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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, Twelve

The old rabbit, Eleven, sat in the green chairs left out in the garden for the winter and watched the gate on the far side of the garden for signs of his replacement, a young, energetic bunny named Twelve.

As he sat and waited, he began to reflect on the past year. He had some things to be proud of. He had made sure that the new beds and borders that Ten had left him were well-planted. He also thought the gate to the vegetable garden was a nice addition, one that would always belong to him.

He remembered what Ten had said about the weather, not to take to heart all the bad things people would say about it. He was sure glad he had taken that advice because it was another hot, dry summer. He made a mental note to tell Twelve to try to do better, especially with rain. He wanted to be sure to tell him not to use up all the rain in the spring and then hold back on it all summer. Gardeners do not like that, he'd learned. He also learned that they don't like ice storms that bend trees over and snap twigs in half.

Outside of the garden, Eleven knew that Carol had been busy and much had happened to keep her away from the garden. He sure missed seeing her at times. But just when he thought she'd left for good, she always came back and did what she could, weeding, watering, watching the garden. He was sorry about the weeds. Oh, so many of them. He would be sure and tell Twelve to do something about the weeds.

Where was Twelve? Eleven was all packed, with a heavy load, and he knew Carol was ready to see him go. But he didn't take it personally. He knew she'd enjoyed quite a bit of the year. There was her trip to Seattle to meet other garden bloggers. She came back from that all fired up to do more gardening. Then there was the afternoon when a few of her garden blogging friends came to see her garden in person. Eleven wished he'd made the garden look a little nicer for them, but dog-gone-it, they did have some nice tomatoes to eat which hopefully distracted them from seeing all the weeds.

As Eleven gathered his final thoughts, he glanced up to see Twelve come bouncing through the gate.

"My you've got some energy about you", he said to Twelve. "I'm glad you're here. I'm ready for you, but before I go, I've got some instructions here somewhere." As he looked down at the instructions he'd written on a piece of paper, he glanced at his watch. "Oh dear. My time is up. I'll see you later, Twelve. Good luck and all that."

Just like that, in the blink of an eye, Eleven, was gone and Twelve was left standing alone in the garden.

"I wonder if any of those instructions were important", said Twelve to no one in particular. He glanced around and could see that though Eleven had done some work in the garden building on what Ten had done, there was still plenty that he could do. He felt quite up to doing it, too. He was eager, ready, and had a bag full of the past to guide him, plus some new resolutions.

"I can't wait to get started. This is going to be the best year yet in Carol's garden."

He then began to look for some paper and a pencil to write down all that he planned to do. "What gets written, gets done", he said. "I'll have to tell Carol that so she writes down her goals this year. Otherwise, we are likely to not get done what ought to get done."

And with that Twelve bounded up toward the house, eager and ready, new and energetic, full of excitement about the possibilities of a new year, a new Spring, a new growing season.




Happy New Year, Everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Member for SGAFO

Dear Membership Committee of the Society of Gardeners Aged 50 and Over (SGAFO),

As a member in good standing and the president and founder of The Society of Gardeners Aged 50 and Over (SGAFO), I bring before you a petition for the proposed membership of my baby sister who turns 50 years old today. Let's call her Sherry.

Sherry's qualifications include first that she is my sister and secondly, of course, that she also gardens. Oh, and did I mention she is 50 years old today?

I would describe her gardening style as both kid friendly and pet friendly, where weeds often hide various dog and kid toys left out and about and kids are encouraged to help plant, though as they get older, they seem less inclined to assist.

She likes what I would characterize as a cottage style of gardening, which works well to hide the weeds.

Her choice of flowers is rather eclectic and includes many passalong plants from me, her generous, giving, and gracious gardening sister. She also buys plants of her own choosing including the pink yarrow, pictured above. Yes, she does favor pink flowers over other flower colors, I believe.

In the spring, I can always count on her to call and ask me in late April if it is too early to plant annuals and tomato plants. I always answer yes. Some years she plants them anyway, and it works out just fine. Other years, she plants them anyway and they get nipped by a late frost. It seems like she is intent on planting in late April, regardless of what I say. I realize that this may actually disqualify her from SGAFO, but it is a fun story to tell.

