On the Eve of May

The first rays of morning sun fuel our garden this last day of April.

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May is already upon us.  The garden has filled with flowers, and there are more waiting each morning as we walk outside, to see what has changed overnight.

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Iris ‘Echo Location’

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This is Iris season, and Columbine season, and the grass is filled with wildflowers season.

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Native fleabane, probably Erigeron pulchellus, grow in our front lawn. A short lived perennial, this patch grows a bit larger each year. After it finishes flowering, we will mow this part of the ‘lawn’ once again.

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It all grows unbelievably fast in late April and early May, and I am busily trying to work with the season.

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Erigeron is a native wildflower in our area.  Too pretty to cut back, we have let it have its real estate in the front yard.

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That said, it was only 41F when I followed the sun out of bed this morning.  Neighbors in nearby towns had temperatures near freezing over night, and so I don’t yet trust the weather with so many of our tender, tropical plants.  I am crossing my fingers and toes, and planting out as much as I dare, just as quickly as I can.

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I was a bit surprised to notice the trellis filled with blooming Clematis this morning.

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Spring rolls over us like a wave, before cresting into full on summer.  And I am working to ride that wave as the garden awakens.

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This is the time to set things right; to establish what will grow where, and how, for the next six months.

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Columbine

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But everywhere I look, I see something new.  I see opening leaves, emerging perennials, and unfolding buds.

May’s magic lives in our garden, and I hope it lives in yours, as well.

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Woodland Gnome 2018

After experimenting for the past several days with my new Canon Power Shot Elph 180, I am back to my Nikon Coolpix S3500.  Trying to focus in on the fleabane flowers proved the utility of my little Nikon, which lives in the inside pocket of my gardening vest.  It has crossed the country with me a couple of times now, and is officially obsolete in the world of pocket cameras.  But it still takes a great photo and leaves me satisfied.

 

 

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Spring’s Happy Faces

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“There are souls in this world
who have the gift of finding joy everywhere,
and leaving it behind them when they go.”
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Frederick William Faber

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Bright yellow Narcissus x odorus ‘flore pleno’, also called ‘Queen Anne’s double jonquil,’ blooms with a clump of N. ‘Thalia’ this week,  within a clump of evergreen Arum.  Arum grow from fall until early summer,  forming a beautiful ground cover around spring bulbs.

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Watching spring’s flowers unfold, day by day as the season warms, brings us happiness.  Sharing these beautiful flowers, that are popping up so extravagantly this time of year, allows us to share the happiness with friends.

What a joy to have enough flowers to cut and bundle into bouquets for a vase and to share with visiting friends.

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Double Narcissus ‘Albus Plenus Odoratus’ is an heirloom variety, and has brought happiness each springtime since at least the mid-Nineteenth Century.

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There is a language of flowers.  Their colors and forms, fragrance and presentation allow us to convey meaning through gifts of floral beauty.

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Narcissus ‘Thalia’ is another heirloom Narcissus, dating to at least 1916. It is one of the few pure white daffodils, and shines like a beacon from sunrise until well past sunset in the garden.  Here, it is planted with lambs ears and Scilla.

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Filling the garden with spring blooming bulbs remains the easiest and most reliable way to fill the garden with waves of flowers from late winter until May.

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Narcissus ‘Tahiti’ is one of the brightest and warmest of the double Narcissus.  It grows here with N. ‘Katie Heath.’

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Spring bulbs appear reliably once the weather has warmed enough for them to thrive.  They give a long season of bloom, and most are perennials.

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This split corona Division 11 Narcissus may be N. ‘Smiling Twin,’ hybridized by Brent Heath in Gloucester, VA.

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Many bulbs, like Narcissus, divide and form ever expanding clumps over the years.  Some will spread by seed if you leave the flowers in place to mature.   They appear for only a few months each spring. Their foliage dies back and disappears by early June, when summer flowers have taken center stage.

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Ipheion uniflorum, star flower,  bloom in our front lawn each spring.

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Even small, insignificant spring flowers naturalized in the lawn, like Ipheion uniflorum, bring a smile.  They join whatever spring time wildflowers crop up to create a floral carpet on the lawn as we greet April.

