Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

5-5 to los arcos 25

On the way to Los Arcos – one of my favorite days on the Camino

I walked the Camino de Santiago this past spring, and was treated to an array of beautiful flowers. Below are some photos of what I saw, chronologically, starting in St Jean Pied de Port and ending in Finisterre:

walking out of St Jean

walking out of St Jean

4-28 to valcarlos 13 flowers

On the way to Valcarlos

4-28 to valcarlos 14 flowers

on the way to Valcarlos

4-29 to roncesvalles 5 flowers

Soil envy! On the way to Roncesvalles

5-1 to pamplona 1

On the way to Pamplona

5-1 to pamplona 4

On the way to Pamplona

5-3 to puenta la reina 30

On the way to Puente la Reina

5-3 to puenta la reina 38

On the way to Puente la Reina

5-3 to puenta la reina 48

On the way to Puente la Reina

5-5 to los arcos 18

On the way to Los Arcos

5-5 to los arcos 23

On the way to Los Arcos

5-5 to los arcos 24

On the way to Los Arcos

5-6 to viana 12

On the way to Viana

5-19 to calzadilla de los hermanillos 6

On the way to Calzadilla de los Hermanillos

5-20 to mansilla de los mulas 20

On the way to Mansilla de los Mulas

5-26 to acebo 5

On the way to Acebo

5-26 to acebo 19

On the way to Acebo

5-27 to ponferrada 2

On the way to Ponferrada

5-31 to linares 5

On the way to Linares

6-7 to arzua 2

On the way to Arzua

6-13 finisterre 5

On the way to the Finisterre lighthouse


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Today while perusing Facebook, I saw a link to an article about a resident who was fighting his city over whether he could keep his front-yard garden.

According to the article, the city viewed the garden as a “blot on the landscape” and demanded that he convert his garden to sod. With the help of a lawyer, the resident appealed the citation against him and won.

The article goes on to quote a city official who said that, while the resident had the law on his side, it didn’t make sense to have a front-yard garden. After all, everyone knows gardens belong in the back yard, right?

I had several reactions when I read the article, the first being, “You go, gardener!” Followed by noting that his garden looks much neater than mine!


The photo above shows one view of my front-yard garden. A view coming from the other direction:


Now my yard is a bit different than the Missouri resident’s, mainly because I have a row of crepe myrtles crossing the front. In the spring, the trees are surrounded by tulips, iris, and wildflowers, creating a show of pastels for the passers-by.

I’ve also planted flowers all along the perimeter to shield the deer fence and add some color:



Another thought I had when reading the article was this: While it might be traditional to have your veggies out back, what if, like me, your back yard is not sunny enough to grow summer veggies?

And why should someone grow sod when they can instead have a garden to feed their family? When I visited Ireland and Peru, I was impressed with how many rural landowners made the best of their space, including having gardens and animals in all areas of their yards.

The city official was concerned about how the garden would look in the winter. I don’t know what that gardener plans to do, but I plant cover crop. Last year’s clover received rave reviews from the people walking by my house.


I don’t know if the resident lived in an area that has a homeowner association with rules on landscaping. I don’t live in such an area, so I am free to do what I want with my yard.

And while it might not be to everyone’s taste, my garden looks beautiful to me. It brings me joy — and lots of produce and cut flowers!

Besides, I’m not sure a sodded yard could compare to the beauty I see in a homegrown tomato.


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When I walk out my front door and look to the right, I see a sweet dark-pink rose, sticking its bloom around the corner and beckoning me to come take a look.

Sweet little rose, how easily you forget the two hours I spent with you and your kin on Saturday. Dead-heading, pruning, weeding, mulching. You all look so pretty!

I had to play with the tomatoes today, but don’t worry, sweet rose, I’ll be back for a visit tomorrow.

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When I started writing about my favorite things, I thought it would be a bit silly to use the lyrics to the song of the same name. I am, after all, nothing if not silly!

But now that I’m knee deep in this song, I have come to realize that many of Maria’s favorite things had to do with winter, and, in all honesty, winter is my least favorite season.

Perhaps it’s because we are in the midst of a glorious spring (I should save future comments on that for the next line in the song). Perhaps it’s because  my hands get cold easily and become very painful (Reynaud’s Disease). Perhaps it’s because winter means less daylight.  Whatever the reason, I find myself dreading the arrival of winter and looking forward to spring.

However, when I think about snowflakes, I think about delicate beauty. And, because it doesn’t snow that often where I live, falling snowflakes invoke a sense of wonder and, sometimes, surprise.

That same sense of wonder and surprise happens  with my rose bushes. I have several bushes near my driveway, so I see them every day going to and from work.   They’re just standing there, slowing developing their leaves.  Then all of a sudden — POP –from seemingly out of nowhere, they are full of glorious blooms.


I have more than a dozen rose bushes in my yard.  I chose to buy the antique varieties for several reasons.  One is that I have a thing about heirloom plants.  Another is that, after researching rose plants,  I learned that antique roses take a licking and keep on ticking.   I don’t make the time to baby any of my plants, so I needed something that would survive with little attention.

These antique roses have done just that.  Unfortunately,  though, they do develop black spot.  I really need to find some organic way of dealing with that disease.   I’m sure there’s a relatively easy solution, but until I make the time to research the issue and then purchase what I need, my sweet bushes will continue as they have:  Beautiful in the spring and early summer, followed by leafless and sad-looking come July, only to flower again in the fall, and then come back strong again the following spring.

The flowers on the bushes below start out a blush pink, then turn white.  I forgot to cut the bushes back last year, and they are now taller than I am!    Oops.

