Friday, May 30, 2008


The Gardenia bush is blooming! Our little bush only has 5 flowers, but they are 5 beautiful, fragrant flowers. We almost lost the bush several years ago when we had one of those very unusual bitter cold winters--temps were in the teens. My husband gave the plants lots of TLC and it slowly came back. It will never be as big, but produces a few pretty flowers and oh--the smell! Yum!
It reminds me of the gardenia bush in our backyard when I was a child. When I smell that gardenia flower smell, I am transported back to a warm summer evening sitting in the backyard swing. I am not thinking about anything really--just enjoying the moment without a care in the world. Isn't it funny and nice how smells take it to another time? Like honeysuckle, mimosa trees and this pretty little gardenia bush in my yard.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Potting Bench

You know, when you like to plant flowers you need a "place." For some, it's on the porch or patio. For others, with more room, it's a garden shed. For me it's a potting bench. One Saturday in October about 4 years ago I came home from a flea market trip and found my wonderful husband in the garage building this much desired potting bench. October is my birthday month, and he told me he didn't know what to get for my birthday, but knew I had been wanting one and couldn't find the right took the pictures I had cut out trying to find what I wanted and he built the perfect potting bench! It has a top shelf, a bottom shelf, a drawer and a "sink" for potting soil. Not only is it functional, but it's CUTE! It holds pots, dirt, plant food, plant markers---well, it holds everything! I love, love, love my potting bench. What a special gift from a very special guy!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Wheelbarrow

I love to plant flowers in things that are really not planters, but had a different purpose at one time. I am always looking for containers that are old and worn. For example; I have an old tin picnic basket that I know held some great sandwiches and homemade cookies and was taken to some wonderful picnics! (The stories that basket could tell!) It has a new life now holding pansies in the winter and coleus in the summer. I have several old tins. I'm not sure how they were used, but they seem happy now planted with ivy. I have 2 old buckets planted with mint, several old watering cans--not planted with anything, and 2 old chairs holding seasonal flowers. But my very favorite old container is the wheelbarrow. It is not an antique--it is just old. We bought that wheelbarrow right after we bought our first house. It has hauled sand, grass, wood, flowers, bricks, rocks and children! A few years ago I was working in the yard and noticed how rusty the wheelbarrow had become, but under all that rust was so much character. It looked so right sitting there in the yard. I decided then to retire the wheelbarrow from work and give it a place of honor in the garden. It now sits in a flowerbed in the backyard proudly holding a mixture of sun-loving plants. I don't see an old rusty wheelbarrow--I see wonderful memories of years gone by, and promises of wonderful years yet to come.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hollyhocks and pass-along plants

I have Hollyhocks! Two years ago my Master Gardener friend Becky gave me some Hollyhock seeds. She told me it would take a little time. (You know gardeners work hard at patience!) Last fall I thought the "little"plants looked like they were growing...then after good spring rains I thought I saw buds. And now look what I've got! My neighbors say "You've got Hollyhocks! No one has Hollyhocks anymore!"
I love the whole pass-a-long idea. My Mother has told me stories about my Grandmother and her friends swapping seeds. I imagine it was not an organized "party", but rather a "I brought you some Zinnia seeds since I know you enjoy my flowers!" I read that now they actually make a party out of the swaps--everyone brings a plant to trade and a dish to share. What fun!
I've never gone to a plant swap, but I do have lots of pass-a-long plants that I love and cherish. I have a maiden hair fern from a dear family friend, iris from a neighbor (the start was from her 100 year old home in Charlottesville, Va), phlox from my Mother (who got hers from a now deceased neighbor), and a pretty little ground cover from a sweet lady I met on a garden tour. I commented on how I loved her ivy and she offered me some. She didn't know what it was, she just called it ground ivy. It just survived that first year, grew some the next year, then really took off last year. I had the opportunity to re-visit the sweet lady's garden this past summer. I told her how pretty the ivy was this 3rd year. She smiled and said, "Oh honey--the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, but the third year it leaps!"

