Images As Spring Moves to Summer

"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

Bark: A Garden Facelift

I am amazed how bark can make such a difference in flower beds. JEJ got a truckload of the miracle stuff yesterday and it has already transformed parts of the garden. This is why I love getting bark:
It motivates us to pull more weeds.
It will keep the weeds down a bit.It smells wonderful when it is being spread and when it is watered.
It covers up the little weeds that we didn't pull out completely.
It holds in moisture.It gives Shelby a nice, cool place to lay by the pond.
It just makes the flower beds look better.
It sets off my Crocs!

I love bark.

Finding Solace in the Garden

The school week is over. It has been one filled with matters of the heart.... a student talking about suicide, a young adult in a neighboring town taking his own life last night bringing sadness to my students, and a death of a loved one by another student.Joy creeps in also. One of my students was present for the birth of his new baby sister two days ago, an eighth grade student got to take her first trip to state softball with the high school team, and another got to see an ultrasound of a new baby just formed. As a teacher you have these highs and lows on a weekly basis. With hot weather and students wishing they were swimming at the lake instead of doing a book discussion, it may magnify the emotions a bit more. I found solace in returning home to the garden and snapping pictures of more beauty. I was ready for Friday evening.



It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
~ Mary Oliver ~

Sibling Assignment # 99: A Tribute to the Iris

I gave the sibling assignment for the week. My internet was down last night so I am a bit late on this post. When I woke up at 4:00 a.m. I peeked out and saw the lights back up flashing on the modem. Alas, I went back to enjoy a few more hours of sleep figuring I could catch up with the online world later.

We are all thankful brother Raymond Pert is out of the hospital after his attack of C Diff he contracted after his pneumonia. My siblings will be posting soon. The assignment: " A Tribute to a Favorite Flower" using words and/or pictures.When I gave this assignment I thought it would be easy. Now as I am surrounded by blooming flowers and remembering the many other flowers I love it was hard to narrow it down the choices and honor just one flower. I had to go with what is sitting right next to me now filling the air with a sweet fragrance and a beauty almost impossible to capture in still life. I honor the iris.When the smelter smoke filled the air in Kellogg and the grass turned brown, the iris plants still managed to bloom. When I had a sandy hillside that got hot sun all day in the first garden in the Tri-Cities desert I had unsuccessfully tried many flowers, but the iris was the one that endured. You can drive down an alley filled with broken cars and fences faded from the sun, but out of gravel a clump of irises will thrive. I've heard of people throwing iris plants in a heap behind the house and find them still alive months later. The iris is the champion of hardy flowers.

This flower also represents heirloom gardens. Heirloom gardens are ones created by passing plants family member to family member or friend to friend. I have iris plants that came with me when I moved. When our friends up the road built a new house, they gave us irises that had been with them in their garden at least thirty years. My dear friend EM brought me irises from her garden to add to my wedding garden. Each spring as all these beautiful blooms open up, they not only show off their glorious colors but remind me of important people in my life. I love that about the iris.
I love the fancy iris Mom gave me that came from the iris farm down at St. John, Washington, but often it is a old-fashioned hardy stock iris that do the best in my garden. It is hard for me to pick a favorite color. Sometimes it just depends on how the light catches the bloom or what companion plants surround it. An iris, no matter where it comes from or what it looks like always has that unforgettable spring scent.
The other thing I love about irises is they surprise you. One day you have lush green leaves and suddenly you look over your shoulder and the plant is blooming. It happens quickly. I am also surprised at how long they will last. Don't you love a flower that you can always count on to perform? You can read articles and books about what should be added to the soil, when they should be divided, and when to cut them back. Just follow your instincts because that is what keeps them thriving. Irises are the common sense members of the garden family.

Lily also knows how to surround herself with beauty!

Spring Bouquet #3

Can't you just smell the sweet scents from this bouquet? For me it is all the smells of childhood.

