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"Where better to care for the soul than in the details of our daily lives?....The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought... An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul, to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination where we find value, love and union with the world around us. As mystics of many religions have taught, that sense of rapturous union can give a sense of fulfillment that makes life purposeful and vibrant." ~ Thomas Moore.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Inspired by Deborah Silver

Hello People,

I follow gardeners, landscape designers and others to admire how they work, have so much to work with and continually find ways to be original, creative and self motivated. I am in awe of some, but this past 2 years Ms. Deborah Silver has blown me away with her absolute genius in landscape design which she does masterfully, also being an accomplished fine artist. I adore her containers and planters and her own designed is endless her talents. I have fallen in love with everything she does. You can see her work on her blog here called Dirt Simple.

I wish wish wish I could do some of what she does on this property but alas, for several reasons, I cannot. However I had to have just a hint, a little tiny bit of some of her inspired container plantings in my little space here and I did two planters today. I totally cheated though, because she uses alot of cut greens for a base, lights, branches and plants and other things. I wanted a Christmas looking planter and I cheated by simply buying two boxwood wreaths, putting them over the planter, then planting inside a pink and white poinsettia. I did add some white branches but it took away from the classy look, it just didn't work out the way Ms. Silver's containers do.
But I took a picture anyway and for where I live and what I have, its ok.
It makes me smile when I see them cause I know I am totally trying to imitate Ms. Silver's genius and one day, with enough resources and finances and stately home I will.
But for now, for today....this is what I've got. I will have to get some lights in these too somehow.

*smiling*, thank you Ms. Silver!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gratitude for Gardening *updated

Thanksgiving Day,

and I am grateful for my gardens, my ability to physically work on them, the beauty they offer 24/7, for the weather, for the colors, for the rains, the sun, the winds, for my new friends Scottie and JJ, and for everyone else who may see this, I'm speaking to you.

I just want to post some pics (lots!) of the gardens as of November 2016. This is a long one so get some tea or your choice of beverage........
This is a story in pics, or you can read, your choice, but the interesting bits are in the writings :-)..............
And this blog is also a personal online journal of sorts so I do write for my own memories, especially a visual record of my garden journies. I do not expect everyone to read everything. Just sayin.

It feels like a park in the back gardens now and I'm loving it.
I like to name things that have such character and in thinking of this I had to come up with something that both had a good theme for the gardens feel, and for how lyrical it sounds when spoken. And though I asked housemate to help, nothing forthewithe came, so I came up with Serenity Park, because that is the feeling it evokes and housemate has been spending alot more time out there just admiring and soaking up the good vibes, and because that is part of my name, and I am the one who built it. So there.
Now....some pics. You can click on this pic below to see a much larger version.......


Again, pics upload in their own order so I comment as they are......

Last year the tarragon grew so much I could never eat it if I spent the rest of my life eating it every I cut them, bunched and tied them and decided to dry them. I had to find a place for this, as space is limited here, but I did find the most perfect place ever, in the gazebo, with some hooks I had and I absolutely freekin love this as the scent of this herb is intoxicating and as it dries it scents up the entire area and when I sit in the gazebo all I can smell is the tarragon, or when I walk by and breeze comes, it is wonderful! I will always keep some tarragon drying in there from now on, so it can take over as much as it wants!


                  (above here one can see two empty boxes of string lights to go onto the juniper)

I comment before pics.......
This is the new herb garden.
Everything in it from last season grew, expired or was eaten. I pulled up all the weeds, removed what plants were still doing well, like the tarragon which took over and grew way too much and rosemary. I planted fresh soil and my own compost, then replanted.
I wish I'd taken pics of the herb patch when I just planted it, as there seemed so much space in between each plant it looked sparse, like I didn't plant enough stuff, but everything quickly grew up and in and filled up and everything is touching the next plant. These are the herbs I love and use and simply love to see growing in a garden bed just for our culinary, health and well being needs as well as for the beauty it offers the environment.
In the back I have two kinds of kale, one of which is going into a soup I want to make with butternut squash and creamed, middle row some dill, tarragon, lemon balm, mint, fennel, front, 3 kinds of peppers, jalapeno, cubanelle, and something scary called 'holy moly', which I'm hesitant to try, but will.....there are more herbs, this is only half the bed.

 This is Lettuce Lane, where it is mostly shaded and perfect for lettuces. I have butter lettuce, and romaine, basil down the middle and cilantro on the left corner which in Florida thrives in shade.


The Old Oak Garden.

The juniper torulosa, which I planted some penta in its base and love it. I expected some juniper berries, but no.  These two junipers do more to give this tropical garden a Mediterranean feel than anything else. A Jehovah witness came to my home knocking to proselytize but he glimpsed my gardens through the gate and said it was beautiful so I invited him to walk through. He loved it, said it made him feel homesick, like his home in England and that he would be back.

 I love blue flowers, and here we get blue flowers only in winter, so I buy lobelia, pansies, delphinium, and larkspur when I can find them.


I repotted these out with pansies......


 This is Topiary was the spot I could never figure out what to do, now its one of the best.

A view from Old Oak Garden

 Some salmon, pink, cream zinnias in a pot with allysum which smells heavenly!


