Thoughts, What you don’t see


Those roses didn’t get that way by plopping them in the ground and yelling–grow darn you. I’m watching my sweet little grand-dog sleep. A sleeping puppy dog is just about the best thing in the world isn’t it? She’s been with us all weekend while my son and dil take care of kiddos who were in their wedding.

My dil has watched these kids all their lives. She is good with them and they think of her as a second mom. My dil is a CMA for a pulmonolist group in our area. She works for about 5 doctors and is excellent at staying one step ahead of choas. She will make a great mother and when there is more time on her hands, she’ll most likely do a lot of gardening. I know her gardens will thrive because she lays the groundwork for any project she starts. She’s patient and deals with the little steps that make a journey the path to success.


She is on my mind a great deal this week as there will be a challening moment in her life next week. I will be praying for her. She has two beautiful Knock-Out roses and I told myself to remind her to apply the fertilizer and tell her about the success I had this past week with the soap spray. I mixed about 2 tablespoons of liquied soap( must be soap and not detergent) with a 1/2 quartish of water. I sprayed it on the aphids and they croaked. The soap dries their skin out and since they don’t have access to emollients, they dry up.

100_7820The can is wasp spray and not some random chemical I use on my gardens. If I wasn’t so deathly allergic to yellow jackets, I’d just let them live in my garden. It’s the only chemical I use and try to use it right at the yellow jacket hole.  But take a look at how well the plants are doing. You’ll be able to relate with me about the feelings surrounding such a healthy garden—right?


You obviously see how well the Knock-Outs are doing but what you don’t see is the every day planning and thoughts that weave their way through our gardening moments. When I look at the photo above, I’m seeing what has and needs to be done. Knock-Outs are aggressive growers.

I keep my Fiskars handy and prune as I go. I make note of any aphids I might see. I remove any diseased leaves and throw them away washing my hands before touching another plant. Some plants need more fertilizer than others and a blanket application just won’t do. Mushroom compost goes in with Spring plantings and Black Cow with Autumn. Some things need to be staked at a particular time in their lives. Remove spent blooms and pinch back for better flowering. What direction to cut, don’t remove too much, when is it a bud and when is it a spent bloom, and did it perform to the best of its ability.


Knowing when it’s dead or just sleeping is certainly important. Or knowing if it is a weed or precious purchase saves you money. Gardening successfully and thoughtfully is rewarding for those of us who live our lives around the blooms and colorful foliage. We want to know how tall, how wide, color combinations, growing conditions, sun and shade specifications down to the exact amount, and what diseases is it susceptible to. Will we kill it with too much water or not enough. What corporate executive has as much responsibiltiy for life and limb?


Is it a groundcover, a climber, an evergreen, a bush shrub, a sparse shrub, a plant with all season interest, a plant with interesting berries or growth habit, will it feed the wildlife, and does it add to the character of your home. The Oso Easy Paprika rose above adds harmony in my garden by marrying the woodwork of the house with the mulch, the bedding plants that haven’t bloomed yet, and other shrubs that are close by.


Will the mature height and width be too much for the area as may be the case for this Oso Easy Fragrant Spreader which hasn’t bloomed yet.  But I’m willing to stay on top of the trimming to achieve the affect I’m after. What is your affect? Do you know that going in to the project or does it evolve as you watch it perform in your garden? At first glance by the untrained eye, it may seem like my cottage gardens are a mismatch of randomly planted selections. But you who are seasoned gardeners know and see differently.


Even with all that planning and preparing, you may have to move a plant because it needs a different growing environment. I have to move the lacecap hydrangea in the corner above. It’s getting too much light. It struggled last year and the leaves stayed burnt. I had to stand over it with a watering can. As soon as my Incrediball hydrangea by PW arrives, I’m switching them out. I will have three large shrubs across the front of my home that are white focal points when they bloom. The Incrediball in the spot above, a White Dome hydrangea in the middle, and a white Rose of Sharon on the opposite corner beside the garage. There will always be several white blooms in season all summer. Why?, because I have white brick.


