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Stonewall Jackson House Lexington, Virginia

Stonewall Jackson House
Lexington, Virginia en.wikipedia.org

There is a scarecrow at the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington, Virginia.    Thomas Johnathan Jackson was a Confederate general in the American Civil War.  But, before the war he lived in a nice little house in downtown Lexington, Virginia and he had a productive garden “out back”.

This is an old fashioned scarecrow (made with a potato).  It is hanging in the Jackson House garden now.

I could do that!  Easier than crocheting.

 

Old Time Scarecrow

 

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Morning Glory 2Good Morning Glory

I must have taken these pictures during our trip to San Diego.

 Isn’t it too early for Morning Glories here in Virginia?

But I love their happy faces greeting the sun.

 

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FEBRUARY PERSPECTIVES

Hoodwinked Iris

Hoodwinked Iris

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Waiating for Spring 2

Our Rhodie Waiting for Spring – Photo by Dor

We haven’t seen the worst of winter here in Virginia but our 26 year old Rhododendron knows just how to cope.  When the weather turns nasty she squeezes all her leaves into narrow tubes to hold in any life giving warmth.   And on days of light and sunshine she opens her leaves and shows off an impressive array of healthy buds.  She is obviously patiently waiting  for spring, and every time I pass by I am reminded that each season has its glories.

 

 

 

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Volunteer Poplar Tree in a Pot

It was yesterday’s pot, last year’s soil, unplanted, and left to thought.

I forgot the flower pot this spring and there it stood – waiting.  Occasionally I thought about what might flourish in that soil filled container in the hot, desert-like conditions of a windy deck.   But quite simply I never got around to doing anything and planned to empty the pot and store it in the garage.

Awaiting some action, the pot of old soil just stood there looking empty and forlorn.

Spring was glorious but suddenly it was summer when I noticed a little green sprout – a so-called volunteer.

“Maybe it will be a magnificent flower,” I thought.

It turned out the baby green thing is a Tulip Poplar, a tree that grows to  80 to 100 feet tall with show-off blooms of tulip shaped flowers.   There is a stand of

Tulip Poplar Leaves and Flower

Tulip Poplar Leaves and Flower

these trees at the edge of the property, no doubt watching over little “Toolip”.  Her leaves are precisely the same and that’s how I recognized the sprout.

I have no heart to kill such a brave and hearty volunteer so Toolip is still growing in her pot.

She requires almost no attention but I tend to “mother” her anyway.

She is healthy and green.

I talk to her and she seems to understand (hopefully no one else is listening).

She is there – always there, and somehow makes me smile.

Perhaps when she is a plantable sapling size or looking ready for more soil, I will find a more permanent place.

But for now I am Toolip’s volunteer Mother and she is temporarily mine.

 

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Polka Dot Plant

I am sitting by a wide-open window now. I thought it would be a sun filled, air warmed day.  The breeze is calculated to delight but still casting a little chill.  I should close the window but never mind.  It is springtime.  Isn’t it?

The Sunshine Season

Yesterday I noticed the beautiful Lungwort/Pulmonaria is blooming once again in my front yard.  A friend came by and said, “I love that plant,” so I gave her a cutting.  I didn’t realize that Pulmonaria should  be divided every few years anyway or it gets leggy.  The sunshine reminds me to read up again on gardening.

Company is coming.  The house is tidy and the redbuds are beginning to show their pastel pinks.   Virginia redbuds form corridors of beauty all over our county.  Maybe the corridors will be in full bloom by the time my friend arrives on Monday.  What a greeting she will have!

Beauty and the Fence

 

I pruned the crepe myrtle yesterday.  I tried to follow the advice of a fellow blogger on how not to scalp the poor thing.  Actually, my crepe myrtle is taller than I am, so I managed to do some circumspect pruning among the lower branches.

I still have to put the umbrella back on the deck and tie the cushions to the wrought iron chairs and chaise.  My friend will want to read out there.

I am moving winter woolens aside in favor of linen.   Those suede boots look big and cumbersome and useless now.  Bring in the sandals.

How quickly I forget comforters and gloves, scarves and hats, hot chocolate and cozy fires.

For now, for this brief moment in time, only the sunshine is the light of my life and I am getting ready.

 

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Liriope in Bloom From Wikipedia

Liriope in Bloom
From Wikipedia

It was a warm sunny day here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  The wild birds were busy ignoring all the bargain seeds I sprinkled around to ward off avian starvation. The big snow is gone but the seeds are still here.  I checked.  “Ungrateful little critters,” I muttered.

My, what a wonderful day though, with the warm sun urging me to stay outdoors.  This is a first chance to think about springtime cleanup chores.  What needs doing?

