Tag Archives: Iris

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. ~George Bernard Shaw


“My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings. The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming.” ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, http://www.wildthymecreative.com

(Foxglove and roses in my Memorial Garden)

Living on a farm allows me more than a bit of earth, but the garden is also where I find my bearings. As much as I savor fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s the flowers that feed my soul. Beds dating back to my late mother-in-law’s day wrap this old white farm house and flow along the side of the road where drivers roar past. The road wasn’t such a menace in Mom Trissel’s time. Now, it’s ‘gardener beware’. I’ve reeled back more than once while working in that bed when a driver zoomed by alarmingly close. I have this crazy hope they will slow down to admire the flowers. Plus the barnyard geese graze in my front yard and sometimes wander near the road. We have about two dozen squawky Pilgrim geese. We’d have even more but they aren’t great parents and often misplace goslings. We’ve rescued some babies but can only do so much. It’s a running joke about the geese hating me, while not minding Hubby Dennis or daughter Elise. I think it’s because I clap and shout to get them away from the road and out of my yard. In addition to grass they graze on my plants, like phlox and bee balm. Tender lettuce is also a favorite but the vegetable plot is fenced in. Pic of goose with the monarch was taken last summer. Those are tithonia flowers the butterflies love.

Below are Shirley Poppies, Larkspur, yellow evening primrose, roses, iris, yellow coreopsis, and blue Love in the Mist blooming now in that massive bed along the road. A giant old-fashioned rose commands the far corner. This sea of color overflows with wildflowers, perennials, heirloom flowers, roses, and herbs. The abundant plants are so thick there is little need for mulch. It’s my living barrier to that beastly road. Grandchildren also play in the yard, but on this side of the border. The kids love to explore the many beds that comprise my garden, but they aren’t allowed to stick a toe in that one. Only I risk life and limb.

I’ve whittled down the vegetable plot over the years and expanded Mom Trissel’s flower beds while adding others. Herbs and blossoms surround my vegetable garden and mingle with the edibles. Drifts of wildflowers I seeded in April are lush with promise but I’ve knocked myself out dragging the hose around during dry spells. Blooms fill our small back garden from the white snowdrops in late winter to pink Queen Charlotte anemone in late summer. I watch from the kitchen window as feathered friends visit the bird feeder and hummers dart. Because this garden is enclosed by a wall, I can only expand it so far. Aggressive plants like fragrant Egyptian mint and Queen Anne’s Lace have taken too much ground, though both are beautiful. The mint should have been planted in a pot but I didn’t know that thirty years ago. Battling mint is an ongoing struggle and I must thin Queen Anne’s Lace. Iris and Dame’s Rocket (below) are finishing up for this season, as are Mom Trissel’s peonies. I moved some of her peonies and iris to the kitchen and Memorial gardens. My dear grandmother gave me this white iris years ago.

Dear to my heart is the expansive Memorial Garden I’ve labored in since late February. Not only have I worked there every day the weather permitted, but often when it didn’t. Cold wind blasted me in my scarf and multiple layers. Raw drizzle misted my face and chilled my muddy gloved fingers. In the early days, if temps hit the upper forties, I headed out the door. Fifties was a heat wave. Sometimes I waited until mid-day for the ground to thaw enough to dig. Everything was brown and depressing at first, apart from emerging daffodils. The only beauty lay in my vision of what could be. But I was bent on digging out wild asters that had overrun this enormous bed and creating a glorious site. I still dig tenacious roots out daily, but I’ve left some asters growing along the fence. They are butterfly magnets. The colorful mounds, some reaching over six feet tall, flutter and buzz with life in late summer. If I’m not careful, though, that’s all I’ll have. And I badly needed a goal and physical work this spring.

(Me digging aster roots. Hubby took pics when I didn’t realize)

I spent hours crawling around in the bleak cold getting out roots. See the tiny plant surrounded by stones? It’s a poor little rose that got lost in the asters, much happier since its rescue. Asters pictured below.


“Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.” ~Author Unknown (Truth! My back ached terribly in those first days,not much now.)

“I cultivate my garden, and my garden cultivates me.” ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

The garden has, indeed, cared for me. My father’s passing in late December, only a year and a half after my brother Chad’s death, left me overwhelmed with grief. Then my mother-in-law died. The Memorial bed is also for her. All the digging, clean up, planting, mulching, path making, and ongoing planning for what to put in where has given me a much needed focus. Writing eluded me as I never thought it would. But nature hasn’t. And Lord knows the seed catalogues and online garden sites are there for me. Local ones, too. I have discovered some wonderful gardeners through the world of YouTube. My favorite is artist Jeri Landers. the Storybook Gardener, who has been of much comfort and inspiration. I love her creativity and gardening style and avidly follow her YouTube channel.

Like Jeri, I would describe my garden as cottage, country, with native plants. I’m not in the least formal. In one video, Jeri suggested finding an unsightly–even ugly–corner and making it beautiful. So I tackled the kitchen garden, another bed ruled by an overreaching plant, Bishop’s Weed. It was a hard slog, but I am delighted with the transformation. Then I took on a third bed overrun with a different kind of wild aster, and so on…You see the pattern here. I worked until I dropped, but it helped lift my spirits.

Jeri raised stunning foxglove from seed this year, while I bought plants, so guess what seed I ordered yesterday…plus, plus. I have a little greenhouse Dennis built for me eons ago, but it relies on solar heat. Too often seeds I sow in spring don’t germinate, even with a heating mat. I like Jeri’s idea of starting some of the hardy flowers in summer and wintering them over to bloom next year.

