Quote – Fortitude

I love this little Johnny Jump Up Viola. Every year a plant or two of this variety springs up within the confines of a crack in my front stoop. The foliage gets a little bruised and battered by foot traffic and concrete detritus, but the bloom is radiant and perfect. This type of garden quirkiness always becomes a favorite, compelling me to keep at all my dreams, “Onward!”

Phlowers – Blooming in the Garden/Late April

There are many beautiful purple-hued flowers blooming in my garden this week. I love the lines on the pansy faces. These markings are called pencilings. They look a bit like the whiskers on a cat’s face to me.

“Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks into the heart of a pansy for a little while.” ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Johnny-Jump-Ups are also part of the viola family. I planted these in the Autumn, they lived through our terrible winter and are growing strong, and as an added bonus self-seeded everywhere.

Perwinkles, also called vinca, are putting on quite a show right now. The color is gorgeous and a favorite shade of mine. I also love this periwinkle quote from one of my favorite books and movies, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim.

“All down the stone steps on either side were periwinkles in full flower, and she could now see what it was that had caught at her the night before and brushed, wet and scented, across her face. It was wisteria.”~ Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April

Violets are blooming throughout the yard in both garden and grass. Their fragrance is amazing, their color divine. I think this quote by Mark Twain is a good way to end this Springtime post.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain

 

Planting – Friday Firsts/First Seed Packets of 2017

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The seed racks are out in stores. Hooray! I picked out three packets to sow this weekend. Each of these varieties need a lot of grow time to reach a size that will thrive outdoors.

I will soak all of these seeds in water for a few hours before I sow them. The violas/pansy/johnny-jump-ups needs darkness to sprout. I’m going to cut down a outdoor garbage bag to cover the container. I’ll update as the seeds progress. The weekend is coming, take some time to browse through the seed racks and dream of Spring.

Problem-Solving – Broccoli Gone to Seed

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My four broccoli plants are going to seed. They never produced heads of broccoli, and were destined for the compost bin. Before I got around to pulling them the buds bloomed into interesting and colorful flowers. Hmmmm? Would it be possible to press these beautiful florets? I have tried to press lettuce flowers gone to seed in the past, and they were too delicate and thin? I am always on the lookout for yellows; would the broccoli work in book or microwave?

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Oh YES! I picked several florets and pressed them both ways. The microwave and book pressing both worked perfectly. The florets greatly resemble wallflowers after being pressed, but instead of fluorescent orange, they turn a brilliant yellow. I can’t wait until the rest of my broccoli plants go to seed, in fact, I might plant a few more mid-summer just for the blooms. Go figure!!! Aren’t the unhappy surprises that turn into blessings one of the things that makes life grand? YES!

Broccoli florets, lower right, with wallflowers and pansies.
Broccoli florets, lower right, with wallflowers and pansies.

Plants – Mid-Spring Garden Update

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden: planting, weeding, watering and tidying up. Likewise, the garden has been the subject of quite a few recent posts. Here are a few quick updates on some past posts, and then I’ll try to turn my blogging intentions elsewhere, at least for a few days. 😀

Birdie, birdie in the tree

Sparrows made use of my birdhouse and the tree has been a-twitter with the chirping of baby birds for over a week.

Koi in Pond

I’ve been enjoying the pond, it is on the small size, but the koi are huge. They don’t seem to mind the small confines. Two have grown to twelve inches from three/four inch sized babies.

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A coleus grown from my own gathered seed has finally, after years of pampering, become a beauty. I love the finely edged leaves and vivid pink color. I named it Raspberry Twizzle. It has the characteristics of other coleus I have grown, but I have never seen such a brilliant pink in other coleus. I love it.

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I love my potted pansies and dahlia near the front porch.

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I found an old favorite, Mimulus, or monkey flower at a local nursery. The plant is heat intolerant, so I am growing it in pots on the porch.

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My Meyer Lemon and  Carambola sprouts are also vacationing on the porch for the summer. At some point I am going to have to decide which to keep and which to give away or discard.

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I replaced a rose that didn’t make it through our long winter with one of the Hasslefree Roses variety. I love this beautiful apricot beauty called: About Face.

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The Tomato Transplants in the Straw Bales are doing very well, so are a crop of mushrooms. The mushrooms sprout up overnight and succumb to the heat of the afternoon sun. They don’t seem to be doing the tomatoes any harm. This new technique of growing tomatoes has been a lot of fun.