Most of my roses are of the bush variety, though I did buy a Texas Rose climber (below) that is a bit too vigorous.  If anyone has a fence that needs covering, let me know and I’ll gladly share some rootings.   This particular rose only blooms once, though it develops dainty rose hips in the fall.  Oh, and it’s thorn-less!  It  blooms mid-to-late summer, so the picture is from last year.

I bought most of my roses from The Antique Rose Emporium and have been very satisfied.  However, there are two rose bushes in my yard that were not purchased.   One, a pink sweetheart rose, originally came from my great-grandfather.   It lived with my great-aunt E. for awhile, until she dug it up and passed it on to me.  It is truly an antique!

The other rose I did not purchase came from a neighbor’s yard.  An elderly couple down the street had passed away and their land was about to be cleared to create a parking lot for an adjacent church, so I asked a church member if I could have the  rose bush in front of the house.  He said yes, so the bush came to live with me.  I like to think that, somewhere in the great beyond, the elderly couple is happy to know that at least one of their plants got saved from destruction.

Since their yellow tea rose is nowhere near the blooming stage, I’ll share a picture of a yellow rose that is currently has one bloom on it, the rest waiting to appear at a later date.

I do love my antique roses, but they are all shrub roses and not good for cut flowers.  One day when I’m a bit ahead of the game with my vegetable garden, I’ll go back to building some flower beds for more roses.  But until then, I’ll just have to walk around my yard, stop along the way, and smell the roses.

So when the dog bites, or the bee stings, or I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my always delicate, often sweet-smelling roses, and then I don’t feel so bad.  (Apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein!)





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If you’ve been in a conversation with me during the past four months, chances are you’ve heard me talk about the following: training/planning for my Camino next year; increasing dissatisfaction with my job (to the point I’m contemplating an unpaid leave of absence), and a feeling that maybe it’s time to move to a new locale.

Walking the Camino de Santiago next May most likely means I will not have a garden next summer — or at the most a very small one with things that can be planted in July. There’s always the possibility that I can find a gardener to house-sit while I am gone, but putting in and taking care of a garden takes time away from training, as I can already attest!

The job and moving situation are probably tied together. Unless something drastically changes, I plan to leave my current job next May (or maybe sooner). I figure a month or so spent walking might give me insights on where to go next in my life.

So, what’s the logical step to take this summer? Something must be seriously wrong with me because I’m pretty sure it’s not what I’m doing right now: spending a lot of time — and money — creating several new garden beds.

Why would I spend the extra time and money, much less create more gardens to deal with while I’m gone next year, and all with a very large possibilty that I won’t be living here much longer?

Well, the short answer is that I needed to put up a deer fence. And I like to eat. And even though I say I don’t want to work all the time, I must be addicted to having too much to do. Oh, and there’s that whole experiencing God in nature thing.


The picture above is of red clover that I planted last fall in the front rows. I shared that first, because I’ve pulled up most of the clover and will be digging it into the beds shortly.


I currently have three rows in the front, as well as a large bed on one side of my house, and three long garden boxes on the other. My veggies grew happily (well, except for the squash) for three years. Then last July, I went to the beach and came back to find the deer had a dinner party while I was gone. Alas, my luck had run out!

So if I was going to grow anything this summer, I needed to put up a deer fence. And if I was going to put up a deer fence, why not put it where it would live forever rather than moving it in a few years.

That was the thought process. Which makes sense except it meant clearing more grass, and while I was clearing the grass, I might as well start some beds. Oh, and then I can plant flowers outside the fence to make it prettier…

And now it’s become A PROJECT.

Now, here is where I admit that there are ways to do things easier than the way I do them. For one, I use a manual sod cutter.


There are several reasons: one, I own this piece of equipment so it’s always ready to go when I am. And I don’t have to worry about a pull start; I must not have a lot of upper body strength, because starting power equipment is about impossible for me. The manual sod cutter will also provide plenty of exercise! My hamstrings say hello…

Anyway, I use my sod cutter to cut the grass weeds into strips, roll them up, then take the rolls and spread them on top of some low-lying areas in my back field.

Here’s the areas I cleared:




The clearing took me several days (yes, I’m getting old). It had rained a lot before I began this project, so the sod was heavy, and I got all muddy.


This weekend, I dug one small bed up front. I’ll add lime and compost and manure — as you can tell this area is currently straight clay!


I still have to dig some more beds, then buy and install the metal poles and mesh. And, of course, plant!

Hopefully the end result will be worth all the work, and be pretty enough so that it will add value if I do end up putting my house on the market next year.

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Spring in my garden brings blossoms of pink, purple and yellow. Tulips, crocus, daffodils, azaleas, and cornflowers all show off their bright colors.

But amidst the showy pastels are some amazing white flowers that more than hold their own. My white azaleas have been especially beautiful this year.


I don’t have dogwoods in my yard, but they grow wild in the woods around my house.


Dogwoods make me happy! Maybe next fall, I’ll remember to buy a few dogwoods to plant in my back “field.”

Other plants, like the arugula below, shoot up white flowers when they go to seed.


While this batch of arugula is on its way out, the peas are on their way in.


So are the blackberries!


Spring also means breaking out the fish emulsion. It smells disgusting (even my six-year-old neighbor G. thinks so!), but the plants love it.


Though the flowers make me happy, none can hold a candle to a certain white-faced friend.


So when someone else’s dog bites (because my dog is very well behaved!) and the bee stings (because they are attracted to those white flowers!), I simply remember azaleas, dogwoods, peas, berries, and my sweet Nanaline, and then I don’t feel so bad! (Apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein!)

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