Bluespiral's blog

Gardens with Vandals - going with the flow
Posted on Mar 7, 2021 3:01 PM

Part of coping with loss, according to the serenity prayer, is accepting what cannot be changed and trying to find some kind of positive path through the present moment and out into the future. So, I'm leaving the cutting swap here on atp, but still plan to keep gardening - to stop gardening would be like turning off my soul - my hope is that in the process of trying to bring back my garden that somewhere out on the internet there might be some solutions. My cameras seem to be hacked - a small footage of a cat on my porch kept repeating over and over - or if I went out onto the porch - the camera did not pick that up - hence my opinion the camera has been hacked. I need to become more knowledgeable about digitalized, computer-oriental devices.

To my erstwhile participants in the atp cuttings swap - :

I wish you all luck with your cuttings and would love to be able to stay in this swap. Over almost half a century, my late dh and I made our garden with just a shovel and crow bar and lots of blood, sweat and tears. We successfully filled it with plants from seeds and cuttings that eventually naturalized into a relatively self-maintaining garden (Brooklyn Botanic.Garden handbooks were wonderful guides to creative garden design, as well as practical guides to designing for low maintenance - and because of those, my gardens were successful in those respects).

Memories of my grandmother's flower garden in Massachusetts 1949 inspired me and my dh's love of all things green and Native American cultures that lived in harmony with them - not to mention dreams on my lunch hour reading Vita Sackville-West, Gertrude Jeckyll, Leopold Aldo(sp?), Henry Mitchell, Helen Van Pelt Wilson, Louise Beebe Wilder, Elizabeth Lawrence, etc.

Vandalism has become so much more sophisticated in this age of drones, robotics, hackable internet-based devices - I'm a technological dinosaur, relatively speaking - can only watch it all devolve by one petty act at a time. Did you know drones are used in utility break maintenance? One flew by our front porch window, just under the eaves, while my husband lay dying while on hospice, at sunset, 3 days before he passed away.

The hellebores began with five 2-1/2" pots that over 40 years matured, self-sowed into a thick impermeable patch - those plants are not walking off by themselves, nor did mature clumps of crab?/basket? grass with last year's dead growth walk in near them by themselves either within the last week, nor did stones lift themselves up out of the dry walls where we placed them, to block the brick paths disappearing beneath them. ~8" patches of sweet woodruff were cut out and replaced with sheets of moss. Some of these small petty acts of vandalism have been ongoing since 2014, some are ongoing.

You'd think that during this pandemic, when travel is minimized to control the virus, that there might be some relief. Last year, yards and yards of sod containing marsh marigolds were dug from a local renovated trolley path and planted for about 20' on our accessway, into which logs are gradually being dug - perhaps to replace top soil dug out to pot stolen plants as they are removed from our gardens? Who would do such a thing indeed?

If I talk about this, I'm a nut - naysayers say "who would do such a thing"?

Well, I know what my late dh and I made was successful for almost 30 years - within almost a half-century of trying.. Just wish we had moved to Canada instead of Oella back in 1974. Over 50 years some things have changed - but when it comes to how small the human spirit can become for just a few perhaps trying to "stimulate" the local real estate market- some things do not.

I hope this has been of help to any other gardener walking in my shoes during this pandemic and that the Golden Rule makes a come back, where adversity now trumps it.

Wishing everyone another great swap and pass-a-long experience again. - and to dh wherever you are now - thank you for almost 50 years of the freedom to be.


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Gardens with Vandals
Posted on Jul 1, 2020 5:13 AM

Gardens with Vandals, July 1, 2020

This began as a letter to a friend who, along with other local naysayers, views the destruction of my garden that my late husband and I began 46 years ago as a flaw in my perception. And since garden dreams and hopes were also involved in the making of our garden, I'll be musing about the subjective side of gardening along with gardening's objective aspects of plants, design, techniques, art, science, etc. A garden can mean many different things to different people in different circumstances - and perhaps therein - lies the heart of our loss.

Language is how people talk to each other. It can include many different ways/systems of communication, some of which are shared by other forms of life. But for the sake of argument, let's stick to human spoken/written language, to which google refers to as a "system" [used] in a "structural and conventional way."*

Logic is how people reason with each other "according to strict principles of validity."**

My opinion is that logic is just as much as a human language as Spanish, Greek or sign language, which [is a language that uses] the visual-manual modality to convey meaning.*** (Incidentally, both computer logic and sign language have facilitated communication between humans and other species like chimpanzees and the gorilla Koko. Heck, while I'm on a roll, so is war another form of language to force obedience between conqueror and conqueree. Pheromones facilitate a kind of attitude adjustment between the two sexes in all kinds of life forms in the universe called "love."

