The Merry Month of May

I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think winter is finally losing its grip and spring has sprung.

I took a barefoot stroll around a few of my flowerbeds this afternoon. The stroll was brief because the grass beneath my feet was wet and very cold. Even so, a warm feeling of peace washed over me. I could almost feel my winter-weary heart filling with the joy of spring as I meandered from one flowerbed to another inspecting the colorful spring blossoms.

Nothing beats the bright yellow of a daffodil in spring-time cheerfulness!

One of the first signs of spring in my Wisconsin garden is the very early blossoms of Pulmonaria, whose very unfortunate common name is lungwort. If it were not a tad bit prone to powdery mildew, I would say I love everything about this plant. It grows in the shadier areas of my garden, thriving well on the north or east side of my house, but blooms best if it gets at least a splash of sun and plenty of moisture. The leaves can’t seem to make up their mind as to whether they will be lance or heart-shaped, but each fuzzy leaf sports sweet silvery spots. To me, the leaves are incredibly cool, but it is said that the common name of ‘lungwort’ came about because their appearance reminded some botanist of a diseased lung. It has a habit of reseeding itself in the garden, but does so very politely. I have several cultivar in my garden, but the one pictured is a pass-along from another gardener, so I’m unsure as to its cultivar name. Based upon its beautiful blue, pink and lavender bells, it’s likely ‘Mrs. Moon’.

The demure pink and blue blossoms of Lungwort in an old crystal salt shaker

Winter has been slow in releasing its grip, and May is off to a chilly and rainy start, but the promise of warmer weather is in the forecast for the weekend. In previous years, the daffodils and some tulips were finishing their spring engagement in the garden; this year, they are just getting started. While it would be nice to have more sunshine, we need the rain. Another ‘upside’ is that the chillier temps will keep the daffs and tulips strutting their stuff a little while longer.

Raindrops on tulips just outside my front door

These beautiful tulips have charmed me out of a writing slump. My friend Wendy aptly described them as a “pretty sunshiny yellow,” although they take on a soft, orange-sherbet glow in certain light. Either way, they are incredibly sweet.

Well that’s my “Six on Saturday” – thanks for joining me on a little photographic spring tour of my early floral arrivals. And a special thanks to “The Propagator” for hosting “Six on Saturday” each week. If you check out Jon’s “comments” section, you can visit a whole bunch of lovely gardens, gather ideas and suggestions for your own, or have a go at posting your own six.

Another gorgeous harbinger of spring…magnolias!

49 Days ’til Spring

Gardens are still snugly nestled beneath a lovely quilt of white snow in Wisconsin. It’s hard to capture in a photo, but, if you squint your eyes as you look at this photo of my backyard, you might be able to spy where bunnies and critters have created many intersecting paths in the snow — reminding me very much of quilting stitches, especially when viewed from a second-story window.

Critter quilting stitches

Standing just outside a side entrance to our home is this little metal sunflower sticking out of a little bank of snow. The rusty patina of the artsy sunflower against the similarly colored backdrop of last season’s Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ lends a bit of rustic beauty and charm.

This just makes me smile!

Following the snow-covered pathway through the arbor entrance, now naked without its summertime covering of clematis, I happily traipse around in our backyard for a few brisk minutes. If I were a young girl, one of my parents would surely be leaning out of our home’s backdoor yelling, “Cynthia Lynn! Where’s your coat?”

It was certainly chilly without a coat, but there was more to see.

August and January Beauty

To my admiring eyes, the paper-thin beauty of spent hydrangea blossoms still speaks of their Creator even in the hushed silence of winter.

Tucked in the northwest corner of our yard, the swelling buds of the magnolia tree speak to the promise of beauty in the Spring.

Winter’s Promise of Blossoms in Spring

Thanks for taking time out of your day to stroll along with me in my winter wonderland for a little ‘Six on Saturday’ tour (SOS for short). SOS is a virtual gathering of gardeners who like to write about their gardens. My posts are a bit sporadic, but I do quite enjoy the eclectic mix of gardeners who gather on Saturdays to write and give a six photo tour of what’s going on in their gardens.  Click here if you want to learn more about SOS from our host, The Propagator.

A Blanket of Snow in January

Greetings from my winter wonderland in Wisconsin. It’s unusual for me to be home on Mondays, but a recent Covid exposure resulted in my choosing to err to the side of being cautious since I work in an assisted living memory care home. Even though I’m not symptomatic, I thought it best not to take any chances of spreading this virulent disease to my co-workers or the frail residents.

A view of the front yard now…and the view (hopefully) in a few months

It was cold outside, so I spent most of my morning catching up on some neglected housework. The floors are now much cleaner and the kitchen chairs are now dust-free and sporting new felt pads.

