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That’s right its May that lusty Month of May, as the song goes from Camelot. Every May first puts my thoughts and memories of May Day celebrations as a child, Mom would walk her flower garden with us children to gather early spring flowers like violets and daffodils and lilacs and sweet peas to make small tussie mussies that she would place in May baskets made of paper doilie cones with a ribbon handles to hang them on door knobs of our neighbors and friends, It was a great production as she would place the flowers out on the kitchen table along with bags of spring color wrapped chocolate hershey kisses to sweeten thoughts as Mom would put it. As we rolled the round paper doilies in to cones mom would go over the list of people that we where to surprise with these wonderful May Day gifts. Then she would tell us the game plan. We  park the car out of house sight and proceed on foot remembering to duck below windows and to quietly proceed to the front door, placing the May basket ribbon handle over the door knob and ringing the door bell, then she would say, ” run like hell” my favorite part, how I did like the thrill of the run, but she told us to stay out of sight far enough to see the look on the receivers face. Yes its May Day, I’m not up to the run these days, but I sure do remember the thrill of those morning runs. I remember being in the car driving home after an early May Day morning and hearing Mom and Dad talk about the look on their friends faces and thinking how much fun it was to have such parents that gave so much to a simple day, yes a simple first day in May.

May starts the springs real first burst of bloom in the garden, it the time when the garden turns to full growth and we celebrate our Mothers this month as well as the time we memorialize those that have gone before us. May is truly a month for thought. May that lusty month of May, Happy May Day to all!

A thought; Memories are a wonderful thing, they help us to move in a better direction.

Sweet peas are, surprisingly not members of the pea family at all.. Lathyrus odoratus, the botanical name, is Greek for ” pulse or pea” fragrant peas as they are sometimes called.

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Most peas are edible, including the wild or [sea] peas but sweet peas are poisonous and there is a medical term, Lathyrism, to describe sweet pea poising which can lead to serious consequences like convulsions, paralysis in the legs and unconsciousness.

Sweet Peas are really latecomer’s to our gardens, becoming more popular in the 1890’s. They were discovered in 1515 by a Franciscan Monk in the fields of Sicily and cultivated for their sweet scent. Thought to have magical healing powers. Just as in the story of Oliver Twist who recovers his health in a garden of sweet peas that ” perfumed the air with delicious odours.”

Growing up in the rural country sides of New England it wasn’t uncommon to have a rather large vegetable garden and Dad lovingly planed and planted ours starting just as he would say ” you could put a shovel to the ground.” I remember the many early crops he would plant and the further end of the garden was for the row of sweet peas he would plant for Moms bouquets. He would have me cut pea sticks for them to grow up on to from the fields edge, it was my job to stick them in the soil along the seed planted row. He had prepped the bed with lots of manure and peat as sweet peas are heavy feeders and love an early cool start. Dad always said if you plant them on or around St Patrick’s Day the flowers are bigger and more fragrant.

There are two types of them the bush and the climbers and you should soak the seeds in warm water over night for better germination. they like humus well draining soil in a sunny location. Some are annual and or perennial and the climbers can be used to climb up on trellises and through shrubs for a different look.

For me, sweet peas are easy to grow and make a great cut flower. However if you are going to grow some, the older varieties have more fragrance, the newer more ruffled bigger flowers are beautiful but less fragrant and in my book its the fragrance of them that I enjoy and the memories that evokes.

When I think of sweet peas I think of old fashion tussie mussie’s and gramma’s back porch with lemon aid and warm thoughts.images2614GMUH

So the next time some one might call you their little ” sweet pea ” think how special that must be.

A thought; Sometimes new things can conjure up old memories.

 

 

 

 

I thought with this being February, in which we find our selves thinking of all kinds of love, as I look through the thousands of Valentines Day cards I always gravitate to the ones with flowers and can’t help but notice how many have roses and forget me not’s and then there was the bleeding hearts and thought, I’d like to talk about a plant whose flower makes me think of Valentines Day and all things dear to me. Now you probably are thinking bleeding heart sounds sad and lonely and why would I even think about bleeding hearts connecting to love, well if you have ever been in love and had your heart broken, you’d understand how strong and fragile love can be. Well it’s also simple, it’s all in the way one sees things and I happen to be someone who see beauty in most things. The beautiful heart shaped flowers are amazing to see and every garden should have at lest one.

