What we need

The orchids in Jamaica cover the most dilapidated of structures, so resplendent in their breathtaking glory that the countryside appears to be a paradise. Here in Tennessee, the plants that grow with such vigor are mostly flowerless weeds.

As a teen bride, I breathed a wish as I gently caressed these magnificent flowers that I could grow them one day. To date, I have now managed to preside over the short lives and untimely deaths of a few orchids. None have survived my black thumb in a non-tropical climate. Continue reading “What we need”

Doing our level best

Purple on purple. There’s no better color combination, in my purple-loving mind! The pansies planted in the fall are a nice complement to the spring-blooming Ruby Giant crocus, which are decidedly NOT ruby-colored.

The Yard Boy spotted the first bloom, and so it seemed like it would be a good time to clean up that bed — for two reasons. First, It’s more fun to work in an area that is about to bust out in luscious color; and second, it’s a smart idea to have it tidied up before full blooms are in danger of damage by garden tools. Continue reading “Doing our level best”

Open ended

There is nothing that gives a garden a more polished and refined look than a nice edging around the flower beds. It serves the same purpose as a frame does as it defines the edges of a painting or picture, and draws attention to the beauty inside.

A good edge can be expensive. For many years, our little backyard oasis went without the finishing touch of border edging. When we began to formulate the idea of a patio over a barren patch of lawn, we started collecting flat stones for the project. As they were being slowly gathered from blasting sites, we began “temporarily” laying them along the edge of the curved flower beds in the backyard, awaiting the commencement of the patio project. Continue reading “Open ended”

Unfinished business

A gardener’s work is never done, much like a mother’s work — only less urgent and important. When we finally have a flower bed or vegetable plot just the way we want it, things happen to change it. Often, however, the change is for the better!

We are all familiar with the sentiment, “Please be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet.”

We understand that when it comes to our own failings and shortfalls, but do we really put that idea into practice as we deal with others? Continue reading “Unfinished business”

Like the top of a rock

An arrangement of three large boulders is huddled among my Rudbeckias and Helianthus, their tops shining white in the morning sun. At summer’s end, gathering seeds from the flowers for next year, I found the middle stone to be a nice place to spread them out to dry.

It’s a cozy place to do some garden tasks, or just sit and reflect. I can’t imagine the east garden without them.

What if your home or city was spoken against, and you were warned that it would become a bare rock? A place where fishermen spread their nets to dry? Continue reading “Like the top of a rock”

True children

“Chickabiddy” is the name of a charming vine bearing purple flowers. Its proper name is “Asarina Scandens.” Collins English Dictionary gives the definition as “a term of endearment, especially for a child.”

All my plants are my “children” so to speak, but the Chickabiddy is especially dear because it is purple, well-behaved, and the vines are so slender that they don’t weigh down the trellis, and are so easy to clean up after they die. Continue reading “True children”

“Corban” garden budget

Beautiful gardens don’t have to cost much unless you count “sweat equity” as a cost.

This year, thanks to some bargain shopping, we were able to plant a majestic Dawn Redwood in the front yard to replace the almost-dead Red Haven peach tree. Well, it will be majestic in a few years, we hope. It’s only five feet tall now, but it’s a beauty!

It joins a redbud seedling planted to memorialize a beloved cat, the original redbud and a magnolia that came with the house, and a crape myrtle over the grave of another cat. A few years ago we added a very nice $3.00 sugar maple. A very ugly swamp maple will not be missed once the “good” maple grows big enough to replace it. Continue reading ““Corban” garden budget”

Consider one another (and the lilies)

It’s a daffodil garden. Walk through the yard in February or March, and you’ll see hundreds of daffodils, the result of their amazing habit of splitting their bulbs in two each year for the past 16 years. There are at least fifteen different types, and this year new varieties are going into the ground.

But wait! In April and May, it’s an iris garden. These wonderful plants spread by multiplying their rhizomes, and if the gardener is diligent in dividing them, the same effect happens as with the daffodils. Iris, iris, everywhere! Some are gifts from friends, some are from trading my extra irises, and others are from my addiction (which I still insist I can quit at any time) in purchasing new ones when I see a bargain. They are everywhere, adding fragrance in virtually every corner of the flower beds. Continue reading “Consider one another (and the lilies)”

Lavender’s Blue

The lavender in our garden is blue….as in sad, depressed, and pathetic.

In spite of what that old song says, lavender’s color is not really blue, it’s…well…lavender. Sometimes it is actually outright purple, which is one reason I love it.

But my failed endeavor to grow it sure makes me blue, and the drooping plant resembles my mood about the failure. Yes, this is one plant that eludes the list of success stories in our humble backyard garden. Even the new so-called “foolproof” variety, “Phenomenal,” has shown itself less than phenomenal when it comes to survival under my black thumb. Continue reading “Lavender’s Blue”

The yard-changing magic of de-cluttering

Less is more, or so say the experts. Personally, I have not felt the allure of the new “tiny home” or other minimalist trends but can appreciate the reasoning behind them. Our possessions are often burdening us! Most of us could benefit by simplifying many physical aspects of our lives.

It is no different in the garden. It would be wise to let go of plants that are high maintenance in favor of a shorter task list. Maybe, just maybe, one CAN have too many daylilies. At the very least, one can have too many of the same kind of daylily or iris.

In the now-popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo instructs her devotees to hold each item in their hands and decide if it brings them joy. Continue reading “The yard-changing magic of de-cluttering”