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You must agree October is the month of change as this is when we received our first frost. The garden looks different now with the long shadows made by the sun’s height in the horizon and the cool evening. The time spent in the garden is shorter due to shorter day light, so the pace is a little faster, with all of the dead heading and cutting back of the plants, as we begin to ready the garden for its winter’s rest. The many potted plants are readied to return to their winter spots in Acorn Cottage as the last of the flowers are picked before frost and the moment of decision of who do we save and who is sacrified to the frost.

I love this time of year, along with all of the visual changes the fragrance that fills the air from the herb garden as we harvest, to the fallen maple and oak leaves that gives a sweetness to the air that the soul remembers and our hearts know.

The Toad Lilly’s are beautiful this year and the Monks Hood brings such color to the autumn tones that surround them and the autumn perennial mums are at their best as the autumn Crocus remind me of spring, their to die for.

I plan to add bulbs to the Shire Garden later in the month, as I will try to keep this to a minimum. However I might plant bulbs in pots and winter them in a leaf pile and in the spring put them in the spots I need extra color, this will allow me to remove them when they pass, so that I might  plant annuals with no bulbs to disturb, this will give me the opportunity to change the picture from year to year.

I am looking forward to a slower pace in the garden and the beauty that comes with a morning sun lit frost that covers everything with ice crystals, which is a gift to behold.

With the first frost comes a feeling of lose and yet a new sense of change comes to view and with all of this, hope is what moves us forward.

A thought; Things often change and we know it has too. Embrace change!


I’m not talking about a fire in the garden, but how the colors now look like the garden is all aglow like a fire. With late September here and cooler nights the reds and orange look shockingly bright with the sun light on them and as dusk arrives the yellows glow like flames. The Shire is still in full bloom and many of the ferns have started to turn lime green to gold and all of this with the last of summers bloom happening, well, all I can say is WOW!

Fall has to be one of my favorite times, the cricket sing all day. The fragrance of the garden fills the air with a sweetness that only autumn knows and somewhere deep in side we remember something that we have no words for, but there is a comfort of just knowing.

The pumpkins are picked and but in their places to be carved and lit with candles when the time comes and we begin to take cuttings to root for next years garden and the work begins on cutting back old growth and putting ripened seeds in envelopes.

As evening comes with the cooler air and the days grow shorter we will light some of the garden torches and the fire pit will be lit where we will sit and enjoy the glow it brings at dusk to the garden, we will enjoy some warm cider and listen to the crickets song as the fire slowly goes out. What a wonderful time to be in the garden with people you love.

This September’s fire in the Shire Garden has given us a new thought, like fire, the flames cleanses the earth, giving room for new growth. We will begin to burn away some of our old ways and welcome the new ways that only the flame can destroy, thus always welcoming another way.

A thought; Let the flames in life inspire you to know your way.



Many plants and flowers are called lilies because of their flower shape or foliage and are not  lilies at all so for that reason the whole group of these including the true Lilium family fall under the larger family known as Lilaceae. OK, where is this going? Well I thought I’d talk about lilies and then realized how I could confuse so many that I just had to make clear that I will be talking about Hemerocallis – Day lily and of the true Lilium – bulb oriental lily. These two plant groups are some of the oldest flowers in the world and are still found where old gardens once flourished, but have long disappeared. But there in the middle of no where is a stand of these lilies as a shadow of what was. So to think of a garden of today without any of them would just be wrong. They have proven the test of time and with the new varieties and reblooming hybrids its time to take another look at them. What was once thought of as boring, old, and over planted in  gramma’s  garden, is now revised and offer many new colors and sizes. Hemercallis – Day Lily has become one of my old but new-found interests for the garden. A friend of mine has a garden full of about 150 varieties and colors and she has turned me on to Day Lilies. She has correct me more than once on my denouncing them as road side trash lilies. I was only referring to the orange day lily we see every where along our road sides, I do apology now because they do bring interest to those area when in bloom.


