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Memory Lane

The dwarf huckleberry is budded and ready to burst into bloom.

Today is my birthday.

I awoke to thunderstorms and the rain has continued for most of the day.

I usually spend my birthday doing a little planting and meandering around in the garden.  After all those are my favorite things to do.

But today, due to the weather, I spent a lot of time listening to the pattering rain – ensconced on the couch with my computer.

When the rain slowed to a drizzle, I went forth to plant.

First I excavated a hole for a batch of spider lily bulbs (Lycoris radiata) that my friend Jerry Palmer gave me.  Then I planted 3 mysterious daffodils pilfered by my friend Pete from a field behind the Meat Pie Store we often visit in Louisiana.

The Optician, one of Marc Pastorek's ceramic heads, is thrilled that soon he will co-habit with a coral honeysuckle.

I headed to the back yard next.   I had set several pots in place for planting and they’ve been waiting on me for almost two weeks.  They seemed to taunt me every time I looked out the back window.

Their roots are in the real dirt now.  The rain tonight will settle them in and the taunting will come to an end.

I planted a couple of coral honeysuckles (Lonicera sempervirens) from Dr. Dirt.  I will train them to scramble up the posts that hold our Marc Pastorek heads.

I prepared three lovely holes for the native bellflowers (Campanula americana) that I got from Terri and Mike at Gro-Wild.

I admired one of my first year daffodils.  It is a large golden trumpet called ‘California’.  It looks like a keeper.  Then I found the first flowers on an old favorite, the sweet little ‘Hawera’.

'California' is one of the newest dafs in residence.

I was surprised to find plump pink flower buds on my dwarf huckleberry (Vaccinnium darrowii) and glad that the early viburnums and the pearlbush (Exochorda racemosa) are still blooming.

Like many garden rambles, this one felt like a walk down Memory Lane.  Almost everything that I planted or admired reminded me of one of my plant buds and brought a smile to my face.

I returned to the couch and my computer.  I was wet and muddy

The dogs slept contentedly after their garden romp.

In my younger years, I might have considered this to be a boring  birthday.

But… today was a good day.

 

Sense of Place

I returned from a whirlwind trip to Texas a couple of days ago.  I had a grand time at the Lone Star Regional Native Plant Conference.  I also enjoyed staying with my friends Peter and Cassandra Loos at their home in Chireno.

The great thing about staying at someone’s house is that you really get to know them well.   I had plenty of unstructured time to explore the garden.  I was mentored in this venture by The Dude and Aletris.

The Dude, by the way, is the oldest boy of my dogs, Dotsie and B.  He is Junebug’s brother.  I was there when he was born and it delights me that he has such a happy home.  But… I digress – that’s enough about dog genealogy for now!

The Loos garden (where The Dude abides) has a very strong sense of place.  You could probably guess that it was in East Texas or the vicinity just by looking at the pictures.   The house is Cassandra’s family’s old home place.   Native plants from the region are planted throughout the landscape.  Some, like the black eyed Susans in the front yard, simply volunteered and were allowed to stay.

Aletris likes to hang in the front garden admiring the wildflowers.

Cassandra's windmill was sited with a pasture backdrop. This little vignette announces to visitors that "You're in Texas now!"

Peter collects petrified wood as well as plants.  He sets the big pieces vertically like small sculptures and uses small chunks to edge beds.

The Dude abides near a bed edged with petrified wood.

Pete procured several ceramic heads from our friend Marc Pastorek.  They are mounted on 4″x4″ posts covered with native wisteria (Wisteria frutescens).

This guy seems startled to find native wisteria twining through his nose. Do you blame him?

Pete has established a small prairie full of native Texas prairie plants.

Eastern Gamma Grass (Tripsicum dactyloides) blooms with other wildflowers in Pete's prairie.

I felt refreshed and invigorated by the time I spent in the Loos garden.  But… I was not inspired to rush home and try to make my garden look like Texas.

The beauty of this garden is that it fits perfectly into its surroundings and reflects the personalities of those who live there.  I wish the same for my own garden.


 

My Front Porch in the Rain

This is my front porch on a rainy day.

It’s raining today – a lovely soft, sweet smelling rain with thunder rumblings in the background.

Earlier the rain abated for a while and I scrambled outdoors to snap a few photos.

At least a couple of times a day I walk out the screen door and navigate my way across the porch.  I step onto the deck and make a bee-line across the lawn to my car.

Then, of course, I reverse my route when I return home.

The whole trek is about 50 feet – times two.  I follow this path so often that my senses become dull and I stop noticing my surroundings.

Today things are different – my senses are in high gear.  The leaves are sparkly with rain and I have a camera in my hand.

The Florida leucothoe is in full bloom today.

The Florida leucothoe (Agarista populifolia) arches over my head dripping with urn shaped flowers.  They hang like a galaxy above me and shed to carpet the deck below my feet.

The tropicals are beginning to recover after an arduous winter in the house.  They beam with contentment that the luck of the draw has dealt them a delightful porch life.

Marc Pastorek’s Foliage Man greets me at the front door.

I smile coyly at him.

The screen door creaks as I open it.

I step inside and I am home.


 

Marc’s Hedz

Marc Pastorek's Optician

Since our recent deck renovation, I’ve been bonding with a favorite ceramic head located on a corner post.

Our friend Marc Pastorek made the piece.   It was designed to sit on a 4×4 post and is inscribed with the words “The Optician” in honor of my husband Richard who is an Optician.

The Optician is surrounded by black bamboo.   During warmer weather, the lizards love to bask in the sun atop his head.

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