Tag Archives: Forsythia

Catching Up After A Five Year Hiatus

Notifications kept coming in, but I was remiss in updating my blog.  I hope to remedy that today.  So much has changed in five years.  I’m still alive–yay!  All of my landscaping has matured–yay!  And, I’m in a position to labor in my gardens again–yay!

I want to keep this post somewhat simple and let the photos speak for themselves.  I will just say that as I planted and tended my garden through the years, some things thrived and others did not.  I did create a “poetic space” that was / is very meaningful and inspirational to me, and that I’ve featured in much of my poetry at my blog bitsofpoetry.com.

Like Emily, I’ve cursed my cats for destroying the beautiful birds and, in fact, I made an outdoor/indoor cat enclosure for them this year to save my garden birds.  There were also the years, where like Emily, I focused my attention on recording the wild flora–attending botany walks and always packing along identification books and camera–the modern day version of her herbarium.  I think of her often in what I do.

Here are some comparison photos from around the house.

Back when there was no grass, trees, or flowers and I still had my sweet dog, Elsa.



front of house 2018

Originally, we planted a flowering plum in front, but it died.  Aspen are native to our area, so we replaced many of our trees with aspen, like this one in front.  They all flourish here, as do lilacs–but more on those below.


The roses on the front fence, looking out to the barn last night.


Also along the front fence, my white tulips.

Here is the before of the front (left) space before the railing was removed.  The railing was purely decorative, and served no functional purpose, so we removed it and opened it up.


Today, we plant new things every year, but some of it has volunteered itself or remained.  The lilac tree grows in an old metal tub a friend dropped by my house, and which I intend to paint white.  The thyme jumped out of its container and started to grow in the bricks.


lilac front of house

The center rock planter was completely redone. Here is the before picture.


I’m going to weed it this week and add red bark, but I’ll show you a few of the flowers that grow around it. (That is another aspen in the center)


Honeysuckle loves it under the aspen and has crowded out the original clematis.


Two varieties of peonies also grow very well there.  They were started from bulbs.  You can read about my bulb dreams in this post.  Many of my bulbs survived.

Here are the pictures and an excerpt from that original post so long ago:

The promise of a bulb holds the same hope as a new pet, new love, new career, even a new baby. We project ourselves into the future each time we plant one. It’s hard to foresee what circumstances may thwart our plans: a too-cold winter, a colony of voles, the tractor that scoops up the earth and the bulbs hidden deep beneath; like life, it’s hard to predict what will happen after we plant our dreams.

Yet, some, if not most, make it. The tulip bulb that was accidentally dug up and thrown in the pit and, I thought, gone forever, bursts forth in a clump of compost. The bulbs planted in soil that was too hard, spring up from the ground later than the others, when the April rains have finally softened a space for them to poke through.

There are some that don’t make it, it’s true, but the joy for the ones that survived—returned to you, in a way—rewards our original hope. We just had to wait, have patience, and believe that our loyal labor of love would be rewarded.

Like my snowflakes.  They survived and thrived.  Here they are in spring 2019.

This bleeding heart comes back every year.  It’s lovely.  2019.

bleeding heart

Besides these plants, there are daylilies, daffodils, tiger lilies, lavender, and many other little surprise, some of which I can’t even remember planting.  Unfortunately, all of my crocus were crowded out.  I’ll have to replant some in fall.

This little front planter has gone through various transformations, but this spring I went all out for day lilies, daisies, and geraniums.


They need a little more growing time to really pop.

The side of the house was monstrously bare. My dream was forsythia and purple sand cherry.  Well, that came true very quickly and the side of the house is now a jungle of yellow forsythia in spring.  The electric company did cut a little of it back, but it’s growing back fast. I love to cut branches of it in the spring for flower arrangements.


The back planter. Where you see concrete, it is now a sun room with a deck over the top and roof.  I’ll show a variety of those pictures so you can see the transformation.

Here is the front driveway after we’d planted flowering plum.


And here they are this spring.

front trees 2019front trees 2

So many changes.  Of the trees we planted, the flowering plum, weeping willow, aspen and lilacs, thrived.  We used lilacs to create a fence barrier between our property and our neighbors, and also growing up over the deck.  The breeze carries their perfume to us during the spring.

lilac back of house

There is a lot to catch up on after five years, and I hope to do a few posts on individual flowers and planters very soon.

Happy gardening!

I’ll leave you with a poem by Emily Dickinson about the lovely lilac.