Hemercallis    is  Greek meaning, beautiful for one day. they are pretty care free and need no protection of any kind, even from the severest winters. Their clumps can often be left for 5 to 6 years before needing any division. Always remember that their blooms follow the sun throughout the day, and if you plant them on the wrong side of the garden or path their flowers will always have their backs to you. Their culture needs are few as they grow in most soil conditions, most will do best in rich humus well draining soils. Most will tolerate dry conditions for a short period, but prefer moist conditions. Here in the Shire Garden they are found in the  Four Seasons Border Garden in drifts as well in the Angel Garden as a symbol of their heralding. They are in the element of water thus if planted within the astral signs of  Scorpio, Cancer, Pisces all will do famously well. I plant mine in the new moon of June and divide and transplant on the full moon of late October and the first of November and have had great success with this. They seem to blossom fuller and for a longer period of time.


Lilium – Latin  from the Celtic word,” li, ” meaning whiteness, purity. These plants are often used as symbols of purity, royalty, holiness and life everlasting. Here in the Shire Garden I have planted many bulbs for their size and fragrance. It is their presence at this time that fill the air with the sweetest of fragrance throughout the day and night and heightens all of our senses with their size alone, its magnificent. There genus are divided into seven groups; by flower shape, the main five are;

  • Eulirion ( true lilies, trumpet – funnel flowers )
  • Archelirion ( open – flowered )
  • Martagen ( Turk’s cap or turban shape )
  • Pseudo – Martagon ( bell shape )
  • Isolirion – ( erect or upright shape )


This will help when it comes to picking the verity you might want. The most fragrant of this group are the Eulirion and Archelirion . Always plant them in groups of 5 to 8 and some staking will be needed. They also are of the water element sign and I plant mine in May or October.  One other note, the red lily beetle and or Asiatic lily beetle has no none predator here, so every year they have to be controlled by an early, just as the lily plant emerge from the soil, systemic insecticide that will protect the plant throughout the growing season from these beetles that will kill the plant in  one to two growing seasons.

When I see lilies, I am reminded of by gone summers and of old friends and gardens that are now gone, of holidays and late summer picnics. They let me know of summers wane, but most of all they remind me  to stand tall, that presence is everything.

A thought; Lilies can transform a sad and weary feeling into JOY!









If ever there was a day when all of the garden work was done and the garden hose rested, I was hoping it would be today. We have had a lot of rain lately and the gardens look pretty weed free, the bird baths are clean and freshened and the dead heading and recent pruning done, so I’m going to take a little time to just enjoy the garden. Things look good this season as the heat comes on and the lawn for the fist time in years looks green and lush. Perhaps keeping it longer about 2″ has helped.  The front border garden is full of bee balm, ” Monarda”  and the hummingbirds and bee’s are loving the show. Our hydrangea was hit hard this winter with the deep freeze and late frosts so their show will be much later this year. I have planted angelonia all about the garden and with the evening heat, now is giving quite a show amongst the other perennials.

The Column Garden with the golden hops on top of the trellis is something to see, as the sun hits it  glows and aluminates everything around. In the Fairy Garden the ivy and porcelain grape-vine is keeping everything exciting yet fay like too. The Blue and White border is very white this year and that is good because I think a little more light in that spot will do me some good.

The Four Seasons Border, is full of some of the biggest and most wonderful Hostas I have ever grown, perhaps the cold winter helped or the 10-10-10 fertilizer I used which ever, what a show. The day lilies are just starting in this border and I look forward to their presence once again. They make me smile as their show gets bigger by the day.

Fire Fly Knoll is always active at this time and the firefly’s are in the thousands this year, the garden is all a glow these evenings and the many friends who look forward to this where not disappointed this year. In Oak Grove the shade is a welcome cool to the days heat and the birds sing all day here, maybe they know something that we should, but I walk here often these days as a short cut to the compost area beyond.

I will take a break for a while in Fern Walk to watch the ferns grow and wait for the sun to round the house, it will dance on them with glimmering rays and the many tones of green will shine like the Emerald City.