Bleeding Heart, genus: Dicentra a perennial with cultivars: D. eximia -fringed deep red/pink. D. spectabilis – 30 in. tall pink/white, D. ‘ Alba’ – beautiful all white. with their heart shaped flowers that look like hearts bleeding with love to share.  All are born gracefully on arching racemes. They grow best in the shady garden and prefer a rich humus soil that drains well, most bloom in early to late spring and make great cut flowers. About 150 species can be found in North America, western Asia and the Himalayas. The name Dicentra is from the two Greek words, dis, meaning ” two” and kentros, meaning ” spurs,”  this refers to the flower shape. the cultivar  D. spectabilis, means ” worthy of notice.”

The common name bleeding heart comes from a Chinese legend that tells of the flowers of this plant that resembles a heart with a drop of blood. Other common names for this plant are, Chinamen’s breeches, lady’s locket and lyre flower.

Here in the Shire Garden we have many bleeding heart plants. The one I most love is a native to North America, Dicentra –  cucullaria, a low growing, up to 8 inches tall with lace fern like foliage and spreads naturally, mine are found everywhere in the Shire Garden and they love Oak Grove the most, there they bloom from the time the last of the snow melts till late June. Then as fast  as the flowers fade the gray/ green foliage disappears to only reappear the following spring with an even greater show.

As we enter into February with its full Snow Moon and longer days of light, lets fill our thoughts with love for ourselves, for the ones we love most and for all of mankind and all living things, That the love we feel now is real and full of life with endless boundaries!

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A thought; If one is to wear they’re heart on their sleeve, one might be called a bleeding heart, so I’ve been told.

 

 

Grandmother had an obsession for African violets, every window in the house was filled with them and they were always in bloom. I remember helping her water them and picking off the spent flowers and her comments about how many more buds were on the way. She tended to them like little children and knew many by name.

African Violet [ Saintpaulia ] are natives of eastern Africa and were collected in the late nineteenth century, many by the Baron von Saint-Paul. Thus it botanical name. There are around 20 species, all are low growing evergreen perennials with several thousands of varieties. Loved for their long flowering periods and compact growth habits and are today one of the most popular of house plants. African Violets are rather easy to grow, bright light but not direct light, moist but not wet soil, actually on the drier side is better and never allow water to stand on the foliage as it will burn or rot the tender fuzzy like foliage. They are picky about their soils so I recommend you purchase a commercial mix just for African Violets, fertilize with African violet food or standard house plant food diluted. They bloom best when allowed to become slightly pot pound, repot when they become to leafy or they stop blooming for a long period of time.

African Violets will hold up to a little neglect and often I was told thrive on negative energy, however grandmothers home was far from negative and I think that was an old wives tale, as grandmother would say. Grandmother had  lot of stories and places she liked to visit on a routine basis, if it where apples there was her favorite orchids, if it was berries her favorite farm, so for African Violets her favorite greenhouse and every September she would take me to see the new verities and colors at Buell’s African Violets. I remember her driving the old Buick down the dirt road and into the gravel parking lot with rows of greenhouses in front of us and she would always say ” there we made it” how she would smile and take my hand to lead me to the first house with a door. I still remember the smell of soil and the moist warm air that surrounded us. Grandma, knew the owner and would chat about the new plants. She would say stay close and don’t touch just look. From time to time she would reach over the bench and clean a dead leaf or flower, looking closer at the many new pink or lavender flowers, she really loved seeing the new variations of color in the foliage and would often say to her self, ” to many choices”. Well it was a long, but fun day with grandma, as we pulled into her driveway at home and she would tell me there was one more thing we had to do before she got dinner on the table. We would go to the basement where she had a potting bench area near two large windows and a door leading into her gardens, here she would start seeds and tend to cuttings. She placed her large hand bag on the bench and asked me to gather the empty water glasses from the shelve, she had me place them in a row and then fill them with warm tap water. She would then cut squares of wax paper and cover each glass holding them down with elastic bands. With a pencil she would poke three to four holes in each one. Then she opened her hand bag and safely took out at least twelve or more African Violet leaves with stems and inserted them into the holes.

Now this was many years ago and grandma is no longer with us, so telling this story is safe, grandma was a good woman with a good heart and at the time for me that was grandma, after all there was always extra apples and berries, why not African violets. I’m note saying this was good and that you should do the same, it’s just a story of grandma.

