Thursday, July 11, 2019

One step back, two steps forward

I missed you. It's that simple. I just missed you all. After my divorce and move to a new house, I put up a few posts to let you know I was still alive and up to my eyeballs in projects, as usual. But my desire to chronicle the changes fizzled out and I stopped blogging. I can be very open and very private at the same time and I simply didn't have anything I wanted to share, not even my garden.  I'd decided to keep my blog as a time capsule to a very different period in my life. 


 My front garden has two distinct areas thanks to a massive Japanese cherry tree. One side is shady while the other is sunny. 

But after commenting on a post written by my friend Jason Kay of gardeninacity, I realized I missed the garden blogging community. So I'm back. 



To keep the zinnias from toppling during storms, they're tied to metal stakes.



 I tossed out the seeds for this calendula last winter. Native violets grow everywhere and squeeze out other plants. I pull some and I keep some.



I removed all the grass from the front of my house and filled it with flowers.  

My old garden is gone, removed with a backhoe so that grass and mulch could be laid for a giant playset by the new owners. I've never gone back to see the carnage and was given the news by a much loved neighbor. 



I knew that would happen, despite assurances from the new owners that they would keep the garden.  I miss my old garden but my new one suits me better. I spend a lot of time enjoying it and not much time maintaining it. Weeds cover ground not covered with mulch and I don't really care. Instead of worrying about perfect camera shots, I just go out with my phone and snap a few. 


Whether these daisies are a weed or a wildflower is in the eyes of the beholder. They're cute so I let them stay. 


My new garden and home are happy, peaceful places. The front garden is lush and exuberant and true to the nature of the small town I moved to, total strangers often stop to comment. At first, I was suspicious but it's a welcome relief from the indifference and  expected conformity of the northern Virginia suburbs.


Many of these plants came from my other garden, except the dahlias, which I grow from seed every winter. 


I've seen so few honeybees this summer and only a few swallowtails. But I've had about a dozen Swallowtail caterpillars in my fennel and currently have a new batch in some parsley. A smokebush shrub in the background is in its awkward teenage phase. I love its weirdness.


The rudbeckia hirta self-seeded last summer and were a surprise. I'm glad they're there. The multicolored coneflowers were grown from seed.



These seed grown dahlias are blocking the dwarf variegated abelia behind them but so what. They were supposed to be there temporarily until I found a better spot for them but I decided that spot was good enough and let them stay. I no longer care about having a picture perfect garden or about mastering design principles. I know how to create beautiful design. I just don't think it matters anymore. The dahlias are happy and I'm happy. That's enough.


These dahlias stayed in the ground all winter. I think the tubers survived because they're close to the brick walkway, which creates heat and kept the soil warmer. I'm going to experiment by leaving all my dahlia tubers in the ground this winter to see what happens. I'll grow a few from seed again as backups.


'Millennium' alliums from my previous garden


Here's a recent photo to prove I am very much alive. I'm a huge music lover so when a friend asked me at the last minute if I wanted his extra ticket to a local music festival, I said yes, even though I had no clue who was playing. The music didn't matter. I was in good company and knew we'd have a blast no matter who was on stage. 

While he was getting autographs, I had my picture taken with Chris Janson. I had no idea what his name was until a few minutes before this picture was taken and not being much of a fan of country music, wasn't familiar with his songs. But he was a brilliant entertainer and musician and a few of his songs have become favorites. 

So there ya go. 

41 comments:

  1. I’m so glad you are back! Your new garden looks wonderful! Everything looks so vibrant and happy.

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  2. Well hello. So glad to see you and your garden. I love its exuberance...It so reminds me of you! xogail

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    1. Awww, thanks! The garden always reflects the gardener. :o)

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  3. I sort of took a hiatus from blogging too...just kind of burned out and felt like being quiet for a bit. Glad to see you back, though...and glad you are loving the new garden. I'm always shocked when people stop by to ask about the garden...Norm wishes they would stop, since he thinks it just encourages me ;-)

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    1. That's funny! Yeah, sometimes we just need to pull back and wait for inspiration or it becomes a chore in stead of a joy.

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  4. I've missed you!!! Your garden looks wonderfully wild and and gorgeous--just like you are, my friend! I've been terribly absent from blogging but posting lots on IG--and I hope to get back to writing again soon. I've missed it (and you)! XOXO!

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    1. Thank you!! It feels good to be missed! I wasn't even sure anyone would read my post. I'm not on Instagram, rarely post on Facebook, don't do Twitter and quit Pinterest. I'm very good at disappearing. But it feels good to write about the garden again and get back in the mix.

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  5. I missed you!!! A couple times I checked your blog just to ensure that there wasn't a hitch in my blog feed updates. But I knew that there'd been a lot of changes in your life and respected your need for a break, even if it was permanent. So many people have dropped out of blogdom, some shifting to Instagram. I finally opened an IG account myself last year and I use it periodically but I still don't like it as much as the blog format, which allows the writer to tell a story (rather than an anecdote) and allows the reader to immerse her/himself in a different place for awhile (rather than hitting "like" and abruptly switching the channel). I'm glad to hear you're still growing from seed and I imagine you had a full-blown seed-growing operation set up in your new house over the winter months. Yay for pulling out the grass and planting a field of flowers and for supporting the pollinators too!

