Monday, June 28, 2010

Wishes Do Come True!

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful. ~Abram L. Urban

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rosa Perfume Delight Hybrid Tea Rose & Pink Delight Butterfly Bush

I love, love, love our garden, and then, I love it some more! My husband is pretty special, too, I cannot tell you how much I love him! Not only does he allow me to buy flowers, he allows me to pick them up in pots, just waiting to be planted somewhere within the garden. I'm blessed for certain because he is the one who normally mows... hence, my desire to plant all my lovelies into their flowerbeds, making it easier for both of us to love them in our own ways. I get to enjoy them in full-bloom, while he's thankfully he's not running them over, LOL!

After a wonderful dinner in the evening, we stopped at one of our favorite garden centers, Oakland Nurseries in Delaware, Ohio. We arrived just prior to closing, but felt no rush since I knew what I was after. I've had this burning desire to add a climbing rose to our garden, and of course, a beautiful butterfly bush wouldn't hurt anything, would it? I, also, needed to restock up on some wild birdseed. The guys who work the nursery are wonderful and quickly came to our assistance, but unfortunately they only had one climbing rose left and I just wasn't picturing it in our garden. So, while the guys chatted, I continued to browse, breathing in deeply in the rose-scented air, I felt a little headed from all the excitement that one of these beauties could be making a new home with us in our garden, but I knew from the moment I smelled this beautiful Rosa Perfume Delight {a hybrid tea rose} that she would coming home with me! The scent from her is so heavenly!

I quickly walked around the garden center, taking in all the sights and sounds. Beautiful plants and flowers everywhere you look, but it was a Pink Delight Butterfly Bush that truly captured my attention. I know it will grow to become a huge bush, towering inbetween 5-6' tall and it's a arching style of shrub. It contains beautiful dark pink flowers that will bloom through the summer and on into the fall, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to our garden. I thought it would make for a wonderful backdrop for our wishing well and the Rosa Perfume Delight rose, gently climbing up one side. Now I sit here day-dreaming of yet, another flowerbed design plan and wishing I had some white exterior paint. ;)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Secret Garden

every garden should have a secret garden sign that discretely leads the way...perhaps, placed within a window box filled with petunias, or tucked in among the flowers somewhere along a meandering, curving pathway...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

 I gave an old yard sale angel a coat of white paint by simply dry-brushing it on... no need to try to be perfect since it was previously broken and saved to be used for decorating the garden. I tucked it in around the bee balm to keep the butterflies happy.

A garden decoration I recently added to the petunias in the window box planter.

Hosta, Lilyturt, Angelonia, & Petunias

The watergarden is blooming! The hosta is growing by leaps and bounds and the fronds of the lilytuft blow gently in the graceful breeze, while the petunias simply love and live on the sunshine!

Recently, I played with an online mosiac maker so I can have some photograph prints made for my garden journal. I started to create my own handbound book but after the creation of the first signature, I suddenly realized that it isn't going to work the way I was envisioning it. There's a lot in that first signature that I do desire to keep so I'll be un-doing the pamphlet binding and rescuing whatever items I can. For years I've been desiring to purchase a bind-it-all so I can work more with thick, fat, lumpy things, but I believe I'm going to be alright with a very interactive scrapbook instead as there are so much things about creating this garden that I want to truly savor and keep as accurate as possible so that I can learn more about the plants that I'm growing and how they are reacting within the climate I've placed them in. I hope to fill this scrapbook not only with information about the plants, but also sort of a gardener's private diary as well. You may see some pics of those scrapbook pages as I begin to work to create them, of course! it will have to be only on the rainy I'll be in the garden while the sunshine is so I can capture pretty images like this!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Garden update...

Don and I continue to work on establishing the garden's largest flower bed recently. We roto-tilled, removed the sod with several shovels and a wheel barrow, dumping the sod into a low-lying area of our yard,. We, then, hoed and shovelled and dug some more! We also added a few more plantings, as I was shocked to see 1 qt. pots of perinneals already on clearance when we made a trip to Lowe's  {NOT that I'm complaining, LOL!} I believe the new additions will be beautiful once grown and I'm especially stoked to see the silver frost butterfly bush establish itself and grow. It's a sun-loving perinneal, so it should love it here! as I well know after spending an entire hot summer day here sweating and laboring away.

It's also a deciduos shrub which produces a beautiful silvery-grey foilage with milky white flower panicles. The tag also says it is a fast grower, and I am certainly hoping so as it will bloom this summer and on into the fall, providing some additional long-lasting color. The average size is 5 1/2' x 4 3/4' so it will fill a good section of this bed as it establishes itself and grows, providing a nice backdrop to accent the watergarden. I'll capture some good pictures of that area of the flower bed sometime while I'm continuing to lay down the remaining rock border surrounding this flower bed.

