Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rainbows apologize for angry skies. ~ Sylvia Voirol

I've always been a 100% non-conformist. I've always hated to travel and still do. Never learned to drive a car because I didn't want to go anywhere. I have never paid the slightest attention to etiquette, but didn't know I was "out of step" until I got married ... and my husband pointed it out to me. He enjoyed it.
~ Ruth Stout

I would have liked to have met Ruth Stout. A woman before her time. She was sister to the famous author, Rex Stout, who often commented she must be insane. In her younger years, Ruth claimed to have demolished a few saloons with her friend Carrie Nation. A generation after her death, we are still building on her no-till, no-dig gardening techniques. Ruth did things her way with very little help from the men in her life. She wrote books, helped other gardeners, and was considered a genuine eccentric. Rumors abound that Ruth gardened in the nude so it was best not to just drop in on her unannounced;) She lived a full and healthy life and gardened well into her nineties.


I still have a pot ghetto, a sorry little community of miss matched nursery pots containing plants that should have long since found a home in the ground. Ornamental grasses, zinnias, petunias, a bronze fennel and a Jim Crockett boltonia.

These lovelies will be so root bound they won't know what to do when they are finally set free in the garden.

And then there are the seedlings I sowed. Many are wondering if they are destined to live and die in little plastic cups. This weekend I'm determined to get every last plant into the ground.

I'm very proud of these foxgloves. They don't naturally thrive in my area but a few have been pampered and babied along and are blooming again this spring. Not very tall but pretty never the less. I am finally giving up my vision of masses of five foot tall stalks in various pastel colors. A couple three foot stalks with pink and white gloves is what I'm lucky to have.

Tall by the cherry tree the foxgloves stand
pale in their purpleness, their long bells sweet
and profligate. Each one of them could fit
a lady's narrow, faithless, foxy hand.

~ Alison Prince

The yellow cosmos I sowed from seed didn't do well so I found some already started pinks at a local greenhouse. This is the first year for cosmos in my garden. It won't be the last. They are so cheerful and pretty they will definitely be a regular here. These are only a little over a foot tall.

This little sedum has lived in a plant saucer for several years. It doesn't require much soil or water. Sedums are so easy to start from cuttings. The saucer was about half full of hens and chicks when I stuck a few cutting of this variegated variety into the dirt and left them to root.

Peonies are awaited with much anticipation every spring. If for some reason I could only have five flowers, this would be one. This is the first bloom of the season. Huge, chaotic masses of petals with wonderful fragrance. The bloom time is so short no one could possibly become bored with them.

I love the doubles and the 'bombs' (I suppose they are so named because they look like a bomb went off in a flower petal factory;) No such thing as too many petals or too many ruffles.

The two above were growing on the farm when I moved here. The farmers before me didn't give up much soil to non-revenue producing items. 'Just pretty' wasn't reason enough to grow flowers or shrubs. Peonies were the only exception they made.

Below is one of the two Shirley Temples I added two years ago. They have grown quickly from a few bare root eyes into two large bushes covered in buds.

Another unknown purchased a year ago. The tag said 'red peony'. My camera doesn't do well with reds. This peony is a lovely scarlet.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Good morning Marnie! I enjoyed looking at your blooms. They look good even being in pots and cups.I also have some plants waiting to be planted in beds. My poor peony (with a tag saying Pink Peony) gave me only one single bloom on the long branch. I kept thinking that it shows a rude gesture to me for being lazy and not transplanting it.
I also enjoyed reading about Ruth Stout. Thank you!

JC said...

