Glory's Garden

All the world's a garden, you know, and we are mere flowers within it. Come, I'll show you!

Don't get any funny ideas!

©2018 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved

My Peeps!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring time at Longwood

When the winter blahs get us down, Tom always suggests a romp at Longwood Botanical gardens. It's an easy drive from our home to Kennett Square, PA. Okay, three hours isn't easy for most people it it is for Tommy. The garden is right next to Brandywine the historical sight, if that helps you. Even if there is snow on the ground, inside Longwood's conservatory is always summer...or in this case spring.

Lovely tulips brighten anyone's day
I found these lonely daffodils in the arid garden. See the Agave directly behind them?

These Star gazer oriental lilies have the most outstanding fragrance! They can knock you out if you're not used to them. I, of course, am used to them! Oh, but they are to die for.

These white ones are Oriental lilies as well. Don't recall the cultivar name, but they do have the same wonderful perfume. It's like a giant floral shop in this place!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wonderful world of orchids

This one is odd looking indeed, but stunning.
Perhaps you may be quite bored with my constant chatter about Longwood gardens, but it isn't without reason. Longwood Botanical gardens is without question one of the best this country has to offer. The orchid display alone is worth the admission fee. 
I thought I'd give you a peek of the orchids. No, I didn't get a picture of every single one they had. I just didn't have that much time! There are hundreds all over the conservatory when we went at the beginning of March.
The classic orchid.
These remind me of Vegas show girls. The rare ones with clothes on, I mean.

There were only about two dozen white ones alone!

The orchid room is about the size of my living room, dining room and kitchen put together!
One of the smaller ones but quite as lovely as the ostentatious ones, I believe.
I call these my dancing ladies.
These look other-worldly, if you know what I mean.
Gorgeous blue!
These were injected with dye to get them this color. Wild, huh?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Witch Hazel

Tom loved the scent of this one.

 On a recent trip to Longwood Botanical gardens we saw, much to our delight, their Witchhazel collection in full bloom. Witchhazel is one of the very first plants to bloom in the most northern part of the USA. These shrubs grow relatively tall, about ten-twelve feet high and about six-eight feet wide.

Tom didn't like the scent of this one.

It's so nice to see something in bloom even when there is snow on the ground and a definite chill in the air. I'm not certain if it's the bark, leaves or the flowers of the witch hazel which are used to make the astringent solution for topical use. I'll find out about it when I get the chance. In the meantime know for sure that spring is on the way....finally!
Some of these have a funny scent which some folks find appealing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kitty-cat bed made easy and cheap

You'll never guess what I used to make this kitty-cat bed. I couldn't coax Zebrina out of it long enough to show you, so you'll have to take my word for it. She's sixteen years old and a bit frail now, so I know you'll understand why I let her be.

If you've been at Glory's Garden for anytime, you may know I'm nothing if not a huge pack-rat. Okay, maybe not huge. I only come up to five foot one, but that's neither here nor there. So, you may know I throw nothing away in the off chance I may find another use in future for whatever it is I no longer have a use for. In this case it was old curtains and crib bumpers. The curtains I saved because they were made from a good sturdy cotton fabric and I knew I could use them to make...something. I didn't know what, but I knew one day they would come in handy and they did.

As for the crib bumpers, my baby days are long since gone. I was actually saving them with grandchildren in mind. Silly me! My kids are not anywhere near the point of giving me grandkids. Two of them insist they never will and then there's Justin who is actually afraid of babies. So, I've approximately one shot at getting grandkids and he's not even dating anyone seriously yet.

So, I used two crib bumpers, an old curtain and a bit of foam to make kitty-cat beds. It was absolutely free and took only a couple of hours to put together. And look at Zebrina. Doesn't she look comfy?

How I did it is easy enough. You know how there are six sections to crib bumpers? Well, I took two of them for each bed (Oh, didn't I say I made two beds? We do have four cats you know!)  I sewed them end to end and formed a circle. I then measured the circle and cut three circles from the fabric plus a piece of foam slightly larger than the circle. One circle is to be the bottom of the bed. The other two and the foam are for a removable cushion. This is to make the kitty bed easy to wash in the washing machine.