What was I thinking when I wished for these chairs?
Well, I definitely wasn’t thinking about how hard they would be to dust!

The rest of my day was spent doing quiet things like reading, working on a Bible study and listening to some great music. But the picturesque scene just outside my window beckoned me to venture outdoors for at least a few minutes. My hubby had shoveled a path to the backyard birdfeeders, so I decided to make the birds happy and refill each feeder. It was pretty chilly out there, so I didn’t stay out long, but the sun was shining and the snow was beautiful, so I snapped a few photos to share with you.

Bird feeders are refilled

Well, that’s my contribution to Six on Saturday. With all this snow and the cold that comes along with it, the closest I’m going to get to gardening this week is filling the bird feeders for our hungry squirrels. I have a few houseplants that need attention, and there are always gardening catalogs to page through and a tall stack of books-to-read-someday to finally read. Of course, I always enjoy visiting gardens of all of the other Sixes, courtesy of our meme host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/. Check it out!

Signing off now to dream of daffodils and tulips.

Aloha from the Garden Island

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.” Psalm 146:6

I’m taking a tiny blogging break so I can fully appreciate time spent with my husband Wayne and our beautiful grandgirl, Violet.

There’s no way to capture the splendor of this place in a photo, but here’s a glimpse of my happy moments on my favorite island thus far—Kauai.

Game-Changer Bulb Planting Tool

Yay! I finally got my tulip bulbs planted!

This week I would like to share a helpful gardening tip with you! Awhile back, a fellow blogger mentioned a cool drill-bit for planting tulip bulbs. In turn, I mentioned it to my hubby. Next thing I knew, he was on Amazon ordering two garden auger bits that would fit his cordless drill. The bits arrived not many days later then just sat in the garage waiting.

Continue reading “Game-Changer Bulb Planting Tool”

Discovering a Secret Garden

Alas, today’s snow flurries and nippy temperatures are just a foretaste of what is yet to come. My gardening checklist has quite a few tasks yet to complete in order to finish preparing my flowerbeds for winter’s sleep. How can it be mid-November already? It seems only yesterday that I was happily plodding barefoot through my gardens, planting this, transplanting that, and digging out weeds, and muttering under my breath at the voracious bunnies who happily brought their family and friends to my flowerbed buffet.

It also seems that not long ago I took a wrong turn detour and found myself driving down a street on which I had never traveled and found myself in an older section of town in what appeared to be an industrial park. Upon making a Y-turn to head back to the known route, I spied a sign to a public garden tucked in a messy-but-pretty flowerbed between what looked like two warehouses.

It was a beautiful summer afternoon, so I parked my car at the curb and accepted the sign’s invitation to wander down a footpath toward what looked like the garden’s entrance. Native plants seemed to hum with busy bees and butterflies. Flowers criss-crossed and lapped over the edges of the ungroomed pathway. The busy bees didn’t seem to mind my presence, so I carefully ventured further down the winding path, and there I found a hidden slice of peaceful beauty to explore.

I invite you to wander its pathways with me, courtesy of a few photos I snapped as I walked and explored.

Upon crossing this rustic footbridge, I entered the most enchanting prairie.

Flowers lured me in to wander pathways, and God’s creation beckoned me to praise Him.

I’ll be back…

I am joining (last minute on a Thursday) the Five Minute Friday writing community for a little writing adventure hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s writing prompt is, “Wander.”

‘Fall back’ is Garden Cleanout Time

Not all of the ideas I had for my garden this year actually happened, but each flowerbed had its time to shine. My job as a part-time baker has caused this old gal no small shortage in the energy department too. I typically think of several tasks I want to do in the garden on my way home from work, but most days I somehow end up in my comfy chair in the living room with my tired feet up.

I do try to get a few gardening tasks checked off my to-do list on my days off — even if it’s a finished task noticed by myself alone, it feels good to accomplish something. This weekend’s efforts resulted in many spent plants being cut back or pulled out and added to the city’s compost heap, several flowerpots emptied, and the front porch swept clean. I decided to be finished with covering plants whenever there is a frost warning and just let nature take its course. So I’ve been bringing a few of my favorite plants in before the killing frost so that I can attempt to overwinter them and replant them in the spring. A favorite pink pelargonium got scooped out of its summer pot and planted in its own pot. I doused it thoroughly with Neem oil and kept the digging on my 3-season porch before placing it on my kitchen windowsill for the winter. It must be happy because there are several new buds.

My pelargonium in its winter home, happily rewards my effort with a pink blossom

I also dug up quite a few of my spent peacock orchids (which I wrote about here) and am drying them out a bit before harvesting the rhizomes and storing them for the winter. I’ve never done that before, so am relying on YouTube tutorials for guidance . We’ll see how that goes.

