“One joy dispels a hundred cares.”
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016
Tips, tricks, and tools for gardening in a forest community
Posted in Blossom, Crepe Myrtle, Gardening in Williamsburg, Nature art, Nature Photography, Perma-culture, Photography, Plant photos, Summer Garden, Trees, Wildlife gardening
Tags: Blossom, Crepe Myrtle, Flower photographs, Forest Garden, Nature Art, Nature Photography, Perma-culture, Summer garden, trees, wildlife gardening
Posted in Autumn, Autumn Garden, Color, Crepe Myrtle, Dogwood, Foliage, Gardening addiction, Gardening in Williamsburg, NaBloPoMo, Native Plants, Nature Photography, Perma-culture, Photography, Plant photos, Poetry, Roses, Trees, Zone 7B Cultural Information
Tags: Autumn, Autumn color, Autumn Garden, autumn roses, Beauty Berry Bush, Crepe Myrtle, Dogwood tree, Forest Garden, Gardening in Williamsburg, NaBloPoMo, Nature Photography, Perma-culture, Poetry, postaday, trees
We all need a bit more loving kindness in our hearts and in our lives.
Lama Surya Das, author and teacher, published his personal version of the Buddhist Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, on his blog last week.
This is a beautiful meditation, which I would like to share with you.
May I be happy, content and fulfilled.
May all beings be happy!
May we all be equally peaceful, safe and serene.
May all beings be free from harm, danger and fear.
May we walk together the path of wisdom and compassion.
May I practice loving kindness.
May I practice equanimity, acceptance and non-reactivity.
May I be free from suffering and enjoy peace and ease.
May my heart remain open.
May I enjoy and appreciate the holy Now.
May I awaken to the intrinsic Light of my own original true nature.
May I be healed and whole again;
May the planet be healed and restored.
May I recognize my intrinsic interconnectedness and interdependence with others,
And help overcome inequality and poverty through generous sharing and nonattachment.
May I live in gratitude and grace.
May I love deeply, and with full acceptance, and may I open my heart also to receive love.
May I forgive and be forgiven.
May I be free from suffering, stress and anxiety.
May I see the radiant light in all people and things, including those who disagree with me.
“Learning how to love is the goal and the purpose of spiritual life —
not learning how to develop psychic powers,
not learning how to bow, chant, do yoga, or even meditate,
but learning to love.
Love is the truth. Love is the light.”
Lama Surya Das
These Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Crepe Myrtle and Roses were blooming in our garden this morning. It was nice to discover them between showers, and to share them with you….
Posted in Crepe Myrtle, Flower Gardening, Gardening addiction, Gardening in Williamsburg, Hibiscus, Nature Photography, Perennials, Perma-culture, Plant photos, Rose of Sharon, Summer Garden, Symmetry, Trees, Zone 7B Cultural Information
Tags: Crepe Myrtle, Forest Garden, Gardening in Williamsburg, Lama Surya Das, Loving Kindness, Nature Photography, Perennials, Perma-culture, Rose of Sharon, Roses, Summer garden
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.
We have enjoyed the garden today, in short bursts, between showers.
How satisfying to see it is growing just as winter’s imagination promised.
Cooler, moister days give us vibrantly deep color in petal and leaf.
Leaves grow into gigantic versions of their springtime selves.
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 !
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.
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.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
Posted in Ajuga, Begonia, Colocasia, Color, Crepe Myrtle, Environmental Preservation, Ferns, Gardening addiction, Geranium, James City Co. VA, Nature art, Ornamental Pepper, Pelargonium, Perma Culture, Petunia, Plant photos, Plants which attract butterflies, Plants which attract hummingbirds, Plants which attract pollinating insects, Summer Garden, Trees, Wildlife gardening, Zone 7B Cultural Information
Tags: August, Begonia, Canna Lilly, Colocasia, Crepe Myrtle, Forest Garden, Gardening in Williamsburg, Geranium, Ornamental Pepper, Pelargonium, Summer garden, Weather, wildlife gardening
Hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into seasons; as we drift through the unfolding year something new always opens up for us, even as something spent is crumpling and falling away.
The first week of July, well into the summer, hosts a fresh round of openings and beginnings here in our forest garden.
