First winter snow

When it snows for the first time I’m out in the garden looking for tracks of deer which have been invisible up to now. I’m tracking where they go so I can put up barriers so they don’t get near my beautiful Hemlocks and Japanese Yew which they will chew up and devastate.


Deer tracks….which way are they going?

Deer are all around these parts, but not a problem until winter when they start foraging.

On the other hand, it’s a great thing to get all dressed up for snow and go out in the morning or late at night to see where they’ve been. I’ve also been out shoveling in the wonderful light that is at times blue. The snow also shows off the winterberries near my front door.

Winterberry – Ilex of some sort that grow wild near the roadside
in an old basket for picking apples.


I live in an amazing part of the country with snow, moon, cherry blossoms in spring and autumn colors like these just showing off a month ago. How quickly things change…



Autumn colors just a month ago


Indian summer is over

Indian summer has come to an end. The nights are cold and even though we haven’t had a hard frost yet, I’ve brought in the Camellias to over winter. I also dug up the Papyrus ‘King Tut’ that I have been growing this year in the garden. In the pots they seem huge. I’ll keep them well watered and hope they make it through the winter.

Camellias seem to like this room with lots of light that I keep unheated during the winter.

Camellias seem to like this room with lots of light that I keep
unheated during the winter.


In the garden this Papyrus didn't seem so big, but it's almost touching the ceiling of my bedroom where I hope it survives the winter.

In the garden this Papyrus didn’t seem so big, but it’s almost touching the ceiling of my bedroom where I hope it survives the winter.

Click here to read more about my Camellias and how we use them for Tea


Flowers of late summer

Late summer is here. Goldenrod has appeared which is always the first sign of autumn. Purple loosestrife and Queen Anne’s Lace are everywhere in fields. Besides the flowers growing in my own garden, I’ve been out picking from the roadside.


A bucket of wild flowers: purple Loosestrife, Queen Anne’s Lace, Black-eyed Susan, Daisy Fleabane, a Galardia that had self sown in the fields.

Here’s what I picked from my garden. All good flowers for Chabana as you will see.


Flowers that are blooming now in my garden: Red Persicaria ‘Firetail’ or Mountain Fleeceflower, Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’, Oakleaf Hydrangea, a pink Mallow, and the yellow flower is a Wild Parsnip that self seeded.



From top left clockwise: Mallow, Wild Parsnip, white Cosmos, Fleabane, Persicaria, Salvia, Buddlea, Hydrangea


One of the great joys of tea is flower arranging, or rather “placement of the flowers” for Chabana. Here you can see how we used the flowers blooming now.



Spring to do list

Finally spring is here. Temperatures today were in the 70’s. Low tonight in the 40’s. I’ve finally turned off my heat.

Most everything in the garden is showing signs of life.


Here’s my ‘to do list’ for the next day or two…

1) Leigh – ask to borrow his seiza bench for Ron
2) Shim up arbor which fell down with hurricane Sandy
3) Clean out tuskubai (water basin)
4) Retie fence with black twine
4) Mulch woodland bed
5) Trim grass around beds
6) Get the umbrella out from the basement to put on porch table
7) Candle both J. Pines
8) Photograph porch bed so in the fall will know where to plant blubs
9) Next year make sure to prune willow by fence
10) More woodland phlox in the outer roji –

…and on it goes.

Making a garden is no small thing nor is it one big ‘fix’. It takes years of living day to day, thinking about it and asking questions:

Spring is here


It’s a very late spring and still cold, but how wonderful – the magnolia, cherry and daffodils are just now blooming. At last!

In February I started looking for signs of spring. The Witch Hazel blooms first in the midst of snow. As the weather started to warm and the snow began to melt, I looked closely at the ground to see if any bulbs were coming up, and sure enough there were early Snowdrops and Crocus, followed by Daffodils. It’s a time of expectation and hope such as no other in the year.


Lots of greenery

Evergreens are essential for a year round garden. I’ve planted Japanese Black Pines, Hemlocks and Plum Yew. Hemlocks are native to the surrounding woods. I love their lacy, delicate boughs. They like shade and grow well here. (more…)

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