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Archive for February, 2012

What passionate gardener doesn’t constantly compare what they have and what they could be doing better? For me the journey of gardening started when I was little.  I learned to appreciate nature through my mom.  She would constantly point out a sunset here or a cloud formation there. It made me feel closer to nature.  She is the one who put the first flower in my hand and a spade in the other.  With these humble beginnings I began my passion for gardening.  Over the years, I have seen many different style gardens.  I have observed uniformed, almost geometric gardens, gardens with statement to carefree gardens wild and untamed.  I feel a part of that gardeners life and past are present, a piece of who they are.  What you must remember is not fall into the habit of comparing what you have to what someone else is growing.  Find peace that what you grow is a part of you, and take pride in that!

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When I contemplate the above quote, my mind wanders to Lisle, Illinios’ Morten Arboretum with its raw and polished beauty.  For those of you not familiar with the Morten Arboretum, it is a marvelous living museum of outdoor plants.  You can tour the prairie, visit the marsh, explore the forest or hike through manicured yet wild gardens.  This place has it all.  I love to journey there because you can really connect to nature.  Take the forest for instance, every time I go there I find my self feeling rejuvenated.  The path winds through darker, mysterious pines to the more idyllic maple and oak trees.  I think to myself, every day science shows us new wonders, yet I find it ironic that the most impressive display can be found in a newly bloomed aster or the annual reappearance of jack-in-the-pulpits.  Man strives to find wonder in technological things, but one only has to go back to nature to see true magnificence and find ones place in the world.

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Up till now I’ve blogged mainly about outdoor gardening.  Let’s take a moment however to explore the idea of houseplants or as I like to think of it, indoor gardening.  I love houseplants, there are so many great varieties.  When I was in my late teens I worked at Frank’s Nursery and Crafts.  I had always had houseplants in addition to my outdoor gardening and other interests.  When I became employed as a sales associate at Frank’s I was introduced to the many varieties of houseplants out there.  Lipstick plants, pothos, philodendrons, draceana,  ferns and cactus to name a few, they were all entrancing.  It was a part of my job to help take care of these beauties.  I feel in some ways it takes more skill to keep a houseplant than their outdoor counterparts.  One has to find the right lighting, moisture, soil and humidity to keep them alive.  For instance I never knew african violets could not get their leaves wet because it caused damage and decay before working at Franks. You had to water them from underneath.  Who knew?  I think also that the houseplant can become over looked and thought of as a dirty nuisance.  If done right however, they can become a little piece of heaven in your home.  So, take a challenge and try houseplants, the rewards are endless!

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Oh how true this is!  Winter is a drudgery.  The only green thing is the aptly named evergreens and the dull grass.  It seems to labor on indefinitely.  The cold whips our faces as we huddle into our coats and gaze downward as we hurry from car to store.  We cook, clean and stay in our homes.  Little holidays dot the months to giving  us something to mark the time, Groundhogs day, Valentine’s day and St. Patrick’s day.  Next month is March, and then it will be spring.  The spring flowers will start to appear.  I know my heart leaps when I see pansies for sale.  It means spring is on its way.  For now it is still February.  All I can do is look longingly at my garden still in its slumber, I feel like I am in a hibernation too.  But  oh I am looking forward to the time when my garden will provide its first signs of awakening, the bulbs will start to sprout.  Narcissus, hyacinths and crocus, snow drops and tulips.  For now, all I can do, to quote one of my favorite children’s books “Then I’ll curl up into my hollow tree and dream about spring”.

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I’ve often said to people, fellow gardeners or friends and family that gardening is therapeutic.  In the garden you can forget your cares and focus on the simple joys of planting.  Plants I feel connect you back to nature and to the past.  When I am gardening my mind is free from thought. I am filled with peace. They don’t talk back to you or offer unwanted opinions, they just are .   When I garden I see  beauty forming.  A plant has a simple task, to grow.  Their brilliant colors also convey soothing feelings.  I think that is why delphiniums are one of my favorite plants, I love blue! In the garden we are in communication with God and all living things.  Whether watching a bird eating from a sunflower or finding a long awaited cucumber ready for picking, next time you feel stressed, even in winter, step out into the garden.  Trust me, you’ll feel better.

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When you think Emily Dickeson you may immediately think of poetry and rightly so, but how many of you know in her day she was more well know as a gardener and for her gardens?  Amazing isn’t it?  The classic Victorian garden with delphiniums, zinnias, coreopsis, columbine and cape cowslip in arrangement over large expanse of property such as the Biltmore mansion.  The true Victorian garden brings such romantic imagery, it is tempting to take a road trip to such places.  It is quite possible to create such a look into your own garden.  Your back yard can replicate those romantic Victorian gardens with just a little research and know how.  Let SweetPea help show you how and give you the romantic garden of your dreams!

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Practice makes perfect the old as the old adage goes.   People, a green thumb is not inherent.  While some people seem to have it come easier than others most require trial and error.  One example of this would be delphiniums.  For a long time these beautiful flowers would die for me.  I considered them to be a really pretty and expensive annual.  Finally after trying different combinations I figured out the perfect place for this gorgeous plant.  Now I can enjoy it every year.  Part of the fun of gardening is trying new things and eventually getting it right.  It is fun to have a plant take off from the beginning but what is more rewarding is having success with a difficult plant.  So this upcoming growing season, try new things, and explore.  Find the reward in over-coming a challenge and grow a plant that has alluded you!

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