Accidentally on purpose

They look pretty happy together. The canary-yellow Thunbergia was planted on the metal archway on purpose, although in hindsight it would have looked better to plant one on the other side as well. But the bright red Cypress Vine was one of the many volunteers that came up because I don’t weed that area as often as other spaces.

The two of them made a very pretty pair, sprawling off the archway and moseying on their merry way across the top of the antique iron fence. As they met and made acquaintance with the volunteer cherry tomatoes, they intertwined further with their new friend. Continue reading “Accidentally on purpose”

Through all and in all

It’s that time of year to think about planting bulbs for a beautiful winter and spring! The first thing to do is to dig up the now-dormant bulbs that need to be spread out into other areas. In the process of doing that, we often end up digging up ground covers that have also exploded in growth over the past year.

It is quite the challenge to find new places for ground covers and other spreading plants. One such plant is the lovely Sheffield mum. While it isn’t exactly a ground cover, it acts like one; spreading its stolons just under the surface of the soil to pop up as new plants further and further away from the original.

The nicest thing about this close relative of your common florist’s chrysanthemum is that it stays pretty small and wispy all summer as it weaves its way through the irises and daylilies. Continue reading “Through all and in all”

Gargoyles and gaffes

Gargoyles and other statuary can add a whimsical touch to the garden if you know how to place your garden art. I’m just learning how to use art in the flower beds, and I’m really drawn to “ugly” art such as gargoyles and trolls.

Historically, gargoyles were meant to ward off evil spirits. Their imposing, frightening visages graced many prominent buildings, including notable Catholic churches such as Notre Dame. The use of these strange, scary images for this mystical purpose was not without its critics, however. Continue reading “Gargoyles and gaffes”

Keeping it real

Would you like to see the weedy patches in my garden? I thought not.

There is a new trend on social media to display our less-than-perfect living spaces and gardens. This concept and practice evolved from a backlash against the depressing notion that we cannot attain to the perfection of our neighbors’ lives, as portrayed by only showing the good and not the bad.

This trend has also morphed into an ugly fad of “keeping it real” by picking apart and pointing out flaws in people. It has become popular to pick out the flaws in formerly respected historical figures, national leaders, and even our church leaders.

People aren’t perfect? What a surprise! Continue reading “Keeping it real”

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Yes, I talk to my flowers. It is almost always in the most gentle of tones; not because researchers have indicated that this helps them thrive, but because I love them. It’s also very nice that they don’t talk back! It’s better on some days to hear nothing at all than to hear discouraging words.

Some say that music also helps plants, but I’m not going to torture the neighbors by singing to my flowers. Continue reading “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”

Posture is important

Those weeds are a pain in the neck….and back….and knees. For those of us with physical impairments, there are methods to compensate for those aches and pains.

Scattered around the overflowing flowerbeds in our yard are multiple milk crates, turned upside down and carefully placed among the plants. They allow me to reach the weeds and plant the flowers without bending at the waist or kneeling.

Often you may find a “reaching tool” lying on a bench or leaning against a fence. Continue reading “Posture is important”

Your will, not mine

One more week until the madness ends. In my lingering euphoria over having my almost-daily migraines disappear, I agreed to let the local Master Gardeners add my yard to their summer tour of a handful of gardens.

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs16:9, NASB). In other words, things don’t always go as planned! Continue reading “Your will, not mine”

Better Homes and Gardens

With the jumbled mess in the side yard that used to be a somewhat neat portable shed, this is not the garden in which you will want to take pictures this week. Other messes include buckets filled with weeds, headed for the compost and various tools scattered around the yard.

A few weeks ago, some friends of mine began posting pictures on social media of their not-so-perfect spots in their yards. Did I participate? Well, no; I had too many to list! Besides, I’ve done that on a few occasions.

Our gardens are never like the ones in the pictures in the magazines, with everything blooming at once. How do they get that to happen? And what does that same garden look like a month later? Or a month earlier? Continue reading “Better Homes and Gardens”

Like mother, like child

“Let’s take a look at the mother plant.”

This is a phrase often used by those of us who love to share plants and help others design and plan their gardens. An awkward, sideways sprig of Callicarpa is not a true indication of the mature plant that will anchor the garden with its wide, arching branches.

The two unevenly sized light green leaves of the baby hosta will not brighten up a shade garden like it will when it acquires the striking variegation of its parent on its spreading foliage.

A careful look at the “mother plant” will very often give a good indication of what to expect from the offspring. Continue reading “Like mother, like child”