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Spring flowering trees also fill our garden with early flowers.   While a bulb may give us only a single flower, a tree may give us thousands.

Flowering trees cover themselves in flowers, often before their first leaf unfolds.  We enjoy their ephemeral beauty for a few weeks until the petals blow away on the wind, to live on only in our memories until next spring.

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Native dogwood, Cornus florida, has been name ‘Wildflower of the Year’ by the Virginia Native Plant Society.  The swelling buds of our dogwood trees are just beginning to open this week.

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Our garden fills with more flowers each day.  The earliest daffies have begun to fade, while the late season daffodils are just showing their first leaves poking up through the soil.  Cool weather means that each stem lasts a few days longer, and they never mind a good rain.  They are joined now with Hyacinths, Muscari, Leucojum and other early flowers.

Vinca minor weaves and evergreen ground cover, studded with periwinkle blue flowers beneath them all.

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Our woody shrubs and trees come along in their own sequence of spring flowers, too.  From the earliest Forsythia and Camellia we enjoy new flowers every week; now the dogwoods will soon fill the garden with clouds of white flowers.

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Dogwood just coming into the fullness of its beauty.

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May this springtime bring you happiness, too, unfolding in beauty and wonder all around you.

Woodland Gnome 2018

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“Those who wish to sing always find a song.”
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Swedish Proverb

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Magnolia liliiflora ‘nigra’

 

 

Sunday Dinner: Water Is Life

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“Brushing the clouds away from my eyes,

I see clarity in the raindrop

and beauty in the first ray of morning sun… 

Life is strange and wondrous…”

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Virginia Alison

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“On the fifth day, which was a Sunday,

it rained very hard.

I like it when it rains hard.

It sounds like white noise everywhere,

which is like silence but not empty.”

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Mark Haddon

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“The sky mingled with the Earth infinitely

in the tenderness of rain drops.”

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Meeta Ahluwalia

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“Sometimes enlightenment descends upon you

when you least expect it…”

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Dean Koontz

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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“Mist to mist, drops to drops.

For water thou art,

and unto water shalt thou return.”

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Kamand Kojouri

Re-Claiming Our Joy

Narcissus ‘Katy Heath’

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“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
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Oscar Wilde

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The past several months have been an emotional time for many of us.  We are weathering a perfect storm of disturbing thoughts and feelings about our nation’s leadership and our nation’s destiny.   We may worry about the actions of some groups  across our United States.  Our hearts go out to so many individuals who are suffering and who have suffered harm.

It is hard to witness what is happening to our government.  It all feels very, very personal. 

It isn’t necessarily easy, these days, to discern truth from disinformation; reality from ‘spin.’  And it is exhausting to just keep up with each day’s events, let alone try to participate and have an impact on our country’s future.

And I’m weary of it all.   You may be feeling weary as well

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Whatever your politics, you may share an uneasy feeling about how things are happening.  There is too much dishonesty and secrecy on display in the narrative, for our nation’s present  leadership to be working for the general welfare and good of our country. It’s clear they have a different agenda in mind…..

If they were doing good things, they would want us to know.  Secrecy hides actions that you already know are hurting people; that you already know are in violation of our laws.

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We all know, from our own experience, that living with anger, fear, suspicion and dread takes a painful toll on our minds, our bodies and our heart.  We can’t let that happen. 

Feelings like anger, depression and fear drain our positive energy and intent.  We’ve got to somehow ‘fill ourselves back up’ with the  positive energies which come from joy and contentment. 

Before this latest political season began, we each had our own concerns.  And those likely haven’t gone away.   Now we’ve added a huge helping of national angst to our own personal dramas; it is a heavy load to bear.

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“Light chases away darkness.”
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Anasazi Foundation

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But we are strong.  And we have our goals firmly in mind for ourselves, our families, and our communities. 

And we know, with every fiber of our being, that the love, support, and joy we bring to our loved ones makes us all ever stronger.

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“Joy is the holy fire

that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”

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Helen Keller

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The key to our survival is keeping our focus on what is positive and life-affirming.

Bask in what brings you joy.  Draw energy from what is most beautiful.

