Archive for the ‘Gardening and Plants’ Category

I don’t recall how long ago I found these dishes – probably at least six. They’ve stayed tucked away in my private picture folders, awaiting their chance to be really loved. And I do love them.

Ah…what it would be like to sit down of an afternoon and enjoy tea in the company of this striking pattern. I can only think it would make mundane tasks more enjoyable, and, perhaps, make writing even more fun. Someday…

The morning’s coffee would not be amiss in these mugs:

The strawberries on a black ground have given me several useful ideas about how to integrate various decorating ideas I have for my kitchen, which I haven’t been able to pull together. More on that, later.

Note: I do not know what the name of this pattern is. If you do, won’t you please tell me?

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I get no end of delight from seeing the abundance of flowers, roots, mushrooms, leaves, and such that crowd into our little place. These are a few more of my favorite things:

Black locust leaves, May 2013.

Even a single leaf holds rainbows of colors.

Black locust trunks and sprouts.

I thought, were I a small child, this place looks just right to tuck into.

May 2013 283

Honey locust blossoms (I think) – not very different from sweet pea flowers.

May 2013 435 I hope to make the ferns spread…I need to read up on the best way to do that, so I don’t damage or destroy them.

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Regarding the yard areas, I fell in love with the feeling of seclusion, wildwood beauty, and bittersweet memories lingering in the air. The day lilies were like a promise that everything could be glorious…

Homestead West Yard, Orange Daylilies, Bushes, Weeds, Hot Looking - August 2009

…the moss that things could indeed grow – water! –

…the periwinkle that beauty was not just for part of the time.

Back Porch Steps, Farm House, Homestead - Belle Honeysuckle, Nightshade, Weeds - August 2009

The back porch spoke of long summer evenings, and attendance on flower boxes (one was collapsed in a heap at the south end).

…the butterflies, though only cabbage butterflies, that there were blooming plants, and no insecticides to interfere with the good forms of life (as well as the not-so-desirable).

In short, there were many things that gave me hope – of productiveness, fun, and loveliness.
The buckeye tree fascinated me –



I’d never seen one before. We learned that the nuts, if properly boiled and prepared, can be a useful arthritis remedy, and the kids had fun making necklaces out of cured nuts. The tree is not doing so very well now, so we are trying to get a few little trees started, in case it succumbs.

Also, discovering mushrooms and slime molds:



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Daffodil or jonquil, early spring before flowering. A few grow “wild”, from a previous planting, just outside the South Sideyard fence, and near the main driveway.

In the picture below, you’ll see some of the damage done by the latest dirt storm. This storm occurred when a neighbor didn’t plant their crops on time, and allowed a large field to blow.

May 2013 077

They are difficult to notice, but around this pile of sticks (collected for use in our wood stoves), there are tiny white and blue flowers growing from bulbs – “Glory-of-the-Snow”, and something I have not yet identified.

Below is an example of the fight put up by the cheat grass and flowers to try to re-cover the area:

Grass and Flowers Starting, May 2013 South Sideyard


Crab apple tree May 2013, looking east

This is the crab apple tree viewed from the west, in May. The bushes in the foreground are Belle honeysuckle (left), and lilac (right).

My buckeye tree in May, just budding with leaves:

Buckeye Tree BuddingAnd another tree, a toddler you might say, making a brave effort among what appears to be dead siblings and cousins. Sometimes trees here do not actually leaf, though they are technically alive. I haven’t figure out why, as it seems to have nothing to do with water or position (competition):

Tree Baby Leafing Among Dead-Looking TreesMore flowers:

Grape Hyacinth near south sideyad gate

Grape hyacinth growing near the south sideyard gate, along the driveway.

Yellow flowers, early spring bulbs.

These frilly-leaved minor spring bulbs are called Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis). They sometimes develop buttercup-yellow flowers. They grow in partial shade beneath my biggest lilac.

Tiny pine tree along south sideyard fence, May 2013.

This baby pine tree put up a brave fight for existence along the south fence. (It succumbed the winter after this May picture was taken.)

Unknown plants beneath lilac bush.

I’m not sure what all these plants are that grow so happily beneath my big lilac, but I love them. They’re just “weeds”. đŸ˜‰

Not much grows around this sometimes-swampy drain, but the songbirds and poultry love it:

Kitchen Drain Puddle, South SideyardAnd finally, the early-spring look toward the head of the main driveway, where I hope to have hollyhocks soon. There are a few jonquils that will bloom here presently. I plan on increasing them, since they don’t seem eager to do so on their own:

South Sideyard toward Driveway Head

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I need my driveway to say all of the things I would hope to say to a beloved guest on an extended stay. This means, Love, Joy, Laughter, Hope, Beauty, Trust, Dream, and Friendly Ambition.

Here is the drive as it was at first…undefined and messy:

Across one section (a branch of the main drive) there had been a sturdy clothesline installed. It was a good, sunny, protected area just south of the house. I wondered if I’d get to keep my clothesline. (Alas, no. Will took it down and made a drive again, though not rocky – just grassy.)

Here is what I have now:

I am very pleased with the air of mystery one feels looking eastward down the somewhat undulating drive, becoming overhung with trees. But I want it to be even prettier.

I have decided one hollyhocks. A big, old-fashioned, “outhouse” variety, all kinds of wonderful colors – red, golden, deep pink…. No pastels, if you please. They need to be as bold and mystical as the trees alongside.

I am looking forward to a time when the trees, having had their tops trimmed for the installation of a highline wire, return to their previous graceful forms, arching over the drive in a sort of tunnel. I am thinking of  The Little Colonel’s avenue, all lined with white-blossomed locust trees, which whispered hope and courage and gentleness to beautiful Lloyd in her hard times.

Of course, my trees aren’t huge locusts, and this isn’t Kentucky, but it’s what I have and it’s my dream.

In the sunnier areas, I’d like to get blue flax going:

At the corner where the drive branches to go to the house, I’d like to plant a clump of white birch:

That should round things out nicely. I have miscellaneous other plants and flowers which are attractive, and make quite a lot of cheer.

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My yard began coming truly alive again in April this year. The sun fairly glows in the young grass, and through every bud.

Old rusty car.

No one knows when this car was parked. It has become part of the landscape, cherished in its way as much as the trees, rabbit burrows, and silent owls.

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This is a mile marker in my progress of making this house a home. Last spring, it seemed impossible to get the north sideyard tidied…and was, though I and the children improved it. Now, in late December, with unbelievably gorgeous weather, it seems possible to do anything I want here…provided I work within the parameters of the space and conditions given me by nature and my Creator.

We cleaned up shingles, broken glass, metal trash, and sticks, hauling things away in 5-gallon buckets. The metal trash went to our recycling stash, housed in a shed until we have enough for our scrap-hauling neighbor to go to the bother of removing it. Everything that could be burned was put in the burn barrels. Sticks that were suitable for kindling were piled were they could be gotten at when required.

All in all, it was a good day, and I am well pleased.

When the weather warms, I want to re-plant ferns along the side of the house, to soften it. At present, it is cold and rather barren looking, save for a few scrubby cedars, more like wisps of tall weeds. There are also some Belle honeysuckle bushes, which are lovely in season, but spaced awkwardly.

These improvements may need to wait until another year, however, as it would make sense to first do the reconstruction that needs done on the back porch. Will doesn’t really notice flowers, and will probably run them over with the tractor without a second thought.

I’ll bide my time.

Screw it! I'm gardening!

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