Those of you who know me through my writing know that I love gardening. This love of gardening comes partly from my historic/geographic gene pool – I’m a Brit and we’re almost all gardening mad! The other part is still from my gene pool but from a more intimate and personal section – the family. Both my parents loved the garden, but my Dad had an absolute passion for his garden.
I’m not a very organized gardener as I’ve already mentioned in other postings. I’m not a very organized anything because I’m a real “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal”. My garden is a veritable hodge-podge of flowers and plants and I’m never quite sure what’s going to pop up where. I throw seeds all over the place and plant bulbs here and there, then I sit back and wait for the wonder of nature.
I love the growing process. Taking a seed and watching it peep up through the soil with it’s first tip of green is a most exciting adventure for me. It fascinates me that from that tiny little thing a whole flower or plant or bush or even a tree can come forth.
Sometimes I stand in my back yard with a seed in my hand and I look at everything that’s growing around me, and I am in absolute awe as I think it all started with a few seeds. The hand of God is most definitely present in such a miracle.
Gardening brings me great joy and I consider it to be wonderful therapy for the soul. Gardening takes me out of myself and is one of the few activities through which I feel a real connection with God. Gardening makes my heart happy.
But today I realized another benefit that comes from my hard work out there in the garden. Of late my husband has started taking series of photos of my garden. At first he was taking general all-around shots so that we could share them with the rest of the family that is flung around the world.
More recently he began taking close-ups of single blooms and flowers. Such works of art each and every one in itself. He also took one set that was all leaves and they turned out to be very interesting and beautiful. But here’s the kicker.
Richard is also this “computer geekie/techie guy”. He works a lot with Windows 7 and it allows him to create themes. These are a series of images that you can put together as desktop wallpaper. Well he has taken my garden as his inspiration for creating beautiful themes that are available for free download if you work with Windows 7.
If you’re a garden fanatic and you’d like to check out more shots of my garden, you can visit our Summer Garden shots album. I hope you get as much enjoyment from this as I do.
Finally the sun has deigned to grace us with his presence, his light, and his warmth down here in (normally!) sunny Florida. The biting cold, the frosts, and miserable grey are hopefully a thing of the past. And not a day too late; my garden Muse was absolutely itching to get to work because I had major projects to accomplish!
This year I decided to shake things up a little in my garden. The St. Francis flower bed, so named because his statue oversees this part of the garden, had developed a deep-rooted weed system which was hard to control. So I decided to dig deep, dig out as much as possible of the offending growth, and put in a fairly large (10’ x 6’) paved patio center-front of the bed to eliminate some of the back-breaking work of weeding. I have dressed up the patio with pots and urns of various sizes and colours which are planted up with bulbs, seeds and some partially developed plants.
The Quan Yin flower bed, obviously named because her statue reigns supreme here, is much the same as before. However I have decided to fill it with even more flowers this year. There are also hundreds of seeds lying just below the surface of the soil which hopefully will germinate and bloom as the year goes by. I also plan to add to the collection of brightly coloured chimes and wind twisters that hang from the wrought iron framework of the old gazebo that I moved to this bed when the lanai was built last year.
The front yard has undergone the biggest transformation: the side two of the three small flowerbeds have been eliminated and returned to sod, while the central flowerbed has been enlarged to four times its original size. I have walled it in with rustic stonework, elevating the back part to a higher terraced level. The front area has been filled to overflowing with brightly coloured spring flowers and hundreds of seeds are also germinating here for later in the season.
However, the central attraction of this new terraced bed is the weather-worn, trellis arch that originally sat just outside the screened-in back porch room. This arch, which was deeply rooted into the ground on each side with six years of steadily growing orange trumpet vine, was dug up and relocated to the center of the raised terrace part of the new bed out front. A couple of extra trellis panels have been added on each side of the arch to accommodate the copious trailing branches that grow from the vines, and I have planted several rose bushes in this elevated section too.
