From the Garden

While checking out the garden before another predicted rainstorm, I found three incredible rose blooms. I decided to cut them down and bring them in to enjoy for a bit.

Look how well they match my bathroom! I love that color of pink🙂

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And even 4 days later I was still enjoying their beauty.

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And one more note about the garden. I was so looking forward to a good year of fall color from the Japanese maples. Unfortunately, the warmer fall that we had (that gave me wonderful roses the last week of November) was not so good for the maples. They just didn’t get that cold shock that they need to turn colors. So I am enjoying bits and pieces of fall color, but so far, none spectacular enough to share on the blog.

In The Garden

Before I start on the garden news, I want to say thank you to those of you who left such encouraging comments on my last post about my knee. It really means a lot to me. I also reached out to a fellow nurse who had knee replacement surgery earlier this year, and in the conversation–where she was very enthusiastic about her experience with surgery–we realized that we had the same doctor! I already knew that I liked my doctor a great deal, but hearing that he was also good at the actual surgery was fantastic news.

I’ve now had two of the three gel shots, and they don’t seem to be doing a thing. But maybe the third shot will be the magic charm.

Well, yesterday I needed to stop at the nursery and ask a question about a pesky weed. Did you all know there’s something called pre-emergent treatment that you can put on plants to keep the weeds from ever appearing? The regular stuff is very toxic to dogs, so she is checking out some corn gluten stuff for me to try. Of course, while I was there, I had to check out the plants. I got a few more pansies and one more six-pack of elfin thyme to fill in the stone pathway spaces.

This is a “wave” pansy! Great for pots, and the pansies actually hang over the side.

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And this big pretty blue pansy. I think I told you–my plan was to plant so many pansies in the garden that Noah would tire of eating them🙂

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This is the most this camellia has ever bloomed! I guess it is liking our bit of rain, and our longer than usual warm weather.

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And yes! One more rose.

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I took this picture–doesn’t it look out of place blooming with the fall foliage in the background?

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The red abutilon is still blooming away.

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I was standing next to this plant, and noticed a lovely pineapple smell wafting by. This is my pineapple sage–it goes crazy and has these bright red blooms in the fall. I have never used it for cooking. But the smell was so good, I’m thinking of using it on my turkey this year!

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So after I planted my little six-packs, I went over to help MLG who was here splitting more pine for me. Did I tell you about the bark beetles that have invaded our county (because of the drought) and are killing many of our pine trees? My neighbor took down a few pine trees, and had so much wood herself that she didn’t want them. So while MLG was splitting the logs, I threw the pieces into the back of his truck, and then he backed that up to the wood shed, where I started stacking it up. You can see we didn’t finish today. But there is a method to our madness. I have to be able to get to the dry wood. As soon as I make a dent in that, I’ll finish stacking the new wood in the shed.

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We are due for more rain and some colder weather this weekend, and I am ever hopeful that gardening will really be done for this winter!

We Got Rain!!

Has it been on the national news? Do you all know–California, at long last, is getting some significant rain! Except for it being a pain-in-the-butt to get delicate little doggies to do their business outside, I dare not complain!! Between rain today, I got a few pictures to provide photographic proof🙂

I love how the long-dormant moss comes to life with a bit of moisture.

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The moss is everywhere–even on the rocks!

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I look at this tree out my kitchen window every day.

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And I almost missed this bloom! The tropical hibiscus is even appreciating the rain!

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A Little Garden News

I came home from my weekend trip last week to find this perfect rose waiting for me! This is the Everlasting Peace rose. It has a beautiful form and a wonderful fragrance. Plus, its my favorite color of pink🙂

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I bought quite a few pansies and a few other plants to fill some spots in the garden. Its supposed to be the best time to plant pansies and snapdragons for strong spring blooms. This corner bed was a mess. The creeping jenny and the never-ending violets had invaded, plus its mostly shady, plus Noah still loves to run down here and bark at cars going by. So I worked on it for quite a while, and planted the pansies, and a new heuchera in there. And then I made my little prison for it, hopefully to remind Noah that I really don’t want him in there.  After looking at this picture, I decided I need one more heuchera to round it out. Oh, and then couple of days after I did all this work, I came out to find that I had planted some of the pansies a little too close to the fence–the deer had come and completely uprooted a few of them😦

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This is one of the hydrangea. I didn’t prune it yet, and the flowers have turned a lovely shade of dusty pink. Nice!

