Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Good Gardener Grows Old

Brother walked by this house in West Asheville and he knew a real gardener lived here.

As Brother continued to walk by through the seasons he sensed that the gardener was no longer able to spend as much time in the garden. A good garden in West Asheville was going bad.

This good garden was approached to find an elderly couple in their 80's who had not been able to tend to their lovely garden as well as they would have liked in the last couple of years.

And so it came to be that a herd of other gardeners gathered to assist. In one quick cleansing purge, the upper layer of order was restored to a good portion of the garden. But this is a very good garden and it will need much more, on a regular basis.

That leaves me wondering if this was a good deed if it is only done once?

And if elderly gardeners in their 80's are going to become like adopted stray cats in this phase of my life.

The Butterfly

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stroll Less

After three visits, the young, handsome and strong chiropractor has dislodged the pain in my hip and lower back. It is on the move, but has not left the body yet. Sleep has been problematic when you can't get comfortable and wake up in pain. I may be just a wee bit tired, cranky and wore out.

Evening strolls through the ridge top garden and sunny utility meadow have been lacking as a result. At the end of the day after my normal routine of working at something somewhere for someone, paid kind work or not, I am sort of done.

I did manage a short stroll this evening. The hosta are way to easy to ignore for such bold foliage and hundreds of them scattered through the garden. I wonder what that is about.

It is the time of the Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta. There are patches of them in several locations and they bloom surprisingly well for not being in full, full sun.

They form dense colonies and actually make a decent ground cover.

The astilbe are mostly past their prime, but some linger and bloom later than most.

A nice purple Monarda was nearby. They tend to wander about the garden like Collar and I managed to do this evening.

Crawford was taking his post canned food dinner snooze and did not join us for the stroll. I had my own nap earlier after grouting the kitchen floor.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


There is something red in the barely contained organized lush.

A hibiscus. I was not fond of hibiscus on Maui. They grew to tree like proportions and were forever covered with some form of pestilence. I am of the mind that you just don't grow plants that are bug candy. There are too many horticultural choices to sentence yourself to chronic battle.

Just a bit outside of the tropics, hibiscus don't have all those sticky warty bugs attacking them in droves. And they freeze to the ground in the winter keeping them forever in a medium sized shrub form. The flowers are bigger too.

I like my hibiscus in North Carolina.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't Cry For Carnelian

You'll think it strange
When I try to explain
After all that I've done
I had to let it happen
I had to try the Carnelian

Couldn't stay all of my life
Looking down at the tile
Looking out of the window
Staring out at the sun
So I had to try the Carnelian

Running around trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all
I never expected it too

Don't cry for Carnelian
The truth is I never left the bathroom.

Don't cry for Carnelian
It is illusion
It is not the solution
The promise to be
Was not meant for me
The answer was here all the time

Please keep your distance
I'll keep my promise

Now shoo.

It won't be the Carnelian
Don't cry

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Will It Be

A garden is so easy. Just plant more. Some things live and thrive. Some disappear or die. Editing removes the unwanted. Transplanting rearranges things. Pruning may keep things contained. It all works out somehow. And there is always next year.

Was this gathering of pink and white lilies planned? Not a chance. It just so happens that they bloomed together. Next year the blend of lilies blooming here could be completely different. I lost count of how many have already come and gone in this spot. Not once have I noted an element of discord, no matter what was blooming. It is so easy.

A new garden awaits its assignment of cast members. What will they be? There was also a suggestion for an old plow. The new garden needed another sculptural element.

An old plow is far to cliche'.

Then you need to make a piece of art for the new garden.

It just so happens I saw these most interesting shiny, hefty, long and thick, stainless steel rods at the new clients in a pile of rubbish. They definitely caught my eye. I'll check and see if they need to disappear with the rest of the collectibles scattered around the property.

I'm seeing the remnants of an ultra modern, black locust, barbed wire fence knock off.

The grout color choice was easy and the grouting has commenced. The bathroom floor is now in and grouted.

This time I did not go Bleck! New color choices for the interior have arrived.

I actually went, hmm, that is kind of nice. The orange is called Marigold from Eddie Bauer and is the choice for the main livingroom and kitchen. The green is Apple 5 from Laura Ashley and is the bathroom choice. Will the loft be yellow or blue?

If only growing a cabin was as easy.

I could leave all the materials out for the birds and the bees and next spring a gorgeous cabin would emerge. If only.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finding Serenity

Among the numerous prickles.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dear Dr. Hortfreud

My parents have a sickness. They like to visit gardens when they go places. Then they come home filled with all kinds of wild eyed notions about having a civilized garden of their own. The past two years they have had season passes to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. I dread when they go there.

Every time they come back from there they start a new garden. This one will be civilized they say. Instead of completely civilizing any part of the over two acres of garden they already have, they make another one from scratch.

I may have casually mentioned it would be nice to landscape around the old chimney and the next thing you know my 82 old mother whips out the Roundup and my 81 year old father with a new knee put in in April breaks out the chainsaw. As you might imagine an endeavour of this sort requires assistance from the assistant gardener.

Dr. Hortfreud I have concerns.

Even with a new assistant gardener on staff, these new civilized gardens to be always end up looking like exuberant chaos in the end. Reckless seed flinging and regular naps don't allow for an adequate amount of editing. Only now is the concept of mulching being put into practice and I am afraid it is really too late for that to even help much.

They have a sickness. Plenty isn't enough when it comes to plants or flowers. They always need more. And each new garden is going to be the civilized one.

Just last month this low hill behind the vegetable garden was covered with hundreds of blooming daylilies. It was filled with all kinds of wildflowers too because you can't weed them out until they are done blooming. That wasn't enough.

The far end of the low hill was full of Lorelei iris that have grown out of favor because they are so prolific. They were all dug out to make room for more daylilies. New ones from the catalogs of course. You have to have different ones than what you already have.

The assistant gardener started weeding what was left after the iris were dug to prevent the use of Roundup near his ripening corn. Collateral damage is a know occurrence in these parts.

Dr. Hortfreud, you can see it is a challenge for the assistant gardener to keep up with these 80 year old gardeners with this sickness. The assistant knows all to well it will all end up looking something like this.

Is there a certain age or certain signs one should look for that tell you it is time to revoke your parents gardening privileges? Thank you for any light and/or raindrops you can shed on this matter.

Concerned Son and
Very Popular Assistant Gardener

Friday, July 23, 2010

One Short Row And A Thin Sliver

Back at Outside Clyde I have been staying busy despite a full week of pain in my lower back and left hip. I finally gave in and made an appointment with the chiropractor. Rural poverty can slow things down.

That busy does not necessarily involve work on the cozy cabin though. When I last stopped tiling there was only one row and a thin sliver left to reach the shower pan and have this phase of the tile floor project complete. The next phase is the grout.

That thin sliver got me thinking. I mucked around with the idea for a couple of days and it just kept getting more complicated.

Forget it. Keep it simple stupid.

The glass block and supplies for the shower wall were picked up today. The white field tile and decorative 1 x 1 glass tile for the shower interior are here and waiting. I keep at it.

There has been increasing happy talk from certain quarters that the cabin won't be finished in time and I will have to spend another winter in the resident gardeners house. "Just think you will be able to work all winter on things and have it done by spring."

These gardening chores that need doing keep being invented, deliberately I think to prevent me from working on the cabin. It sure was nice to arrive to the low spot on a North Carolina mountain top and have the ridge top garden spic and span, the hanging gardens of Betsy's Gap planted and blooming, the vegetable garden producing greens and ready to burst in to life and all that was needed was for the bottle of wine to be opened.

My fate may be sealed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Speeding Through Buffalo

Saturday took us to the Erie Basin Marina trial gardens where new plants are tested for performance before being mass marketed.

We were asked to vote for one favorite from each growers bed and happily complied. The head gardener was surprised I heard by the garden bloggers enthusiasm for such a task. He may have been expecting a group of jaded garden writers, not a crowd of real plant nerds.

Then it was off to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens which is also a national historic site. This little glass house in yet another Olmsted designed park may have something to due with the gardens historic status.

Group photo. That is most of us.

Next we headed to Lockwood Greenhouses. I took the greenhouse growing tour, not the nursery tour to avoid the temptation to purchase. A quick walk through the nursery was more than enough to let me know if I lived nearby I would be in here all the time.

Growing the mums for the fall and staggered plantings of sweet corn used to lure in the customers.

Our tour guide and owner Harry Lockwood.

After Lockwoods we headed to the Shadrack's garden in the country that has already been reported on. Sunday morning took us to Lancaster Avenue which you have also seen.

But did you see this?

Leaving our co-host Jim Charlier's garden, we strolled back to the hotel down Elmwood, taking in the sights of Buffalo.

And that wraps up the Garden Bloggers Buffa10.