About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Once a Gardener

From the appearance of the yard, you'd never know that a once serious gardener lives on Summit Court. There was a time when I ordered winter hearty roses from Canada, day lilies from Oregon, and dwarf fruit trees from Michigan.

I planned and planted window boxes and containers that looked like paintings with their subtle mixed colors. Out on the deck landing I always had containers of fresh herbs, baby lettuces of all shades and varieties, and flowers at the ready for cooking and color.

These beautiful scarlet peonies were given to me by my 84 year old Aunt Draxie who'd had them in her own yard for over 60 years.

From July through August the Oregon daylilies were in full glorious bloom, massed in sweeping beds of many colors. This one I called Georgia Peach for its soft peachy color.

My idea of a great Saturday morning was to hop in the truck with my neighbor Buddy and pick up a de-thatcher from General Rental. We'd then spend the whole day combimg and raking my lawn until we had a soft green carpet for a wide variety of beautiful flowers, shrubs, and perennials. I was up at daylight and out in the yard working, sometimes still at it after dark by the porch light. I read about gardens, talked about gardening, spent my money on plants and garden tools. Any travel in the U.S. always included visits to the great gardens, especially in the south--the pocket gardens of Charleston, Bellingrath in Alabama, the Biltmore in North Carolina. In New England, it was shopping at the old nurseries like White Flower Farm and Logee's. All the time I was learning about plants and garden design. Then, I tried to apply what I learned in creating my own landscape. Sometimes the student did pretty well, don't you think?
All this was 15-20 years ago. Now my yard looks like the starting photo at the top of this post. The grass is spare and mossy, last fall's leaves cover the ground, branches and limbs from dead trees came down in the recent storms. There are no good foundation plantings around the house and moles have created underground condos all over the yard.

With the first signs of spring--yesterday I saw the first chevron of geese flying overhead on their return from winter feeding grounds--I'm ready to make Summit Court look like a gardener lives here again. These last dreary days of winter will be a good time to get out the books and catalogs and do some plotting until it's time to start kicking up some dirt again.


laurie said...

it's great to see flowers and green this time of year.

so what made you stop gardening?

(and, re your comment on the dog annex, i'd be very interested in your thoughts on super tuesday.)

Crown Princess said...

never to late to sign up. You are all signed up to play in Fun Monday

Kaycie said...

I've had the bug recently, too. I had a vegetable garden in our old house and I've got a brand new, large, blank canvas of a lot to work with. It's actually a bit overwhelming!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Oh, Faye. Take me under your wing. I'm a complete and total gardening idiot with grand ideas. Your pictures are gorgeous.

Can't wait to see what you do this year.

Faye said...

Laurie--stopped gardening? Four dogs, seven day work weeks, droughts, laziness. Re campaign fatigue--I feel post bubbling up--stay tuned.

Crown Princess--thanks and I've got my tune.

Kaycie--I know what you mean about the blank canvas--I have a huge corner lot with limited will and bank account to fill, but I'm going to start close to the house and work out. I used to have a great vegetable garden--used Dick Raymond's raised bed technique--are you familiar?

Rotten Correspondent--key is to decide what style of garden you like--English, natural, formal? Buy just enough annuals to keep you color happy and then concentrate on the more permanent bones of the garden--shrubs, trees, vines, perenniels. And, don't fight your growning zone.

Faye said...

Oops! The "gardener" needs to one and for all learn how to spell
"perennial". . .

Lane said...

Those photos are fantastic. You were (are) a stupendous gardener.

I am useless, partly because the dogs and children have ruined any chance of ever having a lawn. I also seem to spend the entire summer 'cutting things back' rather than creating anything wonderful.

I do grow vegetables though but forgot about the marrows last year and they ended up bigger than my first born and harder to handle. This year I'll keep a proper eye on them.
It's great that you're getting enthusiastic again. I look forward to seeing pictures of the progress.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

award at my place...

Kaycie said...

Faye, there is an award for you at my place.

laurie said...

award for you at my place!!

laurie said...

VERY easy to add the award to your sidebar. just click in the upper right-hand corner on "customize," then click on "add page element," and then click on "add photo." then upload it from your desk top.

(i should have said that first you drag it from my blog onto your desktop.)

then hit save.

Faye said...

Laurie,Willie--and I--send you a big thanks for the quick lesson on sidebar additions. Now he won't have to keep lying (do dogs lay or lie?)on his yoga mat waiting for The Walk.

KittyHawk said...

Getting awards? Very cool, Faye! If you'd described your rose garden, including the climbing Peace (I think that was the one) that almost ate your house, I think you might start bringing home TROPHIES next! ;-)

KAN said...

When I was growing up, my mother always took mounds of scarlet peonies to the cemetary on Memorial Day. She always said my gret-grandmother raised them. I now have peonies from those plants in my yard but they've never been full with huge blooms. I need your expertise.
Maybe you can have a garden tour this summer.