Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Flip Side

Torrential downpours flooded my garden last week


Many of the plants in the rain garden are still just breaking dormancy. 


Heavy rain eroded the banks, covered the rocks with soil, and created a mulch dam at the end.

so the rain garden soaked it all up.

I told myself to spend less on the garden
but found a birdhouse I couldn't live without.

I had an ugly pot


This is a work in progress.


so I jazzed it up with paint and buttons.

I was happysad and frustrated


so I poured my emotions into a pie.

I thought my 'Maraschino' salvia was dead


but then I saw new growth.

My loropetalum's died this winter


so I replaced them with 'Blue Shadow' fothergilla.


71 comments:

  1. Don't you love it when you see new growth on a plant that you thought didn't make it?!?! I have been in assessing mode here as it is hard to tell what pulled through our rough winter and every sprig of green I tell you is like a triumphant victory!!! Your pot looks awesome! I love that bit of whimsy that you have added and those birdhouses....my goodness are those insanely cool! The weather is a bit worrisome with all of its extremes these days...I do hope that you were able to rework the walls that were eroded by the rains. The pie is a sure way to make the belly and the mouth smile...did you make that pie?!?!? Yummy!! Hope you are well friend and that the weather is a bit gentler this week! Nicole xoxo

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  2. I did make the apple pie. :o) I love to bake as well as garden. I have so many plants that are still breaking dormancy that it's hard to tell what's late and what's dead. I haven't had a chance to work in the rain garden yet because it's still so wet but will get to it eventually. I am a sucker for an awesome birdhouse! Have a great week, too!

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  3. Your 'Blue Shadow' fothergilla is fabulous. Fothergilla has a lot going for it, and it is one of my favorite shrubs. And I love your last quote!

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    1. That quote is vital. I'll never get everything I want, which I think is a good thing. I grew fothergilla in my garden in SC and it feels so right to have it back. You can't tell in the photo, but I splurged and bought really big ones. They're big, muscular chaps and fill the space well.

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  4. I love that quote as well. Gardens have a lot to teach us about accepting what you can't control and making the most of it.

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    1. Absolutely! My garden and my children are the best teachers I've ever had. :o)

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  5. So many stories in our garden, hope everything going to better soon.
    I love the fothergilla.

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    1. Fothergilla is a wonderful shrub for North America. I used to grow it in another garden and am so happy to have it in this garden, too.

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  6. Once that garden fills in you won't even notice the rainstorm mess. I also got a Fothergilla last year but the Mt Airy. So happy to have it in as I like the little blooms on it already. Yours is lovely.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I had planned on getting Mt Airy but the Shrubmaster couldn't find me any big ones so I took Blue Shadow, instead, which actually works better for this spot.

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  7. I have a few things that didn't make it. One of my David Austins, Winchester cathedral, a creamy white. Tow others may be coming up from below the graft. I will just have to wait until they bloom. Looks like you have some rebuilding to do. Here, we could stand a. It of rain. Have a good week.

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    1. I had to cut my favorite climbing rose completely to the ground. It was heart breaking but I think it will be worth it in the end unless all it's new growth is below the graft, too. Who even knows what colors the flowers will be? As long as it doesn't have blackspot, I might not care!

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  8. I've decided Fothergilla is one of the Best Shrubs Ever.

    So happy you decided to add one to your garden.

    And yes, those birdhouses are fab.

    Feel free to send a slice of your emotions (er, pie) my way anytime :P

    PS - I feel lucky that most of my plants seem to have survived the winter and the late spring cold snap. I'm most surprised that our crape myrtles seem to be fine - even one that I roughly transplanted a couple of weeks ago has started leafing out and the others (Natchez variety mostly) are pretty much all leafed out by now. But many of the crapes I see around town don't seem to have a single leaf on them. I wonder if they're just later than usual for some reason or deader than a doornail? I know not all the crapes are as tough and hardy as Natchez. Or maybe it's that we don't cut ours back whereas all the folks who murder (I mean, prune) their crapes leave them more susceptible to extreme cold?

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    1. Hmmm....maybe people didn't plant cold hardy crepes or perhaps they were just too exposed. Mine haven't leafed out yet, either, but they always leaf out late here. I only branch prune mine to open the interior. No crepe murder for me!

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  9. I lost one Salvia 'Hot Lips,' but then two others in a different spot survived our winter. Decorating a pot with buttons is a great idea. I made a necklace for one of mine.

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    1. I love buttons and our long cold winter gave me lots of time to stand by the door dreaming up plans to fix this pot. I have a few plants just a few inches apart where one died and one lived. So weird!

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  10. Oh damn that bloomin' rain!!! I hope all recovers, and after all your hard work too!!
    On a positive, I love the buttons on your pot, what a creative gal you are....I hope you don't mind me stealing the idea!!!!
    Your pie looks divine....can I have a slice please? Pretty please??? And those birdhouses are simply adorable1xxx

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    1. Steal all you want! I'm not done with that project so there are more buttons in the future. The pie was for a friend. It was all I could do not to serve it up missing a big slice!