On for the left side of the floral bed., we added a new wire trellis and planted two blue butterfly delphiniums in among the existing peony bush and winter gem boxwood hedge. The plants are the only really "fixed" items in place to allow for the flowers to continue to grow and take up the space they'll require. i think I'll love the color combination when these plantings finally bloom. If I'm remembering correctly, the peony is a beautiful pink, which will contrast nicely with the green texture of the boxwood and limelight coleus and the blue delphiniums also contrast nicely. The silver frost butterfly bush is planted in the center nearby, and will produce some amazing white flowers to the garden once in bloom. I cannot wait to see them at twilight! I also found the vincas on clearance so I tucked a few of them in here and there. The potted petunias, vinca, and coleus are the only annuals I've added here.The garden decorations can be moved and replaced as needed. I did replaced the finch feeder here as the finches and the morning doves seem to love it here, although I worry about it and neighbors cats one day colliding!

I added the front of the rock border that will eventually surround this entire new bed and wind its way around to the backsideThe vinca and the coleus are planted on the left and right sides of the new bed, near a winter gem boxwood and the salvia on the right. I placed the silver frost butterfly bush smack dab in the center of the bed., hopefully providing it more than enough room to grow over the next several years. The bird bath is transportable, as so is the birdhouse that I've moved more than a few times and I dream of painting the wishing well white, but need to establish it a final home, preferably with a beautiful rose climber growing up the side of it, LOL!

I re-worked the two smaller rosebush beds, making them a little bigger, reworked the soil and added potting soil into the mix. They are now ready for mulching. I purchased three irregular shaped stepping stones to add into the watergarden area and the garden bench, it provides a nice sweeping curve that mimics the curve of lower watergarden brickwork. The stones are actually placed right upon the grass while I allow Mother Nature to do her job and kill the grass and weeds so that later I can pull them up, remove the sod, lay down more gravel and finally re-lay the stepping-stones! I leaning into thinking I should just sink them into the ground making it so much easier to mow and trim around.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More of The Dawes Arboretum...

 Nature's beauty awaits you around around every little bend in the road.... the property is absolutely gorgeous! My favorite was the big beautiful brick home and gardens; you'll see why next.......

Isn't it absolutely gorgeous??? I couldn't even begin to imagine what it must have been like to actually live here....... with all this lush beauty to wake up to everyday!
 Me, in front of the rose garden arbor....
beautiful roses and rose-scented air surrounding the house....

and what's not to love about all these beautiful covered porches!

The Japanese Gardens @ The Dawes Arboretum ~ Newark, Ohio

Don and I recently visited the Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio, as you can see it was a beautiful summer day! After exploring around in the Visitor's Center we drove the car tour around to another parking area and began to explore a magnificant Japanese Garden! I loved it and would love to incorporate some of these elements into our back yard garden decor. This rock bed mimics the beauty of a beautiful river with the mountains flagging both of its sides, I just love the layout and hearing the crunching gravel underneath my feet! But I can envision this as a pathway, meanandering off, leading you somewhere...

Perhaps, onward around a bend and towards a lovely pond...filled with koi and visiting geese...... where a few small islands and bridges intersect...

and a couple choose to be married on such a wonderful summer day.....
A perfect spot for a wedding....

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams."
The activity continues at the Reams household as Don and I continue to finish up on some of our Spring/Summer maintainance. We were able to  take advantage of one of June's hot and humid days to use deck wash and power wash our rear deck. The following day, Don and I worked together to waterproof it. I'm happy to say that is now another project knocked-off off the good ole' "to do" list...

The vegetable garden is beginnig to flourish... we've already eaten a few salads made with fresh lettuce from out of the garden, The tomato plants look healthy and are wonderfully filled with a lot offresh blooms... one day promising us to become tomatoes, but we're still waiting on that first garden-ripen tomato! . We also planted sweet corn and as the saying goes, "knee-high by the Fourth of July" I think ours may just make it! Also, growing well is the canteloupe and the jalopeno peppers are thriving. The photograph to the right is another healthy green pepper plant that is potted and growing up on the deck; it's doing wonderfully well and it won't be too long before we can enjoy a few of these cooked up on the grill. I can almost take them now, LOL! Sauted in some fresh minced garlic butter with a Vahdahlia onion and a T-bone steak!  Other herbs growing in the garden include: Lemon Balm - amazing in fish, chicken, and teas; fresh Rosemary - excellent on minced garlic and onion potatoes, chicken, and fish; Garlic Chives --- amazingly fresh and delishous to add to baked potatoe, potatoe and egg dishes, and to season cream cheese; of course, I planted Cilantro this year... wonderful in soups, tomatoe dishes, guacamole... and I'm looking forward to some homemade salsa!;  Italian oregana... is a garden must-plant herb, especially for the tomato/pasta dishes, esp. chilled! The flavor of the oregano really comes out. And last, but never the least, some Sweet Basil.... a great accent to any cuts of beef grilled outside, goes well with the italian oregano in tomatoe/pasta dishes.