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There is real energy available to us when we focus on beauty.  The Native Americans have a blessing, “Walk in beauty.”  It invites us to celebrate what is good, and authentic, harmonious and pleasing. 

Walking in beauty, making beauty a conscious part of our daily lives, helps us ‘plug up’ the drains on our energy and re-fill the reservoir of our joy. 

Did your parents demonstrate this life skill?  Mine did, and I bless them for this teaching.

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“The universe is energy,

energy that responds to our expectations.”

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James Redfield

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As winter gives way to spring, let’s open our minds and hearts to the changing season.  Let’s know that change is a constant in our lives; and we always have power to affect that change. 

We are not victims.  We are not disenfranchised or alone.  There is always ‘something’ we can do to have a positive impact in our community.

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“Faith, hope and love abide, these three….

and the greatest of these, is love.”

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Paulus

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Let’s re-energize ourselves, re-claim our joy, and re-affirm the goals we are working towards.  Let’s determine to walk in beauty; and more importantly to nurture beauty in our lives. 

Our gardens offer a place to begin.  Once we set foot on that path, there is no telling where it may take us.

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“Look for light
Listen for inspiration on the wind
Let water cleanse your soul
Set yourself on a firm foundation
Serve as the plants
Do not offend your fellow creatures
Live in harmony with all creations”

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Anasazi Foundation

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 Woodland Gnome 2017

 

Kaleidoscope World

May 21, 2016 garden 023~

We returned to Jones Mill Pond this afternoon.  The swans were nowhere in sight, but the far bank shone with pale pink Mountain Laurel in full bloom.

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May 21, 2016 garden 024~

May has remained cool and wet; those rare days when we see the sun luring us outside to enjoy a few hours in the garden.  Abundant rain feeds abundant growth.  Every tree and shrub has cloaked itself in verdant leaves; fresh, vibrant, and lush.

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May 21, 2016 garden 028~

Wave after wave of spring blossoms linger in these moist and cool days, embellished with raindrops and growing to gigantic proportion.

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We feel surrounded by a Kaleidoscopic world of green.  Every stem and blade stretches itself from one hour to the next, as though this May will last forever.

Paths close with encroaching vegetation, all hard edges blurred by expanding green.

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May 21, 2016 garden 026~

The opposite shore glowed even on this dull day between rain showers.  The spongy ground sank beneath my every step as I clambered around the near bank of the pond, taking photos down the coves and hoping to catch a glimpse of the swans at rest.

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May 21, 2016 garden 032

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It was utterly silent; no croaking frogs or calling birds to break the spell.  We’d seen turtles along the way, driven from their usual spots by this morning’s torrential rains.

But none were visible at the pond.

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Found along the way, near Jamestown, this wise old turtle held its ground as I took photos.

Found along the way, near Jamestown, this wise old turtle held its ground as I took photos.

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Asclepias stands ready to feed hungry Monarch larvae.  Hundreds of flowers offer up their nectar filled blossoms.

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May 21, 2016 garden 021

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There is cover for every creeping, slithering, nesting and burrowing creature wanting a home.  But they did not show themselves this afternoon.  Maybe they had found other shelter, still waiting for the next shower they could feel drawing ever closer.

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May 21, 2016 garden 034

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Woodland Gnome 2016

~May 21, 2016 garden 020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant Now For Spring Living Flower Arrangements

November 2, 2015 015

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Who wants to look at empty pots for the next four months?  I am as interested in planting attractive pots for the winter season as I am interested in replanting those pots for summer.  And each fall, I keep an eye and and ear open for new ideas.

Brent Heath offered a workshop last month at his Bulb Shop in Gloucester that I sorely wanted to attend.  He even offered to bring his workshop across the river if I could pull a group together in our community.  And how I wish my time and energy had stretched far enough to invite him!

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Miniature daffodils grow to only 6"-8" tall and work well in spring pots. Plant the entire bulb and foliage out into a permanent spot in the garden when switching out plantings for summer.

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Brent, a master horticulturalist, teaches the finer points of loading containers with bulbs.  Now even though he and his wife Becky are known internationally for their prodigious offering of Daffodils; they sell hundreds of different bulbs and perennials.  Brent’s workshop teaches how to layer several different species of bulbs into a single pot to create a “Living Flower Arrangement” which changes over time as different bulbs appear, bloom, and fade.

