Tuesday, June 16, 2009
One of the goals of this garden design was to be easy to see in the evening, since that's when I have time to enjoy it. In the jargon of the web: Epic Win!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
While my perennials are enjoying Spring and getting lush and happy, bajillions of malicious plants are being born every second. Its pretty disheartening. So I thought about picking up the hoe, but you know what stopped me? Embarrassment! I'm a flower gardener, not a farmer! What will people think of me, hoeing my perennials? But, like with my new gardenning hat, I threw vanity to the wind and hoed my row...of tiarella cordifolia.
Farmers are geniuses. The tiny baby weeds are easily scraped off the surface and biggers ones are hacked out with the corners. How supremely satisfying! And totally worth the plebian feeling. Thanks farmers!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Pulmonaria 'Sissinghurst White" in bloom.
Pulsatilla Vulgaris, or pasque flower, drooping after the rain.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Next on the log is the back border. There are some hostas, daylillies, brunnera, and maiden's rocket (who came up with that name?) here. I'm not sure what's mine and what's the neighbors.
Then comes the right side which has several lilacs, a rampant and contrary forsythia, and a rose that-from the height it reaches- would like to be growing up a trellis.
Next is the pine area, which is Marma's favorite hang-out spot. It was also the site of a carefully fought battle against poison ivy (My arch nemesis. There are weeds that I despise, but only p.i. can hurt me back). So far, I am The Winnah. In this area are lilly of the valley, really big violets, rhododendrons, rose of sharon, a very unhappy holly, pachysandra (ugh), tons of baby maple trees, and all the pinecones we throw back at the trees that shed them. All of these plants were here when we arrived. This is not my favorite place, but Marma likes it,, so I'm not messing with it
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Next is the area to the left of the pool garden when looking towards the back.There are hosta,
violets, little white flowers that smell like chamomile, and weeds here.
The trees get tons of white flowers in the late Spring. I wish I knew what it is.
On the left again is the Middle Bed, which I will be working on this Spring. The shape is blobbish and I don't know If I can improve on it much. I lack imagination.
Then there's the Back Bed (and the compost pile). This is the first garden I planted. I plan on edging it this Spring--its been shrinking steadily.
There's more to come. And don't worry, I won't bore you with all the raw data, just the occasional garden tour through the seasons.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
I got my fix this weekend, spending four hours outside. I cleared out dead leaves and learned a few things:
1. Tiny green things in March make me smile like a fool.
2. Weeds multiply and grow during the winter.
3. Echinacea is the easiest plant to clean up since its leaves just melt into nothing.
4. I REALLY need to edge the garden to keep the grass from growing into it.
When Eric chopped wood for us a few years ago, he left a nice pile of pieces and bark. I decided to break up the bark to mulch the path. (I spent more time weeding the path last year than doing anything else. The best part was when my niece and nephew visited and it became a game. "Hey, I want to do it!" "Ok, you can dig five weeds, then she can dig five." Awesome!) I was able to mulch about a third of it before my hands wore out. Thing is, I know there's not enough for the remaining two thirds. Oh, well, at least I know what it will look like mulched. I will buy the rest when the garden center finally opens in Spring.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The Daisy Debacle
I found a semi-local nursery where I could order online and then pick up the plants at the Rochester Public Market (http://www.lighthouse-gardens.com/). That way I save on shipping. I placed my order and had a nice email conversation with Todd. I navigated the bustling public market, paid without looking at the receipt, juggled the plants into my car, and made it home. It was raining so I took a few minutes to rest. I looked at the plants. I looked at the yard. I looked at the plants. And I started crying!
I had told Todd that I wanted 8 Alchemilla mollis, 4 crazy daisies, and 4 Echinacea 'White Swan.' He asked me "you want them all in the 4 packs, right?" I interpreted that as the 4-pack size not quantity. I came home with 16 four pack of plants! And I was so busy navigating unfamiliar territory that I didn't notice I was carrying TWO FLATS of plants, or that I paid 4X more than I was planning to! Its the money part that I was crying over, not to mention the embarrassment. My Sweetheart was a little flummoxed that I was crying over this and just put his arms around me and told me he wasn't mad. I love him.
My honest opinion is that no garden needs 16 daisy plants. But on the other hand, this solved my empty space problem. I am also establishing unity and rhythm through repetition (a lot of repetition) of the alchemilla mollis.
The Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera) was the only thing I actually got ONE of. It was super happy in the garden and flowered constantly all season.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The first thing I learned from reading about garden design is to think about the goals of the garden.
Rabbit trail: Whenever I use the word garden, I am referring to a flower garden and not a vegetable garden. Now, while I feel a bit guilty about throwing myself into cultivating the land and producing nothing (well, nothing edible), I have several reasons not to plant veggies.
1)I don't have time to weed, water, or harvest.
2)With just the two of us, I don't want tomatoes up to my elbows or zucchini coming out of my woohoo.
3)I am not willing to put all that work into it, only to feed the birds, bugs, slime molds, and the neighbor's woodchuck.
In short, I have no hope for a veggie garden. If you can suggest a perennial vegetable that I can set and forget, I might think about it. Actually, asparagus comes to mind. I should think about that...
Because there are views of the garden from the kitchen windows and coming to the house from the driveway I wanted it to be both soothing and welcoming. For soothing, I chose white, yellow and green. I really like the soothing combination of green and white and yellow is one of the easiest colors to see (not receding like blue or advancing like red ). I added some purple lowlights, so hopefully its not boring too. For welcoming, I added a winding path through the middle.
When I first calculated how much dirt we would need to buy, I was naively hoping that I could make a mound up to six inches high. Um, yeah, that would have been my whole budget. So I settled for half of that--4cubic yards of compost and 2 cubic yards of top soil. It took two days of shoveling, wheelbarrowing, and raking. I loved it, because all throughout I kept thinking, "This is gonna be the best garden ever!" I may even have had a maniacal grin on my face. I'm not exactly sure what was going through my Sweetheart's head to motivate him, but lets call it love.
I bought most of the plants by mail-order, except some that I ordered online and then picked up at the farmer's market (which I shall refer to as the great daisy debacle). And for you goofy people like me, here a plant list:
Alchemilla mollis 'Thriller''
Anemone xhybrida 'Honorine Jobert'
Acteae (Cimicifuga) ramosa 'Hillside black beauty''
Dicentra Spectabilis Alba
Heuchera 'Palace Purple'
Hydrangea arborescens 'White dome'
Itea virginica 'Little Henry'
Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'
Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'
Carex Hachijoensis 'Evergold'
Pulmonaria officinalis 'Sissinghurst white'
IRIS sibirica 'Caesar's Brother'
HOSTA 'August moon'
Echinacea Pupurea 'White Swan'
Chrysanthemum Superbum 'Crazy Daisy'
Ratibida Columnifera Yellow
Eupatorum Maculatum 'Chocolate'
Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip'
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I used to love winter. Every snowflake made me smile. I loved the colors--yes, the colors...gray, brown, black, blue, white. (I still love these things.) But for several years in a row, I was getting depressed in the winter. It wasn't the weather, really. I was bored, I had no purpose, and all I did was watch tv and movies. I felt bad, which sprouted more feeling bad which ate the bad feelings and got bigger. That's how depression works in me.
Late in '07 I was gaining freedom from depression and learning to see the pattern I tend to fall into that leads there. So in the winter of '08, when I found an artistic expression that captured my imagination and that I had some hope of making reality, I was so very grateful. But it was an experience so new for me that I still shake my head at the person I've become.
It started with looking at pretty pictures in gardening books. I have found that when I admire something, I want to be/do it. This has never been a realistic desire in the realms of singing, acting, or painting. But reading gardening books, I was suddenly convinced that I could do it! I could learn, plan, carry out a design, and produce something beautiful. So I dove in.
I decided I was more interested in gardening than maintaining our pool (old and always green by July). We had it removed during a thaw in January and that 15X30 ft. oval became my blank slate. I read tons of books. I got a notebook with graph paper. I drew several different layouts. I learned botanical names of almost all the shade plants that would grow in NY. I lay awake at night turning ideas over and over in my head! Nothing, ever, had kept me from sleeping before. This passion/obsession lasted through the planning stages of the winter, the digging stages of the spring, and the weeding stages of the summer. Its winter again and I'm so happy to be planning the next garden and I cannot wait to see how the Pool Garden looks this spring.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
On Monday I had surgery to remove a mucocel from the left side of my bottom lip. I wonder a bit if it was really necessary, but that's a rant for another day. The surgery was quick and I don't remember a thing. What I ended up with was a puffy face and massive sutures (stitches) digging into my gums. I managed the pain with ibuprofen until Wednesday when I forgot to bring it to work. I begged some off of a co-worker who was more than willing to help. When time came for the next dose, I was reluctant to ask for more. I really don't know why. I think I was being stubborn. So, of course, I was in pain.