Potatoes I love, they are easy for me to grow but they need depth and bags were the way to go because we cannot dig deep enough on this property for potatoes. I heard many are using bags and that walmart bags do well, so I got them and tried them. I mixed a good mix of soil for them with leaf mould and planted some that were growing eyes from potatoes I had from the store. I did this before and had success, and loved the flavor of the potatoes that grew. I decided I want to keep growing them when I can. Potatoes are started with a good layer of soil and when the greens start growing you top them over with more soil and you keep doing this until they are tall and your growing level is at its max. These have been topped off 3 times, I topped them off once more so the bags are full and the leaves are looking very healthy. I did pinch them as I do not need leaves, I need the energy to go into the roots. When the leaves brown up and topple is when the root potatoes are done, then I will harvest and eat them ala Monty Don, within 20 minutes of picking, dribbled with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh is a very sexy dish!

An angel who loves this perch, amidst the begonias, staring at the rest of the garden......

ok, wonderful news.....remember my last garden disaster with the critters who were eating all of my huge heirloom tomatoes? And I got so upset and found a way to enclose them after 3 attempts which they chewed their way through? I got this steel caging, and it worked to keep them out, but it also kept me out and I had no way of getting in there without alot of scratching and bleeding so I left it. However, john here figured out he could build a door onto the cage, we don't have to take it apart, and then we could continue to use it for tomatoes and keep the critters out. I did not imagine how, he explained it but it seemed complicated and I offered a simpler way to do it which totally worked. I wondered why he thought of doing something cause he will not do a single thing of his own, but I asked him and he admitted that the critters ''got to him'' he was pissed at them and figured out how to make the cage a working little house for tomatoes. I left him to do it as I could not work that day, so he did it all by himself I might add, and when it was finished it was a working little house for my tomatoes and I was thrilled to high heaven that one, I didn't have to figure this one out and do it myself, and two, the door worked. The ''cage'' went from an ugly thing to a pretty asset which I love to see now.......this is how it was when a cage that kept both critters and myself OUT......

and this how it is now.......

 bad close up of flowers there, soon to be fruite hopefully??

I made sign to make this little house more presentable, and painted the outside a pale grey.....


and do you see something else???  some of you may spot a little touch of glam..... yeah I had to!

Now I love going out there watching my plants which are doing very well. We got 6 varieties of heirlooms and the plants are growing. I have staked each stem and so they feel supported, this is when they flower and fruite.....and there are plenty of somethings to tie them too, but the bamboo stakes are good for now.

 I can tend to those plants in there then close the 4' wide door when I'm done! knowing they're safe!! LOVE!!

In another bed, some radicchio were planted, I like lots of fresh garden salads.......
these radicchio were tiny when I planted them you could barely see them....then they grew a bit.....

then more......

now they're turning a bit of red, and beginning to spiral their leaves......

 cuttings of some coleus in a pot by the potting bench, doing well, and some lobelia is magical!

The Mango Shade Garden: I took out all the bromeliad from beneath the mango as the dropping mango leaves kept burying them and I'd have to dig through that, remove 17 bromeliads one by one, clean out the dead leaves from them, rinse them, deadhead them, then replant each one.....several times a year, and I'm not doing it anymore....the mango can have its own area with leaves falling, I'm not going through that. I have to simplify how I garden and how I spend time out there. So each one was removed, cleaned out and some planted elsewhere and the rest I made a pathway to the south side of the house which is a narrow space we store some things in....I still have yet to clean out that area and organize it spit spot.
So I lined up one variety on one side and on the other side I put in the rest which will still get some falling leaves but will be easier to clean up only a few rather than 17 and having to replant them!

then mulched......which I love now since I began mulching last year because the mulch breaks down and enriches the soil, so ours is finally turning from sandy soil, to real soil!

 beneath the mango now......only 3 plants which always remained clear of leaves for some reason.

 To the left of the Old Oak Garden I have this seating area which is one of two 'best views' of entire gardens....I have refreshed the hanging planter with pansies, and lobelia, lime coleus and caladium which do need to grow and fill out.


By the front door, a little tropical garden of a specimen of begonia whose intense purple color does not come out in pics at all!.....a few bromeliads, lime coleus, caladiums, burgundy coleus and driftwood.

And the magical 'focal point' pot which I keep on a pedestal as it is one of those things seen from many angles, and every garden needs a focal point for each view imo. This had delphinium in it last year which were a blessing that reinvigorated my lagging spirits, and gave me energy to redo the entire gardens then when all was feeling hopeless. This year after the delphiniums expired I got a plant that didn't need to be replaced often, a cone shaped topiary, and just when I was about to pull this out and replant in the topiary garden, I thought no, wait, its Christmas coming up and I should leave it there and oh! oh! even put lights on it!!!!.....and I was tickled pink at the idea. So I left it in, and got some lights, and I adore this tree there! Housemate liked it so much he wanted to put some on the tall thin juniper by the gazebo and so I put two sets of lights there too. I said one day I wished I could put some on the palm and one day I came out and he had put lights on the palms but on the trunks, when I wanted the lights on the fronds themselves, oh looks lovely still and it was impressive that john did it himself, so it tells me he really likes it out there but god forbid he should say so and tell me.
I think thats enough for lights out here is perfect lighting, I love it and I'm not taking them down when holidays are over. The light is so perfect at night, you can see everything with a glow, but there is no brightness.....there is only the beauty and joy of the gardens, the lighting and the pond, the fragrances of the tarragon and herbs and it is lovely! The camera doesn't pick it up, sorry.

Yes, this is the daytime and the lights stay on, and it glows all the time, is a pleasure all. the. time.

I don't mind seeing string lights within the tree, but I didn't want to see lights over the sedum so I layered the string lights beneath it ''glows from within''...... lolol........

In the ground are more than a dozen red amaryllis bulbs I hope will come up again........


 I added gold berries to the base of sedums......perfection!

* I got to take pics of the juniper by the the twilight hours is totally magical!

That is all for now, thank you for reading.

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