The Lilac is an ancient shrub
But ancienter than that
The Firmamental Lilac
Upon the Hill tonight —
The Sun subsiding on his Course
Bequeaths this final Plant
To Contemplation — not to Touch —
The Flower of Occident.
Of one Corolla is the West —
The Calyx is the Earth —
The Capsules burnished Seeds the Stars
The Scientist of Faith
His research has but just begun —
Above his synthesis
The Flora unimpeachable
To Time’s Analysis —
“Eye hath not seen” may possibly
Be current with the Blind
But let not Revelation
By theses be detained —

Is My Forsythia Dead?

Remember my last year’s plan for the east side of the house?

I planted a Royal Star Magnolia with white blossoms in front, with a back-splash of yellow Forsythia.

However, my well-laid plans may not materialize. I went out to check the Forsythia, which should soon be in bloom, and the branches are dry. I snapped off several and not a bit of life in there!

Are they dead?

The Royal Star Magnolia, however, is doing its job. It survived our mild winter and is budding out.

Hmmmm….I may have to run to the store and plant new Forsythia bushes if I’m to reap the beautiful harvest of my ’09 green dreams. In particular, I think I’ll look for the variety, Meadowlark, which grows 8-10 feet tall.

Mid-Summer Garden & Hydroseed

A bird came down the Walk–
He did not know I saw–
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,….

Emily Dickinson

I was working with my daughter out in the new garden–putting down fabric–and there was a robin next to us–just a touch away–with a big fat worm in his mouth. He stood there, then walked around a bit, but wasn’t afraid of us. It was quite marvelous.

I told my daughter, if we weren’t out here gardening, we would have missed this experience.

I think I said in a previous post that I wasn’t feeling the poetry–as I waited for the sprinkler system to start working and the grass to be planted–I think I’m starting to feel it now.

Here is a picture of the backyard planter. My hope is that it will one day grow up and fill every inch. I asked my husband to put in a spray system that waters over the top of the flowers–he insisted on a drip system–now he’s going to switch it to the spray system. As McDowell teaches us in her book–some flowers, like geraniums, need to be misted to keep the bugs off. And, I believe, flowers are designed to accept rain in their leaves and distribute in these natural tunnel systems to the parts of the root system that need it most. Therefore, water must come down over the top. Trees and shrubs can be on drips.

hydroseed and back planter

We finally got the hydroseed done. Let me tell you a bit about it. In our area, hydroseeding runs at 8 cents per foot. We had 15,000 feet and we found someone to do it for 7.5 cents per foot. The total came to $1,100.

Hydroseed has the fertilizer, mulch and seed together–also it has something that makes it tacky so that it sticks to the ground rather than blowing away.

Apparently, you can hydroseed anytime of year–even in mid-summer like now. We do have to keep the water on it though, so a sprinkler system at this time of year is almost a must.


garden 2

I decided on a simple shrub for the side of the house where all the ugly stuff is mounted–satellite dish, air conditioner, and propane tank. The purple sandcherry was my choice. It grows 8-10′ tall and 8′ wide. Perfect for this area.

purple sandcherry

There has been some question in my mind about whether or not my Royal Star Magnolia would make it. Here it is today. It’s doing awesome!

Magnolia in July

Here is a new addition I just couldn’t pass up. This beautiful, mature Hydrangea was only 45.00 at a local nursery. I adopted it.

hydrangea july 09


The Forsythia are finally starting to look healthy there among the Dahlias. They grow as a backdrop for the Manolia. Next Spring–they will bloom yellow–the Magnolia a magnificent white.

florsythia july 09

dahlia July 09

Here’s an updated picture on the Hostas I planted under the deck. They’re thriving–as are the ferns.

hosta day lily

In other garden news–my Bleeding Heart came back with a vengeance. It’s doing great. The Geraniums I lost to frost, also surivived and are now blooming among the Alysum.

Today I’m going shopping for Yellow Daylilies, Brown-eyed Susans, and Hummingbird Vine that I saw at my parent’s home. For some reason, yellow daylilies have been impossible for me to find–as have Brown-eyed Susans. So, wish me luck!

Is there any particular flower you’d like to add to your garden as we hit mid-summer? How about Fall flowers? Are you thinking about those yet? Mums? Astors? How are your gardens growing?

Planting Grass

The Grass so little has to do-
A Sphere of simple Green-
With only Butterflies to brood
And Bees to entertain-

And stir all day to pretty Tunes
The Breezes fetch along-
And hold the Sunshine in its lap
And bow to everything-

And thread the Dews, all night, like Pearls-
And make itself so fine
A Duchess were too common
For such a noticing-

And even when it dies-to pass
In Odors so divine-
Like Lowly spices, lain to sleep-
Or Spikenards, perishing-

And then, in Sovereign Barns to dwell-
And dream the Days away,
The Grass so little has to do
I wish I were a Hay-

Emily Dickinson, 333

April 10, 2009
Weather–Warm and sunny–60
We’re discing the soil with our neighbors and getting ready to plant hay this weekend!

