Above Our Heads

August 7, 2015 ground 008

~

The roses have grown into a topic of some conflict, believe it or not.  Perhaps because they’re now ten to twelve feet high, reaching ever higher, in the round bed in the middle of our front lawn…

I want to let them grow until each cane bursts into a spray of flowers.  Partner, who likes things neat, has urged me to prune these tall canes.  A rosarian likely would agree with him.

I’ve offered a compromise:  To trim the canes back once each buds, blooms, and drops its petals.  But of course, as the buds open, each tall cane lets gravity slowly guide it back towards the Earth.

Some combination of rain, heat, compost, and love has our garden growing at a prodigious rate this month.

~

August 7, 2015 ground 006

~

One of us tends this Moonflower vine, tucking the tendrils back into the trellis, only to find wild growth reaching out towards the house again hours later.  If the leaves are this huge, what will the flowers be?  And this from a rogue seed self-planted during clean up last autumn!

The algorithm behind this growth remains above our heads.  But we trust that those who choreograph it enjoy it at least as much as we  delight in its unfolding.

~

August 7, 2015 ground 003

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

~

July 31, 2015 sunset 008

One Word Photo Challenge: Cream

August 26, 2014 garden 021

*

Sunlight through Caladium leaves

*

August 26, 2014 garden 044

*

Bumblebee, heavy with pollen, working  the Garlic chives

*

August 26, 2014 garden 036

*

Moonflower, fading in the mid-day sun.

*

August 26, 2014 garden 009

*

The caligraphy of a garden spider;

All aglow with the pearlescent beauty of cream.

*

August 24, 2014  beach 015

*

Cream glows in sun and shadow;

*

August 21, 2014 garden 013

*

Moonlight and midnight.

*

August 22, 2014 Parkway 056

*

Soft, serene and clean,

We love the lustre of cream.

*

August 26, 2014 garden 030

*

Words and photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Cream

*

 

August 26, 2014 garden 083

Anticipation

July 16, 2014 pots 013

 

Walking around the garden one last time, as the sun was setting, I found a bumblebee clutching the first Moonflower of the season, anticipating its opening.

 

Motionless, he patiently waits for the flower to unfurl. 

Perhaps he can smell its sweetness.  Perhaps some special memory urges him to wait, anticipating good things to come.

 

Oh to have the focus, the faith, and the patience of this little one. 

What treasures might wait for us, also?

 

 

July 16, 2014 pots 015

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2014

Luminous

May 25, 2014 garden 032

“Light is creation.

Darkness is the space necessary to create.”

Erica Jasmin Cartaya

 

Peony bud

Peony bud

“May it be a light to you in dark places,

when all other lights go out.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Clematis

Clematis

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness:

only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate:

only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Rose

Rose

“Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us;

shedding light over this world can alone help us.”

Walt Whitman

 

Perennial Geranium

Perennial Geranium

“I will love the light for it shows me the way,

yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

  Og Mandino

 

Coreopsis

Coreopsis

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;

the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Plato

 

Comphrey

Comphrey

 

This Memorial Day weekend, our garden in luminous. 

May 25, 2014 garden 050

It is cool enough to enjoy working out in the garden, and so we have been out there doing things from early until late.

Whether the task at hand is pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, or re-potting plants; it is done with appreciation for the opportunity to have a hand in this beautiful garden.

Rose scented Geranium

Rose scented Geranium

We  remember that the garden, like ourselves, is made of light.

The plants feed off of light, just as we draw our own energy from light.

Annual Geranium

Annual Geranium

To observe the plants as they grow, basking in the light reflected from leaf and petal, is the chief reward  a  a gardener may enjoy day to day.

Assorted Geraniums, Coleus, and Moonflower vines share a pot on the patio.

Assorted Geraniums, Coleus, and Moonflower vines share a pot on the patio.

Each new leaf unfolding itself out of a stem, each cluster of petals opening to reveal the beauty of a flower makes this light manifest as matter.

Coleus with a new Dhalia in its pot, Creeping Jenny and Sedum.

Coleus with a new Dhalia in its pot, Creeping Jenny and Sedum.

Our world is luminous, and we are also made from a fabric of light.

Heuchera

Heuchera

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Caladium

Caladium

Tuesday Snapshots

We heard this morning on the Weather Channel that the official definition of Indian Summer is the first 70 degree day after the first frost.  Today is officially “Indian Summer” in Williamsburg. 

A beautifully clear sunny day, we marveled at how quickly the morning warmed up.  We both had a burst of energy and found tasks large and small to do outside.  The potted Norfolk Island Pine went back out in a protected spot.  I sowed parsley seeds in the Viola pots and washed the leaves of all the orchids.  A friend stopped by with a gift of cuttings from the Camellia by her front porch.

We are expecting temperatures in the 80s by the weekend; frosty mornings indefinitely delayed .

So here are a few snapshots from the garden this last week of October.  I’ve cropped them tightly to show you a glimpse of color and form, light and shadow, growth and decay, beginnings and endings in our forest garden.

A Gorgeous Afternoon

PIneapple Sage, Pineapple Mint, Rosemary, and Lantana at their peak in late October.

PIneapple Sage, Pineapple Mint, Rosemary, and Lantana at their peak in late October.

