Fall Mums in Spring, Practical Gardening Series

mum plug

Mentioning hardy mums in the spring may seem like an oxymoron. Let me explain. For years as a garden consultant I’ve heard homeowners say what bad luck they’ve had growing perennial chrysanthemums. They plant the big cushy mums every fall and rarely find that they survived the winter. Tired of failing they stop planting them [Read More...]

St. Benedict’s Soup

portobello by

It was the weekend before I was to make my final profession as a Benedictine Oblate. I wanted to honor St. Benedict in a personal way and created this soup as a briw.  In Old English the briw was the evening meal of soup or broth—a lighter fare, with the heavier meal consumed in the [Read More...]

Blooms of Mary’s Sword

iris closeup

I remember as a child the sweet fragrance and stunning colors of the species Iris germanica, commonly known as bearded iris or Mary’s Sword. I can still recall my first encounter with them. Walking home from kindergarten, I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, inhaled a wave of fragrance, and, sniffing the air, followed my [Read More...]

A Walk through the Garden

snow 2

The walk this week was at the retreat center. We had a dusting of snow.               The Garden Society’s Christmas gathering and pot luck on Tuesday was also my retiring as their coordinator. It was a lovely gathering–more on that come Friday. These are the flowers that one of the [Read More...]

A Walk through the Garden

lavender and maple

The Lavender plant and its flower represent love and devotion. Lavender flowers are also associated with purity, silence, and caution. The leaves from a Maple tree symbolize “to be reserved.” Many of our saints were filled with those qualities. What a lovely reminder of their lives, spoken in the language of flowers, as we approach the celebrations of All [Read More...]

A Walk through the Gardens

redbud 2

These pictures are from St. Francis Retreat and Conference Center in DeWitt, Michigan. It is the week of Your Word is my Delight Catholic Writers Retreat. The retreat is wonderful, and productive! And the 95 acres luminous.                       Hope you can  join us for the next writers [Read More...]

10 Steps for Saving Seeds; Practical Gardening Series

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Collecting and saving seeds from one season to the next is simple and allows you to keep growing the plants you love best. Here are a few tips and techniques to guide you. 1. First of all you’ll need to have planted open-pollinated varieties. They’ll come back true to the cultivar whereas hybrids won’t. Hybrid [Read More...]

A Walk through the Garden

Golden Bleeding Heart resting on Striptease Hosta

We’ve had a lot of rain in the past 24 hours…not much to see in the gardens but a lot of leaf debris. The storms last nights were intense! Lightening strikes and strong winds broke a lot of trees. My Jonagold apple tree took a beating…the canopy collapsed under the storm (kind of hard to [Read More...]

Gayety in the Garden

Glads 3

Those of you who have been following my blog know that it has been a challenge this season tearing out my gardens that I have lovingly attended to for over twenty-five years. What remains are flowering shrubs, ornamental trees, and lots of bare soil needing mulch. Not so long ago problems with my back laid [Read More...]

A Walk through the Gardens

Sharon 2

Of what remains in my gardens, flowering shrubs and ornamental trees, this blue Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus ‘Blue Bird’, is still my favorite. Makes for a nice view against the Bottlebrush Buckeye, Aesculus parviflora var. Serotina  I was given a special gift in the garden this week…but that on Friday’s blog. [Read more...]


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