Memorial

~

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry.
There are things that death cannot touch.”
.
Jack Thorne

~

~

“People you love never die. That is what Omai had said,
all those years ago. And he was right.
They don’t die. Not completely.
They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you.
You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough,
they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars
could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.”
.
Matt Haig

~

~

“The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions
the night he passed on.”
.
Ray Bradbury

~

~

“Sadly enough, the most painful goodbyes
are the ones that are left unsaid and never explained.”
.
Jonathan Harnisch

~

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“And now the birds were singing overhead,
and there was a soft rustling in the undergrowth,
and all the sounds of the forest that showed that life was still being lived
blended with the souls of the dead in a woodland requiem.
The whole forest now sang…”
.
Terry Pratchett

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018
*
“Write your dreams down, toss them into the sea,
and make a wish, Isabel.
Life is too short to live with regrets,
own today as if it was your last.”
.
A.M. Willard

~

~

“In any weather, at any hour of the day or night,
I have been anxious to improve the nick of time,
and notch it on my stick too;
I stand on the meeting of two eternities,
the past and future,
which is precisely the present moment;
to toe that line.”
.
Henry David Thoreau
~

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WPC: Weathered Flowers

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Flowers have survived on our Hydrangea quercifolia shrubs longer this season than ever before.  From buds to these weathered remnants, we have enjoyed them daily over their season.

This is the longest they’ve ever lasted, as some years the flowers  are eaten off of our oakleaf Hydrangeas by hungry deer before the flowers fully mature.

~

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I see these winter wilted leaves and weathered flowers as a small sign of victory in our ongoing struggles with this garden.  Like an elderly person, a story of survival is told in every detail of their countenance.

Winter teaches us to find beauty in all stages of life.  It shows us the dignity of strength and tenacity, and serves as

~

Allium flowers, gone to seed, and now with the seeds mostly blown away.  Their structure and grace remains.

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“…a reminder that there’s beauty to be found in the ephemeral and impermanent.”

~

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For the Daily Post’s:

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Weathered

Sunday Dinner: Simple

~

“As you simplify your life,
the laws of the universe will be simpler;
solitude will not be solitude,
poverty will not be poverty,
nor weakness weakness.”
.
Henry David Thoreau
~
~
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease.
Hack away at the inessentials.”
.
Bruce Lee
~
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“Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life
consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
.
Lin Yutang
~
~
“Every solution to every problem is simple.
It’s the distance between the two
where the mystery lies.”
.
Derek Landy
~
~
“It’s as simple as that.
Simple and complicated,
as most true things are.”
.
David Levithan
~
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
~
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“Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.”
.
Ann Voskamp

Water-Colored

The James River

The James River

~

Wetness upon wetness, and still it rains.  Beautiful clouds swirl through the skies, allowing glimpses of piercing September blue high above them.  Great mounds of heavy rain-filled cloud soon follow, and the staccato tapping of rain on the roof and porch heralds yet another tropical shower.

Water oozes with each step in the garden now.  Clear water trickles through the ditch under our drive.  Roadsides and parking lots mirror the sky.

~

september-22-2016-parkway-010

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Our long drought has broken.  On this first day of autumn, the equinox, we celebrate each cool breeze over the wet garden.  The land is replenished, refreshed, revived, and reinvigorated.

We see new growth, the resurrection of what had grown dry and desiccated.  We move into the new season with fresh confidence, looking forward to those seasonal changes still to come.

We are fortunate, here in Williamsburg, that the land is riddled with creeks and ravines.  There is always somewhere else for the water to flow.  The land drains, and so flooding remains rare.

Neighbors to the south and east have not fared as well.  Flooding has stopped daily routines in many areas nearby.  This week became an unplanned holiday for many as streets became canals;  parking lots ponds.

~

september-22-2016-parkway-029~

We saw a family of happy turkeys this afternoon, finding their dinners along the roadside.  My partner counted eight.  Dusk was gathering, but their movements let us see them through the gloom.

We found herons and eagles along the banks of the creeks, deer in the open fields, and fish jumping clear of the river.   What rich diversity of life shares this place!

~

september-22-2016-parkway-024

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The reeds and grasses in the creeks have turned golden now, and have been beaten down in places from the rain and high tides.  Shorter days and cooler nights will soon reduce them to buff colored chaff , and then the mud will shine through, and before long push-ups will dot the marshes again; homes to small creatures through the winter.

