Philosophy and Gardening

For those of you who saw my post about the snowy morning, well, I am going to give it another day, let you know how my plants are, and NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!  My Orion Dahlia (I know, stupid, stupid) went from promising green, to sickly brown.  On the bright side...my Rock Foil is as nice as ever.   I am going to buy another Orion Dahlia just incase it was terminal.  Probably was.  Trying to be brave.  

- Red Clover, A-Shame-Ed


I have always adored Forsythia.  Early spring, before anything else has dared to open their front door, Forsythia comes bursting out like a million sunbursts undeterred by the world.    It's also an inexpensive way to have all the flowers you want filling all the vases and jars you want.  You just have to know someone with a Forsythia bush.  The conversation will go something like this, 
"Hi!  I was wondering if I could cut some small branches off your Forsythia?"
"Do I have a Forsythia?"
"Yes.  It's the bush in the corner of you lot, covered in yellow blossoms."
"Oh, of course.  Take all you want!"

And I did...
Then I went back for some more...with permission.

I was driving around with my Grandpa the other day pointing out all the Forsythia bushes in bloom.  It was nice, and I'm sure he grew rather tired of it seeing as there are a lot of them.  One thing slightly distressed me.  Some people, in an effort to be responsible gardeners, have trimmed their bushes into a perfect, hedge-like square.  That makes me feel slightly appalled  (sorry, if you have, remember this is ignorant opinion) because Forsythia blooms in such a way that it is magical, whimsical, enchanting and free.  The plant itself pays no regard to containment, just reaches up in fancy.  It creates a fairy bower, as it were.  The hedge shape ruins the effect. 

I also learned just a few days ago, while blog prowling around "over the moon with joy" that you can take some branches earlier in the year, while there is still snow on the ground, put them in a jar with water, and bloom them early.  Isn't that nice thought!   Next year I will certainly do that.  Can you do that with Pussy Willows?  What a great combination they would be.  

-Red Clover


White Morning

I woke up this morning to this...

What this picture doesn't do is give you a sense of the fierce winds ripping around everything.  The trees managed to look incredibly straight, but they are young trees, and strong.   My first thought went to my plants.  I have taken special care in checking the weather reports, and covering them all, very carefully, with any threat of frost.  Last night I didn't.  I forgot.  It had been rainy, yes, but things were greening up, and I didn't.

I stood by the window with my blanket wrapped around my shoulders.  There they were, right where I had left them, covered in icy, clinging snow.  "Perhaps I should throw on some shoes," I thought "and run out there, scrape all the snow off, and then cover them, bring them inside, put them by the heater..."  My mind circled around every possibility.  And then I thought that I am not doing this for sheer ornament.  I need to know.  I need to know about these plants I have started.  Can they handle a freak storm?  What effects does it have?  There is no way to create a perfect atmosphere for all of my gardens, so I've got to test the mettle, and see.  

I've planted strong plants.  Early Perennials.  Most of whom can handle a little cold and as much as I don't want them to die, I can't take away the cold winds, and the snow always.  They need to grow hardy and strong, anyway.  A few of my plants thrive in this weather.  That is what is best for them.  My Columbine would not like to be set down by a heater set at eighty degrees.

So I didn't go outside.  I watched, and waited, and hoped.  The sun came out, the snow began to melt, the wind still blew, and just so you don't think I am heartless, I pushed some of my pots out into the sun.  Maybe there will be a few negative repercussions with a plant or two, but I at least I will know, be a better gardner and remember to check the weather every day.  

- Red Clover


Pots: Heaven Falling

I mentioned that on Friday I absolutely fell in love...with a pot.  Kip and I saw it at a nursery and I was captivated with the glaze job.  I was thinking of an appropriate way to describe how vibrant it is in real life, and the description that came to mind was "heaven falling".  

As you can see I planted some Irish Moss (Sagina subulata) which will bear a white flower, and in the center I planted a Glomerata Superba Campanula, which is a long name for a pretty, purple flower.  I'm trying out both of them for the first time, I thought it would be fun.  We will see how they come up, I guess.   


