Not exactly ‘business as usual’

single anemone on ground

anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’

Hi there. I’ve been quiet here on the blog front. Honestly, I’m not sure what to say. In some cases, it is ‘business as usual’ and life is more or less ticking along. But in so many other cases, it is not ‘business as usual’ and lives are completely disrupted. There is a lot of stress, uncertainty and tremendous loss as a result of Covid-19. So I feel funny jumping on here and talking about my garden. But I also know that there are many good things that have happened during this situation and even because of this situation, which I hope you’ve also witnessed and experienced. And while life can be quite serious at the moment, I hope that a little deviation from that, with some pictures of flowers, can alleviate the situation, even if for a short time. Welcome to my sanctuary! 🙂

early spring ditch wall garden

signs of spring with daffodils and tulips coming into bloom

Narcissus Ice King Double Daffodil

Narcissus ‘Ice King’ (Double Daffodil)

ice king daffodils and red tulips

always searching for the perfect angle

There is always weeding to do in the garden. I’m not sure that anyone really likes weeding, but the place sure looks better after its done! Given that we can’t go anywhere, I’ve been able to spend more time on that task than I would usually. I’m slowly getting around the garden to each bed. It is a lot of work, and sometimes I really have to talk myself into it. But it is always worth doing, even if just a little bit at a time. It helps for me to see the next set of plants pushing up through the soil. The continuity of the garden with its flowers and trees is something very special to me. It brings hope for tomorrow.

lilac buds

the new buds on our lilac shrubs

Lilies in April

Lilies, which won’t bloom until July, have already pushed through the soil.

This next picture caught my attention. The tulip leaves, especially, are quite ragged looking, and I would have described them as having wind-burn (as we live in a very windy area). But I did a quick google search as I was putting this post together, only to discover that these tulips have something called ‘tulip fire’. So this is the last picture I have of them in the ground because I immediately went out and had them dug up (thank you, husband!). Tulip fire is a fungal disease of tulips caused by Botrytis tulipae, and the only treatment is removing the tulips – and not replanting with tulips in that bed for 3 years. A sad day for my Viburnum plant, as it will now look quite bare without the tulips. I’ve posted a few pictures below, about the tulip fire, just so you know what it looks like and to be aware.

Viburnum and tulips

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ and Mystic van Eijk tulips with beech hedge still in winter mode

leaves with tulip fire fungus

Infected tulip leaves (tulip fire fungus)

Tulip fire cut tulips

a bouquet of ‘tulip fire’ infected Mystic van Eijk tulips 😦

Mystic van Eijk tulips

Mystic van Eijk tulips with ‘tulip fire’

Moving on to more healthy plants…

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

daffodil side profile

daffodil season


Purple hyacinth

hyacinth and anemone

single mr fokker anemone

Mr. Fokker anemone

The daffodils are blooming, as are the hyacinth and anemone. The bright pink of the aubrieta can be seen from afar! While the hellebores are just finishing up their season, there are so many other plants now coming to life. I’m so thankful that I do get to spend time in the garden.

aubrieta April full bed

Aubrieta in full bloom

white hyacinth

white hyacinth and a white (spotted) hellebore

Spring show hyacinth hellebore lilacs with buds

A spring showing with lilacs coming into bud and hyacinth in bloom while hellebores are at the end of their season

Single white flower Winter Sunshine hellebore

a single white flower of the Winter Sunshine hellebore, at the very end of its season

Bleeding Heart - Dicentra spectabilis

Bleeding Heart – Dicentra spectabilis with baby blooms!

I am mindful of all of those people who are suffering due to Covid-19. I keep those thoughts close to my heart, to keep everything in perspective. I also focus on the many blessings in our lives, right now. And I pray. I pray for everyone’s safety and well being, especially during these uncertain times.

Let me know how you are doing! I would love to hear from you!

