When a gardener visits Monticello. the home of Thomas Jefferson, she heads first to the vegetable garden and looks down the rows and rows of vegetables.
She notes that according to the brochure, the garden "serves as a preservation seed bank of Jefferson-era and 19th-century vegetable varieties".
She is impressed by the rows and rows and rows of vegetables, which run along a terrace on the southeast slope of the mountain for nearly 1,000 feet.
She likes the use of hand hewn logs and twigs to support tomato plants and wonders what this would look like in her own vegetable garden which is only sixty feet and seven rows long.
At one point she notices that Thomas Jefferson's vegetable garden has purslane growing in it, just like her garden at home.
When she sees the purslane she also thinks of Charles Dudley Warner who wrote about purslane in his book, My Summer in a Garden, calling it "a fat, ground-clinging, spreading, greasy thing".
She eventually leaves the garden for a bit and goes on the tour of the house at Monticello and finds it all very interesting.
Once outside, she notes that viewing the house through flowers is really the best way for a gardener to see it.
She completes her tour of the flower gardens by stopping to take photographs of a butterfly on phlox.
Once she is done looking at all the flowers and butterflies, the gardener stops at a fish pond used to keep fish caught in local streams until they were ready to cook them for dinner and notices how simple and pretty the mallow flowers are in the reflection of the pond.
Finally, when a gardener visits Monticello, she stops at the gift shop on her way out and buys seeds of plants growing in Thomas Jefferson's garden so she can grow them in her own garden, a fitting souvenir that will last longer for her than any trinkets, tea towels or t-shirts.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I occasionally wade into the midst of this border to pull out the all too prevalent thistle weeds and the self-imposed spiderwort and perennial sweet pea thugs. I look for a bare spot that looks big enough for my foot, then step in and look around for another spot for the other foot. Then I try to pull the weeds within reach and deadhead any flowers around me that have spent blooms.
Inevitably, once I step out of Plopper's Field, I see something I should have attended to that was within my reach before, perhaps a thistle that was so close I should have felt its prickly thorns on my leg.
Do you see the thistle in the lower center of this photo of Plopper's Field?
That's one nice feature of this thicket of perennials I call Plopper's Field. The weeds are hidden to all but the trained eye of an experienced weed-spotter.
I created Plopper's Field by buying plants I love, sometimes just one of a plant, and then plopping them in wherever there was a decent sized bare spot, hoping that the newly added plant wouldn't be taller than the plant behind it.
Though, because I can walk around three sides of Plopper's Field, it isn't always easy to figure out what is the front of the border. I suppose that means the tallest plants should be in the middle. I can assure you they are not. There are tall asters on the edge of the border on one side.
I love the wild exuberance that Plopper's Field has become, a mix of any plant that caught my fancy, whether tame or wild. But I need to think about thinning out some of the perennials in Plopper's Field for the good of all the plants. I need to thin out the more aggressive plants and move some of the smaller, more timid plants that got caught in the crowd so they have a chance to show their blooms where I can see them.
However, this isn't the season to do that. I will do that in early spring just as the new growth is coming up. I know the result will be a better garden border next year, plus many plants to share with others.
And is that another thistle weed I see?
Monday, June 24, 2013
Time in a garden is measured by days and seasons, not by minutes and hours.
I am morally opposed to tidy gardens. I have decided that a messy garden, with a few weeds and spent blooms is a sign of a happy, healthy gardener who has balance in her life.
Flowers fade like time passes - too quickly. I feel like if I don't go out into the garden everyday, I will miss a bloom or two.
I tried not to think about gardening once ~ that was a terrible five minutes.
Did the plastic forks around the green beans scare the rabbits away, or leave them laughing so hard they couldn't eat the plants?
I wonder all these random thoughts while gardening will take me next?
Saturday, June 22, 2013
I made three wishes on my three golden raspberries today.
I wished first for the means to grow my garden, whether I find friends to trade plants with and free sources of mulch or have the money to buy plants and mulch.
I wished also for the strength to tend my garden, in good weather and bad, as I grow older.
I wished finally for the wisdom to occasionally sit back and enjoy the garden without worrying about weeds, pests and the long list of what I need to do instead of sitting in the garden making wishes on raspberries.
Those are my three wishes - means, strength, and wisdom. Maybe tomorrow there will be four golden raspberries and I can add a fourth wish? What would it be? I must choose carefully for wishes do come true and should never be wasted.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The two blooms of Dense Blazing Star, Liatris spicata, looked as though they were advance scouts, checking out the garden to see if it would be safe to bloom there.
"What do you think, DB?"
