Growing Things

TGIF, Garden-Style

Back home.  Back in my garden.  And it's Friday.

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Time for a little TGIF . . . garden-style!

T - Thinking About silver linings.

First, it was super annoying to have my air conditioning break down.  Then, I had to dig up large swaths of my garden to facilitate installation.  But, now that it's done, I'm actually . . . 

G - Grateful.

Not only for new (and functional) air conditioning (because YAY), but also for this "clean slate," which allows me to re-fresh yet another garden bed!

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Now I'm totally . . . 

I - Inspired.

Because I have this collection of plants to play with all over again.  (My poor, displaced plants).

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It's like re-opening an almost-new box of paints.  And, really, won't that be . . . 

F - FUN!

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Have a great weekend!  (You'll know where to find me.)

 


Tales from the Garden . . . x 3

At this time of year, my garden is exploding everywhere -- and I am always racing to keep up with it.  (It's my own personal Whack-a-Mole game out there.)  

Sometimes it feels like Major Overwhelm.   Then I need to talk to myself and remind myself that . . . 

I love to garden.

This is the way gardening works.

I couldn't wait to get out there again when it was never-ending winter.

Just. Dig. In.

And so it goes.  

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Here are three little tales from my garden this week.

1 - Earth Moving

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This little garden bed near our back patio had gotten WAY overgrown in the last few years.  The old path was pretty much inaccessible.  Too many plants growing too well . . .   So.  We battled the heat over the weekend (near 100 degrees F every day) to dig out plants, level the ground, and re-set the path.  (JoJo is happy to demonstrate that even the dogs appreciate an easy-to-walk pathway through the garden.)

I have more work to do out there -- a bit more thinning-out and some planting-in.  We placed three big rocks in the newly-opened area to remind me NOT to overplant.  I'm happy with the new path -- and I want to keep it open and functional.  

2 - Resilience in Action

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One day early last summer, I stopped at Lowe's for . . . something (but not a plant).  I entered the store through the nursery department (as one does), and a couple of lovely, blooming, Asian lilies caught my eye.  (It was their stunning orange blooms.  They get me every time.)

On impulse, I bought 'em.

But once I had them at home, I couldn't figure out where I wanted to put them.

So they hung out on my patio - in their original plant containers - all summer.  I took care of them, of course.  I kept them watered and sheltered while I tried to figure out just where they might fit in my garden.  But, by fall, I realized they were going to have to overwinter on their own, still in their little pots -- and I was completely prepared to just let them go.

The photo above?  The same lilies (in the same pots) today.  Resilient little suckers, non?

(I'm still looking for a place to put them.)

3 - Over Too Soon

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I love my allium blooms . . . hovering there each spring over the newly-unfurled hostas in my garden.  It always looks so magical.  And it did this year, too.  For like . . . one day!  I didn't even get a picture this year . . . 

You see, allium are spring blooms.  They like gently-warming days.  You know . . . the kind you usually get in, oh . . say, late May?  Cool nights, warming days.  That kind of thing.  And the blooms will last for weeks under those conditions.

This year?  We went from mid-50s to upper-90s in the same week!  Those allium?  Super confused.  From bloom-to-done in a couple of days this year.

(I'm tempted to spray paint them.  I've seen that done on many a garden tour . . . )  (But I probably won't.)

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And now?  I'm headed out for some early morning weeding.  (It's the only way when it's This Hot.)

Head over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts today.

 

 


Sometimes Mondays

. . . look like rain.

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But that's just fine by me!

It's so good for my thirsty, growing garden.

And wet soil makes it much easier to pull weeds.

And it gives me a perfect excuse to run around in my chicken boots.

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."
                    --- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Flowers are Magical

"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful.  They are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul."
                                                                                                    --- Luther Burbank

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Now that SPRING has decided to show up around here (thank you!), I'm scrambling out in the garden.  There is so much to do out there . . . that sometimes I just spin around, not knowing where to begin.

But then I just begin.

Clipping and pulling and raking and digging.  (And sometimes shaking my head . . . as in where did that come from???)

After three big days in the garden . . . my nails are crap, my arms are totally scratched up, and my back is tired.

BUT.  I'm also better, happier, and more helpful!

Flowers are magical -- and gardens, indeed, are medicine for the soul.


3 Blooms on a Cold, Dreary Day

Last fall, I ordered 6 amaryllis bulbs from White Flower Farm.  Bulbs from WFF are stupidly expensive -- but worth every penny to me.  I consider it an Investment . . . in my health and well-being during the Dark Months.

Now, every amaryllis is a beautiful amaryllis -- don't get me wrong.  I have purchased many a box-store or grocery store bulb over the years, and I have enjoyed their blooms immensely.  But they tend to be rather short-lived, and in my experience, seldom get another bud after the first is spent.  That's why I started ordering my bulbs online.  (There are several other great online amaryllis sources out there.   I just settled on WFF.  It's where I order all my bulbs -- spring bulbs like daffodils and tulips and the amaryllis.)  When it comes to blooms -- color, variety, bloom-time -- you really do get what you pay for.

I like to have some sort of amaryllis blooming beginning in January and continuing right on through February.  They do an amazing job at brightening up my house -- and my spirits.  This year, my choices are doing the job splendidly.  One of the bulbs is just now opening for its first bloom, and two of them are in the process of blooming from their second set of buds.  

