Filler material

The primary source of help in the garden was “out of commission” this year. He was worried that the yard would be a hot mess. My reply was that the perennial flowers would just come up and bloom anyway, weeds and all, and next year we can clean up around them.

The weeds agreed. The steady rain early in the springtime and the warm temperatures following it ensured that the chickweed, dead nettle, and wild ranunculus thrived!  Continue reading “Filler material”

What a pansy!

Pansies in the South have been phenomenal this year. They are the larger flowering subsection of the Viola family of plants, usually with a well defined blotch or eye zone.

One noteworthy exception of this successful pansy season is our yard. What with health challenges and other things occupying our time, the annual “planting of the pansies” did not occur at the usual time last fall. In fact, one half-flat of these charming annuals has been languishing on the mulch around the old cherry tree all winter. 

It won’t make much sense to plant them now, as the weather heats up, as much as I love them. By the end of springtime, they usually are leggy and fried by the hot sun, even when they got the right start in the autumn.  Continue reading “What a pansy!”

Credentials

“Master Gardener” — now there’s an oxymoron, if we are being honest. While there is a level of knowledge and expertise that one gains by attending classes and working with plants and landscapes, one never really gains mastery over those plants in general. They’ll just do as they want more often than we care to admit.

In fact, the speaker at the last local Master Gardener event bemoaned the demise of a very expensive Monkey Puzzle tree at the display gardens in Jackson, Tennessee. Apparently, the more pricey the plant, the less likely it will do what you want it to do. Continue reading “Credentials”

Coats of many colors

“The second coat is on!” Those were the words spoken to me as I walked into the garage with some new plants from my favorite seller. The reason they were going into the garage is that the nights are still freezing here, and will be for some weeks now. My “Yard Boy” husband wasn’t talking about wearing two pieces of outerwear, he was referring to the beautiful paint job he did on the beehives.

Yes, it looks like our little patch of flowers and vegetables will soon have extra help getting pollinated. The second coat of paint had just been finished, just in time to put the plants on the work surface now vacated by the beehives. Continue reading “Coats of many colors”

And the books were opened

The end of winter is the time when many gardeners turn to their books. We may have been perusing seed catalogs for the last few months, and even ordered a few new varieties of tomatoes or beans to try. 

When the robins appear and the ground starts thawing, we turn our attention to the gardening books. We search for the best way to plant that new Santa Rosa Plum that came in the mail; bare rooted, bare twigged, and sad looking.  Continue reading “And the books were opened”

Recombobulation

“It is an ill wind that blows no good.” But there do exist some ill winds! One has blown down our garden shed and others are now destroying a favorite trellis.

Garden structures are not the only maintenance in a garden, of course. Our fragrant and beautiful Carolina Jessamine has been taken over by a stray Virginia Creeper that crept in among the vines growing up and over the delicate white trellis by the patio.

And now that poor trellis is leaning precariously from the weight of both of the heavy vines and the prevailing west winds. It will have to be completely removed, along with the plants. Continue reading “Recombobulation”

How hard has aging hit you?

“It looks like an ‘old lady’ garden!” This is one of the worst complaints I can make about any spot in the garden that has not been tended well over the years. 

Oddly enough, a crowded garden is actually my goal. As one type of perennial fades away, it gives place to the next month’s glorious growth of another. But once in a while, some of the ubiquitous “volunteers” take over and ruin the aesthetics of a well-tended bed. The bed has “aged,” so to speak, and not gracefully! Continue reading “How hard has aging hit you?”

The prominent ones

All that hard work, and the garden was a failure…or so it seemed. The beautiful Kwanzan cherry tree was dying out, and the eagerly awaited billows of pink fluffy blooms did not materialize in the splendor of years gone by. 

The tree was the highlight of the patio garden; the central hub for the whole yard, really. Without its expected glory, everything else was lackluster in comparison.

It didn’t matter that the violas under the disappointing tree were particularly robust and colorful this year. The graceful nodding of the Hawera daffodils went largely unnoticed as well. Continue reading “The prominent ones”

A Garden Carol

 

The garden was dead, to begin with. No doubt whatever about that. The bent black stalks of the Mexican Petunia stood up like crooked doornails, or like so many legs of a dozen giant spiders fallen on their backs. The icy shrouds of dead crinum leaves were draped gloomily across the ground.

Every chance to do something better in the garden was now dead, along with summer’s delicate  blooms.

This month I was visited in a real way by the ghost of gardens past. My ancient laptop’s operating system had to be updated, but there was not enough storage. That meant deleting the hundreds of garden photos. Continue reading “A Garden Carol”

Baby, it’s cold outside!

The chilly breath of the coming winter whispers into the gardener’s frostbitten ears about numerous garden chores yet to be done. Planting daffodils and crocuses, clearing away the scraggly remains of the perennials, and weeding around the newly sprouted Nigella. 

But it’s cold outside!

Even with an extra set of cotton gloves underneath my garden gloves, I might mistake my fingers for tasteless popsicles after a few minutes of work.

It’s cold outside! Good enough reason to stay indoors and go into semi-hibernation among the seed catalogs with a hot cup of echinacea tea.   Continue reading “Baby, it’s cold outside!”