"I'm not sure, but aren't those some other flowers over there across the green sea, LS?"
"Yes, I think so, based on the color, but they aren't from our family. We are in the Aster family. If I'm not mistaken, those are members of the Rose family clear over there."
"I think you're right, LS. I've heard they are thorny, so we'd better stay here, lest we get stuck by them."
"DB, in case you hadn't noticed, we are rooted here, we aren't going anywhere."
"Oh, right, LS. I almost forgot. We are definitely not tumbleweeds. They can at least roll to other places."
"We are a lot better looking than a tumbleweed, too, DB. Do you think anyone will notice how we bloom from the top down rather than the bottom up like most other flower spikes?"
"I hope so. It makes us unique."
"And we are native flowers. This is our homeland. Anyway, what were we supposed to be doing, DB? Oh, right. We are scouting out this garden to see if we want to bloom here. So far, it looks pretty nice."
"I did see a rabbit hop down that path behind us, LS, but then right after it came a gardener. That's a good sign - that there's a gardener here. I'd hate to wake up in the morning and find a rabbit nibbling on my lower leaves. Shudder to think of something so ghastly"
"Oh, don't flatter yourself, DB. I don't think that rabbit would like your lower leaves. But, yes, it is good to see a gardener here, but I wish she'd weed that path behind us. Or is it in front of us? Anyway, there are all kinds of tree seedlings in it. She needs to weed it."
"I agree, LS, she definitely has some work to do in that path. You can tell her."
"Me? I'm a flower. Flowers don't talk, although I've heard there is a language of flowers. Anyway, we don't talk, DB."
"Oh, right, so how are we communicating now, LS, if this isn't talking?"
"Beats me. Anyway, this looks like a good garden and we are the first blooms here in this border. Let's tell the others. We are going to be so pretty here."
"Hey, is that a bee, LS? It is! I'm so excited. A bee. Am I old enough to know about bees?"
"Yes, DB, if you are old enough to bloom, you are old enough to know about bees. Now be still and maybe a nice bee will come along and... oops, I can't say any more. Gotta keep this blog clean. Anyway, let's tell the others to bloom now, too!"
Monday, June 17, 2013
|August Dreams Garden in mid-June|
I call it August Dreams Garden and right now it is just green plants. The only color comes from a garden sculpture in the middle of it.
The lack of blooms in this garden calls attention across the way to Ploppers' Field which in a few days will be filled with daylily and lily blooms.
I personally like the idea of each garden border having its own season, its own time to attract the most attention. No one said a garden's focal point couldn't shift from week to week. One garden border comes into full blown, another fades quietly into the background.
When I walk into a garden that is "all going on at once", I don't know where to go first in that garden. Look over here, look over there, try to look everywhere at once. It's like walking into a room with a different chintz fabric on every wall and a totally different fabric for the bedspread. Most people would agree that such a room is too much "something" and though silent, may be noisy to look at, if that is possible.
Or maybe a garden with blooms everywhere all at once is like watching a four act play, with all the actors performing all the scenes on stage at the same time. That would be noisy and confusing. Most people would get anxious and annoyed by all the commotion, the talking over one another, the lack of focus.
I prefer my garden this way. The focus shifts from week to week. What is quiet one week will be noisy the next week. What is colorful now will fade to green and what is green now will burst into color to take its place.
In about six weeks, I should start to see the first significant blooms in August Dreams Gardens. Until then, I have other flowers to look at and admire.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden in central Indiana, I followed my usual routine for bloom day and went around the garden noting blooms and taking pictures.
Then I came inside, uploaded all the pictures and went back through old bloom day posts, comparing what is blooming now to what was blooming on this same day in June from 2007 through 2012.
Those old bloom day posts give me proof that this year's garden is still lagging behind previous years by about a week or more.
It's the truth! I cannot tell a lie around Ithuriel's Spear, Triteliea 'Rudy'. It is blooming late in the front garden, but is just about the only flower in front right now, other than some fading violas and Knockout 'Radsunny' roses and a few slender spikes of Heuchera.
Out in the back, it's hard to miss the Oso Easy 'Cherry Pie' rose blooming on the edge of the garden border I call 'The Shrubbery'.
Plopper's Field, where plants are plopped in wherever there is a bare spot that looks like a good place for a plant, is a bit of a mess right now.
I'm sure the old saying applies. "You should have seen it last week." Or maybe, "It's going to be a lot nicer next week".
On the edge of Plopper's Field, I found a little tiny Clematis, in bloom.
I do know that this one is Clematis 'Rooguchi'.
