2014-05-12 Iris 1

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

 – Luther Burbank

2014-05-12 Iris 2

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

2014-05-12 Iris 3

To dwell is to garden.

– Martin Heidegger


A Surprise Appearance

2014-03-13 Amaryllis

A co-worker gifted me this Amaryllis bulb when I worked in our main office building several years ago.  It came to me in a paper box ready to be planted. If I recall correctly, it did bloom that first year, but in the many years since, it never did again. Each year it would sprout its long, arching leaves without a bloom to slowly hang on for what seemed like months until they eventually would fall away and whither against the sides of the pot.

Not knowing any better, the second or third year, I cut the leaves away when they faded. It seemed like the right thing to do for it then, but I’ve since learned that it needs those leaves, bloom or no bloom, as it recycles its energy into its bulb for the next period of growth.

The photo above was taken 6 days ago (only the second time I’ve seen a bud at all). And as of today it’s shot up over a foot tall. It was storing up all that energy in its large bulb all this time just for this moment. It’s almost as though it’s reaching up and demanding to be seen.

2014-03-19 Amaryllis

I’ve started turning the planter (it’s roughly the size of a basketball, the pot) each day to try to correct how far to one direction the bud is growing towards the light of the nearby window.

What a wonderful gift this continues to be.  I’d reluctantly accepted that I’d done something irreparable and it would never bloom again.  But all this time, hidden under the soil, it was slowly and tenaciously living on and preparing for the chance to flower once more.

Gourds Are Growing

In an earlier post, I’d shared about our surprise gourd patch that grew out from under our deck after a few decorative gourds were tossed there from last year. Since then, the patch has taken off by leaps and bounds. It’s grown so much, we’ve had to wade into the knee-high growth and start pruning back the vines away from the house and the stairs.


While it still looks bigger than the prior post depicts, it’s taken a real haircut. An added challenge has been that it’s been infested with squash bugs. We have to keep a lookout for the gray bugs and cut away the leaves they lay their tiny eggs on. We’ve dragged several long vines away into the woods and have to keep pruning to stay on top of them.


Once the gourds took off, I tossed 2 sweet potatoes we didn’t eat in time down there as well. And of course, we now have sweet potatoes leafing out from under the desk right beside the gourds as well. I don’t expect to have any edible potatoes but, who knows.


We’ll see how many gourds actually end up being picked as we continue to prune against the squash bugs. It’s sure been a fun little experiment though!

Congratulations – It’s a Lime

I’ve always wanted to grow something I could eat, but citrus fruit seemed always out of the question here in Virginia. I never envisioned how anything fruity would grow here other than something like apples or other common type crop foods (especially in a planter on our deck). So it was really on a lark we purchased a lemon and lime bush at a local nursery earlier in the spring this year. Why not, we thought, it might be fun.


Lo and behold, on glancing out through our patio doors the other day, there was the beginning of a tiny lime. Currently it’s about the size of a large grape, but it’s definitely a lime. We’ll be on the lookout to see if a lemon will happen this year or not from the other bush.

While You Were Busy

Funny how things creep up on you when you are busy. The other week I glanced out the window and wondered – what is that?!?


Why, this would be the results of tossing the remainder of our small decorative gourds into a compost pile under the porch this winter after I used them around the house for the fall. Not thinking they would actually take seed and root – boom – we have gourds. I will be very curious to see what actually comes of this wonder and likely will need to figure out what to do with them. Hey, I was wanting a summer garden. Well, now I’m off to a very good start! Is a shame all vegetables don’t grow this easily!

In Bloom

Our Apricot Drift Roses that we planted around the front flower beds of our home are in full bloom. For the last few weeks since planting, we’ve only had a bloom or two and I was starting to worry a bit. This weekend, however, we noticed each of the eight bushes has several full, pink blossoms on display.


I’ve been really pleased with this type surviving aphids and cankerworms so far. They’ve all got more holes in their leaves than not, but they’re still going strong and are growing fast.