Fabulous Friday: Summer Rain

Colocasia ‘Black Coral’ glows after a rain shower.

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As the early summer rain continues to fall in fits, drizzles and passing storms, I am enjoying a rare quiet day at home, chased inside from any major gardening tasks by the weather.  The forays outside have been brief thus far today, and usually ended with me left feeling soggy from the humidity or a sudden shower.

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Ferns and hardy Begonias enjoy our damp weather.

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I woke this morning concerned about all of the little plants in their nursery pots, still waiting to be planted out.  I thought of how soggy their roots must be and rushed outside to move them as needed and empty standing water that had collected overnight.

Soggy roots can mean sudden death for many plants that need a bit of air in their soil.  That set me to puttering about with pots and baskets and a few strategic transplanting jobs.

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Rose scented Pelargonium likes room for its roots to breathe.

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I am especially concerned for the Caladiums still growing on in their bins.  It is one of those tasks that gets more difficult the longer one procrastinates.  While I wait for the new ones, ordered this spring to emerge, the ones grown from over-wintered bulbs have gotten huge and leggy; their roots entangled.  But the wet soil and frequent showers give me reason to wait another day for more transplanting.

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What won’t wait is our annual dance with the bamboo grove in the ravine.  Bamboo is considered a grass, but what a stubborn and determined force of nature it as proven to be in our garden!  Though we didn’t plant it, we admire it and appreciate its beauty.

But that beauty is expected to stay within reasonable bounds.  The bamboo disagrees, determinedly marching up the slope of our garden towards the house.  It sends out small scouting sprouts ahead of its main force.  We must stay on top of these year round, as they seek to colonize every bed and pathway.  The bamboo’s main assault begins in late April, as its new stalks emerge.

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We allow a certain number of these to grow each spring, and it seems that we give up another few feet of garden to the ‘bamboo forest’ with each passing year.  What would happen if we were away in May?  Could we find the house when we returned?

Every day we seek out and remove the new bamboo stalks growing in spots we cannot allow.  The squirrels appreciate our efforts, and feast on the broken shoots we leave for them.

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And so it was that we were out early this morning, me with the pots and saucers, and attacking the new bamboo that emerged over night.  This constant stream of moisture has encouraged its audacity.

As we made another tour of the garden during a break in the rain this afternoon, my partner called me over to see one of our garden visitors.

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She was hiding under a very large sage plant.  At least I hope she was hiding, and had not dug a nest to lay her eggs.

The turtles like our garden.  We find them resting in the greenness of forgotten places, and try to always give them their peace.  They repay us by eating their share of bugs each day.

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But just as I settled in to re-plant another pot or two with Caladiums, the brief sunshine was blotted out by another passing, rain soaked cloud.  Large cold drops of rain splattered down much quicker than I expected, leaving me all wet once again.

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And so there is nothing to do but enjoy the luxury of a rainy afternoon indoors.  The coffee is made, and I’ll soon be off to enjoy a good book with the cat curled up by my feet.

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Woodland Gnome 2018

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Fabulous Friday:  Happiness is contagious; let’s infect one another!
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Sunday Dinner: Tranquility

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“Quiet is peace. Tranquility.
Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life.
Silence is pushing the off button.
Shutting it down. All of it.”
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Khaled Hosseini

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“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire.
Perfect tranquility within
consists in the good ordering of the mind,
the realm of your own.”
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Marcus Aurelius

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“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture.
If our thoughts are peaceful, calm,
meek, and kind; then that is what our life is like.
If our attention is turned
to the circumstances in which we live,
we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts
and can have neither peace
nor tranquility.”
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Thaddeus of Vitovnica
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“Sometimes you just have to find something
to keep your body grounded,
your mind flexible, and your heart open.”
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Imania Margria
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018

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“Peace is not the absence of chaos.
It is the presence of tranquility and joy
in the midst of chaos.”
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Debasish Mridha

High Strangeness

May 13, 2015 ferns 012

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Do you know this plant?

What would you think were you to find this emerging from the Earth sporadically all over your garden?

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May 13, 2015 ferns 021

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This is absolutely one of the strangest things I’ve encountered in this terribly odd Forest Garden we tend.

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May 13, 2015 ferns 020

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There is a bamboo grove at the bottom of the back garden, growing out of the ravine, which sends up new shoots of bamboo each spring.

We try to keep it in its bounds, but that is sort of like keeping an English Setter puppy on its leash at the beach.  If you’ve raised a  hunting dog, you know exactly what such creatures do.

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May 13, 2015 ferns 023

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And this bamboo, in its exuberant spring growth, sent up this massive shoot more than 20 feet from the established stand of bamboo.  Look at its massive girth!  It came up right at the base of a young fig tree, in the midst of a sage plant.  And as if that weren’t enough, there was no sign of this bamboo when I was last tending this bed on Sunday.  This appeared between Sunday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon.

We realize now that the bamboo has sent its roots and runners underneath this entire area in the lower garden.  We found other, smaller, shoots coming up in several places far and wide from our “Bamboo Forest.”  A Japanese friend told us we can eat them, but we still have not.  We remove them, marvel at them, and compost them.

When I removed this one today, I was surprised to notice how large the empty cavities are within the stalk.  These cavities, separated by thin membranes,  contain water.  Bamboo is a most useful plant.  And I am sure in regions where it is regularly harvested and used, it is very desirable.  Our particular variety quickly grows to the height of a tree, more than 40 feet tall, in a few weeks.

