Category Archives: Country Living

Garden Notes

calla lily

September 20, 2014  I wrote about discovering seed pods in my neglected pot of Calla Lilies.calla lily seeds

July, 2015, I wrote of sprouted seeds.
calla lilies

Last fall, we moved the pot of sprouts into the garage where they would not freeze. In the spring, we rolled the pot out and up steps to where the plants would be seen and watered.

And we waited.

Our sprouts popped up and flourished. Sort of. We have a great pot of leaves. But no blooms.

Calla leaves

Around July, I did some research. Too late, I found that they don’t like to be all cozy but needed to be given some space when you plant them. I would need to use more pots or space in the gardens.

Soon, we’ll move the pot back down the steps and into the garage. I hope the tubers have strengthened and  will overwinter again. If they do, then next year, I will follow instructions and give them all room to grow and hope for bloom.

Colocasia

Another note: Last fall, I dug up the Elephant Ear bulb and found 3 offsets, which I saved.  They managed to survive the winter cast onto the pot where the Calla Lilies slept.  Potted up, they sprouted and have grown well.  Previous years, I was not successful in keeping the bulb over winter, so this was great fun.            Colocasia The “ears” wiggle in the slightest breeze.

 Elephant ear

Rain and dew collect on the fleshy leaves and I’ve seen butterflies stop for a drink but they are much to quick for me to capture to share here.

Note #3: An odd sighting on the grounds. We have a bird bottle from Williamsburg, VA nailed up by the wood shed near our driveway. I’m used to wrens nesting in it twice each summer. However, the other week as we were driving out, I looked up and saw something quite startling — and certainly not a bird! You can click on the picture for a better look.bird bottle

So many things happen from day to day, it’s good to take note. One never knows just what might happen next in a wild, living community!

From the Garden

sticks  It has been the summer for yard exercise. When rain comes, it is heavy. Dead wood becomes sodden and gives up clinging to the trees. truck            So, I pick up and pray gratitude for the county brush recycling just a few miles away.

In between rains, I am working at conscious beauty rests.  Join me for spa treatments?

morning light     elephant ear     wild ginger     butterfly bush     rainbow     daylily rebloom     butterfly     cleome     butterfly

Early morning light, Elephant Ear leaf, Wild Ginger “cushion”, Butterfly Bush, Rainbow, Stella re-bloom, Butterfly feeding, Cleome, Nectar hunting! Click on photo for best view.

My friend, Marta, at Selah Reflections takes beautiful photographs as she lives her goal to find moments of stillness in the midst of the busyness of life. Whenever I forget, there she is with a post to remind me to stop and really be aware and rest in the beauty so generously supplied to me.

From the Garden

More and more I choose to appreciate simple things and then find they are not simple but intricate, complex, wondrous even.

morning lightThe quick change of light at dawn and dusk creates a kind of magic across the landscape. sunset

The wind blows where it will, now in the rustle of treetops, then down in the shrubbery and only sometimes playing the wind chime. windchime There can be silence or bird chatter, cricket drone or the startling scream of a vixen in the night.

There are birds, hummingbird bees, bee in astilbe bloommoths and butterflies moth on butterfly bush to capture the attention.

As Robert Lewis Stevenson observed, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Or I, a queen! Early last Monday I gathered riches from the garden.

garden flowers  Simple, old fashioned flowers: hydrangea , spikes of hosta bloom, and a few day lilies became my treasure to be counted. blooms

flower arrangement Each day brought change, of course. and the fun of the new look of things.

Day 2  day 2  Day 3: Day 3   Day 4: day 4

Day 5:  day 5  Each daylily bloom had its day, each fairy bell of hosta too. The hydrangeas wilted with the heat so that by Day 6, my play was almost over.

hosta bloom  We retreated to the cool of the house. And enjoyed each other’s company for another day.

This week starts fresh with a small posy for the kitchen table, promise of a delightful week. May your week be blessed with health, safety and beauty in abundance.  a fresh posy

 

The April Buzz

Like a bee let loose from hibernation — zigzagging from bloom to bloom — me.

And April seemed to go by in a blink!

We began the month in North Texas although we spent some of our hours deep in the German countryside — my brother is the engineer behind the multiple trains and detailed scenery.

trains

We enjoyed the warm days and our all-too-short visit.  These blooms are in his yard. I had never seen Passion Flowers before. They are amazing!  Tx garden flowers

On our way to the airport and home, we spent some lovely, quiet hours in the Israel Prayer Garden in Corinth, TX. I hope to post more about that stop.

Iris

Spring is a time to keep an eye on the weather. Frost. Storms. We knew that had been some storm violence but we didn’t see much evidence on the drive from the airport. It was a shock to round the bend on the driveway and come to a stop. A tree had fallen and the crown covered the driveway.

fallen treeThe next day, I realized that much of my outdoor spring cleaning would have to be done, again.  Our county has a brush recycling contractor — a blessing at the end of each truck load of pick-up and pruning. We were also blessed that your new lawn keeper came with a chain saw, took away firewood and left the driveway clean. I’m grateful for the stamina to do the work, however,  it has has been tiring leaving no energy for digging and refreshing the garden beds – my winter dreaming. And, if only I could record or keep my thoughts together, there would have been blog posts along the way, not just wishful thinking and coffee drinking!

writing

Late frost again nipped the new leaves on the hydrangeas and the bloom stalks of the Bleeding Heart. Time will tell if there will be bloom this year.

Indoors, the last stalk of Amaryllis bloom awaited our return from Texas. I had found an interesting article on caring for these amazing plants so I added to my normal regimen the advice to leave the spent stalk till it withered and faded. Another week or two and the plants can go outside for the summer.

