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Every flower, a reminder of a friendship

July 9, 2014


I love my flower garden. Somehow in the almost eight years we have lived here, it has slowly evolved. Like one daughter said recently, “It may look a little messy but I like it.”

I like it personally because almost every perennial in it was given to me by someone I know and therefore represents a relationship—mostly close friends and relatives—and memories. Not to mention, flowers from friends create a low cost garden. Mostly free, a few purchased, with a story attached.


Barbara’s Coreopsis. First I’ll show you the coreopsis that has just grown huge this year. It even seeded a baby, growing nearby.


This is how my coreopsis started out, a transplant from my beloved sister-in-law, Barbara. Sometime I’ll take you on a walk through her flower garden. Now there is a real green thumb, and she knows so much about flowers I try to learn from her all I can. (I do have the name right, don’t I? Let me know if it’s wrong!)


Willie’s Flowers. My neighbor Willie gave me these and I can never remember their names but once started, they come so prolifically I have to weed out and throw away many many plants each year. Anybody want some starts? Anyone know the name?


Kimberly’s Ribbon Grass. This is one of my newest additions. The closest I can come to identifying it is that it must be: Feesey’s ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinaecea). Can anyone verify? It has astounded me how quickly it has taken off. Please don’t tell me it’s invasive. Last year we had a retirement party for a staff member and several of us brought flowers and made up bouquets, and Kimberly brought a bunch of these. I liked them so much for fill in for flower arrangements that when Kimberly thinned her garden last fall, she put a start of these in my car. I left them go several days til I got around to planting them and still: this!


Cosmos. The cosmos shown here I started in my vegetable garden from a little pack of seeds, so technically I bought them for likely less than $2, but they are such good self seeders (or birds dropped them?) that I now have them throughout the front flower bed.


Janet’s Lily of the Valley. I love my bed of Lillies of the Valley, which was my very favorite flower growing up, which grew in a shaded bed next to our front porch at this house. When my dear church friend Janet offered me a few starts, I was eager to plant them in this shaded spot next to the front porch of my house. I think I’ve had this bed no more than 3 years: my how they’ve spread.


Black Eyed Susan. I used to stop and pick Black Eyed Susans from beside the road but I don’t have to anymore. Janet took me once to a small event that is a flower lover’s delight—some friends of hers who annually get rid of “extras” from their garden by inviting folks to a morning tea and brunch in their flower garden (a mother and daughter) and offering starts for sale (at low cost). These have also self sowed—aggressively. I now pull them out to make space around other flowers.


Nolan’s Ground Cover. This is another nameless ground cover plants received from my brother-in-law, Nolan. He warned me it grows nonstop. I left it sit in a bag of dirt in the garage for a week or more, but it took off anyway, and I have to keep it trimmed back several times a summer. But it makes great greenery for cut flowers.

There are some other special plants in my flower garden that are not in bloom now:

Rhododendron for Dad – This has never done well, due to this west facing bed, and a lack of soil acidity. But you can’t blame a woman for trying to raise one of her favorite ornamental bushes. I purchased this with money given to me in memory of my father after he died in 2006, who filled his grounds with so many flowers that he ran out of flower beds. I suspect that there might be enough flower beds in heaven for him.


Rose. One of my rose bushes died over this harsh winter, so I replaced it with a purchased rose bush from Home Depot. When I planted it, there were two separate rose bushes in the pot. Should I separate them or plant together? I thought it was great to get two for one price, so I separated them, and they are now getting ready to bloom on their own. Happiness!

Charles’ Iris. Our dear friend and former neighbor, Charles, gave me a start of his Irises when we moved to this house. Sorry I can’t find photos right now!



Don and Betty Tulips. Most of our tulips were a housewarming gift from the pastor who married us Don and his flower loving wife, Betty. I enjoy the tulips so much.


Weeds. Occasionally there are flowers that crop up which are nothing but weeds, but I let them grow awhile anyway.

My flower garden reminds me of the poem, “I am growing a glorious garden,” once lovingly transcribed by my middle daughter, Tanya, which I found likely in the bottom of a book bag or notebook at the end of the year.


It begins:

“I am growing a glorious garden
Resplendent with trumpets and flutes …”

I had never read this beautiful poem by Jack Prelutsky, but I instantly fell in love. Neither she nor I remember when she wrote it down for herself, but I treasure how it combines our love of flowers with her special love for an instrument garden—a garden she tends professionally as the artistic manager of her city’s symphony. Online I found a child performing this poem at a school assembly, likely about the same age as Tanya when she transcribed the poem, and this girl’s delight and recitation is just perfect for the poem. Enjoy!


Thanks for taking a walk through my garden with me today, and you didn’t even have to stop and pull any weeds, like I always have to.


Be a dear and leave a note or comment, especially if you can help identify Nolan’s Ground Cover or Willie’s Flowers.



 Andre and Mark Viette, horticulturists and growers of vast daylilies in the Shenandoah Valley near us, are my go to source for gardening advice, either on radio (show named “In the Garden”), or the book, Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Guide (covering Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. One of these days I must go visit their farm and gardens in Fishersville.


From → Faith, Family Life, Nature

  1. I love your “musical garden,” especially noting the fact that it is a little bit messy like mine.

    What a blessing to have floral residents in your garden that connect your to personal relationships.

    And how wonderful to have Tanya’s hand-written transcription of poetry, which reminds me of another one you’ll remember from Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
    Flower in the crannied wall,
    I pluck you out of the crannies,
    I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
    Little flower—but if I could understand
    What you are, root and all, and all in all,
    I should know what God and man is.

    This post brightened my day. I think I need to leave my writing chair, open the garden, and visit my patio garden, even in the Florida heat. Thank you!

    • You are a new friend in my virtual garden! Love the poem you added, and even though I was an English major and yes, read Tennyson (and liked him), I do not recall that one. I probably read that one but it is appalling what I forget! I combine my blog writing now thru summer with “working out” in my vegetable and flower garden and sometime think, yes, why not get up out of that chair more often!

  2. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    Thank you for sharing your lovely garden with us.
    I loved to see beautiful flowers and these days it is just too much for me to do much in the way of gardening except for some hanging baskets and having a few perennials in the back which were here when we moved

    I also enjoyed the girl reading the poem.
    So much enthusiasm in the presentation.

    • Yes wasn’t that child great? Wouldn’t it be nice to still be able to memorize, too? Some things we have to let go off as we get older, and your comments are a reminder of how to do so gently and with good grace. At least you strike me as doing so with a lot of grace! Blessings to you.

      • Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

        Yes , The child’s presentation did remind of how we used to have elocution lessons to memorize and recite readings.
        There are still a few that I remember from those days as I was very good at memorization then.
        Not so good now though!
        Thank you for you kind remarks back to me though.
        Too bad we live so far apart
        I think we could be very good friends.
        It is very nice to be cyber friends though.

  3. Yes please, I’ll have some Willie’s flowers after we move–not least of all for your nomenclature. (If you ever get around to Growing Up Plain you’ll see what I mean.)

  4. I will need to get a copy of your book, because I don’t quite know what you mean! But you will be welcome to all the Willie flowers you want. They are PROLIFIC.

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