In Peace,

Gardening as Therapy

'Queen of the night' Tulip

‘Queen of the night’ Tulip

Sometimes, things happen. Things that we don’t expect to happen, happen, and life changes… forever. We’re living through that at the moment, and it is really hard to navigate through all of the emotions we are feeling. Gardening is such an important part of my life, and it is in the garden where I feel healing. Please join me for a few minutes to enjoy some peace and tranquility in my garden.

‘Queen of the Night’ Tulips

The Queen of the Night tulips are strikingly beautiful, and for me their darkness also represents the sorrow that we feel. A friend and colleague of ours, and a genuinely super nice guy, Shay, achieved his life long ambition to reach the summit of Mt. Everest last week. Tragically, he fell on his descent. There are no other details, other than he is missing. It just doesn’t seem possible. Not Shay. But this is our new reality, including feeling numb with sadness. Gardening seems so trivial at times like these, but the garden is where I can go to find peace, and beauty, and renew my faith that somehow we, the immense community with whom Shay has so positively impacted, will all somehow get through this sad time. Come walk with me, as we use gardening as therapy…

Viburnum surrounded by Mystic van Eijk (the large tulips) and Don Quichotte (the small purple tulips)

Viburnum surrounded by Mystic van Eijk (the large tulips) and Don Quichotte (the small purple tulips)

The first of my tulips bloomed in March. They are circled around the Viburnum which blooms in May. The Beech hedges along the fence are still wearing their winter browns in this picture.

Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ May 21, 2019 with the remnants of the tulips still showing. The Beech hedge is now wearing sporting green leaves.

parrot tulips

Parrot tulips also bloom early in the season

Princess tulips April 27

Princess tulips April 27

The Princess tulips are just a couple of years old. Tulips can tend to “fade” with time (not look as nice after a few years). These are still young enough to look fresh.

Princess tulips + Queen of the Night tulips

Queen of the Night tulips + Princess Tulips

Queen of the Night tulips + Princess Tulips

I thought the contrast of the dark Queen of the Night and the bright Princess tulips would be nice together.  My only complaint is that the Princess tulips wither much quicker than the Queen of the Night tulips. But they are pretty.

Blushing Lady tulips

Blushing Lady tulips

The Blushing Lady tulips are special to me, because they were one of the first flowers that I planted in our home in Manlius, New York. A number of years ago I planted some in our current garden right next to the playhouse, but they were dug up (unintentionally!) and destroyed in the process.  So these were planted autumn 2018, well away from the playhouse. They are tall and the flowers are huge.

Blushing lady tulip

Blushing Lady Tulip

Merlot tulips + cherry tree

Merlot tulips + cherry tree

The Merlot tulips are also a new addition, planted in autumn 2018.  It is quite a strong color, which I like.

Merlot tulips + aubrietia

Merlot tulips + Aubrietia

The Merlot tulips look amazing with the Aubrietia (this is a second grouping of the Merlot tulips in the same bed).

Merlot tulips

Merlot tulips

Here’s a look at the full bed.  There are 3 groups of Merlot tulips, and 2 spare Ballerina tulips (they are orange) that were supposed to be moved out of this bed last year. The Aubrietia did really well this year. It is ever so slowly making its way to crawl over the wall (hopefully). The Boxwood (Box) has a lot of new growth, giving it a yellowish hue. I have a few Rose plants in here, too.

Merlot tulips open May 14

Merlot tulips open May 14

I do like capturing the inside of tulips.

Double Angelique tulips

Double Angelique tulips

Ballerina tulip fully open

Ballerina tulip fully open in May

Ballerina tulips are a fiery orange.  I have (most of them) at the ditch wall in our garden and they can still be seen from across the yard.

Tulip Ballerina

Ballerina tulips

Ballerina tulips open in May

And that brings us to the end of our garden tour, using gardening as therapy. Thank you for walking with me on this journey of grief. I pray for Shay, and his family, and that all of us will find peace.

In peace,