I then measured the crib bumpers length and width. I cut the fabric this length plus two inches and twice the width plus two inches. I then sewed the length all the way around the circle of fabric. I then can insert the bumpers and fold over the fabric. Time to make the cushion by putting the two circles right sides facing. Sew most of the way around leaving a 6-8 inch section open for inserting the foam piece. Then turn it right side out, insert foam and sew shut. Place the cushion snug inside the bumper circle and tuck the fabric in around. Now it's all ready for kitty. Wasn't that easy? And it was free too. Love when that happens.;-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dried flowers on display

I can barely open a book at my house without some dried flowers falling out. I'm always sticking a few flowers within the pages of heavy books just to keep a few special ones forever--at least in dried form. Dried flowers will often find their way into a dish of potpourri as well. Those I don't dry flat though, but allow to dry naturally. They look rather lovely mixed in with bits of colored bark and whatever else potpourri is made of.

The best way I've discovered to display my dried flowers, however, is in this empty fish bowl. I believe the fish that made a home here only lasted an hour and soon found his eternal resting spot buried under a rose bush. I'm quite certain Mr. Goldfish wouldn't mind that I now use his former home to fill up and display dried flowers. I then stick some peacock feathers my father gave me from his own showy birds and I have a nice and unusual "floral" display.

Monday, March 21, 2011

This is my goofy Justin. I may have mentioned before that Justin has autism, a rather mild case--or at least we think so. He's such a joy--most times. We were at the dentist in the waiting room when I decided to take a picture of him. He's always so happy at the dentist. Yes, Justin is a bit odd that way. If you knew how much the dentist and all the others who work there love him though, you wouldn't think it that strange. It could be Justin is happy there because they treat him so nicely or it might be they love him because he smiles so much and loves it there.

That should be a lesson for all of us. Smile and the world smiles with you. Be happy and you make those around you happy. And some people think having autism means you're dumb...who are the dumb ones I wonder.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

From the kitchen to the garden

Okay, maybe not from the kitchen to the garden, but to a pot. That's good too. I usually tell about bringing produce to the kitchen from the garden, but this time it's the other way around. Do you perhaps recognize these? Well, if you've ever gone to the produce section of the store, gone to a farmers market or made a soup, you should. These are carrot greens. I didn't grow them from seeds. Some carrots started sprouting in the fridge, so I chopped off the tops and stuck them in soil and there you go. I've got carrots growing in the house!

Will they grow into anything useful? I suspect they may. They already look pretty nifty all greened up and reaching for the feeble winter sun. Unless the cats take a fancy to them, they may become nice, albeit stubby, carrots ready for another soup. I'll let you know!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An unusual front yard

I realize most people would not go for this, but I did away with my front lawn. Being it was a scraggly ugly patch of sorry looking grass, I thought replacing it with a shrub border was a much better idea. It was! It may not look like much here, but it looks much better than the lawn does and during the growing season it's to die for! I took this picture just a few freezing days ago as you can tell by the snow still on the ground.

Don Hancock, a friend at Helium and author of the novel A Message for all Time told me he hated his lawn. It always looked horrible, had all sorts of weeds creeping into it and Lordy, all that work to water, feed and cut the darned thing! He's getting up there in years, so did he really want to continue in this way? No way! He asked me what he should do and don't you know, I told him. I even wrote an article for Helium on the subject, What to do when you no longer want to care for a lawn.
The picture below shows the line of Arborvitae from the tree field, aka Tommy's arboretum.
House is hiding behind the shrub border
Sorry for the small picture. It became all distorted when I tried to make it large.
 He wanted to see my "front lawn", so here it is. Tall narrow-growing Arborvitae line the back and act as back drop to everything in front of it. To the left is a row of Deodar cedar. Not showing in the picture but to the far right I have a row of globe arborvitae which don't grow as tall as the others. Scattering within are a cotoneaster, Burning bush, a tall shrub Hydrangea (which is often confused with a PeeGee Hydrangea because it looks so much like it, but isn't), two Jane Magnolias, a few Peonies and a large Lilac which is trying its best to take over! There are some perennials here and there as well as some grape hyacinths and daffodils.