Here are the 3 blooms bringing light and hope to the dreary day outside right now:

One. . .

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(This one is in its first bloom.  The blooms are smaller and more compact than the more "standard" amaryllis -- and the colors are very intense.)

Two . . . 

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(This one is beginning to bloom from its second bud.  It takes a few days for this amaryllis to completely open because it's a "double" -- it has two layers of petals.   You can see the interior layers just beginning to unfold.)

Three . . . 

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(This one is just beginning to burst open, also from its second bud.  The blooms are deep red and kind of shiny -- living up to its name "Ferrari.")

This year, I think my blooms may take me all the way into March.  

You see, I have two other plants that I thought were finished after their initial set of buds.  They started putting out their leaves, which is usually a sign of  "done-ness."  But the other day, as I was giving them a water, I noticed these . . . 

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Each plant has a second bud coming.  

Bring it on!  
(Because these dreary days of winter will be hanging on for a while yet, I'm afraid.)

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Be sure to hop on over to Carole's today to read more Three on Thursday posts!

 


Look Up (and then Look Down)

25/30

Every year after we eat Thanksgiving dinner, we head out to our patio and take family photos.  I think the process started when my kids were small, and I was hoping for a good Christmas card shot.  Whatever the origin, it's a tradition that remains today -- and everyone humors me and willingly heads out back for photos.

Through the years, we've had our Thanksgiving photo shoot in all kinds of weather -- wind, snow, biting cold, melting slush, you name it.  But there is one thing we've never had in our Thanksgiving photos . . .

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 -- it's fall color as a backdrop.

Yes -- look up!  While most of the trees are bare now, as you can see . . . some are still hanging on.  And colorfully, at that!  (It has been a strange season in terms of fall leaf color and drop.)

As if that weren't strange enough, let's look down now.

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Yeah.  Those are daffodil bulbs.  It was warm enough yesterday that I could (finally) finish getting my spring bulbs in the ground.  That is . . . the air was warm enough AND the ground was warm enough to dig comfortably and easily.

At the end of November.

After Thanksgiving. 

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I ended up lugging my bags of daffodil, crocus, and grape hyacinth bulbs all around the yard yesterday -- planting with abandon. I also put in a flat of sedum.  And started worrying about the weeds -- which are still going strong out there.

Usually, this is my time to rest and not be actively gardening.  But I'm thinking my garden-time might be expanding.

I surely never thought my nails would look like this . . . 

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after an afternoon in the garden . . . in NOVEMBER.

 


Tulip Tales

7/30

Last spring, I created a Mom-garden in memory of my mom, and I planted it full of her favorite summer flowers on Mother's Day.  (You can read about it here.)  The little garden grew and flourished , bringing me smiles and happy memories all summer long.

I've cleared the garden out for the season now, though.  It's resting again until spring.

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Earlier this fall, I ordered spring bulbs from White Flower Farm, and I've been . . . waiting . . . to plant them.  The weather hasn't really been cooperating when it comes to bulb-planting this fall.  Although we've had cool, wet weather, we haven't had a real frost yet -- let alone a freeze.  So it's still a bit early to plant bulbs (but, surely, getting close).

Included in that bulb order?  Mixed tulip bulbs -- for my Mom-garden.  I don't usually plant tulips in my own garden.  I love tulips -- but they tend to be a bit more hit-and-miss than most spring bulbs.  The squirrels really love them, they don't naturalize well, and they perform best if you dig them up and replace them each season.  Which is really too much work for me. . . So I tend to enjoy tulips in other people's gardens!  

But.

My mom LOVED tulips!  

Late yesterday afternoon, I happened to glance out my kitchen window at the now-empty Mom-garden.  It was bathed in sunlight.  (In fact, it was the only spot in my garden still getting any of the quickly setting sunlight.)

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The garden beckoned!

I grabbed my gardening stuff and headed out to plant my 30 tulip bulbs.

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And while I was digging and planting and filling, I thought about my mom and her tulips.  I remembered . . . 

How she used to cut stems of spring tulips for me when I was a little girl, and then carefully wrap them in a wet napkin and a baggie so I could carry them to school to give my teacher.

How she planted tulips in her own gardens each fall -- with a variety of bloom times so there would be maximum tulip bloom throughout the spring.

How a couple of years ago, the two of us worked together on a very miserable-cold afternoon to plant bulbs for one of her neighbors who was struggling with a health issue and unable to plant her own bulbs.  My mom wanted everyone to enjoy the magic of colorful tulips after a bleak winter.

How much she loved volunteering in the Tulip Time Festival Information booth each May in Holland -- tiptoeing through the tulips in her own wooden shoes!*

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My memories made for a wonderful bulb-planting afternoon.  It was almost like . . . gardening with my mom again.

(On a roll, I decided she would probably like some grape hyacinths, too.)

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When I was finished planting, I packed up my stuff and turned to head back to my garage -- and was awestruck by the sun shining over my back gate -- looking down on me with warmth and light.

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I'm thinking those tulips are going to be especially gorgeous next spring.  Y'know?

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* We donated my mom's Tulip Time costume to the folks who run the Information Booth, so it will continue to greet visitors to Holland's Tulip Time Festival each spring.