As a new member, Sherry would, of course, be subject to the same initiation proceedings that all other members endure, even though she is related to me, your humble president.

In summary, overall, I believe she has met all of the qualifications that I have set forth, including that all important qualification of being at least 50 years old, and therefore should be accepted for full membership in the society.

It would be a wonderful birthday present for her.

Hortifully,

Carol

Your humble president for life of SGAFO, GBGC, and SPPOTGWLS

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hortisma

hortisma: n

1. a special personal quality or power of a garden making it capable of influencing or inspiring large numbers of people
2. a quality inherent in a garden which inspires great enthusiasm and devotion

Examples of its use in a sentence:

The Lurie Garden in Chicago had a special hortisma about it that caused people to visit there many times on a single visit to Chicago.

Or

Her garden did not seem at first glance to be anything unusual, but she was under the spell of its hortisma and spent hours weeding, watering and watching it each day.

You don't see hortisma in a garden, you feel it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Houseplant Season!

'Tis the day after Christmas, the official beginning of houseplant season.

Did you forget to water your houseplants while your attention was distracted with shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, gift-giving, gift-receiving, traveling, eating, greeting, and other ings of the Christmas season?

Then you are in luck because the best way to celebrate houseplant season is to water your houseplants.

Water them well until the  water is coming out of the bottom of the pot, but don't let those plants sit in saucers of that water. In fact, it might be easier and less of a mess if you took the plants over to the nearest sink to water them.

While you are watering the plant, letting water drain out the bottom of the pot and into the sink, check for signs of insects and diseases, pull off dead, yellowing leaves and wash off the leaves that are left. And since you are doing all that why not scrape off a little of that top layer of potting soil and replace with some fresh top soil?

Go all out for the beginning of houseplant season.

And if you feel like you are watering a dead plant, take a deep breath, say good bye to it and dump it on the top of the compost pile, where it can decompose and relive again as good compost. Then scrub up the pot and find a new plant to put in it.

Then water that plant well.

After all, it's houseplant season. Let the dirt fly, let the fun begin.

Happy Houseplant Season!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Guest Post: Garden Fairies do the Helleborus Hop

Garden fairies here!

Greetings of the seasons from all the garden fairies here at May Dreams Gardens.

You would not believe what has been going on around here. Or rather, you would not believe what has gotten into Carol.

We call it the Helleborus Hysterics. When she saw that Helleborus niger 'Josef Lemper' blooming in her garden outside in December she went off on a tear to find out more about these plants and to buy some potted, blooming Helleborus for Christmas. We are garden fairies so we were very happy about this because the more blooms the better as far as we are concerned.

Well, let us tell you that it took Carol quite a while to find some hellebores in bloom in pots and get two of them but somehow she managed to do so, but not without a lot of help.

Before she found some, you should have seen her going into different grocery stores and florist's shops. "Do you have any Helleborus in bloom", she would ask.  We were shocked to hear that some of them did not even know about this flower. One person even asked if she meant Amaryllis. To Carol's credit she answered with a simple no, and did not scold them about the Amaryllis not even being in the same plant family as hellebores,  roll her eyes, and go all haughticulturist on them.

'Tis the season, we guess.

Anyway, finally, the Hoosier Gardener found some Helleborus niger in bloom in pots at a Trader Joe's store on the other side of the city. She had to go there to get more butter because apparently Christmas is one of those holidays that require lots of butter and she had run out. Carol, of course, would know this if she baked goodies at Christmas time for us garden fairies, but she doesn't so we garden fairies are pretty much on our own when it comes to finding cookies and stuff and pretty much rely on the toast fairies to find what we do find.

We are garden fairies, though, and we don't eat a lot of butter. We prefer... oops sorry about that. We are garden fairies and we sometimes get off track. Anyway, the Hoosier Gardener went to Trader Joe's and sent Carol a picture of the hellebores they had.


Then she texted Carol the information on the exact location of the hellebores  in the store. Then Carol asked a co-worker if he could stop at Trader Joe's on his way home because he lived way up there and  he said he would pass right by it, buy two hellebores and bring them to her at work the next day. Then she sent him the picture and the instructions, gave him some money and hoped for the best.

