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!”

Good for you?

Tomatoes….poison or panacea? The Solanum family includes deadly nightshade, along with peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. I once had a neighbor in Iowa who told me to use deadly nightshade in my cooking. She did it all the time! She pointed to the plant growing under our deck — the one the USDA was warning about sickening the local livestock — and urged me not to “waste it.”

Her native China may have a plant that looked similar, or maybe she built up an immunity to it, along with her Caucasian husband and their lovely, healthy son. Or maybe deadly nightshade (Belladonna) is not as poisonous as we once thought. I really didn’t have the inclination to try it! Continue reading “Good for you?”

Trendscoffer (Part 2)

You might say that this is the “flip side” to the last column published here. I hope my traditional scoffing at new and trendy things hasn’t sunk in so deeply that I reject anything new without considering its value, especially given my failure with the new Echibeckia I outlined in my last column.

As with almost anything, moderation and middle ground is the answer, as well as careful consideration with an open mind and open Bible.

While we don’t run to embrace the newest things, we don’t run the other way, either. Continue reading “Trendscoffer (Part 2)”

Pro-choice

The nice, soaking rains that came to our middle Tennessee gardens this month were more than welcome after the heat and drought of this brutally long summer. Along with the rains came the return of all kinds of fungus, including those pretty yard mushrooms arranged in a darling little fairy ring on the lawn.

One of my friends wondered if they were good to eat. They certainly looked it! They even smelled nice. I warned her in no uncertain terms about eating mushrooms without proper identification. Another friend chimed in that some of them are delicious…for one time only! Continue reading “Pro-choice”

Feelings on your shirtsleeves

The tiny vase lapel pin that I usually wear on Sundays is now expected by my fellow worshippers. The little lantana that graced it on a recent Sunday caught the eye of one sister, who knows that I also like to share a photo of a flower every day on social media, calling it my “daily dose of sanity.”

“Well!” she exclaimed, “I see you have your ‘sanity’ here with you today, right on your lapel!”

“Yes,” I said. “Portable sanity! I love it.”

We both shared a laugh and a hug. Continue reading “Feelings on your shirtsleeves”

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”