Monthly Archives: November 2014

My very first garden was a herb garden, and my love for them has only grown stronger. I have spent a lot of time over the years in herb gardens and can tell you  they are an easy lot of plants to grow. Just spade up some semi-sandy or partly gravel area in the sun, add some dried cow manure and your herbs will do fairly well. To rich a soil and too much water is a bad combination for them, heavy fast growth causes a short span for the fragrant oils you want from within the herbs.

There are annual and perennial herbs and most are easy to start from seed and most nurseries now carry a large variety of herbs of all types. Although most herb gardens are informal or are placed among the vegetables in the garden, I have had the pleasure to have been asked to plan and plant a formal herb garden to be enjoyed by not only the cook and doctor, but also for the visitor who will enjoy the heightening of all of their senses. The beauty of this garden is in its shades of gray and green foliage and the simplest of blooms. The formal comes with clear sight lines and focal interest and low herb bed hedges, with a knot garden of Santolina, sage, rosemary and lavender, in the center to create great drama.

artemisa wreath

Here in the Shire Garden the herbs are grown for cooking and holiday decorating, We make Artemisia wreaths with touches of thyme, rosemary and lavender tucked into  them. The many bunches of small bouquets of both cooking and fragrant herbs are readied for gifting, while others are dried and ground up to be used in our every day and holiday cooking.

Herbs are used for healing, savoring and enhancing, but by no means should we overlook their beauty for purpose. For to look at their beauty in  a garden gives you the awareness of the simplicity in beauty.

Herbs are mentioned thru out history and their uses in ceremony and legend are well touted. Try planting them in pots for by the kitchen door where garden space might be limited or among your flowers for color enhancement. But whatever you do bring more of them into your life.

For me the herb’s are royal and their purpose is noble, but above all of that, they are spiritual and their presence in the garden is a testament to that.

A thought;  Delightful and sometimes pungent, sweet and heady odors that take our thoughts thru the past, in that remarkable way that only herbs can do.

Sometimes simple things can bring on much to feel and or to think about. It maybe just a single word or symbol. It makes us stop and to poise  for a moment, and you know something from deep within has been found and touched, perhaps a memory of someone or thing, your favorite pet or place, but somehow, in these few words found in the garden you find a wisdom the moves from within.

Over the years I have visited many gardens and am always moved by small signs that may be small frames of wood or painted on mirrors and old doors and watering cans, on old tools and gates, even stones are used to convey a message to invoke thought.

I thought I would like to share some of them with you;

  • To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
  • With the sun in my heart I will grow like the garden.
  • Feel free to talk to the plants they understand.
  • Keep calm and garden on.
  • The garden is my happy place.
  • Everything that might set us back into the slower pace in life, is a good thing, and gardening is an instrument of grace.
  • A beautiful garden is a work of the heart.
  • I live in the garden, I just sleep in the house.
  • My garden is my favorite teacher.
  • The garden is a mirror of the heart.
  • The bees are the song that I hum.
  • Butterflies teach us to float in our flight.
  • Bluebells ring happiness.
  • The gate to my desires.
  • Water reflects my soul.
  • Daisy’s help keep it simple.

Most times we are so busy passing through that we forget to stop for a moment to see where we are and to enjoy the world around us , so we try with a few words to get our minds off of what we are doing and to reboot our thought direction to a more meaningful, simple way.

Simply put, the next time you read the sign that you stand before, read it, take time to feel it and try to understand its wisdom invoked to you. Because from simple things come answers to who, why and what we are in a moment of wisdom.

A thought; Wisdom when understood helps us to grow…..

From the start of this blog I have hesitated writing about roses. There is so much to know about the care for the many of varieties we have today that I thought it would become boring and confusing.

The rose I feel I should talk about are fairly new to the garden, they are a repeat bloomer that bloom from May to December and in the south all year. The series are called ” Knockouts”  and if pruned and fed right will surely live up to their name.

Many modern rose cultivars are known by their trademark names rather than by their registered cultivar name so the series Knockout may not always be found in reference books by this name. But with the Internet today just search for them as Knockout roses and read all about these wonderful new cultivars.

I have been growing and pruning these beauties for years and want to share what I have found to get peak performance from them. This rose does best in full sun but I have been able to keep them in bloom in semi shade, but the bloom is not so perfuse, they are drought tolerant an make good planter plants and do well with other annuals, perennials and amongst ornamental shrubs.

I start in the early spring, end of March first of April, I feed with a good rose fertilizer but most often I use a balance fertilizer 10-10-10 to get them off to a roaring start, I also prune at this time to start the final height for the season’s end, so I cut away 3/4 of the previous seasons growth to the dormant bud location, which will produce a new flower bud lead. When this bloom fades cut that bloom stem back to the fifth leaf down just above the dormant bud and do this at various height throughout the plant, so that the growth lengths are staggered and thus gives the plants new growth a natural look, with a longer stem growth for cutting, as they do well as cut flowers if cut just as color shows on the buds.

The second pruning is needed to produce maximum bloom and a small amount of food to keep strong and steady growth and at this time some diseases control might be applied, although they are sold as disease resistant, our very humid summers are a challenge for them.

The third pruning is like the second, as the bloom fades prune back a little further and feed, this should happen in August first of September and this is the bud set that will take you well into the late fall and early winter. It is this time that you may decide whether to dead head or to leave the hips for winter interest and color, I will feed with a 5-10-10 to help the stem and late bloom and roots for the cool days ahead.

By this late season haven started with the 3/4 cut in the spring, the rose will be at the best height of 4 feet, perfect to cut and to lightly lean into smell. These roses for me remain in heavy bloom from May to December and for many years I have cut them for the Christmas table.

With all the years of trying to grow roses, the Knockout Roses are a show stopper and every garden that I play to work in I always hear people say how do they get these roses so full of bloom all season? So now you know a little secret from a gardener how over the years has spent a lot of time in the garden.

Roses have played a role over the centuries throughout the human race and cultures, they’ve been used to cure us, to help us to communicate  in times of great emotions and as a symbol of victory and nobility. But of all things the rose teaches that some time with beauty there can be thorns and it is best to respect that, with life its self, create beauty from within and the thorns will strengthen you.


A thought;  With beauty of strength, with mystery and love and a fragrance to remember,

with the rose I shell heal.