Eastern Redbud

Cercis canadensis blooms in early spring in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Cercis canadensis blooms in early spring (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Hardy to zones 4-8, native Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud), is a smaller North American tree, and among the first to flower in my zone 5 Connecticut garden. The leafless branches are liberally twined with profuse ribbons of vibrant cotton candy blossoms from one end to the other, creating one of the most spectacular early spring displays. When you factor in the bright fuchsia flower clusters enveloping the broad limbs, the tree appears to be an enormous pink umbrella that has just opened in your yard. [Read more…]

Pussy Willows

Salix discolor in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Salix discolor (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

There’s one good thing about the month of March . . . well, actually two.  First, it’s only another four weeks (give or take, depending on Punxsutawney) before spring.  And second, irresistible pussy willows!  When Salix discolor‘s playful buds start emerging, it’s a sure sign spring isn’t too far away. [Read more…]

Rhody Rhapsody

A closer look at rhododendron flower in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A closer look at rhododendron flowers (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

When I first started selecting plants and shrubs for my gardens, rhododendrons were the furthest thing from my mind.  I thought of them as mundane, one hit wonders that flowered once in the spring and then quietly retired into the landscape.  And then a neighbor brought me a small shrub to welcome us to the neighborhood (he later admitted that his goats kept eating it, so it was more of a rescue gift).  I planted it rather unceremoniously, without pomp and circumstance, at the back corner of my house where it would be somewhat protected from the hot afternoon sun.  After all, shady locations are at a premium on my property, that is to say, I really don’t have any. [Read more…]

Speckled Alder

The ornamental tassels of Alnus incana in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The ornamental tassels of Alnus incana (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I was not impressed a decade ago, when I first spotted a speckled alder at a local nursery.  However, over the years my opinion has changed . . . dramatically. What once appeared as a spindly, boring stem with a few spots has since blossomed into the prince it was destined to become (mine can’t be a “Cinderella”, because it’s a male), providing both a handsome element to the wide open pasture behind my home, and a source of food and habitat for surrounding wildlife. [Read more…]

The Dastardly Duo: Moles & Voles

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

Digging Mole

Moles and voles and bears, oh my!  Yes, I’m exaggerating about bears, but moles and voles pose a serious problem in my gardens.  With the recent warmer spell, I noticed lots of heaved plants and holes throughout the yard, and wondered exactly what damage is caused by moles and voles; who is the culprit behind each disturbance?  To figure out the responsible felon for each offense, you need to understand the differences between the two creatures.  In fact, the only similarity in these varmints is their name. [Read more…]

Freeze Frame

This swan was a ham in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

This swan was a ham and it took a lot of attempts to catch it on film (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

While listening to the radio on my drive in to work, the commentators were discussing photography, explaining that camera use has diminished over the last few decades, replaced by cell phones.  They questioned if photo taking might infringe on our enjoyment of “the moment”, making us unable to truly experience each situation because we’re too busy focusing (literally and figuratively) on taking pictures.  Hmmmm . . .  While in agreement that cameras have been phased out, there are still those of us that like to frame our pictures through a lens, and get excited when we capture a special image.  For me, cell phones just don’t cut it, though I realize they have incredible potential for those that prefer to use them. [Read more…]

The Bronx Zoo in December

A Rhino Statue at The Bronx Zoo in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A festive Rhino Statue greets you at The Bronx Zoo (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I turned sixty this month, for me a monumental date that had me pondering ways to celebrate such a special day. After all, it’s December in New England. Certainly not the best time for outdoor activities of interest to a passionate gardener like myself. After some thought, I decided that if I couldn’t see dazzling plants and flowers I’d settle for the next best thing; animals! And the nearest location chock-full of all sorts of critters is the Bronx Zoo, less than two hours away in Bronx, N.Y. 

A handsome gorilla poses for me at The Bronx Zoo in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A handsome gorilla poses for me (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

One of the largest zoos in the United States, the Bronx Zoo was created when the City of New York allotted 250 acres of the Bronx Park to the New York Zoological Society with the express purpose of creating a park to preserve animals and promote zoology. Within a year, the New York Zoological Park (now known as the Bronx Zoo) opened its doors to the public on November 8, 1899, featuring 843 animals in 22 exhibits. The present day Bronx Zoo encompasses 265 acres, houses more than 4,000 animals of 650 species, many that are endangered or threatened, and is visited by over 2.15 million people each year.  (To find out more about the Bronx Zoo and their extensive conservation efforts, visit: www.bronxzoo.com)  [Read more…]

Pucker Up for Dogwoods

Cornus stolonifera Pucker Up in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Colorful Cornus stolonifera ‘Pucker Up’ (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I’ve been a fan of shrubs for decades, they add architecture and color to the year round garden while helping keep maintenance to a minimum. Many shrubs offer additional benefits of vibrant foliage, beautiful flowers and luscious fruit. And a few offer extraordinary attributes wrapped up in a petite package, minus the bow. One such shrub is the North American native, Cornus stolonifera ‘Neil Z,’ commonly known as the red-twig dogwood ‘Pucker Up.’     [Read more…]

Opus 40 Sculpture Park

Opus 40 Sculpture Park in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Entrance to Opus 40 Sculpture Park (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

In this one life that we have, it is important to do the things that feed our soul. To make time and take time to spend with those you love and do the things that make you feel happy. The things where time simply slips away because you are so entranced with what you are doing or seeing or experiencing. There are many things that feed my soul, from long quiet walks in the woods to having lunch with a friend or playing with my grand daughters. This year I even went up in a hot air ballon for the first time! But one of my very favorite soul feeders is visiting new places where I can explore, with camera in hand, for hours on end. This year, I found another great place to visit, a sculpture park called Opus 40. (www.opus40.org)

[Read more…]

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…]

A Garden for All