It wasn't severe pain, but pain is pain. The nurse asked me to rate my pain after the surgery and I was flummoxed. I gave her a three, because I could imagine being in greater pain. A pain scale between 1 and 10...is it linear? Is it logarithmic? Is it based on previous pain? But how can remembered pain compare to current pain? So far, I think my pain scale goes like this:
A) I'm fine.
B) It hurts
C) This is the worst pain of my life!
So Wednesday it hurt and I wasn't going to do anything about it. Then I started to suffer--I just wanted to put my head down on my desk and I didn't think I could finish my work. But then a light switched on and I thought "Dude, (its always Dude in my head. I blame tv.) this is my fault so I better quit being a wimp and learn something from the pain" So I asked God for grace and the guiding of my thoughts, and as I puttered around work this is what I learned:
I sometimes say to myself that pain only has the effect on me that I let it have. This is really just a mind game and only works temporarily
My pain always comes with riders. In my opinion these are the aspects that contribute most to the suffering. One of them is fear: Is something wrong? Is it infected? Am I going to have a hole in my cheek? The answer to that is God's love. Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! His plan is to give me a future and a hope and in every situation He holds me Safe. Mmm...peace.
Another is self-focused FEELINGS. Its in caps because its hard to see or feel anything else though them. For me, the basis for these feelings is the idea that my needs are not being met, nobody understands, there's no end in sight, ow, ow ow. The answer to this is God's love too! No one cares for me as much as He does. He holds me, and provides for me, and speaks Love to me.
Peace during pain lifts most of the suffering. And its available every time I turn to Him... as I discovered Thursday, Friday, and today. Gratitude during pain is really nice too:-)
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Ok then, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. You have to be ok with your house smelling a little funky afterwards.
12 oz. tuna, drained
12 to 16oz kimchee
10 oz. spinach
Heat tuna and kimchee in a large pot. Add a little water. Add spinach and cover, steaming the spinach for 3-5 minutes. Stir everything together until the spinach wilts. Serve with rice and roasted seaweed.
Obviously not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Oh, yes, how could I forget? There was also mint, LOTs of mint, and tons of violets, too. Now, a lot of you will say, "Oh, how lovely!" But let me tell you about something called totipotency. That's where a cell has the ability to divide and produce all the other cells of the organism. It would seem that mint and violets can produce whole new plants from a few cells left in a flower bed (slight exageration). I have seen these plants growing from a piece of stem or root smaller than my pinkie toe. And then they take over. I found over 50 unhappy bulbs under a mat of violets. They turned out to be some awesome white daffodils-- yay! All that said, I do not deny that mint and violets are lovely. If you'd like, I could pot some up for you. I still have plenty.
Where was I? Ah, the healthy grass. We are blessed with some superb grass in our yard. We do nothing to keep it that way so there are places where weeds are making headway. But Something about the conditions in our back yard has yielded thick grass mixed with soft, spongy moss. It reminds me of "The Horse and His Boy" when Shasta is learning how to ride Bree and keeps falling off onto springy turf. Sorry that reference will be obtuse to many. At least two things are true about that grass: it is wonderful, and it is hard to dig up. I will think twice before I dig up grass to make a flower bed again. Besides being hard work, the roots are so thick that they remove several inches of dirt with them. So I ended up with a a hole that my moldy, compacted into bricks, purchased on sale, "compost" could barely fill. So far all of my gardens have that sunken look. That's how I measure wealth these days--"Wow, look at that raised bed! They must be rich!"
The Back Garden was my first foray into planting flowers. Several years ago I was suckered into buying two mail order collections, one of daylillies and one of bearded irises. It wasn't such a bad deal and I think it was a good place for me to start. Both are very easy to grow and very colorful. I planted them together in a bed at the back of the yard that doesn't get nearly as much sun as I thought. So usually the irises are all leaning into the sun (or away from the wind, I haven't quite figured it out yet) and fall over if I don't stake them. The daylillies would be more prolific if they had more sun, I think. But they all take great pictures. Here are some of my favorites.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
And so, I have a blog. I imagine it will be more than a bit about gardening, with thoughts and rants filling in the spaces. I refuse to gripe about how I hate to write, and it takes me two hours to write a paragraph, and nobody cares etc. I choose to express myself, and since I am a work of God's hands, may he be glorified.