Hibiscus and Buddleia, Dill and Crepe Myrtle are all opening and unfolding the first of their flowers at the moment.
I love to find a plant covered in buds; full of potential and beauty, ready to open itself to the garden.
July, as flower-filled as May in our garden, also offers up an incalculable array of shades and hues of green.
When rain has been plentiful, as it is this year, greens are fresh and vibrant.
Greenness generates the energy needed for growth; and one may almost hear the whispers of unfolding leaves and lengthening stems on a warm summer evening.
Change comes minute upon minute in the garden during deep summer.
Abundant moisture and constant heat provide the hothouse for outrageous growth.
Vines stretch and new seeds germinate.
Shrubs magically expand and ferns fill in the open spaces.
Buds constantly opening fill every breeze with sweetness.
Every part of the garden glows with color.
A garden serves as a reliable text book for life.
Lessons trivial and profound are written daily in the sky and soil.
Every creature and plant is a willing tutor to those who engage with them with mind and heart open to their wisdom.
The changing light weaves a new story each day; a faithful Scheherazade for those who will listen and take pleasure in the tale.
In July, the garden’s theme is abundance and profound love.
Source is generous with its gifts, nourishing through its fruits, and rich in its beauty.
Posted in Ageratum, Begonia, Buddleia, Catnip, Color, Comfrey, Crepe Myrtle, Dill, Environmental Preservation, Ferns, Garden planning, Garden Resources, Gardening addiction, Gardening in Williamsburg, Muscadine Grapes, Nature art, Perennials, Perma Culture, Plant photos, Plants which attract butterflies, Plants which attract hummingbirds, Plants which attract pollinating insects, Redbud Tree, Rose of Sharon, Summer Garden, Wildlife gardening, Zone 7B Cultural Information
Tags: "Harlequin", Ageratum, Begonia, Buddleia, Cane Begonia, Canna Lily, Crepe Myrtle, Forest Garden, Hibiscus moscheutos, Joe Pye Weed, John Muir, Rose of Sharon, wildlife gardening
Crape Myrtle, Lagerstroemia, offers bright color and happiness wherever it is planted. One of the most beautiful ornamental trees in all seasons, Crepe Myrtle is especially loved in coastal Virginia. Our Crepe Myrtle, one of over 50 species, is the Lagerstroemia indica, originally from China and Korea. It is hardy as far north as Zone 6.
In fact, the streets of Norfolk, Virginia, are lined with beautiful Crepe Myrtle trees, a project of the much loved Fred Huette. Mr. Huette began the Norfolk Botanical gardens in 1936 with WPA money from the federal government, and spent the rest of his career beautifying the city of Norfolk with his staff and many, many, volunteers from Norfolk garden clubs. Driving through the streets of Norfolk today one is mesmerized by the beauty of thousands of Crepe Myrtle trees lining its streets.
Mr. Huette, who went on to be appointed the Superintendent of Norfolk’s city parks, understood the impact the trees make when planted uniformly along a street. He sent his staff to plant two Crepe Myrtle trees in front of the home of any city resident who would allow it. Since they were all the same color, and many planted at roughly the same time along a given street, they make a spectacular show today, some 80 years later.
Still popular throughout the area, residents today have a wide choice of cultivars from which to choose. Crepe Myrtles are available in many different sizes and colors. The newest hybrids are dwarf shrubs which can grow in a pot, and stay under 4’ high even when planted out in the garden. The largest Crepe Myrtle cultivars of L. indica top out around 30’.
McDonald’s Garden Center, based in Hampton, VA, offers its customers a Crepe Myrtle Festival each July, right at the end of the active season for buying summer plants. For the past 23 years, customers have collected “Myrtle Money” from purchases earlier in the season to spend at the festival, which is a high point of the summer in Tidewater.
Thanks in part to their promotion of this beautiful plant, Crepe Myrtle trees are a familiar sight along city streets from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg. Used extensively by VDOT for beautifying median strips, they are also found in neighborhoods, shopping centers, apartment complexes, and around public buildings.
Originally from Asia, the first Crepe Myrtle tree was imported through Charleston SC in 1790 by French botanist Andre Michaux. The largest species, L. speciosa, originally from tropical India, can only be grown in the southernmost parts of Florida, Texas, California, and in Hawaii. It can grow to nearly 70’ tall. L. indica is the common species found throughout much of the southern United States north of Zone 9.