I told you this story not only that with every time I see African Violets I think of her, but to also tell you this is one of the way you can propagate and reproduce new plants. It takes about a month or so, but the stems will send out roots and a new plant will begin to start. At this point pot the cutting and cover with a clear plastic bag with some holes in it for air flow, it acts like a small greenhouse.

Take some time this winter to explore your local nursery or greenhouse and see for yourself how wonderful these plants are with the many new miniatures and colors, purchase one and leave the propagation to the growers.

A thought; When one chooses a story to tell, let it be true to its self.

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On December 27 Jan and I will celebrate 35 years together and as a testament to those years our Christmas tree reminds us where we started and what we have come too.

Thirty five years ago a young fresh out of school girl came to work in my rather very young company of flowers. Eager to learn and to be a part of something new, little did either of us know that our lives would be forever together.

As our talents grew so did the time She and I would spend together, long days and weeks turned into a friendship and a good understanding of each other. One day after working on a major event Jan thought, with the first free Saturday in June we had off that summer it would be fun to have a picnic lunch, she would select the meal and I the location. For me this was easy, find a beautiful garden, something we both loved. I decided The Elizabethan Rose Garden in Hartford Ct. It was a beautiful sunny morning I got just the right wine and picked Jan up with her picnic basket and headed off to the garden. We had a wonderful time and she made my favorite meal, fried chicken and everything that goes with it. I never thought that our lives  together would be in a garden from then on.

Well as they say, shortly after that we fell in love and I asked her father for her hand in marriage. Smartest thing I ever did. Because it is Jan’s beauty and grace with loving care that keep the family together.

We choose December 27th because it was a down time in the business and gave us time to pull things together. When someone tells you creating your wedding day is easy, do it yourselves, don’t listen!

I wanted to give her a wedding gift that would remind us of the day yet something that wouldn’t become dated looking with time. While out on a last business buying trip in October, it came to me, sense her birthday is on Christmas an eight foot Christmas tree fully decorated in glass ornaments would be the perfect gift.

Well it snowed the night before the wedding covering everything in white. The morning of our wedding was sunny and everything sparkled, but it was very cold, as I remember my breath frozen in the air around me.

I can still see her on her father’s arm coming to me at the altar and I remember that kiss, I had placed lots of misletoe and white orchids with white roses and babies breath all around the altar.

Over the years she been there giving us two beautiful daughters, she planned all the family meals and trips she cares for all of us when we are ill, she cheered on our success and comforted us in our lesser hours. She saw to it that the family animals were cared for, and always stood by my side in the flower company keeping the books and designing when needed. All along the way we would purchase ornaments to remember the moments, we inherited many as well and our tree has become generational.                                                                                                                                                              We now have a tree that can’t hold all of our ornament but each year we choose the ones in the moment that touches our hearts more. It take me four hours to but our tree up and every moment is filled with the wonderful and loving life I have with this beautiful strong woman, that puts up with me and the grandchildren.                                                                                                                                                                                                  1214151803_HDR Jan 35 years ago I gave you a tree and you have filled every bough with your love for us.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Anniversary!

I love You with all of my heart♥

I woke to an overcast morning that looked very gray. It was a little later than usual, having had a series of early morning dreams.

I showered and got dressed for the day and after a light breakfast and a walk in the garden, I picked up my email and made my list of to do’s for the day. As most of my days are full of things to do.

This morning however seemed off, I didn’t feel like anything mattered whether things got done today or tomorrow it just didn’t matter. Now, this doesn’t happen to me, my days always start with my feet on the ground and running, there’s always a to do list. But that wasn’t to be the case for today.

I thought maybe some writing would help, that comes easy for me and it sometimes gets me thinking about things. All I could think about was a day alone and the quite it brings, now don’t get me wrong here, quite days aren’t a bad thing, but for some reason this was a lonely one.

My thoughts wonder and I hear things I’ve never noticed before. The quite of the day started to consume me. I was becoming very reflective and felt some fear, that somehow I was not allowed to do this, that a day alone filled with mindfulness wasn’t a good thing.

I tend to be all up in my head from time to time, so I reminded myself of that. I remembered that I had a few books to read and thought this was a good way to fill a quite day. As I started to read, I just couldn’t stay focused and became frustrated with myself. So I thought maybe I would finish a garden drawing design I was working on, then found myself just sitting at the drawing board thinking of everything but the drawing.

I wondered what was going on with me? Where was my day’s motivation, why were my thoughts all over the place?

