Category Archives: Garden

Two uses for a lily

Hmm… which is prettier?

This Eastern Kingbird considers himself the watchman of the neighborhood and since they’ve bloomed, has been landing amid the small patch of daylilies beside the courtyard here.

Whether he’s just appropriating a convenient hunting perch or instead has some aesthetic sense of his own handsomeness, I’m not sure.

What do you think?


Celebrating spring

I feasted on some familiar delights today… daffs and crocus and forsythia, a beginner’s yoga class that left me feeling competent for a change (!), a longish walk with Luka past the neighborhood raspberry fields with their huge clump of purple hyacinths blooming right in the middle, the soft fur on Boomer’s cheek with his big ears drooping to meet my fingers, the local osprey pair rebuilding their cell tower nest after it was removed this past winter, newly arrived great egrets stalking the creek at low-tide… all brought a comfortable smile to my face.

How did you celebrate this day?

Robin invasion

We had near to a foot of snow finally; it blew into great drifts that swallowed Luka whole. The neighbor’s catalpa served as a staging area for the robins and cedar waxwings waiting for a turn to drink from our little fishpond. The deep end is free of ice thanks to a bubbler constantly churning the surface, the shallows a tea-colored slush from the oak leaves accumulated under the thin ice.

The holly tree out front kept a small army of robins fed today, their plump bodies colored for spring. I want to feel sorry for them out there in the cold and snow, but they seem content enough, even if they don’t look it.

Dear snowdrops

Thank you for flagging me down to stop and appreciate you in the middle of my crazy whir of nervousness the other day.

Thank you for the invisible valentine of your downturned petals punctuated with a little green heart; I had to be on my knees in the muck to see that.

Thank you for the lady passing by who paused to tell me how beautiful you were – I was thinking about her amazing smile the rest of the day.

Thank you for sharing your private patch of sun-dappled shade with me.

Thank you for giving me the time beside you to remember that the universe will send me everything I need at just the right moment… a friend to hold my hand wordlessly as I wonder what’s happening to me… another to talk me off ledges… someone to gather my stories and worries and unedited truth like so many ingredients of an ancient family soup… another to collect my tears when I most need to cry.

Thank you for helping me hear the stars in my dreams calling me.

Oh, and thank you for an excuse to muddy my jeans.



Winter has lost its newness and its luster and I find myself alert for the small voices that signal change…

Without any snow cover there’s little to contrast the lack of color in the landscape if we don’t look closely…

The change now, in mid-February, is in increasing daylight as the sun swings north again…

That light and the sogginess it brings underfoot, the extra brightness it adds to shrunken viburnum berries…

And the fragile texture of butterfly wings that it reveals among the tatters of last summer’s hydrangea…

All are among the small voices that signal hope for change. Have you gone looking, yet, for Spring?

Mostly I didn’t find much, but there are snowdrops in the neighbor’s garden and the promise of hellebores… can peepers be long off? Cardinals are singing some at first light and the redtails perching closer together… maybe it’s closer than it feels.


Poinsettia Amnesty

My favorite garden center is offering $10.00 off the purchase price of any plant you choose to replace your dead or dying poinsettia with… so long as you show your black thumb, admit defeat and bring the horrid thing along with you for trade-in.

Oh the embarrassment!

I wonder what they’ll do with them. Can a dying poinsettia be rehabilitated?


Hummingbird plants

With each new seed catalog in the mailbox my dreams get grander and less likely to ever happen.

I love pouring over the new varieties and planning where each might fit in my garden, but actually choosing anything new over my old favorites seems an impossibility. Mostly I plant for butterflies and hummingbirds and think everyone needs to lure them into our gardens for the simple pleasure and laughter they can bring.

Hummingbirds love bell-shaped flowers and will zoom and hover from one to the next to the delight of anyone who stops long enough to notice.

My short list of easy-to grow plants for hummers includes:

Agastache – not bell-shaped, but hummers seek it out together with all manner of bees and insects.

Bee-balm – again not bell-shaped, but it smells great and a red variety has rooted itself along the border of my little pond and is a hummer magnet.

Crocosmia – only half-hardy for me, but a stunner.

Salvia – A personal favorite of mine that the hummers also seem to love in any color.

I can’t remember the name of the plant in this photo – maybe scarlet cypress vine? For years my MIL started the seeds for me and I grew it along the fence that surrounds our pond. Now it grows from any little nook and cranny. This summer it sprouted from between a couple pavers in the driveway and twined its way up the gutters of the house! Beautiful, but it blooms way too late for the hummers to enjoy before they migrate. Anyone else have that issue with this plant?

Any other good hummingbird plants you’ve had success with?