Inspiration

I love Pinterest for garden inspiration and collecting ideas, but another favorite source of inspiration for me are the gardens I visit — botanical gardens, demonstration gardens, neighbors’ gardens! Last Fall, the hubby and I spent time going through the Master Gardener’s Learning Garden at the Jenkins Estate in Beaverton, Oregon. It was our first autumn visit to that small but delightful garden, and I fell in love with one plant that was in full bloom on that sunny afternoon. It was a huge clump of Lemon Queen Sunflowers. The bees also loved that plant! It was covered with them! So I decided I had to have some Lemon Queens in my garden for this year, so I sent away for one live plant and when it arrived, I planted  it in a tub that I could see from the kitchen window and waited throughout the winter to see if it would do anything. Indeed it did! That one plant has been a delight for all of the summer. It has bloomed and bloomed, and continues blooming today! A huge clump of them would be wonderful, so next spring I will plant more of them. The bees will be very happy.

From December to March

From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens:
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.
~ Katherine S. White

It has been a number of months since I wrote anything on this blog. I tend to cocoon in the wintertime, wrapped in my books and my knitting. Garden blogging is set aside while I winter over.

The quote above, however, describes perfectly my own December to March with my “three gardens.” There was so much rain this winter that we set new records. The outdoor garden was an absolute swamp! Indoors, some of my window garden plants gave up the ghost while others flourished. Not sure why. And the garden of my mind’s eye was inspired by the gardening books I read this winter and by the two online gardening courses I enjoyed on those rainy days.

But now I am happy to get back outdoors to start our spring gardening. Husband is focusing on the important structural aspects of our vegetable garden … putting in the pathways and preparing to install an irrigation system. Daughter has started some seeds indoors and we are happy to see them sprouting. Son and Grandboy are deciding on some seeds for their garden box. And I am cleaning off the front porch, getting ready to plant the porch pots soon, preparing the raised beds in the vegetable garden, getting ready to plant the veggies and herbs. Last weekend, Hubby and I bought 5 new barrels and planted some blueberry bushes in them.

So Spring is here and it is simply delightful to be able to get outdoors again and putter around in the sunshine after a long, wet winter!

Garden Reading: Plant Dreaming Deep

 

Plant Dreaming Deep

I first read May Sarton’s journals, Plant Dreaming DeepJournal of a Solitude, and The House by the Sea, 35 years ago, and I remember loving them. In these journals she describes her daily routines, her homes, her gardens, her neighbors and friends, and her inner life as a writer and poet. Both her inner and outer journeys were fascinating to me, and I was very influenced by her thoughts and ideas on solitude, creativity, and on being an artist.

Reading Plant Dreaming Deep the first time as a young stay-at-home mother, I was especially inspired by her stories of gardening at her new home in Nelson, New Hampshire. The winter I read this journal, I spent hours pouring over seed catalogs, planning my own little flower garden. When spring came, I cleared a small patch of slightly sloped ground next to the driveway, put in some good-sized rocks and created a little rock garden. My first flower garden! That was a lovely spring for me! I remember planting cosmos and marigolds, and some tall sunflowers, all from seeds I sent for during the winter. I was very proud of that first garden and called it my “May Sarton Garden.”

My "May Sarton" garden from many years ago...

My “May Sarton” garden many years ago…

Now, 35 years later, I just reread this book and loved it all over again. Once again, May Sarton has inspired me to plan and plant… and experience the joy of gardening!

Is there a joy except gardening that asks so much and gives so much?

Celebrating Gardens: Red Butte Garden

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My Mom sitting on Dad’s memorial bench…

Red Butte Garden is located in my hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s a very special place for my family because we have my father’s memorial bench there, so each time we return to SLC, we visit the Garden. It is constantly changing and improving, becoming more beautiful each time we visit! We returned in early June to visit my almost 96-year-old mother, and once again, we spent time in the Garden.

Celebrating Gardens: Schreiner’s Iris Garden

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The second stop on our garden vacation was to visit Schreiner’s Iris Garden, just north of Salem, Oregon. It was an overcast morning with a bit of rain, but as we drove into the parking lot, the sun came out! We spent hours wandering slowly through the display garden, overwhelmed by the color and the variety of irises and other flowers! It was absolutely gorgeous!

Celebrating Gardens: Return to the Oregon Garden

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The Oregon Garden Resort

Last Spring we enjoyed our first visit to the beautiful Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. We liked it so much we decided we must return and spend more time there. In the middle of our gray and rainy winter, my husband made reservations at the Oregon Garden Resort for two lovely May days. It was such a nice thing to look forward to all winter! When May finally arrived, we loved our mini-vacation exploring the many different areas of the Garden. What a beautiful garden and lovely resort! This is a mini-vacation we will repeat quite often!

 

 

Celebrating Gardens: Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden

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For our  “Wandering Wednesday” this week, we chose to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland, Oregon. What a beautiful morning spent exploring and experiencing the different gardens within that walled city block. Beautiful, peaceful, inspiring…a lovely place to visit and enjoy.

Celebrating Gardens: The Oregon Garden

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Our second Wandering Wednesday was a late-May trip to the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. What a beautiful and inspiring day! We spent hours walking and enjoying the creativity of the different gardens, and came home with some fun ideas for our own yard and garden. We decided we must wander that way again before too long because it was so much fun. Be sure to check out the link to their homepage because there are many activities and events to enjoy there along with their beautiful gardens.

 

Celebrating Gardens: A School Garden

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I am a newly retired school teacher. Simply put, I loved my work, enjoyed spending my days with young people, and loved sharing the experience of learning with them for 27 years. I was fortunate to be able to spend most of my teaching years at the same elementary school, Peter Kirk Elementary, in Kirkland, in the Seattle metro area. It was a very nice community to work in and I appreciated (and did not take for granted!) the wonderful care and support given to all of us at the school by the parents and the community.

During the last five years of my teaching, there was one parent who took on the volunteer job of “school gardener.” That wasn’t the official title, but she was a gardener and a “do-er” and, with PTSA funding, she slowly began to transform the little garden areas both inside and outside of the school into beautiful, meaningful gardens. I took great delight in watching that transformation, and she became my gardening hero, my mentor.

signorderlogoOne project she created was a butterfly garden with the 2nd graders. It was a learning garden, with classroom lessons created and taught by parent volunteers, providing hands-on gardening experiences for our students. It became a certified wildlife habitat, named affectionately by the 2nd graders as the “Flutterby Butterfly Garden.”

She also refurbished an old “Native Plants Garden” that had been put together many years earlier by 6th graders as a year-end gift to the school. It was greatly in need of care, and she gave it wonderful care! It was located in a courtyard right inside the front entrance to the school, so it became a lovely “first impression.”

I watched closely as she did project after project in the different courtyard areas and around the school and I learned that one gardener can make a huge difference. She is my inspiration as I return to gardening in this new stage of my life.  I hope you enjoy this slideshow of some of the photos I’ve taken of her gardens in the last few years. Kudos to you, Bobbi O.

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Garden Reading: Vincent’s Gardens

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Vincent’s Gardens, by Ralph Skea, is a lovely little book that I read over this very dark and rainy January weekend. I love the art of Vincent Van Gogh! I’m also reading as much as I can about gardens and gardening since we moved into our new home in the Grove. So the combination was perfect, and looking at his beautiful paintings of gardens was simply a delightful way to spend the weekend!

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