My most enticing plant lure are roses. At last count, I’ve moved four from various corners of the yard where they weren’t thriving to join five existing roses in my Memorial Garden. Two more roses were given to me, and I’ve purchased fourteen. So far. You can’t have a remembrance garden without the queen of flowers. Most came from English rose breeder David Austin and Jackson and Perkins. (J and P had a super sale this past week.) Several roses spilled into my newly reclaimed kitchen garden. I eagerly await those that have not yet bloomed. Among my new Memorial Garden additions are delphiniums, various buddleias, oriental lilies, gladiolas, hollyhocks, sweet William, iris, peonies, hardy geraniums, dianthus, bellflowers, less aggressive perennial asters and an annual aster, heuchera (coral bells) Lady’s Mantle, phlox, yarrow, saliva, rudbeckia, violas, columbine, different varieties of poppies, foxglove, lupins, verbena, catmint, sweet alyssum, lavender, chamomile, lemon marigolds… I’m still adding. Pics below from emerging blooms in that garden: roses, nepeta (catmint) miniature delphinium and violas. I started violas and alyssum from seed.

Carding Mill — David Austen Rose

Grief has its own timetable, with unpredictable ups and downs, as uncontrollable as the tide. I’m slowly finding my way, but know the sadness will never fully leave me. I already knew this from past grief, but never quite so sharply. I’m blessed with a close loving family and dear friends. They are my lifelines. I hope to find my way back to writing. This is the most I’ve written in months and it hasn’t been easy, but cathartic. For me, gardening is a vital part of healing. At some point, I will add a plaque, statue, or remembrance stone to the Memorial garden. Maybe all three. It’s a work in progress.

“I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation.” ~Phyllis Theroux

First hollyhocks opened yesterday.

Nothing is more completely the child of Art than a Garden. ~Walter Scott


I am giddy in May with the abundance of new life surrounding me in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. My garden(s) burst forth and I plant and weed like mad.  Everything grows so fast, there’s never enough time for all the tasks that need doing. I remind myself to stop and look at the glistening beauty, inhale the scents, hear the birds. It’s impossible to remain indoors for long in May.  Tender greens, asparagus, and rhubarb are ready to be harvested. And onward ho.  The garden waits for no one. I must run to catch up, but I can also just let it be for a while and savor.

(Nook in the back garden with columbine. A dandelion going to seed at far bottom right. 🙂 Much mint mixes with the flowers back here.)

Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps;
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps.
~A. Bronson Alcott, “The Garden,” Tablets, 1868

Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise. ~Michael P. Garofalo (Always, and with a lot of freedom here.)

I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes (The knees of my gardening pant’s are green or dirt colored this time of year)

(Dame’s Rocket in back garden)

The garden is the poor man’s apothecary. ~German Proverb (Perhaps it should be everyone’s.)

No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson (This is so true.)
The hum of bees is the voice of the garden. ~Elizabeth Lawrence (I have a wealth of plants for bees and butterflies, and seeded yet more.)

My garden is my favorite teacher. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com (Yes, and I am learning everyday.)

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show (I rush outdoors each day.)

(Violas beside currently unoccupied toad house)

My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings. The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com

Life begins the day you start a garden. ~Chinese Proverb

As a gardener, I’m among those who believe that much of the evidence of God’s existence has been planted. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

Learn to be an observer in all seasons. Every single day, your garden has something new and wonderful to show you. ~Author Unknown

Fingers now scented with sage and rosemary, a kneeling gardener is lost in savory memories. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com

(Old-time poppy that has been here forever. Blooms each May.)

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a gardener is to think you’re in charge. ~Janet Gillespie

An optimistic gardener is one who believes that whatever goes down must come up. ~Leslie Hall

I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation. ~Phyllis Theroux (Maybe so.)

(My mom took this iris pic from her yard)

One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden. ~Elizabeth Lawrence


“Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration.” ~Lou Erickson~ This quote repeated in my mind while I weeded this afternoon. The sun came out after cold rainy days and the meadow shone like a green jewel in the glorious light. All was bright and beautiful.

blue iris and poppies

(Image taken by my mom)

“Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.” ~ And a lot of herbs, flowers, wild flowers, vegetables, and weeds.  Many of my plants were sown by the birds, or carried in by the wind. My goal is to have a garden for butterflies, bees, birds, and people to enjoy. The cats like it too.

“The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” ~George Bernard Shaw

warbler

I’ve spotted this little warbler in the back garden. They migrate through in the spring and fall, wish they’d stay. I purchased this image because none of us are fast enough to capture him ourselves.

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

No matter how many seeds we have, it’s never enough. I count my wealth in seeds and just ordered some more. Seeds are filled with promise of the magic to come. The garden is magical. I believe in seed fairies too.

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” ~Abram L. Urban

The garden uplifts my spirits and is a perfect place to dream lovely dreams.

“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.” ~James Douglas,Down Shoe Lane

June Roses Abraham Darby

(My favorite rose, Abraham Darby, by daughter Elise)

blue phlox spring blooming

(Native blue phlox.  Image by Elise)

“Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.” ~Marcelene Cox

“It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

“Gardens are a form of autobiography.” ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

owl-cat-in-the-garden.jpg1

(Owl Cat in the garden. Image by my hubby)

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” ~Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

Salad garden.

(Salad Garden. Image by Elise)

“You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.” ~Author Unknown

“The garden is the poor man’s apothecary.” ~German Proverb

“No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.” ~Hugh Johnson