Posts filed under ‘garden’

How does your garden grow? Part Three


Part One –

Part Two –

I  haven’t had much  time for “writing” ,what little time I  have had has been trying to  get the ponds and the garden winterized.  The large pond that had to  be Heron proofed needed to  have all the floating vegetation taken out . This meant all those water hyacinths and water lettuce  had to  be removed. They  had protected the fish  from the evil eyes of the Heron, denying them breakfast, lunch  and dinner.


The pots and shrubs , such  as the raspberry  bushes  that had seeded themselves around the edges had to  be taken out before their roots compromised the liner.

They have done their job of denying the Heron a place to  land  The Yellow Water Iris cut back. This was all done because  the frost would blacken and kill the plants in the pond and cause toxicity  as they  decayed.

The water is crystal clear thanks to  three pumps and an aeriator , clear enough to  be seen by  those high  flying angels of death  to  my  fish . I  am crossing my  fingers they  are “fishing elsewhere”.

I was surprised after losing half of my  fish  to  the Heron some must have still managed to  procrerate. In the clear water I  saw at least 4 tiny  black  fry and three larger fish  that had turned to  gold/orange. So life goes on in the pond.

My Mothers Day   Ghost Koi  present from Chris 10  years ago  continues to  remain the King of the Pond.


The one thing I was pleased with  was the fact that I  was able to  pick some of the wildflowers (  that are still blooming) this autumn bringing memories of those two  little boys sewing the seeds with  abandon.


My  mother’s balcony, this time last year, got the minimum of clearing away. I  threw away  most of the smaller pots but never got around to clearing out the dead petunias and pansies.

With  all that happened in Jan/Feb/March  and April with  health issues and hospitals I didn’t do  anything on the balcony  apart from placing  a pot of pansies  in remembrance of my  mum. I certainly  didn’t have the energy to  plant up  the remaining window boxes and plant stands.

I was amazed  when I  went to  put out the seat cushions the Petunias, yellow Daisy types flowers  and Pansies had come back from the previous year.

Well, I  was flummoxed , February’s winds and temperatures had seen us losing  the ornamental plum and lilac bush  that were well established. How could such  delicate petunias and annuals have managed to not only  survive but to  flower beautifully  in abundance ? Once again the answer came not from the supernatural but from Monty  Don.

Apparently  my  2nd floor  balcony  faces south and the house has protected the pots and plants from the winter winds , coupled with  the fact the frost stays lower down and the fact I didn’t have the energy  to  dump  out all the pots before the winter as had been done in previous years.  I  have left the boxes and the grasses that also  survived . Weeds they  might be but I  did notice the birds had  a lovely  time eating the seeds all winter. In fact I  left one window box to  the birds

The hedges  clipped beautifully  by  my  neighbor has become a sort of Hotel for nesting pairs of Morning Doves, Cardinals, and dozens of sparrows.


On the other side of the garden where the hedge remained unclipped and left to  blossom  attracted bees  both  solitary and honey.    In fact with  the birds coming in to  drink and bathe  in the water fountain that area was very  “busy” all spring and summer

All in all with  just having the grass cut  and the goodness of heart by  my neighbor in cutting back  the hedge , grandchildren planting wildflowers and sunflowers, the garden ,considering our lack  of daily  maintenance  Mother Nature gave pleasure to  not only  the birds, bees and wildlife  but to  me as well. Fragrance of Lavender, Honeysuckle and Roses help to  soothe  the troubled mind and give some peace and energy  during some very rough  times this year

To be continued in the Spring! ( I  hope)

October 20, 2019 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

How Does Your Garden Grow – Part Two

Well it has been a strange summer, incessant rain ( as I  remember it ) in June  and then sun , sun, sun and  now September  and I am sitting here on the 22nd of September in the air-conditioning  watching the trees and flowers wilt in the intense heat and sun shine.

I love September, usually because the warm days , cool nights and  some rain  give the flowers their last burst of colour. Not so   in the garden this year. The pots planted around the pond to  keep  out the dreaded  Blue Heron (  my  angel of death) look stringy  and awful. They  did their job but hid the water and fish  not only from the Heron but from me.

Before the Heron


After the Heron

The roses reacted to  the damp and wet and cold in June by getting black spot and another fungus which  meant cutting them back  and giving them medication. My  mini – orchard suffered, mostly  the cherry  trees  they  look decidedly  problematic.

There isn’t a lot I  can do  , not being young and agile enough to climb ladders and spray  and prune.  Needs must and my  energy  is used up inside the house at the moment. So  fingers crossed the trees are  strong enough to  survive. The towering Sycamore looked awful earlier on in the spring  with  its blight but after a few weeks regained her leaves and looks healthy enough, so  fingers crossed.

Although  the blossoms on the fruit trees were plentiful and gave much  pleasure to eye I  am afraid, the birds got the cherries ( I managed one  and it was delicious) I  also  managed one plum, a couple of apples and  two  pears . The peaches, although so  heavy   they  bent the branches , by  the time they were full and ripe disappeared overnight, squirrels played havoc and then the Puckwudgies. ( Groundhogs to  uninitiated  to  this blogger) crept under the fence from the blue house and had their fill, same with  the apples .  It was almost like the squirrels were working for the groundhogs!