The Potting Begins!

We had beautiful week, the sun was shining, and it was warm enough to run around in sandals and short sleeves.  We also welcomed the first day of spring.  It was a big potting week for me.  On Thursday I pulled out all the tubers, bulbs, and seeds that were packed away, and unpiled all of the pots that I'd been accumulating.  I decided to spend my birthday money from Kip and my parents on Books, Red Clover, and our trip to New York next month.  I bought two books.  (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society & Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)  I have read the first, loved it, finally bought it...I have needed to buy the second, bought it, am loving it.  Hilarious.)  Then the rest of my book money went to Red Clover...and then my New York money went to Red Clover...and I basically went crazy this week buying dirt, flowers, & a gorgeous pot!  ;)  
This was the scene on Thursday Morning.  My tubers and bulbs were anxious to be planted, a few of them even beginning to sprout, and so I selected what would go in which pot and dug in!  

Friday I bought more perennials, that great pot, and decided where they would go, and later that afternoon bought more dirt.  (I have two big pots) 

Saturday (Today) I bought more dirt and really went to town organizing my space!  

Here you can see outside my front door.  Everything has been planted up, watered, moved, moved again, moved again, looked over, swept up, etc.  

I tried, with all the mismatched pots I had, to organize them in a way that would look somewhat nice, without making my landlords feel regretful that they said I could garden in the first place.   I should be able to keep it under control for a few months before I buy my annuals.  Hopefully my perennials will be bold, disrespectful of personal space, and fall all over themselves!
My next few posts I will tell you what I planted, etc.  Right now I really should be cleaning the apartment to get it ready for Sunday.  


KSR - I am hoping that all this dirt under my fingernails can cure me of the habit of biting them!  I know, is that a horrid habit?  


Becoming A Gardner...

Becoming a gardner means doing laundry three times more than you would otherwise.  You are simply always dirty.

Becoming a gardner means buying a stronger pumice stone, considering you wear sandals most of the time.
Becoming a gardener is reminiscent of my dating days, continually wondering if the roots are too shallow.
- Red Clover

My Nephew hones his raking skills, while helping "Nana" with yardwork.  Gotta start them early!  

Weaver - Isn't it amazing what things stick with us?  Colours, smells, flowers in the window...

Jennifer - Same wishes to you!  

JoMama (Life As A Single) & KSR - Yes, all my flowers are girls.  It's not meant to be a slight by any means, it just is.  Smiles.  

Vicki - Interesting Facts about Gerberas!  Aren't they beautiful?  I always thought they were nice, but I fell in love with them on a cobble stone street in Rio De Janeiro.  A vendor had some Gigantic Gerberas and I was captivated!  I purchased a large red one and it went with me everywhere the rest of the day. I gave it to a friend later that night.  Thanks for the info, I loved learning a piece of the history.


Flowers For Your Hall

The perfect flower garden, in my mind, could vary in any number of ways if it has one necessity; tall, elegant, flowers.   All the kinds that are easily cut to grace the kitchen table, that nightstand beside your bed, or taken to a friend.  I adore fresh cut flowers.  In the novel A Tree Grows In Brooklyn there is a scene where young Francie Nolan takes a Saturday trip to the library.  The chores are done, her hard-working mother has been helped, and she is free...

      "After Fancie had come in and closed the door quietly behind her-the way you were supposed to do in the library-she looked quickly at the little golden-brown pottery jug which stood at the end of the librarian's desk.  It was a season indicator.  In the fall it held a few springs of bittersweet and at Christmas time it held holly.  She knew spring was coming, even if there was snow on the ground, when she saw pussy willow in the bowl.  And today, on this summer Saturday of 1912, what was the bowl holding?  She moved her eyes slowly up the jug past the thin green stems and little round leaves and saw...Nasturtiums! Red, yellow, gold, and ivory white.  A head pain caught her between the eyes at the taking in of such a wonderful sight.  It was something to be remembered all her life.  

