I’ve always loved change; starting over with a new outlook, goal or idea invites challenges and keeps life interesting. If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been silent for the last months, it’s because we’ve moved to a different state. My husband and I spent seven months getting a house ready to sell, putting it on the market, selling it after one month, finding a new house and finally last week moving in.
I loved living in Connecticut and writing and photographing the beautiful gardens I nurtured for so many years, but I longed for a new place where winters weren’t so harsh.
Now I have a garden that has potential; a new challenge!
Although I do not know all the plants and shrubs that I now have in my yard, I’m including pictures of a few friendly faces.
Can you guess where I moved?
I’ve missed you! More to come; today, the furniture finally arrives.
See more: Weekly Photo Challenge
Every year I plant a memory garden. I sow seeds that remind me of dear friends; like our friendship the seeds flourish.
The sweet flowers of Nicotiana remind me of my friend and garden mentor, Janie. Years ago she introduced me to Tobacco ‘Lime Green’; it was love at first sight. The flower color is the softest shade of green, it grows 3′ high. I sow nicotiana seeds inside and when the soil is warm I plant the seedlings in the garden. Two other nicotiana that I love are: Tobacco ‘Bella’ with pink and white flowers, it grows 5′ high and Tobacco Woodland with cascading white star flowers, it grows 4-5′ tall. Nicotiana grow in sun to partial shade; they look lovely tucked here and there in your garden.
Tobacco- Nicotiana seed source: Select Seeds-antique flowers
The lovely blossoms of the Purple Hyacinth vine remind me of my dear friend, Shirley. A couple years ago she gave each of the ladies in our book club a dried pod; the pod held a gift of Purple Bean Hyacinth seeds. The seeds grew into a vine with lovely lilac and raspberry colored flowers. I grew my vine on a trellis; it can also be trained to grow on a porch railing, shrub or fence. I sow my Hyacinth seeds in the garden when the soil is warm.
Bean Purple Hyacinth Seed Source: The Cook’s Garden
The delicate flowers of Breadseed Poppies remind me of my BFF, Beth. Last year tucked inside one of her beautiful handmade cards was a gift of Breadseed Poppy seeds. March of last year I sprinkled the tiny seeds on top of the frozen ground in a sunny part of my garden. The tiny silvery plants grew to be 3-4′ high. The blossoms resemble a water color painting. At the end of the summer, the seed head dries and turns brown; inside are thousands of tiny black seeds. If you save the seeds in a paper bag in the refrigerator, you can sprinkle them on the frozen ground in March.
Heirloom Pepperbox Poppy Seed Source: Renee’s Garden
The vibrant flowers of Nasturtium remind me of my dear sister, Terrie. The first time I saw Nasturtium was in her garden; brilliant shades of orange and red blossoms spilled over her window boxes. I start my Nasturtium seeds inside and plant the seedlings in the garden when all danger of frost is past.
A blanket of snow covers the gardens now, bird baths turned into ice, evergreen boughs are frosted white; winter is here. Even in winter the garden is beautiful. Annabelle and Limelight hydrangea, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, Joe-Pye weed, sedum, asters, and grasses are all standing in my garden now providing food for the birds. I love the simplicity of dried seed heads covered with snow. I haven’t seen any visitors yet, but I added a bird bath in the boxwood garden that can be plugged in to keep the water from freezing.
In winter the garden rests and so do I; no more gardening chores. I catch up on reading. I reread my gardening journal from past months. It’s like a diary and contains names of plants I liked that I want to repeat in vases or containers, I have notes on projects that we’ve completed such as: creating a vegetable garden using raised beds and on projects I’d like to do. I also read gardening books and keep notes from the books in my journal on important information such as: when and how to cut back certain plants and attractive plant combinations I want to remember, there’s also a section in the back of my journal that lists my garden resources.
Last winter one of the books I read was: Suzy Bales’ Down-to-earth Gardener. Suzy’s rules for gardening made me smile: “When in doubt, sow alyssum. If you don’t know it, don’t pull it. Wise gardeners plant common flowers.” In spring I have to remember to be patient. Many plants reseed themselves, sometimes transported from one garden to another by birds or animals; sometimes I pull out green shoots then later discover they were potential flowers.
Two new gardening books I will read this winter are: The Pruning Book by Lee Reich which contains color photos and detailed drawings of how to prune trees, bushes, vines and plants and The Layered Garden by David L. Culp. David’s book has beautiful photographs of his Brandywine Cottage garden, in all seasons, showing us how to weave different plants and have layers of interest every month of the year.
A Garden of One’s Own by Elsa Bakalar is a book I treasure; it is one of the books I use as a reference. Years ago I was lucky enough to meet Elsa and visit her gardens. I went with my garden mentor, Janie. One thing I learned from Elsa was how important compost is when planting. Every spring I put a few shovels of compost mixed with organic fertilizer around each plant; and I add compost to the bottom of every planting hole before I add the plant. Elsa Bakalar was born in England, taught school in New York City and later lived in Massachusetts. I have fond memories of meeting Elsa and seeing her garden; she was a master gardener and her artistic gardens were charming.
Today winter snow is shimmering under a robin’s egg blue sky, but winter in Connecticut can be long and snowy; flowers and candles warm even the coldest day. xxoo
Click on image to enlarge.
Do you have blogs you love? The ones that make you smile every time you see a new post in your inbox? I love Lee May’s Gardening Life blog! I love Lee’s style of writing, his poetic voice; his love of mosses and stones, and the ever changing garden.
In the Fall Lee was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t want to believe it. Yesterday, I received another post saying he had passed on December 3, 2014. All around me the world stopped as I let the sad news sink in. I had been praying for him, hoping he would recover.
Lee May had an extensive career in writing. He was a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Times for more than twenty-five years. He was a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and recipient of many awards. Lee wrote two books: In My Father’s Garden and Gardening Life.
Favorite quotes from: Gardening Life
“As far back as I can remember, I have loved and appreciated gardening and life.”
I knew I had found a kindred spirit when I found out Lee loved mosses. “There is something retro about mosses. They are simple plants, recalling simpler times. Their uncomplicated nature enhances the role of a garden, any garden, as a pathway to calm and peace.”
Lee loved stones and had a collection of them in his garden and in his home. “Like all gardens, mine is ever changing and becoming, but it is held steady by stone. Stone offers the most strength, the most constancy. Stone is the closest to permanence. Many monuments and places of reflection are built of stone. People are drawn to these places to touch the stone and feel its power. And its peace, which rises from its strength.”
My heart goes out to Lee’s wife, Lyn, and his children and grandchildren. May they find comfort in knowing Lee’s words touched many people’s lives in powerful ways. He was a gifted writer and he will be always be remembered.
Now, every time I touch velvety mounds of moss or hold a stone in my hand I will think of Lee.