I wanted to attend Brent’s workshop to learn a new trick or two.  I’ve used various bulbs in containers for many years now, but there is always a better way, when one is open to learn from someone more experienced.  But the stars haven’t aligned this season, and so I’ve been experimenting on my own with the bulbs we’ve been collecting.

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Violas with white Dianthus, and Muscari. Miniature Daffodils bloomed later in the season.

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The idea is elegantly simple:  since one plants bulbs at different depths depending on the size of the bulb, and since new growth from most bulbs is very narrow before it reaches the light,  one can plant one ‘layer’ of bulbs on top of another, allowing the emerging stems to sort out the spacing as they grow upwards towards the light.  In fact, three or four ‘layers’ of different types of bulbs may be planted into a single large pot.   This very crowded planting works for a single season, but must be unpacked by early summer.  The bulbs may be transplanted ‘in the green’ into garden beds, to allow the leaves to fully recharge the bulb for the next season of flowers.

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 Containers for sale at the Heath's Bulb Shop last April

Containers on display at the Heath’s Bulb Shop last April

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I modify this idea to include annuals, perennials, woodies and moss so the planting has immediate interest while we wait for the bulbs to emerge in the spring.

Begin with a clean pot.  I use coffee filters or a paper towel over the drainage holes to hold the soil while the roots are growing.  The filters will soon decompose.  Choose a good quality, light, commercial potting soil with nutrition already mixed in.  The annuals and perennials are heavy feeders, and the bulbs will perform better in rich soil.  Many of the ‘organic’ potting soils now come pre-loaded with worm castings!

Now one must  ‘do the math.’  Having chosen 2-5 species of bulbs, depending on the size and depth of the pot, first study the proper planting depth of each.  If you are using Daffodils, for instance, which are planted at a depth of 6″, then fill the pot with soil to within about 7″ of the rim.    Set the first ‘layer’ of Daffodil bulbs on the soil by pushing the root end slightly into the soil so that the tip points upwards.  Space these Daffodils 3″-4″ apart from one another and at least an inch or two inwards from the sides of the pot.  Carefully fill in around these bulbs with more potting soil so they are barely covered, and firm the soil with your palm.

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Violas jnder a potted redbud tree grow here with Heuchera and daffodils.

Violas under a potted Redbud tree grow here with Heuchera and Daffodils early last spring.

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Choose your next bulb, adding just enough soil so it is planted at its correct depth, and arrange these bulbs by lightly pushing them into the soil.  Try to avoid setting a new bulb directly over top of a deeper one.  Lightly top with soil to hold this layer in place, and add an additional layer or two of bulbs.  I like to select a few bulbs, like Crocus, Muscari, or Galanthus nivalis, which will emerge in late winter.  These will often be the ones planted most shallow.

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Miniature Iris and Muscari are planted in a grid beneath the moss. Violas fit between the bulbs. I've tucked in rooted cutting of Creeping Jenny for color. These turn bright red in a harsh winter.

Miniature Iris and Muscari are planted in a grid beneath the moss. Violas fit between the bulbs. I’ve tucked in rooted cutting of Creeping Jenny for color. These turn bright red in a harsh winter.

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If your living flower arrangement will contain only bulbs, then simply top off the soil with a layer of living moss, water in, place the pot, and wait.  You can certainly add a few branches, pods, stones or cones to the pot to catch the eye while you wait for spring.

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Violas with creeping jenny and a hardy Sedum.

Violas with Creeping Jenny and a hardy Sedum ‘Angelina’ last April.

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But I want a living flower arrangement which goes to work right away.  I always add some annuals or perennials to the mix, which complicates the bulb planting a bit, as you don’t want bulbs directly under the huge root ball of a perennial or shrub.   I tend to place  a shrub or perennial in the pot first, then plant the bulbs around it.  This is a good use for those clearance shrubs with tiny root balls so easy to find in late October or November.  Or, for the many evergreen shrubs showing up now in tiny quart or 1 gallon pots.

