Blossom VII

August 1, 2016 blossoms 005

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“If patterns exist in our seemingly patternless lives —

and they do —

then the law of harmony insists

that the most harmonious of all patterns,

circles within circles,

will most often assert itself.”

.

Dean Koontz

~

August 1, 2016 blossoms 006

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016
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“What we call chaos

is just patterns we haven’t recognized.

What we call random

is just patterns we can’t decipher.”

.

Chuck Palahniuk

~

August 1, 2016 blossoms 001

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Blossom I
Blossom II
Blossom III
Blossom IV
Blossom V
Blossom VI
Blossom VIII

 

Nature Challenge Day 5: Opening

May 28, 2016 ferns 003~

This weekend marks the official opening of summer for many families.  Pools open and families take off on their first road trip of the season.

In our garden, summer flowers open their first dramatic buds in hanging baskets and pots.   These Petunias earn their place with their intense hues and hardy constitution.  Full sun flowers, we count on them to bloom vigorously until frost.

~

May 28, 2016 ferns 001~

Petunias often return to us season to season.  These beauties, from seed dropped from last year’s planting,  delight us with their unexpected patterns and color.

Perennials in warmer climates, these tenacious flowers want to live, and manage to last through winter in surprising ways.  My father kept a pot alive by a window last winter in his unheated workshop.  They have overwintered outside in pots beside a brick wall for us, some years.

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May 28, 2016 ferns 009~

Gardening, like all things in life, grows more interesting as we open ourselves to new possibilities.    When we push the boundaries a little, and explore new experiences, we find a richness in our lives we may not have expected.

When we open ourselves, a new world of experience opens to us.  The first few weeks of summer have always held this promise for me.

~

May 28, 2016 ferns 002 (2)~

Blogging friend, Y., invited me to join the Seven Day Nature Challenge last Saturday from her new site, In the Zone.  I appreciate the invitation and the renewed friendship as we trade comments each day!

For this fifth day of the challenge, I’ll invite you again to join in.

~

May 28, 2016 ferns 004~

This challenge has been out there for a while, and many nature photographers have already participated.  If you would like to take up the challenge, please accept in the comments and I’ll link back to you tomorrow.

 If you decide to accept this Seven Day Nature Photo Challenge, too, I’ll look forward to seeing what surprises May has brought to your corner of the world, even as I share the beauty of ours. 

Woodland Gnome 2016

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May 28, 2016 ferns 008

Silent Sunday: Blooming

 

June 14, 2015 garden 006

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“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak,

return to yourself, to who you are, here and now

and when you get there,

you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom,

even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.”

.

Masaru Emoto, Secret Life of Water

~

June 14, 2015 garden 007

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“Solitude is the soil

in which genius is planted, creativity grows,

and legends bloom;

faith in oneself is the rain

that cultivates a hero to endure the storm,

and bare the genesis of a new world, a new forest.”

.

Mike Norton,

~

 

June 14, 2015 garden 057

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“Love yourself, even a little bit each day,

and your life will bloom into infinite joy.”

.

Amy Leigh Mercree

~

 

June 14, 2015 garden 019

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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June 14, 2015 garden 018

The Root of the Matter

June 2, 2015 pots 001

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Early summer is the season when our new plant acquisitions sink their roots into the garden.

This tiny cutting from an ornamental sweet potato vine grew roots as it sat in a little vase of water by my kitchen sink.  Did you notice how the roots are curled into a spiral?

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June 2, 2015 pots 002

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You may notice that roots grow in a circular pattern around the inside of a nursery pot, as well.  When we knock a new plant out of its pot, we gently loosen these roots, growing round the outer edge of its root ball, to encourage them to grow out into the surrounding soil.   The plant grows more vigorously when its root system expands.

This tiny cutting grew these roots in a little less than two weeks.  Once started, sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, grows vigorously.  A tender perennial, the vine will grow until frost kills it back.

I enjoy ornamental sweet potato vines in summer pots, but have not grown any for the last several summers.  They are very attractive to deer, and so must be kept out of their reach.  They are also such vigorous growers that they can overwhelm other plants in a mixed planting.  They are gluttonous for food and drink, and give their best color when grown in full sun.

~

June 2, 2015 pots 003

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I’ve purchased two sweet potato vines of different cultivars this spring, however, and am taking cuttings to add to hanging baskets and planters on our deck.  These vines create a lush, tropical look wherever they are used.

Many plants will root quickly in water during spring and early summer.  This allows us to buy one established plant, and then quickly produce many clones of it.  These new plants grow to a useable size more quickly from cuttings than from seed.

