Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Something's Afoot

In gardening, as in life, we can count on the unexpected.  This year there's been a bunch of that going on:

Why did the daisies come up so early and so gloriously, only to suffer some kind of malady and develop brown stems from the ground up, collapse and die?  I thought it must be root rot, but can new growth arise from rotted roots?  I wouldn't think so, but it's happening.

Why is it that 25% of the little shrubs I've been nurturing along for the past two years just decide to go kaput?  All planted in the same area, same time.

Where the heck did our fabulous mass plantings of Blackeyed Susans go?

If I were a Master Gardener, or a degreed horticulturalist, I'd probably know the answers.  But this hobby gardener is stumped by these mysteries.  Since I don't know what happened, I've decided to blame it on the equally mysterious winter this area had last year.  First snow in December, followed by more, and more, and about 4' of snow literally SAT on all the gardens, and all the shrubs.  Sat on them, for months on end, flattening them to the ground. . . and I reckon when that snow melted, there was some subsurface drowning going on.  That snow cover also prevented the ground from freezing, which gives us umpteen more bugs than usual.

Without Mother Nature's challenges, I guess I'd be bored.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear Diary,

Here I am, back in the saddle!  I've returned to my Maryland gardens.  Now, Mother Nature and I will be working hand in hand to get things growing again, wanting even bigger and better than the year before.

That's a tall order!  I look at the pictures I've taken when the gardens are in their midsummer glory, and then I look at the pictures I took two weeks ago (March 12th), and I confess I must renew my faith in myself as well as in Mother Nature.

Cleanup has begun, and is actually almost complete.  It's good to have my hands back in the dirt.  It's a creation thing.  It's good, clean dirt.

Welcome back, me!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Where's That RVing Daydreamer?

She's alive and well, but is blogging at her other place during her trip through the Southwest.  She'll be back on this blog around March, 2010.  Go see her at http://dreamahappylife.com.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gardens to Bed; Back on the Road

Hmmm.  Here it is, September 17th.  This has been an amazing gardening season for me.  I've had some new and interesting experiences:
  • a cool and wet spring season brought us insects we've never seen before.  In great numbers.  They fascinate me and I wonder where they came from, and will they stick around for next year.
  • the new gardens I began building last fall and completed this spring I LOADED UP with compost, and the result was monster growth by whatever I planted there.  Gotta remember that next year, and add LOADS of compost to the older gardens so I can watch the joy unfold there, too!
  • a few of our older gardens got rehabilitated, so now I'm eager to do an extreme makeover next year on some of the others!

I'm leaving the gardens early this year.  It's almost their bedtime anyway, the leaves on the ground are telling me that.  While they hibernate, all nestled and snug in their beds, I'll be with Willie Nelson, On The Road Again!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Oh geez. I'm taking very deep breaths very frequently these days. There's a huge change coming, one that I'm madly excited about ~~ my brand new, never-been-done-before adventure is barely four weeks away! That's when I'll lock up my little travel-trailer-home and spend the next six months traveling the southwest with my oldest daughter in her brand new motorhome. We have BIG plans. We're going to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico. We're going go up in one of those balloon contraptions and see our world from a whole new perspective (actually the entire trip will be seeing from a new perspective).

The issue that I'm dealing with is this: my plans, exciting and amazing as they are for me, means I must leave my "garden post" six weeks early. Which, in turn, means there are important garden chores to be delegated.

I'm not a good delegator. To me, delegating is transferring a responsibility to someone else, when I should be doing it myself. Oh, wait a minute: isn't delegation a big plus, don't effective managers do it all the time, so what's my big deal? Maybe, just maybe, I have a fear that the job won't be done as well as I could do it.

Oops. That kind of thinking is really out of sync with my professed belief system, a belief that everything works out the way it's supposed to, a belief that trusts Life, a belief in having a positive mindset.

No WONDER I feel torn! Get over it, Jeanne, and get on with your adventure! The garden gods will take care of the tasks, and you'll return in March to see the job was done even better than you would have done it. Let go, lady, turn loose, and stop all that deep breathing before you hyperventilate. Silly, silly lady.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Gardening is my greatest pleasure. In early spring I do hard physical labor removing last year's debris and last fall's mountains of leaves. I want to hurry before the first signs of life break ground (crocus, daffodils, tulips). Time to clean up leftover useless thoughts and feelings in my own soul.

Then I get to do whatever soil amending is needed, to give this renewed life the best chance of being really happy. Let's replace that old useless stuff with some life-giving thoughts ~~ like, how lovely the day is, how pregnant with new possibilities.

Finally, planting time arrives (more or less around Mother's Day. GO SHOPPING for annuals that will add instant color to the gardens, and for perennials that will be with us for years to come. Spend some time finding inspiration from the soul gardens of writers; books, online blogs, conversations about the value of living well.