      "When I get big," she thought, "I will have such a brown bowl and in hot August there will be nasturtiums in it.""

When I get big, Francie, I think I will have such a garden, and such a brown bowl, and in hot August I hope to be planting my nasturtiums in it, as well.  

These are the flowers I have been enjoying this week, though part of me still wonders if I should have bought the daisies...


The Whys, Wherefores, & What It's All About

Red Clover began last October after a very satisfying summer of my Stairwell Garden. Summer 2008 was truly my first test in picking flowers, killing flowers, planting bulbs that (gasp, I know, but tight budget) were purchased at the dollar store, and embarking on my own gardening journey, not just the garden/yard work that abounded as I grew up.  This was my own, and something in me needed it.  

In my Stairwell Garden, during a rain storm.

I had a blast.  I learned to love my Dahlia, to enjoy the scent of the Red Geranium that continually kept me company and made veiled remarks as I tried to repot the other flowers.  I watered too much, I watered too little.  But, hey, I watered.  With fall approaching my interest was growing, and so after holding out for a few years from the blogosphere I decided it was finally time.  Red Clover came into existence.   

My motto was simple, "To start something new, gain wisdom from experienced green thumbs, and gather insights for beginners...like me".

Then I posted what would be the purpose of my blog, and what kind of posts to expect.  

"Flowers & Plants
Garden Tours (Which I will take and photograph in people's gardens... unsuspecting gardens)
Do You Know What This Plant Is?
Planting Seeds (Shout-outs for advice from fellow gardeners)
Vignettes - Garden Stories"

(I like those categories and have done a little with each, except herbs, I have pictures for that though!  I think I will keep those categories, though maybe rename a few, and them add a few more...I am trying to be more organized.)

So, I posted on October 8th.  I woke up the next morning, checked my blog, and there was a comment!  And it was from Bob!  A real life English Gardner who worked on an estate!  I was elated.  I must confess, Bob, that everyone who ran into me for that day and several following, heard that you had made a comment on my blog.  Smiles.   After that the whole garden world began to open up before me.  I was badgering my new found friends with questions (I still have a lot) and picking up my mom's "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine, my camera became a staple as I clicked pictures of what caught my attention, the amount of plants inside my house quadrupled, I moved to a sunnier place with more space, and I have never ached so fiercely for spring all my life.  It's finally here.  

Since I am beginning a new year there are things I would like to change.  For example,  I like how Dreadnought, or Bob, will answer questions at the bottom of his post...hmmm, still thinking about that.  Responding to comments has been something I've wanted to do, but I vacillate  between methods.   I fixed my USB ports, so more pictures are back on the docket! I want to try and use all original pictures to the extent I can, which means I've got to be out there on the hunt.  And I am going to try and post more regularly;)
Thanks for coming around these few months, and I hope to not only improve my gardening skills, but also my blog.  

Happy Spring Regards, 
Red Clover

The Other Day...

...She came home with me.  Isn't she a beauty?  


The Garden Book

I am creating a Red Clover Garden Book.  It's going to contain things.  About Gardens.  About my garden in particular.  I know, a bit narcissistic, but I'm afraid I can't make a book about Your garden.  I don't really know it.  

This is part of my new year experience.  I am going to have a spring planting section, one for early summer, and one for late summer.  Pansies will fit in two of those categories, but I don't know if I am going to let them in.  We'll see.   There will be comments about care, preferences of my favorite flowers and plants, as well as planning sessions, and pot decidings, and garden plans.  My landlord just told me I could use part of the flower beds that are by my front door.  My heart is elated.  Kip's heart is probably wondering how we are going to fill the pots, let along part of two flower beds.  Seeds, Kip Dear.  That's how.  I just bought some fiery coloured Nasturtium.  