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  11. So true! It's easy to get deflated by the challenges the garden (constantly) presents - in my case, raccoons, heat, drought - but giving up gets one nowhere. Persevere, reframe, and visualize other options are my mottoes (after I get get done having a hissy fit anyway).

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    1. Sometimes you just gotta blow off some steam. But as long as we head back out there to try again, it's all good.

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  12. On the bright side, we don't have all that much longer to live so you should spend all you want on the garden. After all you should enjoy the 60 or so years you have left on the planet!

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    1. If I live another 60 years I'll be 105! I'm not sure I want to live that long. I can be quite spendy in the garden. Need to win the lottery!

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  13. There's always a flip side, as you said. x

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    1. Sometimes I have to keep flipping to find it, but it's always there.

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  14. Ooooo, love the Fothergilla! I thought one of my new Epimediums was dead, but then I saw a ton of new little seedlings at the base! Joy! I'm still trying to figure out which of my seeding experiments worked. Too early to tell yet, I guess. I love your rain garden. I'm still thinking about adding one, but we might be moving in a few years so I'm stalling. You're so creative, Tammy! The pot looks wonderful!

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    1. Epimediums are just so tough. Mine are in a much moister spot this year, after languishing in the Sahara, and they are so happy! The rain garden might add to the homes value if it solves a water problem. I'd do it. :o)

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  15. The hard winter brought enough losses to keep us all humble, but it also brought out some fine creativity in you. That pot decoration makes whatever is in the pot interesting. Also, knowing when to leave a dam alone makes good sense.

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    1. The big rock at the end of the river bed makes an excellent dam and the mulch helps keep the water in the rain garden. But this pile of mulch is a bit too big and will be rearranged a bit. The rain came in so fast and hard that I need to excavate the rocks out form under the soil.

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  16. Off to show the hubs your delightful rain garden, ours will be a dry stream bed, but I like your design. And it must have worked because your banks are intact.

    Jen

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    1. Not all of the rain garden is in this picture. If you'd like more info, just email me. The key is to slow down the water before it hits the end of the riverbed. The front is on a slight downward slope and the middle is the deepest part. Heavily planting the banks with deeply rooted perennials also helps hold the soil and the big rock at the end acts as a dam.

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  17. The pie would solve a multitude of ills.....When are you inviting us all over for coffee and pie?

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    1. I need to be more awake before I respond to comments. If you were in the area, I'd tell you to get your butt over here and I would make another pie. :o)

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  19. I love that blue "dog" bird house a whole lot....maybe I should make a bird house for the sparrows that keep on trying to build a nest on the window ledge outside my office window. Every time I open the window all the twigs and grass clippings that they have placed there gets pushed away.
    I have never seen an ugly pot in any of your photos, but I love the new look of the button-rimmed pot.
    Pouring my emotions into baking something nice always keeps me grounded and gives me time to think and regroup and get back outside to conquer the problem....your friend is very lucky to be on the receiving end of that scrumptious looking apple pie.

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    1. I bake a lot! I'm making cookies tonight that I'm taking to work tomorrow. :o) I assure you the pot was lacking. The paint was peeling off and it looked pathetic. I thought that dog birdhouse was just so cool. I have a weakness for funky birdhouses that feel like art.

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  20. Love the bird houses and the pie looked pretty tasty. Such wise advice of wanting what you have. Once I learned to let go of outcomes life got a whole lot easier (and more interesting!).

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    1. I like the element of surprise in never knowing exactly how something might turn out. We live in such a disposable, consumerism-saturated society that realizing what we already have is pretty damn fine is an important lesson. I have to remind myself of it occasionally.

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  21. My rain garden has eroded too much over the last few years now so we have to dig it out again but it has worked well so far too....that pie looks amazing as does that shrub...wow!

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    1. The pie was mighty tasty! The rain garden requires a bit of maintenance every spring. But for the most part, it's all work that can be done in just an hour or so. But even when it looks like crud, it's effective. :o)

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  22. The fothergilla will be better than the lorapetalum anyway. :) Wow, that is one good-looking pie. Makes me want to dive right in!

    Re: your question with narcissus and daffs, yes, same thing! I just didn't want to use the word daffs over and over (it's not really a word anyway). lol Sorry for the confusion!

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    1. I agree about the shrubs! The loropetalums just need a warmer climate and a more sheltered spot. I like how tough the fothergilla are. Thanks for the clarification on the names. :o)

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  23. PS I really like your bird houses and what you did with the pot! I never would have thought of that.

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    1. It's a work in progress. I love funky buttons and also have several birdhouses decorated with them. There will be a post on my buttonlove in the future. :o)

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  24. If I were closer I could drop in to help with the pie. Very cool birdhouses. Looks like your rain garden did do the trick, despite the damage. Does it look like it will require a lot of work to get it back in shape?

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    1. Just an hour or so will be all that's required to fix the erosion and excavate the buried rocks. :o) As for our Japanese anemones, I read they are late to emerge, so this year they will be even later.