If you need help with your own lawn makeover, you know where I am, or you can read about it at Helium.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leftover scramble

I don't know why some people have a problem with leftovers. I find leftovers to be the making of some really good lunches. Such is the case this time. There was in my fridge a tiny bit of pot roast, half an onion, a quarter of a carrot and about a third of a tomato. Now all this could have just as easily been tossed into a pot and made into a soup. that usually is the way I would go especially during cold weather, but I kind of felt like having an omelet this day. 

Of course, I never have made one of those pretty as a picture omelets, so instead I made a scramble. I added three eggs to this and made more than I could eat. It may not look like much, but boy-o-boy was it yummy especially topped with a bit of leftover cheddar cheese. 

Really, why do people have a problem with leftovers? They come in so useful when you're particularly hungry. I'm totally baffled, but at least I have a happy tummy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My backyard bird sanctuary

This pretty bird is a ring-neck pheasant. He decided to show up in my yard the other day to feed on the seeds which fall out of the bird feeders. The picture is a bit hazy because I had to take it through the screen on the door. Tom had tried earlier to get a better picture, but Mr. Camera-shy-pheasant would have none of that! He scurried away when Tom opened the door. Lucky for me he was still hungry and he came back.
 This isn't the only elusive game bird to come to my yard. We have had wild turkeys, 
great blue herons, mallard ducks, hawks, eagles, huge Pilated Woodpeckers, turkey vultures and, of course, all the regular song birds such as Chickedees, Hummingbirds, Bluejays, Cardinal, Sparrows, Starlings, red-wing black birds, gold finches, Bluebirds, Ravens, Purple Martins and some whose names we never did find out.

 So, when I say I have the knowledge for creating your very own backyard bird sanctuary, you really ought to listen to me. If you want to create your own but don't know where to start, go see how I did it over at my Helium Zone. As I tell it, if you make it, they will come.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tomato cuttings in winter

Oh, but I suppose you are wondering how I managed to get a tomato cutting in the dead of winter. Well, if you've been around Glory's Garden long enough you would know I try to keep a tomato plant alive through the winter months indoors just so I can do this. Why? Just because I can! My tomato plant kind of petered out a while back, but I still kept it going in the hope I could start some cuttings from it once spring started getting close.

Well, spring really isn't close enough but I'm going stir crazy and the tomato plant was looking a tad peaky. I really didn't think it would last much longer, so I took a few cuttings and set them in water. Only two still look okay. I think I'll plant them in soil and see what comes of it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deer proof plants

In truth, there are no deer proof plants. Sorry to inform you of this painful bit of wisdom, but it's best you know this first and foremost. If deer are hungry enough, they'll eat anything, even plants they find distasteful. Their survival depends on them not being picky eaters.

That being said, there are some plants they try to stay away from, mostly because they don't feel they are that desperate yet. In the last Deer related post I told you why they like your garden plants. With that knowledge under your belt, you should figure out what they don't like.

The greens deer will love. The red, not so much.                         
Deer do like:
1. Bright green leaves
2. Tender shoots
3. Neutral scented greens
Deer don't like:
1. Pale green, gray, blue or white foliage
2. Prickly or fuzzy leaves
3. Strong scented plants