And then there are some people (just a few - usually it takes just one or a very few in a community to make life hell for others) who make money in some way off property that use the language of harassment and vandalism to force someone to sell their home and much beloved garden before they are willing to do so. I'm referring here to a very tiny minority of villainous realtors, developers, house flippers, etc with facades as "pure as driven snow", motivated by financial opportunities in a community almost done in transitioning from a 200 year old mill town's relatively inexpensive life style to a contemporary, economically "high-end", HOA type of community. And some of us don't fit their demographic vision of residents with certain "politically correct" memories of local history, opinions, hopes and dreams - not to mention the financial ability to survive in their type of world.

Anyway, I was involved in a debate this past afternoon with a friend - whom I deeply respect and admire and who doesn't mind if I disagree with him - about logic not applying to religious, mystical or fictional/fantasy subjects, but just to mathematical and scientific subjects. However in my opinion, since logic is just another type of language that "assesses the validity" of an idea, then it is as much a language as the systems of grammar/spelling used to express that idea that we know as English, Spanish or French, etc.

And, of course, since no human has posed for a security camera or has been seen vandalizing gardens or setting fires around here, then Oella is a green, safe, peaceful, friendly community where image and substance are one. And rhetorically manipulative questions like "Who would do such a thing?" or "Why just your garden and no one else's?" - that deflect focus away from the problems - "prove" no arson or vandalism has or is happening, and who needs logic when we've got good ol' common sense upon which to rely instead?

"Proving" that no human was involved in the ongoing destruction of our garden for the past 6 years, because no one has been seen over here, is a logical fallacy known as arguing from ignorance (Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam) and is a mantra of local naysayers (what criminal wouldn't be overjoyed with support from neighbors that insist their crimes never happened?).

These are difficult times we live in now, and if I cannot bring back the garden my late husband and I made during Oella's golden horticultural age from the mid '80s to late summer 2014, then I can make a teaching lesson about how to garden with vandals. I don't know exactly what will come of this, but if nothing else can be learned from the destruction of my garden, let it be: H O P E.





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Fairy Rings & Woodchucks
Posted on Aug 2, 2019 5:45 AM

In some Maryland Augusts, color is never more brilliant than among mushrooms spangling forest floors shadowed by old hemlocks or oaks (See Cunningham Falls ). Occasionally in bygone years here in Oella, a ring of toadstools would appear in our erstwhile glade higher out back on our slope. Some call those fairy rings, as portrayed by the British artist Edward Robert Hughes (1851 - 1914) - . This watercolor is called Midsummer Eve, done in 1908.

Too bad we can't commission local fairies into lassoing woodchucks with their fairy rings and banishing them from our gardens. So alternatively, I hope the following list from Penn State Cooperative Extension, of woodchuck resistant plants, might help us to better coexist with our fellow bucktoothed epicureans:

Woodchuck Resistant Plants
(from Penn State Cooperative Extension)

source doc (below), alphabetized:

Achillea sp. (Yarrow)
Aconitum sp. (Monkshood)
Ageratum houstonianum
Allium schoenoprasum (Chives)
Allium tuberosum (Garlic Chives)
Amsonia tabernaemontana
Anemone blanda (Windflower)
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Artemisia sp. (Wormwood)
Asarum candense (Wild Ginger)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
Astilbe sp.
Calluna sp. (Heather)
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Plumbago)
Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-Valley)
Coreopsis verticillata (Threadleaf Coreopsis)
Delphinium sp.
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Hay-scented Fern)
Dianthus sp. (includes Carnation, Pinks, Sweet William)
Dicentra eximia (Fringed Bleeding-heart)
Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
Digitalis sp. (Foxglove)
Festuca ovina var. glauca (Blue Fescue)
Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)
Gaillardia pulchella
Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff)
Gypsophila paniculata (Baby's Breath)
Helleborus sp.
Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro' (Daylily cv.)
Heuchera americana)
Iris sp.
Lavandula sp. (Lavender)
Lobularia maritima (Sweet Alyssum)
Melissa officinalis Lemon Balm
Narcissus sp. (Daffodil)
Nepeta catarina (Catmint)
Nicotiana alata (Flowering Tobacco)
Oenothera tetragona (Sundrops)
Paeonia sp. (Peony)
Pelargonium citrosum (Geranium, Citronella)
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)
Rudbeckia sp.
Saponaria officinalis (Soapwort)
Sedum sp.
Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ears)
Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew) (syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium)
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Thymus sp.