And while the rosebushes re-coupe their blooms  that were shed during the recent rains, the watergarden flowers are thriving and continuing to bloom. I thank God for the annual petunias that continue to display their show of support, they remind me that God's in control and  that everything's right where its meant to be! I may not have gotten all that I desired accomplished these past few weeks, but I've enjoyed the time and the love that I've spent with my family and there's nothing better than working with my husband hanging out and making our house a home!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I meandered and puttered about in the garden earlier this evening, placing some of the new garden purchases, thinking about all the work I've yet to do to actually establish the flower beds. There's still things to be done, tilling to do, sod to remove, adding potting soil, a small amount of planting, and mulching, but for now, I'm just savoring these small accomplishments and creating more special moments.


  As I'm entering the flower garden area I'm currently in the process of establishing, my mind envisions a mulched pathway with stepping stones between the water garden and placed in front of the garden bench, although they won't actually lead to anywhere else.

I paused to enjoy the lower level of the watergarden filled with hosta, lillyturfs, and those beautiful pink an white petunias.

I established a home for an angel at the base of the double-pink Radtkopink knock-out rose and added a welcome sign.

I sat on the garden bench and listened to the songs of the songbirds and I played arranging the garden decor and snapping photographs. I enjoyed every minute of it!

I spied another angel among the roses...
and stood there, breathing in deeply the rose-scented air, Thanking God and counting my blessings for all that he has certainly blessed me with.

I admired the pink and clear flower petal votives and the small pink votive candle that I purchased at a resale store that was sending all their proceeds to help Haiti. I love my $1 accent and who doesn't love candlelight in a garden?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Doing something I love & have only dreamed about: Landscaping and gardening!

I love Spring! Having lived here on this acre of land for 12 years now, I've always dreamed of doing some outdoor landscaping, gardening, and decorating. Over the years, Don and I have done a little here and there; however most of that has up on our rear deck, accomplished with patio furniture, garden accents, and a few scattered potted plants.  The deck space has never been the place I could always dreamed or imagined it to be in my mind's eye and it is always an ongoing battle and a work-in-progress. Yet somehow, when I'd look out into our back acre from the deck,  it felt so open, and empty .  I always had this sense of knowing, or a feeling, that something was wasn't right, there was something missing, I just didn't know what "it" was.

The property itself is truly beautiful! It is fenced in for privacy; and features many big, beautiful and healthy trees that  help to grace the edges,  border our property, and serve to soften all the rough edges. Yet, there was really nothing there that truly invited you out off of the deck and into the grassy lawn and the world just waiting beyond.  It was missing a focal point and there seemed to be none. Well, except for maybe the  old water garden, and it as you can plainly see, was an eye-sore and it needed a lot of work!
This photograph was taken in May of 2009.  A few hosta's and woodland ferns lived here, but most of it was over-run with weeds! {And an a very unwelcomed mulberry bush that a not-so-kind visiting bird decided to leave us!}  Or perhaps, you'd rather take a long, leisurely stroll out to see the wishing well that did very little to attract anything, except perhaps, my grand-daughter, Alexxis, who insists we walk out there on each of her occassional visits.

As Spring arrived, so did the beautiful backyard song birds; Blue jays, Cardinals, and the Goldfinches with their beautiful sweet voices always in song. While I'd sit on the rear deck enjoying my first cup of coffee in the mornings or in the evenings after dinner, and  I'd hear  and listen to the "cooing calls" of the Mourning Doves, or the sweet lyrical refrains of the Goldfinches, Blue jays, Cardinals, and Robins as they sang their favorite tunes throughout the day and into the twilight. It was there, in those moments spent sitting silently on the deck, that all of this truly began. I suddenly began to realize that while my life was in a seemingly endless turmoil of thoughts, mixed emotions, and had been turned completely upside-down and inside-out with uncontrolable life events, that I found myself spending more and more time out here, many days, and many nights  ----just watching, waiting, sitting, thinking, dreaming, and healing; both on the inside and out.

