Posts in Category: Garden Thoughts

Dear Friend and Gardener

Garden Journal 31 July 2019Dear friend and gardener. It’s been such a long while, I know. I feel it important to explain my absence somewhat. To put it bluntly, I have, for the most part, become disenchanted with the whole idea of writing anything. Despite this lack of inspiration or desire, I have been contemplating the idea of creating this blog entry for weeks now. Each Sunday, within my mind, I presented the idea of creating an article. Then… self-doubt would creep in. ”What would I talk about?” and my personal favorite, “What’s the point?” Hardly anyone wishes to read blog posts about gardening these days!” Well, at least, not the story-based articles. There are blogs-a-plenty that give basic gardening instruction and it would not surprise me if they were all written by bots. Yes, that’s a thing now… automated robot writing. It’s quite probable that you have read an article or news story that was written by some sort of AI program. So, what chance does an actual human writer have? I digress and must resist cynicism!

Dear Friend and Gardener book written by Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd

With all that said, my garden this year is in fine form ~~ exceptionally fine form. More on that in a later post but this is worth mentioning because it is a driving factor for my writing.

Today’s Source of Inspiration

Buried within my self-deprecating shadows of doubt, still lives the unyielding desire to write about and ultimately share the various happenings within my humble garden. I just couldn’t figure out how to emerge from the rubble and create… until this evening.

Each evening before I turn off the lights to go to sleep, I enjoy reading a bit from one of the many books that consider my nightstand home.

Not pictured because it is resting right beside me is Dear Friend and Gardener Letters on Life and Gardening by Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd (not THAT Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future!). This book is absolutely delightful. It is an exchange of letters between two gardeners with two very unique styles of gardening. Each letter is like all the essential oils on a canvas that when mixed together portray the perfect scenes from two very beautiful, yet different gardens in different regions of England. With each exchange, I could not help but be inspired not only with planting ideas (I really want to try growing the Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’ snowdrop Beth mentions in one of her letters for example) but also to write.

Benny's Nightstand

Is Gardening Still Relevant?

One could be forgiven to believe gardening in this modern, digital age to be something vanquished into the annals of historical, quaint pastimes people used to do for leisure or sustenance. Further, the only people who actually garden today are the old human relics clinging to something that serves no real purpose.

At first glance, these ill-informed thought processes could be easily supported by simply looking around one’s own neighborhood. Gone are the glorious flower borders of cottage flowers flanked by various roses ~~ at least for the most part. Instead what we see in abundance are lawns heavily laden with various cocktails of some of the most horrid chemicals known to man. Beyond that, a cursory tree or set of shrubs and MAYBE a scattering of atypical annuals. Not quite representative of the glory of the gardens of our grandparents.

Oh Gertrude! How I long to see more borders like this!

Jekyll_Manor_House_Border

So, does this truly mean gardeners are an endangered species doomed to extinction? No, I really don’t think so.

The Torch Shall Be Passed

May my words I have written this day drift surely and steadily toward a new generation of gardeners. A new generation of gardeners you may ask? Yes. You see, I have hope. Not just the selfish hope that my rather inconsequential gardening blog will one day find its audience but a much greater hope for the pastime itself.

I volunteer at the Denver Botanic Gardens and each year my job is to assist in the water smart section of the sale (planting a xeric based garden is a huge passion of mine). As each year passes, the crowds of people eager to try their hand at gardening grow tremendously. This is a crowd of glorious human beings of all ages (even as young as two) eager to make something of a bit of earth. A large percentage of these people will seek advice and inspiration from those working the sale. That’s where I come in! As mentioned, my passions revolve around gardening with as little irrigation as possible so the idea of volunteering to help sell plants that are water smart and can survive a bit of drought greatly appeals to me. As visitors arrive, they all have questions and I love answering them. Seeing a penstemon or a sedum go home with someone is for me a sheer delight!

So, yes. I have hope and I am inspired.

Thank you Beth and Christopher for YOUR words of inspiration. Thank you for that nudge I so desperately needed to start writing again. May my words keep flowing, may they find their audience and may they in turn inspire another and another.

Thank you so kindly for reading. I have so much more to share and trust me I will share. In my next post I will talk of two of my more significant successes ~~ sweet cicely and the maple tree.

Until next time! Happy gardening!

As always, here are some recent photos of my garden. Moving forward, I will be sharing exactly six images. I love the number six so thought that a good number to share.

allegheny viburnum

I have this viburnum growing behind the elderberries. Each year it grows bigger and bigger and this year I was blessed by an enchanting bloom!

New pea vines growing steadily to escape their container and journey wherever they please. This is the heirloom Swenson Swedish Pea.

