Monday, September 08, 2014

Monday's "Misty Watercolor Memories"

Bypassing dismal national and international news, and searching for something on a disc of stuff recorded in the UK from my first home computer, I found, among many photographs, a few of my garden there. I'd forgotten how much I used to enjoy fiddling around in the garden - I hesitate to call what I did real gardening, because it wasn't. I'd go to the market on the bus, haul back as many plants as I could carry, put 'em in, feed them with anything that took my fancy - one year it was a bag of dried elephant poop (!), water them with rainwater collected in water butts behind the shed, and watch them grow. Sometimes I'd grow from seeds too. Flowers and shrubs, always - not vegetables; also I avoided the bother of having lawn or grass plots, anywhere in the garden, or in the small square area at the front of the house - gravel was my friend. I had inherited a good base for my pleasures, with what was already mature in the long, narrow back garden; all I did was add to it, re-arrange, re-new, revitalise.

Those photographs, and a song from Ms Streisand to match:

Memories, light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories...

If memory serves me well, I took most of these, but husband definitely took the one of the bee on the Rhododendron with his powerful camera, and maybe the bud immediately before it.

Click on the images for larger versions of the photographs.


mike said...

Very nice, Twilight! Imagine the drab without those beauties. As the bee on the rhododendron can attest, gardens offer a nurturing refuge to many creatures. I would have enjoyed my early morning coffee in your former setting.

I'm an avid urban gardener...the entirety of my front yard is garden. I'm not into formal or boundaries, so everything merges randomly and changes with the seasons. My mild, subtropical climate allows for blooms throughout the year...when something goes dormant, something else is just revving-up.

I have one of the few migration stations for the monarch butterflies. I grow lots of butterfly weed and dill, both are favorites for them. Dill is preferred over the butterfly weed and typically emerges in November and is in full glory January through April, in time for the monarch's northern travels out of Mexico. There was a vast reduction in their count this year and I can attest that I had few visitors. I suppose you are in their migration path, too.

Many migrating hummingbirds here, too, and there are few blooming plants available to them in the winter months as they travel through here. I have several bushes that provide for them and are beautifully ornamental.

There is something very soothing to the soul about gardens. Working in the soil and tending plants allows a primitive instinct to distract and offer peace and solace from our synthetic existence. Even the passerby on the sidewalk gains a natural, visual perspective to break the linear monotony of the urban life. And I should mention the olfactory experience, too. Citrus, plumeria, and jasmine perfume my air for several months...right now I am enjoying the scent of sweet almond bushes that bloom every time it rains, and we finally received a couple of inches last week! ( )

I hope you have reconstructed a portion of your old garden in OK, but I think you mentioned that you and anyjazz are minimalists now.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Your yard/garden sounds delightful!

No, we don't see many butterflies here, but we have regular visits from two or three hummingbirds each year - to our feeder though - not to any blooms.

When we moved to this house from anyjazz's previous abode, where he did grow lots of lovely gladioli, and had some big beautiful Crepe Myrtle bushes, I thought we might be able to brighten things up garden-wise here.

Previous owners hadn't done anything but let the outside go wildish, the original owners before them had made some efforts, but only slight evidence remained. Our house is part of a group built right on the edge of town, in what was, not that long ago, pasture land with big old Cottonwood trees - several of which remained in our back yard. Two have had to be removed due to disease since we arrived, and of the two big Maples at the front, one had to be taken down a couple of years ago. I think the old trees had been weakened by drought combined with ice storms.

There is a narrow strip of "garden" at the front which I tried to make decent by planting some decorative bushes, two of which died within a year. The others have survived with difficulty - an ice storm and a very hot summer nearly finished them off. The only plant which thrives there is an old Ice Plant we brought from anyjazz's old house in a big pot. It spread to the strip of garden and thrives in spite of drought and ice, and bugs - who seem to love its leaves. He also brought lots of Gladioli bulbs (or whatever is the correct term)but they didn't like the soil here. He eventually gave up on them and sent them to his son in Ohio, where they now grow quite well.

In our first year here I bought 6 lavender bushes for a narrow strip of garden under our back windows - all died within the year in spite of careful watering and feeding. So we had the "garden" strip paved over.

We bought a lovely little Smoke Tree for the front yard, it survived two years - gorgeous - then the ice storm weakened it, and subsequent hot summer killed it completely.

We bought a Crepe Myrtle bush for the back yard - quite a large one, but again it was badly weakened after an ice storm and had to be cut right down. It struggles to stay alive. Just a few blooms on it this year.

Only weeds and ice plants thrive here, for us

Neighbours, some of them, manage to keep small displays of coloured flowers, in specially prepared beds, probably the local soil has been replaced by good soil. We didn't feel like spending the neccessary to have something like that done here, and now, with watering restrictions ever tightening, I'm glad we didn't go that way.

So, all I have, garden-wise, are my "misty watercolour memories". :-/

LB said...

Wow, how beautiful, Twilight. Wish we had a space like that.:) I'm not sure if I inherited the gardener's gene or not, though I'd risk it if our living arrangement felt more secure. Maybe someday. Or if not, maybe in my next life.

As mike said, gardening (and growing flowers) is such a healing thing to do, for so many reasons.

Twilight said...

LB ~ It rained a lot in that part of the world, part of the reason the garden grew so well and so prettily. A gardener's gene was hardly needed. My Dad enjoyed gardening, as did his Dad, and at least one of his brothers. Maybe I inherited, at least the impulse, from them.

They'd all be stumped here in OK though. They'd probably have erected greenhouses and grown tomatoes, orchids, and suchlike. Those impulses I do not share. :-)

mike (again) said...

I twice toured Lotusland in Montecito, CA. It's spectacular. Its creator, Ganna Walska, has an interesting biography, too. Each garden is very large and there is no visual evidence of other gardens, when inside each one, yet they are all side-by-side. There is also a huge performance area catering to Ganna's desire to be on stage (it's thought that she was the prototype for Susan Alexander in "Citizen Kane"...LOL.

mike (again) said...

You and anyjazz may not care about trees at this point, after your failures. If you should replant, try the pome (apple, pear, quince, etc) and drupes (plums, peach, cherry, etc). They can be purchased as dwarf, semi-dwarf, or standard. They stand-up to rough weather extremes and they require cold temperatures in the winter to produce. Also drought tolerant once established.

I grew-up with mulberry trees everywhere in KS...we would eat mulberries constantly when available...they fruit for about two months. Back then, most wash was put outside on clothes lines to dry and the birds that ate the mulberries would often soil the clean clothes when flying-over. So, the mulberry tree was not particularly welcome in many neighborhoods.

Oklahoma should have a number of native plants that are suitable to your area, too.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Lotusland must be a sight to see! I put the name into Google Image too - lovely!

(again) ~Re native plants - well, our town calls itself The Crepe Myrtle Capital, and certainly there are lots of these bushes/trees around and this spring and early summer they were a glorious sight - also the Redbud trees which are the State Trees were gorgeous too this year. We were sure our Crepe Myrtle would be okay - but the extremes of temp. must have caught it at the worst time, before it was well enough established. We haven't felt like trying again - yet, especially with water restrictions now. We'll see how things go.

LOL - I think I've heard that parking cars under Mulberry Trees isn't a wise thing to do.

Twilight said...

Ah~ I see Blogger now has a comment preview and edit facility! Yay!!!! At last!