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The Square Foot Gardens are up and doing well.

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Our Iris plants in this area are blooming weeks later than usual. Here is my favorite. I can’t remember the name, but oh the joy I feel when it unfurls its amazing pink petals. The blooming of this beauty prompted me to go on my yearly “Iris Hunt.” My “hunt ” is a long, circular bike ride through all the surrounding neighborhoods to find and photograph as many gorgeous Iris as possible. More on this at a later date. Thanks for looking, and thanks to those who have been asking me for this garden update. Blessings on your day!

Perspective – Simplicity/Wisdom on Wednesday

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We all long for it, but achieving it is not as “Simplistic” as it seems. Enjoy these “Simple” quotes and a few gentle reminders that Spring is on its way.

“Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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“There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

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“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ~ Socrates

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“Whatever science and philosophy may do for mankind, the world can never outgrow its need of the simplicity that is in Christ.” ~ Lucy Larcom

Plantings – Last Minute Planting

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Today I emptied out a summer pot and filled the back side with a mixture of early tulips and daffodils. In the front of these I planted a dozen winter pansies. I have not decided if I will let the pansies rough it through the winter months, or if I will coddle them a bit by covering on frigid and snowy nights…still deciding…will update in the coming cold months. Brrrrrr…………

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Perspective & Phavorites – Blue Monday

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A blue mood can sometimes take hold after the joy of a holiday. Today I am giving into the blueness and delighting in the many shades of azure I was able to enjoy in the Longwood Gardens Conservatory on Sunday. What an array of tones we found there, from the sky blue of Forget-Me-Nots and Himalayan Poppies, through the deep purple-blue of Spring Pansies. These blues lift my spirit. I hope they lift yours too!

Artists and Crafters: Please feel free to make use of these photographs as reference for painting, projects, etc.

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This beautiful blue poppy is almost spent, but in it’s last hours the petals are at their most beautiful as they become tinted with softest pink before dropping from the plant.

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I thought this bed of blue flowers was incredibly lovely, a gorgeous mix of hydrangeas, cineraria and Himalayan poppies.

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I am always  entranced by the buds of the poppies too.

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Who can resist smiling back at these joyful pansy faces?

Plant – Pansies Mean Spring!

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Buying a flat of pansies in the waning days of winter always fills my heart with joy. The yellow and lavender color combination found in the Morpheus variety is beautiful. I also love the whiskery lines on the petals, they give the flower a cat-like look. As I planted these flowers in pots and baskets I almost heard them shouting out, “Hello Spring!”

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Plants & Painting – Purple Pansy Parade

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Here are few photographs of pansies from seasons past in my garden. This is one of my favorite color combinations in this sweet Springtime flower. To all of you who paint, draw or create using flower photographs as a reference point, please feel free to use the photos posted here for projects of all kinds. Happy Saturday and Happy Creating.

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Pressed Flowers – Greeting Cards

 Johnny Jump Ups, moss, Vinca leaves, barberry leaf, violets & wild onion curls

I have several books of this seasons pressed flowers dried and ready to use. The batch of cards in this post is composed with spring-flowering pansies and wildflowers. I glue pressed flowers to white or eggshell cardstock with rubber cement. After they are dry I press the finished art inside a book with a weight for several hours or preferably overnight. I then check for any loose spots. If I find one or more I touch these up with rubber cement on the tip of a long floral pin, and after they are dry re-press in a weighted book. When they are completely dry I position them on a complementary piece of colorful cardstock cut into a standard greeting card size. Below each pressed flower photo I’ve listed the plant material I used.

Common celandine, johnny-jump-ups, honeysuckle leaves & wild onion curls

Butterfly: pansy petals, nandina leaf, maple bud, seaweed stems & unknown weed foliage

Wild rose leaflets, wild onion curl, wild mustard sprigs & johnny-jump-ups

Buttercups

Johnny-jump-ups, common celandine, honeysuckle leaves & wild onion curl

Wild onion curl, maple keys (seed pods) fern with fiddlehead, Vinca springs & unknown weed sprig

I thought this card has a definite heart shape, but my husband didn’t see it. He thought the maple keys looked more like wings. I guess it’s proof of that old cliché: “It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.” I like it though, it’s unique. I am going to try to make some dragonflies with the maple keys next. I’ll post the results soon. Here’s another maple key composition below.

Wild violet, fiddlehead fern, unknown weed foliage, common celandine bud maple keys & wild onion sprig