Well, as I sit to enjoy what my labors have brought, my mind continues to work on what new things I can bring to the Shire Garden and of how I can heighten my awareness while in the garden. I stop to get the mail and what to my surprise but my first autumn bulb catalog and thus the thought of spring starts!

I feel sometimes we spend to much time working and to little time enjoying. and isn’t it the work we do, so that we might find some joy? If you find you work and have no joy then change things or as we gardeners would say, ” it’s time to weed the garden” and do so.

A thought; Life is to short, stop and smell the roses and feel joy again !

June the month of garden joy! Enjoy the Shire Garden that I see every day.

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A thought; Beauty is everywhere, we just have to look for it.

Well, it been a few weeks since I’ve had any time to sit and write. The Shire Garden is blooming out all over the place, the lilacs, viburnum and azalea  along with the wisteria and dog woods are all making a show with some color starting on the rhododendron.  How wonderful this is for Memorial Day.

I thought I’d talk a little about flowering annuals. They are the colors that hold the over all seasons together and without them you would have moments of just spots of color. Their continuous bloom creates rhythm and continuity between the sudden burst of bloom of the ornamental and perennials.

I spend a lot of time these days in nurseries picking just the right combinations. Always look for plants that are sturdy with good roots and bright foliage, you can tell if their cared for properly by the dampness of their soil and the over all freshness of their foliage and flower.

Some of my favorite are; wax begonias, petunias all types, salvias, Lantana, verbena, ageratum and dahlias the bedding type, all of these are great performers coming in many color choices and will do well with little care in any garden. Use them in drifts throughout the garden allowing your eyes to follow them continuously in the view to create completion and unity.

The trick to a good-looking garden is continuous bloom when annuals are planted throughout the garden  in dotting drifts. Annuals do this at a rather fair cost. Use their color to off set the colors of certain perennials when in bloom, like deep pink petunias around deep purple veronica, ” Dark Nights”. What great shows and combinations could be put together to bring  about emotions and magical feeling when they appear together in the garden.

Here in The Shire Garden I keep the annuals fresh looking with some dead heading so they don’t go to seed and stop blooming, I feed them liquid fertilizer every other week, because of the work I expect of them, it takes a lot of energy to stay in bloom all season but when the pockets of perennials have their time to bloom it is heighten by the annuals around them making for a greater show. Every week in the garden the view changes as flowers come and go, but the annuals keep blooming maintaining a balance of color all summer long.

As a gardener my days can be long, but those days are filled with color, fragrance, sounds and views and a type of happiness that only a garden can bring.

A thought; Greatness comes when everything works together in a positive way.




I stand here in a garden of daffodil’s, with just about to open tulips. What a wonderful Easter morning in the Shire Garden, with its resounding sense of renewal.

I’ve been working so much this spring that I haven’t had much time to think, let alone time to blog.  So this morning I’m taking some time for my self. With coffee in hand and computer in my lap here is a little time for me during a very busy spring season.

Jan walked in to Acorn Cottage the other day with a large 10 inch Easter Lily and

although they are a little over sold at this time of year it is still a symbol of the holiday and the fragrance invokes a spiritual feeling with memories of Easters past. NOTE: after the lilies bloom fades, plant it in the garden and by mid August it will bloom again.

The best part of spring is seeing all of the fall bulb planting springing into a great show of color. First the early snow crocus and snow drops then the blue Siberian squills and grape hyacinths. then the early narcissus, daffodils and early tulips all in full bloom, all of this brings wonder to the eyes and noise. Thus haven found the time with all of the fall work to plant these bulbs was now time well spent.

Our oriental lilies have come up early about 8 inches now and could be a sign of an early summer, lets hope. My only job today will be to add a systemic to guard against the Asiatic lily beetle that has claimed the lives of many a lily in the garden.

The garden is a symbol of growth and renewal, it reminds us of nurturing and of hope. It  keeps beauty always in our view, and allows us to create our dreams in way we never thought, giving us a place to find peace within our selves.

