Category: In Nature

Nature

Chenille

As winter sweeps through New England, my thoughts are on warmer weather and nature’s vibrance. Though not exactly a Christmas plant, this beautiful Chenille is certainly dressed for the holiday!

I love this plant; and just because it is easy to grow, rather it is that flower! Though a native of Asia, it was in Florida that I first saw this plant I bloom; and quite happy when I was able to acquire a bush for my yard.

I also found a Dwarf Chenelle that makes an excellent ground cover, as well as a potted plant in Maine!

In Nature

Too Soon for Snow

 

We are not supposed to be having this type of snow storms or temperatures for Thanksgiving; it is too soon for snow!

 

 

Nevertheless, and regardless of how I might feel about the chilly weather, with yes, record breaking cold predicated for Thanksgiving Day; I must still admit that there is a beauty that is only seen when my world is encased in snow.

 

 

I hope whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, or simply another Thursday, that the day finds you well, with your needs met, and a grateful heart; regardless of what other circumstances you may be facing, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

In Nature

The Fenway Victory Garden – Boston

“The Fenway Victory Gardens are the only remaining, continuously operating World War II Victory Gardens in the United States. Founded in 1942 by the Roosevelt Administration, it was one of over 20 million victory gardens responsible for nearly half of all the vegetable produce during the war. Located in Fredrick Law Olmsted’s famed Emerald Necklace, over 500 gardens spanning 7.5 acres are tended by a community of more than 350 members from every neighborhood in Boston, reflecting the diversity of our city and its rich history and culture.

The Fenway Victory Gardens were established in Boston in the spring of 1942 when it became clear that the nation’s food production would be unable to supply both the armed forces overseas and the general public on the homefront. Across the nation, “victory gardens” sprang up in city lots and backyards in order to combat nationwide food shortages and wartime rationing. The Boston Victory Garden Committee secured 49 areas for cultivation, including a large plot of land bordered by the Muddy River, Boylston Street, and Park Drive, an area that would come to be known as the Fenway Victory Gardens.

http://fenwayvictorygardens.org/learn/history/

I love how people can personalize their plots.

How would I not love the Fenway Victory Garden, a place where so many of my passions come together – history, nature, wildlife, art, food, and people!

If I lived closer, I would most assuredly acquire a plot here, for the sheer pleasure of gardening in a community, and being able to be a part of this wonderful endeavor.

When I lived in California, I shared a public garden plot with a friend, and it was a fabulous adventure; I loved sharing in the bounty of other gardeners – both in their knowledge and produce!

Watching something grow is good for the soul, interacting with people while you do it, is a prescription for peace!

 

Zinnia’s Caroline!

 

So lush; even as fall approaches.

 

There is little that matches the taste and satisfaction of a home grown tomato!

 

Shelter for all!

 

Broccoli and marigolds — a lovely combination!

 

A place of perfect pece.

 

Cosmos; my Mother’s favorite flowers!

 

What else can I say?

 

In Nature

A Rose

We had planned to plant a rose garden this year, but in doing a bit of research, we concluded the area we had wanted to use for the roses, simply did not get enough sun.

Not wanting to entirely give up on the notion of growing roses, we planted a rose bush in a pot, one that could be moved around the yard, chasing the sun.

Truly, it was an act of faith; much to our hearts delight, the bush actually bloomed!

I have not filled my home with cut roses this year, at least not from my garden, but I have certainly enjoyed watching the bush bloom, and shall hope it blooms again next year.

 

In Nature

Memory Gardening

I love plants; my Mother turned me into a gardener, as a child, telling me, as I have already shared on these pages, that playing in the dirt was good for my nerves.

I would be lying if I said that I do not buy plants, but if you are a novice gardener, may I recommend you find others who like to play in the dirt – gardeners love to share – join a garden club! With gardening, I prefer the found, shared, gifted, or grown from seeds or cuttings plants; though walking around a nursery that sells some exotic or hard to find offerings, like orchids, is a true delight and a pleasure I enjoy indulging in, even if I am only window shopping.

Recently, feeling that our time in Florida is coming to an end, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and go buy a Meyer’s lemon tree, that I have wanted for years. While Kate was doing something at Home Depot, I went into the garden section, and decided to shop, until my heart was content.

The photograph above was what I bought. When I got home, I placed all of the plants on the backyard patio, and sat down to admire my purchases with some iced coffee. As I looked at what I had purchased, I was suddenly quite taken with my eclectic acquisitions, and thought a bit about why I had bought those particular plants.

My garden, like everything else in my life, is an amalgamation of the life I have lived; the people and the places that have impacted who I am.

As always, my Mother was right; gardening is good for the nerves. In Maine the season is almost done, there are a few perennials, but the annuals are already marked for clearance, soon we will be inundated with the ubiquitous mums; but with the exception of some pumpkin seeds that I planted outdoors, most of my garden is indoors, around the pool.

I love going into that room, and as I stroll around the plants, I of course think about my Mother, with her grapefruit tree, over six feet tall now, that she planted from seeds, I do think of my Aunt Helen, and her bleeding heart, that she brought to me as a cutting in a vase, from a plant in her yard, telling me that they would grow if I planted them; I remember the garden club, in Florida, when I first moved into our home, and all of the many plants I see growing in Maine, that came from those days of sharing, the bromeliads that Evelyn and I would exchange, and the Plumeria’s that I learned to love in Hawaii, but acquired when Joan ordered two inch pieces for us, the fig tree that I grow because it reminds me of Pico Rivera and of Greece, and Lia’s grandfather’s orchard, that I so fell in love with, the tomatoes and cucumbers that my great niece so enjoys picking, the grape plants that remind me of Delano, the beautiful philodendron Hannah gave me for Christmas five years ago, my first orchid that came from Ibis, and the orchid given to me by Marcial and Adriana, and now my Meyer lemon tree, that I had never heard of until Irving, one of the most fascinating people I have ever known, introduced me to them . . . and oh so much more. Gardening is a wonderful way to keep and make memories; as well as eating fresh and delicious produce, and providing yourself with lovely blooms.