original source doc:

BUTTERFLY AND HUMMINGBIRD GARDEN Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella) Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Coneflower (Rudbeckia sp.) Delphinium (Delphinium sp.) Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) Lavender (Lavandula sp.) Ornamental Onion (Allium schoenoprasum) Sedum (Sedum sp.) Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) Yarrow (Achillea sp.)

CUT FLOWER GARDEN Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata) Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella) Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Daffodil (Narcissus sp.) Delphinium (Delphinium sp.) Dianthus (Dianthus sp.) Foxglove (Digitalis sp.) Heather (Calluna sp.) Iris (Iris sp.) Lavender (Lavandula sp.) Peony (Paeonia sp.) Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) Windflower (Anemone blanda) Yarrow (Achillea sp.)

DRY BORDERS Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella) Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Daylily cv.(Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro') Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) Lamb's Ears (Stachys byzantina) Lavender (Lavandula sp.) Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) Sedum (Sedum sp.) Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) Wormwood (Artemisia sp.)

Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Hay-scented Fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Festuca ovina var. glauca (Blue Fescue)
Pennisetum alopecuroides (Fountain Grass)

HERB GARDEN Catmint (Nepeta catarina) Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) Geranium, Citronella (Pelargonium citrosum) Lavender (Lavandula sp.) Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) Thyme (Thymus sp.) Wormwood (Artemisia sp.)

LIGHT SHADE GARDEN Amsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana) Daffodil (Narcissus sp.) Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) Foxglove (Digitalis sp.) Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) Geranium, Citronella (Pelargonium citrosum) Heuchera (Heuchera americana)
Iris (Iris sp.) Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) Windflower (Anemone blanda)

ROCKY AREA GARDEN Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) Heuchera (Heuchera americana) Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) Sundrops (Oenothera tetragona) Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)

SHADY ENTRY GARDEN Astilbe (Astilbe sp.) Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) Foxglove (Digitalis sp.) Fringed Bleeding-heart (Dicentra eximia) Hay-scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)** Hellebore (Helleborus sp.) Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis) Monkshood (Aconitum sp.) Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) Turtlehead (Chelone sp.) Wild Ginger (Asarum candense)

SUNNY ENTRY GARDEN Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum) Amsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana) Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata) Blue Fescue (Festuca ovina var. glauca) Delphinium (Delphinium sp.) Dianthus (Dianthus sp.) Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata)

- - - - - - - -
Penn State is an excellent reference for many aspects of gardening and horticulture. We have them to thank for Norman C. Deno's Seed Germination Theory and Germination.

One last word here on woodchucks - they'll eat just about any vegie or flower, but the above might be last on their menu.

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New Addition to my Flowers in Art and Literature blog
Posted on Oct 14, 2018 9:11 AM

The new entry is the genus, Silene, where I hope you will find a link to Jean Cotelle's (1646 - 1708) Gardens and Gods, among other aspects of Versailles and gardens of that period, from the perspective of the painter. I found it while searching for Silene coeli-rosa 'Blue Angel' - hope you enjoy traveling along with me looking for Blue Angel in 17th century Versailles.

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Music in the Garden
Posted on Jun 21, 2018 6:46 AM

In this murder mystery/love story, is a haven of peace, solace and joy: a grape arbor within an old-fashioned Turkish garden, under which a family gathers to share their lives as time moves along. This scene will come to a song, "Don't stir my heart with sorrow and tears", sung by brothers and accompanied by the oud.

Possibly the oud originated 3500 years ago in Persia and is the predecessor of modern stringed instruments as we now know them. Modern Turkey is geographically located within the same place occupied by Persia so long ago. So, to me, when I listen to this music, I'm listening to 3500 years of history - maybe the same music heard by ancestors of these characters in the same place?

And how old might the concept of the garden as haven be? Perhaps the garden of Eden in the bible? 'Garden as Haven' is another theme going back into forgotten time and still very much alive in the hearts of gardeners everywhere. I just think this garden, with its grape arbor over the brothers and their music, is too beautiful not to share. Hope y'all enjoy it. - Scroll to 1:06:28

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