Creating Your Special Garden

First Garden in 2005 in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The first garden in 2005 (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

There is something special about a garden created by its owner, the passion and love are planted in the soil along with each plant. It’s the sweat equity factor. When a person decides to dig up a spot of land and plant something solely for the purpose of creating beauty, it is the selfless act of love paired with a desire to share and learn that truly speaks to my heart.

When we moved to our country property almost 30 years ago, we had a yard of over 2 acres surrounded by open cow pastures. Other than some multiflora rose and piles of old tires and tractor parts from its former farming years, I had an open palette to work with. I dug in within months.   [Read more…]

Moon Flower Aspirations

Moon Flower at dawn in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Moon Flower at dawn (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

You have to be brave to try to grow a Moon Flower (Ipomoea alba) in the cold climate of New England. A risk taker. A gambler. Or, you might be the eternal optimist and believe in the impossible. Whichever you are, when you plant a moon flower north of the Mason-Dixon line, there is a pretty good chance that you won’t see a blossom before frost strikes. Not even one. So why would a Northwestern Connecticut gardener continue to try? Perhaps I am a bit of both: the eternal optimist and a risk taker. After all, what true hands-in-the-dirt gardener doesn’t take a few risks? But the reason I keep trying … I once had success, in fact not so long ago my patio was enveloped in fragrant moon flower blossoms (Visit moon flower post from 2012: Moon Flower ). And so my friends, I continue to strive to reach some semblance of that one time in the not too distant past when I glimpsed a little part of heaven on earth … [Read more…]

Garden Cat

Tommy & Prudence Dozing in A Garden For All by kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Tommy & Prudence Dozing (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

If we’re really lucky, during our lifetime we’ll have a few very special friends.  Friends that are there through thick and thin, good times and bad, richer or poorer.  One of my best friends came in the form of a four legged orange tabby, and from the day he came into my life it has been a blessing to have known him.  Abandoned at my sister’s farm when he was only a kitten, from the second I saw his adorable face; golden eyes staring up in wonder and ears I thought he’d never grow into, I was a goner.  He simply had to come home with me.  [Read more…]

The Invincible Fig

Fig Tree in container in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fig Tree growing in a container (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Back in 2012, I posted an article about figs, titled “Just Figs.” It was a story of my love at first sight experiences with a fig tree (Ficus carica), and the learning curves growing a zone 7-11 tree in a much colder zone, (click here to read: Just Figs ). I found that when the cold weather arrived, a well lit, insulated garage provided the perfect spot to overwinter a non-hardy fig tree . . . and several years later, that same spot in the garage served as a protective shelter from the raging fire that consumed our entire home in January of 2015.

The Fire's Destruction in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

What was left after the fire (Photo: Kathy Diemer)

When the fire was finally extinguished, amongst the collapsed structure and rubble stood a container with a few burnt stems protruding from it. Though we didn’t have much hope that bitterly cold day, we loaded the charred remnants of the fig tree into a trailer and drove it to our friend’s heated garage. In all the chaos that followed; finding a temporary home, food, clothes and caring for our remaining pets, we forgot all about the fig tree. [Read more…]

Enchanting Hummingbirds

A Hummingbird visits the globe thistle in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A Hummingbird visits the globe thistle (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been mesmerized by hummingbirds. From their ability to fly almost at the speed of light in one moment and perch quietly on a limb the next, to their brilliantly colored bodies illuminated by the sunlight in a prism of shades, from emerald green to royal blue and ruby red. (Impossible to truly capture on film, although I continue to try). Yes, there is something special about hummingbirds – the tiniest of birds, yet in many ways the most amazing. Almost otherworldly or mystical, they are indeed magical.

Named for the humming sound produced by their fast moving wings (up to 80 times per second), some believe that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying hopes for love, joy, beauty and limitless opportunities. Native Americans thought of hummingbirds as sacred and associated them with beauty, harmony, industriousness and integrity. Hummingbirds were often portrayed as healers or spirit beings that helped people in need. But for most of us, hummingbirds are enchanted beings that flit about our yards bringing a sense of wonder whenever they pass by. [Read more…]

Savory Sweetgum

Liquidambar Variegata's medley of colors in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Liquidambar Variegata’s medley of foliage colors (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Once upon a time there was a girl that absolutely adored all things multicolored.  She loved calico cats and tie dye shirts, rainbows and zebra prints.  So, it was a natural transition for this girl to grow into a gardener with the same relish for multicolored foliage.  Luckily, she was born in a century brimming with innovative plant introductions, such as echinacea in unheard of shades like fluorescent orange and eye-popping pink, and dwarf lilacs that were not only intensely fragrant, but bloomed from spring to fall.  But what intrigued this damsel most of all were the many creations complemented with variegated foliage.  She simply could not get enough.  A few years ago, she stumbled upon a variegated sweetgum, and the rest as they say is history . . . [Read more…]

A Rosy Picture

So close you can almost smell 'Don Juan' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

So close you can almost smell ‘Don Juan’ (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Roses can be temperamental little buggers, but if you have the right conditions; sun, good air flow and moist but well drained soil, a shrub rose can be one of the best garden companions you ever had, providing seasons of bloom, intoxicating fragrance and plump hips for fall interest.  All it takes is a little research to find a rose to meet your requirements, the commitment to perform a few maintenance procedures throughout the growing season, and the results will be well worth your efforts.  [Read more…]

The Great Whites

Three White Plants in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Veronicastrum, eupatorium and parthenium (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As far as color in the garden goes, white gets a bad rap.  It’s too bland.  It’s ho hum.  It’s just plain boring.  Yet white is also the color associated with awakening, growth and creativity.  The color translation of white is inherently a positive one as well, signifying illumination, brilliance, spirituality, humility, even assisting in happier thought processing. Sometimes a dash of white can hit the spot.  In fact, ivory flowers ignite the shadiest gardens (think Cimicifuga racemosa, with its soaring white spires) while simply sparkling in sunny locales. White, like the opposing black, goes with everything, and any garden combination could benefit from a shot of it.  Whether used to brighten a space, to add a little pizzazz, or to cool down a mass of sizzling blossoms, white may be the ticket you’re craving . . . you just didn’t know it.  Here’s a few of the favorite pearls I’ve grown to love over the years:   [Read more…]

Bonny Verbena

Verbena with Hummingbird Moth in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Verbena with Hummingbird Moth (photo: Kathy Diemer)

I’m not much of an annual lover.  Don’t get me wrong, I always make up a few containers and window boxes every year (even though I find the daily watering and fertilizing quite tedious).  Annuals are also great for filling in those open spots that mysteriously appear (after what I suspect were major vole fests).  And I have the utmost respect for those dedicated folks that plant dahlias and cannas annually, carefully digging them up and storing them through the winter.  But that’s just not me.  I want a relationship with my plants and shrubs, where we can grow up together, mature over time and learn to accept each other’s idiosyncrasies.  My needs are simple; I want plants that thrive without a lot of fussing, and come back faithfully year after year.  That’s not a lot to ask, is it? [Read more…]

The Clematis Perspective

Clematis jackmanii climbing trellis in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Clematis jackmanii climbing rose trellis (photo: Kathy Diemer)

The word perspective has several translations, one meaning the way objects appear visually.  And clematis is a perspective changer, it’s as simple as that.  When a clematis vine is added to the landscape it adds height, dimension, and drama, all of which help to create a different perspective.  A visual feast for the eye, so to speak.  With ambitious cultivars that climb to twenty feet and modest types that stay around six, available in an unbelievable array of colors and bloom sizes, there is sure to be a vine that will stimulate your landscape design. [Read more…]

A Garden for All