Musings on a Daffodil

When living in a northern latitude country the anticipation of the coming spring can be overwhelming.  Waiting for ephemerals to break through once frozen soil can hardly be contained. When I moved here there were no gardens adjacent to the hardwood forest. I would look out the windows and see only shades of brown. Slowly green growth would emerge from honeysuckle and spicebushes.  I knew I needed more.  Daffodils had been planted the front garden by the former owners.  I decided to dig them out, separate the bulbs and move them to various places throughout the property.  As gardens grew and daffodil clumps doubled in size, each subsequent season the clumps were dug up, bulbs separated and transplanted into gardens adjacent to the hardwood forest.  I was also given  a clump of daffodils from neighbor who had removed them from her parents grave site.  Another clump came from a friend who rented a property where daffodils were growing in the nearby woods. I share this because all the daffodils you see in the photos are the “children” of all who grew here or were given to me.  None were bought.  They were all planted with love and tended to with gentleness and gratitude for what they give back to me each spring. 

Daffodils in lower gardens
Daffodils in lower gardens

 

Daffodils by the stream

Bombus and the daffodil
Bombus and the daffodil

Daffodils 2019

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Reasons to Smile – A walk through a garden

The snow that blanketed the earth is but a fleeting memory and flowers abound

Pinks – indigo – yellow

Shades of primary colors

Bloodroot flowers
Bloodroot flowers

I am not alone as I walk, with each step I take care not to trip over another visitor to the gardens

 

Eastern Green frog
Eastern Green frog
Giant Leopard moth caterpillar
Giant Leopard moth caterpillar

We all rejoice in the warm southern breezes that reach our northeastern homes

White-throated sparrow
White-throated sparrow
red-bellied woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker

Winter’s Waning

13 days and still Gaia is blanketed by white

The earth refuses to give up her cover and allow spring’s flowers to stretch and bloom

After the storm
After the storm

Early March snows melt quickly creating vignettes that are etched into my mind

But still I count down the days until spring

Snowdrops in snow
Snowdrops in snow
Sumac berries in the snow
Sumac berries in the snow
A dusting of snow on the Witch hazel
A dusting of snow on the Witch hazel

Ice Encased

A glass of wine, winter boots and my daily pilgrimage into the gardens. 

These past few weeks the Arctic’s cold breath has ended with a whisper of southern warmth.

Horned-lark on frozen corn field
Horned-lark on frozen corn field

Winter’s white morphs into a glass encased landscape.

Witch hazel encased in ice
Witch hazel encased in ice
Ice encased Norway spruce
Ice encased Norway spruce

I take care not to slip and spill my wine…

Holly leaves encased in ice
Holly leaves encased in ice
Norway spruce branch encased in ice
Norway spruce branch encased in ice
Laceleaf maple encased in ice
Laceleaf maple encased in ice

February Flowers

 I waited patiently for a sign that the long winter nights were losing time

I closed my eyes hoping that when they opened, umber, caramel, and wheat would be  replaced by the color spectrum – I was not disappointed

 

 

Both inside and out Gaia’s internal clock recorded the seconds until a flower burst from its slumber

 

 

 

Phalaenopsis orchid
Phalaenopsis orchid

Even a coating of white could not diminish my joy

 

Why do we garden?

I started the gardens at Valley View in 2005. Each year I add and I subtract. I visit other gardens and watch gardening shows. During quiet moments one question persists – Why do I garden? Why do I spend countless hours creating a vista that may disappear tomorrow?

Ajuga and ragwort garden
Ajuga and ragwort garden 2017
Fallen trees
The garden is on the right under the fallen log

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really don’t have an answer but I have looked backward to see where I’ve been. 

 

 

When I was 14 part of my parent’s property was taken by local government for a flood control project.  Bulldozers came in widened the creek and left behind a mud pit.  My mother and father were devastated. Their garden was gone.  The following year willow trees fell and more damage was done to their space.  I spent countless hours cutting tree branches and raking ground to bring life back because I wanted them to be happy.  Fast forward to age 49.  My husband and I bought that house and created gardens that made me smile.  Then one morning it all disappeared in a flash flood. Oh the irony!

September 18, 2004 flood

September 18, 2004 flood

Photos from the post

Gardens Do Not Happen in Isolation

 

 

 

Now I garden at Valley View. First it was to take control of overgrown areas and create spaces where I could sit and enjoy what surrounded me.

Everything was done on the cheap. There was very little money for plants, let alone hardscaping. The bricks and patio block below are what you see in the above photos.

North garden from upstairs window 2007

The next step in the evolution of the gardens was to make them wildlife friendly.  I added plants specifically for native creatures. 

female scarlet tanager on sumac September 2018

I then began to remove invasive plants, which I continue to do to this day.  After my desire to invite native wildlife, I wanted to create sacred spaces.  A labyrinth and bowling ball pyramid were added. 

Maddie viewing the labyrinth

Bowling Ball pyramid with hostas

I then learned about pollinators and wanted to add plantings to encourage their health. So back to natives.

Native bee on white cone flower
Native bee on our native Echinacea

I found myself ping ponging between trying to recreate what I saw or learned at that time. It has taken me awhile to understand that my garden should be for me and should reflect my inner being. 

Now, I’m still not sure what that is.  But I should not be ashamed of liking non-native hostas and wild unkempt pollinator gardens.   I am fortunate to have the space for both.

 

Pollinator garden July, 2018
Pollinator garden July, 2018
hostas by rain barrel
Hostas August Moon and Gold Standard by rain barrel

Reflecting on my past involvements with gardens,  I venture to say I have always been trying to recreate something I’ve seen rather than create something of my own. It’s time for me to take pleasure in my own creative endeavors.  For once again, I’ve learned it might not be there tomorrow.

The meditative garden
The meditative garden June, 2018