The theme for this post, I suppose, is growing older and wiser. I’ve discovered the best time to design containers is right at the end of season when your thoughts and observations are fresh. Why did this take me decades to figure out? It’s particularly admirable this time because I want to break out of the safety of using just two varieties per box typified by three ‘Kong Rose Wizard’ Coleus separated by two Creeping Jenny ‘Aurea’. Being a creature from the often maligned advertising world, I had to create brand names for each.
Under the Sea
1 Golden Shrimp Plant, Justicia brandegeana
2 Angelonia ‘Angelface Dark Violet’
3 Elvolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’
2 3 1 3 2
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Well my friends, once again I’m penning from my hospital bead after five days in ICU. My hip was so infected from a pressure wound gone awry that they took it out. It’s been a year in bed since this hospital gave me the three wounds that have put me in bed for the last year. I had thought I was getting a skin graft on this final wound in January and back in my chair by end of February. But this hip is 10″ long by 5-6″ in places, so I’m fearful I may loose another year in my garden. So any prayers for recovery by frost free date (April 15) would be most appreciated.
Well seems like a great time to see what I was able to achieve from my bed with the help of the best damn gardening bus driver, Todd. So I’ll take lessons learned from these planters and the windowboxes from the previous post to craft an even better display next year. Have already captured the recipes for all these planters for planting next spring.
So for the first time ever you can see the front entrance in all its glory. Can you imagine how this looked five years ago when I started beautifying the campus. When life lands you in a nursing home at 43, one can fall into blaming God trap. But I choose to believe his Hand was at work when he placed me in a gardener’s paradise and the means to improve year after year as evidenced here:
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Well today is a real milestone in the development of Patrick’s Garden. My regular readers have heard my laments that the quality of the imagery, presented here to date, can’t hold a candle to that of you, my able-bodied friends. Until now…When the going gets tough, the tough have to think smarter. So I approached the local high school principal to see if some your photography students would like to do some community service and in turn I could mentor them based on my many years in advertising management. As you can see here we’re off to a fast start.
So courtesy of Kale Williams and Kristy Mo of Shawnee Mission North (I’m a proud graduate of Shawnee Mission West), I’m prouder to give you more of the experience of visiting my humble abode. To Kale and Kristy, you don’t know how much joy you’ve given me with the gift of your talent. But while we’re doling out gratitude, let’s not forget about our beloved gardener/bus driver/man amongst men, Todd.
You may recall this is the planter I worked with my buddy Dan on to cradle one of the 2′ wide Kinsman baskets. I thought it was too risky to hang the baskets on trees near the entrance in our Kansas winds. So Dan outdid himself with the design. Am planning on contacting Kinsman this winter to see if they’d be interested in retailing the stands in cedar. As I can’t accept income on Medicaid, I’d only ask for a check for $1 and they be marketed under the brand name Patrick’s Garden. Would you be interested in buying one if it was on the market? Read more →
IV. Thou Shall Not Steal
Maybe it was nurtured by the Sisters of St. Joseph, but I totally abhor stealing of any kind. But I wonder what Sister Ethelreda, particularly, would have thought about the hapless souls who choose to steal items from a nursing home garden nurtured for the enjoyment of its residents? Thank good dear Sister Ethelreda, far above by now, didn’t have to hear of five things I have had stolen of late. Below you can see the patron saint of ugly names herself, Saint Ethelreda. Can you imagine how many swats of the cane Sister Ethelreda would have doled out for that? Poor girl would have had to take some breaks before she was through with the task. I’m sure she would think the punishment was more than deserved and, of course, a directive from the Almighty above. While humor can be a thankful mask of mine, I’m completely distraught at this recent course of events.
Before I had to enter Trinity Nursing & Rehab five years ago, I collected vintage watering cans and they were a great remembrance of my dear grandparents. I stored mine at Mum’s house and moved three of them over here last summer to the courtyard garden outside the main dining room. I’m not stupid and after I had an empty 24″ Kinsman hanging basket stolen from the front patio, I had a custom-designed stand built for a replacement and secured the basket to the stand and another lock and chain to a metal post under the front canopy. I think dear old, departed, cranky, short-tempted and mind you bitter, Sister Ethelreda would be impressed by my due diligence (doesn’t that word diligence sound like a word of beauty to a dear old, departed, cranky, short-tempted and mind you bitter nun?)
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It was the morning before a hot September day and her freshness screamed for attention in the midst of a tired perennial bed. We were visiting the jewel in Kansas City known as Kauffman Gardens and here, standing before us, was the glorious yellow tall bearded iris, ‘Summer Olympics’. I wasn’t aware some irises have the genetic ability to rebloom and I had to learn more.
You may have seen national magazine ads offering reblooming bearded iris collections. But the ability to rebloom is very regional and some experts believe the key to success is selecting hybrids with proven performance in your USDA zone. The majority of iris hybridizing takes place in California (Zone 9), so most hybrid reblooming catalog claims are based solely on performance in that region. So I’ve contacted some local experts to find varieties that have been proven to rebloom in our Zone 6 area. Read more →
Why doesn’t anyone grow balsam? Yes they’e old fashioned Victorian heirlooms. And yes, they’ve been upstaged by hybrid impatiens when it comes to color impact but we don’t need color carpeting in all our shade garden applications. Do we? They are classified as Impatiens balsamina but my experience has been they perform better in part sun areas than walleriana. While the old fashioned mixed color selections can look quite pedestrian, the same can’t be said for ‘Blackberry Trifle’ which I sourced from Baker’s Creek (rareseeds.com). Read more →
The mountains are calling and I must go – John Muir
We don’t use last names much on the blogosphere but my given name is Patrick James Muir and I’d like to share more about John Muir (1838-1914). At age 11 in 1849, his family emigrated from Scotland to Wisconsin where his family started a farm which is now a National Historic Landmark. My grandfather emigrated from Scotland to Australia to avoid the effects of the Great Depression. The Muir clan name is derived from the moors of Scotland. With my keen love of nature since I was a toddler, I’d be a happy man if there was any relationship. But when I became aware of his remarkable life, I have chosen to pursue a role in life as if was an heir.
At age 18, he moved to California and soon took up living inYosemite for three years making a living as a saw mill worker. He was a naturalist who studied nature by wandering hundreds of miles on foot during excursions through the United States and Canada.
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