Lessons Learned in Gardening: Color, Rhythm, and Letting Go

The snowball bush is for you Raymond Pert ... a childhood memory from Grandma's house.

When I started flower gardening I didn't have much of a plan for color schemes. At first I was just blessed if things came back the next year. All of a sudden a few years down the gardening road I observed what looked like an English cottage garden around my place with mostly pastel colors. It looked pretty, but needed some pizazz. Next I moved to a "hot color" phase. I planted lots of red, orange, hot pink and purple.
Now that the parennials are more etablished they guide the color throughout the gardening year. I also have containers that are filled with plants and put around for ongoing summer color. I also like to stick in annual flowers in beds or let some reseed so after early perennials are done blooming there is something colorful.
This year I wanted a calm, relaxed look. There are still other color combinations in the garden beds, but I knew I wanted a green, pale yellow, white combination to stand out. Green and white hostas were already established. Now we can enjoy the creamy blooms of the snowball bush and white irises. The snow in summer just began blooming and I added some white alyssum for fragrance. The bridal wreath spirea is in full bloom showing that fresh white and green combination. Even white pansies have been added to the mix.
Gardening is not a perfect science. When I first began this passion I wanted to have more control over what happened. Meltdowns would happen when a geranium labeled salmon was blooming pink later in the summer. Through gardening I have learned to let go. I have also let myself flow more with the rhythm of the plant cycles. If a dinner gathering is planned in early June I can't make the roses bloom then. I can't predict temperature, rainfall, or frost. I don't know when the dogs might dig up my favorite lily. Alas, the gardening life in the country!
Today I am suffering from a terrible cough and ache all over. I managed to take a walk this evening and felt that calm, relaxing rhythm as I moved through the gardens. I think the color scheme I was trying to achieve may be working.
During a low time in my life I had a wise person advise me to get my hands in the dirt. He suggested I needed to connect with the gardening women in my family that influenced me, work the soil , appreciate the beauty of gardening, and be still.
That was about fourteen years ago. I think he would say I am getting there.


  1. Thanks for the snowballs. I really miss them, especially grandma's. That bush and the porch off her kitchen with the presto logs are what I think about the most when I think of her place. I also think about the little party we had out in her side yard the evening of my graduation day at Whitworth. That was a very emotional day for me. I didn't want to let go of being a student there.

  2. holy sweetness, thank you for this site. i am just outside pullman. i will visit often for sweet garden goodness. we just put our tomatoes in the ground outside, we started them about four or five weeks ago. we also stuck in some squash and swiss chard. the garlic, onions and potatoes are well on their way.

  3. rp- i think the snowballs will still be blooming next week-end.
    andres- it sounds like you are an avid gardener also. We had radishes tonight out of the garden. Our rhubarb is way too hardy. We have similar veggies starting.

  4. our rhubabrb sits beside the house and harldy bothers anyone. we just snap off a blooms, its going crazy

  5. what are the white flowers in the last photo? I want them!!

  6. The are pansies without the dark face.


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