Then in one quite moment of thought, as I sipped my coffee, it came to me, like a quite small whisper, let go – fly – it’s OK, so I lied down of the living room rug facing up, as I did as a young child. I let my thoughts go, I choose not to drive them but to just be aware of where they would take me.

It started with fears and flew through the clouds, brought me to tears and laughter out load. I rounded some mountains and swam in a sea. I saw family and friends some living some dead. I relived some sorrow and regrets and studied some hopes and some dreams. Time stood still and no longer existed. What seemed like forever, when it came to an end. I took some deep breaths and stood to my feet, I was a little light headed but felt well.

A day alone, feeling like nothing got done, what a waste I thought.

My day alone did however accomplished on thing, I learned how to fly again and to reconnect with me and all that I am. Maybe that a day in thought was the medicine I needed, it reminded me that it’s OK to be me. I am stronger and less fearful of thought. It opened my eye’s to the things I needed to see so that it is clearer as to where I need to be. That the rhythm of sounds that surround me is my world.

Thank – you for allowing me to share my day alone with you. I ask that you don’t read anything into it other than, it’s just who I am.

A thought; Except who you are, and be who you are, and be the best you, you can be.

 

It is now that time of the year in the garden that we gardeners dread, while also knowing that after the cleanup we get a little rest, just knowing we are putting the garden to bed for the cold winter months ahead is a tremendous task, although the fall cleanup has been going on for a month or so, it is with the first of the heaviest frosts this last week that has me in full cleanup mode. I started last month when the first light frost touched the day lilies and annuals. I now have tones of leaves everywhere and the first job is to prune and cut back dead plant material making it easier to get the leaves up.

I do some raking but only to pile the leaves as I use a hand leaf vacuum to gather and chop them up, I barrel them and chop them finer in my electric leaf mulcher and will cover the flower beds with a 2 inch layer of leaf mulch. I have been doing this for many years now and the soil has become very rich with organic structure.

I do some late season dividing and transplanting and will plant some oriental lily bulbs and the last of the spring bulbs, to which can be done right up to the time of soil freeze.

This year I plan to leave the spent hydrangea flower head on for winter bud protection from our now low temperatures of zero degrees and below that seem to go on for about a week or more. The down side is that the winter winds tend to knock them off and it make for a rather untidy winter mess in the garden. However, I will cut back the ornamental grasses as the spring mess with them is a large job, when spring cleanup and planting is in full swing.

I do apply some super phosphate to my early spring plants and bulbs as it will aid in good early root development just as the soil starts to warm in the early spring, I have found this to work very well as the vigor of the plants first start can be seen. Other wise I wait till spring to fertilize the garden when growth is in action.

With most of the garden put to bed and winter protection provided to those who need it, I stand and look about and notice the subtle quite that comes to the garden. I remember how beautiful the flowers were and the hum of the bees and my heart feel heavy with loss. However there is next year, for that I know.

This is the season to give thanks and to acknowledge our blessings. As we give thanks this Thanksgiving, lets remember those in the world who are less fortunate.

Here in the Shire Garden the winter season begins, the sun is low in the horizon and the air is cool and crisp with the smells of autumn. With my coffee in hand and a good days work done, this gardeners going to find a bench to rest his weary bones and muscles and to enjoy the fruits of his labors. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A thought; Sometimes a good cleanup is all it takes, to make things good again.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Imagine, if life could be so simple, that if just a thought could free us to believe that all we wanted could be there for us to receive.
  • Imagine, a world that was safe and beautiful, like a garden with so much to nurture.
  • Imagine, to be able to see everything with one glance and to possess the understanding of it all.
  • Imagine, that you could fly to unimaginable places and times, that only you could create.
  • Imagine, that health and well- being is the way of life and that living freely in the world is just the way it is.
  • Imagine, Love in its many forms was given and received in abundance with grace.

Now know that what is here was once imagined and that you have the power to imagine what now could be here.

Imagination is a good tool if you have one, for it is the very beginning of everything that is proved.

” What is now proved was once only imagined” Mystical Poet William Blake.

A thought; Lets make the world wonderful. Have a great Day!

When I started this blog I wanted it to be different and simple, yet interesting and personal enough to increase some interest with new thought as to how one might view gardening and the love for life. I wanted my reader to think deeper and to look harder at the world around them and to try to have a better understanding of them self and of the life that is all about and around them.

Keeping it simple for me was important, life doesn’t have to be so complicated and words don’t have to be so big and misunderstood that they become meaningless with no value to the reader, thus the message is lost.