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March 20 2014 spring 006

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Many vines and some perennials root easily from cuttings.  Simply tuck bits of Creeping Jenny, hardy Sedum, or divisions of Ivy or Ajuga into the soil of your finished pot.  These will grow in place.  Consider sprinkling seeds for perennials like Columbine, which like to overwinter out of doors.  They will begin to sprout next spring as the bulbs emerge.

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Creeping Jenny last March

Creeping Jenny last March

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You might complete your design with some winter annuals.  You can pot up the deeper layers of bulbs, and then plant a few Violas, Pansies or snaps in the top three inches of the pot.  Layer in your Crocus and Muscari bulbs around them.

~ April 7,2014 spring flowers 002

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I still finish the pot with moss or pebbles.   This topdressing not only looks more attractive than plain dirt; it helps hold moisture, insulates the roots as temperatures dive, and it offers some protection from digging squirrels.  If I were using Tulips in the pot, I would be tempted to lay some chicken wire, with large openings, over that layer of bulbs for further protection from marauding rodents.  Tuck in a few cloves of garlic or onion sets to protect your Violas from grazing deer and rabbits.

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March 20 2015 fresh 027~

Now, the ultimate ‘multi-tasking’ for this sort of planting:  hardwood cuttings.  Many of our woodies will root over winter if stuck into moist soil and left alone for several months.  If you have some shrubs you would like to propagate, take your cuttings and push them artistically into the finished pot.  If they root, fine.  If they don’t, you have still enjoyed the extra sculptural elements they lend over winter while the bulbs are sleeping.

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I've added a hardwood cutting of fig to this new mixed planting with bulb and other flowering plants.

I’ve added a hardwood cutting of fig to this new mixed planting with bulb and other flowering plants.

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This sort of winter ‘living flower arrangement’ takes a bit of planning.  There are lots of choices to make about timing and color schemes, size and scale, costs and placement.  You have to imagine how the bulbs will look when they emerge, so the tall ones are more to the center and the shorter ones nearer the edges; unless the shorter ones will finish before the tall ones emerge.  And the container must be large enough to contain all of those robust roots without cracking; and of material which will hold up to your winter weather.

~March 6, 2015 garden 002

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This is an excellent way to showcase miniature Daffodils and other delicate, small flowering bulbs.  You might combine several types of daffies to include those which flower early, mid- and late season.  Daffodils with blue Muscari always look great together.

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Ornamental cabbage with Heuchera in a newly planted pot.

Ornamental cabbage with Hellebore in a newly planted pot.

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You might also compose an arrangement of various Iris.  Include some combination of Iris unguicularis, Iris bucharica, Iris histrioides, Iris reticulata, Dutch Iris, and perhaps even a root of German Bearded Iris for a long season of beautiful Iris blooms.

If your winter is especially harsh, plant your container now, water it in, but leave it in an unheated garage or shed until February.  Bring it out into the spring sunshine and enjoy the bulbs when the worst of winter has passed.

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Newly planted Violas with Heuchera

Newly planted Violas with Hellebores.  Bulbs are tucked into the soil, waiting for spring.

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We enjoy the luxury of  Zone 7b, which allows us to grow winter annuals which would die a few states to the north, and also bulbs which wouldn’t survive in the warmer winters to our south.  We also have many winter or early spring  flowering shrubs to plant in our container gardens.

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Arum italicum unfurls its first leaf today. The tuber has been growing for about a month now.

Arum italicum unfurls its first leaf today. The tuber has been growing for about a month now.  Foliage will fill this pot all winter, with flowers appearing in the spring.

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Here are some of the plants I choose most often for these dynamic pots:

Perennials:  Hellebores, Heucheras, Cyclamen hederifolium, Arum, Iris unguicularis, evergreen ferns, culinary Sage, Rosemary, Ivy, Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny), Sedum rupestre, ‘Angelina’ and other hardy Sedums, Ajuga, Vinca Minor (Periwinkle), hardy Oxalis, Columbine, Dianthus

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Pansies will soon respond to wramer days and nights with renewed growth. Here with miniature daffodils.

Pansies will soon respond to warmer days and nights with renewed growth. Here with miniature daffodils.