Well, the best arrived the next morning at work. Two lovely, lovely Helleborus niger all a-bloom. We have never seen Carol quite so excited about a flower.  Well, yes we have.  We are garden fairies and we live here so we are used to her getting all excited about a particular flower or plant, and then going down various rabbit holes to find out more about them.  We are a bit shocked, of course, that it took her so long to discover this flower.

We are not sure what kept her from planting it before.  But now that she knows about it and has it in her garden and in two pots inside, she has gone off the deep end, again.   She bought  Helleborus:  A Comprehensive Guide by C. Colston Burrell and Judith Knott Tyler.  While reading it she found some reference to a little book, The Christmas Rose by Arthur and Mildred Luedy, published in 1948, so she bought a used copy of that online and is now on its way to her house, but it is not on Santa's sleigh so it will probably not get here until after the holidays.

Did we mention that because Helleborus niger often blooms outside in December some people call it the Christmas Rose?  
It's blooming outside in Carol's garden right now, on Christmas Eve.

But calling it a "rose" is confusing to all but other gardeners who speak Hortish, so Carol keeps calling it a hellebore or Helleborus to avoid confusing non-gardeners because it is not the kind of rose they think of when someone says "rose".

Anyway, like we said, Carol has a bad case of Helleborus Hysterics.  We are garden fairies, we are used to this happening around here.  Let us count the other ailments... Daylily Delirum, Miniature Mania, Vegetable Vapors, Hoe Fever, Columbine Croup... it is an endless list.

Now we'll just watch and wait and see how many other hellebores Carol gets before it is all said and done because there is no cure  for Helleborus Hysterics. You just have to let it  run its course.  

In the meantime, we are garden fairies, it is Christmas Eve, and there are hellebores in the house so we are going to do the Helleborus Hop.  This is a special seasonal dance we do when Helleborus niger is in bloom. And no one dances it better than Thorn Goblinfly.

No, there will not be a video published online of us doing the Helleborus Hop...  we are garden fairies.

Submitted by Thorn Goblinfly
Chief Scribe for the Garden Fairies at May Dreams Gardens

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I have more hoes than Santa Claus

We are putting a rush in our hurry up* here at May Dreams Gardens.

But even with hurrying up our rushing around, there is still time to grab the two hoes with red handles, wrap them in white streamers so they look like giant peppermint candy canes, and pose them by the fireplace.

I wish I had thought of this pose earlier so I could have used this photo for my Christmas cards. But I didn't think of it until recently, so please consider this your virtual card from me to you.

It is common knowledge that I have more hoes than Santa Claus and each hoe sends its greetings to you.

Hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe, hoe...

I think that's a hoe per hoe, or pretty close.

Wait, can gardening tools send greetings? Sure they can. They just did.

In other news of the holiday sort, I hear that the Christmas Cottontail is also putting the rush in his hurry up to be ready for his Christmas Eve duties with Santa Claus. By then he has to have all the seeds and bulbs ready to plant in the gardens of all the good gardeners so they'll have spring flowers for Easter.

I hope you are one of the good gardeners.

In yet more news of the gardening and holiday type, I've been wildly looking for a potted blooming hellebore (aka Christmas Rose). I've put the word out and so far I've heard reports that there are some clear on the other side of the city, which, with the traffic around that area, might as well be on the other side of the state. Even further from me, Cindy from Texas reported seeing some at her local grocery store, as did Frances in Tennessee and Kathy in upstate New York.

I'll keep looking.

In the meantime, because I've become enamored with Hellebores, until the next pretty flower comes along, I bought myself an early Christmas present, Hellebores: A Comprensive Guide. I look forward to diving down the rabbit hole that is this book in the days to come.

After Christmas, I hope I will no longer have to put a rush in my hurry up* and have some time to enjoy the respite of winter.

*I made up that saying, "put the rush in your hurry up". It's a bit very annoying but seems to fit for the days before the holidays and other busy times in our lives. (Strike out and edit provided by the garden fairies).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When a gardener decorates a mantel for Christmas

When a gardener decorates her mantel for Christmas she decides to give it a garden-y theme.

