Thursday, June 27, 2013

In an effort to restart a blog I am going to post quickly tonight.  I started this blog in the infancy of my retirement from a carrier as a professional garden designer, gardener, and lately garden historian.  Somehow, retirement eluded me, despite my best intensions.  I am going to try again using the framework of a home landscape renovation and recovery project to talk about anything garden.  Look for new posts soon.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Blogging again

It seems a bit awkward to begin blogging again after a bit of a hiatus. So much has happened to us and to the garden that it is hard to know where to start. So I'll just throw up some pictures of my garden this week and see where this leads us.

The Forsythia has past and as you can see, my PJM rhody is droping its blossoms.

Aren't bleeding hearts the most amazing construction? The dwarf deutzia next to it is also a stunner in bloom. Next week for that one maybe.

I love the colors of new spring growth on the spireas.

The magnolias are going too.....

Retirement has given me a chance this year to really watch the parade of blooms and has left me with a true sense of awe. For decades I have called April 15 to July 15 the 100 days of hell because work was so demanding during that time. I think I literally missed the magic of the season. Or, perhaps, I am just getting older and am trying to spend more time being in the moment. In any case, spring is pretty fabulous around here. And there's more to come!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Holiday Time

Hi all, we are currently out of the country (in the Atlantic) and have limited blogging options.  I will return on April 16th.  Until then, be well.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Garden Gloves

There is a bit of a discussion going on in blogs about whether we use gloves or not when we garden. I am a big glove fan. I've been using the same type for many years - my local wholesaler keeps them stocked. I like them because they breathe but have a tough finger protection. But as you may see in the photo, I am one of those gardeners who takes off one glove to do fine work like staking plants. This discussion is continued at Artist's Garden, Crafty Gardener and perhaps
a few others. Are you a glover?

Friday, March 28, 2008

GBBC: Second Nature review

I was delighted to re-read Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education for the March selection of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club. (Thanks Carol, over at May Dreams Garden). I read Second Nature for the first time back in the early 1990’s. I loved it, bought several copies for gifts over the years and had to buy a paperback copy for this month’s read. It was well worth it. The book has held up over time and continues to offer thoughtful observations.

Pollan writes of his development as a gardener. He also writes about why we find gardening so compelling an activity. I enjoyed re-reading tales of his grandfather’s great success as a gardener and his father’s near contempt of anything outdoors. His struggles to “control” animal behavior in and around his garden were hugely entertaining. But these tales are not at the heart of my current admiration for the book. What caused me pause this time around, was the chapter titled “The Idea of a Garden” where he tries to give shape to a garden ethic, one that helps us understand why we garden and what is our relationship to nature. Here, the mature thoughts of a man who has spent a lifetime in gardens AND libraries, are revealed to be unsentimental and basic in a way that says “this is the way it is”. Pollan’s garden ethic in part declares:

That nature is local. The gardener needs to understand this fact if he is going to successfully compete with nature which could care less whether human beings exist or not.

The garden ethic is anthropocentric – as humans, we probably can’t move beyond that bias.

As Pollan writes succinctly “The gardener learns to play the hand he’s dealt”.

The gardener has a running battle with nature that he probably can’t and perhaps shouldn't win. (no need to kill all the bugs after all)

The garden ethic is not only about humans vs. nature. Culture also adds influences on how humans interact with nature.

Success is never guaranteed.

Pollan uses the Cathedral Pines restoration story as an example of the wilderness ethic (Nature Conservancy) colliding with municipal interests. He suggests that a garden ethic approach might have resulted in a better result. (It's a long discussion, read it to see what he is talking about. It does get at the difficulties inherent in a restoration/recovery project.)

Second Nature by Michael Pollan is high on my recommended list. In fact, all his books are terrific. I am waiting for the next one!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Plant Purchases Gone Wild!

This week I visited my favorite wholesale nursery with the intent of buying some annuals. I did pick up a few flats of pansies and primroses but.....

I also just had to have these beauties......
I bought 3 campanulas including....

Campanula 'Sarastros' which has lovely yellow-green leaves.....

also zizia which is a new plant for me. It grows in damp woodlands and has sweet umbel flower heads
I also bought ....
a stunning hellebore called 'Swirling Skirt' series, and....

several geraniums including this one G. pratense 'Victor Reiter'. I can't wait to get them settled in.

My garden is really a horticultural zoo. Over the years, I have tried different plants to see how they grow. I want to know how hardy they are and if they are invasive. After they have passed what I call 'studied neglect' I may purchase more or incorporate the plant into a garden design. I'll keep you posted on this crop of newbies especially the zizia which might have the potential for getting out of control.

Friday, March 21, 2008


After yesterday's post I found this picture of last year's spring window box, my own print of primulas. I just love the variety of color in these cultivated pot plants. Instant gratification.

Thought you might like this addendum to my print post.