The message was from the beginning do what you love, love what you do, and always believe, in yourself, your family and friends, in the world to which you live and in the thoughts that where one door closes another will open and that there’s always tomorrow that is fresh and new.

Believe in miracles, they happen! Believe in what you want and welcome it.

For me it was always going to be about the garden. It is what I love and what I love doing. I love it when the wind blows and shows itself with movement, the rain as it pita pats on the leaves and soil and the warmth of the sun as the flowers look up to follow its movement, The songs of the birds and insects, the peep and crock of the toads and frogs and the flash of the fire flies. I Love the dance of the dragon flies and the constant hum of the bees and the beauty of the butterflies are a feast for the eye. I love the soul filling smells and sents and I love the growth and the beauty that surrounds me and the peace it brings.

My thoughts always wonder and I am often filled with new ideas. it is in the garden where nothing in life matters, thus there is a freedom to be who I am and with my thoughts. Very often I am able to work through problems or find quick solutions, and the word sanctuary comes to mind.

I am passionate about what I do, that is not to say that I am all consumed by it as I have may interest and hobbies it just this one brings me great joy and fulfillment and has always been my retreat and refuge.

So I blog not for notice, but to share a little of what one person loves and loves to do, and if it should happen to help others in any way, then my life purpose will feel complete.

A thought; Sometime sharing just a little of who we are,  can help others to understand who they are.

With these dog days of summer well upon us and the temps in the 80’s and 90’s the draw to the water is strong to cool us off a bit. It is there that we find ourselves caught by the lore of the Lotus {Nelumbo} and the call of the Water Lily {Nyphaea}.  These two beauties spring up from our shallow waters like Goddess and Gods and leave us spellbound by the fragrance and presence, their exotic colors span the rainbow and their fragrance fills the air.

The Lotus { Nelumbo} is a genus of 2 species of deciduous and perennial water plants found throughout the world. They differ from the water lily in that they also grow from the pond floor but rise higher from the water surface with both leaf and flower and for the most part are larger.

The Water Lily { Nyphaea } is a genus of 50 species of both deciduous and perennial water plants with fleshy roots, they are known for their floating foliage which are cleft at the base this helps them to float. Some either bloom during the day time or night . They are named for the Greek goddess, Nymphe.

As you may have already realized they have been revered by man for thousands of years and have only been brought in to cultivation in the last 150 years and as water gardening began to increase for the every day gardener so has the demands for these beauties of the waters.

Growing them are easy and though you can harvest them from the wild a reminder to the gather, muddy waters can run deep and if you don’t own the water get permission before you begin. Frost hardy lilies grow in most climates and flower freely though the season, divide the tuber like fleshy roots in the spring or summer every 4 years. Plant in plastic mesh pots made for water plants filled with a heavy loam and aquarium stone mixed and top with pea stone to hold the soil in place and submerge the pot. For the lotus about 20 to 24 inches and the water lily about 12 to 20 inches in water depth is best for an earlier bloom as shallow water warms quicker, yet those in shallow waters will need to be winter stored like the tropical varieties to keep the roots from completely freezing water. Store in a cool place in their pots in boxes of damp sand till the water thaws  and the pots can return to the pond.

I just recently returned from a trip north to my favorite hosta farm Masson Hollow and Jan and I where welcome by the most enchanting view a large still water pond in the middle of a woodland clearing just filled with thousands of water lilies all naturalized on their own we were told, in color shades of white to pink to mauve, it was like a Monet painting and I haven’t been able to get that picture out of my thoughts.unnamed 5 unnamed 2 unnamed 3

 

 

 

 

 

One of my most favorite water garden nurseries is Waterford  Gardens, check out their website at waterfordgardens.com and if you get a chance to visit them beware of the enchantment that might befall you, it’s a magical place!

As for the Shire Gardens Frog Pond named for the water feature of a frog, the water lilies are pink and white, the lotus are yellow and the frogs are many, in this pond the water heats during the warm weather and we circulate the water with the fountain to cool it a little, the lilies don’t seem to minded and the fish are happier.

I have so many plants that I favor and my passion for them runs so deep but when such wonders brings me to the water’s edge, I know why so many stories and legends are told about these beauties that thrive in the element of life itself, Water.

A thought; The waters in life can run deep and not always that clearly, but let’s be reminded that from these waters can come great beauty.