In A Vase: Finally, Zinnias

Septembr 8, 2015 vase 009

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We are past Labor Day, that great holiday marking the end of summer in the United States; and finally I’ve cut some Zinnias for our vase.

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September 8, 2015 Vase2 001

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These are lovely Zinnias.  I love their soft but vibrant pink petals.  I’ve admired them every day for weeks now, but have refrained from cutting any to bring indoors.  I’ve only cut off spent blossoms in order to inspire the plants to push out more.

These Zinnias are a tender spot for me.  No, not a warm and fuzzy tender spot.  They are a guilty tender spot.  You see, I bought them.

When the several dozen Zinnia seeds I had carefully ordered and later sowed out in the beds failed to produce; I bought a few potted Zinnia plants from our friends at the local farm stand.  They were so far along that I planted them, pots and all, in a few prominent spots mid-summer.

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September 8, 2015 Vase2 002~

Now how much gardening skill does it take to grow Zinnias from seeds??? 

I’ve done it often in the past.  And, in retrospect there are now a few of my home sown Zinnias blooming in the butterfly garden.  But my grand winter plans for rows of Zinnias, ripe for cutting, failed to materialize in the vagueries of spring.

I first sowed the little seeds in wet paper toweling, as I often do with bean seeds, and then planted each little packet into the beds.  Needless to say, it didn’t work well this time….  Next year, back to the trays or little pots for sowing those precious seeds.

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Septembr 8, 2015 vase 003~

But enough of gardening angst.  We’ll celebrate these lovely Zinnias blooming so vibrantly with the Blue Mist Flowers, Salvia, purple Basil, Pineapple Mint, Catmint and Garlic Chives.  One thing I enjoy about these vases is how I can capture the essence of things blooming all over the garden into one tiny vase.

The Blue Mist flower self seeds, and is also a spreading perennial.  It is popping up in nearly every part of the garden this summer.  I’ve been spreading the Garlic chives around for several years now.  Another self-seeding perennial, they are also blooming in surprisingly random places in the garden at present.

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Septembr 8, 2015 vase 001~

The “Jade” Buddha was given to us by a friend at Chinese New Year.  I included it today after learning, just this week, the story of the “Emerald” Buddha of Thailand.  This “Emerald” Buddha statue has a long and mysterious history which likely began in southern India in the years before the Common Era, and continues today in modern Bangkok.  The stones were picked up while walking along an Oregon beach.

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Septembr 8, 2015 vase 002

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The season is turning yet again, and it feels like as good a time as any to ponder our successes and shortcomings of the last few months.  It is a good time to process gardening, and life lessons, learned; while at the same time entertaining plans for the seasons coming.

Another gardening blogger wrote of sketching her cuttings beds for next season, now.  Plans made now will likely be more realistic than those we plot over the winter catalogs in February, don’t you think? 

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September 6, 2015 garden 010~

I’m building some new beds in the sunny front garden.  I’ve already planted some new Iris roots, and am ready to plant bulbs as soon as some rain comes to soften the soil a bit.

Once the weather turns more towards autumn in a few weeks, I’ll also move some shrubs from their pots to the Earth.  The trick at the moment is to spend enough time watering and weeding to keep things alive until it rains again.

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August 29, 2015 garden at dusk 011

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But despite my failed Zinnias and a half dozen other misadventures this year, we celebrate those gardening efforts which have worked out well.   Gardening offers a series of second (third and fourth…) chances to ‘get it right.’

Though brutal at times, nature also offers us the opportunity to try, try, again each season; in the continual pursuit of our green and growing dreams.

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August 29, 2015 turtle 020~

Please take a moment to visit Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to enjoy more beautiful gardening successes, captured for a moment in time In A Vase this week.

 

Woodland Gnome 2015

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Sunday Dinner: Shades of Violet

Basil

Basil

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“To maintain peace in the world,

first maintain peace inside of you.

A restless mind can never generate beneficial ideas.”

 

Mehek Bassi

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Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

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“True restfulness, though, is a form of awareness,

a way of being in life.

It is living ordinary life with a sense of ease,

gratitude, appreciation, peace and prayer.

We are restful when ordinary life is enough.”

Ronald Rolheiser

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Blue Mist Flower, Conoclinium coelestinum

Blue Mist Flower, Conoclinium coelestinum

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“If a solution fails to appear …

and yet we feel success is just around the corner,

try resting for a while. …

Like the early morning frost, this intellectual refreshment

withers the parasitic and nasty vegetation

that smothers the good seed.

Bursting forth at last is the flower of truth.”


Santiago Ramón y Cajal

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Oxalis

Oxalis

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“You rest now.

Rest for longer than you are used to resting.

Make a stillness around you, a field of peace.

Your best work, the best time of your life

will grow out of this peace.”

Peter Heller

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Catmint

Catmint

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

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“The most valuable thing

we can do for the psyche, occasionally,

is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room,

not try to be or do anything whatever.”