All is a Miracle

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.
But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,
but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle
which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds,
green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child--our own two eyes.
All is a miracle."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Every day I observe new miracles as I wonder through the gardens. What I was truly amazed at today is how plants have grown so much bigger since the last time I took pictures or have matured and grown larger than I ever remember them before. After the winter many of us lost treasured roses. The Japanese maple that was in my yard when I moved here may have died. Some other plants are still questionable.

Then there are the miracle plants. With good soil , sunshine, and water these peas are really getting with it.

It seems like the rhubarb was just emerging from the ground a week ago.

This bridal wreath spirea is the queen of the garden now. Given more room when one of our towering pines was removed, she is taking up court and is giving us a show.

Can you believe this hosta? Again... I know I was watching myself so I didn't step on the baby leaves just a few weeks ago. I think we will be eating radishes soon.

Yes, all is a miracle.

The Color Purple

"Flowers always make people better,
happier and more helpful;
they are sunshine,
food and medicine to the soul."
Luther BurbankAlign Center

Today I couldn't help but notice the color purple. Depending on the time of day and where the sun was shining, these flowers changed their hue from light lavender, to purple to a deep blue. I never remember all these flowers blooming at the same time. Now I will have a record of it! Enjoy my color purple collection. Above is a lilac bush bursting with an unforgettable scent. The dame's rockets also give off a sweet scent. I love this first iris.... do you see a face there? These salvia blooms were hiding in the wedding garden.
When I first captured photo images of this columbine this morning it looked purple. By the evening light it has changed to blue. I also noticed they began to close up as the weather cooled.

Visitors That Go Bump in the Night

We have had a busy week in the country. As the weather warms, it means we empty the greenhouse. It also usually means we have visitors at night from near and far. Wednesday night we heard the dogs barking like crazy and discovered a raccoon was visiting on the ladder by the cat door leading into the garage. After getting a midnight shower with the hose, he took off. He had already made himself welcome in the garage and had tipped over the cat feeder. Lily looks a little worried here as she ponders the possibility of sharing food with yet another animal.

This morning I don't know what had been in the greenhouse, but the dogs stood up tall, sniffed around, and panted like crazy. Annie even tried to leap up on the shelf to follow the scent of the mystery visitor. The two detectives here investigated, but just couldn't figure out the identity of the mystery visitor.
Tonight we are putting our trust in Sheriff McDuff to protect the property and solve the mystery of the visitors in the night. He has many deputies including William to assist him.

From a Different View: JEJ Behind the Lens of the Camera

JEJ continues to experiment with pictures and I love the subjects and angles he tries with his camera. Here is a recent photo album by JEJ:
a favorite geranium during the last days in the greenhouse
shadows in the sunroom
a candy stripe bloom contrasted with red
a blooming spider plant? .... here it almost seems believable

Cactus That Bloom in May: Mother's Day Cactus?

Many of us are learning that the stubborn Christmas cactus is no longer blooming at Christmas. Many bloggers have posted photos of the Thanksgiving cactus and even the Easter cactus. For me I guess I will just pick a May event. Mother's Day Cactus does sound nice... or what about The Memorial Day cactus. A cactus by any other name still looks as beautiful.

A Rite of Spring: The Greenhouse Move

Well.... with some sweat and heavy lifting today we were able to move the whole greenhouse collection of plants back out into the sunshine. Kit was excited when this new pot ended up next to him on the ladder/shelf. The ivy geranium plants were waiting for a time when they could spread their wings and burst out in bloom again. Lily couldn't wait until the shelves were bare again so she could plant herself on her favorite summer haunt. I even brought her favorite blanket in the greenhouse because I have a feeling she'll be doing some sleeping in the cool evening air and warm morning sunshine. Kit was pretty worn out from following us around and posing for pictures that he also found his own spot to take an afternoon nap.It is hard to believe that yesterday this place was full to the brim with plants. The poinsettia is still doing well, but would probably not do as well outside. The begonias are going in another planter outside.After many of the big plants were moved out I discovered a beautiful pink geranium that had grown out of the gravel on the floor. We don't know if it fell off another plant or actually started from seed.

Spring Bouquet #2

I love the combination of colors with the late tulips and the lilacs. Isn't the fragrance of the lilacs just filling your air as you gaze at this bouquet?