As soon as they grow a few inches of roots they can be potted up or planted in the garden.  A large number of plants of a single cultivar can be had in a matter of weeks for mass plantings, at minimal expense.

~

These Coleus cuttings are rooting in their vase.  They will be ready to plant out by early next week.

These Coleus cuttings are rooting in their vase. They will be ready to plant out by early next week.

~

One of my beloved blogging sisters, Eliza,  sent me a package of scented Pelargonium cuttings this past week, and they are all happily gathered around my kitchen sink tonight engaged in the business of growing their roots.  Half are in a jar of water, and the other half in a pot of damp sand.

~

Pelargonium cuttings, a gift from a blogging sister, rooting in my favorite rooting jar.

Pelargonium cuttings  rooting in my favorite rooting jar.

~

She prefers the damp sand method, and I am following her instructions to the letter.  I am curious to see which method will prove more effective for rooting cuttings.   Which cuttings will root soonest, and with the fewest cuttings lost to decay?

~

This is Eliza's preferred method for rooting cuttings.  in clean, damp sand.  I've kept these covered with a produce bag to increase the humidity around their leaves.  The bamboo skewer holds the bag off of their leaves.

This is Eliza’s preferred method for rooting cuttings. in clean, damp sand. I’ve kept these covered with a produce bag to increase the humidity around their leaves. The bamboo skewer holds the bag off of their leaves.

~

A marvelous and generous gift, I am enjoying the fragrance of these beautiful cuttings, and can’t wait to watch them grow in our garden this summer.

If you’ve not tried creating your own new plants in this way, this is a good time of the season to give it a try.

~

September 4, 2014 Coleus 002~

It is an interesting way to generate a lot of free plants.  As you can see in the photos, roots will begin to grow both from the cut edge of a stem, and also from the nodes where leaves meet stem.

Most gardeners will tell you to remove all leave which would be underwater.  That is good advice, and I don’t often follow it.  The idea is that if those leaves rot, the water is contaminated and you might lose the whole cutting.  As you can see here, the leaves are still just fine, and I have a well-rooted cutting to plant in this mixed pot.

~

A newly planted pot on my deck holds Rosemary, Coleus,  Carzytunia Sparky' Petunia,  Strawberry and Cream Lanai Verbena, and a voluneer seedling of ornamental pepper moved over from another pot.

A newly planted pot on my deck holds Rosemary; Coleus;
‘Carzytunia Sparky’ Petunia; Strawberry and Cream Lanai Verbena; the newly rooted sweet potato cutting; and a volunteer seedling of ornamental pepper moved over from another pot.

~

We’ve had a lot of rain today, so it has proven a good day to pot up cuttings.  I am looking forward to seeing this pot fill in with lots of lush color and interesting form this summer.

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

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June 2, 2015 pots 011

In A Vase: Rooting

May 26, 2015 vase 037

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The flowers and foliage in today’s vase were clipped late this afternoon; mostly from pots on the deck.

So many stems cut for the Monday vases this spring rooted in place, that I chose this particular combination with that intention in mind.

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May 26, 2015 vase 051

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These Coleus, from the “Under the Sea” collection, were clipped from the nursery pots I bought them in on Saturday.  I took cuttings immediately to leave with my father, another Coleus devote’, and now I’ve snipped a little more for cuttings of my own.  The original plants will remain in their pots for another day at least.

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May 26, 2015 vase 039

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Coleus root quickly and easily in water.  My father simply breaks stems from a growing plant and pushes the stem into the soil in another pot.  He has great success, but I am not quite that self-confident.  I enjoy watching the little white roots form in a vase by the kitchen window before tucking the well rooted little cutting into some soil.

I’ve managed to collect three of the “Under the Sea” cultivars this spring.  So far I have C. “Lime Shrimp,” C. “Bonefish,” and C. “Gold Anemone.”  These are some of the most delicate and unusual forms of Coleus I’ve ever found, and I like them alone or in combination with annual flowers.  Have you found these at your garden center?  The “Under the Sea” Coleus is easy to grow.  It tolerates more sun than some older cultivars of Coleus, and can grow into a good sized plant over the season.

~

May 26, 2015 vase 046

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With the Coleus is a cutting of a dusky purple Petunia I’m growing in baskets this summer.  I like this unusual color, which was the closest I could find to the wonderful gold and purple striped Petunias I grew in baskets last summer.  Sadly, the plants didn’t make it through the winter.  I hope this Petunia will root, as we enjoy it in the vase.