And the other whites like this Limelight hydrangea on the front corner, are just icing on the cake. My other whites or semi-whites are Little Lamb and Pinkie Winky. There isn’t one single detail about this house that I didn’t think to death. That’s what happens when you have long enough to watch the trials and tribulations of gardening go from ruin to success. It’s all in the thinking, preparing, and nurturing of every day of gardening.

I built this house and these gardens with love, determination, and hours upon hours of thinking and planning.

Proven Winner Catalog and first day at huse 001

And I did it all because these folks mean the world to me. From left to right, my dil, my oldest, my youngest and married to my dil, and MrD back on April 1st 2008–the first day in our new house.

New Mulch 005

It hasn’t ever been easy!


And when you continue with more generations, it’s fabulous. To all the mom’s everywhere—

Happy Mom’s Day!

From left to right,

my oldest, my youngest, my dil, me with tear stained swollen eyes, MrD, my sil, my middle brother. This picture was taken two years ago.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Has it been over a year already? Where does the time go….but you’re right about all the planning and thinking and doing and redoing, hard labour and love, sweat and sometimes tears being well worth it. Be it planting a garden or parenting a child. XXXx to you and belated happy Mother’s day, my friend.


  2. Darla says:

    It looks really good. Beautiful family.


  3. Jen says:

    Congratulations on getting the family to pose – mine give me such a hard time! Looks like you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I learn so much about the types of things you’re planting on your blog — sometimes I forget that there’s a long-range plan. It was nice to take a few steps back today and see the garden as a whole – beautiful!!


  4. Marnie says:

    Great job Anna. A beautiful garden and a beautiful family. You are indeed blessed.


  5. Kathi says:

    Everything looks so beautiful in your garden and home. What a precious family you have!

    I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!
    Kathi 🙂

    You are in my prayers 🙂


  6. cindee says:

    I hope you had a wonderful Mothers Day! Your gardens are beautiful!


  7. Wanita says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Anna! You have a lovely family.

    Your gardens are looking wonderful. Gardening is hard work, but what pleasure the beautiful flowers give us.



  8. Cinj says:

    Gardens and families both require a lot of thought and love. Long journeys bring great rewards. Happy Mother’s Day Anna!


  9. Yes, gardening is a microcosm of life, isn’t it? I like how you discuss all the planning and research and pondering that goes into a garden – but there are so many things in a garden we can’t control. Sometimes the surprises are wonderful, sometimes bad, but it keeps it interesting.

    The real kicker for me, though, was when I saw your new-house picture and realized you’ve only been gardening there for a year -I’m impressed!


  10. Catherine says:

    Happy Mother’s Day. It’s great when all the thought and effort we put into something as important as our family (and gardens) makes a difference and makes it all worth it!


  11. Jan says:

    Have a great Mother’s Day with your wonderful family. Your new garden is certainly showing the results of your hard work.

    Always Growing


  12. Cathy says:

    Glad you are having a great Mother’s Day with all the great memories of your family. It really shows in your garden too! Happy Mother’s Day!


  13. Heather says:

    I loved the photo journey through your flower beds. They are beautiful and it is obvious careful planning went into them. I cant wait to see them as the summer goes on! Happy mothers day!


  14. Brooke says:

    Oh you grow all things beautiful hun…. garden and family! Happy Mother’s Day!! ~Brooke


  15. myenglishcountrygarden says:

    Happy Mothers day to you too (we had ours in March,so I like to have a double celebration..because I’m greedy by nature!)

    I’ve removed some rampant bamboo ( being ill for two +years has mean that some things have gotten out of control) and might have a possible and similar hydrangea scorching situation to yours. It is now exposed to too much sun. Hopefully it will survive till I can move it….

    Sometimes the effects are exactly what I planned; some are accidental. But that’s the joy of gardening, for, like life its sometimes the unplanned accidents which force us in a different direction to our planned route, and though it might not seem like it at the time, it is often a blessing in disguise


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