Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Love Affair to Remember

P.Lorenz and son, at it again with pea gravel.
Digging out a small patio at the back of the shed.  

It's not like I have to check out the "Ashley Madison" website or anything but, I was a little shocked when, last Saturday evening, while spreading more pea gravel in a small area behind the shop he cleared to serve as an intimate seating area for those who come and want to enjoy a little Blooming Hill lavender ice cream, P. Lorenz proclaimed, "I think I'm having a love affair with pea gravel!"  Both the prodigal son and I laughed at that and then we started thinking and naming all of the garden projects that Peter finishes off with pea gravel, especially in the last year or so, here at Blooming Hill.  It suddenly wasn't funny anymore--it was true!  Come to think of it--he also likes to recycle fallen tree trunks for things, too--another love affair that could go down in history

Emptying load after load of pea gravel into this space takes some muscle.
Not to thick and not too thin but, just right.
Even the dog is getting into the act.  Of course, he thinks he's the supervisor and has to check everything out for quality control reasons and can always provide an alibi, if need be.
I suppose it could be worse.  Some husbands go to the race track and gamble away all of their money while others find solace heading for the local bar after work. (Yes, I know, many wives, do these things too and, all seem to be perfectly content!)  But, for better or worse--and really it's all good--my husband seems to have a fixation with pea gravel and it is happening right under my nose and happily, with my approval.

A view from a different angle.  This fall and next spring will see the addition of deer resistant plants to surround this little patio.  Deer resistant-maybe in a perfect world, but here's hoping!!!
It always helps to have someone with a cast iron back and well-oiled knees to work in the garden.  That angel may be pretty but she's also heavy and we don't want to break her heart, among other things.

We use pea gravel in walkways, garden borders, our labyrinth and lavender beds to hold down weeds and give definition, color and texture change to the landscape plan. It is economical as well as nice looking for high traffic areas as well as garden beds filled with dense clay soil that can easily hold on to too much moisture for plants, like lavender, that call for dry roots, even though they do like a little drink of water, now and then.  Pea gravel allows the lavender roots a little more air and draws the sun down into the ground, then reflecting the light back up through the plant thereby encouraging healthy flower production.  It is also easy to walk on and knows it's place, by not falling out of walkways and spilling over ledges.

Working into the night.  This gives new meaning to "Honey, I won't be home for supper. I have to work late."
Not quite "midnight at the oasis" and there are no camels anywhere to be seen.  Just a few nosy devil deer,  as always, lurking about and waiting their turn to inspect the finished pea gravel path and patio after everyone has gone to bed.

When I think about it, even the prodigal son, seems to have been bitten by this bug called pea gravel, as I look back through the years where he helped spread the "love" throughout the property. I now realize that this is not just a passing fancy but a lifelong obsession and, dare I say it, I think it's genetic (running on the Rinek side--not my side of the family, to be sure) with no cure in sight.

No, dinner is NOT being served down here tonight!
I think I like this love affair with pea gravel.
Ahhhh welllll, since they like spreading pea gravel, I guess I just have to think up a few more garden projects for P.Lorenz to further explore his passion.  Hmmmmmmm, maybe somebody, should get a hold of peagravel911.com!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Writing From The Heart"

We had the good fortune of hosting a group of dedicated women writers here at Blooming Hill, yesterday.  They were led by Lisa Colburn and Sue McCollum, both certified Amherst Writers who lead and facilitate, among other local to international writing programs, one called "Writing From The  Heart." I had attended this series of writing sessions a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. What was every bit as nice, was that this group decided to visit Blooming Hill for some floral inspiration and thirteen wonderful women came to explore the gardens here and use the lavender, flowers and herbs as prompts to open their hearts, spur their creativity and write beautiful poetry and prose.  They came at 1:30 in the afternoon and sat as a group to share with each other their written observations, imaginings and memories.  After serving them tea, I joined in the closing session where we were "prompted" to write a short piece entitled "She Wore Flowers In Her Hair."

Having suffered from writer's block more times than I care to count, at any given time through years of writing and journaling, I surprised myself and wrote the following entry in only10 minutes.  While I was reading it to the group, I was even more surprised to find myself getting a bit emotional over this little patch of land I call home.  I've always thought I had sort of a love-hate relationship with this place--and sometimes, the grass really does look greener anywhere else but here, as in when I'm weeding, it's hate but, when I'm picking the flowers and savoring the sights of beautiful lavender, it's love. Yesterday, I found out that it really is all about blooming where I am planted and truly appreciating the beautiful surroundings of Blooming Hill.  So, whether you think the following passage is good, bad or you are totally indifferent to it, this is what I wrote....

"She Wore Flowers In Her hair"

Although she really was not aware of them and, you really can't see them, they are there, alright, as she wore flowers in hair.  They came from her garden she tends day in and day out--getting down on her knees to till, weed, water and dig.  Pulling a plant here and planting one there, she reached for the relentless weeds, spent leaves and broken twigs elbowing their way through the blooms and, as she reached into the tangle, her head touched every leaf and petal that she passed.  Or, did they touch her? She hoped they loved her as much as she loved them and, if they don't, she prefers to think that they do, faithful as they are, returning year after year while calling this place home just as she does.

Even as this growing season draws slowly to it's inevitable close, the zinnias and dahlias remain steadfast while the roses and asters are valiant in their battle against powdery mildew and shifty snails.  The geraniums will prevail until the first frost and the mums arrive to bolster every flower's courage.  The lavender, oh, the lavender will also bloom until the frost, if only a little, as their season was before high summer arrived, but that is their calling. In the meantime, the sun will rise and fall and rise over and over and she will walk through the garden everyday, in good weather and bad, pulling and planting and picking and she will wear flowers in her hair and in her heart.

            It is my hope that you, too have a flower(s) to wear in your hair and in your heart!.