Our Heuchera, or Coral Bells, have bloomed in pots on the deck.  I grow them for their unusual leaves, and these delicate stems of flowers are a bonus from time to time.  The other stems of flowers were cut from Oxalis.

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May 26, 2015 vase 053

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Finally, I had to add a few little pieces of our Muscadine grape vines, which are such a beautiful shade of green when young and tender.  It is highly unlikely these will root, but I have a place ready for them if they do.  One of the vines I transplanted in early spring has not leafed out, and I cut it back today.

Our mineral today is a cluster of Aqua Aura quartz.

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May 26, 2015 vase 038

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This is actually clear quartz, which was specially treated to create this unusual blue color.  Our little moonstone turtle sits with the vase, also, as a reminder of the turtle eggs incubating now in our garden.

This is the season when there is always more to do in the garden. 

We’ve both been spending our mornings, into the early afternoon, working outside.  We love this time of year, when the garden is growing so rapidly, but it takes enormous time and energy to keep up with it all.  I stayed a bit too long today out in the hot sun, and so wanted something cool and delicate in our vase indoors.

~

May 26, 2015 vase 045

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Please remember to visit Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, who sponsors “In A Vase On Monday” each week.  I appreciate her tireless inspiration to cut and arrange home grown flowers, and to encourage other garden bloggers to do the same.   This week she has created a stunning arrangement she calls, “Storm in a Teacup.”  You’ll find many links to other gardeners’ blogs in her comments.

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May 26, 2015 vase 035

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And remember, you can enjoy beautiful foliage in your vase while it roots.  Just as our gardens find their structure in foliage and accents in flowers; so our arrangements may, as well.

We enjoy both the pleasure of its beauty and the gift of a new plant when we eventually take it all apart.  It is sort of like eating your cake, and having it, too .

~

May 26, 2015 vase 041

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

One Word Photo Challenge: Eminence

November 13, 2014 cut flowers 001.

The last of summer’s Petunias…

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

and her One Word Photo Challenge:  Eminence

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2014

The Last Day Before Frost

November 12, 2014 garden 002

We definitely expect a freeze by tomorrow night.

We feel it coming in the wind blowing through the garden.  With our high for today in the low 50s, we know it will drop quickly from here on.

The winter storm which has so much of the country in its icy grip is blowing into Williamsburg this weekend.

 

Many of the pots have been replanted now with Violas and ornamental kale.

Many of the pots have been replanted now with Violas and ornamental kale.

 

With so much of the country under snow, and threat of snow, we can hardly complain about a mid-November frost.

But the day is still tinged with a bit of  sadness.  Sadness, and motivation to take care of everything we possibly can before the cold settles in this evening.

 

The African Blue Basil may be tough,but it isn't cold hardy.  it will die with when it freezes here.

The African Blue Basil may be tough, but it isn’t cold hardy.  It will die with the first heavy frost.  We still see bees and butterflies.  We hope they find shelter or fly south today.

 

After making the coffee this morning, I set about bringing in those last few pots of tender perennials.

I’ve filled every possible spot now in the house and garage with overwintering plants.  The main body of them in the garage  got re-arranged this morning to make room for a few more pots.

 

This Begonia has been lifted from its pot by the door and brought inside to the garage for the winter.

This Begonia has been lifted from its pot by the door and brought inside to the garage for the winter.

 

Even the brave Bougainvillea, which only started blooming in mid- October, finally made the journey from patio to garage this morning.

 

Our three year old Bouganvillia has waited until this week to begin its season of bloom.

Our three year old Bougainvillea has waited until October to bloom.  It came back into the garage this morning, covered in bright cherry flowers.

 

And the supposedly hardy “Pewter” Begonia got brought in to the garage, as well.  Its leaves are so pretty, I hate to let it go to the frost.

A pot of tender ferns, a few more pots of tender succulents, and a final mish-mash pot of Begonia cuttings completed the morning’s efforts.

 

The last pot to come in this morning, these tender ferns have a snug spot by a basement window.

The last pot to come in this morning, these tender ferns now have a snug spot by a basement window.

 

My ever patient partner assisted (supervised) this final effort until getting called away to assist a neighbor.  And from there to another neighbor’s yard, and then to another.

His work out may have been more strenuous than mine, but we all now have covered outside faucets, covered foundation vents, and we’re as ready as we can be for the prolonged stretch of  cold ahead.

 

This winter I'm using watering globes to care for the indoor plants.  Neater, they offer a nearly constant supply of moisture.

This winter I’m using watering globes to care for the indoor plants. Neater, they offer a nearly constant supply of moisture.  The fern hasn’t yet adjusted to the drier inside air.