May Sarton

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Basil

Basil

 

A “Dirty Hands” Garden Club

Colocasia, "Blue Hawaii"

Colocasia, “Blue Hawaii”

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I would love to join  a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club;
One whose members know more about fertilizers
Than they do about wines…

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July 19, 2014 Container 044

A gift of Glads, from a sister gardener…

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I’d want our meetings spent wandering through nurseries,
Learning from  expert gardeners,
Or building community gardens…

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Bumblebee on Lantana

Bumblebee on Lantana

 

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Not frittered away in chit chat over hors d’oeuvres .

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Bumblebee on Basil

Bumblebee on Basil

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And all of us would be at least a little expert in something,
Glad to share what we’ve learned;

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Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

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And we all would love putting our hands in the dirt
To help something grow.

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Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

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My club would collect species, not dues;
Re-build ecosystems rather than plant ivy and  box.

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Blue dragonfly on Lantana

Blue dragonfly on Lantana

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We “dirty hands” gardeners can band together
In spirit, if not in four walls.
We can share plants and insights,
Instigate, propagate, and appreciate;

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Rooted Begonia cutting

Rooted Begonia cutting resting on a bowl of Pitcherplants

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Perhaps we can even help rehabilitate 
Some sterile lawn somewhere
Into something which nurtures beauty
And feeds souls….

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A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

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Others can judge flowers,
Decorate homes at Christmas
And organize tours.
These things are needed, too.

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Native Hibiscus

Native Hibiscus

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(But I would rather be out in the garden;
Where cardinals preside over the morning meeting,
And  hummingbirds are our special guests for the day.
The daily agenda ranges from watering to transplanting;
From pruning to watching for turtles and dragonflies.)

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July 20, 2014 hummingbird 010

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We  wear our muddy shoes and well worn gloves with pride,
Our spades and pruners always close at hand.

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July 19, 2014 Container 051

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We converse with Nature,
And re-build the web strand by strand,
Plant by plant.

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July 20, 2014 butterflies 001

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If this invitation speaks to you,
Perhaps we can work together,
From wherever we might find ourselves
Around the globe.
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July 19, 2014 Container 023

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We can each put our hands in the dirt
and create a garden,

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July 19, 2014 Container 025

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Nurture Beauty,
And restore health and vitality to our Earth, together.

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July 19, 2014 Container 024

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Does a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club
Appeal to you?

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
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Canna

Canna

Happy Cat

 

Our happy cat with his Catmint

Our happy cat with his Catnip

There is a very happy cat living in our garden this summer.

He has his very own Catnip, Nepeta cataria,   growing within easy reach.

When a cat approaches Catmint, it first sniffs, and then begins to lick and bite the leaves to release more and more of the essential oils.

When a cat approaches Catnip it first sniffs, and then begins to lick and bite the leaves to release more and more of the essential oils.

We’ve noticed him spending more time outside lately.  And I had noticed the Catnip plants nibbled almost back to the ground a couple of times….

But this is the first time we’ve had the pleasure of watching him enjoy his Catnip.

June 7, 2014 garden 028

A member of the mint family, Catnip is a rampant grower.

“Pinching back,” or grazing,  just encourages more branching on each stem  The plant will grow thicker and larger.

June 7, 2014 garden 044

The essential oil which effects cats is called nepetalactone.  Although Catnip has a sedative effect in people, it is a mild hallucinogen for cats.

The effect is short lived, but potent for our feline friends.

Catnip dries easily, like any other summer herb.  Cut and dried, it can be saved for play on winter evenings.

Do you know this look?

Do you know this look?  I sometimes wish cats could smile-

Just a tiny amount will give your cat a happy playtime.

I keep a ziplock bag of it for tossing  toys in when he wants to play.

June 7, 2014 garden 029

He especially enjoys it on evenings too cold or wet for him to go outside and run.

You probably know already that Catnip is perfectly safe for cats. 

There are no harmful effects.  Cats are smart enough to know when to stop playing in it, and its effects wear off within a few minutes.

There are some medicinal uses for Catnip in humans, but it should always be avoided by women who may be pregnant.

Interestingly, Catnip is said to has proven more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET in trials.  It is perfectly safe to pick a few sprigs to rub over the skin when working outside.

Almost hidden...

Almost hidden…

Catnip is among the herbs brought to North America by English settlers in the 17th Century.  It is actually native to Europe and Asia.

Its leaves and stems  have proven effective in repelling other insects which may try to invade the kitchen….  You can sprinkle dried Catnip , or lay freshly harvested stems and leaves in areas where ants or other insects may try to enter your home.

Easy to grow, perennial Nepeta cataria likes full sun and moist soil.

When it blooms in another week or so this mass of Catnip will be covered in happy insects enjoying its nectar.

June 7, 2014 garden 045

Whether you have a feline friend to please, or not; this is a beautiful plant in the garden.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

After enjoying the Catmint, Ollie loves to roll around and hope to be petted.

After enjoying his  Catnip our cat  loves to roll around.

 

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