Likewise, I dug up the rhizomes from a favorite calla lily my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. I’m going to make a valiant, Pinterest-inspired attempt to create some new divisions from the rhizomes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I took some cuttings from several very happy Livingstone Daisies (a.k.a. ice-plants) which spent their summer spilling out of the pots on my front porch. I snipped a few of the best stems to water-root, but also scooped a healthy-looking clump out of one of the pots, trimmed it back, and repotted it in fresh potting soil, as I have read somewhere that it can be kept as a succulent houseplant. I gave that plant a dousing with Neem oil to kill any bugs attempting to hitch-hike their way into my house. After a few days of transition from the chilly outdoors to my slightly warmer porch, I brought it indoors and gave it a place of honor on a family room window-seat which receives a generous amount of indirect light. I wrote its name on a plant stake because I can never remember what it’s called.

Also coming in from the nippy outdoors were a few of my succulent groupings, a languishing sansevieria plant, and two plants given to me by Melinda, my friend who enjoys playing in the dirt in Louisiana: an ‘Angel Wing Begonia’ (a.k.a. porch begonia) and a plumeria.

My Sansevieria (a.k.a. ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ or ‘snake plant’) got a little scorched during some extremely hot weather during its annual foray on the front porch. I dug it out of the pot it’s been in for years, teased the roots apart and salvaged a tiny bit of the original plant. I filled the pot with new potting soil, then added a few different varieties of Sansevieria I purchased at a local nursery to add some interest. It now resides in our ‘Gathering Room’ in a spot nearest an east-facing window, but also benefiting from indirect light from a nearby south-facing window. I am trying not to overwater it, as I am prone to do, and hoping it will reward me with vigorous growth.

My garden frog came in for the winter too…and look what he brought with him!

We set our clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night — a precursor to shortened gardening hours and the winter months ahead. That’s okay though. One of the blessings of living in Wisconsin is being able to tuck the flowerbeds under a blanket of snow for a winter’s nap and the gardener’s respite. It’s the season for thumbing through garden journals and seed catalogues in order to make plans for next year’s garden. But, before I get too cozy, I need to check one more thing off my to-do list:

Plant lots of tulip bulbs!

So, until next Saturday when my post will hopefully include a report of all my tulip bulbs being planted, that’s my Six for this Saturday. To see other SOS posts, visit our host at  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

The Garden Center Stalker

Facebook kindly informed me that one of my favorite garden centers was having a sale on mums and asters.

The ad looked like this.

The garden center is on my way home from work (well, sort of), so I stopped in today. Wow, Fitchburg Farms has an amazing array of healthy, colorful mums, and gorgeous asters in shades of purple! As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m noticing that my flowerbeds are in dire need of some more color. Well, “dire need” might be a slight exaggeration, but they are looking a bit drab.

I drove slowly down the gravel drive into the garden center, admiring the nicely shaped trees along one side and could see that the front of the store was awash in autumn colors. I pulled into one of just a few paved parking spots, then donned a face mask and made my way over to the area where the carts and flatbed wagons were corralled. Three mums and three asters was the “buy limit” I had in mind, so I chose one of those flatbed wagons and set off in search of just the right colors to complement the mums Wayne bought me earlier in the week. There were just two customers shopping in the outdoor section of the garden center, so I picked an area other than where they were shopping so that I kept adequate social distancing in mind.

Since I was in my own spot, I could play with colors. I’d find two or three that I liked and then play with the combinations on my little flatbed. I couldn’t help but notice that there was this lady staring at me as I played. I wondered if she thought she perhaps knew me from somewhere, but couldn’t quite recall. Before I knew it, she was in the same garden aisle as me, so I moved to the next one over to give her (and me) some space to shop.

She followed me.

I couldn’t help but notice that she kept an eye on me the whole time I was there. Wherever I moved, she moved.

Strange. It wasn’t creepy. Just weird. It reminded me of those detective shows where a private eye detective is tailing a suspect and trying to stay incognito (and doing a bad job of it).

I moved to another aisle where I spied more amazing colors that I could play with. She tailed me again. This time the lady finally spoke up and said, “Please, don’t mind me. I am watching you as you’re arranging and rearranging the colors.”

I chuckled, “Oh! I was hoping I wasn’t getting in your way.” She grinned as she shared that she had been there for awhile before me and just couldn’t make up her mind. When she saw me breeze in and start playing with the color combinations she knew what she would do. My garden center stalker-friend shared, “I like the color palettes you are creating and decided, whatever you buy, I’m buying.”

Sure enough, weird turned into a compliment when I looked at her cart and she had duplicated every flower I had chosen.

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