Monthly Archives: November 2011


IF it was cold outside,maybe low 40′s or 30′s like it should be, I would be inside knitting

IF the ground was covered with snow, I would be curled up in a chair reading Henry Mitchell or another favorite garden writer, and in my head the garden would be all dreamy and perfect .

IF the ground had frozen at all I would have already winter protected the few plants I have that need it ( 2 rose,s a bignonia vine, a daphne and guara if you care ) and moved on to perusing plant catlogues and planning  wild new gardens

BUT , alas, it has been steadily warm and pleasant outside, forcing me out of guilt to tackle a project I meant to leave until spring.

This morning , in a very grumpy drag my feet sort of way, I headed to out “fix” the compost area.

It all started with the shed we are getting that will now live where the swingset has been for 15 years (actually more than one swingset  over that time in case you were worried about the safety of the children). The girls were furious that the swings were going, but Bill said they were too old for swingsets and would get over it. In their defense . they did sit on the swings lots and chat or ponder the world. I am with them,it pained me to take it down for all the reasons you would think plus one more : it was the very first project I EVER did here taking out the grass laying pea stone and edging , placing the swingset and the lilcac bed behind it. Very sad to have it gone.

Anyway, we cut the darn thing up with a sawzall, but as we were it occured to me that the big section that was the tower leading to the slide would be perfect as a new composting bin if  lain horizontally. So I made Bill leave it intact and set my plan for the spring. But it was just sitting there, and I really could not come up with any reason not to do it now. So I did.

The project was multi-advil one, involving first re-locating about ten linear feet of the 20x 5 foot pile so we could get the structure in place, moving the amazingling heavy tower 20 feet  by flipping it end over end , making the sides from boards scattered all over the yard, then re-placing the compost that I had moved which was now blocking the path to the back. Ow.

The compost moving went like this….

Then with CJ’s help I moved the tower and we managed to only crunch one dogwood bush .While I screwing  in the boards,I  had to take a break to run and answer the phone. It was Bill, he said , and I quote, “Be careful out there, you know what likes warm compost piles”. REALLYY BILL!! Tyvm for reminding me I was working in and near snakeville, you are awesome dude.

I put on my big girl pants(, after resolving  to find a way to get him back), and headed back out.

I finished much earlier than I thought I would, and only have left the cutting of the boards that are in the way , and the making of the doors. Not bad.

and…..IF I had not done it I would not have found these

and these

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Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving week  and I gather from all the Facebook postings ,tweets and blogs that it is mandatory to post a lists of what you are thankful for in your little corner of the world.  Ok, I’m on it.

First, in a very serious way, I am thankful that I have a finanancial backer in this enterprise called “Garden” that makes it possible for me to plant to my heart’s content, take as many classes as I want, and who even bankrolled my adventure in speaking via his purchase of shiny new laptop and projector. His generosity astounds, especially given my carping and whining.

Less seriously I think he has ulterior motives: namely to get me out of his hair .But that is ok, motive in this case does not matter. So Thank You # 1 goes to Bill. Thanks Bill.

The rest of the list ,in no particular order

I am thankful I garden where there are  4 seasons. Ever changing weather, ever changing interest in the garden, and a nice long winter break to curl up and read beautiful plant catalogues and picture books.

Picture books are on the list too! I lam thankful for  fancy photography books, garden primers, design books, and gardening magazines. Being that I was born in the wrong country ( and frankly the wrong year as well), my favorite publications are Gardens Illustrated and The English Garden. By golly I will have Sissinghurst here if it kills me, I just gotta get Bill to finance some castle wall building :)

My favorite discovery this year is an annual publication called International Garden Photographer of the Year, I have been checking out all the back issues of this glorious book from the library, but the results can be seen online as well. Ah-mazing!

I am thankful that our new neighbor has a rabbit hunting outdoor cat..I am sure it will soon go the way of the other outdoor cats who have hunted here before as this is coyote territory, so I must be thankful quickly while there is still time.

I am extremely thankful, and grateful to all the knowledgeable, generous, and kind gardeners I have met in the Master Gardener group I belong to, at events when I am speaking, and on the web. I have learned so much from interacting with you, reading your books and blogs, and gardening side by side with you.