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Annuals:  Violas, Panolas, Pansies, Snapdragons, Allysum, ornamental kale or cabbage

Whatever combination of plants you choose, think of these living flower arrangements as narratives which unfold over time.

Time truly is the magical ingredient for baking bread, raising children, and creating beautiful gardens.

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March 25-28 013

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Woodland Gnome 2015

Wordless Wednesday

April 17, 2015 spring garden 007

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“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love;

it will all come back to you in abundance.

This is the law of nature.”

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Steve Maraboli

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April 17, 2015 spring garden 011

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

 

 

In A Vase On Monday: April Abundance

April 20, 2015 rain 035

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The sweetness in the air today wafts in whenever the door is opened. 

It envelopes one in warm enticing fragrance with each trip out of doors into the heavy, moist air.  We had storms last night with wind and rain.

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April 20, 2015 rain 007

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But the dogwoods held their flowers.  A few more daffodils have fallen over perhaps, and the newly leafed out roses bend nearly to the ground under the weight of their wet leaves.  Perhaps the pruning should have been more aggressive, after all.  But no matter, soon they will cover themselves in roses.  There will be time for pruning when the first flush has come and gone.

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April 20, 2015 rain 023

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The lilac shrubs in the butterfly garden began to open yesterday.  Last night’s rain left them sparkling and lush, and still full of buds.

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April 20, 2015 rain 022

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All of these shrubs came mail order over the last four years.  They are Syringa ‘Josee,’ a dwarf reblooming variety with superior disease resistance.  They came as rooted whips, and spent their first year or two in a pot.  As they outgrow their pots I plant them out where they enjoy the afternoon sun.

They have all the beauty and fragrance of traditional lilac shrubs, but won’t grow much taller or wider than 6′.  They will re-bloom sporadically through summer and into the fall.  This is one of the shrubs predictably pictured in many winter garden catalogs.  They always go on sale in spring, grow quickly, and make a lovely container planting for a season or two.

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April 20, 2015 rain 041

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Also in today’s vase is the first of the Columbine to break bud,  Columbine leaves, apple mint, late Narcissus, and a piece of our Akebia vine.

Rain has hovered nearby all day, with periods of bright sunshine poking through only occasionally.

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April 20, 2015 rain 010

Akebia quinata growing up into the trees

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The garden is wet, and more storms are forecast for this evening.  I brought the flowers in for photos, and the cloudy day made it feel a bit dimmer than usual as I photographed this springtime vase.

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April 20, 2015 rain 028~

You may notice a beautiful little fairy sitting with the vase today, an original creation by Creekrose, given to me earlier this week.  This exquisite little handmade doll feels full of the happiness of springtime, and was dressed to match today’s vase.  Such a loving gift from, and so much enjoyed already.

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April 20, 2015 rain 027

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We can feel the transition in the garden now to late spring.  The Daffodils have nearly finished, buds cover the roses, more perennials have announced their survival, and our trees are all leafing out.  The shade will arrive just as we need it, now that temperatures continue to climb towards summer.

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April 20, 2015 rain 033

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Please remember to visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who generously sponsors A Vase on Monday each week.  You’ll find links to many wonderful arrangements of spring flowers in her comments.   I’m always delighted with the beauty picked from others’ gardens.  It makes the world feel a bit smaller to see the same flowers blooming many thousands of miles away.

May you find joy in the beauty of your own garden this week, and perhaps clip a few stems to enjoy inside.  If you’re like me, you may be so busy preparing the garden for spring that you aren’t taking much time to cut and arrange.  There wasn’t much time today to fuss over arranging these, and they could have been shifted around to better advantage, perhaps…

But once a flower is cut and brought inside, it seems to subtly change somehow.  I appreciate them more, and take time to really see the unique beauty of each once they are placed in a vase.

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April 20, 2015 rain 030

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If you do cut a few stems from your garden, please share them in a post, and link back to the comments in Cathy’s post this week, and mine, so we can all enjoy them with you.

Woodland Gnome 2015

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April 20, 2015 rain 039

What’s Blooming Now?

Magnolia liliiflora on April 12

Magnolia liliiflora on April 12

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What is blooming now in your garden? 