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Okay. This next picture is proof that I have turned into an old lady. All week I was cleaning and prepping the house for a couple of ladies that I had invited to lunch. The last thing I did was go and pick a few little flowers for a table bouquet. When the agreed-upon arrival time came and went, I decided to give them a call. Sometimes people have a hard time finding my house. “Hello T., are you coming today?” “I thought we agreed on October 7.” oh…..yes, we did. I had even been looking at my calendar during the week to make sure I had everything right…. Well, I enjoyed my nice clean house and the bouquet anyways!

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The foxgloves that I have been diligently watering over the long hot summer so that I would have new blooms next spring decided to give me an early show! So excited to see the  pink shaded one!

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And, it took a LONG time, but look what finally bloomed the last week of September? The cleome that Lori sent me and that I started from seeds. One lone plant, but if Lori is right, it will re-seed itself, and maybe I’ll have a few more next year.

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I have more plants to get into the ground this week, and ummm, quite a few bulbs to find places for. Damn that Costco!🙂

How about a Garden Post?

I saw this rose by chance when I let the dogs out this afternoon, and couldn’t resist–a picture was needed.

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Then I noticed that all the roses had decided to bloom today!

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MLG was here this morning, and commented that he had heard a local garden show on the radio say that at this time of year, you should let the rose hips develop. If you cut them back, they will grow new canes, but it will get too cold for them to bloom. Anyone ever heard this before?

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So…my favorite lantana… a couple of years ago a reader from Australia commented that they consider lantana invasive plants. I think the reason they aren’t invasive where I live is that they only last a year. This year I bought a larger lantana at a nursery, and I think it was  one that had wintered over. So it stopped blooming soon after I brought it home, and it just grew and grew all summer.

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See? It just took over the whole front of this bed. Just this week it has finally given me some blooms. And then it will be gone. Those plants with the heart-shaped leaves?–those are “money plants” that I grew from seed. They don’t bloom until the second year, so I am really looking forward to seeing them in the spring!

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The “giant zinnia” in front of the vanilla marigolds.

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Close-up:

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The dwarf red abutilon has done well, blooming all summer long.

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Close-up. Hmmm. I don’t know what those white specks are. I didn’t see them until I saw this photo.

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Sophie says, “oops. not pink.”

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MLG was trying to compliment me, and exclaimed, “wow! It looks like a forest.” Umm, yeah. But I live in the forest. This is supposed to look like a garden🙂 I have a plan. It involves some aggressive pruning. Part of me is still pleased that I have plants growing so well after so many years of coaxing minimal growth in my pots.

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And some special visitors in the garden! I don’t really like bugs. But these guys move so slowly, and even though it looks like they don’t have eyes, they turn their head like they are really watching you or the water. I don’t know if there’s a whole herd of them, or just two that move from place to place, but I’ve enjoyed seeing them.

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And! something new. How and where to stack the firewood is always a problem. And then the stacks fall over or get messy. And then there’s the tarps. Anyway, MLG started suggesting some things we could do to make it better, and pretty soon I said, “it sounds like maybe I need to ask J. the contractor about doing this.” MLG shook his head enthusiastically in agreement. So here is my new fancy wood shed. J. the contractor mills his own wood, and the outside boards are actually made from a sugar pine that my neighbor had to take down–isn’t that fun?

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And that’s the garden report for this week.

Senior Citizen???

I recently had to write a small piece about myself for my church newsletter. In case there are any readers who do not know everything there is to know about me, I thought I’d share that here.

I was surprised when I received R’s request to be interviewed for the “Senior Connection” in the (church) newsletter. Wasn’t that for old people??? And then I remembered that I had gleefully applied for Social Security just a few days prior. And of course, I’m always very happy to take advantage of senior discounts. But I’m not really a senior. Isn’t that how most of us view ourselves?

Anyway, for what its worth, here it is. I was lucky to be born to two really great parents. My dad was enamored of God’s word and studied it voraciously his entire life. My mom told me “I could do anything I really wanted to,” which gave me the courage to try things I didn’t think were possible.

