Tag Archive: flower

The Look of Spring…

Spring is here.

How do I know?

The Forsythia bush is in bloom.

Forsythia Bush


I love that shot of yellow that lets you know the warmer weather is on its way.

I'm Ready for My Close-up.

Some people trim up their Forsythia bush to make it look nice and neat. One of my neighbors made it look like a tree. While I normally hate shaped bushes, this one is pretty nice. It fits with the formal Georgian style home.

The shaped version of Forsythia

There are some other signs that spring is really here. One of my neighbors planted their yellow daffodils against their red brick home and edged the bed with more bricks.

Parsonage daffodils

In my garden I managed to put last years pansies right in the middle of the tulips. Considering they like shade, this might not be that big of a problem.

Yellow Pansies about to bloom

Last but not least are pictures of my peonies emerging. This first picture is of one patch I was able to clear away last years stems before the big storm Sunday night. These guys are standing tall, nestled between star of Bethlehem on the left and tiger lilies on the right. The peonies will keep the rose bush’s feet cooler in the summer.

The red stems are the peony sprouts

I didn’t have time Sunday to clear off the stems from this other bush. See how my laziness has affected the look of the stems. That has been corrected and we are one good rain storm from have great stems.

Old stems in need of removal

Hollyhock to the left and Spider Wort to the right. I like to save some of these removal chores for the spring because it forces me out of the house after a long winter to get it done. Plus, I like leaving the stems for possible mulch and seepage of nutrients to the ground. Tomorrow, I will put in the tomato cages in the center of the peony plants to give them structure and the ability to stand when big rains make them fall with the weight of the flower heads.

How is spring looking in your area?


Making Winter Green

 This picture was taken on Christmas Day. Winter in its utter perfection.

My neighbor's Pine Tree

 We still love winter and its whiteness. But when there is a lot of snow on the ground and the wind starts blowing, it gets cold. Today we are to see a wind chill of 8 degrees.

My desk in the office is right next to a west window. As much as I love the light, the cold wind that comes through makes me run for my wool socks. (Thanks goes to the hubby for giving up one pair of his, I wear them all of the time now.)

Because January and February are soooo loooonnnnngggggg, I made a bold step this past fall. I brought the pansy in the hanging planter and put it in my bedroom. I had my husband bring the bench up so there could be a resting place.

Pansies in my bedroom window

At first, the husband thought I was a little crazy but then he liked the look of the bench in front of the window. After that I added the pansies and the pot of spearmint. Both had suffered from fall dieback. Since the daily watering, the pansies have come back to the point that we have a bloom this week. The spearmint is just leggy and not interesting.

You are thinking “I want pansies in the middle of winter.” Perhaps next year, you can bring a pot in during the late fall. For now, it is possible to buy African violets and set them in a north facing window. Soon the primroses will be in the stores and March will see daffodils and ox-tails available.  

How do you bring the green into your home during the winter?

The Garden’s End

The garden is at its end.

The Morning Glories

We have had a few frosts now and many of the annuals and perennials are done. The morning glories are drooping, the verbena has disappeared.

However, the snap dragons and Mums have stayed the course along with the pansies. The Impatiens on the side of the house are not as glorious but they have dropped off some.

The Impatiens are hunkering down.

What I will start doing this week is cut down peony plants and the Hostas. Most of the time, I leave the plants in the garden and top them with compost and leaves. Some years I cut the stems in the fall and other years I cut and clean out in the spring.

This year, I plan to plant seeds for next spring, cut back plants but leave the greens as a compost ingredient.

Some of my peonies have a white powdery covering. Mildew. These plants will be cut out and burned. I do not need that problem coming back and this is the best method of getting rid of that.

The Front Garden

Just a few weeks ago this front garden was glorious with Black Eye Susan and leafier sunflower plants.

Now, the Petunias are hanging on as the pansies prop them up, color-wise.

What I will do here is keep the Mums and the Sedum as they provide winter interest. The rest, including the sunflower plants, will be cut down.

Shade Garden

Remember that gorgeous shade garden from the spring? You can not see the limited blooms but it is nothing like it was earlier this year.

Here again I will cut down the peonies but leave the greens and cover the bed with compost and leaves rakes from the yard.

Hosta Garden

Hostas have never been my favorite plants. But I am trying to get some different varieties to make this patch more interesting. I am also planning to buy some tulip and hyacinth bulbs to plant for spring interest. Saw the idea in a magazine and I really liked the effect.

Can’t wait to see those results.

Late Blooming Cosmo

Now here are a few last-minute surprises. The Cosmo plant finally bloomed this week. In August, I was jealous of neighbors who had beautiful airy blooms. My plants had nothing. And then, about two weeks ago, I got buds. And now here is the flower. I am not sure it will open completely so I will take what I can get.


Here it is. The last new plant to bloom. A delicate pink zinnia. Whether seeds will come out of this plant is anyone’s guess. But it is a small piece of perfection.

How is the end of your garden?