Lovely photos and words ...

~~~ Stuey having her Pay It Forward ... if you want any cool items ... go visit your blog ~~~

Randy said...

What beautiful blooms! We did the City Lights cosmos last year and they got almost five feet tall. They were the tallest ones I've ever seen.--Randy

marmee said...


i couldn't agree more if i only had to choose a few types of blooms(shiver the thought) peony would be one for sure. i love the large unruly blooms, that are continually unfurling their beauty.
yours are all wonderful...i do wish they had a longer season.
i think i would have liked to have met this ruth stout, of course completely announcing my arrival.
something great about an independent woman...but still doing feminine things.
don't you think the work in the garden is never done...i was going to spend the day out there but alas we have storms blowing thru.
i planted sedum yesterday i bought at farmer's market but it looks quite different from yours...i guess there are lots of varities. i would like to see yours once they are supposed to be purple, maybe.
have a wonderful day, marnie.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Tatyana, I hope your peony isn't making a rude gesture;) It needs to learn some manners. Next year I hope you get loads of bloom.

Hi JC, thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

Hey Randy, I have the worst luck with Cosmos. Tina sent me some seeds and I somehow killed them. I'm going to start putting notches on my shovel for every poor plant I've killed. Like the gunfighters in the old west;)

Marmee, I love sedums and wish I had more different varieties. My garden and house work are both suffering. There just don't seem to be enough hours to get it all done--even now when the sun is shining past 8pm. I hope you manage to get something done between rain showers.

tina said...

Ruth Stout must have been quite the gal. I will have to do further research on her. What books has she written? Can't imagine gardening in the nude! Ha! Funny. The bug bites and sun would have to stop me.

Farmers are funny. You bet they don't give up much soil to non-food crops. The peonies are lovely. I bet they grew them for sentimental reasons.

Gail said...

You are so right...the peony blooms for such a short time there is no way one could get bored with it...That is how I feel about a number of short lived plants....they are gone to quickly. Marnie, you photos are especially lovely today and make me miss spring.

Love Ruth Stout! She's on my list of gardeners I wish I had been able to meet.


Anonymous said...

She sounds like she was an real character. I would of loved to meet her too. ;) Your blooms are lovely, have fun getting all your planting done Marnie.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Tina, LOL thinking about gardening in the nude makes me vaguely itchy. She must have saved a lot of time by not doing much laundry;) You're probably right, the farmer's wife must have gotten the peonies from her mother or grandmother. I think a few of Ruth's books were ""How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back", "Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy and the Indolent" and "The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book: Secrets of the Year-Round Mulch Method.

Hi Gail, Ruth's brother Rex was one of my Mom's favorite authors. His fictional hero, Nero Wolfe, grew orchids in a greenhouse on the roof. Gardening was genetic in that family.

Hi Racquel, what an exciting life. I admire really independent, free thinking women.


Unknown said...

I planted some very root bound Zinnias yesterday that are giving a heavy sigh of relief today. Foxgloves? I started an entire seed packet of them, they are growing fine but have heard they do not bloom the first this true. Cosmos are the easiest to start from seed I have some over 4 feet tall. Still no thing about peonies.......they are very pretty though.

walk2write said...

Don't feel bad about killing the cosmos. I did the same thing! Tina's not going to trust me with any more seeds, I bet. I probably should have just scattered them in the "wild bed" along with the cornflowers instead of nurturing them with potting soil in those little peat pots. From now on, it's tough love from me for seedlings. If Ruth Stout had been a blogger, I bet she would have shaken things up a bit. I still remember a great post Stuart (Blotanical) did last year about nude statuary in the garden and the various reactions to it. Very telling....

sweetbay said...

Marnie, those peonies are lovely. My foxglove don't get 5' tall either, which is just as well -- they're less likely to fall over!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Darla, how lucky you are to grow foxgloves so well. They are one of my favorites and I'd have dozens if I could.

Walk2Write, I know what you mean. I haven't had the heart to tell Tina that I somehow murdered not only her cosmos but her nigella too. I sowed on directly into the garden and the other into a flat in the house. I'll bet you're right, we would all be reading Ruth's blog is she was still around.

SweetBay, I will consider that a plus that mine are miniature foxgloves. I don't know if it's our cold winters or the droughty summers that they resent. They just feel they would rather die than spend another year here;)


Pat said...

The peonies are just amazing...large and lush. I seem to have so little color maybe do to so much rain. Of course it depends on what perennials you have. :(

BeadedTail said...

Your foxgloves are beautiful and I can almost smell those peonies! Hope you are able to clear out your pot ghetto this weekend!

Chloe m said...

Great bit about Ruth Stout, That's quite a way to keep people from coming over unannounced. I would scare more deer away if I did go out there nude.
Love your flowers pics.. I so miss my dads' peonies, with all the ants crawling on them.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I too love foxglove and yours are particularly spectacular. :)

Susie said...

Marnie your peonies are just beautiful.

I've never heard of Ruth Stout before. That was an interesting story.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yes, the rainbow is like the middle child always trying to make things nice and calm for all. Your peonies are gorgeous.

Kerri said...

I have many, many plants still to go in containers and the garden. And none of my started seedlings are planted either :) I help out at the nursery to support my plant habit, but it keeps me from planting when I need to (although we've had late frosts, so it just as well). And then there's still subbing at school, but that'll be finished for the summer in another week. And then I'll be free!! Yay!
I did have a productive day today and that felt good.
Your peonies are glorious. I'm still waiting for mine to burst open.
