Tag Archives: fuchsias

Gardening? I’m on it!

pimiento peppers with nasturtiums

I thought I would skip this week’s discussion of The Hidden Art of Homemaking at Ordo Amoris, because what on earth — or about growing things in the earth — could I possibly say, that I haven’t said in my 115 blog posts that already have the tag “garden”?

But this chapter comes in springtime when it’s hard not to talk about gardening. I’d rather be in the garden doing it, but what do you know, it’s raining as I begin this ramble. And I happened to run across a couple of other blog posts as reminders that I haven’t covered every aspect of the subject.

kale with Mexican bush sage

The spiritual aspects of gardening are well treated by Vigen Guroian whose book is excerpted in  this blog. But I have a hard time making myself read about gardens or gardening, and if I wanted to convince a non-gardener to give it a try, I would just have them work in my garden with me a few times, and hope that they might by osmosis come to see the fun to be had.

If you don’t have a yard, as Edith says you can have a pot of something, and if you don’t want that, you can grow some sprouts on your kitchen counter. There are so many kinds of sprouting seeds available that you can grow a tasty and gorgeous salad in a week or so.

I do love to visit other people’s gardens and even look at pictures of my own yards of yesteryear, so I looked long enough at this Garden Rant post to see that it was about the gardener’s dismay when he realized that he had planted a dreadfully monochromatic and inartistic design.

His problem is the flip side of what I am careful about, the planting of clashing colors. What? you say, echoing my husband, don’t all the colors go together, as in God’s creation? It doesn’t seem to work that way in my gardens. Magenta flowers have caused me problems in the past – they don’t look nice with some of the red flowers nearby.

Once a bunch of bright red-orange flowers pretty much spoiled the look of my pale yellow and pale pink roses when they sprouted up in between, while the lavender bush in the same spot blended in nicely. So, I try to avoid mismatches and matchy-matchy. Most of the pictures I’m posting here are of nice contrasts in my own garden, but the one below is from our friends’ neglected beach cottage yard. It’s surprising how glorious these bright and wild colors look together. In foggy coastal areas it seems that whatever flowers you have are a welcome brightness, and they always steal the show by contrast with the white or grey skies.

Here’s a much quieter scene: Greyish Lambs Ears make a soft contrast to almost any bright color, as with these pincushion flowers.

 

And even the magenta rhododendron is nice with blue campanula. I have learned to think of my garden beds as individual paintings, each with its own color scheme that may change somewhat with the seasons. Some have magenta, while some on the other side of the yard have red.

unusual California poppy with Hot Lips salvia

Either color can go with yellow or orange or blue…

It’s fun creating landscapes, if you don’t mind surprises, and  w – a – i – t – i – n – g  for things to grow and bloom, and sometimes having to re-do your design or be happy with a missing part that died. If you take pictures or actually take paints to paper and save an image of the way your plants’ colors and textures have miraculously blended to become Beautiful, you can remember and enjoy your past gardens for years to come.

Sunless and Satisfying Day

The beach cottage is next to a creek that forms a lagoon at this time of the year, cut off from the frigid Northern California ocean water by sand dunes and therefore swimmably warm, if you don’t mind the algae.

The whole place is full of memories for me, going back more than 20 years to the first time I was here with our children, who with their homeschooling friends built rafts of driftwood and punted around, while their baby sister crawled through the sand.

Those are abalone shells lined up on the fence.

We’ve come many, many times to this sleepy village, and this week it was to be with our friends who lived full-time in the house for a spell but now only vacation there. Mr. Glad and I are normally just a couple these days, but they were lucky enough to have four of their five daughters with them.

No sooner had we arrived than I discovered the fuchsias and Chinese firecrackers that had enthusiastically taken over the mostly untended yard. They make you think you are in a tropical paradise, until you look up and notice the fog and the golden hills.

In the background of the third fuchsia pic, you can see the wild fennel reaching for the skies. A lot of it has already dried and is getting mildewed.

The fields of rattlesnake grass a block away also contradict the tropical theme. I picked bundles of the stuff before I came to the conclusion that it’s really past its prime and that I should just come back next June to get it when it is still green and the “rattles” are whole.

Sand Art by Mr. G

We packed up some cheese, French and Italian breads, and watermelon, and drove up the coast to another beach just for fun.


One can’t easily predict how grey and cool the days will be out there, but we expected the sun to come out by the afternoon, and we pointed out the little patches of blue we could see here and there near the horizon.

At least it wasn’t terribly cold, though I did keep my sweatshirt on all day. The fog did not lift, but the sun burned some young chests right through it. And I was so happy and busy smelling the seaweed and the beach plants that I didn’t even notice the weather change that never happened.


Some of us took a walk along the bluffs, where I found so many interesting things to see and click my camera at, including stickers and a minty purple flower that filled the low moist places.

Rattlesnake grass and cow parsnip

When we returned to the cottage it was to cook together and cozy up with a big dinner and loving camaraderie — lively talk and laughing followed by sitting on couches and in rockers. Mr. G and I couldn’t help ourselves, taking lots of pictures of the girls so clearly content and comfortable with each other, tucked in with overlapping arms and legs and smiling so much you wouldn’t believe it.

I didn’t mind the grey skies, because the flowers and friendship made the best kind of sunshine.