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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: A plan for my lawn

I have a plan for my lawn.

I have a plan to cultivate it as  a cut meadow filled with various flowers, including some wildflowers, each with its own season.

I started working on my plan a few years ago by planting crocus corms directly in the lawn, phase one.  Two years ago, I think I planted around 400 corms. This past fall, I planted a little over 1,000 corms.

It sounds like a lot of crocuses, but spread across a big lawn, it can look like "not much".  I will plant more crocus corms each fall, mostly the smaller, earlier flowering Crocus tommasinianus, which is a favorite of Gail from Clay and Limestone, who hosts Wildflower Wednesday on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Gail encourages us through her blog  to think about how to incorporate wildflowers into our gardens and our lives and to do all we can to garden with pollinators in mind.

I have a pretty good method for planting the crocus corms, so believe it or not, I can plant 1,000 or so in about four hours.  I will plant any crocus varieties that can be purchased in large quantities, except for gold colored crocus. From a distance, a gold crocus can look like a dandelion. Dandelions are not part of my plan for my lawn.

Early this spring, within a matter of a few weeks, I am also going to sow seeds for johnny jump ups (Viola) and chamomile in the lawn. They are part of phase two.  The kind and generous people at Botanical Interests Seeds remembered me talking to them about this idea when I visited their booth at the last Garden Writer's Association meeting and sent me ten or so seed packets of each to try out.

I already have violas that show up here and there in my lawn, so I am hopeful that if I purposely sow seeds for them, they'll cooperative and grow for me.

Yes, I know this little viola is yellow like a dandelion, but if it is willing to show up in the lawn, I'll let it stay.  I also want to grow chamomile because it smells like apples when you cut it with a lawn mower.

One of the keys for growing these flowers and other wildflowers in the lawn is to avoid using herbicides, both those that stop seeds from germinating (pre-emergents) and those that kill broadleaf plants.   Another key, I think, is to mow high to avoid chopping the flowers back, especially the crocus, before they have a chance to flower and in some cases, set seed. However, I'm still working out what this height should be as "mow high" is also one way to choke out weeds, which presumably don't do well competing against the higher grass.

Another key is to commit to hand weeding out undesirable weeds, including dandelions and thistle.  Hand weeding can take some time, but if I am persistent and use a good dandelion digger, I find that I can keep ahead of the bad weeds, for the most part, without too much effort. Your results may vary.

Oh, did I mention that I would also love to see wildflowers like spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) blooming in my lawn in the springtime? I'll work on adding them in future years. 

I also plan to let clover grow in the lawn where it chooses to come up. The bunnies like to eat it. I have many bunnies around my garden and when there is clover to eat, they tend to not eat in the vegetable garden. So clover stays.  And of course, violets are also welcome in my lawn.

Crocuses, johnny jump ups, chamomile, clover, spring beautifies, and violets -- it's a start of what I hope is a wonderful cut meadow, an interesting green space that makes my garden one that is healthy and hospitable for wildflowers, bunnies, birds, and me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Garden Fairies during the Crocus Carnival

Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we are taking a break from our cavorting during the Crocus Carnival to provide an update on what is really going on here at May Dreams Gardens.

First of all, as garden fairies, we believe in fair, honest reporting so we feel an obligation and duty, a sacred trust with our readers (greetings to the both of you!) to inform you that the picture of the crocus is from last year. 

There are most certainly crocuses just like those blooming this year but we could not convince or cajole or trick Carol into taking any pictures of them, even though the weather has been quite nice these last few days. 

We almost convinced her to take pictures yesterday but she was cutting down the big tall switchgrass by the utility boxes in front and said "later". Of course, later it was dark, so "no go" on the picture.

Frankly, we are garden fairies and we were shocked when Carol came out and did even that much gardening, if cutting back switchgrass can be elevated to the level that one would call it "gardening".   Anyway, let's assume that cutting back switchgrass is gardening, for the sake of continuing this story, otherwise, it will go on and on and we garden fairies like to get right to the point because otherwise, good readers like the two of you lose interest and get lost and - hey, is someone trying to trick us and get us to lose our place in the story?

Anyway, the story is that we have been concerned for some time that Carol will get lost in some rabbit hole, which is what we call those old gardening books of hers, and miss the gardening windows of opportunity, the gardening WOO's, that present themselves from time to time during the last days of winter, which should be used for tasks such as cutting back switchgrass.