She finds inspiration from an article on garden-themed holiday decorating sent to her by the Hoosier Gardener.

She starts out with some faux greenery mostly because she doesn't have enough real greenery but also because she is a bit afraid of setting her house on fire after the dry summer. To this she adds an old trowel, a few packets of seeds, and a luminary light set in a clay pot.

Hidden behind is a little mouse waiting for Christmas Eve when even he will be quiet.

Just down from it she adds a little fancier clay pot filled with pine cones, which are real, with two little bird statues to add to the nature theme.
She includes the santa in the background because it is one that her brother-in-law carved by hand and her sister painted. She chose it from all the ones they made because Santa is holding a tree.

In the center of the mantel she puts an old birch log candle holder that was always on the family mantel when she was growing up.
It always had red candles in it, so that is what she puts in it. This year she also added a Christmas spider because spiders are our friends in the garden and she is working hard to accept this and not squish them when she sees them.

If she decides to light the real candles in the birch log, she has a candle-snuffer made to look like a bee's skep to do it with.

It took the gardener a long time find a suitable stocking hanger.
Finally, though, she did find one that is a snowman holding a little trowel. He looks ready to do some digging, as soon as the ground is no longer frozen.

At the far end of the mantel the gardener includes a cross-stitch picture of the Holy Family on Christmas night framed in old barn wood to remind her of the reason we celebrate Christmas. Next to it, she adds an angel garden ornament, because angels are always a part of Christmas and often seen in gardens, too.

All across the mantel, she includes more pine cones and more little clay pots with lights in them.

Then, when a gardener finishes decorating a mantel for Christmas, she stands back to admire it.

Hmmm, maybe it needs some more greenery or a few live plants?

When gardener decorates a mantel for Christmas, it turns out that it is really a collection of her favorite things, all dressed up for the holidays. It's not grand and glorious or elegant, by any means, but is unique to her and makes her happy.

She will enjoy it throughout the season.

Related posts:

When a gardener sends Christmas cards.
When a gardener makes Christmas ornaments.
When a gardener wraps Christmas presents.

I detect a theme here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ranunculites, Unite

Helleborus niger 'Josef Lemper'
I can no longer deny it. It's becoming just too obvious to hide. I must come out in the open with it.

I know many will understand, but others will shake their heads and click their tongues with a little "tsk tsk".

I am a Ranunculite.

I've come to realize that many of the flowers I love and have become obsessed with are in the plant family Ranunculaceae.

Clematis. Yes, I can't get enough of them, especially those with bell shaped blooms.

Delphinium. I went through a few seasons trying to find one that would bloom reliably from year to year in my garden. My search continues.

Helleborus. This is my latest obsession, now that H. niger 'Josef Lemper' is blooming in December in my garden. I repeat. Blooming. In December. In my garden.

And don't forget Aquilegia, which many know as Columbine. I love when they are blooming in the spring.

This winter, I'm going to begin a study of the genus Helleborus and look for more of these to grow in my garden. Maybe I will buy myself a book about hellebores?& Or put it on my Christmas wish list in case someone still wants to buy me something. Yes, thank you for asking, a book on Clematis was already on my list. (That alone was a strong clue that I was a Ranunculite.)

I'm so glad this is out in the open now. I know I'm not alone, though. Let's all fess up if we are Ranunculites, gardeners who are obsessed with flowers in the plant family Ranunculaceae

Ranunculites, unite.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - December 2011

Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for December 2011.

Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 5b garden in central Indiana, I'd expect by now to have a scene like this one from December 2010, when there was snow on the ground and the temperatures were consistently below freezing.

But as they say, that was then and this is now and nothing is ever the same, even though from year to to year we think it is.

There are always differences. Sometimes the differences are slight and you don't notice them, like a little leaf that falls from a tree onto the lawn.  Sometimes the differences are so big they smack you in the face, like a low hanging limb across a garden path, so there is no way not to notice them.

This year is quite different from last year, like that low hanging limb. It's been warmer all month, except for a day or two, and we've had no measurable snow fall. Yesterday, temperatures were in the high 50's and then it rained.