Here are some of my spring garden dreams come true. ENJOY.


A thought; The garden is a place for renewal.













When it comes to winter flowers very few plants will give as much as they do. They also rush images of Scottish moors where they grow so freely. As the snow melts away, the evergreen flower filled spiked mounds are breath-taking. Just the hope that spring could be so close, yet here in the winter cold are flowers in the snow and it makes me wish I had planted more of them.

The two names are used loosely in the gardening world. As the term heath should be applied to the ericas and daboecias genera. These groups have the long bloom range  and varieties of this group can be found in bloom year round. Heather is the term for callunas, genera, and have a larger foliage color range and most bloom mid summer through the fall. Now I know this was a little confusing, so let me make it simple, Heaths and Heather are evergreen shrubs most are low mound growing and most are needle  like foliage. Heaths are a little taller and looser in growth habit and heather is lower and more compact in growth, making it easier to know what you are looking at. The fun thing with these plants is you can have them in bloom all year, and in my book that makes them a real garden winner.

These group of plants are under the element influence of water and do best when planted under the astrological signs of, Scorpio – Pisces – Cancer.

Go to this website,  www.hickoryhillheather.com  Love it and the winter pictures of their heather in bloom are amazing.

I found that the heaths are easier than the heather to grow and all love full sun and a more acid soil PH of about 6.0. They are good for container gardening as well as for rock and alpine gardens.

As far as I’m concerned call all of them either heath or heather it doesn’t matter. Because the joy of gardening is the fun of being able to do so.


A thought; Sometimes things just look the same but they are different.

Sometimes a quiet moment is just what the soul calls for. A moment when everything seems to stand still, even thought is contentedly quiet and nothing matters and time is just time.

While sitting in the garden a sudden stillness came upon me and  the garden seemed timeless, I could see everything at once and my thoughts where clear yet empty.

Then all at one time, sadness, joy and emotions come rushing in and the moment of stillness is swept away in a wave of thought and feeling, as I recall hearing no sound, felt no wind or sun and how everything in that still moment was as it is. The memory of that  stillness stays with me as I reflect and I will use this experience as a reminder of how wonderful unforeseen moments in the garden can be…….

I write about the garden as I experience and lovingly tend to it.

A thought; In still moments I am given strength.


Walking the primrose path meant a life of pleasure with everything that comes with that. Sense I have not always found my path to pleasure to be primrose like, I kind of  hoped that by creating such a path it might help to keep me focused.

The name primrose is from the Latin word primus meaning – first, because it is among some of the first plants to bloom in the spring.

Primrose’s astrological element is earth so to plant these plants either in the sign of Taurus ( April 20 – May 20 ) or Virgo ( August 20 – September 20 ) or in the southern regions Capricorn ( December 20 – January 20 ) I have found during these periods the conditions for their growth and flowering will be at their best.

Their are about 430 species of mainly herbaceous perennials and are found throughout the northern and southern hemispheres. So take sometime to look them up and discover the vast world of varieties there are.

I’m going to talk about the Genus Primula Polyanthus it is a fully frost – hardy evergreen perennial that we purchase from our local grocer or nursery in the early spring for their bright colors. Hardy zones USA 6 – 10


How can we not take a few of these home when winters can be so bleak. Just remember a sunny window and keep them moist and they will bloom right till it is time to plant out in the garden and as an added surprise they most often will bloom again in  the cool days of autumn that same year.

Over the years I’ve planted about 150 or so of these spring beauties along the sunny  path that runs on the north side of Oak Grove this leads to my compost area so as you may know I am quite often on this path and each April and May I walk my primrose path. I put a little more lime in this area, as they like a more alkaline soil.Growing between rocks and logs amongst the moss and under the flowering shrubs they truly are a breath of spring when we need it the most.

This is the time of year our markets are flooded with them, so do your home work and brings some color in to your life, now when we need it the most and perhaps you too might think about a primrose path.

A thought; Simple pleasures bring such joy!