However, rumors of winter giving it up for this year are, of course, premature, and we garden fairies could have told you that. There is still more ice and snow in the forecast, which means that instead of writing this blog post for readers (can we name the both of you?), we should be carrying forth with the Crocus Carnival. 

However, lest you think we are lazy fairies who do nothing but look for reasons to celebrate, let us remind you that we garden fairies are responsible for closing up crocuses whenever it rains or clouds up, or snows or ices up. Yes, we are in charge of the pollen and we take our responsibilities quite seriously. With all the changes in weather, we are busier in the garden these days than Carol is!

That needs to change, one day soon,  or we aren't... garden fairies.

Submitted by:
Violet Greenpea Maydreams, Chief Scribe and Crocus Closing Team Lead here at May Dreams Gardens

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In the Garden of Don'ts

Dear Louise Shelton,

 Who are you? I know that you wrote a book in 1906 called The Seasons in a Flower Garden: A Handbook of Information and Instructions for the Amateur.

I know that you likely gardened and lived in New Hampshire.

I know that you once had a little spaniel named Idol, who for twelve years was your shadow in your garden, because you dedicated your book to him.

Perhaps you are the lady in white who stands in the midst of this large flower garden?

I suspect you had good intentions in writing your book. Who would write a book about gardening with other than good intentions?

I moved along pretty well through your book admiring the photos, including this one of "an ideal garden".

I kept in mind, of course, that when you wrote your book, this may indeed have be an ideal garden.  Should I ever decide to uproot my own garden and turn it into a Victorian style garden, your book will be one of the first books I'll consult.

If I may offer a word of advice for your book, perhaps you should consider removing Chapter XXV title "Don'ts" from future editions?  To put it bluntly, this list of 46 items, all starting with the word "don't", could cause even the most experienced gardener to wither in the garden and leave her standing there, rooted in place, wondering what she could do that wouldn't violate one of these statement.  They just seem so stifling, like a hot, humid summer day.

I know you meant well with your chapter of Don'ts and might argue that each is a useful piece of information.  I suspect that many of these statements could be incorporated elsewhere in the book, where the subject of each is treated a bit more fully.  Or perhaps you could turn each statement into a "Do" instead of  a "Don't".

I fear that an inexperienced gardener could misconstrue your intent and try to follow each one of your statements exactly.  The result would be a Garden of Don'ts, which is likely to turn out poorly and might even turn a budding gardener away from gardening.  I know you would not want that, Louise.

I have no other complaints about your book, and find it to have been an enchanting rabbit hole. As I wrote in the beginning of this letter,  I have studied this picture of a flower garden in the front of the  book and wondered if that is you in the center and if this is your own garden.
If it is you and your garden, I congratulate you on your success. It appears to be a lovely garden, hardly hampered by rules of "don't".


P.S. Happy Birthday, Violet Fane.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

In Green Old Gardens - A Poem

I found a poem today down in a rabbit hole of old gardening books where one author and book leads to another, and another, and then there is a snippet of a poem, and then I find the entire poem. I love these kinds of rabbit holes. 

I especially like the last verse of this poem, In Green Old Gardens.  I also like that I found this poem the day before the author Violet Fane's Birthday on Feb. 24.  Happy 170th Birthday, Violet, whose real name was Mary, Baroness Currie, née Mary Montgomerie Lamb.

In Green Old Gardens

In green old gardens, hidden away
From sight of revel and sound of strife,
Where the bird may sing out his soul ere he die,
Nor fears for the night, so he lives his day;
Where the high red walls, which are growing gray
With their lichen and moss embroideries,
Seem sadly and sternly to shut out life,
Because it is often as red as they;

Where even the bee has time to glide
(Gathering gayly his honey's store)
Right to the heart of the old-world flowers -
China-asters and purple stocks,
Dahlias and tall red hollyhocks,
Laburnums raining their golden showers,
Columbines prim of the folded core,
And lupins, and larkspurs, and "London pride";

Where the heron is waiting amongst the reeds,
Grown tame in the silence that reigns around,
Broken only, now and then,
By shy woodpecker or noisy jay,
By the far-off watch-dog's muffled bay;
But where never the purposeless laughter of men,
Or the seething city's murmurous sound
Will float up over the river-weeds.

Here may I live what life I please,
Married and buried out of sight, -
Married to pleasure, and buried to pain, -
Hidden away amongst scenes like these,
Under the fans of the chestnut trees;
Living my child-life over again,
With the further hope of a fallen delight,
Blithe as the birds and wise as the bees.

In green old gardens, hidden away
From sight of revel and sound of strife, -
Here have I leisure to breathe and move,
And to do my work in a nobler way;
To sing my songs, and to say my say;
To dream my dreams, and to love my love;
To hold my faith, and to live my life,
Making the most of its shadowy day.

In green old gardens... that's where I want to be.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm Ready!

A pansy from another spring, in the past
I'm ready!

I have seeds.

I have new gardening gloves.

I have a new hoe.

I have increased my knowledge of gardening, finding tidbits and treasures down winding halls and behind hidden doors in the rabbit hole of old gardening books.

I'm ready for spring.

Where is Spring?

Spring is in the wings, waiting and watching Winter make what we all hope is her last grand stand, a lovely performance featuring a coating of ice, which should melt by mid-day tomorrow, if the weather report is believable.

I'm counting down. I should be planting peas in 23 days, on March 17th. I will be planting pansies as soon as anyone has them for sale.

In the meantime, well done with the ice, Winter. And thank you. We'll take any form of precipitation.

Are you ready for Spring?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Garden of Desire

It was Liberty Hyde Bailey who wrote in The Gardener (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1925),

"Gardening is more than the growing of plants: it is the expression of desire."

What do we desire from of our gardens?

I've started a list of what I desire from my garden.

I desire a garden with new blooms each month, and in the growing season, I want new blooms nearly every day.

I want my garden to produce good food, starting with early spring vegetables and ending with late fall harvests.

I want it to delight me with tiny surprises like the diminutive snowdrops that spring up when there is still snow on the ground and then bowl me over with opulent displays of stunning blooms in all colors at the height of summer.

I want my garden to be forgiving when my time has to be spent away from it. I don't want it to ever look like it is tended to by an absent gardener when I'm not there.

I want it to be a poor place for weeds to grow, but a rich place for the plants I love to grow.

I want my garden to feed my soul, even if I forget to feed it with fertilizer.

I want it to remind me of the family and friends who've added to it with shared plants and shared visits.

I want my garden to be about more than growing plants. I want my garden to help me grow, too.

That's not too much to desire from a garden, now, is it?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Shopping like it's 1931

I ordered a special garden catalog a few weeks ago, one that would take me to a place and time I'd never been before - 1931.

You can turn to any page in this catalog,"Dreer's Garden Book 1931", and discover something that has long been forgotten and right next to it will be something quite familiar.

With seeds for flowers and vegetables, plus tools, books, plants, and fertilizers, Dreer's must have been some place back in the day.  And with 224 pages, Dreer's has ever right to call their catalog a book

I was delighted to see that my Dreer's book came with a blank order form complete with an application for a postal money order and an envelope.

I opened the catalog and started my shopping.

I was pleased to see that they offered 'Bountiful' green beans.
I've grown 'Bountiful' for several years and can recommend it to others.  

I noticed that they sell seeds for "white olive radish".
I didn't order any white radishes this year, but now I want some.

I did a brief Internet search for "orchid-flowering sweet peas" after seeing these in Dreer's.
I didn't find any online, but that's okay because I already have five or six packets of sweet pea flowers for my garden this year. That's plenty for my little surburban paradise.   But if I found some sweet peas that were called "orchid-flowered", I would be tempted to get more.

I was impressed that they offered four varieties of Mignonette (Reseda odorata).
In case you can't read the description, Dreer's notes that "no garden is complete without a bed of Mignonette".   How is is that until this winter I had never heard of Mignonette?   

Dreer's even included a picture of Mignonette, even though it is grown more for fragrance than looks.
Please let me know if you ever find seeds for Red Goliath Mignonette, pictured here. I have found seeds for 'Machet' and ordered enough for me to try it in my garden, plus a few extra packets that I've given away to other gardeners who have agreed to grow it this year and report back to me about how it did.  But I haven't found any seeds for 'Red Goliath'

Goodness, they had a whole page listing books on "Horticultural and Kindred Subjects".
Thanks to the Internet and people who sell used gardening books in good condition, three of the books listed by Dreer's are on their way to me now.

Tools? Yes, Dreer's has all kinds of interesting tools for sale including this assortment of hoes.
I don't think I have any in my hoe collection that are like no. 1 and no. 4. I need to keep an eye out for them "wherever old hoes are sold".

There's much more to explore in Dreer's and the companion catalog "Dreer's Midsummer List".

I am just getting started on their perennial section.

Dreer's wrote, "The growing popularity of the Old-Fashioned Hardy Garden Flowers, the inhabitants of the perennial garden, is not at all surprising when we consider the many varied and pleasant changes which take place throughout the entire growing season in a well-arranged hardy border, in which every week - yes, every day - brings forth something fresh and new to interest and delight even the most critical."