The seasons come and go like the tides; more slowly, but just as constant.  This week we feel the season turning from dry heat to wet coolness; from expansion towards rest.

Eagle nests stand empty in the trees, the youngsters now out exploring the creeks.

Soon we’ll hear the cries of geese flying over the garden each morning.  Whether they stay or go elsewhere, they still gather into great Vs and fly, singing their ageless melodies at dawn and dusk.  They often stop at the pond below our garden, finding food in the shallows and safety on its calm waters.

~

september-22-2016-parkway-003~

And the garden calls me back outside, now that the ground has grown soft and workable again.  I’ve a few shrubs waiting to stretch their pot-bound roots into the native soil.  There are potted ferns, and soon there will be bulbs to plant.  There are beds to weed, some Irises to divide, and perennials which need a bit of grooming.  All these tasks were made to wait until the drought was ended.

But as the garden sits refreshed, so also do I.  The cool breezes breathe fresh energy into us, too.  And Indian Summer is upon us, one of the most beautiful seasons of our year.

~

september-22-2016-rain-012

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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september-22-2016-rain-009

Sunday Dinner: Consumption

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 024~

“Mindful consumption is the object of this precept.

We are what we consume.

If we look deeply into the items

that we consume every day,

we will come to know our own nature very well.

We have to eat, drink, consume,

but if we do it unmindfully, we may destroy

our bodies and our consciousness,

showing ingratitude toward our ancestors,

our parents, and future generations.”

.

Thich Nhat Hanh

~

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 019

~

“I vow to ingest only items that preserve well-being,

peace, and joy in my body and my consciousness…

Practicing a diet is the essence of this precept.

Wars and bombs are the products of our consciousness

individually and collectively. Our collective consciousness

has so much violence, fear, craving, and hatred in it,

it can manifest in wars and bombs.

The bombs are the product of our fear…

Removing the bombs is not enough.

Even if we could transport all the bombs

to a distant planet, we would still not be safe,

because the roots of the wars and the bombs

are still intact in our collective consciousness.

Transforming the toxins in our collective consciousness

is the true way to uproot war .”

.

Thich Nhat Hanh

~

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 026

~

“We convince ourselves that even our shameless waste,

our unchecked consumption and our appalling ignorance

of anyplace in the world except our own little corner

must continue–or they win!

No, when you become smarter and less gluttonous,

you win. We all win!”

.

Bill Maher

~

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 002

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 021

~

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently,

as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves –

slowly, evenly,

without rushing toward the future.”

.

Thich Nhat Hanh

~

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 034~

Still Optimistic….

One of the beautiful Oakleaf Hydrangea, "Snow Queen",  in early June, soon after it was purchased.

One of the beautiful Oakleaf Hydrangea, “Snow Queen”, in early June, soon after it was purchased.

By birth and early training, I am an optimist.  Born in that magical era of the early 60’s, when the Kennedy presidency was young; after Korea and before things exploded and went to rot in Vietnam; I grew up to the sound track of the Beetles, Joan Bayez, Arlo Guthrie, and Peter, Paul, and Mary.  John Denver saw me into adolescence in an era when I still thought he was singing about enjoying the hike.

My dad never failed to encourage me to give people and situations “the benefit of the doubt”, and his perennial optimism, having survived the Great Depression and World War II intact and educated, is ingrained in my character.

By mid- July, this Oakleaf Hydrangea still looks good, although its neighbor has already been grazed.

By mid- July, this Oakleaf Hydrangea still looks good, although its neighbor has already been grazed.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always taken a moment to read the latest “how-to” articles in the popular press.  From learning “how to” dye fabric with roots and berries as a teen, to “how to” clean the house with only fresh lemons, baking powder, and vinegar prior to Y2K; I’m still a sucker for good advice to do the impossible with almost nothing.  My friend and I are still talking about the recent article in the “prepper press” about how to build a year round underground greenhouse garden for $300.00 or less.

Another of the new "Snow Queen" Oakleaf hydrangeas planted this season, has had only very light grazing despite its position near the street, just inside a deer fence.  I hope the Rosemary planted nearby is protecting it.

Another of the new “Snow Queen” Oakleaf hydrangeas planted this season, has had only very light grazing despite its position near the street, just inside a deer fence. I hope the Rosemary planted nearby is protecting it.

