Category Archives: personal

Winter Nest

One recent afternoon on a walk around the cemetery, Jenn and I discovered this abandoned nest in a hedgerow. In addition to mama and papa birds leaving for the winter (I wonder where they went?), so had the leaves, leaving the nest exposed at just below eye level. It’s view of a nest not often seen and it was surprising and lovely in the setting sun.

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Annual Garden Party- 2010

Every late May/early June I have a garden party to share with my friends and family the abundance of blooms in my garden. It’s so floriferous at that time of year that if would be just plain selfish of me not to share! I recently came across some pictures from last year’s bash- where we served the best mint juleps ever!- and thought I would belatedly share with y’all.

Here’s the delightful Josie, sniffing the Italian parsley:

Judy and Leslie enjoy a chat amongst the heady blooms of Rosas ‘Buff Beauty’, ‘Lilian Austin’ and ‘Tamora’:

Taking a break from the crowd,

Emily and John find a seat with Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’

in the midst of clouds of Nicotiana mutabilis and Penstemon ‘Garnet’ (among others!).

If they sit still enough, a hummingbird is bound to come by!

Peeking out from the bed of roses is Rosa ‘Fantin Latour’,

bordered by peppermint scented geranium (Pelargonium tomentosa), already-bloomed Bearded Iris and Nepeta fasanii ‘Six Hills Giant’.

They look like they’re enjoying the aromatherapy…

It was a perfect day

to wear a hat,

talk with friends,

sip a mint julep,

smell the flowers

and relax in the garden!

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Back in the Garden

I’ve had an unusually busy fall and winter with work this past year and haven’t been blogging at all! I’ve realized that I can only focus on so many things at once, so when I get really busy with one thing, all except the essentials(raising two teenagers, the holidays, new marriage- you know) drop off.

Well, things have slowed down and here I am.

This is what I’ve been up to in the garden:

I’m about a month late, but almost everything in my back garden is cut back and cleaned up. Whew!

Here’s what my beautiful Rosa ‘Fair Bianca’ looked like last summer:

(& will again in a few months!)

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Late Summer in the Garden

We’re now coming into what I call the “Dregs of Summer” in the garden. Dregs being what’s left, or, the remnants of… In my experience, this last part of Summer is a tough time to keep things looking fresh in the garden, so I just don’t. I usually put in about as much effort as I do during the rest of the summer (aside from a mid-summer refreshing) and so the result is that about now things will start to get a bit leggy, a bit blown out, or just pain tired. I’m ok with that. I like seeing the different seasons in the garden. On the temperate Coast here, the seasons are stingy with their changes, and the ones we do get are subtle. I try to pay attention to the rhythm of the garden and I don’t try too hard to force things into looking permanently like it’s late Spring or early Summer. (prime-time around here)

August in the garden

I trim things back if they’re in the way (of me or other plants), I keep up with my watering & weeding and I continue to harvest the food we’re growing. Aside from that, I also do a lot of thinking about what to do next- what changes I want to make in the layout of my garden for next year, what plants will need replacing, which ones I want to plant more of or try for the first time, etc. Mostly what I do, though, is wait for the sun to appear so I can go out and enjoy it! As garden seasons go, it’s one of the more relaxing ones.

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A Different Perspective

Hi, I’m a sweet little weed! I’m earnestly growing toward the sun so I can get big and strong! When I’m bigger I’ll flower and then make seeds to ensure the survival of my species! Look at how green and healthy I am! Wait…. what’s this giant hand coming at me for?? It’s pulling me!! I’m hanging on for dear life with my little roots…. but dammit, I feel them breaking away…. nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

The End

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The Great Pretender

This past Spring I spread my home-made compost all over my garden and after about three weeks, the soil was thick with tomato seedlings. I then made a mental note to not put tomato seeds into my kitchen waste container. I guess my compost doesn’t get hot enough to kill them, but I’m ok with that… For every 100 tomato seedlings, there appeared one zucchini seedling. “How sweet!”, I thought. “How useful!”, I thought next. I took three of the more robust specimens and planted them on a little hill, watered them lots, and waited. While I was away on vacation, my husband  sent me pictures of the garden and THIS is what the “zucchini” looks like! Hmmm… I was fooled. I think it’s baby acorn squash. Can anyone confirm this? (We ate some of them green and they were creamy and delicious!)