I live in hope that next year I  can get at least some cherries and plums. The raspberries also  went the way  of the birds but they  also  kept the Heron from landing so it was a tradeoff.

Not all was frustrating , following Monty  Don’s advice I  decided to  have the grandchildren scatter wildflower seeds and sunflower seeds in the unused garden. Apparently  weeds love good soil  but wildflowers  can thrive in poor soil and can out produce the weeds. Well why  not give it a try, I certainly  could not weed this year  and even getting the grass cut on the now double lot has been a chore. Happily,  the boys , took to  their task with gusto only the seeds were sprinkled with  great abandon, not paying any  heed  to  boundaries . Hence wildflowers popped up  everywhere even in the gravel .


And Yes the wildflowers did keep  the weeds at bay, this is part of the garden planted with  the wildflowers


and the missed part … the weeds


I  guess Monty  was right and so  since the wildflowers did their job of  keeping down the weeds and bringing in the bees and pollinators  they  will have an even bigger spot in the garden…………. to  be continued


September 22, 2019 at 11:20 pm 1 comment

How does your garden grow? Part One

I love flowers , eating the vegetables and looking our the window at my  garden and the ponds  BUT I  hate gardening. In the long before the turmoil that has struck this home especially  in the last few months I would , in the springtime, have a blitz for one day  in the garden. Usually  it was to  get my  husband to  move  the stuff that had accumulated over the fall and winter and tidy  up. I really  don’t like weeding , digging in the dirt and getting all hot and sweaty but I  love the results when my  garden looks full of flowers  and the pond and the waterfall wakes up  in the spring.


The pond I have written about and the Ghost Koi

Purchasing the vacant  lot next door in 2015  was a huge drain and investment of time and energy.

Illness interrupted the rehabilitation of the now vacant lot, my  ideas and wants had to  be put on hold  but eventually  thanks to  the help  of two  little boys who  moved so  much  dirt  the ground was level. I was amazed at how much  these two  little tots worked and how much  help  they  were. I  am still amazed!!!


The once vacant lot was divided into  two sections and the back  section I decided on a mini orchard with  still ponds , plantings consistent with non filtered and pumps water gardening. In other words letting the plantings in the ponds filter the water with  no  fish.

Considering we are two  blocks from Lorain’s downtown this was a bit of a novel idea for Lorain, Ohio. After a season of raw builders dirt used for fill where the previous little house had been ,

dodging the concrete and rubble that had been dumped in what was a ravine and small rivulet that runs under the property  next door we managed hit and miss plantings of the trees for the orchard.


My  husband would use the back part of the original lot as his vegetable garden, we flourished with  tomatoes, peppers, potatoes ( planted by  the grandchildren ) corn and asparagus.


And so success for a couple of years, the planted orchard of two  cherry  trees, one peach  tree , one pear tree, two  apple trees and a plum tree blossomed beautifully. It took a couple of years but this year they  all bore fruit and that is another story to  come in this urban orchard.

The front part of the vacant lot was planted more formally I envisioned climbing roses on the fence and archways, the side rockery  full of roses, butterfly bushes and lavender for the fragrance as we opened the windows.

We have a lovely  balcony and it was my  mother’s pride and delight to  empty  the containers , refill with  new soil  and planted fresh  every  year with  all the plants she received on Mother’s Day. Of course watering was an issue as the balcony  is in full sun and south  facing. Mum, being mum was forever weeding out the errant weeds that somehow made it to  the containers and would water  twice a day.


Last year as she fell into  decline at 99 she did not have the strength  to  plant and water so  that job fell to  me. My  mum loved those flowers and her bedroom was off the balcony  so she would sit and enjoy  the garden from above and sit amongst her flowers.

It has been a terrible few months one way  and another , my  mother passed in October and January  found my  husband extremely  ill ( as has been documented in the series  )

Time and weeks slipped from dead of winter to  spring whilst the garden lay  dormant , my  thoughts were not of how to  manage the garden or ponds.

Trips sometimes twice a day  for hours dealing with  medical issues left me tired, frustrated and lacking energy . I admit it took what was left of any  energy  to  keep  the house running and laundry  up  to  date. I had no  time or desire to  deal with  anything else.


In order to  wind down before bedtime I would watch  my  British  murder mysteries and also  programs from Britain on gardening, basically  because they  took me back  to  the land of my  birth, to  familiar places and happier times . One such  program and presenter / gardener extraordinaire is a chap  called Monty  Don,

he has numerous garden shows but the one I  would watch every  week on Britbox

is Gardener’s World

and there by  hangs the rest of the tale on how my  garden grows this year and the way Britain is  rewilding and cultivating the pollinators one flower pot and meadow at a time !!!!!


‘Wildflowers are often capricious so if you have the space, create varieties of habitats within your garden – shade, dampness and wild. You can also, within reason, harvest the seed of our more common wildflowers from the wild.’

More so now than ever, gardeners are being urged to transform parts of their garden into wildflower meadows to help save the bees. The UK has seen a vast decline in the number of bees, and with 75 per cent of all food crops requiring pollination, the rapidly declining bee population has been cause for serious concern.”

and help  the sunflower kisses


To  be continued

August 18, 2019 at 4:33 pm 7 comments



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