Sunday Dinner: Meditation

December 4, 2015 Gloucester 062~

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope,

for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;

wait without love,

for love would be love of the wrong thing;

there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought,

for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light,

and the stillness the dancing.”

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T.S. Eliot

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“Looking at beauty in the world

is the first step of purifying the mind.”

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Amit Ray

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“So many leaves have fallen on my life.

Some settled nicely to rest,

but most fell, withered to bitter cold and drifted on.

But, after all that, I would brave all the coldness of humanity again

for the sight of a few more beautiful yellow leaves

falling on Aspen, and the birds….”

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E.S. Lehman

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“It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth,

how much money you have gathered

or how much attention you have received.

It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters,”

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Amit Ray

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“Through my love for you,

I want to express my love for the whole cosmos,

the whole of humanity, and all beings.

By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species.

If I succeed in loving you,

I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth…

This is the real message of love.”

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Thích Nhất Hạnh

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“An awake heart is like a sky that pours light.”

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Hāfez

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“The mind can go in a thousand directions,

but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.

With each step, the wind blows.

With each step, a flower blooms.”

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Thích Nhất Hạnh

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

All photos taken at Brent and Becky Heath’s display gardens in Gloucester, Virginia December 2015

A Forest Garden 2016 calendar is available now.

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Wordless Wednesday

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“Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”
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Fulton J. Sheen

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

In A Vase on Monday: May Remembered

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On this last day of November, we filled our vase with fresh cut roses and the last of our Iris.  This is one of the many reasons we love gardening in coastal Virginia!

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Today proved wet and mild.  It was in the mid-40s when we went out on mid-day errands, and the low white sky promised more slow and steady drizzle.  A damp glaze on everything and muted light made the remaining golden and scarlet leaves on our trees glow radiantly.  What a simply beautiful day.

Those trees still holding their leaves were  like torches set against the bleak November day.  Our roses shone like beacons across the garden.

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It was already dusk when I finally got outside  to cut the roses.  We thought the frost last week had finished our Iris for the season.  But the buds survived, and this lovely I. ‘Rosalie Figge’ opened today as though the frost had never even happened.

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Our Artemisia survived the first few frosty nights as well, glowing with silver light on this dark and rainy day. Our little vase of flowers reminds us of the sheer joy of May; a last gift of the season before we face December in the morning.

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The vase itself came to us through the Habitat for Humanity shop.  I spotted it last summer, and noticing it was made in France, and is quite old; decided to add it to our collection of vases.  I love its cream and gold colors and classic shape.

We’ll enjoy these vibrant apricot roses and deeply purple Iris as we leave autumn behind now, and welcome winter and the holiday season for another year.   Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, has cut autumn roses from her garden for her vase today, too.  It shows me how small our world really is to see we are both cutting similar roses on the very same day, thousands of miles apart from one another!   I hope you’ll pop over to see her gorgeous apricot rose named, “The Poet’s Wife.”

Cathy faithfully hosts this challenge to post a vase of fresh cut flowers each Monday, and I’m happy to join her coterie of flower gardeners again today.

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Soon we will all be awash in red and green, silver and gold as more and more holiday decorations find their way out of storage.

I hope you had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving weekend spent relaxing with loved ones.  As the garden drifts off to sleep through another winter, our attention turns to other things inside, where it is warm and dry.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

Sunday Dinner: Transition

November 28, 2015 fall color 019

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“A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me

with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is

any more than he.”

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Walt Whitman

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“In all affairs

it’s a healthy thing now and then

to hang a question mark

on the things you have long taken for granted.”

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Bertrand Russell

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“In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.”

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Jeanette Winterson

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“Light precedes every transition.

Whether at the end of a tunnel,

through a crack in the door

or the flash of an idea,

it is always there,

heralding a new beginning.”

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Teresa Tsalaky

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“ ‘Siri, what is the meaning of life?’

She answers: ‘ To think about questions like this.’

Huh. Good one.”

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Kim Wright 

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

All photos at Jones Millpond from the Colonial Parkway in York County, Virginia

 

 

 

Blooming In November

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The garden still invites birds and pollinators, all sorts of hopping and buzzing insects, and even the occasional snail.

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We had night time temperatures dip into the upper 30’s over the weekend; but still no frost and certainly no deep freezes.  Our garden remains filled with flowers.

