Today’s Favorite Plant

This is a new spurge for me.

Euphorbia x martinii / Ascot Rainbow /Martin’s spurge

It is a dwarf evergreen that is drought tolerant and deer resistant.

Win, win, win.

It is toxic, so it will not be anywhere near the bunny yard.

It caught my eye due to its lovely variegated leaves and shape.

It definitely stands out among other plants.

Luckily, I planted it in a newly-created feature spot near the entrance.

Wow is it showing off now.   Yes, now, when everything else is wilting and brown.

The lovely leaves are blushing pink.

‘Ascot Rainbow’ Euphorbia x martinii

It is truly a bright spot.

I look forward to seeing its flowers in the spring, but I can’t imagine it being any prettier than it is right now.




The Parade of Characters

There are three parades each year that I try not to miss.

The Blowing Rock parade on Thanksgiving weekend is one of them.

I am always glad to see some of the same characters every year.

The leader is a lady clown on her three-wheeler with a basket and balloons.


Among the old trucks is the “Mater” truck with a stained glass window and a swing for a seat.


I always look forward to the woman pulling the tiny truck carrying a Christmas tree.


There are also noisy groups of happy cloggers.


and dance troupes.

IMG_5982 This year they were in Nutcracker costumes.IMG_5990

A Grinch or two shows up.



Anyone can join in the parade.  Big or little.



Two legs or four legs.


We debated whether this was Scooby Doo or a Kangaroo?


I see all this as an opportunity for anyone to stop traffic and strut their stuffing.


It’s such a family friendly event.


Santa brings up the rear riding in a bucket firetruck.


I love this parade of characters.




Where do all the Bulbs Go?

I have planted hundreds of bulbs in my gardens.

Some stick around and multiply, others disappear.

Where do they go?

I mark them with swizzle sticks, so I won’t dig them up by accident or plop a plant on top of them.

So I know where they were planted.

I go back to that spot and there is nothing but soil.


Did they rot or were they eaten?

We shall see.

I am planting two sets of crocus bulbs inside suet baskets.


These are no longer needed here, because our raccoons love suet.

I learned this in the middle of an experiment to learn which suet was preferred by which birds.

The raccoons ripped the baskets out of the trees and carried them off to open them and eat the suet.

By the way, the raccoons liked the berry suet best. It always got torn down first.

I had three baskets last year. Two were found in isolated locations. One was never found.

I have put five bulbs in each of two suet baskets.


I doubt my little friends can eat their way through these.

I will share the results in the spring.

Maybe I can close down the bulb buffet.





Have some Moments in your Holidays

While you are packing, cooking, driving, eating…

Be sure to include some moments.

Pause and take in the scene.

Look into faces, listen to voices, hug people, ask questions.

I call this the “pregnant pause.”

It will give birth to a treasured memory.

Stop, look and listen before some of these folks are gone.

Then you will have only photographs.

Enjoy all that food, but relish your time with family.

Happy Holidays


Glitter, Glue and a Friend or Two

When it gets cold, the Flower has to play inside.

So I invite friends over to make things.


This weekend, a group of creative folks decorated all sorts of things with napkins.


I have a napkin collection you see.  I search far and wide for beautiful napkins.


My friends do, too.  Then we get together and share our paper treasures.

We sit around a big table covered with supplies: ModPodge glue,  glitter, scissors, sponge brushes and paper plates to work on.


We peel napkins down to one ply, cut them in sections

and glue them onto anything we care to embelish.


There was a wide assortment of objects.


There was also some new talent at the table.


I always enjoy watching other artist at work.


I learn something new every time I have a “workshop.”


It’s a cheap thrill.

“He is the richest man, who has the cheapest treasures.”


I love my napkin collection, but my friends are my treasures.



In Love with a Bully

At my age, with my experience, I should know better.

There were signs early on, which I chose to ignore.

There was just something so irresistible about

its seeds.

That’s right, seeds. Those carmine-colored, tiny, shiny rubies.

Not the flowers, although they are a magical spray of tiny pink of blooms on wiry stems.

Nor the chartreuse leaves which give it the name ‘Limon.’

It was the tiny jewels of seeds.

Jewels of Opar ‘Limon’

Thus the name, ‘Jewels of Opar’  for this Talinum paniculatum/ Fameflower.

I should have suspected when little, lime green leaves appeared in neighboring pots.


I should have realized its tenaciousness, when every cutting grew roots.


It should have been a warning sign when even tiny cuttings produced flowers and seeds.


I was blinded by those seeds.  Fall in love first, ask questions later.

Finally, I did some research.

Caution!  Self-sowing.  Deep tap root.  Eradication difficult.  Invasive.

These warnings are for Zones 10 through 15, I am in Zone 7.

I still will not be putting any in the ground or sharing my many new plants

until I see if our winters will kill back seeds and sprouts.

I did read that the leaves are edible and can be made into smoothies.

If this becomes a problem, I will eat my way out of it. That always works well.

Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.

The heart wants what the heart wants.  Bully or no.


Seventeen Years Later

No, I am not referring to cicadas.

I have wanted this shrub since the year 2000.

I helped plant a church courtyard in all white flowers.

I desperately wanted the Camellia japonica ‘White by the Gate’.

It looked like the Lutheran symbol, the white rose.

We had to settle for some other white camellias.

We also planted a white rose and white azaleas.

Nothing on that side thrived, except the Japanese anemones ‘Honorine Jobert.’

Anemone X ‘Honorine Jobert’ (windflower)

Eventually all shrubs came out for rehab and the anemones took over.

Now there are no plants there, due to a new project going in.

When I stumbled upon this lovely shrub after all these years,

I took it as a sign to accept this change.

Now this long-awaited shrub is in my yard.


The bloom is everything I dreamed it would be.


Hold on to those dreams.

They may eventually come true, even if it is seventeen years later.





The Frozen Phase is Here.

It happened last night.

The elephant ears are drooping, the dahlias are black.

The banana leaves are brown and the Turk’s caps are gray.

The green has left the garden.

Another phase in the life of a gardener.

Clean up the frozen leaves and stems before they turn to slime.

Dig up tubers, corms, and rhizomes that now have no tops.

Pack them in peat moss, haul them in.

Sometimes I wonder.

What would I have done with all that time if I had NOT

followed this same routine over and over again each year?

My nails would be prettier.  Maybe my back wouldn’t hurt as much.

More traveling? More money? A career? A cleaner house? More friends?

No matter.  I have chosen my flowers.  My living rainbow.  My green children.

That has been my path.  My little world of tiny friends and flowers.

ALL these photos were taken yesterday, just hours before the freeze.

Many blooms were covered with frantic bees. CLICK on any photo to enlarge it.

(The feature image is a pumpkin bloom)

The Frozen FLOWER


Bunnies and Blooms in the Gloom

We have had three cold, wet days here in NC.

Neither I nor the bunnies have played outside.

They have kept busy chewing sticks, barbering each other,

eating, napping and tearing up their box.

I have played with my inside plants.

My Christmas cacti collection will be blooming for weeks to come.

I am so thankful for their vibrant colors.

I am just sharing today’s showoffs up close.

gold and salmon

When it stops raining, I will be going outside to photograph all the bloomers that are still braving the elements.

It’s the least I can do for these tenacious plants.