Near the entrance to the Vegetable Garden Cathedral, yarrow, Achillea sp., is blooming.
In the Vegetable Garden Cathedral, there's a garlic scape or two.
There are also fading blooms on the raspberries.
One last bloom in the vegetable garden delights me.
What other blooms are there to see on the 15th of June at May Dreams Gardens? Oakleaf hydrangeas, hostas, ditch lilies, to name a few, along with fading pansies and violas and the slender spikes of Heuchera.
What's blooming in your garden in this month of June?
We'd love to have you share your blooms on the 15th of each month by joining us with your own Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post. Just post on your blog about what is blooming this month in your garden and then come back here and leave a link to your blog post in the Mr. Linky widget below along with a brief comment to let us know you've posted.
The rules are simple... no rules! You can include pictures, lists, no lists, common names, botanical names, whatever you’d like to do to showcase your blooms. All are welcome!
“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence
Thursday, June 13, 2013
|Evening in the garden|
Once challenged, she would not back down. So she sat for a long time, quietly surveying her garden, feeling the breezes, watching the birds, breathing in the breath of her garden.
Then she saw a firefly and went inside for the evening, leaving the garden for their enjoyment.
In the meantime, the weeds continued to grow, but so did the flowers.
Monday, June 10, 2013
We are garden fairies and we are providing a garden update today. You know what it means when we take over this blog and provide an update, don't you?
It means that there are things going on around here that Carol won't write about and so we garden fairies have to take it upon ourselves to interrupt our important parties, celebrations, festivals, jubilees, teas, and revelries to provide updates that otherwise would not see the light of day.
We will start with something pretty, like Clematis 'Pagoda', before we commence with some important updates. Yes, Carol is still smitten with Clematis of all kinds which suits us garden fairies just fine as we love these flowers, too. Ol' Tangle Rainbowfly, who more or less knows the whole history of this place, says he has never seen such a tangle of pretty flowers as this tangle of clematis. Woo-wee, that really says something about these flowers.
Out in the front garden, Ol' Tangle rubbed his head when he saw the crabapple tree and tried to recall a time when he saw actual crabapples on this crabapple tree out front.
Either we all are nuts, including Carol, or this is the first time this crabapple tree has had crabapples on it. Wonder what happened? And no, we do not need Dr. Hortfreud to give us an opinion on the question of nuts.
We are garden fairies, and we cannot wonder too long as there are other events that took place here in this garden that ought to be shared.
Yesterday, Carol came out into the garden and she was carrying a new tool that scared us nearly half to death. Sweetpea Morningdew is still recovering from the shock of it all. She gets the vapors so easily, it seems.
Carol bought herself a Sneeboer Wrotter.
We are garden fairies and we are going to run for cover when we see Carol come out here with her Wrotter. Yes, we are. It scares us, but like we said, she seems to like it.
We will say this, there are certainly plenty of weeds around here to keep Carol and her new Wrotter tool busy for days on end. We garden fairies like to say that a weed grows wherever a raindrop falls. We should know, we are busy running around casting weed seeds in the rain. It makes 'em grow better.
Now, don't tell Carol that we garden fairies have anything to do with weeds. She thinks they come from wind blown seeds or are from seeds dropped by the birds when they do you-know-what while sitting in the trees and shrubs. She must never be told that we garden fairies have anything to do with weeds or she might come after us with that Wrotter.
Shudder to think. Let's not talk about it anymore. We are garden fairies and we want to think only pleasant thoughts.
Goodness gazanias, how time gets on. We did not even get to tell you about what Carol did yesterday that has us all up in arms. We are garden fairies, we will tell that story another day.
Violet Sweetpea Maydreams, Chief Scribe and Weed Sower at May Dreams Gardens
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Following the tradition of the Plant Doctor, Cynthia Westcott, I am showing you my roses on the second Sunday of June.
Westcott was a plant pathologist who made her living partly by tending to other people's rose gardens. She also started a tradition of opening up her gardens in New Jersey on the second Sunday of June to show neighbors and others (hundreds of others) all her roses and convince them that roses were easy to grow.
For her Rose Day, Westcott baked hundreds of cookies and mixed up gallons of punch. For my Rose Day, I'll just a post a few pictures of the few roses I grow here at May Dreams Gardens, tantalize you with a bit of Westcott's ten commandments of rose care and then proceed on my merry way to spend my day in solitude in my own garden while reflecting or roses and thistle and life in general.