I soon discovered myself myself hurt and angry by the path that my life was seemingly taking. I felt disappointed, heartbroken, and frustrated with people and things that are were simply beyond my control. I meditated, prolonged my own agony, and said so very many prayers while sitting here and little did I know, I began to heal as the earth came alive and Spring began to bloom and blossom.

After healing from my surgery and slowly gaining my strength back, I began tearing out the rocks that once surrounded the old water garden.  I took all my  hurts, disappointments, and frustrations out on the weeds surrounding it. I dug in with the shovel in anger, removing and tearing out the weeds  that were choking what little life there was left out of the garden, when I realized that like those weeds, were the struggles I was going through. Little did I know it was living through  a pruning process!  I was cutting back the bad things in my life so that the good that was left within me and my heart could grow.

 Soon, the gravel arrived, seeming to feel as raw, cold, and heart-broken as I felt inside. So, I shoveled it in the trough that I had created  and much like my own life, I insulated it with a weedscreen. I realized I couldn't do all, be all to everyone, and I had to set some priorities and boundaries in my personal life.

Once the gravel was in place, there was more bricks to be moved back. It seemed so much like my life, a slow- agonizing process, down a path I didn't desire to be traveling. Day after sweet day, I toiled away there, but somehow I couldn't  help but to stop long enough to wipe the sweat from my brow or the tears from my eyes. It was in those moments, when I'd spot something of interest..... mostly the birds visiting our yard's birdfeeders or a fluttering-by butterfly and I wondered about life, love, family, and God.

One day in May was just like that... I was shoveling weeds outta the vegetable garden when I noticed a newly fallen tree branch in the back of our acre. I couldn't help but stop and be memorized by how the birds seemed to love it. They fluttered about, flying down or up off that branch for a good 15 minutes,  before it hit me to go get that branch and bring it up in the yard to set near the birdbath and feeder. From there, the garden and watergarden area of yard sort of spiraled much like my out-of-control life. Being surrounded by nature nourished my soul in ways I never could possibly imagine.

On trips to Lowes to for roofing materials, I'd discover myself in the garden center, dreaming of what I wanted to do, on days off  from caretaking of my dad, we'd visited an Arboretum and gardens, and make the occasional stop at a garden center, and I purchased my first rose! Purchasing that rose was a God-send to me.. It allowed me to see and remember...

“Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things sometimes must fade, before they can bloom again.” My life is like that.

March... April.... May.... June!!! How the heck did that happen?!

Time certainly seems to fly, whether you're having fun or not! I cannot believe months have gone by...
since I last updated here.

 Life can be such a whirlwind!

So many things have left and come into my life since I last posted, I don't know where to start.
 Some good, some bad, and some not-so-good days scattered among the days of gratitude and blessings!

In February, I became sick and within the course of three weeks, I discovered myself hospitalized twice and under-going surgery in March to have my gallbladder removed. Then, there were the days of healing, somehow feeling blessed, yet frustration by the physical limitations, and then, my entire life seemed to twirl outta control as my future SIL was in a rollover accident and  my Dad underwent surgery for a skin biopsy, then, another, then onto receiving 9 out of 21 radiation treatments for Stage IV Basal Cell Carcinoma. Then, the side-effects of the radiation enveloped my life when my Dad became very sick; enduring every conceivable side effect a person can get. Then, there were trips to the ER, the decisions of what to do... trying to get into see the Dr's. when you NEED them; not two days later. After two rough weeks of visiting Dad, making sure he took his meds, could eat, and be pain-free took over,  Finally, a decision had to be made, so Dad and I together decided to discontinue the radiation treatments completely.  We're currently waiting to see a Cancer Specialist in mid-June before we'll decide where to go from here.

In the midst of all that, our roof was hit with a tree branch and shingles riped from our roof in an early Spring storm. So between all the bouts of recent heavy rains, I'm happy to say we're now warm and dry as the roof is finally finished. On days the roofers were here, Don and I worked in the yard.

We completely reset all the concrete block surrounding our water garden so that we could  remove out the weeds! and use gravel to assist with drainage for the blocks. One day while my Dad was feeling better and he weed-eated for us, he suggested filling in the watergarden. At first, I wasn't so sure I wanted to, well... until the reality of all the Spring maintainance came into my head, and I decided he was right. So we purchased a smaller 26" circular water basin and obtained some fill dirt, a couple bags of potting soil, and I began planting a lot of plants and flowers. Not only did I plant the water garden itself, I'm in the process of creating an entirely new plant bed surrounding the water     
                                                                              garden... slowly... I might add! Like "in-between" 
all the  raindrops!