Amaryllis collage

I had reserved Annie F. Downs’ new book, Looking for Lovely, at our library. She writes, ” I want us to learn to look for the lovely all around us and collect it, hold it close, and see how God drops beautiful things into our lives at just the right time to help us step forward on our own paths.”

Looking for Lovely This is such a timely read for me, I bought my own copy.  I had more experiences of loveliness in April, so – To be continued!

Amaryllis

    snowdrops  daffidils

Both of these are Amaryllis, who knew! It’s all in the family and the reason they thrive here is that the Amaryllis family contains a lovely poison that deer and squirrels and rabbits can smell so they go off and eat something else!

Of course, I can’t let the season go without sharing my indoor Amaryllis family blooms.

   Amaryllis   Amaryllis

With several warm days, I began the spring cleaning. Not the house, but the “yard”.  I’m not sure if there is a standard definition of yard, but my body has always told me that this is something bigger. To keep it from overwhelming, I mentally divide the space into rooms, some large, some small usually depending on just how much there is to be done, picking up, pruning, raking, seeding, hauling in to recycling – four trips, so far.

Many years ago, I read a book which advocated starting at the front door and working clockwise through the house to declutter and clean. I apply that concept to the outdoors. Although I stared with the blueberry “room”, I’m now on track starting at the driveway and working clockwise, grateful to be out doing this work and enjoying the unusual warmth.

Along the way, I take note… Lenten roses are in bloom.

  Lenten rose

Hope you are enjoying your days and taking note of beauty.

February Quiet

January ended with deep snow and cold blowing in snow   the Snow Queen took up residence snow    and has been reluctant to leave, affecting this whole month. Barely had one storm been cleared when the next blew in. While this week brought heavy rains and flooding, there are still tall mounds of icy snow in some yards and many parking lots a month later.

squirrel  This guy was a frequent visitor harassing the birds and learning tricks to steal their food.  squirrel

Of course, he wasn’t the only animal out looking for a good meal. deer  Not that there is much left to browse, but still they come, now by the herd. deer

Usually February is the time to pour over seed and plant catalogs, dreaming of beautiful, lush flower beds, fragrant herbs and bountiful vegetables. No more.

The robins are delighted that neither deer nor squirrels have a taste for holly.  I spied them at the bird bath   robins   and realized they must be stripping the tree by the front deck, and they were.

Holly

For my indoor gardening efforts – a sunny window, occasional water – and the amaryllis are finally coming along. amaryllis  These bulbs are at least two years with me and get exactly the same care.  They seemed quite healthy when I potted them up so I find it very odd that one has no leaves, just the bloom stalk. It was very, very slow to even decide to put forth that effort. A mystery.

snowdrops

I’ll close now with the lovely, lovely snowdrops – pulsing with life, they pushed through frozen ground and soggy leaves this week. Like little bells ringing out good news – Spring is coming! Spring is coming!

I’m almost ready.

October’s passing

IMG_7000 Morning fog and the plaintive cry of the lone goat down by the pond – he’s the white spot down there. I think he mourns loneliness these days. I haven’t seen his buddy for about a year.

IMG_6998We have leaf lawns like old brown/gold shag carpets in every view.

IMG_7003 The deer are almost invisible now except for white tails as they bound across the yard. This one paused for quite a while before slowly going over the hill and down through the sluggish morning traffic.

IMG_7007  And then, all is glorious!

I found another poem by George Copper that speaks of the season. Here are the first two verses:

“Come, little leaves,”

Said the wind one day,

“Come over the meadows

With me, and play;

Put on your dresses

Of red and gold;

Summer is gone,

And the days grow cold.”

Soon as the leaves

Heard the wind’s loud call,

Down they came fluttering,

One and all;

Over the meadows

They danced and flew,

Singing the soft

Little songs they knew.

Since I first encountered Barbara Mahany’s lyrical writing in Slowing Time , I’ve been a visitor to her table. Her current post on the coming darkness of the long nights of winter ends with this thought: to “… wrap ourselves in the whole of the long night’s offering, the invitation to burrow deep inside our souls. and bring on the night candles, the flame, and the blankets.”  She writes of the long winter cozy that I do love with more candles, more soup and stew, more blankets and comforters, more reading and yes, more time outside. In the dark.

I’m moving a jacket up to the kitchen so I’m more agreeable to respond to the drawing to step outside to watch the dawn create silhouettes of my tree friends. Stars and planets visible without the canopy of leaves.

You’re invited out into the wonder! IMG_6993

October’s annual party

farm

Many mornings seem to burst through foggy hours, other days, it is a slow revealing. This nearby farm is always a lovely sight. No horses visible in this frame, but they are usually wandering the fields adding to the rural beauty. The other amazing thing not seen is the morning traffic. It was there, of course, which gave me the opportunity to focus on the view with my camera.

dogwood

The winds are invisible as well, but they seem ever present, blowing away the dust and heat and bugs of summer. The trees yield to the wind and shake off their leaves – their past – sometimes blighted, sometimes chewed, always worn out as they prepare to settle into a time of rest and rejuvenation. And too, I love the change of light in autumn. I’ve gone to the reservoir two evenings this past week to revel in the sunsets.

sunset 1

It was great pleasure to have picnic dinners roadside to such beauty while the wind rustled a symphony from leaves and branches. Geese were the trumpeting chorus!

sunset 2

I do hope you have a special place or at least a view of the wonder of all that is autumn.

Identity Issue

coyote

June, 2008

Through the kitchen door, I saw this strange “fox”. Neither grey or red, I wondered if they cross bred. A chance conversation last weekend had me search for the photo I had taken. Coyote? I think so. There have been sightings just a few miles from here in recent years.

A short on-line research indicates that the resident groundhog is in jeopardy if he returns. Perhaps I will plant a garden next year.