  • ·         The voles or moles have been busy on our grassy lawn which is now full of holes.
  • ·         And things need trimming and hauling and raking and cutting.
  • ·         The old yellow jacket nest that a raccoon dug out of the ground is still a gaping hole and needs filling.
  • ·         Oh no, one of our Azaleas looks dead.
  • ·         Did I really forget to rake all those leaves by the back door?
  • ·         Maybe I should have stayed inside and enjoyed the sun through the windows.

But the real reason I went out in the first place was to work on our Liriope bed.

The February issue of Southern Living magazine insists I should be out now in February (which is almost over), “grooming” the Liriope.

Liriope is a grassy looking plant with long leaves, normally quite hardy and of course it would have to be quite hardy to survive our benign neglect.  The formal definition is:  One of several plants belonging to the genus Liriope, of the lily family, having tufted, grasslike leaves and clusters of small bluish or white flowers.

 Anyway,

According to Southern Living February 2014: 

“Is your Liriope (monkey grass) looking ragged? 

Then use pruners, a string trimmer, or your lawn mower to cut it to

an inch tall now to make way for fresh foliage. 

Don’t wait. 

If you cut the tips of the new leaves,

they’ll keep their cut ends for the rest of the year.”

 

Oh no, a cut-ended border would not look good for the rest of the year!  Heeding the magazine’s sage advice and laden down with shears, garden gloves and a determination to be a better gardener, I approached our winter weary bed of Liriope.

At first I couldn’t find it.

Could I have forgotten where it was planted?

But thankfully, there it was and much to my dismay (or relief), the little plants were already groomed and pruned (looking a little sad and weedy) to an inch above the ground!

It has been a tough winter for the deer here too.  I heard that no acorns have fallen from the trees this year and so the deer are hungry.  The brutal cold and a heavy snow didn’t help much either so they made a salad of my Liriope!

Normally this might have been upsetting.  It’s hard enough to keep things thriving around here when the deer keep dining on anything with a green tinge.

For instance, there is a tall leafless evergreen bush near the front of our house.  It is barren of leaves except for the top part where the deer can no longer reach high enough to graze.  That poor old naked bush has a slightly shocked denuded look as if to say, “I’m cold!  Why the x&%#/* did you let this happen?”

But back to the Liriope, I am not angry at the little “dears” since they are so lovely and they really are hungry and in this case they have done my pruning for me.   When Spring has finally sprung and the new Liriope shoots come up with the desired pointy ended leaves I will rejoice for the care they received from our marauding deer.

Meanwhile I am stocking up on deer repellent.

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Once Used - Now Abandoned

I looked.  And then I looked again.  Is there some kind of building in there?  Why haven’t I seen it before?

It seems to be a small shed.  Yes!  Within steps of my home is a hidden shed that lights up my imagination.

MOM’S HAPPY POTTING SHED

A Story of Life in a Country Place

It was built at the same time the owners designed and constructed their new home in the country.  The kids took lessons and loved horseback riding.  Dad was a teacher at one of the local colleges.  Mom learned to can things and make blackberry pie with the fruit freshly picked from that clump of wild berries down the lane.  And of course there was a garden.

There was a potting shed too – a place to store all the tools – the hoes and shovels and pruning shears.  Dad built it with his own two hands and the family called it Mom’s Potting Shed.

Mom loved the shed and the garden and all the land around the new house.  She planted roses and dahlias and even an herb garden.  She joined the Master Gardeners, and for many years Mom’s Potting Shed was a bustling happy place indeed.

The kids grew up and moved away to nurture families of their own and the little shed stood idle, and Mom and Dad finally left their Virginia home for parts unknown. 

Even so, Mom’s Potting Shed stayed happy for the longest while, but eventually stopped waiting for the family to return.   Time and weather did their work and the little shed slowly declined. Rotting boards collapsed and the door broke off from repeated storms.   The floor sank to the earth and blowing leaves composted to soft places on the ground.  Wild vines crept along the inside walls to join invasive shrubs and sapling trees.  

And now the little shed is a hidden place I found – a secret sanctuary buried in the brambles. Has it discovered new purpose?  I wonder. 

Do the birds seek shelter there from brutal winter storms?   Is other wildlife welcomed inside for protection from the cold or blazing sun?

 I like to think Mom’s Potting Shed is happy once again, hiding life in a country place. 

 

LOOK CLOSELY.

CAN YOU SEE MOM’S POTTING SHED?  

 

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I planted snap dragons in early spring,

some in a bed, but not really all.

I reserved some for against a wall.

And waiting to see what would thrive,

some things lived and others died.

The dragons were the first to fall

except for those against the wall.

They lived on and on and on,

right through Thanksgiving

and beyond.

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