Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Garden Party

Thanks to Sargent's in Rochester, MN, www.sargentsgardens.com, for hosting their annual Garden Party this summer, and for inviting me to be there with my book, All the World in a Blade of Quack:  Reclaiming a Garden, Growing a Gardener.  I enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people and seeing lots of old friends--even helped a few people pick out annuals and succulents--what fun!  There are no strangers among people who love plants.  Sargent's have copies of Quack for sale, too, for anyone who needs a little inspiration--or who is already starting to shop for Christmas (and you know who you are--go for it!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Return of the Long-Awaited

And so, at last, spring comes to the garden.  The fact that it's June 25 notwithstanding, the arrival of the sculptural, elegant Siberian irises brings me delight.  Overshadowing the purple is a white cedar branch still hanging low from the May 1 snowstorm.  The cedar will be cut down, soon, I hope, bringing sun once again to a section of the garden that really craves light.  Why did I let the cedar get so big?  Well, for a few years it grew slowly and looked just lovely.  Then it got way too wide:  I pruned the lower branches.  This made it sculptural and elegant, but also top heavy, so that when the 18" of heavy snow came on May 1, the tree tipped sideways and its branches sagged (many broke) under the weight.  Its fellow cedars suffered a similar fate, but remained upright.  These have been sheared and will have a second chance.  This one--not so much.  Does it make the Siberians nervous, all this talk of my cutting down something sculptural and elegant?  If so, they're not showing it.  They are the delight of the day, the perennial that requires so little and gives so much,the harbinger of summer.  Worth waiting for.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Last Roses of Summer?

Here at Hidden Hill, frost has nipped a few things, but roses soldier on, especially these David Austen Heritage Roses.  Soft color, super scent, healthy leaves--this is a rose I just never want to see go dormant.  The day however, is coming--gardening joys like these will end, except for pictures.  The Somerset (WI) Buds Garden Club has invited me to come and show them some of those pictures (and to talk about All the World in a Blade of Quack) on Monday, October 8, at 7 p.m.  You're invited, too.  For more details, leave a comment and I'll get back to you. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I used to wonder why there was so much crane garden art.  I always thought it was because cranes are tall and so a crane made of metal or resin or concrete would stand out among the flowers where something like, say, a diminutive sparrow wouldn't.  Of course, cranes are also beautiful--I mean, who wouldn't like to have such long, thin legs?--and people want to add beautiful things to their gardens, so voila, they buy cranes.

Seeing this sandhill grazing in a meadow near Herbster, Wisconsin, made me wish a crane would visit my garden.  I've had everything from hummingbirds to wild turkeys there, but so far never a crane.  What a delight it would be to see that lithe, elegant body slipping through the lilies.  Cranes are migrating now.  And I'm wishing I could see that particular piece of garden art waiting some morning when I go out to water. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Encore, Please

Summer slips away, unnoticed by morning glories who are busy lighting the way to October's bright blue weather.  It took them a while to come on stage this year, but they must have known that once all the other flowers had bloomed their last there would be a spotlight--or maybe it's a backlight--for them.  I have just one word:  Bravo!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What To Wear in the Garden

You might be surprised to learn that this is a picture of a hummingbird.  Yes, the hummer working my roses and cleomes this morning as I sat in the garden, writing in my journal, hovered so long in one place that I figured even I might be able to get his picture.  I ran to the house for my camera, waited for him to reappear and then started shooting away with my mighty Canon (not the boom-boom kind.) I now fully understand the difference between snapshots and photographs, as if I didn't already after having collaborated with wildlife photographer Jim Backus on four books.  If Jim had taken the photo, you would see a picture of a hummingbird with flowers in the background.  Maybe it's the gardener in me that brings out the flowers...  Anyway, I did manage to capture this digital image of the little wonder, though his/her iridescent body barely shows up against the background greenery.  Can I help it birds wear camo?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In Focus

Every picture has a focal point (or should have--now some of mine don't, really, especially since I tend to be chronically out of focus even with an automatic camera, a feat to which only decades of caffeine can be attributed.)  In this photo, the focal point would seem to be the garden fairy, reading her book, but if you look behind her, you can change your focus to the craggy, creviced, leathery bark of the black cherry tree which is currently dropping small black fruits all over our lawn, much to the delight of birds and scurrying creatures.  The details of the trunk constantly change, never repeating as far as I can see.  If I could actually take credit for growing such a wonderful specimen, I would consider myself to have finally arrived as a gardener.  Alas, Mother Nature planted the tree and I have only to behold it.  To focus.  And to remember that sometimes it is quite beneficial to change my focal point.