 

And at noon our local weather guy confided that we may have some “Bay effect snow” by Saturday morning.

That seems to be the way our forecasts evolve around here.  They prepare you for a little change, and then the forecast continues to shift towards the extremes as the system progresses.

We are promised only rain this evening.  And I can feel the falling barometer and approaching storm in all of the usual places….

 

A final photo of our roses before I cut them.

A final photo of our roses before I cut them.

 

 

But we have today to enjoy the garden before Frost’s icy fingers have their way with it.  I’ve moved all those things for which there is simply no spot inside up against a brick wall on the patio.

Petunias survived there two winters ago.

Our sheltered patio provides a microclimate which stays warmer during the winter.  Petunias survived all winter here in 2012, and I hope tender plants will survive here this winter, also.

Our sheltered patio provides a micro-climate which stays warmer during the winter. Petunias survived all winter here in 2012, and I hope tender plants will survive here this winter, also.

 

They began blooming again in February, and just kept going right on through the following summer.  That gives me hope that the few geraniums and succulents I couldn’t bring in have a chance to survive.

And the little olive trees I’ve been nurturing along in pots should make it there, too.

 

Although the Colocasias look unhappy, the ginger lilies have managed fine in our cool nights.  They will all crumple when hit with freezing temperatures this weekend.

Although the Colocasias look unhappy, the ginger lilies and Canna lilies have managed fine in our cool nights. They will all crumple when hit with freezing temperatures this weekend.

 

I’ve read they are growing olives in parts of England, now.  I hope these are hardy enough to survive our winter outside, in this sheltered spot.

They traveled in and out, as the weather shifted, last winter.  It got to be quite a chore, but the olive trees  were in much smaller pots then, too.

 

November 12, 2014 golden day 194

 

And the many Violas we’ve planted will be fine.  They will shrug off the cold.

We’ve planted lots of ornamental kale, a pot of Swiss chard, hardy ferns, bulbs, and our beloved Violas.

Our garden will continue through the winter, even though much will go with  the coming  frost.

 

Camellia

Camellia

 

 

So, we are bracing ourselves for what we’ll find Saturday morning.

The landscape continue to edit and simplify itself.  As the brilliant leaves  fall from their branches, so will our Ginger lilies and Cannas also crumple to the ground.

 

Iris "Rosalie Figge" normally blooms into December for us in Williamsburg.  This is our favorite, and most prolific, re-blooming Iris.

Iris “Rosalie Figge” normally blooms into December for us in Williamsburg. This is our favorite, and most prolific, re-blooming Iris.

 

 

The bright Salvias will shrivel back to the soil.  The Lantana will lose its leaves, though the berries will remain until cleaned up by the birds.

Basil will freeze beside the stalwart Rosemary, which grows and blooms all winter long.

Mexican Petunia, a consistent bloomer all summer, won't survive a freeze.  But its roots are hardy.  It should return in this pot by early summer.

Mexican Petunia, a consistent bloomer all summer, won’t survive a freeze. But its roots are hardy. It should return in this pot early next summer.

 

The last of autumn’s roses will soon freeze, but the Camellias will continue to bloom until spring.

 

I harvested roses and Basil, scented Pelargonium and ivy ahead of the coming rain and cold.  We'll enjoy them a few more days inside.

I harvested roses and Basil, scented Pelargonium and ivy ahead of the coming rain and cold. We’ll enjoy them a few more days inside.

 

It is the way of things, this annual turning of the seasons. 

Butterfly tree produces wonderful turquoise blue seeds, which are much loved by the birds.  Only a few remain.

Butterfly tree produces wonderful turquoise blue seeds, which are much loved by the birds. Only a few remain.

 

Something is always coming on, and something is always fading in the garden.    And we are endlessly fascinated as we witness the changes which come each and every day.

 

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

December 13 2013 poinsettias 003Holiday Wreath Challenge

One Word Photo Challenge: Fuchsia

September 30, Fuschia 006

Fucshia remains one of my favorite plants, and one of my favorite colors.

Both the plant, and the color, attract hummingbirds.

Once we realized we had a community of hummingbirds in our garden, I determined to grow baskets of Fuchsia on our mostly shady deck to attract them.

Since our first spring here in our Forest Garden, I’ve included Fuchsias and fuchsia colored flowers in our potted garden on the deck.

 

Hummingbirds enjoy these fuchsia colored Begonia flowers, also.

Hummingbirds enjoy these fuchsia colored Begonia flowers, also.

 

We are rewarded with frequent visits from our tiny hummingbirds, exploring the daily offering of nectar.