Mr. Tuttle Goes On Tour: A Red Clover Birthday

Yesterday I was banned from the house by Kip, who had taken the day off work.  "Do not even drive by the apartment until I tell you."  I followed instructions.  After work and a few errands I cat napped on my parent's sun spilled couch until he called and said the coast was clear, I could come home. 
The first thing that greeted me when I walked into the door was a bouquet of six bright balloons what were anchored to a safari/garden hat, filled with blue confetti and a scrolled piece of paper.  Kip was in the kitchen making dinner.  He told me to go ahead and open it up, that it was my birthday present.  

One important item of note: Mr. Tuttle is a brass toad who sits atop our blue bookshelf, right next to the cinnamon poinsettia.  I purchased him a week or so before our wedding, and he is a dear family friend.

The Honorable Mr. Tuttle

I opened the scroll and this is what it said,

"I didn't know if you knew this; but Mr. Tuttle, when no one is here, takes the liberty of gallivanting about the apartment, exploring.  When I came home early on Saturday I caught him in the act!  He mentioned that he was experiencing the "flora and fauna" of the apartment.  I asked him, rather dubiously, "Besides the obvious, what else have you found?"  He then, in a matter-of-fact manner stated them:
1. A rare red version of Pedicus Oderiferus that thrives in darkness.
2. A variant of the Rabbitus Coelhinus in orange, that strives in the desert.
3. Tempus Palmus, a small plant that grows in shady places.
4. Discus Labyrinthum, a thorny plant that grows in shady places. 
5. One he called Cremus Foil, and stated that it was found wherever peanuts are grown.  I didn't buy this at all.  I think he was just hungry.  
6. A common thing he called Relaxius Monimentus.  It sounded nice to me. 
7. Lucem Globus, it apparently thrives in moist-to-tropical climates, and is always white. 
8. Maitrecus Buddhus.
9. Familia Professo, a squar-ish sort of plant with cream and dark red foliage. 
10. Arborum Paludosus, a tree that grows in clumps of three with red leaves, usually in swampy areas. 
11. An interesting black and white variant of Sinus Tergus, or "Leather Pocket" that only buds in the winter, and for the rest of the year lies dormant, clung to a vine in dark places. 

I asked him to show me these things, wondering what he was up to.  He hesitantly showed me what they were, but begged me to not handle them as they  need a more delicate hand to care for them (he doesn't think much of my dexterity, apparently).  I mentioned that you have an increasing appreciation for plants.  He nodded politely and them muttered something under this breath.  Then he stated that you would appreciate his findings and his unique perspective.  He's a sneaky one, if you ask me!

Happy Birthday!!  

Love, Kip"

I was a little baffled as to what these 11 plants were.  ?  Had Kip gone wild at the local nursery and purchased a number of different plants for presents?  No, they were all clues.  All clues.  To what?  I couldn't stop laughing and then began with number one.  

"1. A rare red version of Pedicus Oderiferus that thrives in darkness."   Alright, it was something red, that was in a dark place...ped, latin for foot, odour...hmmm, I thought I knew what that it was referring to...
...my red shoes.  I went to the closet and there was a dollar in each one.  The Hunt was on!
Here are what the rest of the clues led me to find, all stuffed with dollar bills...

#2 Rabitus Coelhinus in orange, that strives in the desert was O Alquimista, a book by Paulo Coelho.  Coelho means Rabbit in Portuguese.  A few more dollars. 

#3, Tempo Palmus, was my favorite clock.  

#4, Discus Labyrinthym, plant from north of England, was my Sting CD "Songs from the Labyrinth."  He plays Lute music by John Dowland on that Album.  

#5, Cremus Foil, was a jar of Peanut Butter...I must have lost that picture

# 6, Relaxius Movimentus was the old rocking chair in the bedroom...

# 7, the Lucem Globus that thrives in moist-to-tropical climates, was the pile of light bulbs in the bathroom, which I turn into a tropical climate everyday with a warm bath. 