Perfect. Isn't that what a garden, and a gardener's life, is all about? Daily, we find "something fresh and new to interest and delight even the most critical".

Many thanks to all those gardeners who shared "something new to interest and delight" in their gardens in February for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  I hope that your gardens continue to delight you and that you continue to share them with others often, online and in person.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: February 2013

Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for February 2013.

Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden in central Indiana, winter continues.

It seems at times like a roller coaster ride that goes up and down, up and down. You aren't sure when it will end, but you are pretty sure it isn't going to end soon enough.

So you hang on and ride it out.

Here's how my ride is going... 

I went out to the back yard a few days ago and again today and discovered many crocus blooms in the lawn.

I think, based on where these crocuses are, that they are ones I planted in the fall of 2011, and not the ones I planted last fall that I hope are slow enough to be in bloom for Easter on March 31st.

I find that bulbs often bloom a bit later the first year they are planted, but even knowing that, I think I am being a bit optimistic to think that the rest of the crocuses will hold off until the end of March. I would guess that the grand display will be in about three weeks.  Mark your calendars.

Out in the front garden, I still have a lone snowdrop blooming.
Crowding around its base are the leaves of a little viola. I hope as the snowdrop, Galanthus sp., fades, the viola grows and flowers.

I kept looking around and found some hellebore buds.
These are Helleborus orientalis, the Lenten Rose.  I haven't cut back the old foliage, but will need to be careful not to cut off blooms when I do.

I looked all over for an Iris reticulata in bloom, but they are so far just barely showing their leaves.  In the race to bloom first in the spring, the crocus is the clear winner this year.

I thought the crocus, hellebores and snowdrop blooms were my only contributions for this bloom day, but then I remembered, just before sunset, that the witch hazel, Hamamelis vernalis, was probably blooming.

And it is blooming.
This is a poor quality picture, but it is the best I could provide without a flash.  You understand, of course, that the witch hazel isn't there for the eyes, it is there for the nose, providing a sweet scent in its corner of the garden.  (Scratch your screen and sniff the wonderful scent of witch hazel.)

And that's what's blooming in my garden on a pleasant February day, one that makes me think spring will soon be here.  But I won't be a February fool, I know there is still more winter in this season, starting with snow in the forecast for late tonight and cold, seasonal temperatures predicted for tomorrow.

What's blooming in your garden on this fine February day? We would love to hear about your garden and compare our blooms to yours for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

It's easy to participate. Just post on your blog about what is blooming in your garden now, then leave a comment below and add your link to the Mr. Linky widget.

For those who have been participating from the beginning, this February marks the beginning of the seventh year of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  Through all these years, our goal and rally cry has always been the quote from Elizabeth Lawrence:

"We can have blooms nearly every month of the year."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day
Tip of the hoe to Kylee at Our Little Acre for sending me this card last spring.  She saw the hoe and thought of me!

Everything "hoe" -- that's me!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Garden fairies don't know what to take

Dill flowers are a favorite of the garden fairies.
Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we do not know whether we should take umbrage or take cover.

We have had much discussion about this and could not decide so have agreed to put the matter before the good readers of this blog.

Let us explain...

Should we take umbrage?

We are garden fairies and we have received word from reliable, trusted, accurate sources that Carol was presenting to a group about old gardening books and she told everyone that "her garden fairies are lazy".

Well, we heard this and then we realized that we are garden fairies and we live here at May Dreams Gardens so that means that two plus two equals Carol thinks we are lazy.   We will tell you that certain garden fairies, including the right reverend Hortus Augustus McGarden who regularly presides over the services and final rites for everything in the compost bin was particularly affronted by this as he and his mother, Granny Gus McGarden, work tirelessly on that compost.

Ol Rainbow Tanglefly told everyone who was in favor of taking umbrage to simmer it down and that Carol probably said it to try to get us to prove her wrong and to prove her wrong we would all have to do more work around here, so clearly it was a trick to get us to, well, do more work around here.  Plus, what is umbrage, anyway?

Should we take umbrage?

Or should we take cover?

Many of us think that what we should really take is cover.

Sweetpea Morningglory happened to be minding her own business in the sunroom when she noticed that Carol took the basket of seeds off the counter and started sorting them. Well, it seemed to Sweetpea, and we are garden fairies, that Carol had lots of seeds, but then she proceeded to order more seeds.

