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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Are you a scattershot gardener or a bullseye gardener?

Do you know the difference between scattershot gardeners and bullseye gardeners?

The difference is focus.

Scattershot gardeners like all kinds of plants and flowers.  They are likely to buy a plant they've never heard of because they saw it, liked it, and immediately felt they could not possibly have a garden without it.

Scattershot gardeners grow a little of everything in their gardens. They plant whatever strikes their fancy.

Every once in a while, someone will become a bullseye gardener.  Bullseye gardeners focus in on one particular type of plant and spend most of their time and money on plants of that type.  Maybe it is roses. Or daylilies.  Or venus flytraps.  Almost to the exclusion of all other plants, the bullseye gardeners have only these plants in their sight.

Scattershot gardeners tend to know a little about a lot of gardening.  Bullseye gardeners often have deep knowledge of whatever it is they are focusing on.

Of course, many of us are a little of both types of gardeners.  We are all scattershot, hit or miss, and then every once in a while, we hit the bullseye of a plant that strikes our fancy more than others so we briefly pause and focus in on that one particular genus.  But our focus doesn't last all that long. Another flower comes along, a leave flutters in front of us, our attention is diverted, and we are on to the next plant.

I admire both types of gardeners, scattershot gardeners and bullseye gardeners, and all the variations in between.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What do garden fairies look like?

It's time once again to take a peek inside "The Secret Diary of a Garden Fairy" to read about what's really going on with the garden fairies here at May Dreams Gardens.

Of course, I'll put on a fairly clean pair of garden gloves when I handle the diary. I don't want to leave fingerprints as evidence of   reading their diary, do I?

Oh shush, and don't worry that we'll get caught.  The garden fairies leave their diary out in plain sight, which I think is just a ploy to get us to read it. Plus, we'll put it right back when we are done.

Yesterday's entry...

"Dear Diary,

I just got on Carol's computer and took a look at pictures of garden fairies on Pinterest.  I am appalled and take great umbrage at how they think garden fairies look.

Some of those drawings of garden fairies look absolutely frightening, with pointed ears and mean looking faces. Others look all moon-eyed and comical, with eyes nearly as big as their heads.  And don't get me started on the plastic statues of so-called garden fairies. Those in no way represent real garden fairies.

Where in the world do people get their ideas about what garden fairies look like?  I really should set them straight.  If I could tell them, here's what I'd say.

First, there is no way for mere gardeners to know what garden fairies look like. We live in a dimension called the garden dimension. Only a small handful of people have ever spent enough time in a garden to actual see into this dimension. And even when they do see into this garden dimension, they have no idea they are seeing garden fairies.

Second,  we are nearly invisible and  are masters of disguise and camouflage.

We can lay on a flower, and look like a bit of light shining on a petal.   We can stretch across the edge of a leaf and make it appear as though the edge of the leaf has just curled up a bit.

We can flicker by a gardener sometimes looking like butterflies or bees or late at night we look like moths. Sometimes we look like a tiny bird feather or a wisp of rabbit fur, floating through the air.

We can hide in in the crevices of tree trunks. No one ever sees us there.  Nor do people think to look in patches of clover, where we hide during the day. We don hats made of clover flowers and to most people we just look like clover flowers.

Finally, I would tell all the good people who are trying to draw us to just think of the flickers of light and shadows amongst the flowers and leaves.  That's usually us, in the garden dimension, visible for just a split second, hardly enough time for anyone to see us, but just enough time for someone who is a believer in garden fairies to know we are there.

Dear Diary, that's what I would explain to people about what garden fairies look like, if I could.  But most wouldn't understand and would continue to draw their silly drawings and paint those awful plastic figurines.  

But perhaps it would be worth explaining for those few gardeners who would understand?"

Wow, that was quite the diary entry. Much more info than I ever expected, but it does explain quite a bit about what garden fairies look like.  The next time I'm in my garden, I'm going to watch the light and shadows and see if I can see into that garden dimension where the garden fairies are.

Oh don't worry. I'm putting the diary back where I found it.  I promise to get it out again soon and pass along any other interesting entries.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A garden is a living thing

A garden is a living thing and we are wise to remember that.

There is a constant cycle of life occurring each day.

New flowers open, old flowers fade. Seeds drop to the ground and lie dormant, waiting for the right time and the right conditions to germinate.

New leaves unfurl in the spring, hang around all summer, then in the fall, they cease their chlorophyll production. Their green color fades and let's the yellow or red or orange make its appearance known, before the leaves lose their grip and the wind carries then off to places near and far.

When the leaves land on the ground, a village full of micro-organisms, insects, and even earthworms pounce upon them and slowly, surely, devour them, leaving behind compost.

There are insects in all their stages of life hanging around the garden, some literally hanging as cocoons from branches, others hidden on the undersides of leaves. Rabbits, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, even birds, are born in our gardens and may live their whole lives in our gardens.

A garden is a living thing, and we are wise to remember that we are also living things. We go through cycles of life, too. There are time when we have plenty of energy and agility and the time to spend it on our gardens.

There are other times when we lack the time, or the energy and agility, or both, and the garden becomes a wild living thing. It begins to run from us, and we must figure out how to catch it, retrieve it, and bring it back to its place as a garden.

It's all part of the cycle of life, because a garden is a living thing and was never intended to always be the same. It will grow and change, mature and adapt, just as we do.

We are wise to remember that.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

But I still have garden clean up to do...

Streptocarpella saxorum blooms inside
I rushed outside this morning and planted the last of the bulbs, more 'Chestnut Flower' hyacinths, to add to the three of that variety I planted last year.  It's the absolute prettiest hyacinth I've ever seen.

Then I grabbed a bag of seeds for wildflowers which are supposed to do well in lawns.  According to the directions, you can sow them after the first freeze.  But you are supposed to sow them on bare ground and barely cover them.

Instead, I just tossed them out on to the lawn.  I figured they have a better chance of germinating in the lawn than in the bag and I didn't have time to prepare an area.

Planting the hyacinths and sowing the seeds took me less than 10 minutes.

I can move fast when snow is imminent.

I am hopeful this first snowfall of the year, which is coming down as I write this, will melt fairly soon and that will help settle those seeds in for the winter, and then in the spring, they'll germinate and come up through the lawn.  I am also hopeful the snow provides a bit of insulation and actually keeps the ground from freezing too quickly so the hyacinths have a chance to settle in.

Time will tell.

This snow didn't actually catch me by surprise. They've been predicting it for days.  But I'm still not ready for it. I want to cut back more of the perennials and oh, right, the corn stalks are still standing in the garden, along with the okra.

I once thought it was only a lazy gardener who left her vegetable garden standing through the winter. Now I realize it is also a busy gardener who leaves her vegetable garden standing through the winter.

Oh well, with the snow comes a bit of freedom to not worry so much about the garden clean up.  Move that task to spring, I guess.  Put away the hoe and get out the snow shovel. Time to plan for next year, which looks like it will start early with a big massive clean up of the garden...