The Goose Choo Choo

I knew they were coming around the bend in the river before I saw them.

The cacophony of honks gives away their location.

I also knew they would be in a line.

One parent in front like an engine, the other bringing up the rear as the caboose goose.

I did not know how many cute little fuzzy ducklings would be swimming in between.

I wish I knew what they were saying. Are they barking out orders to their goslings?

I would also love to see their feet paddling underwater. The smaller ones must paddle faster.

I look forward to their visits each spring. They waddle up my neighbors ramp to eat their grass.


My Crazy Clematis

I always wanted a purple clematis because my Gran had one growing up the side of her porch. I loved how it highlighted the side entrance and provided some shade. She had superb taste in everything… furniture, food or flowers.

I purchased a bare-root Jackman Clematis decades ago. I still have its package. That’s how I remember what I have and when I got it. It is also why my office is messy.

The Jackman clematis is supposed to bloom in summer, mine is covered with blooms now.

Jackman clematis

Another anomaly is that its blooms have differing numbers of petals. There are many five-petal blooms, but about as many four-petal and six-petal flowers. This breaks some botany rules.

I have looked at many photos of Jackman clematis on the internet. The variation shows up in some photos. I do not know why this plant is a shape-shifter.

All I know is that it is lovely and reminds me of my Gran and her beautiful home.


In Love with Foxglove

Their rosettes of fuzzy leaves appear first. They show up wherever the seeds are blown.

Some plants stay lovely little green cones while others grow spires toward the sky.

I wonder what color will appear on the blooms, but I am certain there will be spots.

Those spots are what get me. I wonder around peering into the little hats.

Admiring the patterns that guide the bees to the treasure.

They are magic. I imagine fairies and elves wearing them.

I am in love with Foxgloves.


The Beauty of Sarah B.

Sarah is beautiful all the time, from bud to bloom, in any light.

I don’t know how she does it. I guess that’s why she is famous.

She seems delicate, but powerful.

Her bud is like a glass marble, her bloom like a floating taffeta tutu.

Sarah Bernhardt peony

Whoever named this peony named her well, Sarah Bernhardt.


This is MY Garden

This is MY garden. I choose what grows and what goes.

MY life would be so much easier if I did not have to constantly deal with weeds.

I did not invite these weeds into MY garden. Unwanted forces planted them.

I must be constantly vigilant to prevent the weeds from high-jacking MY garden.

I have limited time, space and resources. These uninvited weeds steal those from MY garden.

I must constantly use Preen as germination prevention. This is MY weed birth control.

I also place cardboard under the mulch so if the seeds of weeds germinate, they cannot grow. MY garden IUD.

If weeds still sneak in when my back is turned, I cut them out with my Hori-hori knife, kill them with chemicals or burn them with a propane torch.

I guess you could call me a baby weed murderer.

It seems strange for a ‘Plant Mama’ who loves plants to spend so much time and effort murdering baby weeds.

If this bothers you, I will save all the baby weeds that I remove from MY garden and you can adopt them.

I have only one garden. I choose what gets to grow and what gets watered, fed and tended. I choose, NOT YOU.

I did not ask for the stray seeds. I do not want all the weeds.

If the unwelcome seeds of the uninvited weeds were never sown, MY life as a gardener would have been much easier all these years.


Double Trouble

I am a sucker for those heavy, double blooms. I love them despite their neediness.

Duchess de Nemours peony

They are the over-achiever flowers. They need extra care because they go for broke blooming.

Double bloom of Bill Troutman’s poppies

Rain wreaks havoc on them. Their poor little heads bow down with the water weight.

Duchess de Nemours peony

They need staking and shaking.

Sarah Bernhardt peony

Who can resist such extravagance?

My great grandma Pearson’s pink peony from Ohio

I will shake and stake every spring because these doubles are irresistible.

Karl Rosenfield peony


Waiting for Picotee

I planned on doing only one Amaryllis blog post this spring.

The Minerva group has been showing off.

The Monte Carlos bloomed in their crazy red and white costumes.

Moonscene bloomed twice while waiting for Picotee.

Both Apple Blossoms burst out with their usual shimmer.

Finally, Picotee showed its face. I love that tiny rim of red.

Amaryllis blooms stand out anywhere and I have them everywhere.


The Artist’s Poppies

I wait for them every spring. Sometimes there are hundreds. Other years there are dozens.

I dread the spring there are none. I hope I never see it.

Bill Troutman gave me these seeds decades ago.

His stand of them was right next to the street. The blooms were all doubles back then.

Over the years, single blooms started appearing. Now, there are mostly singles.

I have tried to save the seeds of the doubles over the years, but I do not know that it matters.

I feel responsible for saving his poppies. Plants are a responsibility, so is land.

Humans tend to see everything as a possession with a dollar value. There will always be money.

The artist is long gone. All that remains are his paintings and his poppies.

They are both valuable beyond measure to me.


Daddy’s Iris and the Vole

My daddy had the most beautiful iris bed I have ever seen.

We both ordered from Cooley’s (now defunct) decades ago.

I divided up my collection, but Daddy constructed a bed just for his dozen types.

Those iris exploded with color for years.

Then they got too crowded, so Daddy and I dug them up. We amended the soil in the bed. Then we bagged up the leftover rhizomes and gave them to Daddy’s friends.

We attached the Cooley planting instructions to each paper bag.

His iris bed looked perfectly spaced and tended. We were looking forward to spring.

Then the cancer came. Daddy could not garden anymore. He could only direct from his chair next to an open window.

During a visit home, I walked up to check the iris bed. The leaves were lying flat on the ground, detached from their half-eaten rhizomes. A vole had been eating my precious Daddy’s precious iris.

I researched solutions, I mixed sharp gravel in with the soil, smashed every tunnel and installed a stake that makes noise. I guess this helped some.

Daddy died in July that year.

I still tend his iris bed. There are signs of a vole despite my efforts.

The iris are blooming again now. Only two are hybrids. The rest are old types that were never planted there.

Maybe Daddy and I missed some seed pods during that terrible time. I do not know.

Let’s Dance and Night Affair bearded iris from Cooley’s

All I know is I feel like I keep losing things of great value no matter how hard I try to prevent it.