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    1. Awww, thanks! I was sure everyone had forgotten about me or written me off for dead. I didn't think I was going to blog again but decided to give it another go. I do very little with social media and prefer real writing over quick comments or emojis. I still grow loads from seed. I started over 50 cups of milkweed seeds this past winter for a meadow I'm creating on a sunny side slope and grow all my annuals. I refer to my seed starting operation as The Pot Farm because of all my little pots of seeds. I crack myself up....!

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  6. So glad that you’re enjoying your new garden! I so liked your “old” garden. And I never wanted to know about my old garden’s fate, and cried for quite a long time after hearing from a colleague what they’d done to the woodland garden in front. It’s all a part of gardening, after all.

    All the best to you in the gardening ahead,and enjoy posting on your blog when it inspires you.

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    1. I liked my old garden, too. Creating it was a massive accomplishment and having it be a well received part of the Fling was a huge highlight. I wish I could have saved more plants. This new garden is more livable because I'm not constantly working to maintain it. I can have a garden and a life. :o)

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  7. Tammy girl .. so glad to SEE you ! and a HUGE WOW ! on the progress of "YOUR garden of YOU" .. and that is what it is about .. all YOU and that is a wonderful event .. it looks magnificent because it is totally your style, and no wonder people stop and ask about it .. I would too ! .. but then I would have to travel a fair bit from Canada to do THAT ? LOL
    I don't know how I would feel or if I could ever come back to this house with the gardens I created to see what new owners had done to it .. I think I would pass on that mind boggling (scrambling ? LOL) event .. "better to have gardened and lost, than never to have gardened at all" type of deal for me though .. and I have Black Swallowtail "babies" on my big dill pot like mad, and hoping they will totally progress to their true selves eventually and keep the cycle going.
    You are gardening your true self now girl .. so be proud and happy .. you are doing great !

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    1. My old garden was me and the new one is just a different version. Lie changes and so do our gardens. My old garden was so big. This one is much smaller. The back is completely terraced and full of plants. I did a big renovation on the house and the entire exterior looks completely different. I've had people tell me they've been watching it change and that they love what I've done. I love it, too.

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  8. Welcome back to the tribe. We love you. Glad you are happy and love your garden filled with lots of blooms.

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    1. It feels good to be loved and to be back in the groove. :o)

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  9. Welcome back, Tammy! Your new garden looks beautiful. It sounds so sad what you told about your old garden. It must feel bad. You look great and I wish you happy gardening!

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  10. Thanks! I do feel sad if I think about it too much so I just focus on the beauty that was there while I lived there and the new garden I've created here.

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  11. Your new garden is gorgeous. Lovely to see you are doing well.

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  12. Nice to see you again! The flowers are beautiful.

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  13. So happy to hear from you! I love your new garden. It is pretty, fun and charming. I am sure the pollinators do too! You look great! I know changes are hard work and exhausting but worth it in the end! HUGS

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    1. Hugs right back to you and Shawn!! I use my Ravenscourt Landscaping tote bag all the time and my t-shirt is a fave. I think people assume I'm an employee. :o)

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  14. So good to see/read you again! Your new garden is lovely, lovely and am pleased that you're happy there. Look forward to more news when you want to share!

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    1. I am happy. :o) You'll hear from me more often!

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  15. What a delightful surprise to have this post pop up on my reader list! I am loving the new you/garden - gorgeously and unapologetically devil-may-care, exuberant and alive!

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  16. Yay for happy surprises! I love your assessment of me. It is spot on accurate!

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  17. No wonder neighbours stop to talk to your garden - maybe it will be on another Fling?
    It is happier to have a garden scaled to enjoy but not daunt. (I'll be out there, pruning, transplanting and planning as mine gets greener and greener)

    Hope to see your new cat next time.

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    1. Smaller is definitely easier! The cat will definitely make an appearance once I can get a decent picture of her.

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  18. Your garden looks great. No apologies necessary. I love seeing violets in early spring when they are blooming but I hate the way they bully their way into flower beds. If they stayed out in the grass it would be wonderful! I used to have those daisies pop up in my previous garden but never here. I think you are lucky to have them. That is a nice looking musician you have there in that last photo. I bet you had fun at the festival. Good to see you back.

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  19. How excellent to open my blog-feed and see you up there at the top .Your new garden looks glorious !

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  20. Glad to see you blooming again. Life is like the garden - ever changing and full of surprises! Can't wait to see it in person!

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  21. Welcome back!
    Gosh your garden does look beautiful, so much colour all jostling together. Exactly as it should be. Cover the soil with the planting and there's no room for weeds.

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  22. Thanks! I have some perennial weeds that I'll be removing this fall as I add more plants to the garden.

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  23. We missed you, too! So glad you're alive are kicking. Hope your kids are also doing well. Your garden looks great and it's good your new community isn't so uptight about landscaping. And in response to your comment on my blog, I would gladly accept some violet roots from you!

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  24. Lovely to see you back, you have been missed! Wonderful to see how your garden is coming along, it's truly looking wonderful.xxx

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