15 January 2010 | 3:20 pm

Well, it has been a long time since my last post, and with the ground covered with snow there is not much going on in the garden... at least not to the eye. In fact, those plants are still there waiting for the warmth of spring to break their dormancy. Once the snow melts in April, everything looks bleak. There is the debris that winter always leaves in its wake, and also the debris that is left over from fall when I didn't accomplish as much as I intended. If I can get a head start and rake the beds before the shoots appear it makes things so much easier. Once the plants begin to sprout you have to be much more careful so you don't injure the young shoots. For a few weeks it looks like nothing much is happening, then green starts to pop up here and there. The first plant that flowers in our area is the wild yellow violet, followed by Sweet White Violets and Bloodroot. The Bloodroot is lovely, though with warm weather its bloom time is brief. For a month or two the foliage adds interest to the garden and people invariably ask, "What's that?" Once the foliage fades I usually pull or cut the leaves and let the other plants fill in.

We started 2010 with quite a cold snap, which extended all the way to Florida. Now we are at last having a few days above freezing, and Florida has returned to a lovely 70˚, so all is well... at least for the present. I had a chance to look at some garden articles at Barnes & Noble yesterday, and put another good idea into my book of "things to do". It suggested lining a basket with pine spills when you add plants to keep the dirt from leaking out. I will try this in the spring and see if it works as well as I think it will. I usually put baskets of pansies out in April, as they are hardy and can take the cold temperatures.

I hope that 2010 will be a good year for one and all. Let the gardening begin!

Garden Tour
12 August 2009 | 2:36 pm

August 8 was the Fulton County Lakes Garden Tour and I was fortunate to have a chance to share my garden with those who attended. Here are some pictures that my husband took that day.

During the day 83 people attended. It was one of the rare days this summer when it didn't rain, and my helpers and I had a chance to visit with some wonderful people as we shared our love of gardens. I had a handout for the attendees which said:

The Casual Garden

This is a wild and wooly garden with a mix of plants (mostly perennial). Some have been gifts, some have been purchased and some just appeared-the hand of nature. Like any family, some are very well behaved and some are a bit of a problem, but each is loved. Well, occasionally I decide something is more trouble than it is worth and out it goes, but generally I find it hard to toss them out. When I divide them I either find a place for the extras or I give them away. Friendship gardens are the result of giving and receiving plants from others. Some of my plants have come from my mother, my grandmother, my Aunt Pink and numerous friends, wonderful memories that I am delighted to share with you.

I enjoyed the day and I hope the visitors did also.

9 July 2009 | 12:43 am

My Spiderwort is in full bloom. It is such a lovely shade of blue, so I took a chance and planted it several years ago even though it can become invasive. If you take care and put it into a location where it can't creep into a bed with your finer plants it is a very nice addition to the garden. Here in the woods we have a lot of hay scented fern growing (an invasive plant too), so I have planted the Spiderwort right next to the ferns and they are fighting it out and looking very nice together. They seem to like the same conditions and are living in happy harmony.

The 4th has come and gone, and still it is chilly and rainy. An occasional day of warmth and sunlight is a rare treat, but on the upside, I haven't had to do much watering in the garden. The mosquitoes seem to be loving all of the rain and are out in force. I imagine the death of so many bats in the northeast will lead to an increase in mosquitoes. I hope they will find a way to save the bats as they eat many insects each night and are fun to watch as the swoop and dive. My Astilbe is loving the rain too and will soon be in full bloom. I bought two new varieties this spring... August Light and Flamingo. They are enjoying the damp weather, so it isn't all bad.

Over the weekend our family was here and we took advantage of a break in the weather to go out for a ride in the boat. While we were exploring the lake we saw a bird soaring over the hills and realized, when the sun caught the white head and tail, that we were seeing a bald eagle. We watched it for some time and it finally disappeared behind the hills.

Today I saw a flash of orangish-red in the tree and finally saw that it was a redstart. What a beautiful sight when they flit through the trees! I did a search on these birds and found that often the males have two families, but keep them separated in different territories. They also stagger the mating so that they don't spend much time feeding two sets of young at the same time. It almost sounds like a soap opera. Perhaps birds are not much different than humans.

We are hoping that the forecast of two whole days of sun will actually happen. It will be a joy to get out into the garden again.

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