I have just three roses to show on my Rose Day. Above is a pink climbing rose. I got just a snip of a rooted piece from my Aunt Marjorie years ago and carried that snip from one house to another to here. I can count on it to bloom once each year, smell like a rose should smell, and not be bothered by blackspot or other common rose diseases. It receives no special treatment.
Aunt Marjorie's Pink Rose is just past bloom but still looks nice off in its own corner of the garden.
Nearby, another carefree rose is blooming.
Out in front are what seems to be a harder rose to find, the yellow blooming Sunny Knock Out® Rosa, Rosa 'Radsunny'.
The yellow buds of 'Radsunny' do fade to cream with a hint of pink.
As promised, here are the ten commandments of rose care from Anyone Can Grow Roses by Cynthia Westcott (1952)
1. Locate rose beds properly. Plant away from tree roots, where the sun shines at least six hours a day and where this is reasonably good drainage.
2. Prepare the soil thoroughly. Work the soil for roses thoroughly to two spade's depth and incorporate organic matter generously.
3. Plant carefully. Plant No. 1 field grown roses carefully, at the right time for your section.
4. Prune with common sense. Prune in spring, cutting back to sound wood and making all cuts close to the bud.
5. Feed judiciously. Fertilize established roses soon after pruning, as they are coming in to bloom, and again in summer, but not after August 15th, in the North.
6. Water prudently. Water thoroughly, when necessary, always making sure the foliage has time to dry off before evening.
7. Mulch and relax. Mulch with buckwheat hulls, bagasse, ground corncobs, pine needles, sawdust or other material soon after feeding.
8. Treat for diseases and pest regularly. Start summer spraying or dusting soon after roses come into full leaf and repeat about once a week until mid-autumn.
9. Beware winter protection. Your best winter protection is a healthy plant. Soil mounds and other coverings are only needed in very cold regions.
10. Love your roses. Love your roses enough to know when they are healthy and happy and don't disturb them with unnecessary attention.
Rose care and the roses we have available haves changed some over the decades since Westcott wrote her list. Primarily, I think fewer and fewer gardeners want to grow roses that require spraying or dusting to stay healthy. I know I don't want fussy roses that require spraying! I am grateful that there are many good rose choices that don't require spraying.
Because of the easy to grow varieties I've chosen for my garden, I am mostly just following the last commandment... love your roses. I love mine because they don't need spraying, ever, and grow well with minimal care.
Happy Rose Day!
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
My few flowers included coreopsis, foxglove, a few last dianthus from its first flush of bloom, an open flowered Clematis, its name long forgotten, plus Clematis 'Pagoda', 'Rooguchi' and C. integifolia 'Alba', speedwell, columbine and a hardy orchid.
I don't think often enough about cutting flowers and bringing them inside to enjoy. I don't consider myself good at arranging flowers. This simple bouquet is pretty much the extent of my floral design skills.
This morning I cut a few of these same flowers to take to the hostess of a garden retreat. I was there to to talk to the group about growing vegetables and share some of my secrets to achieving happiness in your garden. I explained the first five secrets to the group and then asked them if they knew any secrets.
"Cut flowers for bouquets."
I ran down through my list of 40 secrets to see if I had discovered that one earlier. I had not. It was a new secret! It's now number 41 on my list. Thank you, Helen M., the other presenter at the garden retreat, for sharing this secret with me.
Oh, you just noticed that I'm calling it the 18th secret here on my blog but I have a list of 41, really 42 secrets? Well, that's because I haven't shared all my secrets yet. That's why they are secrets.
"Cut flowers for bouquets."
I have never thought much of my own flower arranging skills. The bouquet pictured above is as good as it gets for me. A long time ago, I took a class in flower arranging in college, taught by an actual florist, as "pass/fail" because I didn't want what I was sure would be a low grade to mess with my grade point average. I remember at the end of the semester the teacher asked me why I had taken the class pass/fail. I explained my reasoning. She told me I would have gotten an A anyway, but that didn't really boost my confidence level in arranging flowers.
But now that I know "cut flowers for bouquets" is a secret to achieving happiness in your garden, I intend to cut more flowers and try to do more than just shove them in a vase.
To remind me to cut flowers for bouquets, I've placed my copy of Slow Flowers by Debra Prinzing front and center on my coffee table. I know I will also learn from it how to do something with the flowers other than shoving them in a vase.
Slow Flowers, by the way, is a treasure for flower lovers and anyone who wants to enjoy flowers inside. If you want to be inspired to arrange your own bouquets from locally sourced, seasonal flowers, get this book. Debra shows how you can have flowers 52 weeks of the year and tells the story of how each bouquet came to be. She also includes design and flower care tips throughout the book. It is one of my best modern-day book purchases this year.
