Posted in Gardening Journal 2020

Garden Journal 4-30-2020

My Burpee burpless cucumbers are coming right along. I’ve got six new nasturtiums starting, too, but they’ll take a little longer to show their heads.

I’m not super-keen on daylilies because they don’t attract the birds and I hate pulling the yuckygummy flowers off after they bloom.  However, they are faithful and other than the aforementioned yuck, easy.

I moved my Rebecca clematis just as it put out buds to bloom.  It’s done just fine and looks beautiful in its new spot.

The Peas continue to Pop…

Pansies have popped up, too…

I put out all the viable tomatoes and I worry every night, but they were insistent that I get them out of their pots.  Here’s the garden from the bathroom window… tomatoes across the back fence and  Casey’s potatoes (on the right) are coming along nicely.

The weather is still whimsical.  These days spent inside looking out seem long, but isn’t it that the way Spring is?  Big Winds blew through the other day and one of our bird feeders nearly toppled.  The birds were undaunted.  I wanna be like them,

Keep on Growing…

Posted in Gardening in Spring, Gardening Journal 2019

Garden Journal April 2

We bought and planted a Spicewood Viburnum, already blooming and wonderfully shaped.  No, it’s not native, but it smells wonderful…

Here’s kind of a better picture of the viburnum…

It was really bugging me that the final Peace Sign shape was off — the legs were spread rather obscenely wide — so we adjusted it.  The sunflower seed birdfeeders also got moved to suit me…sorry, it’s kind of hard to see the After, but it looks a lot better.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that anything just below the feeder gets covered with sunflower seeds, so I moved one just east of the garden plot and I’m going to just mulch under the other.  Besides, I feel like they were just a little too close together the other way.  The suet and finch feeders don’t “leak” so I can put them anywhere. I’m also experimenting with some garden ornaments, hence the sundial that I’ve had “put away” for many years.

Our back porch/breezeway is full of baby plants (and some rather pubescent tomatoes) that we’ve taken in and out of the shed for the last several cold nights.  The air out there is luscious!  Soon we’ll be able to leave them overnight.

The Peas are popping!

Meanwhile, down at the Thoughtful Spot, the mayapples are Rising Up, ready to act as umbrellas for the elves and faeries that I Know live in our woods.

My favorite plant-buying place is going to open next week!  They are requiring everyone to wear masks and gloves and will also have Senior shopping hours.  Yay!  I’m dreaming of coreopsis and bee balm, cucumbers and squash…

Keep on Growing!

Posted in Gardening in Spring, Gardening Journal 2020, Sonnystone Gardens

Peace/Bird Garden Update and A Walk in the Woodland

We brought in the soil and reset the Peace Sign.  The echinacea and rudbeckia have been moved to form a border for the inner circle.  The birdfeeders are strategically placed for easy viewing from the house.  I’m not going to plant anything else right now as I consider what I should buy and what I should recycle.  I’m still trying, in my heart, to use only native plants, but I have a Ton of daisies I need to divide, so I may break my rule.

Agriculture is an essential service, so the large nurseries are delivering.  Unfortunately, Ronnie’s, my age-old buying spot, does not have sufficient room to keep people safe while shopping.  They were scheduled to receive a shipment April 2, but I’m not sure if they’ve figured out a way to sell it.

In the meantime, the larger nursery I frequent is spread out and has a window, kind of a walk-through, set up, so I can probably find what I need up there.

I’m so grateful that I have these four acres within the city for this retreat.  We’re outside every chance we get.  Here’s today’s walk.  (Oh, bluebirds are nesting in our houses!)

Keep on Growing…

Posted in Gardening in Spring, Gardening Journal 2020, Gardens at Sonnystone 2019


The sound of pouring rain woke me at 1:46 a.m. and I listened as it pounded on the roof, getting louder and louder until it peaked at about 1:57, then ebbed back to just a downpour by 2:03. I got up and used the bathroom, peering out the window in the dark, wondering if the peas I’d planted would be drowned. This morning the sun came up –haven’t seen it for awhile, so that was reassuring– and I walked out to the pea trellis. One small green sprout winked at me…then another!

Spring is here! The order of the universe is faithful and the blooms are opening, pollen is flying willy-nilly,  making me sneeze and snort — not a virus, thank-you-very-much!

In addition to the peas, we’ve planted potatoes…

and onions in buckets…

We’ve been sneaking out and working on our “new” bird garden as often as we can.  What we’ve got here is a Peace sign within the square.  I’m still calculating how to make the brick paths to the center.  Next Week, during the temporary warm we’ll take out the bricks and remove the rest of the “grass” and  perennials. We’ll bring in some fresh garden soil and make the circle, add the legs, and plant.   I hope the growers haven’t been affected (too much) by the plague, as I have dreams of using native flowers that the Birds will Adore.

Compare and Contrast:  Spring, 2020 vs. Fall, 2019

The last week has been gloomy and rainy with temperatures all over the map.  Right now it’s 68 degrees, but that number will be dropping throughout the day, all the way down to 29 by tomorrow morning and predicted to be back in the upper 60s by next week then back down to 50s, a roller-coaster ride of changes in weather.