So, when a respected neighbor and garden professional recommended Hydrangea quercifolia,  or Oakleaf Hydrangea, “Snow Queen”, as a beautiful, hardy, deer resistant shrub to grow in our neighborhood gardens, I determined to give it a trial.  These beautiful shrubs attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  They are drought tolerant, need little care once established, and will grow into large plants perfect to enclose and screen an area.

I decided to use them in the lower corner of the garden, near the ravine, where I wanted a living barrier against the Bambies.  These shrubs grow quite tall, fill out to nearly 10’ wide, and will be beautiful in all seasons from their sculptural branches in winter, through their white summer blooms, to their scarlet foliage in autumn.

June 12 garden at dusk 020

These “deer resistant”, native hydrangea shrubs are planted against the “deer fencing”, where our yard goes into a wooded ravine. Fig trees grow on either side.

Our friend, Joel Patton, owner of the Homestead Garden Center in Northwestern James City County, already had a crop of H. quercifolia, “Snow Queen” growing in his greenhouses this spring; so when they came ready for sale, I purchased a half dozen with high hopes for their success.

These shrubs were healthy and beautiful when I first planted them.  They were about 2.5’ tall,  growing in gallon pots.  I planted them with plenty of compost and gravel to protect their roots from voles and get them off to a fast start.

Grazed to the stem several weeks ago, this Oakleaf Hydrangea continues to recover.

Grazed to the stem several weeks ago, this Oakleaf Hydrangea continues to recover.

I did everything for these little shrubs that I’ve recommended to others:  I sprayed them with Plant Skydd, doused them with smelly Neptune’s Harvest, mulched them with gravel, and planted them against what appeared to be an impenetrable barrier.  The only thing I didn’t do was cage them in their own little enclosures, but, these native Oakleaf Hydrangeas were supposed to be unappetizing to the deer, Right??

Wrong.  They’ve been grazed all summer.  In fact, despite repeated spraying, dousing, and reinforcing of the “deer fence”, they look more pathetic now than they have all season.  At first it was only one, and the other two continued to grow.  Now they have all been eaten back to the stem.

But, not one to give up easily, today I’ve tried yet another plan to protect them.

September 3, and this poor hydrangea is grazed back to the stem.  I've planted chives at its base and mulched it with molded coffee grounds.

September 3, and this poor hydrangea is grazed back to the stem. I’ve planted chives at its base and mulched it with molded coffee grounds.

I bought a half a dozen pots of garlic chives and onion chives on Homestead’s summer clearance sale, and planted a little smelly clump at the base of each shrub.  And, just to add another layer of protection, I’ve mulched them with moldy coffee grounds.

Onions, garlic and chives are recommended in both Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home Scale Permaculture, by Toby Hemenway and in Rick Austin’s Secret Garden of Survival as excellent plants to use around fruit trees and shrubs as protection from deer.  These hardy perennials clump and spread.  Their odor is a deterrent to grazing deer.  These edibles are a good addition to a “guild” of plants in a forest garden.  I hope they prove effective planted around these struggling Oakleaf Hydrangeas.September 3, 2013 garden 002

Coffee grounds are an excellent soil amendment, providing nitrogen and improving the texture of the soil.  They can be added to compost, dug into a new planting, or used as a mulch.  When allowed to age and mold on the kitchen counter in a sealed container, they develop an unpleasant odor, providing another layer of deterrent when spread around a planting.

September 3, 2013 garden 008So, am I still optimistic about this garden?  Guardedly so, yes. I’m still climbing on that steep learning curve.  There is no resting on any laurels, even as I watch the morning crowd of hummers on the lantana grow each week.  Even as I harvest a handful of bright red jalapeno peppers to share with a friend, I’m still aware that this is a wild place, and the deer still rule the neighborhood- and graze my garden at will.

All photos by Woodland Gnome, 2013

Garlic chives, now shaded, still bloom.

Garlic chives, in bloom.

  Deer Resistant Plants for James City County, VA

Living With A Herd of Deer

Deer Resistant Plants Which Grow Well In Our Neighborhood- Revised and Improved

July 20 garden photos 008

This Lady Fern has grown on the bank for years, never bothered by the deer. It is deciduous, but returns each spring larger than the year before.

The plants in the following list are mostly ignored  by our herd of deer.  They are well suited to our Williamsburg, Virginia Zone 7B climate and our soil.  Some  gardening friends and I have been compiling this list over the last few years.

We have observed that plants which grow extremely well in some of our gardens, such as Camellias and Hydrangea macrophylla, also called mophead Hydrangea; get eaten in others.  Our mature Camellia shrubs are left alone, but I’ve had tremendous damage done to some, but not all, newly planted Camellias.   Even newly planted oakleaf Hydrangeas have been stripped of their leaves during the last few weeks.

In fact,  newly planted trees and shrubs are the most vulnerable because they are rich in the nitrogen based fertilizers growers lavish on them.  They taste salty and delicious to deer, like salted French fries for us.  Plants which have been in the garden a while tend to have less nitrogen in their leaves and so aren’t as tasty.  When considering how much extra fertilizer to spread around your shrubs and trees, if any, this is an important consideration.  Growing your garden on the lean side might offer additional protection from grazing.

Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower, is a favorite of nectar loving insects. A perennial, it is rarely touched by deer and grows more vigorous each year.

Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower, is a favorite of nectar loving insects. A perennial, it is rarely touched by deer and grows more vigorous each year.

Key to symbols:

a native plant in our area

# attracts birds with berries, fruit, nuts, or seeds

a nectar producing plant which attracts butterflies and other pollinating insects

+ a nectar producing plant which attracts hummingbirds

Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Bamboo provides cover for nesting birds, shelter from the weather, and a steady supply of insects to eat. Deer never touch it.

Bamboo provides cover for nesting birds, shelter from the weather, and a steady supply of insects to eat. Deer never touch it.

# * + Althea, Rose of Sharon Hibiscus syriacus

! #   Bayberry, or Wax Myrtle Myrica cerifera

! # * Beautyberry Bush Callicarpa americana

# *   Boxwood Buxus sempervirens

! # * + Butterfly Bush Buddleia (various species)

# * + Butterfly Tree or Glory Tree  Clerodendrum trichotomum

Camellia C. japonica and C. sasanqua

# * +Crepe Myrtle Lagerstroemia

! # * Dogwood Cornus florida

# * English Laurel Prunus laurocerasus

Mountain Laurel blooms in early May in our neighborhood.

Mountain Laurel blooms in early May in our neighborhood.

# Fig  Ficus carica

* Forsythia

! # * Fringe Tree Chionanthus virginicus

! * Hydrangea arborescens

Japanese Maple Acer palmatum

* +Lilac Syringa vulgaris

# * Mahonia Mahonia aquifolium

"Josee" re-blooming lilac, in its second flush of bloom in late June, is appreciated by all the nectar lovers in the garden.

“Josee” re-blooming Lilac, in its second flush of bloom in late June, is appreciated by all the nectar lovers in the garden.

! Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia (all parts of this plant are highly poisonous)

! # *Magnolia virginiana and other species

Fall blooming Camellia extends the months of bloom well into early winter. Deer don’t graze established shrubs.

# *Heavenly Bamboo Nandina domestica (all parts of this plant are highly poisonous)

! * Native Holly Ilex opaca

! # Oakleaf Hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia

# * Fire Thorn Pyracantha (various species)

! # * +Red Bud Cercis canadensis

# * +  Silk Tree or Mimosa Albizia julibrissin

# * St. John’s Wort Hypericum

! # Southern Wax Myrtle  Myrica cerifera

! # + Red Buckeye Aesculus pavia

! #* Adam’s Needle Yucca filamentosa and other species

Perennials and Bulbs

Alocosia ( various species)

! # * + Butterfly Weed Asclepias species

* Caladium

July 17 hibiscus 007

Rose Mallow, Lavender, Artemesia and Dusty Miller hold no attraction for hungry deer.

* + Canna Lily Canna

*  Centaurea ( various species)

! # * Coreopsis ( various species)

 * + Crocosmia ( various species) 

* Daffodil Narcissus ( various species)

! # * Daisy Asteraceae ( various species)

# * Dianthus ( various species)

! # * Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea

* Euphorbia ( various species)

# * Fall Anemones A. hupehensis

Fern   (click for detailed information)

Autumn Brilliance fern produces coppery colored new leaves throughout the season. Here, trying to protect a little Hosta.

Autumn Brilliance fern produces coppery colored new leaves throughout the season. Here, trying to protect a little Hosta.

# * + Gaillardia ( various species)

The Passion Fruit vine can grow up to 50' a year and produces edible fruit. Grown throughout warm climates, this perennial vine is beautiful and productive.

The Passionflower vine can grow up to 50′ a year and produces edible fruit. Grown throughout warm climates, this perennial vine is beautiful and productive.

