Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

We have come to that time of year when my gardening activity tends to consist of looking out the window of my air-conditioned home at my poor, sweltering plants and saying, “Good luck out there! Luv ya. Mean it.” Besides, I’m busy refining my Spar for the Spurtle entry. So I thought I’d revisit a garden outing from earlier this year, when it was cooler.

For years I’d been saying, “We really need to go to Chandor Gardens.” But it’s in Weatherford, which is somewhere on the other side of Fort Worth or something (my geography gets a little hazy past Irving). But after spending the night in Arlington after the infamous Opera Tailgate we were halfway there, so off we went.

Chandor Gardens entrance

This is just the entrance.

The garden was the creation of Edward Chandor, an English portrait artist who married a Weatherford girl. He bought this house: Chandor home And proceeded to turn the acreage around it into a fantasy of a garden. Check out the courtyard fountain:

That’s some slate, a flowerpot, and a few other bits and bobs.

There are multiple water features and fountains, built by Douglas out of this, that, and the other. The next one is a bit more elaborate:
big fountain

I can’t even remember what all was in this one, but I know marbles and Coke bottles are part of the design.

Don’t you love gates? Open ones always seem to be an invitation. (Closed ones always seem to me like something really awesome must be on the other side. That or a big dog.) Garden gates And look, once you accept the gates’ invitation, there’s a message on the sidewalk! Sidewalk If you like things a little funky and full of whimsy, Chandor Gardens is full of inspiration.
tree trunk planter

Is it a tree? A planter? A pair of bark-covered pants?

In fact, I took so many photos of so many lovely and fantastical things that I’ll have to save some for the next post. So until then, stay cool and think happy garden thoughts.

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Yesterday Calloway’s Nursery, a local garden center, had a day-long event. Speakers were scheduled from 9 — 5. That’s a lot of gardening info. Who would go to such a thing all day long? Not me.

I got there just before noon.

Calloway'sIt’s spring in Texas, which means it’s windy as all get-out, but the event was inside so we only had to deal with the occasional banging of a door. I missed the first three sessions, but Vikki and I arrived in time to get good seats for the bulb hunter’s presentation.

Big bulb

I almost bought this one.

Bulb hunter guy was Chris Wiesinger, founder of The Southern Bulb Company. He was very interesting–it reminded me of the time in junior high my friend Linda and I found an abandoned homestead that had a garden full of blooming flowers. It was like our own real-life Secret Garden…until other people found it and started digging up the flowers to take home. Now, I get that. At the time, I was horrified.

Chris finds similar gardens, then (after obtaining permission from the owners) digs up the bulbs, propagates them, and sells them. The theory being, if they thrive all by themselves with no help from anyone, they should do well in our flower beds. And I almost bought this one…

bulb package

Gorgeous, isn't it?

…until a later speaker’s presentation persuaded me it was the wrong color for my garden.

We also heard from Mariana Greene, the Garden Editor for the Dallas Morning News, who brought her friend Buttercup:

Buttercup the rooster

Buttercup the bantam rooster

He clucked companionably around the crowd during her talk, occasionally letting out a hoarse little cock-a-doodle.
By this time Rosemary had arrived and it was time for lunch.

Picnic in the parking lot

Picnic in the parking lot

Some people tailgate at sporting events; my crowd tailgates at garden seminars. That’s sparking cider, btw, we weren’t sure how Calloway’s would feel about alcohol on the premises. We also had chicken salad on flatbread, veggie skewers, fruit, and assorted chocolate.

Well-fed and happy, we wandered back in the store to learn about putting color in our gardens. Wayne Pianta showed us many wonderful plants…the only problem is deciding which ones to use!

Gerbera daisies

Speaking of color...

Next we were vastly entertained by Ian Cooke, who talked about garden personality. (Mine is “rustic cottage” though I like to think of it as “Hill Country Chic.”) You can take a little quiz to find your garden personality here: http://www.monrovia.com/design-inspiration/style-quiz.php

After that we got tips on perennials (buy ’em once and they keep coming back–love that) from Gabrielle Babcock and had just enough time to browse the blooms in the store before closing time.

Inside Calloway's

So many plants, so little cash.

It was a fun day. I came away with all kinds of tips, potential plants to purchase, and the encouraging knowledge that I was doing some things right. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday! Next time I might even get there for the morning sessions.

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I seem to have lost my Aflac flyer. A period of mourning will now commence. (To find out why, click here.)

My hammock chair is quite possibly the best purchase I’ve made in the last 12 months. Swinging gently in the breeze, cradled in my chair, is like being cuddled in palm of God’s hand.

Hammock chair

I test-drove this one in Provincetown, but mine is blue

The roses are all doing just fine, thank you very much. Blooming industriously, just as they should.

Honey Perfume roses

Honey Perfume Roses from my garden

My sunflower patch actually has sunflowers this year! (As opposed to last year—click here to read about that little adventure in gardening.)

My sunflower patch

My sunflower patch

I have a mixture of happy yellow and these glorious orange/rust/burgundy colors. All good.

I love iced tea more than any other food or drink. Yes, even more than chocolate. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think to myself (after all, who else would I think to?) “I’m now going to drink copious amounts of iced tea.” I drink mine with lemon. No sugar, artificial sweetener, plant-based sweetener or anything even remotely sweet. (Sweet tea: Ick. Pooh. Bleah.) My whole family (the blood relatives, anyway) drink it that way. Apparently this stems from the sugar rationing imposed during WWII when my great-grandfather declared that we didn’t need to waste precious sugar on tea. I come from a long line of good cooks, so I’m betting he wanted it all used for desserts.

Although this has been a remarkably wet and relatively cool summer for North Texas, it’s really just too darn hot right now to do anything. Except swing in my hammock chair, preferably in the early morning and/or late evening hours. I can see my roses and sunflowers from there. The best case scenario includes a tall glass of iced tea to sip while I chat with God and admire the view.

So that’s what I’m going to do now.

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