The Last Planting of the Year

Side view of the front garden for better viewing

Yesterday, I put in the fall mums that will finish off the garden for the year. I made the placement of the new plants to contrast off the existing plants. I am considering getting one more to put in the left corner to balance the view from the front.
This is the last planting of new plants I will do for the year. Soon, I will remove the tomato frames that have held up the peony plants. After that I will cut down those and other perennials that are no longer green.
As the gardening year closes out I am looking at the cosmos plants that grew but never bloomed, the zinnias that are about to bloom, tons of seeds that never produced. I plant to put seeds in this fall that will be next year’s flowers before I put on the final layers of compost and dead leaves.
Sometimes what I will do is leave plants to be winter interest. Plants such as clematis and the peonies. In the spring I clean up the dried out remains that have also protected the bulbs I have layered about. I do put compost on some perennials and the mums in the hope they will come back.
This is also the time of the year I plant bulbs. When I was digging for the mums, I hit some of my tulip bulbs. So I took those out and plan to plant to move them to my hosta bed.
I saw an article this past spring showing how to make that hosta bed better looking in the early spring with a mix of tulips and daffodils. That means I am heading to the garden center with the intention of getting bulbs to make the least loved garden space a little prettier.
Here is my list of plant in the garden this year. Now I can start thinking of what to plant for next year to compliment what is already there.
Bachelor Buttons/Cornflower
Black Eyed Susan
Blackberry Lilies


Four O’Clock
Grape Hyacinth
Morning Glory
Pink Flowering Dogwood Tree
Purple Cone Flower
Purple Obedient Plant
Red Salvia
Spider Wort
Star of Bethlehem
Trailing Geranium
White Cone Flower
White Obedient Plant

The Start of the Fall Garden

My volunteer snapdragons


Now that fall has arrived, my garden is looking different again. 

Once the weather gets cooler my snapdragons find life again. They work in shade or full sun. Both places have worked for me in the past. They are great in the spring, hibernate in the summer and come back in the fall to give it one more try. 

Since we are no longer in 90+ degree weather, these babies decided they could bloom again, profusely. All I can say is “Welcome Back.” 

Sedum Close-up


The Sedum, or Hen & Chicken as my mother called them, has been around the whole season. In the past month, the flower heads have been building. Finally now, they are opening, adding a mauve-y tone to the garden. They will be more visable once I get rid of the sunflowers. I need to do it because their time is really up but I love watching the birds perch on and around them. 

Basil on our porch.


I am not sure this plant is really a fall plant. We have had the Basil growing all summer. But that heat wave took something out of it. Plus we have been grabbing leaves for recipes. Fresh basil on your pizza with thinly sliced tomatoes is wonderful. 

Hot weather left, some rains came and the basil made a comeback. I am not sure what it is about rain. I can keep things watered but a good rain makes plants shake up and get bigger almost instantaneously. I also make sure to pinch off the flowers to keep leaf growth at the fore front. What I need now is a good pesto recipe…

Morning Flowers in the Late Summer

The kids started school this week, the youngest going for full day kindergarten.  

I thought about crying a little. I got a little teary. I did my best on the second day to not hold his hand all the way into the gymnasium where they line up. When he seemed a little lost I did my best not to go in and direct him. I let him figure it out and go from there.  

Well, you have to, it says so in the parenting manual no one gives you. Sooner or later they grow up and leave. More on that come Friday.  

So I went home and took a few pictures to distract myself. Really, morning was the only time I was going to get two of these plants at their best anyway.  

You can see variations of yellow and pink Four O'Clocks mixed together.


This first picture comes from my Four O’Clock patch. Four O’Clocks were given that name because they show their blooms when the sun goes down. They do not like full sun and generally prefer late afternoon light.  

They would do the same at my house IF the area where I have them planted didn’t go into full sun late in the afternoon. By 4:00 in the afternoon these babies have shut tight. My colors started off being yellow and pink. Thanks to cross-pollination, I am now getting a yellow that is streaked with pink.  

Morning Glories Up Close


Next is a definite morning time only flower. Some might define the Morning Glory as a weed. It can grow anywhere. And it will. I haven’t found a spot in my garden where it will not grow.  But I have planted this annual vine on the east side of the porch. It twirls and winds pretty darn quickly but usually waits till the end of summer to really start blooming.  

The plant started coming in on its own at the beginning of summer. But in the last month is when it started climbing higher and higher.  

Morning Glories taking over


I have a large wooden stick placed on the right hand side to give the vines another place to crawl up. The flowers on my vines tend to be deep blue and pink. I am happy to give out seeds. After that you will never, ever, need to plant this one again.  

Finally, the last plant in bloom is the Obedience Plant. This stalky plant is great for attracting butterflies. Their trumpet shape is great feeding for the flutterbies. They can also take a rest on the stalk if needed.In the past I had white, light purple and a pink hybrid.  