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May 13, 2015 ferns 022~

Plants become invasive when they upset the balance of life in an area.  When they grow unchecked, taking over the territory needed by other, weaker plants, then they cause a problem.

Many of us don’t think ahead far enough to realize that the beautiful plant we bring home to our garden may one day take over and become an invasive nuisance.  We often barely even consider the mature size of a plant, let alone what may happen with it decades down the road when its seed and roots have spread far beyond where we originally intended for it to grow.

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Our ancient grove of native Mountain Laurel

Our ancient grove of native Mountain Laurel

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Many plants, like ivy, take a few years to get established.  Then once they have grown a large system of roots, they suddenly take off, surprising you with their rampant growth.

My day has been spent in the garden today. 

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A lovely Azalea, planted long ago, nearly swallowed by the shrubs and trees which grow around it now.

A lovely Azalea, planted long ago, nearly swallowed by the shrubs and trees which grow around it now.

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One of my beloved gardening sisters invited me to dig ferns from the steep slope behind her home.  She’s been weeding and tending the slope for long enough now that the ferns have begun to take over.  She has at least six different varieties naturalized, and called me to share in the bounty.

I’ll show you more of that adventure tomorrow, and some of the beautiful ferns she gave me.

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One of the ferns growing in my friends' garden.

Two of the ferns growing in my friends’ garden. I dug tiny starts of both of these varieties.

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My task, once home, was to clean up the shady bank where I wanted to plant them.  More invasive plants gone wild:  honeysuckle and wild strawberry vines, clumps of grass, unknown yellow flowering weeds, and more had to come out before I tucked the new ferns into moist shady Earth where they may grow and spread.

One man’s weed is another man’s wildflower, so they say.  Gardening is always about making choices about what may grow and what must go!

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May 13, 2015 ferns 040

Some of the newly planted ferns are visible lower right, dovetailing into the fern garden we’ve been working to establish for the last five years.  The new Rhododendron is just visible top, center. This area is cut with a path.

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But whether “desirable” or not, plants serve their purpose in the garden community.

As I was pulling tall “weeds” from around another fern bed today, there was a beautiful painted turtle hiding in their moist shade.  Those weeds were his mid-afternoon shelter.  He probably eats the insects drawn to them, or perhaps some part of the plant itself.  I quietly left off pulling in that area, and moved on elsewhere to leave the turtle in peace.

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The Rhododendron I brought home in February has finally bloomed!  Some may find these electric purple flowers highly strange.....

The Rhododendron I brought home in February has finally bloomed! Some may find these electric purple flowers highly strange…..

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Our gardens are always full of high strangeness, when we take the time to observe.  We may find an unusual insect, a new bird, or a beautiful flower in bloom.

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May 13, 2015 ferns 034~

It is never the same from one day to the next, which is why the garden endlessly fascinates me.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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May 13, 2015 ferns 047

Reaching For the Sky

 

June 7, 2014 at dusk

June 7, 2014 at dusk

The bamboo  has not only tried to creep up the hill into our garden this season, now it is reaching for the sky.

The new stems have already grown a good 12 to 14 feet higher than the bamboo standing from previous years.

June 12, 2014

June 12, 2014

And, they are still growing! 

June 12, 2014 eggplant 011

We watch each day as they reach higher and higher wondering what has sparked such tremendous growth.

I have enjoyed the rain-kissed spires reaching up towards our treetops this week.

June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014

Did I mention there is no level ground anywhere in our garden?

So when we look out at the bamboo, we are already much higher than where they have sunk their roots.  These are truly giants.

Mid-May

Mid-May

We appreciate the wonderful screen they provide, offering privacy, breaking the wind, and muffling sound along our little ravine.

They make a thick living fence , offering abundant cover for our families of song birds.

They also cool the yard.  Their deep shade is always noticeably cooler than anywhere else in the garden.

The march of the bamboo up the hill back  in early May.  We have had to control the growth up towards the garden.

The march of the bamboo up the hill back in early May. We have had to control the growth up towards the garden.

We don’t know what sparked this prodigious growth, and wonder if they can continue to grow taller year after year.

There is bamboo on the approach to Jamestown Island and in other odd spots around Williamsburg.

I would love to know whether this is a native plant, or whether it has simply naturalized in our area.

May 19, 2014 new raised bed fern garden 061

Another “legacy plant” in our garden, we come to love it more and more each year.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

May 11,2014 Bamboo and roses 003

WPC: Bamboo, On the Move

May 11,2014 Bamboo and roses 007

Our grove of bamboo, growing in the edge of the ravine when we bought this property, is on the move again. 

May 11,2014 Bamboo and roses 003

Every spring it expands its reach, little by little.  This year we stopped it sternly in its first attempt to move up the hill towards the butterfly gardens.

May 11,2014 Bamboo and roses 011

It has responded with strong new growth.  On the move, claiming as much of the garden as possible, we will need another conversation about limits.

May 11,2014 Bamboo and roses 004

We love the bamboo’s cool green shade in summer.

The bamboo’s thick growth stops the deer, and offers shelter to our family of cardinals, who retreat into its depths at dusk.

May 11,2014 Bamboo and roses 010

It is a beautiful barrier, muting sound and cleansing the air.    This is an ongoing negotiation with our forest garden.

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

May 11,2014 Bamboo and roses 013

Weekly Photo Challenge:  On the Move

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