Plants in my garden which I have never seen deer eat:
1. Colorado Blue Spruce trees- this may be for two reasons. The needles are prickly and the color is not vibrant green. The grayish-blue hue signals to the deer that it may not be nutritious enough for them to bother with it.
2. Deodar Cedar- Very prickly needles and they also have a scent the deer may not like.
3. Artemesia Wormwood- this is a rather invasive ground cover with pale, silvery colored leaves. It also has a strong scent. Deer may sooner die before eating this.
4. Herbs- Oregano, chives, mint, garlic, thyme, basil and lemon balm never get touched.
5. Nasturtiums and watercress both have a peppery taste, so deer stay away from them.
6. Rosa Rugosa has a zillion thorns, so no way!
7. Coleus and fancy leaf Caladiums- mostly these come in reds, yellows and pinks which deer think not yummy enough to eat.
8. Tomato plants are just too smelly and potato plants are toxic for deer.
9. Pumpkins and zucchini plants. Must be the texture of the leaves that they don't like.
10. Daffodils- these lovely flowers are supposedly toxic for deer.
11. Juniper shrubs- too prickly and the scent of the berries must turn them off.
12. Mullien is a medicinal herb without a scent, but as the foliage is grayish-white in color and also cause heart palpitation, deer stay away from it.
13. Lily-of-the-Valley Although they have vibrant green foliage the berries they produce are toxic. Deer know to stay away from things which will make them sick.
14. African Marigolds- very smelly and deer don't like it.
Daffodils, one of the few plants which need little protection from deer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yoshino Cherry tree in snow

This is my Yoshino cherry tree. It's planted on the uphill side of the driveway. With the snow you might not be able to make out the driveway but it is there, just to the front of the tree's branches.
Now this tree is not supposed to stay here. That is to say, I planted it on this hill as a temporary home. Needless to say, that didn't work out the way I had intended.

Perhaps my garden blunders can help some novice gardener out there. Let me tell you the tale of this little Yoshino Cherry tree. It came to us as almost all of our trees did, as tiny 1-2 foot long sticks from the Arbor day Foundation.  We were short on cash then--very short as we had only just built the house--and so landscaping was to be done as inexpensively as possible. Thus the need for saplings.

Well, we kind of went a little wild with that Tree book in hand. We could with trees costing only a dollar or two and us with 4 acres to plant. At least we thought many trees would be needed to make Tommy's arboretum. Yes, he wanted a collection of trees which would rival any arboretums we had seen at botanical gardens. I think we did rather well, actually.

As with most things, Tommy wanted to do this right. So, he walked around the yard and paced out the eventual spreads of the tree's branches so that once they reached maturity, the trees wouldn't grow into each other. So, there we were deciding which tree would go where and marking each hole even before we received the trees we ordered. That's when we learned we should have done this part first before ordering the trees. We ran out of tree space rather quickly. Well, we would when we were spacing them to their eventual maturity. That was just plain silly....or was it?

Once the trees--or dead sticks as our amused friends and neighbors called them--arrived, we set to planting them. Well, wouldn't you know it? We had some left over trees with no homes! 

I said to Tommy, "We could always plant some closer to the baseball field." He didn't like that idea at all! He didn't want to the kids running into trees as they ran to catch fly balls in left field. Okay, but as the kids were too little to even hit the ball past the pitcher's mound, I didn't really think that was much of a problem, although it could be in future. Ah, well, Tom got to keep his baseball field and we still had a few trees with no place to call home.

So what did we do? We planted them in a "temporary spot" (the driveway hill of course) until such a time as a spot opened up. I didn't think this was likely to happen, but that was just me being optimistic. Some trees did indeed die over the brutal winter which opened up several places  This is the way it is with saplings. Only a percentage usually survive the first year. Marauding deer helped kill some too, but that's a tale for another time.

So, many of the trees did finally get planted out in the arboretum...all except for a few, including the Yoshino cherry tree. There were about five of them that endured the winter on that lonesome hill. A couple died, a couple were planted where yet other saplings had died and then there was the Yoshino. It stayed there for five years and by that time it had grown so much-- who knew they would reach maturity that quickly?-- that it was too big to dig up and transplant. I should know because I actually tried! I dug about two feet down and still didn't get all the roots out. At that point, Tommy told me to quit. We'd have to learn to live with this tree on what was supposed to be a Juniper hill. 

There are Junipers there, a few different kinds, but right smack-dab in the center is the Yoshino. Ah, well, live and learn.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why deer come to your yard

Last time I told you about my deer-trimmed hedges. Nice of them to do that for me, don't you think? They don't even charge me, but as I feed them for the privilege, I think we're even! Now, at first I didn't much care for the idea of deer making their dinner plans at Chez Glory's Garden, but once I realized they didn't do too much damage on them, I was okay with it. That's not to say, however, that they don't do substantial damage elsewhere in the yard. More on that some other time though. For now let's stick with why deer love to nibble on our garden plants.