How special to be able to share something you love with others!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mother's Garden

To celebrate Mother's Day I usually take my Mother flower shopping. This year we were at the graduation in Lubbock, so today was our Saturday to shop. After a pancake breakfast (Yum!), we headed to the first garden center..
to buy one thing.. Well, that "one" thing turned into a cart load! My Trailblazer was rather packed, but on we go! The next stop again filled a cart. Mother didn't think there was any way we could fit all the plants into my already full SUV, but I found a place for everything.
Back to Mother's we go to plant our goodies. Everything looked so pretty when we were finished. Not as pretty as it will look in a few
weeks, but pretty. The best thing we put in the garden though was not even a plant. It was a sign my sister painted for Mother for Mother's Day. It is the focal point of the backyard garden. How special for Mother to be able to look out at her beautiful flowers and see this special gift.

There are things in our life that are priceless...this garden sign is one of them.

"You're closer to God's heart in a garden than any place on earth."
D. F. Gurney

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's Blooming?

This is what is blooming in my yard today!
The first Shasta Daisy and the first Coneflower for this year. Of course I must have RED--so here is a picture of red impatients in a clay pot sitting in the shade garden. The little daisy looking flowers are Blackfoot Daisy. Then pretty Plains Coreopsis that bloom in the front bed, and finally a little Blue Cornflower--my first year for these.

"Just living is not enough. One must have Sunshine, Freedom, and a little Flower!" (Hans Christian Anderson)

I could not agree more!

Monday, May 12, 2008


This beauty only blooms once a year, but oh how gorgeous it is for the one and only show! This is a pass-a-long from my Mother I got a few years ago. I had no idea where I would put it, and just stuck it in a bed along side the garage---and forgot about it. Every spring I watch as it turns from a neglected stem to beautiful flowers. I have about 5 or 6 blooms this year. The number of flowers varies some, but the splendor is constant. What a nice sight after a long day!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Best Mother's Day Weekend!

Thank you Texas Tech for having graduation on Mother's Day weekend! My daughter from DC and my son and his wife from Arlington joined my husband and me in Lubbock to celebrate our youngest son's graduation from Tech Law School. What a wonderful time to have all my children together---we had an incredible weekend! We played with Allie the precious "puppy", toured the Law School, visited 2 wineries, ate fantastic food , and celebrated. I am truly blessed to have such intelligent, loving, caring and talented children. What a perfect weekend to celebrate such a special event!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Front Porch Geraniums

I have always loved red geraniums--and my favorite place for them is on the front porch. I have 2, one on each side of the front door. I had such pretty plants last year, still blooming late in the fall, I decided to try and keep them over the winter. I do not have a greenhouse and the pots are heavy, but I was determined. I dragged them inside, pushed them to the back of the porch, watered, picked off dead leaves, put them in the sun on warm winter days---and I was rewarded! They are back in place now on either side of the front door. They have grown bigger, the leaves are healthy green and the blooms are HUGH! One afternoon I counted 25 (yes, really 25!) flowers on one of the plants! Was it lots of trouble to over-winter them? Yeah, kind of. Would I do it again? YES!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Trip to the Hill Country

I love the hill country. So when my daughter who lives in Washington DC asked us to meet her in Ausin a couple of weeks ago, we gladly answered "YES!"
Construction on I35 makes the drive from Dallas to Austin rather long at times....and this was one of those times. But getting to see all the wildflowers along the way is such a treat I was pretty content with the delay. We ate dinner Friday night at one of our favorite Tex-Mex places in Austin. Saturday morning we found the perfect place for a quick breakfast. "The Great Outdoors" is a garden center with a cute coffee house right on the grounds. So I sit on a deck drinking great coffee and eating cranberry bread on a beautiful morning----how perfect!
The only thing that could drag me away would be flowers and gardens--which was good as we were headed for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
For someone like me whose passion is gardening, this place is heaven. So many things to see. It was a beautiful day--blue skies, gorgeous flowers, sweet smells---hard to leave. But we were headed on to Wimberly, then on to Gruene. After a little shopping we had dinner at the Gristmill (YUM!) and listened to some good country music at Gruene Hall. Long day--we slept well that night! After a delicious breakfast at Magnolia Cafe (my favorite breakfast spot in Austin) we headed home. I always dread the "heading home" part of this hill country trip. There is something wild and wonderful about this part of Texas that I love. Home is where the heart is, true, but I sometimes leave my heart not in San Francisco, but in the hills of Texas.