In case you are wondering:
Culantro – Puerto Rico
Ice Plant – California
Lemon Thyme – That was part of caution to the wind, as I so love cooking with fresh herbs
Mint – For the tea I fell in love with in Israel
Meyer Lemon — Florida
Papaya Tree – Hawaii
Portulaca – A plant I always liked, but did not know its name, until my Aunt Helen told me what it was called

Nature

The Topiary Garden

 

This garden in Columbus, Ohio, depicts Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon On the Ile De La Grande Jatte. I love not only the idea for this unique garden, but also its execution; I hope you find a bit of inspiration, for your own garden — I know I left here with my head swimming in what might be possible!

 

The people and boats on the lake.

 

The woman in the center of the painting with a child.

 

The (Black) Dog!

 

The couple near the lake, toward the left of the red umbrella.

 

I am just not sure — what do you think?

 

The little girl looking out at the water?

 

The reclining man, woman, dog, and man with cane.

 

Is this the monkey?

 

The bronze plaque stands on an easel, in front of the topiary pieces.

 

 

http://www.topiarypark.org/

http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/27992

In Nature

Bougainvillea

 

 

It is impossible to not have a love hate relationship with bougainvillea; the plant is stunning, but its beauty comes with a thorny price tag.

 

 

The first time I truly became aware of bougainvillea was when Lia took me to visit a monastery in Greece. The building was pristine, start white, but the walls were covered with a perfectly well cared for and manicured fuchsia bougainvillea that was somehow trellised to the roof.

 

 

Yes, I know exactly how bad it is to have plants clinging to the house, digging in their roots and feelers to the stucco or cement, but the magnificent view created seems to make the maintenance well worth it; at least for me!

 

 

As we contemplate saying good-bye to our house in Florida, with my dramatic bougainvillea, I do wonder if I will ever care for another, of these fast growing, bloom producing (yes, it is the little tiny white flower, and not the brightly colored bract’s that we love.) thorny plants, do have a bit of a bite.

 

In Nature

Scattered Shells

 

 

There is little In Nature that compares to a walk on the beach. Regardless of what ails you or where you need to be, if you find a patch of sand, sitting next to the sea, step away from your world and enter paradise.

 

 

If you happen to stroll along a normally deserted beach, it may be quite easy to find scattered shells, if not, go to the beach in the early morning or when the tide is receding to see what gifts the ocean has left behind.

 

 

Yes, I do pick-up shells, but not as many as I used to; I am now at a stage in life, where I feel that I have plenty and am willing to leave treasures behind for someone else to discover.

 

 

This beach was in California, and could not have been more ideal; she was bathed in perfect sunlight, with a warm breeze blowing, and crashing waves!

 

 

In Nature

Nor’easter

 

I have been battling a cold, grateful it is not the flu; but last night I took two Cold-Tylenol’s; normally I am a pretty light sleeper, but when the fan went off and the alarm began to sound, I refused to open my eyes. It was 3:30 in the morning, and we had lost power.

 

 

The silence and darkness demanded that I not only open my eyes, but get out of bed and do the obligatory walk through, the house. Kate was already in my office, feeding the wood stove, we peered out the windows, the snow fall seemed significant; we reassured each other that our preparations for the storm had been sufficient, though in truth they never are, and decided to go back to bed.

 

 

This morning, we woke up to a house still without power, and a yard filled with snow. We had been so excited about the fact that all of the snow and ice, in our yard, had melted, we are ready for spring; but apparently it is not quite ready for us.

 

 

Yes, I will concede, perhaps kicking and screaming a bit, the snow covered world, with its ice laden branches, is or can be perceived, at least by some, as . . . beautiful.

 

 

I decided to take a few pictures for you, I was not going to leave the porches, but I gave in to the temptation and stepped out a bit further than planned.

 

 

Half the family is still without power, but our power has returned; thus I am now praying their power returns or the streets clear up enough for them to drive. Those of you in sunny Los Angles, enjoy the view, from a distance!

 

 

In Nature

We Garden for Hope

 

 

Gardening can break your heart. Having to pull out the shell of a plant that did not grow or thrive, for whatever reason, can be a very sad experience; and when some unknown, unwanted, or uncontrollable element impacts your garden, and runs wild, well that can almost be enough to make you want to quit – but only almost.

 

 

At the end of the normal growing season, last fall, my sister brought me two tomato plants, a zucchini, and a pot of strawberries, to winter with me, in my pool room. Soon thereafter, something went terribly wrong, and I began to lose various plants; resulting in that dreaded broken heart.

 

This branch is growing on the ceiling — can you imagine if they all turn into tomatoes!

But a few days ago, I walked into my indoor garden, and saw this bright red tomato, growing on one of Caroline’s tomatoes! I had seen him when he first turned from a small yellow flower, into a tiny green, marble size ball, but the winter’s losses had made me cautious though hopeful. It is not unusual for a plant to set out fruit that will not mature; but not only did this little fellow hang in there, literally, he also set an example for several other pea size babies to live and thrive!

 

 

Winter is not an easy season in North America; it can be challenging to wait for shoots of spring to bring us hope of warmer days and wonder, but a bright red tomato, against the back drop of snow, can certainly bring me hope!

 

“It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson ~