Category Archives: Gardens

2019 October Read-a-thon: Wrap Up

…painting by Sally Rosenbaum

What a lovely day spent immersed in books about gardens, garderners, and planthunters! And this afternoon, I also spent time outside working in my own garden, planting bulbs, raking leaves, and preparing the garden for winter.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon is a very special event, and I’m so glad I was able to participate again this Fall! I’ve loved my themed reading for the last two read-a-thons so I’ll be tempted to do that same kind of thing for the Spring event.

Thank you to all of you who organized and made this event happen again! I’m sure Dewey would have been thrilled with the level of participation and with how wonderfully it is organized and managed. She left us too soon, but left a beautiful legacy.

Books Read:

One of my winter barrels…

2019 October Read-a-thon: Afternoon

CURRENTLY READING:

This afternoon I have been reading Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, by Marta McDowell. It’s such a pleasure to read, well researched, completely entertaining, and full of wonderful artwork and photos. I’m not rushing through it, although I’m making good progress. This may be the last book I read for today’s Read-a-thon, but that’s okay. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and my reading about gardens and gardening project!

The Vegetable Garden in summer at Hill Top, Cumbria, home of Beatrix Potter. A wooden beehive sits in the bee bole, exactly as it did in Beatrix’s time, and tools are arranged among the vegetables in homage to Mr McGregor.

2019 October Read-a-Thon: Argentinian Adventures

My Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon continues! It’s a beautiful day outside, and the colors of leaves and fall-blooming flowers are just gorgeous throughout the neighborhood. So after lunch, I put on my earphones and went for a walk while listening to one of my chosen books. But now I am back inside and just finished reading a short book about a planthunter in Argentina

Argentinian Adventures: A Planthunter in Argentina, by John Lonsdale, is a series of essays about three of his planthunting trips to Argentina.

…from the author:

Argentina is a fascinating and endlessly varied country. This book accounts of three visits, the first of which was a three-month tour of the north of the country, collecting plants for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This first visit encouraged me to undertake two further visits while still employed by Kew Gardens. Because of these botanical connections, there is a wealth of references to the fabulous flora of the region. Flora can’t exist in isolation to fauna, and animal life is discussed whenever it is chanced upon. Several exciting episodes imposed themselves into what became increasingly eventful journeys.

I love reading about planthunters! It’s such an interesting combination of plant information, culture, and travel. I enjoy looking up the plants they find, names in Latin, of course. And I do enjoy the travel and cultural parts of these experiences. This was a fun one for me because I was familiar with northern Argentina and many of the places he talked about, although not the remote areas.  Here are some of the plants he mentioned in these essays.

 

Read-a-thon: The Writer in the Garden

 

The Writer in the Garden is a collection of essays and poems on gardening. Jane Garmey edited this amazing book, and the collection is wonderfully varied and interesting. There are so many different takes on gardens and gardening, from observations by Charles Kuralt to personal anecdotes by E.B. White, and seasonal descriptions of gardens by Carol Bishop Hipps and Jamaica Kincaid, and excerpts from classic garden books by Vita Sackville-West, Gertrude Jekyll, and Celia Thaxter.

One of my favorite quotes from this book was a description by E.B. White about his gardening wife, Katharine S. White, toward the end of her life. The excerpt was taken from his introduction to her wonderful gardening book, Onward and Upward in the Garden, and it is a poignant glimpse of her planning her Spring garden knowing that she would not be there to see the garden bloom in early spring.

“As the years went by and age overtook her, there was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance on this awesome occasion—the small, hunched-over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in the dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection. —E. B. White”

…Mademoiselle Gachet in the Garden, by Vincent Van Gogh

October 2019 Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon begins!