I can hear you from where I sit. "Well, duh, they're hungry!" It's just not that simple.

Every gardener should know why deer will come to our cultivated gardens for meal time risking life and limb for it. They could, after all, just head into the forest for harassment-free meals. Some will tell you it is because there is no more food to be had in the woods. This is rarely the case, forest fires and other devastating conditions, notwithstanding of course.

Deer would be content with what they could forage in the forests but we are inadvertently luring them into our yards. How? The deer, just like we do, love our bright green gardens, the deep green being the clue to us. Deer need the Chlorophyl  within plants --that which makes plants green-- as part of their diet. They crave the stuff. They know instinctively that the greener the plant, the more nutritious it is for them. They ain't stupid you know!

You can say they can find loads of green stuff to eat in the woods. This is true, but the thing is, Mother Nature doesn't care for her plants nearly as diligently as we gardeners do. Mother Nature doesn't continually clip bushes to make them bushy and she doesn't fertilize trees and plants as much either. Gardeners tend to feed their plants which make them grow more tender, greener and more in general. This is appealing to us and gosh-darn-it, it's also appealing to deer.

Very rapid growing shoots tend to be soft and tender and deer love tender shoots. The bright green vegetation is the ultimate turn-on for deer--for many critters, if truth be told. So, it is like ringing a dinner bell when the gardener sets about to make their landscape vibrant green and lush with tender plants full to the brim with chlorophyl.

Well, there's truly nothing to be done about this. We want our gardens green and the deer want to eat it. Surely there is a compromise we can reach. I found mine. I let them trim my hedges for me. Of course, the field fence we placed around our most valuable gardens is the true compromise. We started with 8 foot high fencing all around the perimeter of our oddly shaped property, but soon found them to be a joke. If deer want to get in, they find a way. But I found that if you give them a nice taste they won't jump fences to get to more delicate things, things you desperately want to save from my Hosta!

Remind me sometime to tell you about Hosta--aka: deer chocolate.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tracks in the snow

You may think all these tracks in the snow are made by the little red fox I told you about the other day, but I very much doubt it is. For one thing, the snow had a rather thick coating of ice on it and that little fox didn't weigh enough to break through it. For another thing, that is the exact pattern on the snow each and every year, the same pattern used by the deer that used to call my four acre plot their home up until we built our home here.

Deer being much heavier than a tiny twenty-thirty pound fox would easily break through the ice and leave these tracks. They also leave tell-tale signs of their travels. Just to the right of this picture is what most people would call my front yard. It is now a shrub border. This entire garden is enclosed by field fencing to protect it from--I think you know, but I'll tell you anyway--marauding deer. Field fencing is rather ugly but a necessary evil. Luckily the plants on the edge all grow enough to cover most of the fence.
The soft needles of the Arborvitae shrub is like ringing a dinner bell for deer.
Deer will eat whatever is in their path and my Arborvitae shrubs are a tasty treat. Deer go straight for my shrubs assuming it's an invitation to dinner and it may as well be one. The deer were here on this land first, after all. So, they will nibble at anything that pokes through and grows outside the fence which leaves a very distinct trimming effect on the Arborvitae (Thuga occidentalis) shrubs which grow right at the front along the fencing. It looks as if I took pruning shears to the bushes, but I can tell you truthfully, I never trim these plants. It's all the deer.  They love the stuff because it stays evergreen all year long, providing them the chlorophyll they need and the needles are soft and lovely to least it is for deer.
Notice how the nibbling stops just at the four foot mark. So weird!

It's really odd though. The fence is only four feet high and the deer will only eat to that height even though I know they could reach over the fence and eat everything overhanging, but they don't ever do this! It's really quite amusing, but they only eat that which grows through the fence. My own private hedge trimming  team! ;-) Here are a couple of pictures to show you exactly what I mean.

