Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I've been inspired by Jodi and others to add colorful pots and various and sundry things to my garden. I spied these at a not-so-local nursery an hour away and fell in love with them. I did not buy them due to their cost, but loved the idea of them.
Color is so important, but I find myself oddly at a loss when planning and planting for color. It seems to be a deep-seeded fear of "letting go," of "letting things take their course," or giving up control. What is it? Does anyone else have this phobia? My gardening direction seems to be in giving back to nature, putting in native plants but few cultivars. Zero or very little cute garden items, or colors in pots or blooms, seem to bloom in my beds. What does this mean? Am I dense, or frightened, or caught up in some old drama I cannot exorcise?
More importantly, what is the cure? I'm not one to wax on about these things, but the more I read other's blogs and see other's "throwing caution into the winds" in order to create a profusion of colorful chaos all I think about seems to be "LOVELY, but in ____ months there'll be h*ll to pay!"
Laziness, or phobia? Hm. Pondering.....................

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Constancy of Change

The Sentry has moved on even though the Starlings were dispatched with haste. I miss their raucous cries and flashy nature. I was heavily invested in the RHW as you know, witnessing The Sentry fashioning her nest hole with great care for months, find a mate, and begin setting up house.

What makes a RHW work for months on a nest cavity, defend it from squirrels and bluejays and all manner of beasties only to be chased away by birds half their size? It wasn't in the cards for me to witness baby red-headed woodpeckers this year, sadly.

The nest cavity has been vacant for weeks now. The RHW's do visit from time to time. They never go inside, but perch close by and watch. Nevertheless, they obviously had to nest elsewhere as Mrs. RHW was getting fat.

I've been so sad about it all. However, recently we witnessed a new development. A pair of birds began not only investigating the nest cavity, but filling it will all manner of flotsam and jetsam. I wasn't familiar with the bird, but it is beautiful. Bright yellow breast with cinnamon tail and feathering. Slightly smaller than a jay, larger than a cardinal, sort of robin-sized. High in the tree canopy. My first thought was a flycatcher, and I nailed it. Please welcome the Great Crested Flycatcher. The only flycatcher that nests in cavities, but is native and lovely. Check 'em out on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site:

I'm no longer hopeful about watching nests, but perhaps these guys will stick around. They are more elusive than the RHW's, but this morning having coffee on the deck I saw Mrs. GCF fly inside the hole and she stayed there. I'm hoping they'll be here for awhile.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The sign on the door reads...

Three years of drought and no real spring and injuries and no gardening all came to a screeching halt several weeks ago. We have had the most glorious, perfect, exhilarating Spring we've seen in a long, long, long time. Folks, I had to go out and garden! I've hauled rocks for new borders, I've planted roses, lantana, geraniums, tomatoes and herbs. We've cleared the bank and are preparing it for the native azaleas. I've weeded and mulched and pruned and created paths. Every day I hit the garden before dawn and worked most of the day. I simply could not sit down in front of a computer - it was not possible!

Today, it is raining so I have to stay inside and do indoor stuff....hence my first post in weeks. I've taken a few shots and will take many more in days to come.
My front porch with the ferns, coleus and geraniums and sedums and dwarf alberta spruces, fresh mulch, new rocks. Time to pressure wash the ole' sidewalk, I see.

I love the way the sweetspires cascade over the sidewalk. These long white blooming tassels attract all manner of butterflies, especially the Red-Spotted Purple swallowtails which I've not seen yet but watch for them with great anticipation.

This is one of two baby Rainbow Knock-Out Roses. They bloomed on the second day after planting and have bloomed every day since! These will be exquisite when they're fully grown. This particular rose will only get up to 4' high and wide, is completely resistant to black spot, mildew and rust. How perfect is that?

My guilty pleasure - sedums. I blew too much money early this spring on sedums simply because I love them. The kind of cabbagy looking plant in the tall blue pot is called "Hobbit's Foot," which is all I had to read - that was going in my yard in some capacity. The green pot upper left is a Silky Dogwood received for free from TVA upon attending a seminar on riparian zones. That will go on my bank along with the native azaleas. Most of the rocks I'm still in the process of placing came from a bank next to Wheeler Dam and are filled with all manner of fossils.

These are Virginia Sweetspire "Henry's Garnet." They are indigenous, sporting chartreuse leaves and white tassel blooms in spring. The word "garnet" comes into play during the winter, as the leaves shed to expose these amazing reddish-purple/burgundy stems. They turn 5 years old this year, and this is the prettiest they've ever been. They are literally stopping traffic. If I'm outside people ask what they are. Why they're not planted more I'm not sure. They do tend to colonize, so I'm constantly uprooting new shoots, but they root easily and I sell them in the Master Gardener annual plant sale. And give to friends! They're great on our banks.

Just so you all know that I'm still alive. In fact, I'm more alive than ever and outside playing in the dirt! (excuse me..."soil," for all you master gardeners out there - LOL!)


Related Posts with Thumbnails