But Nature is not fooled.  The weatherman says the vernal equinox is “early” this year (it was actually yesterday that the sun slid north above the equator), but the plants are oblivious, dancing to their own rhythm, one older than our “time” or “temperature”.  The perennials emerge, the woodlands begin to green, and the birds begin to nest.

I’m humming a hymn (Great is Thy Faithfulness) …this verse, particularly…

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

It is one of my very favorites and I often use it as my morning prayer, filling my heart with comfort and reassurance that “Morning by Morning, New Mercies I see”.   It gives me “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” that The Universe is unfolding as it should.  Perhaps it can encourage you, as well, fellow human.

Keep on Growing…



Posted in gardening, Gardening in Spring, Growing Every Season

Weekly Garden Journal #2

I love the sleep that rewards a day of working in the garden. I wake up feeling like I’ve been healed and nourished, praying “God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world”.

That is, unless it’s another rainy, gloomy, cool-ish day like today.  That’s Spring for ya, a moody little witch that can get you high in the 70s and kill that buzz with a low 40…

We had some good work-days this week.  All of the veggies are in.  I’ve kept one bed free for a second sowing of green beans.  The original bed is sloow popping up, thanks to those 40s and some pounding rain, but I think they’ll be okay.  I’ve changed around some of the container contents, and may change them again. I ended up with too many bell peppers and roma tomatoes and had no choice but to plant as many as I could find space for.  I still have 4 peppers and 1 roma left, if anybody’s interested…


The Big Excitement, though, is Phase I of our Bird Garden.  We spend quite a bit of time watching the birds, especially in the winter and we realized we wanted our feeders to be closer, and where we could more easily see.  Inspired by Sharon Sorenson’s book, Planting Native to Attract Birds to Your Yard , I started envisioning planting a playground for our birds to frolic as we while away the winter watching..

You’ve probably noticed that I change my mind a Lot, but this is a start.  First thing we bought was a Sweet Bay Magnolia.  This tree is allegedly a bird-magnet, providing a little something for every season.  I already have a 10-year-old Jane magnolia, but that is not native.  The birds love it, though, and it is a great backdrop for photos in the winter.  The sweet bay grows larger than Jane, and we put it strategically away from the house, positioned to eventually touch the Jane’s branches.

I broke my rules and bought another non-native Jane because I wanted a smaller tree to define the south boundary of the garden.  The hummingbird feeders are hanging to either side of the south door and already are hosting hummers.

In my head is this grand design using picket fencing, but in order to get things going for next winter’s bird-watching, we simply moved the bird feeders currently in use and planted native rudbeckia and echinacea around the poles.  We still need to widen the flower area, but that is some tenacious weed growing there.   Sharon didn’t have to tell me how much the birds love the black-eyed Susans and purple coneflower! I can hardly wait to watch the goldfinches feast on them.

In the next phase, we’re adding a Viburnum and some sweet virginia sweetspire around the south side for them to feast on, though that’s out of our sight..   I hope by winter we’ll have a ground-level bubbler added, but for now we’ve got an old birdbath thrown down for water…  Still needs Imagination when I look at it, but I like it…

Last year, looking for a red perennial vine, I found a half-dead Rebecca clematis at Lowes, brought it home and nursed it back to health, but not bloom.  Check it out this year!

While the heavens water the gardens here at Sonnystone, I’ll be turning my attention to the weather in Louisville tomorrow for the Oaks and Saturday for the Kentucky Derby…


Posted in Gardening in Spring, Gardens at Sonnystone 2019, Growing Every Season

New Beginnings

Every year we watch as the green returns to the grasses and the trees bud, checking the temperatures, measuring the rains…  I look out the windows and plan the planting, imagining a summer garden lush with flowers and vegetables.  The containers are pulled out of the shed, emptied and cleaned, ready to be filled.    The porches that have served as storage are now serving as cozy sitting areas where we rest after our labors.

This Spring has been the best we’ve had in years, meaning there have been no hard frosts (or snow!) to kill the tender buds of the dogwoods, magnolia, and redbuds and they are now flourishing.  The daffodils came out in exuberant droves, the forsythia and quince bloomed in an abundant array of beauty.

The pollens are also prolific and my sinuses are blooming with snot…  Mornings sound like a TB ward around here as I clear my throat from the night’s drainage, but I can live with it just to be out gardening in the Spring.

The average last day of frost in these parts is April 15, but I’m still leery of planting vegetables.  I remember too many Derby Days (first Saturday in May) wearing a coat and winter hat and have learned to be patient.

Just to tide me over, I bought a small 4-pack of Roma tomatoes, Big Bertha and California Wonder peppers, an a sweet cherry 100 and put them over in larger pots.  They should be the right size to plant in about a month when I can plop them in the (warm) ground.

Cilantro and arugula have been put into buckets. Peas have been planted behind the young asparagus.

There is plenty of clean-up to be done.  I have moved everything out of the East garden–mostly daisies, a few coreopsis–and it is ready for a new vision.    I have daisies coming out the wazoo, but they don’t fit in with the plan for my Bird Garden, so they’ve been relegated to the front porch area and over in the North garden. There are a lot of leftovers…always a challenge.

