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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 the 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

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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.

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A thought; The garden is a place for renewal.

 

 

 

 

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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

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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!

 

 

For some time now I’ve been planting for the winter garden. It is actually all of the Shire Garden, All around the garden there is winter plant material, they are there either for their berries, bark and foliage or seed pods, for their color or texture, and twigging  will bring. All for the way they  look within the ever changing winter light and for the way they hold the frost and snow. Most are planted in easy view from the inside of Acorn Cottage, so that we might see them as the weather changes the picture within our window frames.

I love watching the birds as they try to gather the berries and seeds and their sounds are welcomed to the quiet of winter.

Gardening is at a slower pace now, being more of a visual type then a physical one. I will use this time to see as I would say, ” the bones of the garden ” and correct shapes and lines to better the health and future growth and view throughout the garden.

I will also take time to review last years annual flower combination and decided what we will use for the up coming seasons. Using this time to research new cultivars and old stand byes. Some of which I will share with you a little later this season as I gather more information on them.

For know I will leave you with some pictures of the Winter Shire Garden

     

 

A thought; When all is still, beauty is heightened!

 

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The Wind is blowing, snow is on the ground and the temperature is hovering around 30 degrees with a wind chill of about 10 degrees below zero. Burrrrrr! I knew this was the case as I looked out to the garden and saw the effect it was having on the evergreens. The rhododendron foliage was curled down tight as never before and the Taxus or yew’s are a very dark green almost black in hue. The evergreen azaleas look tight as well. All this tells me that the temperatures are well below normal and that nature is doing all it can to protect itself for harm’s way.

This all comes about with water lose or freeze in the foliage and is also seen in the summer droughts, its natures way of protecting these plants, the looseness or tightness will let you know just how cool or dry it is for the plant.

However a little later in the morning as the sun came up higher and shone on them I noticed that the top of the plants opened and unfurled telling me that things will warm a little more today and I thought how wonderful nature is and how much we don’t notice any more.

I ventured out to take some pictures of what I was seeing, and my breath froze still in the air. Yes, it was very cold, colder than its been for at least eight years and my thoughts went to the newly fall plantings and was glad I left more leaf mulch on them this year, Why I did this at the time I wasn’t sure but I am glad I did. I believe that when you allow yourself to go on instinctual feelings, it always works to the best. Who, after five years of mild winters would have thought that this kind of cold would be with us now.

Well, spring will tell us everything, what survived and what didn’t. I pray now for a milder rest of winter and will dream of the summer to come, it’s what we gardeners do now…..

A thought; When we look to nature, most questions can be answered.

 

 

 

 

I will take this time to answer a question that is often asked of me. ” You write often about observances and feelings and sounds in the garden, yet at times give just a few how too’s ?” Let me answer this first with a question. Would you rather read about another step by step project for your garden that thousands have shared before and with just a few tapes on the computer will show again, another take on the project?

I gave this much thought before I started to write. I looked deep within myself and asked what really moves me to garden, I knew the planting of seed was fun and the growth that followed and the anticipation of harvest, but really what kept me gardening. For there are plenty of moments when just giving up or finding time for anything to do with the garden other than gardening, would be easier than the work its self. What kept me there?

What kept me there was the human side, with a feeling that I was a part of something special, a place of beauty and growth and renewal, a place that for whatever reason had an effect on others and myself and all of it was being transmitted through who I am and what I could create. So I hope that by writing about the other part of gardening, the feelings and emotional side with the healing and heighten awareness it brings, will be the thing my blog will bring to the gardeners tool shed and will give trust and strength to continue to believe in who and what they are to their garden quest.

I can tell you that I have visited many gardens of all types and it is the gardens that are tended by passionate gardeners that transcends all of the feelings of even the greatest gardens in the world. They hold special powers and they are exspiranced and not just viewed. They leave you with a feeling of knowing and a wanting for more.

So not to negate all who want answers to the” how to”, I’ve started a new page entitled – Gardeners Hints, here I plan to share helpful simple garden cures and growing tips used by estate and home gardeners for years, with a few of my own thrown in.

A thought; The Garden Shire will help me be the gardener I Am.