Then: all summer long, during the prime growing season, dedicate myself to the daily chores of weeding, watering, feeding, deadheading, and loving the gardens. Be responsible for keeping my heart and soul cleared of impatience; take time to appreciate the way life unfolds at its own pace; count my blessings; bask in the warmth of friendships.

As fall arrives: begin removal of spent plants, keep the gardens looking neat, and don't cry as the gardens become less delicious. Accept the circle of life, go with the flow, have faith in life's need for rest, look forward to the rebirth that's coming.

In winter: think about new garden projects, make notes of what to repeat and what to try new, develop new ideas. Spend time sorting through thoughts and feelings, try new ideas on for size, take time to not think at all, and rest well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


My gardens are very important to me (OK, they're not "my" gardens, they belong to the campground where I work) and I'm very protective of them. I'm out there every day caretaking, keeping things happy and neat and as weed-free as I can. I feed and water, and yes, I do talk to the plants -- more fun than talking to myself, dontcha know.

So, yesterday evening I was doing some watering, and a young boy about 10 or so came up to me and said "hey lady, wanna buy some flowers?" For an instant my mind went blank. I'm surrounded by flowers, why should I buy more? Then the light went on, and I asked, "where did you get the flowers?" "Over there." He pointed to one of my gardens.

After my inner scream subsided, I took a deep breath and said, as kindly and gently as I could, "you know, these gardens are for our campers to look at and enjoy, but not to pick." Then he went blank for a second. I said, "so you won't pick any more will you?" "No, ma'am. I'm sorry I picked your flowers."

The boy's immediate (and correct) response softened my ire, and I had to smile. How nice to have an innocent, polite, and cooperative kid, picking or not. He showed me and the gardens that he respected us. I really like that because nowadays it's a bit hard to come by from youngsters who've just been turned loose in a campground. They're like little wild animals who've been caged in a small place, and here they are, set free in acreage, with so many places to go and explore; probably they don't realize that they're trampling on some precious plant or new seedling, and I know this is a risk that comes with the territory. It won't make me stop gardening, anyway. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.

When I told the story to some of the other staff here (who know how protective I am), they laughed to the point of tears. Now whenever they see me, they ask "hey lady, wanna buy some flowers?" Brings a smile to my face!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Here I am smack in the end of the middle of the gardening season, still focused on keeping all the gardens happy and blooming, and I realize that in less than six weeks I'll be storing up my travel trailer for the winter and joining one of my daughters in her brand new motorhome for a six-month trek through the Great Southwest, where neither of us has spent any quality time!

My routine ? A drastic change. I ADORE change! Once we hit the road, this blog will no doubt gravitate to a travelog of sorts: my role as gardener will fade to the background while me-as-wanderer will be taking center stage. I expect to uncover some fresh insights stimulated by things I've never seen before!

Stay tuned for SIX MONTHS OF THE SOUTHWEST, beginning mid-September! Be sure to check out our trip site at


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Ah this is not always so easy. Especially after several HARD rains, the kind where raindrops each weigh about five pounds and wash away roads. My proud stand of zinnias took a hard hit last week, so hard that many of the plants actually broke off at the base of the stalk.

I kind of felt like an undertaker as I took these broken plants away. Then I felt like a grave-robber as I cut whatever "fresh" blooms I could for a bouquet for the office. Then I just felt really sad when I took the remains up to our compost pile.

All these feelings were negative, and I don't live well with negative feelings, so it was time to put on my Regain Perspective Hat and sit and think:
  • Heck, sh*t happens -- I'm not in Paradise yet
  • Don't mess with Mother Nature
  • At least the office has a really cheerful vase full of flowers
  • Next time, stake the darn plants before this happens
  • Time to roll with the punches, go with the flow
  • Suck it up and move on
Moving on I am:
  • I took a deep breath, gave thanks for all the plants that didn't get flattened (the Mexican Sunflowers are awesomely strong).
  • I just planted a new batch of Cosmos and Hollyhocks. They WILL be staked.
  • I'm going out to buy a new supply of stakes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


My boss told his young-but-wise grandson that I have a green thumb. AJ answered, "she does not!" So, who's right?

My gardening and landscaping endeavors have been, for the most part, quite successful. I bask in the daily oohs and aahs of the campers walking the various garden paths; I humbly say "thank you" a zillion times a week when I'm told how wonderful the lavish gardens are. But for all that, I can't say I have a green thumb, just a great passion. I'm no professional, just a hobby gardener who learns as she goes and who relies on internet sources for her continuing education, and who, with the help of all the garden gods, continues to create happy accidents in these gardens.

To help me believe that I do indeed have a green thumb, I'm seriously considering painting my thumb green (or having it tattooed). Sometimes a person just believes better with visual aids!