We are garden fairies and we could not believe how fast she ordered seeds. It was like she bought one of every packet of seed they offered with nary a thought. She was almost gleeful, except for a brief moment when she thought she wasn't going to find 'Green Arrow' pea seeds anywhere. She looked stricken at that point, but she finally did find some and ordered them up straight away.  All is right in her world now.

We are garden fairies, we think this seed ordering, plus an email we intercepted, are signs that there will be increased activity in the garden this spring.  We all remember what happened a few years ago when Carol dug up whole flower beds and people came in and added more flower borders and it wasn't safe for garden fairies what with those shovels and rakes and hoes moving all those plants and dirt so we had to run back to the vegetable garden to take cover for darn near the entire summer.

We are just grateful that the McGarden family took us all in. Oh my, the parties we had that summer. Let me tell you, there was this one party... hey wait a minute, is this all some trick to get us to tell more of our secrets?  We are garden fairies and we are not telling everything that goes on around here. Most people know too much as it is.    We just want folks to know that there is big increase in garden related activity around here which makes us wonder.

Should we take cover?

Take umbrage? Take cover?  We need to decide which to take.

We are garden fairies, maybe we will take both?  Or maybe we will take over?

Submitted by:

Violet Greenpea Maydreams,
Chief Scribe for the Garden Fairies at May Dreams Gardens
The Garden Revolution Begins

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How my high school English teacher made me a better gardener

"An endless amount of interest is gathered round the literary history of plants. I like to grow any plant that is mentioned by the old Greek and Latin writers - such as Theophrastus, Aristotle, Virgil, or Pliny and still more do I delight in the plants of English literature. I doubt if any national literature has been so full of flowers as our own, and especially in our poetry. Among the older writers Gower, Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare and, indeed, almost all, love to speak of gardens and flowers. The plants named by them are far more than most people are aware of and a very slight acquaintance with their writings will add to the pleasure of a garden."  (Canon Henry Ellacombe, In a Gloustershire Garden, 1895)

"A very slight acquaintance with their writings will add to the pleasure of a garden."  

I made my first "slight acquaintance with their writings" in classes in English Literature and Shakespeare in high school.  Mrs. Mellencamp taught both classes and I recall that I enjoyed them but didn't make any particular connections at the time between English Literature or Shakespeare and gardening.

My acquaintance with their writings is still slight, but lately, I find myself more and more running into these old writers of English literature and poetry, while reading old gardening books by garden writers like Canon Ellacombe and Elizabeth Lawrence.

How does this make me a better gardener? I think it is making me become a more thoughtful gardener, renewing my interest in a garden as a place of history and meaning. It gives me ideas for my garden. It makes me want to have at least part of my garden conjure up a bit of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

“I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania some time of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.”

(A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Thank you, Mrs. Mellencamp, one of my high school English teachers,  for those first acquaintances with the writings of English literature and Shakespeare.  I know they have added pleasure to my garden, and that alone, has made me feel like a better gardener.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Garden without fear

Some gardeners are afraid of colors like orange.
Fear? There should be no fear in gardening. 

How sad that some people garden with so much fear. Fear of pruning, fear of sowing, fear of digging, fear of not doing the "right thing".

Fear of big gardens, fear of bad color combinations, fear of what the neighbors might think.

Fear not, a plant will grow or it won't. If it doesn't grow, pull it out and you have room for a new plant; if it does grow, you have a lovely plant in your garden.

Fear not, every garden is unique and should reflect back the gardener's love of gardening, whatever that might look like. 

Kick your fear out of the garden. Kick it  to the curb and tell it to not come back.

Then garden without fear.  You'll love the way your garden turns out when it is free of fear.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tidbits, Treasures, and Thanks

A few tidbits and treasures suitable for a Thursday morning.

I'd like to thank Mary Ann of Gardens of the Wild, Wild West for recommending that I obtain a copy of Grandmother's Garden: The Old-Fashioned American Garden 1865 - 1915 by May Brawley Hill (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995).  This book is a treasure of old photographs and paintings and insight into the gardens of days gone by.
It will no doubt lead me down a primrose path tempting me with books I must find, plants I must grow, and seeds I must sow.  I can hardly wait.   Good-bye, no time to blog now! (I'm kidding, I'll find time to blog, maybe.)


I also owe thanks to Frances of Fairegarden, Layanee of Ledge and Gardens, and Elizabeth of Garden Rant and Gardening While Intoxicated for sending me some lovely pictures of gardens in England for a presentation I've put together with the rather long title of "Timeless Tips and Treasures for Today's Gardens from the 19th and 20th Centuries Including Wisdom, Lore, and Ageless Advice for Every Gardener."