What is a disc? It’s this thing you pull behind a tractor to till the soil-



Here’s 42 educating herself about the disc implement-


And inspecting the work-


The neighbors are gathering–it’s time to work together and prepare the ground, plant the seed, fertilize and spray for weeds–then watch it grow and eventually cut and bale it and stack it in the barn.

This is gardening on a large scale.



On another note–back around the house–Here are my new gloves from Costco–I think the whole pack was around 15.00 and they are wonderful.


I used them to help my husband plant these four Forsythia behind the Magnolia. All is going just as planned! So far so good. I’m on track.


We put a fertilizer stick in the ground beside every shrub and tree.


This weekend won’t be about flowers, though, because it’s all about getting that seed in the ground to take advantage of the April and May rain. We have a small window of opportunity. The ground must be turned over and opened up, seed laid, and then we have to press it into the ground by running a barrel over it.

This will be fun–GRASS–Green gold around here! As for the type, I believe it’s Fescue, Orchard, and Alfalfa–but there could be more in that mix.

What are your thoughts about grass? A nuisance to have to water and mow? An aesthetic must have? A resource?

If Emily Dickinson had Home Depot

“Whose are the little beds,” I asked,
“Which in the valleys lie?”
Some shook their heads, and others smiled,
And no one made reply.

“Perhaps they did not hear,” I said;
“I will inquire again.
Whose are the beds, the tiny beds
So thick upon the plain?”

“‘T is daisy in the shortest;
A little farther on,
Nearest the door to wake the first,
Little leontodon.

“‘T is iris, sir, and aster,
Anemone and bell,
Batschia in the blanket red,
And chubby daffodil.”

Meanwhile at many cradles
Her busy foot she plied,
Humming the quaintest lullaby
That ever rocked a child.

“Hush! Epigea wakens! —
The crocus stirs her lids,
Rhodora’s cheek is crimson, —
She’s dreaming of the woods.”

Then, turning from them, reverent,
“Their bed-time ‘t is,” she said;
“The bumble-bees will wake them
When April woods are red.”

April 7, 2009
Weather: warm & sunny should reach 70’s (We were in winter hell–now it’s like we’re in Spring Heaven–what good deed did we all do to deserve this?)

Synopsis: Family coming for visit–gardening on hold…but last night…Home Depot…new Magnolia..plant at lunch…this weekend…plant the fields for hay.

If Emily Dickinson had ever seen a Home Depot, she would have been amazed. Last night my husband and I went to get our supplies to plant our back planter. We needed Peat Moss, fertilizer sticks, sprinkler hose and heads, stakes, and brown felt. (Why do they make white felt?)

While there, I browsed around at all the flowers and took pictures of them and their tags so I could study them later and decide what I want to buy.

I knew I was looking for a Magnolia to go with my Forsythia on the East side of the house–(I’d read that Emily had one) and there was a beautiful 10 gallon one with white blooms sitting among its many brothers and sisters.

It was like love at first sight. Its pot was broken as if someone had tried to pick it up, but it was too heavy. Whew! Thank goodness no one else got it! (Mine is the one on the left of the picture with the broken rim). Isn’t he cute?


These Royal Star variety do well in cold climes–like ours. They grow to about 15 feet and, supposedly, have fragrant blooms. Mine is already starting to bloom–I’ll take pictures when we transplant it.



I took a lot of pictures, but these are the things I’m going back for after studying them at home.

Cordyline–or “purple grass” as I call it.



Sandwort–it says it blooms Spring and Summer in full sun–I’m thinking in front of the house around the trees.



Daisies: I thought I was going to plant Forsythia on the second tier of my back planter, but found the bushes I had called Forsyth Weekend–may grown to 10′. Therefore, they’re going to the East Side where I had intended there be Forsythia. I think Daisies and Tulips would be good there instead.




I thought this one was funny–since I’ve already written about how I feel about ticks…where did they come up with this name?!?


I thought this was cool–red bark that doesn’t lose its color. I’m going to bark over the planters, and my one complaint is that bark loses its color so fast. Has anyone had experience with this product?


It may be a couple of days before I can plant the flowers. We’ll get the Magnolia in the ground tomorrow at lunch, though, and post pictures around Wednesday.

Happy Gardening!