Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Saturday, December 31, 2011

First of All to End the Year - An Apology

In less than an hour, 2011 will simply be a short little bar on my facebook timeline, captured through thousands of photographs, blog posts, email messages, and moments seared indelibly in my mind.

A year of bold steps forward,

A year of tentative steps and uncertainty A year where some steps are best washed away.

A year filled with steep wonderful highs and deep heartbreaking lows
and that type of emotional mountain climbing has worn me out. I'm ready for a year of gentle rolling hills and calmer waters.

So as I've been winding down from this intense year, I realize that I jumped too quickly into another big commitment (The Growing Zone - a daily look at what is growing on around us) without fully considering the impact on my family. For the past few weeks, I made a choice to put down the computer and chose family time over a self-imposed need to work, to write, or to post. So I apologize to my fun friends I've met through this blog that I started something that I know now that I need to tune back - the blogs in the future will be a little less frequent but hopefully more informative. You all continue to bring me encouragement, you have walked with me in those valleys and rejoiced with the peaks. I wish you all a Happy New Year filled with peace and joy and focused priorities, and wish you a year of healthy growing in heart, mind, soul,

and garden.


Monday, December 26, 2011

The Growing Zone - Dec. 26

My friend, Kathy Wallace, had several families over for a Christmas eve luncheon and wanted to do something quick, easy, and inexpensive for her two empty front containers. She found two fresh wreaths at the abandoned Christmas tree lot (all they wanted was for you to leave a donation for whatever you took) and these silver spray painted stems and instant pretty planter!
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 49

Just in case some of you wondered how some of us Tennessee rednecks decorate for Christmas...

Or how we winterize our garden tools...

Or DIY a garden swing...

yes, it's true, I didn't take any of these pictures - got them off an email. But you havta admit they are pretty funny.
This is redneck Wednesday.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 48

'Twas A Week Before Christmas

The Myth of Winter’s Rest

‘Twas a week before Christmas and all through the ground

The roots were all resting and no moles could be found.

The mulch was all laid in the garden with care

With hopes that no weeds would try to grow there.

The roses were nestled all snug in their bed

While visions of blossoms danced in my head.

The overalls, gloves, and my wide-brimmed had

Were hung by the fireplace where I leisurely sat.

When out of my mailbox there came such a flurry

Of plant catalogs that were saying, “Buy! Hurry!”

I read “Plant Delights” from cover to cover

‘Cuz Tony Avent knows his plants like a lover.

New hostas, agaves, hydrangeas abound -

Each catalog offers a new treasure that’s found.

I jump in my wandering car to explore

Mary’s Greenhouse, Randolph's Greenhouses, Saul’s Plants and more!

At Hewitt’s I ask John Bradley about trees

To replace those I lost from the drought and the freeze.

On the phone I am calling to locate a new vine

That I saw in “Fine Gardening”, “Horticulture”, or “Garden Design”.

I dash away over to another seminar:

Southern Garden Symposium” in Georgia – it’s not very far.

I fill up my mind with garden books that I’ve read.

(Allan Armitage’s books are all piled by my bed.)

Redesigned my old garden to include a new plant;

Cleaned and sharpened my tools and replaced those I can’t.

I wiped off my brow and gave a low whistle

‘Cuz the winter all flew like the down off a thistle.

I shout as I’m running from spot to spot fast,

“Hurry planning your garden because winter won’t last!”

(with greatest respect to Clement Clarke Moore)


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 47

My friend, Joan Benton, reminded me recently about what a wonderful place Moore and Moore Garden Center is for getting container gardening ideas. Here are a few Christmas container ideas that I snapped a few weeks ago.

Kinda leaves you wanting...
...Moore and Moore!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 46

One of the harsh realities of growing is the inevitability of dying.

Today's post is for one of my sons' most lively high school friends, Meredith Fara Avery: June 8, 1991 - December 17, 2011. This beautiful gypsy girl had a passion about life that was inspirational, a faith in Christ that was genuine and transforming, and an enjoyment for life that was contagious. Her random pop-up facebook chats - "Hi Mrs. Wise! Are you still planting lots of flowers?" were a reflection of her warm thoughtfulness and engaging heart.

This was a picture that Meredith posted on Facebook on April 15, 2011. Her time was short, but the life she lived was time fully used to enrich those around her. Life takes time, yet we know not our time - love deeply, laugh often, forgive easily, work diligently, listen intensely, and never let fear keep you from that great adventure in life.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 45

A touch of lime - at Bloedel Reserve in Seattle, Washington

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 44

I was crazy about this container with its mix of textures between the banana leaves, lobelia, calibrachoa, Autumnal fuschia, black petunias, and a couple of other plants. What I enjoyed the most about the container's placement was the echeveria flowers growing in front of the container that seemed to be saying, "Look at me, look at me - I'm pretty, too!"
(The Epping's home in Seattle, WA.)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 43

If you're feelin blue...


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 42

Just a little something from this summer's garden tours in Seattle - this container planting with glass art just made me smile. Kind of Dr. Seuss-y


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 41

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. ~Anne Lamott

Today, I just needed to be reminded of hope and one of the greatest symbols of hope are bulbs - tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and fritillaria.
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. Winston Churchill


Sunday, December 11, 2011

TheGrowing Zone - Day 40

I love finding special or unique "Gathering Spaces" in people's gardens. These are a few I found this past Thanksgiving on my walk around Chastain Park in Atlanta.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 39

As I've mentioned before in "The Growing Zone", horticulture and the world of landscaping and gardening can serve as a backdrop to either reflect or expose what is going on or growing on inside of us. The stories of a garden are in many ways the stories of life, and sometimes I simply have to remember the truths that God has taught me through my interaction with His botanical handiwork to gain direction for other areas in my life.
When one of my sons was young and wanted to be outside with me while I was working in the yard, he decided he would help me by pulling up all the "weeds" that were in one of my flower beds. By the time I got over to see what he was doing, over 200 of the crocus and daffodil bulbs that I had planted the previous fall had been pulled up. I was aghast. But the hardest thing to bear was the misunderstanding in my son's face when, after he had thought he worked so hard to help me and couldn't wait to see my pleasure, all he saw was dismay and disappointment. That precious relationship between mother and son, between nurturing soil and growing bulb was briefly interrupted. Forgiveness became the soil that regrew relationship as we worked together to replant bulbs and restore what had been removed. Some of the bulbs survived, some did not, and some didn't bloom until the following year.
Over the years I have found myself on both sides of the forgiveness field - the one needing to forgive and the one needing forgiveness. Sometimes I have been the unwitting puller of crocus causing deep disappointment in another. Left to lie on top of the ground, a relationship that has been pulled by its roots because of words or actions that have been misunderstood or misspoken will never have a chance to bloom again. Restoration comes when forgiveness is coupled with genuine sorrow and repentance where needed. With tears as healing rain and understanding as healthy sunshine, regrowth can begin.

Link My gardening friend, Helen Weis, recently posted this with the comment that "Forgiveness is not what effects them... Forgivess is what effects you."
My wish this Christmas season is that regrowth and restoration be accomplished within all our lives. The Christmas story is one of love and redemption, and most of all about forgiveness.

"Mary, Did You Know" video

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Friday, December 9, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 38

Hollies in the snow - one of the simple beauties of winter time. Natural Christmas decor.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Growing Zone - Day 37

Through out my blog you'll hear me refer to my container planting mentor and plantswoman extraordinare, Rita Randolph of Randolph Greenhouses in Jackson, Tennessee.
These are a few of her Christmas combinations to inspire you.
The fern in these pictures is Rita's own introduction called Rita's Gold.