March 30, 2012

Working Weekend

I am willing to bet, my darlings, that a great number of you will be digging in the dirt this weekend....with or without garden gloves. 

Let me send you off to putter in your own landscapes with this little tip (I had forgotten about it until L'il Sis reminded me of its effectiveness on our last visit):

Before heading out to pull weeds, clean up leaf litter, and plant shrubs...whether or not you are planning to wear your fingernails over a bar of soap.  The soap under your nails will form a barrier to mud, manure... garden muck and yuck in general.

Remember to do this and you won't spend the second half of your weekend trying to get your fingernails clean.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

March 29, 2012


My Joie du Jour for March 29, 2012...Remnants of the Redbuds. They are done, but quiet, and beautiful still.

Join Linda Cavanaugh and me tomorrow at 4:30 on NewsChannel 4. We'll be talking Easter Baskets and Bunnies. 

Please, do join us if you can spare a moment.

March 28, 2012

I Clip, Therefore I am

I clip for bushiness

I clip for spreading and coverage

 I clip for order

I clip for tidiness

I clip for enclosure

I clip for uniformity

I clip for the many verses the few.

I clip for exposure

I clip to harvest

I clip to deadhead and reinvigorate  

I clip for the two out of one

I clip to topiary

I clip for beauty and bouquet

I clip for relaxation

I clip for texture and color and fullness

I clip as prayer, as meditation

 I clip, therefore I am.

March 27, 2012

Worth the Effort?

We had such a mild winter that I feared it would be a poor year for bulbs.  But honestly, though high wind and heat often make them especially short-lived, there have only been one or two years (out of the past twenty or so) that these bulbs did not perform well.

And yes, it is true that their grandeur is fleeting given the amount of work and expense of planting them.  (I treat them like annuals, you know.  600 each year in the front alone.) 

Perhaps especially fleeting here in Oklahoma.

Still, I could no more do without my beloved tulips each year then I could do without, well

if not my children, then maybe

Husband (Not! just kidding, Dear!)

And I have the image of their loveliness in memory and photos to comfort and encourage me during the coldest of winters and the hottest of summers.

They are an indulgence whose transient, exquisite beauty is all the MORE prized because of this transience. 

As I look at these photos again and again...comparing one year to the blend of color to another blend

I have NEVER felt that it was not worth the effort.  

And you out there...who read this blog

and walk or drive by as the tulips and daffodils put on their show

do you think it is worth the effort?

I do hope so.

March 22, 2012

Petite Joie du Jour

When I was 27 and still single, I bought my first house.  I was thrilled with everything about it.  A red brick mini-Monticello, I remember describing it.  I adored it, and often dream about it still.

One big purchase begat another, and, out of necessity, I was soon the proud owner of a new refrigerator as well.  I remember distinctly how nice it was to have a brand new fridge...not a renter's model with god knows what history (and grunge) in its past.

I also remember making a concerted effort not to deny myself the joy of this smaller purchase in my delirium over the ULTIMATE, much LARGER purchase of a new home.

Almost daily I think about this life lesson...not to miss out on the joy of the small in  the presence of the large.

Case in point:  my front yard is pretty breath-taking right now, if I do say so myself.  A dramatic explosion of color and freshness and texture and spring.  Seasonal abundance at its peak. Still, there are those smaller, less obvious delights of spring that I don't want to miss out on.  

So, my dears, in the spirit of this lesson, I give you my Petite Joie du little joy for the day:

A four inch pot of $3.00 strawberries that nestle perfectly in a small ceramic cache pot. Topped off with some damp moss, the composition looks ever so charming.

It goes in and out.....sometimes taking in the sun and air on the brick wall in front, other times joining in with other plants and flowers in constant rotation on my morning room table.

It won't last long in it's little container.  It will eventually become part of the larger it in the garden or the compost pile.

But I will have ever so appreciated...the little bit of joy it gave me each day.

March 20, 2012

Drifts of Eastern Redbuds

"I never before knew the full value of trees.  My house is entirely embossed in high plane trees, with good grass below, and under them I breakfast, dine, write, read and receive my company."

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

My, but I love the image this evokes.   I have tried to create a similar setting on my tiny lawn...

though mine are not high plane trees, rather a drift of small redbuds...Eastern redbuds to be exact.  I prefer them over the more strident (and in my mind, less charming) 'Oklahoma' redbuds so popular here.  

They encircle the dining area in my small back yard. Seven in all.

The grandaddy redbud, now arthritic and damaged, is still beautiful in its aging fragility and shades my garden bench by the hydrangeas.

It begat three seedlings that I have nurtured and pruned and pampered into beautiful adolescence.

One, right outside the french doors from which Husband watches the birds as he sits in his man-chair by the fire.

I've sculpted them all into lovely little trees, with Japanesque, arching branches, clipped to see through and beyond them into the garden. 

One of the other two progeny lightly shades a small herb garden just off the dining area...the second delicately wraps itself around the southwest corner of the studio.  

The three of them are a mere inch or two from touching one another, forming a canopy of pink so lovely it hurts.

I consume this loveliness as I do the dishes and daydream and watch the birds and squirrels and think about my garden chores.

The final two (in case you're counting), I actually purchased and planted two years ago.  The east side felt incomplete without them. Their canopy now tops the fence and you can see their blooming branches as you come down the drive.

Such a delight they are...SUCH a delight.

March 19, 2012


I am usually quite nervous about coming home to my garden after being away.  

With no one to fret over her and monitor her every little change, every little success, every large or small thing affecting her health and beauty.

But not this trip.  After six days in Indiana, I came home to this:

Let's just say it could have been worse.