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The Salvias and Iris are especially nice this week.

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But so are the ginger lilies.  There is even a Canna blossom or two waving in the cooling breezes.

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We still have new roses opening daily.

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Some of the hardy Begonias remain in bloom.

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One special Clematis vine has bloomed non-stop since late March. It must be getting a bit tired, but it still sports a few dozen blue flowers today.

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Our two Bougainvillea vines have happily covered themselves in rose pink bracts framing their tiny white flowers.

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All of the Lantana continue pumping out prolific flowers, much appreciated by the few moths and butterflies still here.

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Their color just intensifies as temperatures cool.   Pentas and Geraniums also remain, and show their most concentrated color of the season.  Their vivid petals pop.

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Our garden remains a bright and happy place.

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A neighbor visited our garden this afternoon.  She hadn’t seen Iris which re-bloom in the autumn before.

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We wandered around talking about the plants, enjoying the scented herbs, and enjoying one another’s company.  I’m looking forward to her return visit when we can dig and divide a few things for her to transplant to her end of the street.

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It is always fun to share with other gardeners who will help spread the beauty around even further.

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The garden is surprisingly full of flowers for mid-November.  So many summer flowering plants are still going strong, even as our autumn flowers bloom.   And we are planting Violas and bulbs for winter and early spring.

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Novembers weather like this makes us very grateful to live in a spot where we have  long autumns to enjoy our garden before winter blows in.

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I am joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens to celebrate what is blooming in our garden this November.  Many of us are fortunate to have something in bloom every day of the year, with a bit of planning.  Finding such a variety of flowers still perfuming the garden this late in the season  brings tremendous joy as we watch it unfold anew each day.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

 

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Woody Vines

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Strong, woody vines take hold easily and grow quickly, clambering up trees in the wild.  Without a vigilant gardener recognizing and removing these vines, they grow enthusiastically; reaching for the greater light high up in a tree’s canopy.

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Tiny airborne seeds, blown on the wind or left by birds, soon sprout and begin the climb.  The Virginia woods are interwoven with these familiar vines:  Trumpet Vine, Poison Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Honeysuckle, native grapes, Wisteria, Clematis, Kudzu and Ivy.

While some are native, others were imported from other parts of the planet as ornamentals…. and escaped.

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These vines need the support of shrubs and trees to grow.  Once they scamper up the trunk, they begin weaving through the branches.  Some  form aerial roots to support themselves, and perhaps draw moisture from a tree’s bark.  They aren’t true parasites because all have green leaves for synthesizing their nutrition from sunlight.

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But they can weight a tree down; create shade and sap its strength.

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Some vines, like this poison ivy, eventually grow massive trunks of their own.  These huge old vines hang from the branches in heavily wooded areas looking like great ropes for swinging.

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Most of these vines prove useful in some way.  Native grapes can be gathered.  Most are tasty if they last long enough on the vines to ripen.  But I’ve also harvested grapevines over many autumns to craft wreathes and for holiday decorations.  These vines grow quickly, and respond well to pruning.

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Others, like Honeysuckle, Clematis, Wisteria and Trumpet vine offer up nectar in summer and provide seeds in winter.  Even Poison Ivy makes berries enjoyed by birds in the winter months.

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Most of these vines crop up in our garden.  Even those which aren’t native have naturalized.  Once invited or allowed, they become fixtures.

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So it is good to recognize them when young, and understand their potential if left to grow.  Poison Ivy is easy:  eradicate it on sight.

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"Leaves of three, let it be". Poison Ivy growing in the edge of my garden.

“Leaves of three, let it be”. Poison Ivy growing in the edge of our garden.

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But I’m more tolerant of Virginia Creeper, which turns brilliant scarlet in autumn.

I let it grow in a few locations, but remove it where it could choke out younger shrubs and perennials.   But  ‘pruning back’ doesn’t eliminate vines like these.  Their extensive roots are tenacious, too, and simply send up new shoots.  To remove one of these vines, one must get the roots, as well.

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Honeysuckle vines tend to twine around trunks and branches, entangling themselves in the thickest part of a shrub.  I remove these in most parts of the garden, tolerating them only along one tall hedge for their sweet perfume in early summer.

A friend has offered me some Sweet Autumn Clematis from her garden, and I’m considering accepting the offer.

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Sweet Autumn Clematis

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I planted some in my last garden to soften a tall wooden fence.  It is appreciated by pollinators, and looks pretty when in bloom.  Sited carefully, it is a wonderful addition to the Autumn garden.  Because it self seeds, you have to remain vigilant or find your garden eventually sporting new vines everywhere.

Our long, moist, warm growing season favors abundant growth from vines.  They are just a part of our landscape. 

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Now that many leaves have fallen, Ivy covered trees along the side of the road shine in the sunlight.  They add interest, along with the native Holly trees in the understory and the Cedars and Pines along the edges of the woods.

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Along the path from the parking area to the boat ramp and docks.

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And the woody trunks of mature vines climb and twist through the stark silhouettes of our newly bare trees.  We see them now in all of their architectural splendor.

Majestic in their own right, they sometimes add to the beauty of our trees.

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They remain an important part of the forest community as well, helping feed small mammals and birds through the winter months ahead.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

More detailed information on these vines can be had here.

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“The Ancient Law of Life”

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“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers.

I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.

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“In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.

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“Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.

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“When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

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“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

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“A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life.

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“The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

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“A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me.

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“I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else.

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“I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy.

Out of this trust I live.”

Hermann Hesse

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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Layers

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Color lies in layers,

like a living, moving quilt

blanketing the garden,

 preparing for winter slumber.

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Soak  in every vibrant tint and hue

While one may;

While life vibrates

From petal and leaf, berry and seed.

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What more can one do

than wrap oneself, too, in such beauty?

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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Sunday Dinner: Changes

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“In every change, in every falling leaf

there is some pain, some beauty.

And that’s the way new leaves grow.”

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Amit Ray

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“When we resist change, it’s called suffering.

But when we can completely let go

and not struggle against it,

when we can embrace

the groundlessness of our situation and relax

into it’s dynamic quality,

that’s called enlightenment”

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Pema Chödrön

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“Fret not where the road will take you.

Instead concentrate on the first step.

That’s the hardest part and that’s

what you are responsible for.

Once you take that step

let everything do what it naturally does

and the rest will follow.

Do not go with the flow.

Be the flow.”

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Elif Shafak,

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“Consciousness is only possible

through change; change is only possible

through movement.”

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Aldous Huxley

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“Man cannot remake himself

without suffering, for he is both the marble

and the sculptor”

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Alexis Carrel

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“Anyone who knows me, should learn to know me again;
For I am like the Moon,
you will see me with new face everyday.”

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Rumi

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“Nothing endures but change.”

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Heraclitus

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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National Blog Posting Month

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Inspired by The Daily Post’s     

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day; But I’m Away….

A stray Moonflower vine snakes across the Begonias.

A stray Moonflower vine snakes across the Begonias.

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It is Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day, but since I’m away I’ll post tomorrow.  Until then, I’ll leave you with a few quick photos captured this morning.

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Canna, still alive, with Heron's Pirouette hardy Begonia

Calla, still alive, with ‘Heron’s Pirouette’ hardy Begonia

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I’m exceptionally happy to show you this photo of the first leaf of our new hardy Calla, ordered a couple of months ago from Plant Delights Nursery, which died back and completely disappeared in less than two weeks from planting.  A mystery…. 

But I dug the bulb and moved it into a large pot in the nursery with good potting soil.  A new leaf emerged last week, and I planted it up yesterday with the beautiful gift of ‘Heron’s Pirouette’ hardy Begonia we received last Saturday from a generous gardener.  The pot sits here in the shade of the house all day after a little morning sun.  I don’t expect the Calla to bloom  this fall, but it will give its beautiful spotted leaves.  It lives!

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Caladium is another survivor. Last summer's plant hibernated in the garage all winter. Finally a leaf... in August?

Caladium is another survivor. Last summer’s plant hibernated in the garage all winter. Finally a leaf… in August?

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On the subject of gardeners and sharing: next week, I plan on sharing some of the baby Colocasia multiplying in our garden .  I’m also committed to sharing some Iris with friends far and near, and also some of the perennial Blue Mist Flower. 

If you live nearby, please send me a note if you’d like to try some of the Colocasia “China Pink.”

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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