Viola tricolor

Oh yes, one of my absolute, most favorite flowers, the tiny viola. I have them emerging everywhere. I love these flowers so much!

Rose leaves emerging

A glorious shot of new rose leaves emerging. I just love the red tinge the new leaves have don’t you?!

Lily emerging

This lily has emerged faithfully year after year. It sends up a huge stock which is then graced by a cluster of about four flowers. At the time of writing this article, it is about to open up in all its glory.

Pause, Reflect, Breathe

Benny's Garden 28 May 2018

A Day to Pause and Reflect

As each year passes, Memorial Day is fast becoming one of my favorite days for pause, reflection, deep breathing and spiritual fulfillment. Just like last year, I am sitting in the garden writing this entry with my feet up enjoying the sites and sounds enveloping me. I have so much to do — beds need clearing, several plants are begging to be released from their small plastic cells so they may stretch their legs within the garden soil and the never ending list goes on. All these things weigh on my mind but I absolutely must sit, get this article done and really take time to be quiet. To accentuate the moment, I am listening to the beautiful music of Kristin Rule. Please click on the link and have a listen. It will add to your reading pleasure. I promise.

A day to reflect

So Blessed

The dry winter, aphids, rabbits, hail, sudden heat spells but mostly lack of water. All have taken its toll on my garden paradise. What must be sheer spite, the garden is rebounding. Rather than wallow in all the things that aren’t as they should be, I shall celebrate instead.

In a large pot under the pergola, a lone columbine has thrived. Typically it is competing with the desert bluebells but this year none came up and this allowed the columbine to take over the pot.

Columbine Flower

Columbine Foliage

The Pallida Dalmatica Irises

Preface: I ordered these vintage (circa 1597) Irises from Old House Gardens in March of 2015. I tracked down these irises as they bring back some very special memories. It was very important that these bloom so I thought moving them would help — it did!

At the end of last season, I moved two large clumps of irises away from the house and planted them along the edge of the steps leading up to the top half of the garden. This is their third year in the garden and when the weather warmed this spring, the foliage took off just as it did last year — (but foliage was all I had last year hence one of the reasons for the relocation). Weeks went by, I saw no stalks forming. I feared that once again I would have no blooms.

One morning, during an atypical saunter, I nearly cried out with delight when I noticed those ever familiar little stalks forming off the sides of the leaves! Now, they are blooming and that aroma! If heaven had a fragrance, the scent of an iris would definitely be it. Just like Francis said in “Under the Tuscan Sun” — they smell of purple — a very delicate, delicious purply heaven!

Irises Flanking Stairs

The Dedicated Poppy Bed

I could keep going on and on about all the beauty that surrounds me now but I don’t want to take up too much of your time. 🙂 Before I close, I would like to share with you a little something I created about a month ago. I wanted to have a dedicated rose bed and I have been successful with that endeavor. When I was finished positioning my roses, I had a rather large patch that I ended up designating “to be determined”.

A month ago, I was staring at this space and weighing my options: A selection of miniature roses (they don’t really do too well in our climate), herbs or perhaps a selection of prairie flowers? I then realized what I absolutely must do. I tilled the soil so to disturb it to the point where it was very loose. I then gathered all my special poppy seed and scattered them all throughout the blank canvas. What an amazing blessing it is now to see them coming up. Soon, I will have a miniature field of them!

I have written about the Flanders poppy many times and I will reiterate that this is the one plant I will always grow. When those papery red flowers sway in the breeze, I am reminded of all I am thankful for and my countless blessings.

Poppy Seedlings

Spreading the Love

The poppies I grow year after year originated from a grave site in Flanders. It has been my goal to share the seeds I gather every year with all who want them. The ultimate goal being that this little red flower proudly sways in every garden around the world. Last year I sent some to my friend Gloria. She planted her seeds last autumn and has kindly shared her thoughts on why planting these flowers were important to her. I shall close with her words that beautifully encapsulate this day and the magic a bit of sentimentality can bring to the garden. Until next time, thank you so kindly for reading. Thank you to all those in our military who give so much every day selflessly so I may have a day like today.

My garden is many things to me but mainly a sacred place filled with plants shared from neighbor and friend, some specifically chosen plants which remind me daily to be grateful for those who touched my life with love and lessons. When I discovered my friend Ben had Flanders Poppies I knew they needed to be a part of my garden, and in asking, he generously harvested his seeds and mailed them to me. I sprinkled, covered, watered and wait with anticipation, while remembering those who paid with every breath, those young hearts, new to war. It is always the staring down of fear that brings freedom. Is that not reason enough to plant the little Flanders seeds, watch as they take the ground, stand honorably and remind me daily to be grateful, so very grateful.