You have so many beautiful flowers in your garden. I enjoyed seeing your lovely collection of lilacs, irises and all the other spring blooms. Isn't it wonderful to have so much color in the garden again?
Also love seeing your gorgeous bird photos and reading Miss B's amusing reports :) Great fun!
Lucky you to have an indigo bunting! I had the joy of seeing one at the feeder about 3 weeks ago. I'm hoping for a repeat of that experience.

beckie said...

Marnie, I think I would have liked Ruth Stout very much. I hope she got rid of that husband. :) Cosmos is a delightful plant and I so enjoyed them last year in my garden that I palnted several more this year. Mostly pinks again but Ithink there is an orange or two. I planted double, but they didn't survive the peat pots. :(

Everytime I see peonys on someone's post I think I ought to have some! Yours are beautiful. And your foxgloves are spectacular. Mine didn't come back this spring so I will just have to enjoy the freckles on yours.

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Good mornig Marnie.

Lovely blooms from you today and I do understand that you are proud of your Foxgloves they are stunning.

Have a great weekend.

Greetings from a rainy Vaxholm


ShySongbird said...

Such beautiful photos again. I love Cosmos and have some growing well at the moment, not in flower yet though. I especially like the tall ones although they can suffer in the wind. I have never seen or even heard of yellow ones! You are right about Paeonies, it is such a shame their flowering period is so short. My Foxgloves never get very tall but I love them anyway, your photo showing the raindrops on your Foxglove is beautiful.

Rose said...

I don't have any peonies, Marnie, but otherwise I think you and I might be soul sisters:) I still have plants waiting in their pots and a few seedlings threatening to give up if I don't put them in some real dirt soon. This is my first year, too, for planting cosmos; after seeing them last year in several gardens, I thought now why haven't I planted them? The same with nasturtiums--do you have some, too? I don't think my foxgloves are going to return this year, though.

I am going to have to read up on Ruth Stout and her gardening methods. Although there is a "man in my life", Mr. Procrastinator doesn't generally help with anything garden-related; it's all up to me.

By the way, Marnie, I think your term "pot ghetto" has been adopted by more and more in the blogosphere:)

Beth said...

Hi Marnie:
I know what you mean about cosmos. Last year was the first year I planted them and I love them too! I don't know why I didn't try them sooner as they are so easy to grow.
I planted the yellow and orange cosmos by seed this year. I hope they make it! Gorgeous foxgloves ...

Kathleen said...

What an interesting woman she must have been. I love the phrase "pot ghetto" ~ I usually have one of those going too. I wish you luck getting everything planted this weekend. They will definitely do better in the ground if you can find the time. I am left with only a tray of annual seedlings but I'm holding them back to fill in around the oriental poppies & the bleeding hearts once they die back. A row in the tray is pink cosmos. I can't live without them in the garden, glad you added them to yours. The butterflies and bees will thank you too. I'm also glad to know someone else who struggles with foxglove. I try and try. This year I had a few return for the first time after heavy, heavy mulching. We had an unusually mild winter tho so I don't know which helped (probably both). The peonies are beautiful and a nice variety of colors. I never tire of them either. Have a good weekend Marnie and happy planting!

Sylvana said...

I love that little bit of purple edging on the Shirley Temple.

The Birdlady said...

Oh those peonies! They are gorgeous!

Gayle@Mountain Moma said...

Gardening in the nude...I'd be careful of the roses!! :)

A Wild Thing said...

Pot ghetto...I'm still laughing about that one...Lorie and I are painting funky lil' garden signs for the cute would that be...!

Gardening in the nude...well, I can't stand to have a spider web touch me on the hand or leg...can you imagine...I'd blow up...ha!

have a great weekend, hopefully sunny!!!


troutbirder said...

I absolutely love the foxgloves and in spite of all my pampering have utterly been a failure in raising them... oh well.

Northern Shade said...

Your peonies must be giving a lovely scent in the garden now. Aren't they great plants to inherit from a previous gardener (or farmer).I adore peonies, including the petal-packed doubles. They might not bloom for very long, but they give a lot of pleasure over their long life.

TC said...

I'm wanting a yellow peony. But they're so expensive. I may settle for a Shirley Temple if the white is as soft and delicate as what I'm seeing in your photograph. (Watch your pets and toddlers around those foxgloves, they're poisonous.)

Brenda Kula said...

You know, I know how to drive. But I'd rather just not go anywhere. I'm perfectly content at home with my pets and garden. I guess if I could, I'd order everything online. I dread the days when I just have to go out and about for some reason. Maybe the woman you wrote about gardened in the nude just so she'd be certain to be left alone. It's a thought I don't mind myself...

Jimmy and Wade said...

We planted our first Peony's this year. We hope to be enjoying them next year. We can only hope they are as beautiful as yours.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Hi Marnie,
Oh, your peonies are so beautiful...
So nice to see your mention of Ruth Stout...many years ago we were inspired by her book, "How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back".

Sherri said...

Marnie, what beautiful flowers! I love the peonies-they are my favorite!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I keep getting all my plants planted, but then buying more. We've had lots of rain, too, and I don't always have good opportunities to get things in when the soil is dry enough before the next rain comes. It looks like you aren't letting yours get dry. They look content.

Last summer when I discovered gardeners on the cottage garden forum on ivillage, I was asking if anyone could remember who the author was who wrote about gardening in the 70s, was humorous, and said something about gardening in the nude. I don't think anyone knew, but then someone, maybe you, wrote something about Ruth Stout, and I knew that's who it was. I did a search and figured out which book it was, and I'm pretty sure I don't have it anymore. Every once in awhile I make myself get rid of things, and now, how am I going to be able to do it this summer, when I know I got rid of something I really wish I hadn't. When I looked into getting another copy, it was going to be quite expensive. I'll have to check into it again.

I love your use of quotes!

Anonymous said...

[]Crush The Castle[/url]