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”

Impatient for Impatiens

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The frost last night is the last one for the year, and it should be safe to plant tender annuals now.

The thing is, when I’ve said it before — about four or five times already this spring — the weather forecast changed. Many of us had our plants frostbitten or even killed by the late spring frosts. Continue reading “Impatient for Impatiens”

Compete to win!

The early daffodils were spent and gone, and the late daffodils were…well…later than usual. But a friend called Thursday to say that she was about to bring some of her best blooms to the National Convention of the American Daffodil Society.

We were both volunteering at this convention, as members of the host city’s chapter. The reasoning behind amateurs bringing their daffodils was sound. “There will be more entries on the tables, and the winners will feel better,” Evelyn said.

Well, that made sense. As a team member and a fledgling Daffodil Society member, I wanted to be as helpful as I could be. Continue reading “Compete to win!”

Compartmentalizing

It is time to admit that some plants are just too aggressive and invasive to be planted with the rest of the better-behaved beauties in the garden.

Take mint, for instance. Really, take it! I have a ton! I have much less now than when I naively planted it in the nicest bed in the front of the house. It quickly overtook the whole bed, and it took years to fully remove it. It now lives in a pot. Or take showy primrose, or violets, or erigeron, or verbena rigida.

The worst offender is the bane of my existence as a gardener — the dreaded Bermuda grass. Continue reading “Compartmentalizing”

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”