 For now I’m going to plant my four pots of lavender in front of the hydrangea.

I started gardening 26 years ago when my daughter went off to college, the dog died, and I needed a hobby.  Inspired by the old farmers I was visiting as a home health nurse, it seemed to me to be the best way to Live, connected to the earth, giving and taking with the seasons.  It started with some herbs, some tomatoes and green beans.  It grew to water features and compost bins and thyme-covered paths. I have failed too many times to count, but never did I fail to grow something…and that was enough to keep me going.   Every year, sure as Spring, I return to the Garden and fall in love…

Clearly, nature calls to something very deep within us.  When I am in the garden, whether or not the thing grows is not the point; whether the garden is symmetrical is irrelevant.  The weeding and the watering or just the admiration of the season is All.

The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological. I have no doubt that they reflect deep changes in the brain’s physiology, and perhaps even its structure.  …. Oliver Sacks

Gardening has changed my brain, I’m certain, and has built pathways directly to my Soul where we are All One. You and me and all Living things and all meditations and all prayers and all art and all songs are the Same working together as One in the Moment that is the Only Moment:  Now.

I’m so happy to be back at the blog, as well.  I hope you’ll enjoy spending some time in the Sonnystone Gardens with me this Growing Season.


Posted in gardening, Gardening in Spring, The Edible Garden 2018

Back in the Garden

So, we just skipped Spring this year, it seems.  Since April 29, when our lows were a chilly 40’s and highs mid-50’s, we have had 2 weeks of blazing highs in the upper 80’s to 90’s, even set some records.  We also got a hail storm, the likes of which I have never witnessed.  It was high anxiety watching as my newly-planted veggies were pelted, but they all made it through with minimal trauma.  Now we’re in a holding pattern of clouds and rain, which is just fine.

Here’s this year’s edible garden, as of today…


My roses were devastated by rose slugs.  Can you believe it?  They have bloomed beautifully, but within about 3 days went from having a few holes in the leaves, to being literally foliage-free….not a good look.  We have sprayed, twice, so we are hopeful that they will recover, but…  I sincerely regret buying all these knock-out roses. I guess these blooms  almost…kinda…sorta.. make up for the trouble.


Still, this lovely honeysuckle bloom is as easy and pest resistant as it gets…  I should stick with native plants…

I planted lavender in containers this year, throwing in the towel at growing them in the ground.  My original plan was to keep them out in the edible garden, but I’m babying them on sunniest spot on the front porch for now.

Since it was summer-like, we got the pool up and the water was quickly comfortable, especially after working up a sweat schlepping around plants.  We expanded the pool area and changed some stuff around.  I’ll catch you up with that and the front porch (we have had some good rummage sale buys this year) over at Sonnystone Acres .

There’s some good-looking cilantro out back begging me to make Salsa…


Posted in 2017, edible garden, gardening, Gardening in Spring, growing

Still growing…

3 weeks + 3 days post planting…

My zucchini/squash are fruiting like crazy!

I’m still a little leery about a few of my tomatoes, but this husky cherry and 2 romas are strong!

I already have 3 bell peppers ready to harvest— that’s 2 more than I had all year last year!

I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of green beans soon.  I have planted a second crop to keep us supplied…

My Cousin Jimmy gave me these banana trees.  I think the grandkids will love them, though I have no idea (yet) where I’m going to plant them..

I finished up this morning, planting some containers, a Black-eyed Susan vine, Lavender, and the green beans.  I trimmed the basil and now have a lovely lot of fresh pesto to smear on my toast.

I hate to tell you, but my roses look like crap.  I failed to have Michael water them while we were gone and they’ve been suffering ever since.  I have fed and watered them, talked sweetly, and I have hope.  A gardener has to have a Lot of Hope.

Now it’s time to sit on the porch swing and relax…


Posted in 2017, edible garden, gardening, Gardening in Spring

The Edible Garden is In!

It’s all in…mulched and ready to grow…

I’m trying square-foot-type gardening, partly because I don’t have much faith in some of the peppers I started—not much root to them–and went out and bought some bigger ones, meaning I ended up with 12 bell peppers of assorted types, and 4 sweet banana peppers.  Same with the tomatoes:  I planted 3 better boys before the monsoons hit and they looked pretty bedraggled when it was all over, so I bought 3 bigger ones.  There are also 1 sweet cherry 100, 2 romas, and one husky.  There’s a lot of basil, some sage, rosemary, parsley, and oregano, as well as the broccoli and onions I planted in March.  I put down some carrot and beet seeds around the blueberry bushes…and don’t forget the bush beans and pole beans.   If it all grows, I’ll have plenty to eat and give away!

We’ve mulched around the entire house and it looks great…

I planted some wave petunias in an old stump (ala Pinterest), and surrounded geraniums with marigolds in the old wash tubs…

This lovely Sweet William is peeping out from under the daylilies..

When the rain finally returned, we brought out the houseplants and porch furniture…


Now, it’s just maintenance…and a fair bit of luck…