I made the title long on purpose because many of the old gardening books have titles that were as long as a sunflower is tall.  They went on and on.  

Whenever I think about the kindness of the many gardeners I have met through the correspondence of blogs, Facebook and other social media, I'm reminded, of course, of Elizabeth Lawrence, the famous Southern garden writer who corresponded with gardeners from all walks of life for decades.

She often mentioned these gardeners with whom she exchanged letters and observations  in her books and newspaper columns.   I have included some tidbits from some of her books in my presentation because without her books, I don't think I would have found even half the old gardening books I now own. And without her inspiring quote, "We can have flowers nearly every month of the year", I don't think I would have met even half of the gardeners I know today.

Old gardening books and the gardeners who wrote them have certainly enhanced my life and outlook as a gardener, and I hope to pass my enthusiasm about them on to other gardeners.  We'll see. If they start to snooze during the presentation, I can always stop and tell them about the five secrets to achieving happiness in your garden.  Or show them my hoe collection

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

50 Shades of Green

I discovered early on in gardening that there are many shades of green, and many ways to describe green.

There is green(1), aquamarine(2), and chartreuse(3) for starters.

Then there are greens that are described by putting the name of a plant or other item from nature in front of them like lime green(4), pea green(5), forest green(6), grass green(7), apple green(8), seafoam green(9), emerald green(10) olive green(11) and moss green(12).

There are other shades of green that are made when green is combined with other colors like blue green(13), yellow green(14), and gray green(15).

Then, of course there is light green(16), medium green(17), dark green(18), very dark green(19), medium dark green(20), and medium light green(21).

If you have a fashion sense, you might think of shades of green like neon green(22), metallic green(23), and mossy green(24), which isn't quite the same as moss green, now, is it?

The list continues with words that don't even include the word green in them like jade(25), verdigris(26), vert(27), viridian(28), and spruce(29).

For those who can't decide on a favorite shade of green, they might like bluish green(30), yellowish green(31) or grayish green(32).

Or how could we forget very light green(33), light seaform green(34), light pea green(35), light moss green(36) and light spruce green(37).

Some people can't get enough green so they go off to the dark side with colors like puke green(38) and snot green(39). Gross. Let's get those images out of our mind by thinking of spring green(40), leaf green(41), and John Deere green(42).

Too much green? Never! How about pale green(43), pistachio green(44), pastel green(45)? Or light pale green(46)?

Or some more shades of green names that stand alone without green, like moss(47), olive(48), and emerald(49).

Finally, the 50th shade of green? Look to your garden and you'll find it. A unique color that is the shade of your garden, let's just call it "your green"(50).

Sunday, February 03, 2013

"When does spring commence?"

I've been spending some time this morning with Canon Henry N. Ellacombe discovering his answer to the question "When does spring commence?"

There are many wrong answers to this question, according to Ellacombe, including "April". It is also wrong to think of spring flowers as being those that bloom in the spring months of March, April and May.

Instead, Ellacombe says that none other than Lord Francis Bacon had the right answer when he described his ideal garden in which he would have Ver perpetuum.

Ver perpetuum, a perpetual spring.  Now, there's a thought, especially when one's garden is covered in snow.

According to Ellacombe, "To the real lover of plants, spring lasts from the first of January to the thirty-first of December, and spring flowers are to be found all through the year. To put it another way, spring is the time at which flowers wake out of their sleep, and the awakening takes place, not according to months, or even to weather, but according to the needs and nature of each different plant."

I went outside later and looked for some spring amongst the snow, some Ver perpetuum.  I had to look closely to find the leaves of a crocus that dared to bloom a few weeks ago.
Here and there, I found some other new shoots sticking up out of the snow, but really how many pictures of tiny leaves sticking up out of the snow does one need to see to get the idea that even covered with snow, the garden is growing? There is always a flower getting ready to wake from its sleep.

It is more spring-like inside, in the traditional sense, where a hyacinth is blooming
I confess that I bought this hyacinth already potted up, budded up and ready to bloom.  It made me think of this little verse.

"If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone
    are left,
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths, to feed thy soul."

There are also some Kalanchoe in bloom out in the sunroom.

That pink is exactly the color I want to see on a plant blooming inside when the world outside is snow-covered.  It  reminds me that there is a spring for every flower, that Ver perpetuum blooms year-round in every garden.