Might isn’t right

Power corrupts. We all know this in the world of mankind, but it’s also true in the garden. Some plant species are just too strong and vigorous to be grown beside the weaker. They become “garden thugs,” and they take over. 

This has been painfully obvious to us in the last few weeks, after a deadly storm blew through our town. We all learned a new vocabulary word; “Derecho.” This weather system is as powerful as a tornado, but doesn’t last as long. The derecho rearranged our back yard as it took down a 20-year-old peach tree that shaded much of the eastern property line.  Continue reading “Might isn’t right”

Nomenclature Matters

“Look at that gorgeous Geranium!” I exclaimed this morning, as my beloved Yard Boy and I walked through the garden.

“It’s a daffodil, sweetheart. Why are you calling a geranium?” he asked. Good question. He knows I am a stickler about calling plants by their correct names. I’ll even use the Latin name for it if I know it, so there won’t be any confusion.

“Because that’s the name of this particular cultivar — Geranium,” I answered. “It’s a silly name, but I didn’t name it. It’s really an old heirloom variety, but that really is the actual name.” Continue reading “Nomenclature Matters”

Blown Away

Tennessee is “The Volunteer State.” At no other time in its history has this been made more widely known and evident than during the past few days since the tornadoes that ripped a fifty-mile long swath of misery and devastation through its very heart. In the early hours of Tuesday, March 3, 2020, the storm came without warning and pulverized the mid-state with up to 175-mile-an-hour winds in the center of the state, killing 25.

But that’s not all the news. “Look for the helpers,” as the legendary Mr. Rogers would have said, invoking his mother’s words. In Tennessee, you didn’t have to look hard. People were being turned back from attempting to help pack emergency relief boxes at the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort headquarters in Nashville.  Continue reading “Blown Away”

The queen is dead!

Those worker bees in the yellow hive were not taking as many “orientation flights” as they used to do. Hmm … that’s suspicious.

Yes, we keep bees. Or as some of the more experienced (and skeptical) beekeepers put it, we are “bee have-ers.” We have bees. Whether we can keep them remains to be seen! There are parasites and diseases now that were unknown when my Grandpa kept bees. He just kept them; up there on the hill, in front of the pink rambling roses, out of our way — until we stepped on them with our bare feet in the clover-filled lawn. Continue reading “The queen is dead!”

The Outhouse Flower

Nicole should have a bumper sticker that reads, “I brake for interesting vegetation.” Well, so many of my friends need that phrase emblazoned on their vehicles! Many of us carry digging tools in our cars for “emergencies” such as finding an unusual plant in a neglected area, sometimes about to be bulldozed over.

It should be stated here as a disclaimer that neither Nicole nor I would knowingly dig a protected species of flower just so we could cultivate it in our own gardens, but there is such a thing as a bona fide “plant rescue.” Then there are the times when we couldn’t resist a wonderful roadside “weed” that was in large supply.

That was the case when we came upon a beautiful stand of what we tentatively identified as  Rudbeckia Laciniata, or Cutleaf Coneflower. I was hoping that it was what many people used to call “The Outhouse Flower.” That version is actually Rudbeckia Laciniata Hortensia, with a doubled flower, which blooms most of the summer. Continue reading “The Outhouse Flower”

Completely overwhelmed

It’s not that there is a lack of bunnies in the yard; there are way too many! Those little monsters seem to know which plants are the most costly, and happily munch them to the ground. They’ll even chow down on stuff that’s supposed to be poisonous. Baby rabbits are the proverbial “dumb bunnies” and will eat any plant. They especially delight in munching just a tiny bit of stem, so that the plant is destroyed without being consumed. I’ve seen my Gerbera daisies mowed down by young rabbits. 

Even with the surplus of those pernicious little rodent-like creatures in the yard, I still love my little life-size decorative resin bunny. He’s very polite, and has never wreaked destruction on the garden like those cute but naughty live rabbits.  Continue reading “Completely overwhelmed”

Entwined in the vine

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NASB).

It is not often that I write about a plant simply because the name is intriguing, but this will be one of those rare times.

A world class daylily hybridizer, Karol Emmerich of Springwood Gardens, has taken the opportunity to name her new introductions with phrases inspired by the Bible; and I was blessed to have seen and purchased one of these this year.  Continue reading “Entwined in the vine”

Plants gone wild!

“Don’t mess up that front room, now!” That might be something you remember your mom saying, because if nothing else had any semblance of order, the first room a guest would enter had to look decent. Your Granny may have called it “the parlor,” meant only for guests with family members not allowed in it.

This is how some of us manage our gardens. I’m beginning to notice that the ever-widening flower borders look much better at the front than they do in the far reaches where the taller plants grow.

First impressions are important. But then again, so is deep cleaning. (So I’m told; don’t ask me personally, I’m too busy gardening!) Continue reading “Plants gone wild!”

Ain’t nothing but a hound dog

“And you ain’t no friend of mine.” This is how I feel when our friendly neighborhood pooches break off the flower stems just when they are about to bloom. 

Now, if Wallace or Max or Bailey would get rid of the rabbits that eat my flowers and vegetables, their friendship with me would remain intact even for the brief moments when they aggravate me with their destructive romping in the garden.

I am about to put my willow branches in a cage, along with their water bucket, after finding them pulled out of the water and their new roots drying in the harsh spring winds. No doubt the culprits are just some animals brushing up against the branches and interrupting their work of making roots. Continue reading “Ain’t nothing but a hound dog”