Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Love Community Gardeners!

I love community gardens
and I love community gardeners.
Can you imagine loving gardening and wanting a garden
so badly
that you will drive somewhere and make time
to have a little plot of land
with other like-minded gardeners?

So when I was at the Virginia State Arboretum recently,
I found myself wandering out past the beautifully manicured gardens 
and over to a rather wild assortment of plantings that turned out 
to be the Arboretum's community garden!
It was the flash of the zinnias (my favorite flower)
that drew me over.  Take a look!

This plot contained a truly elaborate trellis
system covered with different kinds of beans.
(And zinnias.)

Now, one thing we all know is that ALL gardens
start looking like hell in late August.
Show me any gardener who invites folks to tour
her garden in August and I'll show you a masochist.
Who wants to weed and sweat?
Who's going to  plant in August?

But, check it out!
Even in this one abandoned plot,
full of weeds and mildew - 
what's holding forth?  Full of color?
Yep.  Zinnias!!

This gardener had pretty much devoted his (her) entire plot to zinnias - 
maybe a few beans?

And, in the plots that were still being cared for - look at them shine!

Sorry about the finger in the photo but I really 
wanted to show this one plot, now pretty much done - 
but why on earth do you suppose the sunflowers
Don't you wish the gardener was there so you could ask?

Oh, and look how charming the main path through the garden plots looks - 
everyone's flowers and herbs create such a fine border!

I didn't get a photo of all of the plots - 
one was all varieties of tomatoes,
one devoted to melons.
Many were done for the season and carefully
cleaned and "put to bed".

In every set of gardens like this, you'll almost always
find one resident herb gardener whose plot
is a riot of fragrant and delicious herbal treats.
Smelled fabulous!

And I find gardeners to be both whimsical and kind.
Taking one last look on my way out, I noticed one colorful plot
also hid a little home for a toad!

Gotta love gardeners!
And especially those special souls
who make up the community gardens in towns
all over the country.  Hope all of you had a great year!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Virginia's Arboretum - Hidden Treasure

Blandy is the "old" name for the Virginia State Arboretum.
Have you been there?
No? Then your life is not complete.

The entrance sign on Route 17 is easy to miss.
Driving in through rolling lawns and scattered trees
everything is cool and understated.
Heaven on a hot, dry day.

I was happy to stop in for few moments rest on a long road trip.
The long drivewayds with bright gardens full of 
flowers and herbs surrounding the parking lot.

Even in the scraggly garden season of September
the beds were so neatly cared for.... just delightful!

I wish my phone took better photos - 
this is such a fun little garden:
look closely and you'll see tomatoes behind the zinnias.
(Just like in my own garden!  Who knew?)
Behind the sunny flower  & herb gardens
are long, cool paths along stone walls....

I really am mad for stone walls.  
There are NO stones in Virginia Beach.
People buy stones. Expensive stones.
This wall is worth a fortune.......
but I digress...

But the real treat is the wonderful main building.

The arches. The screened porches..... the stone walks.
The general air of tranquility and gentility.

I had the pleasure of staying in this building
years ago - in one of the upper rooms 
whose windows you can see here in this photo.
Really, horticulturists get to hand in the most wonderful places!
The arboretum wasn't my destination on this trip - 
but it was a treat to wander the grounds again
even if for only a few minutes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Roosters Come, Roosters Go....

Well the sadness over the demise of The Dude passed in time
and the girls were getting restless.
They like having a guy around.
It sort of organizes the flock.
Welcome, Mr. Frizzle.

That's a rooster.
Came to us named "Fluffy".
Guess why?
But that just didn't seem macho enough for a guy
about to head up his own flock of hens.
But he was so obviously frizzled and frazzled...
runner-up title was Rasta Man . . .
but somehow Mr. Frizzle stuck.
Ain't he gorgeous?

He settled right in 
and began taking good care of his ladies:
Check out his strut!

More on gardening with chickens later.
I just thought you'd like to meet
The New Guy.

Stay calm and happy,
enjoy the last warm days
harvest your garden and
hassle your chickens . . . 
It's what makes life worthwhile!