Obedience Plant


The majority of my white Obedience Plant patch got lost in the sunflowers this year. The heat took out the purple ones. I am hoping enough seeds are left in the ground to bring back more of the purple next year. The white ones have enough seeds coming to be able to re-seed that color.  

By the way, I know that is a Bachelor Button in the background and I know it is considered a weed in the Midwest.  I love and so it stays in the garden. A weed is really only a flower looking for a home. Sometimes they find it and sometimes they are removed.   

It is all a matter of perspective, I guess.

A Mix of Weeds and Flowers

Blackberry Lily


In July, the Blackberry Lilies   

 begin to bloom. Now I am sure you are wondering where this name comes from and to be honest it has nothing to do with the flower. The flower looks like a miniature  Tiger Lily. But in a few weeks when the flower turns into a seed pod and the pods opens the seeds look like a blackberry.  

I take the seeds and throw them in the spots I want them to grow. But the birds like to eat them and now my neighbor has a few of these flowers as well.  



Walmart Roses


The roses are on their second round of blooming thanks to all of the rain we have gotten this summer. Granted it makes my life harder with all of the humidity that drains my energy. But when you see these roses, all is almost forgiven.  

To keep the blooms coming, especially in years without great rain, I do two things during the season. I cut back the spent flowers so the plant does not go into seed production. And I water the roots two times per week by setting the hose near the root base. I leave it there for about twenty minutes to ensure a good soaking without drowning the plant.  I bought the plant 10 years ago for $5.00 and I have kept it going all that time with these simple steps.


weed vine with white flowers


I cannot find the name of this vine. All I know is that it is a weed that tries to take over and I hate it.
I have ignored this particular part of the garden and the vine is taking over some clumps of day lilies. This week I am ripping it out and trying to find the root to dig it out.
I don’t believe in using chemicals to get rid of weeds in the garden but this one may make me change my mind.
Last but not least is a picture of me in the garden. I have been working hard so I am schlumped over and looking fatter than I really feel. In the last few months I have lost inches around the waist and fat off of the face. But here you cannot tell I have lost anything.
Me in the garden

In my mind I feel as if I am at least ten pounds slimmer. The husband took this picture, allegedly about the garden. Because the peonies are in bloom this must have been in May. Sadly, the weeds have taken over again while I was at VBS and not able to weed every night. 

This week I am back in the garden with my weed stick and weed bucket, a one gallon ice cream bucket.  Perhaps I should switch to the five gallon bucket.


Is It a Weed or Flower?

Which plant is a weed?

Both plants have flowers. One will have a tall stalk with flowers, the other is an annoying vine with white or purple flowers.

Every now and then I will talk to friends about my garden and we get into the conversation of  “is it a weed or a flower?”

Well, how do you know? Personally, I wait until the plant is a few inches tall if I do not recognize it right off. In my perennial bed I have plants that come back every year and I know them right off. My Hen and chicken (Sedum) has started off quite nice as have the two colors of Obedience plants that live happily with the various Black-Eye Susans.

But there are always a few I am never quite sure of.  I took a few pictures from my garden today to illustrate how easy it is to mess up identification.

Wait, you are saying to yourself. I thought this blog was about family and movies and the occasional alcoholic beverage. Well, it is. But when you live in a cottage, one should have a cottage-type garden. Plus I have noticed that as soon as you bring out the plants to be planted, the shovel and the mulch, kids seem to want to be right there with you. I dig a hole, they put in the plant, we all move the dirt back to the right place.  It works nicely.

This is our daughter’s first year in 4-H. She is doing visual arts and crops. We will grow corn in the back yard. I think that is perfect for her to do this year. One of the other things that was done in the yard today was her little plot of land was heaped with compost and then turned over. In six weeks it will be ready for her seeds.

Now back to the quiz.

Did you figure out the first picture yet? Both are hardy plants, over winter nicely. Both will have flowers. However the one I want is on the left, commonly known as Hollyhock. It will grow six feet or taller. I currently have shades of maroon. I would appreciate other colors but I cannot seem to get them to grow.

The other plant is called creeping Charlie by some of my friends. I call it a major pest and will be ripping it out all summer long. It chokes my Obedience plants and pulls them down. It does the same to my Black-Eyed Susan plants as well. Another pest that does that is Morning Glories. They can be pretty but I work to contain them in one part of the garden or the blasted things take over.

Now lets talk about this next beauty that is resting at the bottom of the page. It looks like a clump of grass. Feels like grass until you pull it out and there are tiny white bulbs dangling from the roots. What do you do? Put it right back, of course and water it.  But how will you be reward?

In mid-June you will notice the grass die back a little and little white flowers, about 1 – 1 1/2 inches wide, bloom like crazy. You might notice little white bulbs in your garden as you put in bedding plants. Just stick them back in, water the ground after you are done putting in the bedding plants and next year you will be rewarded with more of these flowers.  It sounds crazy but this was one of the hidden delights in my garden.

Good luck with your garden this spring and by all means share a secret or two.

St. Mary's Grass

It is a clump of grass that has a white line on each blade. But is it a weed?