage point

That gives you lovely little vignettes.

Purple Coneflowers are especially happy this year.


As are the Gloriosa Daisies.


The Oriental Lilies began to open this week.


Lacing the garden with their intoxicating scent.

It’s interesting.

Visitors to my garden

Never seem to notice the weeds.

They only see flowers.



Happy 11 months Harper & Henry

Happy 11 months Harper & Henry



Filed under Uncategorized


My garden began with a plan.

Tall things in the back.

Mid-sized in the middle

And shorter things along the edge.

It was a good plan

Stella d Ora re-blooming day lilies

Were just the thing for the front.


Leaving room for lettuce and arugula in season.

The middle is full of goodies

Gloriosa Daisies


Purple Coneflower


All kinds of lilies


And lots more.

I reserved the back

For beds of Dahlias


And Hollyhocks.

I love Hollyhocks.

I think of Santa Fe

And gardens of family and friends.

My red ones come from seeds from my mother’s garden.


The pink from my neighbor Patti.


The pink ones have never been as prolific as the red.

So I cherish each one

Along with the memories of Patti

And our gardening adventures.

A few years ago

When a pink hollyhock appeared

At the front edge of the garden.


I left it alone.

You see hollyhocks don’t transplant well

They have a tap-root.

One large deep root.

I’m sure God did it that way

To anchor such a tall plant

And keep it from blowing over.

Smart gardener…God.

Over the past few years.

This single pink hollyhock

Has gotten taller

And taller.

This year it has grown to a whopping 7 1/2 feet.


Way too tall for the front of the garden.

Even for a “relaxed”

Gardener like me.

Yet I can’t bring myself to cut it down.

While it’s in full bloom.

So the plan is to let it finish blooming

And set seed.

Then I will cut it

And lay the branches in the places

I’d like it to be.

At the back.

It will be a few years

Before it grows to these heights.

But I can wait.

After all

Patience is perhaps the greatest

Gardening lesson of all.


Coco patiently keeping watch over the garden.

Coco patiently keeping watch over the garden.


Filed under Uncategorized