I am thankful for pie. This has zilch to do with gardening, but to me Thanksgiving is about the pie. Most years I skip the turkey altogether , I can have that any old day. Just name another day on which sideboard in the dinning room is heavliy laden with pies of so very many varieties…you can’t…there is no other such day. So pie gets on the list.

I am thankful I am lucky enough to have something as beautiful as a rose in my garden . Sometimes a rose is all you need to make you feel everything is right with the world.

and on other non- gardening fronts, I am of course thankful for my family and the blessing that surrounds Faith Anne. I hope you all have a very loooong list of your own to ponder this holiday.

Peace and Happy Thanksgiving

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It’s fall again

I love the fact that despite getting whacked…and whacked several early winter storms, my sheffield daisies are still blooming their fool heads off.

 Maybe their view of and to  the world is a little different this year, but I don’t mind if they don’t.

‘Major Wheeler’ honeysuckle is following suit, happily sending out new red flowers daily.

I also adore the colors hues of the various sedums in the fall. here are three that are close to my door

 (it is blustery today and I am feeling icky and not willing to venture out to take more pictures :(   )

I am choosing to ignore the rest of the cleanup that needs to get done outside and instead shall head out shopping and to the movies, then hope to curl up and knit drinking hot cocoa laced with Baileys later on. Enjoy your day!

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People are funny

As I assess the garden this year, and decide which plants performed well and thus get to stay, and which made me grimace in frustration and shall be composted, I am drawn into thinking about the warped psyches of oh so many gardeners .

Everyone who turns a spade in the ground and attempts to beautify their little piece of heaven is always on the lookout for plants that will enhance their space with minimal upkeep (for the most part as I do not discount those who seek out plant growing challenges and take them on full throttle ;)   )Therefore, plant breeders and hobbyists are always working toward giving us low maintenance, disease resistant and long blooming perennials and shrubs to satisfy our ever growing list of demands. 

It is really hard to have a garden bloom successively successfully (say THAT three times fast!). It takes effort to either prevent or cure plant fungal issues and other problems, be they pathological or cultural. It also takes effort to rip the little suckers out and replace them in a fit of anger when they will not behave for you.

So along comes plant breeder who give us a nicely structured plant, branched from top to bottom, good rounded form, no pruning necessary. said plant blooms it’s head off from the end of May through several frosts (and even snowfalls here in the snow belt)  and does not EVER require deadheading. It needs no winter protection, gets no foliar spots or other disfigurement. And yet all I hear is whining.

In case you are wondering , I am referrring to the Knockout Rose series, and now it’s little brother, the Drift. Unlike many remontant (reblooming) roses, it has no rest in between blooms, it just keeps on keepin on all season. Although I get some black spot on many of my resistant varieties I never see it on my Knockouts. I can cut roses from them for arrangements all season long.

Yet they complaints fly…they don’t look like my glorious heavily petaled Abe Lincoln…….they don’t have any fragrance…hybrid teas are the REAL roses…and on and on….Really???

This is where I think people are funny, and I mean funny- strange not funny -ha-ha. The knockouts aren’t meant to be a fussy hybrid tea- that by the way looks leggy and spotty and the blooms are it’s only saving grace. They are meant to be great garden plants that require no spraying or for that matter any work at all to give you a smile in the form of a rose every time you walk by. They are fragrant if you purchase the right ones (double pink has sweetly scented blooms and the yellow has clove- like scented bracts) and they add so much to your garden while asking so little. Give the people what they want…and they will bite your hand off.

In November I can count on my late mums (sheffield and copper penny) , two other roses (The Fairy and Magic Carpet) and my Knockouts to still be blooming here. That says a lot given that by then we have had several frosts, probably snow, and they have been in bloom since late May. All the other roses are  done, and lots of them get black spot in late fall so I was all too happy to see them de-foliate and disappear.

So in honor of what is usually Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (the 15thof every month)..  I give you roses…..( Red Knockout, Double Pink KO, and Sweet Drift) 

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