Crepe Myrtles produce flowers in white, red, many shades of pink, lavender, and purple. All of the flowers are relatively small, but grow in large panicles which cover the tree in late summer and early fall. The orange stamens are more visible in some cultivars than in others. Sometimes called, “The tree of 100 days,” Crepe Myrtle will bloom between 90 and 110 days each summer depending on the cultivar.
Crepe Myrtle, although not native to North America, has naturalized in many areas, and is an excellent tree in a wildlife garden. They self seed easily and grow along the sunny edge of the forest in my ravine. They are much loved by birds for perching, nesting, and feasting on seeds in winter and insects in summer. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds visit their flowers. They are rarely touched by deer.
Though beautiful, the flowers can make a mess when they fall in heavy rain. It is best to avoid planting the trees where they will shed onto a driveway or other area where cars are parked. Spent flowers can be annoying on walkways near the house where they can be tracked inside on shoes.
Similarly, the bark exfoliates as the tree grows. This makes for beautiful stems, but the gardener may wish to clean up the fallen bark.
Crepe Myrtles can be trained to a single trunk, but many cultivars prefer to grow as a multi-stemmed shrub. Suckers form from around the base of the plant each summer and are usually trimmed off.
Some gardeners indulge in a particular form of Crepe Myrtle cruelty by heavily pruning the tree each winter. Often done to control size, this heavy pruning leaves the tree looking like an amputee all spring as the tree struggles to produce new branches. Crepe Myrtle flowers on new wood each season. It is a fast grower, especially when the summer is wet.
Better to purchase a cultivar which will grow to the size required than to butcher the tree annually to control size. The grace and beauty of the tree’s natural shape is completely lost. The tree can still be cut back an thinned in late winter or early spring, but severe coppicing is unsightly and ultimately weakens the tree.
On smaller trees, spent flowers can be trimmed back in late summer before seeds form to encourage another flush of flowering. This extends the season of bloom into September. Once seed heads form, they linger throughout the winter months. They can be left to feed hungry birds in winter, or can be snipped off of smaller trees without interfering with the beauty of the branches.
The beauty of Crepe Myrtle extends into the winter months. Although somewhat brittle, they are open and sculptural enough to be a good support for white lights during the holidays and into the new year.
Plant Crepe Myrtle in sun or part sun in any well drained soil. They are widely adaptable. Crepe Myrtle is a tough tree. Although fall is considered the best season to establish new trees and shrubs in our area, potted Crepe Myrtle trees can be planted most any time. Water well during dry spells for the first year or two until they establish good roots. Fertilize in early spring with Espona’s Plant Tone organic fertilizer. Newly planted trees also respond well to Neptune’s Harvest mixed in a dilute solution every few weeks. Neptune’s Harvest, poured over a small tree or shrub, is a good foliar feed and offers additional minerals to encourage early growth.
Powdery mildew will afflict some cultivars during especially hot and humid weather. Newer hybrids, especially the ‘Fauriei Hybrids’ (with the Native American Indian tribal names) are resistant to mildew; are strong growers; and have good fall color and beautiful bark.
This group includes Natchez (white), Muskogee (light lavender), Tuscarora
(deep watermelon pink), Tonto (deep watermelon red), Arapaho (deep red), Sioux ( intense pink), Catawba ( purple),
A remarkable tree, Crepe Myrtle adds beauty and drama to the garden throughout the year. Planting one is a loving gesture to all who will admire it and to all of the garden creatures who will enjoy its shelter and nectar for decades to come.
All photos by Woodland Gnome taken in Williamsburg and James City Co. Virginia
For more information:
Illustrated List of Crepe Myrtle Cultivars
More information on Fred Huette
Posted in bees, butterflies, Butterfly tree, Crepe Myrtle, Garden planning, Gardening How-To, Gardening in Williamsburg, History, James Towne, Perma-culture, Plant photos, Plants which attract butterflies, Plants which attract hummingbirds, Plants which attract pollinating insects, Plants which feed birds, pruning, VA, Zone 7B Cultural Information
Tags: Crepe Myrtle, Fred Huette, Jamestown, Lagerstroemia, Norfolk, VA, Virginia, Williamsburg Virginia