What a gorgeous day it’s been here in Williamsburg.  After our first really cold night, down into the 30s, the morning dawned clear and brisk.  We’ve had cool wind all day and bright sunshine.  It is that time of the year to watch the weather and decide what needs to come inside for the night.  Will it freeze tonight?  Can the Begonias stay outside another day?

Dragon Wing Begonias love these cool bright days.

Dragon Wing Begonias love these cool bright days.

I have areas prepared to bring everything in, and we even bought a number of fresh, clean plastic disks for bringing potted plants into the house for the winter.  Everything is ready to go…. but the plants.  It looks like they are loving this weather!

It is a horticultural game of “chicken”, balancing the late night low temperatures against the chance to soak up another day of sunshine and fresh air.

A tiny bee uses a Camellia as a "bed and breakfast" inn.

A tiny bee uses a Camellia as a “bed and breakfast” inn.

We finally brought the Norfolk Island Pine in late last night after doing the research online to determine how much cold it can withstand:  not much.  If temps go back up next week it will go back out to its spot on the patio.

Many of our Begonias are huddled together, out of the wind, where the house and patio will keep them insulated by a few degrees at least.  We brought a few inside after watching the 5 PM weather- just to make sure a few have extra protection should it get even colder than the forecast.

The Ginger lilies are covered in bloom.

The Ginger lilies are covered in bloom.

The flowers rooted into the Earth are taking the changes in stride.  If anything, the Ginger lilies are giving more flowers than ever before.  The Rosemary have broken out into bloom.

The Camellias unfold new buds each day, and give shelter to the tiny insects who come for their nectar.

Camellia Sasanqua

Camellia Sasanqua

Pineapple Sage is at its peak, covered in scarlet, reaching for the sky.  The Bouganvilliea finally bloomed, after a summer of waiting for flowers, at the end of September.

Mexican Petunia, a tender perennial, has taken root in a pot where it might make it through a Virginia winter.

Mexican Petunia, a tender perennial, has taken root in a pot where it might make it through a Virginia winter.

October 25 garden 035

Dill and African Blue Basil are still in bloom. The Basil has grown huge this year.

This in between time is awash in color as flowers, berries, leaves, stems, air and sun vie with each other for the brightest most sparkling hues.  A day like today is a gift, a golden moment out of the ever changing year.  Knowing that the first frost can come any night, maybe even tonight, we wander the garden with appreciation; enjoying the gorgeous afternoon.

We’ve learned  that autumn in Virginia mixes all of the seasons together in an unpredictable jumble.  We’ve had 80 degree days in December, October snow, tropical storms at Halloween, and “endless summer” days after frosty breath mornings.  To see all of the buds and flowers in the garden today, you might think it May.

The Bougainvillea has only been blooming a few weeks.  I hope it can stay outside a few weeks longer in a sheltered spot.

The Bougainvillea has only been blooming a few weeks. I hope it can stay outside a few weeks longer in a sheltered spot.

But, it’s late October.  And I’m still procrastinating.  There are Caladium tubers to dig, but I hate to disturb them.  Rex Begonias to pot and move indoors, and Coleus to dig out and replace with Violas.  And it may turn warm again next week.  I’ll save those chores for another, gorgeous afternoon.

All photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

October 25 flowers and berries 002

Moonflowers, Another Pass Along Plant

Moonflower, Ipomoea alba

Moonflower, Ipomoea alba

If only the internet allowed us to post a fragrance as easily as we post a photo…Sept 18, 2013 Moonflowers 014

Ginger Lilies in mid-September.

Ginger Lilies in mid-September.

Moonflowers, like Gingerlily, fill the garden with an intriguing fragrance.  If you enjoy the fragrance of Easter Lily, your memory might lead you to the fragrance of the Moonflower.

Sept 18, 2013 Moonflowers 010My Moonflowers bloomed last night under the full Harvest Moon. 

A perennial in their native northern South America  and Central America, we must replant them each year in Virginia.  Impomoea alba is very sensitive to cold, and will wither when touched by the first heavy frost of Autumn.  That is why I save their seed each year, and replant each spring.

Sept 18, 2013 Moonflowers 013They got off to a slow start this season, and I planted them again in June.  Moonflowers do best after the summer solstice, when the nights begin getting longer.  We enjoyed our first blossoms of the year this week.  The buds stay tightly wound until after sunset.  The flowers open fully by late evening, and feed moths all night long.  To enjoy them you must be out at night with them, or get up very early before the sun touches them fully.  The blossoms wither by late morning, their one night of beauty gone forever.Sept 18, 2013 Moonflowers 009

I’ve never seen Moonflower vines for sale in a nursery.  They are considered night blooming morning glories, and are usually started from seed.  Their seeds are large and hard like a chick pea.  To speed them along, lay them in the folds of a paper towel, moisten the towel, and zip them into a plastic bag.   Keep the bag of seeds in a warm place.   After several days the seeds will wake up and eventually sprout.  Once the seed coat has opened and a sprout appeared, plant the Moonflower seed in a large pot or prepared bed, an inch or so deep, where you want them to grow for the season.  Water and provide a sturdy support.  These vines grow very quickly, branch prolifically, and can grow 20′ or more in a single season.  In their native tropical home, they will grow to 30′ or more.

The large seeds dry in the pod left from each flower.  Once dry, I harvest the seeds to save for next year and share with friends.  This is an easy plant to pass along, and such a joy to grow.

Sept 18, 2013 Moonflowers 011

Photos by Woodland Gnome

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 683 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest