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”

All of us wither like a leaf

The proud colors of autumn are but a precursor of their own demise. The process that turns the tree’s leaves such beautiful hues is the very thing that causes the leaf stalk to separate from the branch.

The abscission layer – the cells at the base of the leaf stalk – stop allowing moisture and minerals to reach the leaves. When the leaf is unable to manufacture chlorophyll, the green color fades and the yellows and oranges are revealed.

Eventually, this abscission layer completely severs the connection, and the leaves fall to the ground…and on the driveway…and the porch….and into the house…. Continue reading “All of us wither like a leaf”

Daily dose of sanity

Thank the good Lord for the beauty and love all around us, which comforts us in troubling times!

These past few weeks have been more than troubling. A man opens fire at a church, and another mows down scores of innocent concertgoers. The world grieves deeply, and our Holy Father grieves even more.

Then the name-calling and accusations start flying over whose fault it is, and who didn’t prevent the tragedies, and over what each other is supposedly thinking and feeling.

In society’s rush to make sense of the senseless, fingers are pointed. Those fingers are then wagged derisively at some who don’t agree with those who vehemently shout their “I told you so” rhetoric. Retaliatory insults are then lobbed in the opposite direction. Continue reading “Daily dose of sanity”

Preserving the best

Autumn is in the air! Well, maybe not the cool, crisp feel of the first frost that looms nearer and nearer, because it’s still pretty hot in the sunny South. But the calendar has let us know that the days are now shorter than the nights, as we passed the autumnal equinox.

That means that many of us are still canning, freezing, or dehydrating the last of the harvest. I DO love the look of a pantry full of colorful jars of tomato sauce, peaches, jams, and everything good the garden and our good Lord had to offer this summer. Continue reading “Preserving the best”

Not so simple

The humble zinnia is still brightening up the garden as it weathers the late season temperature changes. It is only an annual, a flower that completely dies at the end of the growing season and won’t re-grow again from the roots.

Still, there is no need to plant them every year, in spite of their transient nature. The birds, while collecting the prized seeds after the blooms are spent, inadvertently scatter some seeds in their feeding frenzy.

The blooms themselves, in spite of the often vivid coloring, would appear to be the very essence of simplicity due to their plain form. At first glance, they appear to have the classic “petals around a yellow middle” type of shape that we all drew in kindergarten. Continue reading “Not so simple”