The garden is ready. The garden is always ready for guests because it receives the labors of love from the head gardener daily without fail. There is still lots of color and a few blooms. The tools are not laying about needing to be put away because the obsessive trait in my personality won’t allow for tools not to be out of the elements if not in the shed. Keeping the tools used most frequently, the favorite shovel, the Japanese hori knife, the felcos, the spade, among others under the garage deck all year because they are used constantly is the norm. Empty pots too are not left laying for the same reason. Some might call it a disorder of some kind, but I prefer to think of it as an orderly mind, if only a little excessive. Prunings and weedings get put either in the compost bin or on the ground under the arbor that is being built up on the low end to make seating there more level instead of sitting at an angle like one is on an amusement ride that is trying to mess with our equilibrium. The house was another matter. I was cleaning like mad when my visitor to be wrote that she had let her house be seen *as is* when I stayed at her place. Hmmm, okay, no dusting at all, but maybe just a little pass through with the vacumn to control the sea of cat hair momentarily. We are ready and excited.Day one comes and goes with no photos. There is too much talking to do. There are a lot of topics to cover in just a couple of days so we had to work down the list quickly and with enthusiasm. The over three hour drive, family, houses, politics, health, gardens, the lovely copper spirals and yellow star grass she brought as gifts and the biggy, blogging, all had to be discussed at length. At great length, lots of length. There were some errands to be run after a quick garden tour. It is hard to do a quick tour here for the garden is diverse and laid out in a sprawling puzzle. On occasion first time visitors get lost trying to return for another look at the knot garden, or muhly, or ferngully, the pond or the veggie bed. And there was a nursery or two that needed to be visited. Taking Gail, of Clay And Limestone to my regular haunts was very satisfying. I wanted to show her off. Please meet my friend who knows plenty about plants and is extremely friendly and an expert at converstion. It is her vocation after all. She made me proud as we chatted with a couple of local nursery owners and even spread some wealth in our small town. We returned home and did some parallel blogging, me on the laptop and she on our pc. The day flew by. Dinner had been prepared the night before, chili, and we spent a quiet evening, except for the sound of our voices continuing nonstop, poor Financier trying to relax and watch a little television after a hard day crunching numbers. The next day I awoke with a sore throat from overuse of vocal chords. A little ibu and we were ready to go at it again. Gail looked out the window from her spot at the pc, blogs get tended first thing in the morning you know, and said we must grab our cameras and capture that sunrise! Pink in the sky is fleeting, by the time the cameras are switched on and we are finding the best spot for an unobstructed view it had faded considerably. Her shot can be seen here. Turning around while standing in the same location, the pink was still hanging on over the roof of the house. Yes, it has been enhanced
slightly a lot because I wanted mine to be shockingly pinker than hers. Admitting to that little bit of competitiveness makes it slightly less wrong, right? (Don Rickles get back in your cage!)Cameras in hand this time on the tour we went about with seriousness if not silence perusing the garden. One thing that has been noted when reading about the meeting up of bloggers not in public places but at the gardens of said persons, is what draws the eye of the guest. Watching someone taking a photo of your creation is a bit surreal. It is always you doing that crouching down and trying to focus, stop blowing wind!, is this a dream? Standing there with my camera, I might as well take a photo of the plant too, not just the photographer. The Crocus speciosus is still sending up new blooms, some are just barely out of the ground. It has been read that these bulbs will pull themselves downward if not lifted and replanted. This patch had been replanted because there have been some additions of heucheras and violas in this spot to continue interest during the cold months. The undisturbed crocus are barely poking up, some have yet to be seen. These are not the same as the saffron crocus we wrote about here. Those Crocus sativus are long finished blooming, only the foliage will remain until next summer’s dormant phase.Back inside the house for some light lunch and more dual blogging. We learned last year that it was necessary to have a wireless connection added when the blog was begun in December. A dedicated computer for the blog was a Christmas gift from the Financier, forever grateful, hon!, along with the wireless and ultra high speed connection. Before that, loading photos was a nightmare. Gail needs her own laptop so she can sit in the other lazyboy rather than the rattan chair with