See how it's nibbled right up to the fence? That's the deer doing that.
Now along the left side of this shrub border I have a row of Deodar cedar which has rather prickly needles. This the deer never touch. Why? It's just to nasty for them to eat and would cut up their mouths. So, there's a lesson for those of you who wish to plant things deer would not eat unless they were absolutely dying of starvation. Plant prickly things. Next time I'll give you a list of these most prickly deer-proof plants.
You may not be able to tell but these Deodar Cedar branches are so prickly I try to stay clear of them. They scratch something awful!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bottled water is the devil!

A subject most dear to my heart showed up on my favorite blog, The Frugal Girl. Kristen, its creator, spoke about bottled water or as I like to refer to it, THE DEVIL! Yes, I contend bottled water is the root of, if not all than most evil in the world.

The creation of bottled water I knew from the start was a terrible thing. I can still remember so clearly when I first saw a bottle of Evian water--could it truly be two decades ago?

"Do they really expect people to pay for water???" I asked Tommy, utterly incredulous.

He shrugged and replied, "You know some people will buy anything, especially if it sounds fancy."

Turns out he was right. Some people actually believed then and some still do now, that bottled water is better than plain old tap water. No, that water doesn't come from clean mountain springs and so what if it did? You do realize that bears and birds and fish and all sorts of other creatures bathe, drink and otherwise relieve themselves in and around clean, clear mountain streams, don't you?

We are truly blessed. We have a wonderful source of great tasting water. Our well is very deep and perfect. I couldn't wish for anything better. I know many folks are not so blessed, but there are ways of making whatever kind of water you have at least a bit better. 

I laughed myself silly once when I heard the actress and complete genius Tori Spelling bought Evian water to put in her Mercedes when it overheated. She couldn't possibly use plain old tap water for her precious car. It was a Mercedes, for Pete's sakes! Well, you do know what Evian is spelled backwards, don't you? Yes, Naive and you'd have to be to think plain old tap water placed in a bottle and slapped on with a fancy label is actually worth all that money! Well, when you have so much money, why not spend it un-wisely?

Well, I could tell you all the reasons I believe bottled water to be so evil, but as Kristen said it all already and very well too, I'll send you right over to her blog posting for all the details.

I need not go over what The Frugal Girl did already even though I'm dying to, but once I start I may never stop! yes, I get a bit fried when I think of it. I just wanted to spread the word myself here because I feel it is so very important. The environmental impact of all those millions and billions of bottles is devastating and not just for our country, but all over the planet. I saw first hand when I was in The Dominican this pasted Christmas. There were empty bottles everywhere! There is no recycling programs in third world nations and yet bottled water is EVERYWHERE. It's hideous and so pathetic.

No, this tiny blog posting won't stop the bottled water industry, but if I can convince one person to stop buying bottled water, than I've done some good in the world. It's better than doing something bad or even nothing!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

You know spring is coming when....

You know spring is coming when the snow melts, but what happens then is a bit troublesome, at least at out house. We get huge puddles in the backyard which tend to flood the septic tank. Tom had to go out in the rain to put a pump down there and get the extra water out. Most of the snow is gone now, but I'm not jumping for joy just yet. The weather calls for this torrential rain to turn to snow come midnight. Oh, happy day!

Did I say puddle? It's the size of a pond now. Never been this big before!
Taking a walk out there today, I was quite glad I remembered to wear my waterproof duck boots. It was squish-squish-squish all the way. The yard is soaked! With nowhere to go, the water's just going to stay there until the sun comes out or gravity leads it downhill. We get all sorts of seasonal springs popping up on the great lawn. They form huge ruts all over the yard as large amounts of water head for the river. The river's rushing pretty darn good now!
Most of the snow is gone.
Well, the yard would be like this, all sopped with rain and melted snow because we do live on a swamp. It's supposedly the highest elevation swamp in North America, the Poconos. Nice distinction, huh? It's also a most unusual swamp. Our land isn't under tons of Spanish moss strewn Cypress trees, but it's a swamp just the same. It's for lack of trying though. It's just too cold here for Cypress trees.