If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember first of all that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies; like the human body, with its poor flesh, its illnesses at times repugnant. One must not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and immaculate. ~Fernand Lequenne
This is a busy week for me and around the blogging world. It is Wildflower Wednesday@Clay and Limestone with Gail, and Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd (part of the Foliage Followup that happens after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day) with Christina@Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides. I’ll be linking in with both these wonderful blogs.
Book Giveaway: Let me first announce the winners of the book, The Moment I Knew. Here’s a link to the post about the book and contest. I decided to give away 2 books. One to the a US reader and one to an International reader. Congrats and I hope you like the book. The winners (who were randomly drawn) are:
US: Tina@In The Garden
International: Laura@Patio Patch
Big News: This week I received a surprise email from Carole Brown regarding my posting on Beautiful Wildlife Gardens. To my astonishment, Carole has asked me to be part of the weekly team. Of course that means 2 posts a month. My immediate answer after I could actually move was…heck YES!! So I am moving my guest posting from the first Saturday of the month to every other Thursday, starting this Thursday which is of course Thanksgiving here in the US. If you get a chance, please join me there for a regular every other Thursday post. Actually you will not regret heading on over and subscribing to this wonderful blog to get a daily dose of some beautiful wildlife gardens.
As you read this, I am on my way to visit family in Arizona for Thanksgiving. I have not seen my family in 2 years. My health prevented the trip last year. Being a reformed workaholic, my body has yet to heal completely from the abuse I put it through. For 6 years I worked 60 hour weeks, at a minimum. I have worked through the stress and the many of the health issues that cropped up. But a few problems still remain; migraines, joint/back issues and weight gain. We all know what weight can do to your blood pressure, immune system and joints. It’s a never ending cycle that all comes from prolonged stress.
But I have made great strides these past 18 months dealing with the stress, but my weight is still an issue that I am determined to beat. That is my 30-Day Challenge. If you haven’t seen the video about this Challenge you should. Many wonderful bloggers have been doing their own Challenges this month. My challenge is to finally control the stress eating, the sugar, the gluten and on and on with the things that are not good for my body. My body has been telling me it doesn’t like these things although my brain is saying something else. I have completed 2 weeks on a healthy eating plan that is full of wonderful and delicious foods. I am enjoying it and I will be continuing to eat this way for the rest of my life. The next step; exercise, but that is the next Challenge.
So to say I am thankful for my health being returned to me is an understatement. And as I have been focused on my health the past 18 months, I have also been focusing on the health of my garden. The parallels are astounding. What really drove the point home for me was when I recently received an email from the folks at The Pond Blog about an interesting post, Surprising Ways Gardening Can Make Your Life Better. The graphic is on my sidebar and below.
Obviously the mental and physical benefits from gardening are easy to see. I blog about them often. You can look the graphic over at your leisure. It is chock full of interesting information. This year I have paid closer attention to the health of my garden especially the soil. We added compost to enhance the soil, and at the same time we were reusing refuse. Just like our bodies, our gardens need good nutrition. We are chemical free in the garden and in the body practicing organic methods of growing veggies and fruit. One other very healthy garden habit has been to make a conscious effort to plant more native plants in the garden. And what a perfect time to talk about natives than Wildflower Wednesday.
So let’s take a look at these natives at the end of the season. The rudbeckia, at the beginning of the post, was peeking out of the foliage making sure I noticed her. The helenium above continues to squeak out a blossom now and again. I am grateful to these natives for braving the cold weather to keep giving their blessed blooms.
Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting) is an unusual native. The gray-green foliage makes it seem more of an exotic. The spent flowers are still beautiful. The flowers are actually bright yellow enclosed by white papery bracts that are often mistaken for petals. Here the papery white is all that is left still making them a beautiful dried flower.
Phlox paniculata succumbed to the recent freeze, frosts and snow. The poor soggy petals melted in the sun. I am sad to see her go.
Gaillardia is frozen solid like a popsicle, but that is not stopping her. This plant is continuing its blooming all over the garden.
One of the added benefits of native plants is the fall foliage show.
OK technically this is not foliage. It is the stems of cornus sericea (red-osier or red-twigged dogwood). This magical bush bears leaves on mostly green wood during the growing season. As the leaves change, the stems of this plant turn dark red. It is a stunning contrast against the snow. It is not a fussy plant tolerating wet, poor soil. It grows upwards of 8ft tall. The deer rather enjoy this bush, but since it is so prolific, I have never found their year round munching to deter this plant. So I let the deer prune this plant for me all winter.
Although the blooms have faded on Obedient plant she is still putting out color. I do not remember this plant’s foliage turning a lovely burgundy/purple color last year. This plant is just as beautiful in its decline as when it is blooming, maybe more so.
Clethra or Summersweet is out doing itself with the warm days and cold nights. The yellow foliage is tinged with red as are the seed heads and stems. It is a riot of color that makes me smile.
This young native bald cypress tree is ‘Peve Minaret’ getting only 6 ft high. When I first bought this plant, it was a twig almost resembling the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It is now over 4 ft high and branching out nicely. It loves it in the wet area of the garden. I thought it was dying when it was changing color not realizing it drops all its needles. The needle-like foliage turns from bright green to bronze, and then lives up to its name and becomes bald going back to resembling a twig. The color change is incredible.
Fothergilla gardenii is a must for your fall garden. As a native it adapts to many different soil types. Preferring acidic soil, it grows in the neutral, dry shady clay conditions in my garden. These conditions are keeping it to a 3 ft dwarf size. The blueish green foliage and bottle brush type white flowers come in spring, but the big show is in fall.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone in the US and goodbye my native beauties…see you in spring!!!!
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.~ Buddha
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday. So drop by to check out all the wonderful flowers this Friday.
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