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Topiary Caterpillar

My daughters and I have been grooming this guy for about 2 years now. As topiary creatures go, caterpillars are pretty easy, but It makes us (& our guests) smile!

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Front Garden

My back garden is anything but “low maintenance”. (I use quotes because that phrase cracks me up- it’s all relative, right?) Just look back through my blog to see what I mean. My front yard, however, was designed to be able to withstand some neglect without making me an embarrassment to the neighbors.

I planted it four years ago and have been slowly shaping the multi-trunked Olive tree- bringing it up off the ground so the Lavender and Teuchrium underneath can have some sun. They’re  just starting to fill in and come into bloom. Two days ago I spent about 90 min. squatting under this tree pulling out hundreds of baby weeds, before they set seed. (thank goodness for yoga!) So even my lower maintenance garden takes quite a bit of time, if I want it to look just so…

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Evolution of a Gardener

When my interest in gardening and garden design began, I was drawn to very bright colors. (I also disliked foliage variegation and Hated succulents!) This attraction lasted, believe it or not, for about 10 years. Cut to 1995: I had just started my business and was doing mostly flower garden maintenance. A little planting and design, but not much. I would also occasionally help out Sue Fitzsimmons, garden designer extraordinaire (and the reason I do what I do). What I noticed about the plants she chose was that there were a lot of pale, pastel, muted colors. In other words, the gardens were Cool. Sophisticated. Relaxing. Calming. Ahhhhh. Ok! I thought, these are the kinds of garden that Real designers create. And it wasn’t just Sue. Everywhere I looked- design magazines, plant catalogues, garden tours, etc. there were muted shades of greens, grays, blues, pinks, creams and whites. It felt really good to me and my preferences started to change. I eventually got to the point where I said that I disliked most reds, yellows and oranges in the garden. I considered these colors to be garish, harsh and aggressive. Now granted, I live on the Coast and we have lots of overcast or foggy days and cool colors in the garden do complement these gray skies, but NO hot colors at all?? Pretty closed minded, right? Here’s some pictures of my garden that were taken 2 & 3 years ago:

See a theme?? Very Coooool….. For the record. I love these images and I love these colors, but recently I’ve been ITCHING for something more. COLOR. Bright, vibrant, warm color. Tangerine, raspberry, lime, and purple.

I saw this image from Annie’s Annuals recently (see a couple posts ago!) and can’t get it out of my head. It has inspired me to go for it in my garden this year:

Vibrant Colors- from Annie's Annuals catalogue

Aren’t these colors just luscious?  (broken record?) I’ve just now completed stage one in my color renovation. I’ve planted about 30 new perennials & annuals in the ground. The reason I had the room to add these plants is because this winter the gophers ATE about 40 Bearded Iris (bastards!!), 4 Nepeta ‘Six-hills Giant’ (which take up lots of room…) and also a few of my large English Lavenders decided to give up the ghost on their own. All this space is now filled with soon-to-be-brightly-colored plants with nice, snug gopher baskets around their roots. There’s nothing I can do about all my softly-shaded roses at this point, so it should be interesting to see how all this comes together!

The next stage is POTS. LOTS of color-poppin’, gotta-dance pots.

I’ll keep you posted!

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Very Yellow Daffodils!

These are on my kitchen table right now and I have to say that they’re SO yellow that they almost hurt my eyes! But still, there they are and they’re actually inspiring me to plant brighter colors in my garden this year. I’ve always been a big fan of soft colors in the garden- like cream, peach, pink, lavender, pale yellow, etc., but these and this lastest pic from Annie’s Annuals have me raring to go bright!

Isn’t this the yummiest combination of colors and flowers you’ve seen in a while??I just want to eat them ALL up!

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