Tag Archives: royal star magnolia

My Old Friends: From Hyacinth to Birch


From Poetry of Flowers (A book Emily may have referenced), “Grief: According to mytholgists, this flower sprang from the blood of Hyacinthus, who was killed by a quoit, through the agency of Zephyr, who blew it fom its course as it passed from the hand of Apollo, and smote the unfortunate youth on the head.”

“I wish I could show you the hyacinths that embarrass us by their loveliness.” Emily’s letter to James D Clark.


I am in love with him
To whom a hyacinth is dearer
Than I shall ever be dear.

On nights when the field-mice
Are abroad, he cannot sleep.
He hears their narrow teeth
At the bulbs of his hyacinths.

But the gnawing at my heart…
He does not hear.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

There are so many things to which you could compare a garden, not the least of which is friendship. Each year it comes back, sometimes a little worse for wear, but you have a history–an investment in one another.

The pictures I’m sharing today are from my garden–it’s some of my dear old friends emerging from winter in mid-April 2012. They’re bursting out and embracing the day! Some of them are thriving, some are fighting for their lives.

Royal Star Magnolia (struggling)

Rock Daphne

Leopard’s Bane




“Elsa’s Rock” Daffodils to commemorate her death two years ago. What I realized during that time, a great epiphany for me, was that even when we want to hold onto our memories of lost loved ones–and Elsa was very dear to me having been raised from a puppy and sharing my trials and tribulations–our minds let them slip. I was horrified of that. Two weeks after her death, as I stood outside and tried to imagine her, it was hard. Then, a day passed without me thinking of her at all. This rock was placed there, over her burial spot, to remind me to think of her…and to give me a spot to sit while doing that under the Weeping Willow. I planted the daffodils because she died when they were in bloom. Every year they come up, they remind me of my loss–and my loss reminds me of my great gain–having her for thirteen years on this earth.

Daisies–Emily’s nickname was “Daisy”, and she refers to herself as such in the “Master Letters.”

Oh – did I offend it –
Didn’t it want me
to tell it the truth
Daisy – Daisy – offend it – who
bends her smaller life to
his, it’s meeker lower every day –
who only ask – a task –
something to do for
love of it – some little way
she cannot guess to make
that master glad –
A love so big it scares
her, rushing among her small
heart – pushing aside the
blood – and leaving her
faint and white in the
gusts’s arm –
Daisy – who never flinched
thro’ that awful parting –
but held her life so tight
he should not see the
wound – who would have
sheltered him in her
childish Heart – only it was’nt
big eno for a Guest so large –

(Letter 2 1861–Emily to “Master”–actual person is a mystery which stays unsolved.—Word choice changes were chosen by me. Example: bosom/Heart and other ommissions.)

Climbing Hydrangea


Birch & Pine

Tulips in Early March?

Remember Emily’s poem, These are the Days When Birds Come Back? Well, apparently, because of our early spring, these are also the days when the tulips push up.

Confession: I didn’t plant any crocus last year! I went back over my entries this morning (in this blog–wow, memory lane!!) and I did not plant crocus. After reading Jennifer’s blog, I was starting to seriously wonder if the voles had eaten my underground garden, but apparently, I just didn’t plant a big enough one!

I’m on a quest–I want crocus and snowdrops. I will not be deterred this year. How did I let it slip by?? How did I forget to order the bulbs?

Here is Emily’s poem about tulips as I sit and contemplate the early spring and the possibility of flowers on this foggy, 54 degree day in Zone 6. The Royal Star Magnolia is budding, the Sand Cherry is developing fine little tips, and the tulips push up from the ground:

She slept beneath a tree-
Remembered but by me.
I touched her cradle mute-
She recognized the foot-
Put on her Carmine suit
And see!

(15) The early years of Emily’s life

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!