"Cut flowers for bouquets."
I shall do that often this summer. It's a secret to achieving happiness in your garden.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
|Troy-Bilt TB675 EC Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer|
Our intrepid gardener and lawn keeper chose Sunday morning to head out to the garage to check out the new 4-cycle gas powered string trimmer and JumpStart engine starter sent to her by Troy-Bilt to use and review.
She tore open the box and with the aid of one flat-head screwdriver and one Phillips-head screwdriver, put the handle and guard on and connected the two piece together in about 20 minutes.
Voila. A string trimmer. A pretty big string trimmer.
She added the oil as directed and filled the little gas tank with straight gasoline. That's the beauty of a 4-cycle engine versus a 2-cycle engine. You don't have to mix the oil and gas together. Perfect, because all her other gasoline powered tools, including her mower and snow blower, are also 4-cycle engines.
Then she proceeded to start the string-trimmer, which was easy enough to do with the engine starter. Just for fun, she also started it by pulling on the rope. Both ways worked. Good so far.
She headed out to the lawn and commenced to trimming. Oh, my, she thought, this string trimmer doth trim, and trim widely. Her observations, after some trimming here and there were:
- The trimmer is more than she needs for her suburban lawn. It trims a wide path and would work well in a more rugged setting. But it trims well.
- The gasoline engine still makes noise, but no more noise than a lawn mower. The difference is the engine is up closer to your ear, so it is a good idea to wear ear protection, which she wore. Plus, eye protection, a must for any trimming work. And gloves.
- The trimmer is heavier than her electric corded trimmer, but that is because it has an engine attached to one end.
She decides, after completing a few rounds with the trimmer, that she probably needs one a bit smaller for her garden and yard, but that this is too good a trimmer to leave laying around in the garage. She decides that she will give it to her niece and husband who are buying their first lawn, with a house. They will love it and no doubt get many happy hours of trimming out of it.
THE GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:
To continue the story and to make yet another keeper of a lawn happy, the intrepid gardener is also giving away a Troy-Bilt TB675 EC Straight Shaft Gas String Trimmer and a cordless JumpStart engine starter, compliments of Troy-Bilt.
To enter to win, please leave a comment below which should either lead back to an email address or include an email address in the comment in the format of "name at mail dot com". The usual rules apply -- over 18 years of age and U.S. resident, one entry per person, and, of course, you should want a string trimmer.
Enter by Saturday, June 8th at 8 pm EDT. Winner will be chosen by random number and notified shortly thereafter.
Thank you to Troy-Bilt for the opportunity to try another lawn care product. They had no influence over the contents of this post.
*** Updated Saturday, June 8th at 9:05 pm ***
Sunday, June 02, 2013
I'm still smitten by this clematis. It's grown quite a bit more this year and is full of purple blooms now. I can hardly believe that at one time I thought clematis were just so-so and I didn't think I needed any in my garden.
What was I thinking?
I do love these bell-shaped flo...
Hey are those foxglove over there?
Whoa. Look at this hardy ground orchids, Bletilla striata.
What's that smell? Is that a rose?
Why yes, that is a rose.
The whole garden is blooming to distraction these days. I can hardly keep my eyes on one flower before another one catches my fancy and I head over to look at it.
Saturday, June 01, 2013
It's called the Broot Garden Weeder and it is a brute of a hoe.
It's sturdy, strong, and sharp.
It even has a warning on the label to keep it away from little kids who might not realize that the blade is sharp.
It is made like a stirrup hoe so it works in both directions. Push it forward to cut off some of your big, tough weeds. Pull it back through the soil to cut through regular weeds.
Like most open hoes, it doesn't move all the dirt around. It cuts through it as it cuts off the weeds.
On their website, BT Legacy, LLC shows a version where the hoe head is two pieces bolted together. The one they sent me is one sturdy piece bolted to the oak handle.
I used this hoe to clear out a bed that had some thistle, dandelions and other assorted weeds in it, and it did a good job of cutting them off. The pointed head adds to the hoe's strength in cutting off bigger weeds.
It's a big hoe that can handle big jobs in the garden.
I'm pleased to add it to my hoe collection. However, it won't be just hanging in the garage with some of the other hoes. This hoe is going to be put to work here at May Dreams Gardens.
|The Broot Garden Weeder|
Many thanks to the entrepreneurs at BT Legacy LLC in Idaho for sending the Broot Garden Weeder for me to try out and add to my hoe collection. They had no influence over this post, my words, the timing of the post, the number of links I provided, etc. They just thought I ought to have this fine hoe.