several cushions when she comes again. Our cats were smitten with Gail from the start. She spoke to them in those soothing tones she must use for her clients and the cats were mesmerized, even Hazel, who usually hides when people come. Kitty is the computer technician doing double duty watching the birds and squirrels out the window and adding the occasional letter on the keyboard with his swinging tail. Both of our pets felt comfortable immediately with Miss G. (Disclaimer: this is not my desk, not my area, I cannot be held responsible for this mess of chaos).We went out for some sight seeing, lunch and light shopping. The historic downtown which includes Tennessee Wesleyan College and the court house in the middle of the square, found us eating lunch at a favorite Cuban/Italian spot, Angela’s Cafe. We split the eggplant parmesan, thanks for lunch, Gail, and brought home some sauteed veggies to add to the orzo side dish made with the saffron we had collected from the Crocus sativus mentioned above. The whole harvest was used and it did not even make the food that yellow, although it did stain my fingers while crumbling it in to the pot. The lesson learned here was to not depend on twelve bulbs to give you enough saffron for even one meal. There were banana peppers from the garden added to this accompaniment to the chicken grilled by the Gardoctor.Reinvigorated we returned home for the serious business of digging the plants that needed to go home with Gail. The Muhlenbergia capillaris was the first item on the list. The color has faded considerably, transitioning from purple bruise to faded chintz. It is still an asset to the overall look of the garden though. The bed of it by the driveway had gotten extra water as the grass seed sown in the fall lawn rejuvenation had to be kept moist until germination. Whole plants dug now, not divided, should survive if replanted quickly and kept watered, we hope. If they fail to make it we will honor our plant guarantee.The sheffield pink mums, I know the name has changed, don’t care, were another must dig plant. You can read our post about them here. A great companion to the sheffies are the Salvia greggiis. Our new Salvia leucantha purchase was planted behind this grouping. The purple and white velvet blooms are just peeking up over the salmon flowers. It was just read that the semi tender salvias should not be planted in the fall in their marginal hardiness zones. Oops. Maybe some extra mulch will help them make it through the winter?Our happy smiles illustrate well the friendship that has developed all because of blogging. We met in Austin at the spring fling, Gail had just begun blogging and I am not even sure I had read many of her posts. We found ourselves standing next to each other that Friday night in Austin as we waited to be seated at the restaurant. We started talking to pass the time, and found that we both lived in Tennessee, we both were the only out of towners that had brought our non blogging spouses to this event, (still don’t know what the significance of that is, but there must be some) and amazingly Gail’s husband, Mr. I don’t garden or blog, attended the same high school as I did at the same time so very long ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That was fuel for conversation for our husbands, I had met the Financier while still living in Tulsa, since they had to spend some quality time together while the bloggers went to the bloggers only events. We have kept up with emails and telephone conversations, both of us are Verizon thank goodness, as our friendship developed and deepened. Gail is a gift to me, and all of us, delivered by blogging. My undying gratitude to the blogdom for her.
Added: Gail’s parallel post about her visit can be seen here.
My name is Frances and I am a lifelong gardener, having lived in various parts of the USA over many years. I am now gardening in USDA Zone 7a east Tennessee. From 2000 to 2014 I was gardening on a slope in a small town in Tennessee. I have been blogging about my gardens since December of 2007. Thank you for visiting!
The slope in spring
The slope in fall
The slope in winter
Visit The Hop Ice Cream Cafe When In Asheville, NC
640 Merrimon Ave.
or The Hop West
721 Haywood Rd.
Asheville, North Carolina
Older Posts Of Interest:
The story of the day a throng of cedar waxwings descended upon the garden, shown in the header image. (2009)
An awkward title that explains about making those very tall asters, mums and others shorter by cutting them down by half in May. Now is the time! (2011)
A book inspires the growing of lilies from seed. (2009)
How ten lily bulbs became hundreds. (2010)
A rant about the mistaken thoughts of non-gardeners. (2009)
There was something hidden in the forest and we were lucky enough to be able to see it. (2011)
Dreams turn into reality, in a way. The Green Man/Leaf Man faces live well in my garden now. (2011)
A yard without a lawn. (2010)
A history of all of the faire gardens and a couple of choice tidbits about me. (2009)
Very difficult to only pick your six favorite plants, some of us bent the rules a bit. (2009)
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