I always loved dogs, and I loved handwork. And that is where I have ended up—with five rescue dogs and working as a studio artist. Along the way, when I listened to God and followed his lead, I have had some amazing adventures. I was a neonatal intensive care nurse for 25 years, despite the fact that I only passed high school biology by being the teacher’s pet and taking care of the classroom animals. Science did not come naturally to me, but I felt God’s leading and was moved to work with the tiniest and sickest babies. It was a great privilege.

I came to Grace Fellowship (my home church) shortly after it started, and it was through Grace that God impressed upon me the importance of helping children in third world countries. Going to a foreign country was for sure something that was not in my comfort zone, but I have traveled to Africa with Vapor Ministries, and have been to Haiti twice to visit “our” kids in Carre Four Poy. It has changed my outlook on life, and has changed the choices I have made in my daily life. I believe that it is only through visiting the poorest of the poor in person that you can truly understand the need. I saw this happen with my brother when we visited Haiti together.

When it came time for me to retire, people always asked what I was going to do. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but I would say that I was going to be a quilt artist. When I was inspired to put Scripture into my quilts, that is when I found my passion. It is a way for me to share my faith with others. I will see a verse in a new way, and bring that to life in a quilt. Its very meditative to sit and stitch the words and think about them. Recently I finished a series of 18 small quilts, titled “what they said.” It is what different people said when they encountered Jesus. No matter whether they liked him or hated him, the response to Jesus was never static. It was very moving to me to try to illuminate the emotion behind the words and to spend so much time stitching these words. I am now working on a quilt of The Hallelujah Chorus. Listening to Handel’s Messiah was my dad’s favorite thing at Christmas, and in recent years, it has been the most important thing I want to do at Christmas. Years ago, I had the opportunity to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in my church choir, and so it holds great meaning for me.

One question I am asked frequently is “do you have children?” And my answer is always the same—“No, I’ve never been married.” R. asked for a favorite verse. There are way too many to choose just one. But one that has stayed with me since I was a very young woman, and has stood the test of time is Phil. 4:11-12 “…I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.”

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Of course, there are other parts of my daily life that I didn’t even mention in this little article–like gardening and exercise and the fact that I’ve been on a diet for TWELVE YEARS. But you all know that🙂

The Garden’s Supporting Cast

There’s lots of plants in the garden that don’t get a lot of press. Because they are not big and fancy and colorful, the way I like things. But all these little plants add to the look of the garden. I decided they needed a feature of their own.

This creeping wire vine is all over the shade garden. I really like the look of it. It will take over (the bunny is just about buried here,) but its easy to keep under control too.

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There’s a button fern in there. I need to trim the wiry plant to give it more room to grow.

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Creeping Jenny, along with some violets.

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Licorice Lemon plant. I really like this plant. I thought it played well against the dark red petunias.

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These little pink begonias do well for me. And sometimes they come back year after year.

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The violets….This variety has dark green fairly glossy leaves, and so they are attractive even when they’re not blooming. But they are pretty insistent on spreading, so they are a two-edged sword. I am using them to fill in the spaces of one of the stone pathways.

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I don’t know what this plant is. But its doing just what MLG wanted it to do–climbing over those big rocks. I had it in a container in the shade garden, and it just about took over the whole garden. So I was going to toss the whole container, and MLG saved its life, by suggesting planting it in the back of the garden. Its doing very well, and it is better than bare dirt!

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Another plant I don’t know the name of. But these tiny blue flowers bloom all summer, and the bees LOVE them. I like their intense color.dscn4518

Hollyhocks!! I’m pretty excited about these. I grew them from seeds (from a packet that was a couple of years old!) and I’m looking forward to seeing them bloom next year.

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Mondo grass. Another plant I had in a container. It did so well in that container that it almost choked the life out of the Japanese Maple that was in the same container. So When I put that maple in the ground, I saved a couple of clumps of the mondo grass to plant along the front fence line. It has been very slow, but I’m glad to see a few new sprouts coming up.

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And I couldn’t resist some pretty pictures! The geranium with the salvia.

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My favorite lantana. This is a little plant that Noah almost destroyed when I first planted it. So I moved it over next to the fence to give it a chance to live. The ground there is not that good, but it is really doing well now.

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Close-up:

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And that’s the garden report for this week. I hope you are enjoying your weekend🙂