Fuchsias, as tender perennials, will keep going indefinitely when protected from winter’s freezing temperatures.

They grow woody after a while, but can be revived with spring pruning.

September 30, Fuschia 010

Blooms come on new growth.  And the plants take their time getting started each season.  Blossoms may not appear until early summer.

I’ve tried many different cultivars over the years, and had mixed successes and failures.  I’m still learning to grow Fuchsias properly, to be completely honest.

Fuchsias prefer a cooler, moister climate than coastal Virginia offers.

 

Impatiens, like Fuchsias, prefer cool, moist, shady homes.  They grow well in the same pot or basket, along with ferns.

Impatiens, like Fuchsias, prefer cool, moist, shady homes. They grow well in the same pot or basket, along with ferns.

 

They can not abide our intensely hot summer sunshine.  And so they must grow in a spot shaded from our hottest afternoon and early evening summer sun.

They also like steady moisture in their soil, and regular snacks throughout the season.  Give them conditions they prefer, feed them every few weeks, and they bloom non-stop for months.

 

Fuchsia "Marinka"

Fuchsia “Marinka”

 

Some Fuchsia cultivars offer very showy, large flowers in shades of white, pink, red, violet and of course, fuchsia.

I’ve had the most success with a relatively small flowered red variety known as “Marinka.”  The hummingbirds love this one, and it is more forgiving of less than perfect conditions than other cultivars I’ve tried.

 

F. "Marinka" in bud.

F. “Marinka” in bud.

 

And so F. “Marinka” remains a staple of our summer garden, and at least one plant gets to come into the garage each fall to wait out winter in safety.

Other fuschia toned flowers our hummingbirds love include Impatiens, Begonias, geraniums and petunias.

Fuchsia geraniums grow even more intense during the shorter, cooler days of Indian summer.

Fuchsia geraniums grow even more intense during the shorter, cooler days of Indian summer.

We grow a variety of these bright and beautiful flowers all around the house and garden, and are rewarded with frequent glimpses of our hummingbirds enjoying their nectar.

 

Petunias also bring the hummingbirds close to feed.

Petunias also bring the hummingbirds close to feed.

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Fuchsia

One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender

Petunias in a pot by the door, after the rain.

Petunias in a pot by the door, after the rain.

*

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

 

One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender

Lavender Lovers for more lavender flowers in the garden today.

Rain-Glow

Forest Garden in this afternoon's rain.  All of our Crepe Myrtle trees, save one, have come into bloom.

Forest Garden in this afternoon’s rain.   All of our Crepe Myrtle trees, save one, have come into bloom.

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“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Confucius

 

You would never know it was August, here in Williamsburg, without consulting a calender.

We have embarked upon another stretch of cool, moist, overcast days.   It is wonderfully fresh outside.

Good sleeping weather, actually, and we count ourselves fortunate that our garden  remains  well watered without our assistance.

Geranium and ornamental pepper near the door.

Geranium and ornamental pepper  grow near the door.

 

We have enjoyed the garden today, in short bursts, between showers.

How satisfying to see it is growing just as winter’s imagination promised.

 

Begonia

Begonia,  from the Homestead Garden Center

 

Cooler, moister days give us vibrantly deep color in petal and leaf.

Leaves grow into gigantic versions of their springtime selves.

 

Colocasia, "Blue Hawaii" just keeps growing to gigantic proportions.  There are also a few "offsets" at the base, nearly ready to dig to share with friends.

Colocasia, “Blue Hawaii” just keeps growing to gigantic proportions. There are also a few “offsets” at the base, nearly ready to dig to share with friends.

 

Layer upon layer of life  shimmers with rain-glow today; almost as if we were suddenly transported to the beautiful Northwest, or the magical gardens of the  British Isles, from the view out of the window !

 

Cannas fill in this border nicely, Colocasia, Sages, and Lantana at their feet and Hibiscus behind.

Cannas fill in this border nicely; Colocasia, Sages, and Lantana at their feet and Hibiscus behind.

 

Our hummingbirds have grown plump and sassy.

Every view punctuated with nectar rich flowers, they drink their fill, then pause on a handy branch to survey it all.

And we watch them, and talk to them like pets.

 

Ajuga, Coleus, and Petunias.

Ajuga, Coleus, Ivy, and Petunias.

 

Who knew August could be so lovely in Virginia?

We have been blessed with the sort of comfortable day which finds one reaching for those favorite jeans, a cup of coffee, and a good book.

 

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”

Sir Francis Bacon

 

Autumn "Brilliance" Fern with Creeping Jenny

Autumn “Brilliance” Fern with Creeping Jenny

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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