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  25. Love this post--it's all in the perspective, isn't it? My two new Encore Azaleas didn't make it through the winter; I guess instead of mourning them as I have, I need to think of it as an excuse to go plant shopping:) Love all your birdhouses!

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    1. So many people lost large plants this winter. A few perennials are easier to deal with and cheaper to replace. But life happens so it's time to go shopping!

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  26. That must have been quite the downpour. I hardly dare plant, it seems a heavy rain immediately follows. The little bed by the back door really gets it, no point in replacing the soil until I can get a downspout and run it to goodness knows where.

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    1. The rain was insane and kept up for several days. Sounds like you need a rain garden, too!

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  27. Hi Tammy, I think I'm going to be looking at this rain garden idea in more detail, it drizzled the other day and so a large part of the garden squelches underfoot again, it's due to rain on and off for the next week so I'm getting inflatables in. I love the pot with the buttons around the rim, I wish I was even half as creative as you. The pie looks so delicious as well, I'm going to have to scope out a snack.

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    1. It's really effective at using the water as an asset instead of letting your garden turn into a swamp. I built the rain garden in the spot where water normally collects and use the dry riverbed to help funnel the water to a rock dam at the end. Even when it doesn't rain, the soil there is heavy and moist. All the plants there can handle both dry periods and flooding. The ones that need moist but well drained soil are towards the front, while my water lovers are in the middle to back. The front of the riverbed is higher than the middle and it acts like a funnel to direct the water towards the lowest point. It's a beautiful, practical solution.

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  28. Lovely quote at the end, so true.
    I love it too, when a plant peeps out of the ground just when I have give up all hope of ever seeing it again. I am still waiting for a Dicentra formosa 'Aurora', new purchase last autumn, but might be the only casualty this winter – except for some daffodil bulbs that rotted because of all the rain we had. I will be patient for a little while longer before I get another Dicentra :-)

    NB! That pie looks very tempting – particularly since I have been on a diet since January, and been very good – lost 26 pounds so far but got at least the same more to lose. No pies in my house at the moment!

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    1. I lost quite a few plants this winter. It's been really frustrating. I'm hoping a few of them are still just waking up. Dicentra likes well drained, but moist soil. I'd dig around the roots to see if it rotted. They are some of the earliest to break dormancy here. Hooray for the 26! I still wish I had that pie. I could go for a slice! :o)

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  29. Beautiful fothergilla. I had no damage from the rain in my gardens because they all drain well. I am still wondering and waiting to see new growth on about five of my plants. I hope the frigid winter did not kill them.

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    1. I lost several plants. A few that I thought were still dormant were quite dead. But I had some pull through surprisingly well, which is always a relief. I hope everything wakes up for you, too, with this blast of warm weather.

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  30. What lovely birdhouses and crafted pots! The decorated pots are a great idea.

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    1. Thanks! I have a creative itch sometimes. :o)

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  31. I love that quote. Did you write it? That pie...ooh that pie! You have so many talents, girl. I'm so happy that your Salvia is coming back. I love that one. And the Fothergilla blossoms are lovely.

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    1. The first time I ever heard that quote was in a Sheryl Crow song and it just stuck. It's so wise. It took me about 10 years to learn how to make a great pie. I am a self-taught gardener and baker. I think my main talent is rat terrier-like tenacity. Giving up rarely occurs to me.

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  32. Tammy I always tell myself to 'spend less on the garden'. But when I am in garden center I buy new plants because of I know some of them died in winter. I have many new roses and perennial this spring and till now I am not able to plant them in soil: the weather is too cool. Love this quote, it's wise. Your pie looks very tasty, so I have to have lunch right now!

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    1. I lost some plants, too, and I'm trying to find cheap ways to replace them. I've been filling some empty spots with flowering herbs instead of perennials because they're often perennial, too, and are much less expensive.

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  33. Every year, winter makes some changes in the garden. Yours is waking up nicely. Love those bird houses!

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    1. Now if I could just get my dogs to quit digging holes everywhere!

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  34. All life is here, isn't it. Always thrilling to see growth on something you thought was dead, preferably before chucking it on the compost heap. Sorry about your rain garden. I've been reading up on them, strangely for a country of gardeners in a wet climate they are still not common here.

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  35. the wild orchid I carefully rescued to a pot - and wondered if I would ever see it again - has sent up a tiny spike of green leaves!

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  36. Great post, Tammy. so many lessons: rain garden so sensible, no plant is indispensable and there is often new growth when one least expects it. Yummy looking pie, and wise words.finally: the recipe for happiness?

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  37. Here it is not flood but fire. We have been burning all the fallen branches from last years storm. The two big trees in the corner will come down this week. Maybe I should bake a pie to cheer myself up. Yours certainly looks delicious!

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  38. Excellent advice. Especially when it comes to gardens. I'm always wishing I had time to do more, have more plants, make more beds. Must learn to be content and enjoy the progress i have made so far.

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