But regardless of the weather or maybe because of the weather, I have a new plant that actually, truly is blooming outside in December. I'm pretty excited about it.

May I introduce you to the one and only bloom that I can find in my garden in December?
Helleborus niger 'Josef Lemper'
Commonly called the Christmas Rose, this is Helleborus niger 'Josef Lemper'.

I just planted it this fall, so it is still a young 'un but it has several buds on it.


According to Skagit Gardens, who sent me this plant to try in my garden, it is hardy to Zone 4 and blooms from December through February. By the way, it looks droopy in the picture only because when I had an opportunity to photograph it in daylight, it was weighed over with a heavy frost. Normally, it is quite perky for a winter plant.

With this plant in my garden, I may finally, actually, fulfill the quote from Elizabeth Lawrence, "We can have blooms nearly every month of the year".

No more will December find me taking pictures of dried up roses and skeletons of flowers gone to seed. No more will January and February find me hunting for flowers only inside. Now I'll have something blooming outside, too.

This hellebore means that winter is now a whole new flowering season with new possibilities, at least in my garden.

What about your garden? Are you snow covered or still enjoying outdoor blooms?

Whatever your circumstances and however your garden looks during these December days, I hope you’ll join us for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day this month.

All are welcome!

It's easy to participate. Just post on your blog about what is blooming in your garden on the 15th of the month and then leave a link in the ‘Mr. Linky’ widget below, plus a comment to give us a hint as to what we might find in your garden in December.

We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

Update December 16.

Thank you to all who participated in bloom day. You all help make the 15th of the month a special day. You also help show that December has more blooms than many of us thought.

My hellebore turns out to be much prettier and sturdier and photogenic than I ever thought, especially today. Here's an updated picture.
Helleborus niger 'Josef Lemper'
Thank you again to all who join in every month for bloom day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

International Fertilizer Day... One Year From Today

One of my college text books*
I don't know what we'll do or how we'll celebrate.

I don't know who will join in or who will think it is a bunch of horse manure.

Mark your calendars...

I'm declaring one year from today, December 12, 2012, to be...

International Fertilizer Day


Yes!

12-12-12, good ol' Triple 12, will be  a day to fawn over fertilizer, pontificate on plant nutrients, converse about compost.

This once in a lifetime event will be open to all and feature both inorganic and organic fertilizers.

It will be all fertilizer, all day long with special celebrations at 12:12 pm in whatever location you are in.

We can share thoughts and ideas about compost, manure tea, anhydrous ammonia, phosphorus, potassium, and minor nutrients.  We can reminisce about fertilizers of the past and discuss fertilizers of the present.

We can muse about what happens to plants when they get too much fertilizer and what happens to plants when they don't get enough fertilizer.

We can have quizzes to find out who knows the most about plant fertility and fertilizers.

We can do whatever we want to do because we have a year to plan for it.

International Fertilizer Day, 12-12-12.

Just imagine the possibilities.

*Yes, that is an actual textbook from my college days. Don't even think about commenting about how it looks like one of my old antique gardening books.  Inside are my secret notes handwritten in the margins. No, you can't see them, they are my secret notes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Silverware makes our thoughts turn to gardening

I opened up a box containing some silverware that my mom gave me several years ago and my thoughts turned to gardening, as they always do.

Via the Internet, I was able to figure out that this silver plate is the Moonlight pattern from the Wm. Rogers Co. I remember that my mom bought it one place setting at a time as part of a promotion at a local grocery store.

You all remember how that worked don't you? Every week you could buy another place setting at the grocery store. This was supposed to bring you back to the store each week, so you could buy the silverware.

My mom managed to purchase eight place settings each consisting of a spoon, a soup spoon, a tea spoon, a dinner fork, a salad fork, and a knife. Plus she purchased one serving fork and a soup ladle. The set also includes seven extra spoons. I assume that Mom  purchased eight extra spoons, which means one of those spoons is missing, and that’s where our thoughts turn to gardening.

My mom was never a gardener. Her one attempt at helping with any kind of gardening seemed to begin and end the day she offered to deadhead the petunias and ended up removing all the flower buds. At least that’s how the story goes.

