Saturday, April 30, 2016

Secret Gardens

"Sometimes since I've been in the garden I've looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast."
--Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

On my hilltop, I don't have a traditional "garden." I have a yard, and most of it sits on a slanted knoll, grass spilling down in all directions. The house was built in the early 70s, and along the way, various owners added shrubs and flower beds. Trellises were built along the cracked, unsightly driveway; then someone added raised beds. I claimed that space as my secret garden.
I imagined a cottage garden, a riot of color and shapes, with flowers blooming from early sprint until autumn. But I was a novice gardener, drawn to the most finicky plants at Lowes and Home Depot.
I loaded up with delphiniums. Then a cold snap arrived, followed by fierce wind storms, and the plants were marooned in the garage. Even though I watered the pots faithfully, it was never enough. Never in my life had I bought flowers in April, but I'd been seduced by unseasonably warm weather. . . and a dream. The delphiniums paid dearly for my folly.

When I finally put them into the ground, they went into shock. The blossoms dried up, and the lower leaves turned yellow. I fussed over them daily, deadheading the few blossoms. Today, I found new buds, white and fat, full of promise. It's true that some part of the plant is always dying, but another part struggles to live.

"Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us."
--Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

While I poked around on the lower porch, I found two hanging baskets. They would be perfect in the secret garden. Bandy helped me clean them and we planted petunias.

I'm taking especial care of a hanging bag of wave petunias that my dear friend Mary  sent me (along with beautiful goodies for my shed). This will go on the potting shed's door. You can see Mary's hanging petunias HERE. Mary told me to water them daily and to feed every 10 days. I'm so excited!

However many years she lived, Mary always felt that she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow.” 
--Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

With each garden discovery, with each gift, I think I may be growing, too. At the end of the trellis garden, a peony bush sprang up quite suddenly. 

Each peony-to-be is a gift.

The wisteria vine changes daily. One moment it's dramatic, and the next it's acrobatic.

I have another secret garden. 
Let's slip through the wooden gate and check on the raised vegetable beds. Bandwidth's tomatoes are getting eaten by rabbits.

One marigold was nibbled, then quickly abandoned. 

Refusing to give up, he planted a salad garden in a pot.

My husband thinks his garden is under attack, too, so he built a fort. 

A closer look at DH's garden.

My little herb garden sits between the two larger beds. The garden sage has been magnificent, and I can't bring myself to snip the flowers. A huge purple clementis popped up in the center.

"And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles."
--Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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  1. Your garden looks so lovely already! Everything is still brown here although the trees should be leafing out soon- can't wait!!

  2. You sure have a treasure trove of plantings there at your home. I walked through a local garden center at a big box store the other day. They have annuals that are all in trouble because we're still getting frosts here. I wish they wouldn't put out the plants so early. I love foxglove- seeing the bees going in and out of their flowers is a treat. Rabbits are cute but they sure can ruin a garden! I hope the straw bales help keep them out. That purple clematis looks like one I was just reading about- it grows in a clump rather than on a trellis. Enjoy!

  3. Those darn critters!! My husband did away with our garden. I told him the other day I want a raised box to plant flowers in for cutting. Maybe the critters will leave those alone.

  4. Oh you're way ahead of me planting your pouch with your pretty petunias! I worked planting and potting containers this week until my back and knees called for a time out! I'm hoping to get back at it this weekend with a little cooler temperatures to help. I planted three delphiniums last year but they didn't survive our drought and hot summer. I need to try again on the more shady side of my shed and see if they will take. Doesn't it give you a thrill to see those peony buds?! Our are just starting to open. Your flowering sage and clematis are glorious! Wishing you beautiful gardening and bird chirping weather ♥

    P.S. Love your Mary Secret Garden quote :)

  5. Oh your gardens are looking so pretty and all the pretty blooms are wonderful.

  6. The straw garden experiment may just work. Rabbits can do so much damage. I had one in my own garden that simply found my poppy's a delicacy and munched every bloom off. Then he met with a natural demise, a hawk had been stalking him and he finally got him. My poppy's started growing again and blooming. Only yesterday my poppy's started looking as though something had been eating on them. While out on my patio last evening just before dusk I found another rabbit who thinks my garden is his very own restaurant. What to do, I do enjoy having him scampering around my garden.

    What a delight to have a clematis pop up in the middle of your herbs. Hope you find the answer to the rabbits eating till they are going to explode.

    Carolyn/A Southerner's Notebook

  7. You could try putting plastic forks, fork side up in the dirt around his veggies. I've seen that done before. I see little miracles every time I go out on my patio!

  8. Peonies ~ love! I'm so envious that you can grow peonies. Sory about the mishaps, but I know your garden will flourish and be beautiful. I just returned from the garden center and headed out to another soon. Trying to get the last of the spring plants in because our days are heating up quickly.
    Love your quotes. Happy gardening!

  9. Peonies...Yes! They are my absolute favorites! Sheila

  10. This is just GORGEOUS, and that new (to me) picture of you on your profile is beautiful, too.

    Hope you are well and enjoying spring. We are still knee deep in renovating, and oh, I pray it is over soon. VERY soon. You know. If anyone does, you do.

    Still haven't returned to blogging, but when I do, I will hook up with your weekly meme. I miss you and the rest of the ladies.

    Sending warm hugs across the miles...


    Sheila :-)

  11. Peonies are some of my favorites! Things are greening up and looking oh so pretty!

  12. The sage plant is so gorgeous. We are way behind you in growth but another month should see blossoms.At this point, I am just caring for seedlings in the greenhouse. We never put any flowers in the ground until the end of May in Ontario. Deb

  13. I have given up gardening to Mother Nature's mysteries, and am grateful for every lucky bloom...I can't wait to see how your bale strategy works...Last year we had our garden carefully and masterfully fenced off, only to be violated by a big snake that got caught in the fencing and thrashed around until everything was ruined...agh! I've decided a green thumb is part knowledge, part patience, and like the quotes from The Secret Garden, indeed magic!

  14. We are drawn to our gardens. It brings pleasure, contentment, and gratification. I get just standing there for a moment and taking it all in. What a feeling.

  15. OMGoodness, your gardens are way ahead of mine! It has rained all day so all I got done was inside. I am LONGING for nice, warm, planting weather!!! II have flowers and plants all ready to be planted but Mother Nature just won't cooperate. It was warmer on Christmas for cryin out loud:) Loved the quotes and Your peony is beautiful. The anticipation of those buds opening is torture:)

  16. Lovely pictures and lovely plants. I am still three weeks away from our last frost date so it is fun to see other people's blooming plants. Just a little bit jealous.

  17. The herb garden is beautiful. I keep waiting out this cold weather also, soon it will stay warm.Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!