* Geranium ( various species)

St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort

* + Ginger Lily Hedychium ( various species)

! * Goatsbeard Aruncus dioicus

* Goldenrod Solidago rugosa

* Lenten Rose Hellebore ( various species) (note, this plant is highly poisonous)

* Dutch Hyacinth Hyacinthus orientalis

 * #  Iris (Bearded, Dutch, Louisiana, Siberian, etc.)

Re-blooming irises will bloom again in late summer, and then continue throwing out blooms through December. They need to grow in an area of full sun to continue blooming.

Re-blooming Irises will bloom again in late summer, and then continue throwing out blooms through December. They need to grow in an area of full sun to continue blooming.

# Ivy

! # * + Rose Mallow Hibiscus moscheutos

! * +Joe Pye Weed  Eutrochium ( various species)

# * Lambs Ears Stychys Byzantina

* + Mexican (Bush) Sage (Salvia leucantha) or Salvia Mexicana

* Muscari ( various species)

* Pelargonium ( various species)

* Peony Paeonia ( various species)

* + Red Hot Poker Kniphofia ( various species)

! # * Black Eyed Susans  Rudbeckia ( various species)

 

Butterflies enjoy Echinacea growing here with Gaillardia, Comfrey, Pentas, and other herbs.

Butterflies enjoy Echinacea growing here with Gaillardia, Comfrey, Pentas, and other herbs.

Gaillardia, gift from a friend's garden, growing here with Comfrey.

Gaillardia, gift from a friend’s garden, growing here with Comfrey.

Purple ruffles basil is one of he most beautiful.

Purple Ruffles Basil is one of he most beautiful.

Herbs

* Artemisia

# * Basil

* Comfrey

* Curry

# * Dill

* Fennel

* Germander

* + Lavender

* Mint

Pineapple sage blooming in late October is a favorite food source for butterflies still in the garden

Pineapple Sage blooming in late October is a favorite food source for butterflies still in the garden

Pineapple Mint with Lavender

Pineapple Mint with Lavender

!# *+ Monarda

* Oregano

# * Parsley

* + Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans

Rosemary

* Sage Salvia species

Annuals and Biennials

* Angelonia

Castor Bean (all parts of this plant are highly poisonous)

Ginger Lily, hardy in Zone 7

Ginger Lily, hardy in Zone 7

# *+Spider Flower Cleome hassleriana

Spiderflower, or Cleome, is beautiful in the garden and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Spider Flower, or Cleome, is beautiful in the garden and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Seen here with Lamb’s Ears and Coneflowers

* Dusty Miller Centaurea cineraria

Star Jasmine, also known as Confederate Jasmine, is evergreen, fragrant, and a magnet for butterflies. Very hardy, it grows enthusiastically.

Star Jasmine, also known as Confederate Jasmine, is evergreen, fragrant, and a magnet for butterflies. Very hardy, it grows enthusiastically.

Yucca in bloom

Yucca filamentosa  in bloom in partial shade.

# * + Foxglove Digitalis purpurea

# * + Lantana or Shrub Verbena Lantana camara

* + Mandevilla sanderi

* Mexican Heather Cuphea hyssopifolia

* New Guinea Impatiens Impatiens hawkeri

Persian Shield Strobilanthes dyerianus

Persian Shield

Persian Shield

* + Pentas ( various species)

* Plectranthus ( various species)

* Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida

# * + Zinnia elegans

Vines

! * + Trumpet Creeper Campsis radicans

! * + Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens

Purple Heart, Sage, and purple Pentas are safe from deer grazing.

Purple Heart, Sage, and purple Pentas are safe from deer grazing.

! # * + Passionflower Passiflora incarnata

*  Periwinkle Vinca major & V. minor

# * Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides

! # * + Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Grasses

Bamboo (various species)

Miscanthus

Plants that will need extraordinary measures to protect in a forest garden include: 

Azaleas, Hostas, daylilies, lilies, roses, impatiens, some Sedums, Tomatoes, squashes, sweet potato vines, cucumbers, beans, and mophead Hydrangeas.

All photos by Woodland Gnome.

Virginia Creeper is growing up this dead Black Locust tree, delighting all hummingbirds and butterflies in the garden with its huge orange blossoms.

Virginia Creeper is growing up this dead Black Locust tree, delighting all hummingbirds and butterflies in the garden with its huge orange blossoms.

 

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