Monday, January 26, 2009

June Garden Walk

A few more photos from my June garden walks. These are just whimsical things that caught my eye. Hope you enjoy them and maybe get some ideas for your own garden.

Bikes and trikes and wagons add a casual interest to the garden especially when planted with colorful annuals. I'm searching for one to add to my garden this spring.

These last few creatures were created by a gardener who also enjoyed working with metals. This one adds kind of a south seas look to and Illinois garden.

This screaming mask may be someone's idea of a scarecrow. It scares me a little;)

This is just the cutest little caterpillar.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I wonder if genetics plays a part in people's choice of hobbies. My ancestors on both sides were farmers. I don't know if all of them had a love of growing things, maybe it was just their lot in life to be born into a farming families.

I've traced my father's family back to Virginia 1619 when Dr John Woodson landed with a company of British soldiers. Dr. Woodson built a cabin and began farming. His descendants pushed farther west and were among the first settlers in Mississippi and then on to Texas.

This is probably the oldest photo I have. This early Woodson relative left Virginia with a small group that made the treck into the unsettled lands of Mississippi and built homes and farms in the Holly Springs area.

This photo is my great, great grandfather Nathan Hill Evans (the nephew of the woman above). Nathan was a cotton farmer until he died.

His daughter Beulah looked the part of a pampered southern belle but like most women of her generation, she was tough as steel. She married a farmer, Eli Green, and they spent their early married years in Texas growing cotton. Later they uprooted their family which included my father (a baby at the time) and moved to Illinois.

Eli was the first relative (I know of) that enjoyed flower gardening as well as crops. Perhaps it was his wife's influence or perhaps he just had more free time for a hobby. Anyway, he passed that love of flowers to his son, my father who passed it to me.

My Dad tells stories of his father's flowers. There was a church near their house. On Sunday, after services, people would drive past and stop to admire the beautiful gardens. My Dad would be sent running to the barn to grab a shovel so Eli could give the visitors a start of which ever plants they admired.

Until his eyesight failed him, my father loved flowers. He lectured on creating what he called back yard habitats--places where birds and wildlife could coexist, even thrive with in residential areas. It has been a terrible thing for this man to loose his sight (his second greatest pleasure was reading). It hasn't broken his spirit. He continues to garden with my help and a few hired weeders. He simply cannot stand the thought of his home with no flowers surrounding.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More June Garden Walk

Another 6-inches of snow is falling as I type. A brutal Alberta Clipper is scheduled for tonight. 30+ mph winds and temperatures down to -20 F. My county has decided that more salt isn't in the budget so the roads are treacherous. Cars in ditches, cars in accidents. This winter just gets better and better;)

For a few moments, I'm not thinking about winter. I'm looking at garden walk photos taken last June. A sunny day, temperatures in the upper 70's, and interesting things to see in the garden.

This gardener planted a parking meter in a narrow border between walkway and drive. Cute idea.

One of the gardeners was creative with metals. This bulldog is made from junkyard scraps. A jug of sidewalk chalk waits for a child's art project or a game of hopscotch.

This gardener was also a railroad buff. Two trains chug among the perennials passing towns and farms and crossing bridges. I must have spent and enjoyable 45-minutes walking around this railroad garden.

An old milk can and a tractor seat set among the hosta.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The world is black and white and gray

My farm sleeps under a blanket of snow. Not even a breath of wind whispers in the unnatural silence.

Pine branches bend beneath the weight but the bird houses stand straight as sentinels.

The pasture stretches beyond the creek to merge with the gray sky.

In the Pasture

On the first day of snow, when the white curtain of winter
began to stream down,
the house where I lived grew distant
and at first it seemed imperative to hurry home.
But later, not much later, I began to see
that soft snowbound house as I would remember it,
and I would linger a long time in the pasture,
turning in circles, staring
at all the crisp, exciting, snow-filled roads
that led away.

by Mary Oliver

Wild grapes display a winter cloak of white.

Out of the bosom of the air
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bore,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,.Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to June and another garden walk

More photos snapped on a June garden walk. These things caught my eye as I strolled around yards and gardens. Hope you find some of them interesting.

It's hard to see well in this first photo. The window frames are covered in ivy. I don't know how much damage this will do to the frames but it was very attractive. The purple shrub in front is a smoke tree cotinus. They seem to be gaining popularity again. Click on the photos to see the detail a little better.

Below is a chandelier and a framed print (probably taken from a dining room somewhere and now hanging outside). The wide soffet must protect them from rain. I thought barbequing under a crystal chandelier was interesting.

A cute idea. An old western boot was made into a bird house. If I was going to copy this idea, I would hang the boot under the canopy of a tree (like a maple tree). Left in the sun these decorative birdhouses get too hot inside and kill the hatchlings.

I see mailboxes in gardens everywhere. I like the idea of having extra pruners, gloves, trowels handy to each garden area. If it was mine, I would plant a vine over it. In the winter I would put peanuts on the open door for blue jays and squirrels.