Spring comes in its own time to each garden.  It fascinates me that whenever the process finally begins, the unfolding is absolutely beautiful no matter how far north or south you may live; how elevated… or not… your garden.

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April 12, 2015 flowers 008

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Here in coastal Virginia, we live just a few feet above sea level.  I can drive a few hours west into the foothills of the Blue Ridge  and travel back by several weeks  into an earlier springtime.  When it comes to climate, altitude, and latitude, are everything!

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Dogwood on April 12

Dogwood on April 12

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It might be interesting to look at what is blooming from day to day.

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The lilacs in bud, and beginning to open on April 12

The lilacs in bud, and beginning to open on April 12

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These photos were actually taken over the last several days, but everything remains in bloom today.

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We’ve had a rainy and warm day here.  We can see a difference in the garden from hour to hour as leaves swell to cover the branches of nearby trees, and as the Azalea buds begin to open and cover our shrubs in color.

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Our wild wood violets have opened over the last several days, carpeting the 'lawns' in vivid color.

Our wild wood violets have opened over the last several days, carpeting the ‘lawns’ in vivid color.

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I’m sure that tomorrow morning the garden will feel even more vibrantly colorful than today, or yesterday.

It is all part of the magic of spring!

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April 12, 2015 flowers 019

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Woodland Gnome 2015

In Bloom

April 3, 2015 flowers 046

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Our garden grows golden today.

Bright yellow Forsythia flowers explode from the bare branches which frame our driveway, line our front border, and grow as an impenetrable barrier on one corner of the garden.  This is an ancient stand of Forsythia, planted decades ago by the original gardeners here.

Towering over our heads, its brilliance lights up the entire garden when it blooms.

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April 3, 2015 flowers 048

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Waves of golden daffodils punctuate the rolling hillside.  Although many have naturalized over the decades in large clumps, we have planted new bulbs every autumn since we came here.

It is interesting to watch the clumps grow each year from a single stem to a thriving colony of bright flowers.

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We are about at ‘mid-season’ now for daffodils, and we’ll enjoy them throughout April.

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April 3, 2015 flowers 006

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We plan to drive up to Gloucester next week to visit the daffodil farm there, and perhaps select a few new varieties to plant this autumn coming.

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The daffodils bloomed even before the Muscari this spring.  We have both white and blue ones blooming now.

Our Magnolia liliflora ‘Nigra’ began to open yesterday in the afternoon’s warm sunshine.

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These were also planted by earlier gardeners here, much to our delight.  Their dark purple flowers open slowly over several weeks in spring, and often return at the end of summer for a second time.

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We planted a Magnolia stellata this week, covered in buds.  While one might expect a white shrub to get lost in our woods, it shines like a beacon.  I can only imagine how lovely it will be in a few year’s time when it has grown up.

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Trees have burst into bloom in the back garden.  The peach blossoms began to open overnight, and the apple and pear showed their first color late in the afternoon yesterday.

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This is that magical time when our entire garden bursts into bloom.

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All of the Vinca vines cover themselves in tiny periwinkle flowers, opening a few more each day.

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These spread themselves all around the garden, wherever there is a bit of bare ground. And all of the Hellebores are blooming now in various shades of burgundy, pink, mauve, and white.  Even several planted out as tiny seedlings last spring have matured enough to flower.

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The Edgeworthia continues to get better, sweetly fragrant and tipped in golden yellow.  Lilac shrubs stand full of buds.

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Violas in pots have taken courage from the softer weather to grow again and cover themselves in flowers.  Even the Camellia japonica buds are opening to release their thick, waxy petals into the warmth of April.

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I hope you can feel the warmth and smell the sweetness of our spring breezes this evening.

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Each day, we become more aware of that fourth dimension in which we move:  time.

Some days time slows down and allows us to savor time spent enjoying the company of friends.  An hour stretches out into a long, languorous visit of good conversation and laughter.

Other days, hours seem to evaporate into nothingness as we clean out beds, plant, prune, and plan what will go where this spring….

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If photos allow us to capture a moment in time, they give us some measure of power over all four of the dimensions which structure our lives.  We can capture all four in only two-

The world is full of miracles and wonders.

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 Happy Spring!

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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