But she never stopped me from going out and working in the garden.

I remember coming in and sometimes asking for a spoon and sometimes sneaking a spoon out to the garden to do some digging. Wouldn’t it be a good story if that missing spoon was one I had taken out to the garden to dig with, and I left it out there? Or maybe the story is that the little rabbits stole it from me and drug it down into a rabbit hole for me to discover decades later?

Or maybe I buried it in an attempt to conceal my thievery?

Or I planted it, thinking it would grow more spoons for a future rabbit proof fortress and then some raccoons came by and took it because they wanted to improve their table manners and then they found out their thumbs can’t grip like ours so they threw the spoon into the creek in the neighbor’s yard where the currents carried it from the creek to a river to another river until it finally ended up in the ocean. One day it washed up on the shores of England...

Those are much better stories than those where the spoon disappears in the trash or gets crushed in the garbage disposal.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who gardened, and she occasionally took spoons from the kitchen out to the garden to dig. Sometimes her mother knew she did it and other times she didn't...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Life of a Christmas Wreath: A One Act Play

Life of a Christmas Wreath
A One Act Play
Based on a True Story
By
Carol M.

Cast of Characters

Wreath ………………………....… A simple wreath made from white pine boughs
Various flowers, leaves, and berries ... A few simple adornments on the wreath

TIME: Winter
SETTING: A gardener's workshop

ACT ONE
SCENE 1

(We see the pine boughs, dried flowers, leaves and berries strewn about a workbench.)

EVERYONE
(All chattering at once)
Hey everyone. Looks like we get to hang out together. This is so cool to end up as a wreath and not compost. Hey, gardener/florist lady, that tickles. Watch my berries, please, I don't want to lose any. Over here, can you tuck me in a little tighter? I have a fear of falling.

WREATH

Welcome, all you flowers, leaves, and berries. Oh, and the pine cones, too. I'm pleased to have you all on board. If everyone could just hang on tight now...

(Light fades slowly, as the gardener/florist finishes making the wreath and shuts off the shop lights.)

SCENE 2

(The wreath with all the flowers, leaves, and berries on it hangs on a display hook at a local farmer's market..)

WREATH

Okay everyone. Hang on. Look pretty. Oh, look. Here comes someone we might want to go home with. Smile, whisper "Merry Christmas".

(A gardener named Carol comes by and admires the wreaths and chooses from all of them the WREATH.)

WREATH

Oh my blooming radishes. She chose us. This is exciting. I wonder where our new home is going to be? Oh, I sure hope it is a pretty door. Everyone hold tight, she's carrying us off. Whee. This is fun.

Now don't be afraid little leaves and berries and dried flowers. It's only going to be dark for a little bit while we are in the trunk of her car. Stay close.

(Light fades as the wreath is transported in the trunk.)

SCENE 3

(The lights come back as the trunk lid opens.)

WREATH

We're here. Everyone, look pretty. Oh no! Is that one of those self-stick hooks? She's not really going to hang us with that is she?

FLOWERS, LEAVES, AND BERRIES

I don't like this. That hook isn't going to stay. Wreath, you should have gone on a diet.

WREATH

Hey, no one likes a skinny wreath. I like to think I'm seasonably plump.

(A giant thud is heard as the hook releases its grip and the WREATH with all the FLOWERS, LEAVES, and BERRIES falls to the ground.)


WREATH

Oh dear, is everyone okay? Help! Help! We've fallen and we need some help getting up.

SCENE 4

(The lights come back up and the wreath is hanging on the door again.)

WREATH

Whew, that was a close call. This new hook is much better. It's very sturdy. I think it will hold us for the entire six months that we are supposed to last. Is everyone here? Is everyone okay?


FLOWERS, LEAVES, and BERRIES

We are fine. I think. That sure was exciting. Okay, everyone, remember why we are here. Together now, let's practice. Welcome. Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Hi. Come back and see us again. Welcome.

(Light gradually fades as the wreath and all the flowers, leaves, and berries hang from the door greeting all who enter.)

THE END

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Guest Post: Garden Fairies Revealed, Almost

Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and something happened recently that has all just quivering a bit.