#8, the Maitrecus Buddhus was the Maitrea Buddha that sits above our CD rack.  (Several years ago Kip was in Seattle visiting his parents and he saw this happy Buddha at a shop and liked his smile so much he brought him home.)  

#9, the Familia Professo, was a Family Proclamation we have hanging on our wall that talks about the vital importance of families.  

#10, the Arborum Paludosus, was a big painting we have in our living room!  Here is a snapshot of  part of it.  

And last, but not least... 

#11, the Sinus Tergus or "Leather Pocket", was Kip's leather jacket in the coat closet.  It was stuffed with about thirty additional one dollar bills.  

All in all it was a very fun "plant & flower" hunt!  Some clues I got quickly, others took me a while, though they are now very obvious.  I ended up with a lot of birthday money that Kip said to spend on whatever I wanted, though he did mention Red Clover as an option of money well spent.  He's learning...ha ha.  I loved it and had such a great time!  Thanks, Kip, for being such a wonderful husband!  Dinner was great, so was the present (The plant theme was the way into my heart), and spending the evening with you was the sweetest part!  I love you.   



(This is a picture I snapped last summer.  I thought it would be a good one to start out the new year with. It just seems to be bursting with promise!)

What Joy!  It is a new year, yes folks, it is that.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that Red Clover would begin it's new year on March 10th.  Here we are, at the very end of March 10th, 2009!  (Also, my birthday)    I had a "New Year" post in the works intended for today, which totally was thrown off by a flower scavenger hunt that Kip (my wonderful husband) sent me on.  That is tomorrow's post, because it's hilarious.  I would do it tonight, but it's a quarter to mid-night, and Kip has to get up early for class, and I am so tired.   Is that okay?  Yeah, I think so.  Alright.  Come back tomorrow, you won't want to miss it.  I thought it was just the best present in the world.   All is well with the world tonight...except that I stress Kip out with my creative bending of the budget.  Note to self: don't stress Kip out with creative bendings of the budget.   Smiles.  


The Poppy Field

Once, when I was fifteen years old, my Grandmother and I took a drive up a small canyon by her home.  It was an afternoon spackled in light, and as an artist my Grandmother was a great appreciator of beauty.  We came upon a field  where tall green grasses were highlighted by orange-red poppies.  Perfection.  She always had her camera with her so I was hustled out of the car and a picture was taken of me standing amid such radiant flowers.  Poppies have been one of my favorites ever since.  I still have that picture, perhaps I'll scan it in, but it reminds me of something I will miss.  Yesterday was my Grandmother's birthday.  She would have been 81.  She passed away in August of last year.  What a woman.  I admire her more as I grow older, because so much of what she endured and over came happened in her adult years.  She had a strength I didn't understand for a long time.  I am sure I still don't. 

Happy Birthday Grandmother.  I love you.  And I am planting poppy seeds this year.  


Vineyard Garden Center

Date 3/02/2009  Mon.  Time 12:35

1 Dahlia Tubber (Orion)          
1 Dahlia Tubber (Martha)                      

3 Gladiolus  Bulbs (Jessica*)

1 Begonia Bulb (Apricot)

2 Packs of Seeds (Black-Eyed Susan & California Poppy)


1 Gerber Daisy (Orange!)

1 4" saucer (clear plastic)         


Tax                            $1.42

Total                                   $23.23

1 Red Clover needing to to expand her "Red Clover" budget**  

                                $ Could Be Pricey

1 Kip who came home from class to find his wife gone, yet her car was still in the drive and she wasn't answering her phone.  (I had walked to the garden center.)  

                             $ A Little Worried and More Then Happy to Pick Me Up and Give Me a Ride Home  

* Why name a tall orange flower "Jessica"?   I almost didn't buy it because of that.  It's not that I don't like the name...it's just, I don't know.  Didn't work for me.  

** I asked Kip about a monthly Red Clover budget, which he readily agreed too...and I already exceeded it in the above receipt.  It might need an adjustment. (I think my father would tell me I just need a little more self-control.  Both are probably true.)   Smiles.