Here is a photo of Gloria’s poppies emerging:

Poppy Seedling

And finally, images from my garden. Blessings to you all!

Sedum

Sedum growing through the crack in the paving stones

Hens and Chicks

I absolutely love the gorgeous purple hues on this hens and chicks specimen

Apples

Apples forming! I am so excited to get fruit this year! Last year, I didn’t

Irises

Soft, subtle purple of the irises

Sedum

Sedum

Globe Mallow — Out of five specimens, I only have two left. This particular plant is thriving.

Lichen

Lichen

Pansies in pot

Pansies in pot

Hummingbird vine

Hummingbird vine

Verbascum

Verbascum — I grow this intentionally as it reminds me of ‘Old Herbaceous’

Clematis Flower

Clematis Flower

Vinca

Vinca — a plant I have been babying. This was originally in a friend’s garden.

Flax flower

Flax flower

Irises with droplets of rain

Irises with droplets of rain

Wind Chime

Custom Made Wind Chime

Columbine

Columbine in artistic black and white

Snow-In-Summer

Snow-In-Summer — Some call it a menace. I call it beautiful!

Blue Flax

The beautiful blue flax

Anticipation

Benny's Garden 28 April 2018Dear Friends:

Well now, it seems I have once again been remiss in keeping this blog up to date. Take this post for example. It was actually completed back in February. I really need to step it up and update this blog in a more timely fashion. With that said, thank you for reading and thank you for your patience!

Originally written February 7th 2018

Snowdrops — One of the first flowers to poke through in late winter.

It always happens around this time every year – right around the time of my birthday. The winds are shifting, the days are staying awake longer and the sun is warming the earth. As in all previous years, I see signs of life. Already, daffodils are beginning to poke through, the flax is greening up, irises are poking through and insects are darting about. Yet, it is still only February and just the beginning of February at that.

Spring officially returns March 21st but here, in my little Rocky Mountain garden we will be flirting with winter well into the third week of May – typically. I mean, this could be an off year but I won’t be planting anything that doesn’t like the cold until after Mother’s Day. Just like The Who once lamented … I won’t be fooled again.

The Beauty

On this glorious day of days, I am afforded the opportunity to just sit outside. I wish you – you being any kind soul who happens upon these words and reads them – could be here sitting with me now, outside under my pergola, on my dusty, dirty chair and enjoying this quiet… this solitude.. this moment with me. Perhaps I would make us some iced tea. That does sound good and I was halfway tempted to stop writing this post and go inside and make some but this white tea I have is so strong, I find the effects of the caffeine to be too long lasting. So, perhaps, if you were here, I would make an iced tea but some sort of herbal blend. Hibiscus perhaps.

Oh, the GLORY! The sun is warming my aching bones and I can feel the healing transformation. There is a breeze and it is cool but not cold. It is blowing my wind chime about. Don’t you just love the sound of wind chimes? I would love to have them all over my garden. This one above me is a soprano chime so I quite fancy a bass or alto chime to accompany it.

Already, There Is Anticipation

As each day lengthens and warms, already I am feeling it. If you are here, reading this post, you must be a gardener of some sort or at least someone mildly interested in making something of a bit of earth, or container or something along those lines. I say this because if you have any appreciation for the natural world and how it invigorates the gardener, you know what the ‘it’ is.

“It” is abstract in form and changes with each passing day. “It” is a desire, a passion, a longing and a purest form of love. “It” is what is inside me, you and well, everyone really. “It” is what makes me feel alive. “It” is the perfection of a connection that is discovered – and not by accident. In my life, there are only a few core desires that equate to need. Beyond the tangible, the “it” for me is to sink my hands inside the warming earth, letting it slip through my fingers – but not before inhaling its aroma and mold it into something beautiful. It is this love I breathe into it that produces a garden.

My friends, I thank you so kindly for reading. Please accept my apologies as always for any and all delays in between posts.

Until next time, I wish you all the very best of all things. May this day and all days be blessed. Happy Gardening!

Please enjoy these photos of my Rocky Mountain garden in February:

Daffodil shoots poking through

In two large pots under the pergola, I planted some daffodils. It seems the only plants to emerge are those planted in the left pot. I will have to fix that next year.

Evergreen snapdragons

My evergreen snapdragons. These are planted near the hose spout and stay green all year. Looking forward to the blooms!

Emerging flax in spring

Not too far away from the hollyhocks is my good old, reliable flax. It continues to spread and I could not be happier.

Emerging Hollyhocks

Hollyhock leaves near the kitchen window emerging. I should get blooms this year.

Sunflower seed head

Dried Sunflower Head — I keep all the dried seed heads around until spring.