We were almost discovered.

We are garden fairies. Let us repeat that.

We were almost discovered.

That's right, Sweetpea Morningdew opened up the garden fairy door just a tiny crack and we think Carol saw Sweetpea out of the corner of her eye. Ol'Sorghum Spittlebug saved the day, though, and likely saved us garden fairies from being revealed, because he pulled Sweetpea back away from the door just as Carol got up to take a closer look.

Carol thought she was so clever because she took a picture of the door with her iPhone. But we are garden fairies so we messed up all the editing of the picture so you can't really tell much from it.

Whew, that was sure a close call.

Now, you are all probably asking yourselves why it is that Sweetpea Morningdew opening up the garden fairy door would reveal us garden fairies. Why wouldn't the actual presence of the garden fairy door reveal to Carol that garden fairies are nearby?

Well, we are garden fairies and we don't have to answer questions like that.

Anyway, we are garden fairies and we have come inside for the winter. It is very nice here. There are lots of plants in the sun room right now, though we understand why and are sad about that. But yeah, plants!

We are garden fairies and we love to play amongst the plants, but some of those plants are in containers without good drainage, so Carol really needs to repot them into pots that have good drainage.

We garden fairies are going to make it our project to get Carol to repot those plants, as long as it doesn't take too much work on our part. We are garden fairies after all and can't be expected to do work like that. Though, when Carol does repot those plants, you can be sure that we are garden fairies and we will be there to hide tools, fling some potting soil around, and generally make it interesting, and fun. We are garden fairies, we like to have fun.

But first we need to get Carol to put up the Christmas tree. The tree fairies are getting quite anxious because the big day is just a few weeks away and we are garden fairies, and tree fairies, and we need that tree to be up so we can have our parties and holiday fun.  No one knows how to have holiday fun like a tree fairy. We are garden fairies, trust us on this, we know.

We will keep everyone posted on our projects to get Carol to do some stuff around here because we are garden fairies and we don't like to tease people or leave them hanging, wondering what is next. We would never do that.  Carol might, be we would not. We are garden fairies.

Oh, that reminds us, we are garden fairies and we have some really big plans for after the holidays. But we don't have time to tell you what those plans are just yet. Some other day...

Submitted by,
Thorn Goblinfly
Chief Scribe for the nearly revealed garden fairies at May Dreams Gardens "dot com"

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

How to Sell Rosemary Plants

Do you know how to sell a rosemary plant to a gardener who has a sun room full of house plants?

I'll tell you how you sell a rosemary plant to a gardener who has a sun room full of house plants. It really is quite easy.

First, have two rosemary plants for sale.

Then wait for the gardener to come by your booth at the farmers market where you have the two rosemary plants for sale.

When the gardener reaches out to gently touch the rosemary plant so she can smell its rosemary-goodness, say something like, "Doesn't that smell wonderful?"

Then the gardener will say something like, "Yes, it does. You know this rosemary plant doesn't look like those that they sell at the big box stores."

Then you say, "It isn't, it has longer leaves and straighter stems."

At this point, the gardener will remember that she has a sun room full of house plants many of which are in containers without good drainage, so she really should repot them soon. She will slowly back away and say something like, "Let me see what else is here, then I'll come back by and decide."

Don't be discouraged at this point. Be patient.

Soon another gardener will come by, and you can repeat the same conversation, only this time, that gardener won't hesitate to buy one of the rosemary plants because she won't have a sun room full of house plants in containers without good drainage that really should be repotted. She will definitely buy one of the two rosemary plants.

Then across the room, the first gardener, the one with a sun room full of house plants, many of which are in containers without good drainage so she should really repot them, will glance back at your booth and see the other gardener beaming with pride, walking away with her new rosemary plant. Instantly, the first gardener will realize that she is at risk of not getting a rosemary plant that isn't like those she sees in the big box stores because it isn't like those. It has longer leaves and straighter stems.

She will forget all about the house plants in her sun room, many of which are in containers without good drainage so she should really repot them. She will forget about everything and everyone else at the market. She will walk quickly, almost run, to get back to the booth, lay her hand on the rosemary plant and say, "I'll take this one".

