Showing posts from May, 2013

Making a garden is more than....


Mud, Glorious Mud

photo by Danielle Donders It is a rainy spring where I live. Rain and more rain. Days of rain with intermittent breaks of sun. So when life gives you raindrops.... You make... photo from this blog (click here) Mud Pies. Learn to love the mud and you will be a happier person, I assure you.... Annual Mud Day Celebration in Westland, Michigan My stepmother once chided me for playing in the dirt and mud, saying this wasn't proper for a young lady (I was 11)...
She didn't understand that this was (and is) my greatest joy. 
Perhaps I should have shown her one of my favorite poems. It is called 'In Just' by e e cummings.  a poem in praise of spring, mud, childhood and more by e e Cummings: in just-

in Just-
spring       when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles     far      and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful

from Imagine Childhood
Rainy Day Idea : make a mud house with…

A Bench among the Ferns - Garden Photo of the Day

A serene setting - designed by Jan Johnsen for a private residence in Westchester County, NY.

INSPIRING! Gratitude - Louis Schwartzberg TEDxSF

The Most Inspiring and Heartfelt 10 minute TED talk :

I spent a summer near Elk, California. Magical. Namaste to All Creatures....

Mossy Path - Jan Johnsen

In May I work outside in the landscapes I create for others. I will share pics with you as I take them.

Serenity in the Garden is my goal...that can mean meditative settings or flowerful displays, grassy gardens, rock strewn hillsides and more.

Here is a mossy path from one of my landscapes. The wood rounds are from a large tree that fell. We sliced it up in 4" thick slices and treated each with wood sealer 4 times...

This glorious garden is not on the Garden Conservancy tours so photos must suffice.  I will share more in time.

For Serenity: Think Small

I am a 'Small is Beautiful' devotee.  I once attended a talk by the great E.F. Schumacher (1911-1977). I never forgot it. He spoke the truth so eloquently...but this was in the 1970s and look at where we are now. No one was listening.

Schumacher is widely acknowledged as the originator of many concepts on the theory and practice of sustainable development.  He explained that we must get back to a more manageable way of doing things...:
"I have no doubt that it is possible to give a new direction to technological development, a direction that shall lead it back to the real needs of man, and that also means: to the actual size of man. Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.”    - E. F. Schumacher
Schumacher  put human wellbeing as the central concern of development.  Not growth! And he urged that we rebalance our efforts at technological innovation away from the 'wants' and more towards the needs of the two billion people in this world. He also asked that …

A Short Video for Creating a Front Walkway Planting

This fledgling video was made a few years ago.. but I illustrate the ever popular Angelonia flower and more.  Short and to the point. For those who do not know plants very well

A Great, Native Grass for Your Garden - Little Bluestem

courtesy of Proven Winners When the American Horticultural Society decided to create a large meadow at their headquarters, River Farm, in Virginia the first plant they seeded was Little Bluestem.( I wrote about this earlier but have added to it. )
Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm
 They applied 100 pounds of Bluestem seed. The Latin name is Schizachyrium scoparium or skiz-ah-KEER-ee-um sko-PAR-ee-um.
Why was this the first plant they seeded? Because Little Bluestem is a NATIVE, wonderful, durable, upright,clump forming grass that is eminently suitable for 'meadow making'. 'The Blues' courtesy of the Battery Database
Little Bluestem is native to almost all of the United States and parts of Canada. It is found in  45 of the 50 states, making it the most abundant of all native grasses.

It is drought and flood-tolerant, can grow in light shade and thrives in relatively poor, sharply drained soil. It is found in woodland glades and both upland and lowland prairies.
The most…

The amazing native Coralbells - Heuchera villosa

Native Heucheras have it all!

Heuchera villosa Brownies'

Photo by View from Federal Twist
The amazing Heuchera villosa,or hairy alumroot, is a species of coral bells that is native to rocky wooded slopes from Virginia to Missouri.  It is resistant to browsing deer and rabbits and is an excellent substitute for Hosta in shaded/part sun beds. Piet Oudolf uses this a lot.

Villosa is from the Latin meaning ‘velvet’

These plants are tolerant of dry soil in shady conditions but need more regular watering in partial sun.  Good for Dry shade!

from davisla blog
It has large, hairy, triangular green leaves that have a velvety texture. It flowers in late summer (perhaps the latest in the genus) and features tiny, whitish flowers in open, airy panicles on slender, wiry stems to 36” tall. Hardy to Zones 4 - 7.

Heucheras are best grown in light shade and partial sun as they tend to bleach out in full sun. Grow in well drained, compost enriched, loamy garden soils (avoid heavy clay). In moist, cold w…

Garden Therapy - Cure the Blues.Go with the Yellows

Feeling down? listless? unmotivated? Before you reach for a pill (did you know that reports say that one in 10 Americans older than 12 take antidepressants?) why not go outside?

Being outdoors can lighten your mood immeasurably.


In Europe, doctors prescribe exercise for their depression patients. But I say combine exercise and getting out in nature by gardening, potting up a plant in a can, pruning, edging, anything....

 Go out and cut some flowers.
Or take a 'forest therapy' walk. Breathe in the air, get in sync with nature and you'll definitely feel a little better. GET YOUR SUN ON! 
Sunlight is Nature's anti-depressant because it stimulates serotonin in your brain.  Bright light absorbed through the eyes - from the retina to the pineal  gland - stimulates production of serotonin, the same neurotransmitter that's boosted by the type of antidepressant medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).    Therefore sun…