All of this was done with much help from my assistant gardener, Linda – a very dear friend without whose help I could not have achieved this major overhaul!! This morning, after many anxious days of waiting and watching, new green growth showed on the winter-hibernating vine that wraps itself intricately around the arch:-).
As I sit in the lanai writing, my heart is full of joy and my soul sings in gratitude as I survey the end result of much hard work. It continues to be a work in progress and God’s creation will become even more beautiful as seeds develop into plants and then bloom out in a riot of colour. And this joy and gratitude are magnified because I know that passers-by can feast their eyes and experience their own heart joy.
My happiness is complete as I watch the birds swarming at the feeders. Squirrels are scurrying in the grass and chasing each other up and over the back fence. Lizards and frogs are awakening from their winter lethargy and today I have seen at least a dozen butterflies.
Richard has taken some lovely photos of the garden today, some of them early this morning in the subdued sunrise light, and some of them around lunch time. Enjoy!!
You can see all 45 photos at the Spring Garden Update Photo Album.
Dad’s back yard was his pride and joy. Actually, his whole garden was good reason for him to be proud. I’m referring now to the garden of the prefab house that I associate with my young childhood – age five through eleven years.
There was a concrete walkway that crossed the full width of the back of the house. This was then bordered by a tall trellis fence with an archway set midway. Both the fence and the archway were painted white and were covered by thickly growing rambling roses. The delicate perfume of these roses when they were in bloom floated on the warm summer air.
Three worn red brick steps under the archway of fragrant pink roses led down to a lush green rectangle measuring about twenty yards by fifteen yards. In the springtime bright yellow buttercups dotted here and there in the grass reflected back the sun’s golden rays. Later on in the summer dainty white daisies danced across the carefully trimmed lawn. Sprinkled throughout the grass patches of sweet smelling clover attracted the buzzing bumble bees.
An upward sloping flower bed completely bordered the lawn, and from early spring through late autumn it was a constant changing riot of colors and perfumes. Large plump pincushions of blue and white alyssum grew close to the grass, their musky perfume hanging heavily in the air. Intermingled with the alyssum, yellow and purple Pansies nodded their pretty painted faces, while delicate sprays of deep pink London Pride swayed gently in the breeze behind them.
Jostling for room and vying for attention was a profusion of red, yellow, pink, purple, orange and burgundy dahlias of the single, double, and pom-pom varieties. Pungent smelling French Marigolds and gaily colored Anemones (my mother’s favorite flowers) somehow managed to find some space. Along the top edge of the flower bed stood majestic spikes of pink, blue, and violet Lupines interspersed with tall stems of blossom-laden antirrhinums (we called them “bunny rabbits”).
Beyond the lawn Dad had created an area dedicated to rambling raspberry, currant, and gooseberry bushes as well as some pear and apple trees. To one side of this area cabbage and cauliflower, carrots and celery, potatoes and peas and beans grew, as well as a variety of lettuces and tomatoes. It was always a garden of plentiful bounty.
Coming up the steps from the lawn and going under the archway, I could turn either left or right to get to the vegetable patch. It all depended on how brave I was feeling! To the left was a long line of “dreaded” larkspurs. These tall graceful plants had clusters of vivid deep blue flowers growing all the way up lengthy stems. In the center of each bloom nestled a fuzzy black thing with a bright yellow mark that looked just like a bee!
However, going to the right I passed the rockery which ran the full length of the garden connecting the front and back yards. The rockery was a magical place full of hundreds of small and most unusual plants with minute yellow, white, pink, and blue flowers that clambered over and around a fascinating collection of white crystal, gray and pink marble, and speckled granite rocks. I was sure that faeries, elves and gnomes lived there!
What a wondrous place this garden was, full of color, perfume and adventure. I felt like a queen as I played there and all the flowers were my subjects. How lucky I was to have had a father who dedicated so much time, energy, and love to create and maintain “my kingdom”.