Then as she walks away with her new rosemary plant, forgetting momentarily that she has a sun room full of house plants, many of which are in containers so she should really repot them, and beaming with pride because she got the last rosemary plant, the one that is different from those in the big box stores because it has longer leaves and straighter stems, you can casually mention that after the holidays, she should really repot the rosemary plant.

And that's how you sell a rosemary plant to a gardener who has a sun room full of house plants...

Monday, December 05, 2011

Garden Photography Rabbit Hole with an iPhone

Rabbit hole alert.

But oh, what a fun rabbit hole this is.

I lost my footing and starting to slide down this little rabbit hole when I found David Perry's new blog, A Photographer's Garden Blog.

His most current post is about using your iPhone and the Camera+ app to create some interesting pictures.  He made it look easy, fun actually, with no fancy talk of apertures, f-stops and multiple lenses.

Just an iPhone and an app and a few minutes...

What fun this will be.

This watering can hook picture is my second picture with Camera+, which I spent all of five minutes taking and editing.

I took the picture, cropped it into a square, applied the Nostalgia effect, added the Old Timer's border and a caption, then applied the Shade scene.

It's not going to win any photography contests, not by a long row of peas in the garden, but it was fun to do.

My first shot was taken last night.


I applied so many changes to it that I couldn't even begin to find my way back to where it started.  Well, it actually started when I went to the Indy Winter Farmers Market and saw two rosemary plants side by side at one of the booths there, but that's a whole different rabbit hole to write about some other day.

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, go get Camera+ for 99 cents and give it a try. Then keep checking David Perry's new blog because I'm sure he has many more photography tricks he's going to be sharing in the months ahead.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Dear Garden in Winter

Dear Garden,

Dearest Garden,

Dear Garden in Winter,

I am entrusting to your care these little plants that I was not able to find just the right homes for before it got cold, so I planted them out in their pots up next to the house in an area that is somewhat protected.

These include a mix of plants I bought and some that were sent to me to try out. I hope you will take good care of them. Please let them know that if they hang on through the winter, I promise to find good homes for them as soon as I can dig in the spring.

You might encourage them a bit with a pep talk about how just hunkering down until spring and going dormant for the winter will be a veritable walk in the park compared to what they endured during the hot, dry summer when they were trying to grow and I kept forgetting to water them.

Dear Garden in Winter, you might also cooperate with some snow cover during the coldest days, but please, no ice. Also, under no circumstances should you let the rabbits know about these plants because they might decide that these would make a tasty lunch some bright sunny, wintry day.

From time to time, weather permitting, I will come around for a visit, so please take care of not only these plants but all the plants in the garden. Well, all the plants in the garden except for that darn henbit and chickweed. You can give as much of those weeds to the bunnies to eat as they will eat. Garden in Spring has assured me that she does not need or want them.

I truly appreciate your help, Garden in Winter, and offer greetings of the season and best wishes through the next few months.

Hortifully,
Carol

P.S. Oh, and one more thing, I have a special plant in the garden now with flowers just for you. I'll let you see it on the 15th for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

December

It's December. The squirrel knows it. The calendar shows it.

Many of us will pause as we flip our calendar over to this last month of the year and wonder how it came to be that another year has nearly passed.

We'll think of the plans we made for our gardens at the beginning of the year, and wonder what became of those plans, if we can even remember them.

We may have started the year with a list of resolutions that were just for gardeners. How long did they last before we reverted back to our old ways, our old habits, our same old plants?

December with its shorter days invites reflection. It begs us to look back and think about the year. I think we should give in and slow down in December, take time to take stock of the past year, the past garden, and quietly reflect on it all before the days slowly, gradually begin to lengthen again. Before we know it, we'll be turning the calendar page once again and wondering how a full year has gone by.

Taking time to slow down is counter to what is around us now. We are bombarded with ads and signs telling us we must shop and cook and decorate. There is so much to do, to see. There are cards to send, presents to buy, cookies to bake, people to see in the next several weeks.

But the shorter days, the season, call for reflecting back, for remembering. Hopefully, we'll make time for that time.

Here's one of my favorite songs for doing just that, fittingly called "Seasons".