AND WE’RE OFF! My time for starting Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon today was 5:00a.m.  Luckily, I’m a morning person and am often up at that time anyway. I fixed my coffee and I’m ready to start reading…and reading…and reading! I love spending my Saturday with a total immersion into books. My reading today will be books with GARDEN at the heart!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon 2019

Tomorrow is the 2019 Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon and I’m ready and excited to start reading my pile of books!  When I participated in last April’s read-a-thon, I put together a list of books written for young people about art and artists. I enjoyed that themed reading so much I decided to put together a list of themed books for this read-a-thon, too. So this time, I will be reading books about GARDENS: gardening, gardens, gardeners, flowers, trees, plants of all kinds…books for all ages.  I think I will really enjoy my reading of books with GARDEN AT THE HEART!

I also plan to publish a couple of posts throughout the day with mini-reviews and thoughts on the books I finish.

Thank you to everyone involved in planning and running this fun reading activity! Have fun, everyone!

 

Roses, by Peder Severin Kroyer

 

The Rock Garden

My Dad, summer of 1954.

My Dad and Mom created a rock garden the summer I was five years old.They turned a small sloping lawn into a beautiful garden.  I remember going for family drives, looking for rocks. We all loved that! I just recently found this old photo of my dad in front of the rock garden, and it reminded me of that happy time.

I’d already been thinking of creating a small rock garden in what I call our “triangle garden,” the space between our angled driveway and our vegetable garden. Finding the photo of my Dad in front of his rock garden made it seem absolutely right for me to go ahead and build my own.

However, we discovered quickly that rocks are not very accessible around here. When I was little, we lived right next to the mountains, so it was only a quick drive up the canyon to find loads of big and very interesting geological specimens! For some reason, there aren’t many rocks along the roads around here and our really interesting rocks were collected from farther away.  Fortunately, our daughter is in the process of building a big garden at her new home in Washington State. She’s spent the summer digging rocks out of the area they want to garden. We think perhaps all the rocks that should be here in Oregon are in her back yard! All those rocks you see lined up so neatly in the photo on the left came out of that dug up space in the photo on the right. She’s developed strong digging muscles! And each time she visited us this summer, she brought a load of rocks for our rock garden.

 

So, I  am not quite finished collecting rocks and planting, but my little rock garden is close to being done. I’ve planted a variety of perennials, some pansies for winter color, and a whole bunch of bulbs for spring color. There is still room for some colorful annuals that I’ll plant next Spring. I’m just loving this autumn gardening project.

Garden Snapshot: Clematis

My beautiful new Clematis “Prince Charles” is in full bloom. I planted it this spring as part of my year-long celebration of turning 70 ….  just because … Prince Charles just turned 70, too! I know that sounds very silly, but silly is good sometimes!

It’s a beautiful Clematis and seems to love where I planted it. I am so enjoying its beauty, and I’m having a lot of fun with my year of embracing and celebrating turning seventy!

The Magic Apple Tree and Sunflowers

The Magic Apple Tree, by Susan Hill, is a magical memoir about her years living in the English countryside. I loved reading it, and will enjoy rereading it again before too long. One of the passages I highlighted from the book was about summer and sunflowers. It reminded me of my own sunflower garden from a few years ago, and I’m sad that I didn’t plant any sunflowers in our yard this year. Next year, for sure!

Summer means sunflowers – better called by their exquisitely apposite French name, tournesol. It is folly to try and grow them very tall here, of course, the wild winds of the early autumn nights bend and break their thick stems and bow their great shaggy heads to the ground, but I do try nevertheless, because I love them so, their bright faces and open-golden look, and the way the bees swarm about them, I should like a whole marching line of them up against the wall near the woodshed.

My sunflower garden from 2015.

Summer

Happy Summer Solstice, my friends! It’s a coolish day here, just right for picking cherries this morning and then reading on the porch this afternoon. I’m going to spend some time today rereading one of my favorite books on my garden shelf: The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, by Edith Holden. I pull this old volume off my shelf quite often to enjoy once again her beautiful artwork of each month or season in a gardening year.