Freeze Frame

This swan was a ham in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

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 Invincible Fig

Fig Tree in container in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

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

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…]

New Year’s Resolutions?

A hawk waits out the storm in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

A hawk waits out the storm (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Although it’s a common practice, I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I never have. If inspired to go on a diet or revise an exercise routine, I don’t want to wait until January 1st to start. If I’m thinking about changing or starting something new; when it’s time, it’s time. Yet, in so many situations, we use the word time as an excuse. An excuse not to do something we want to do. An excuse not to do something we need to do. An excuse not to do something we’re afraid to do. Fill in the blank: I don’t have time to ____________.  Now, think about what you wrote and decide when it might be your time to make time. [Read more…]

Strike a Pose

Praying Mantis posing on sage in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Praying Mantis posing on sage (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

People often ask me: “How do you do it all,” referring to how I maintain the yard, gardens, animals, home, job and blog.  And it’s a good question, one that I get tired just thinking about (especially now, with the added burden of holiday preparations). Organizational skills come into play, my husband certainly contributes to some yard work and household chores, but in the end I have a lot of physically demanding tasks to perform on a daily basis.  And, I’m not getting any younger. [Read more…]

A Garden’s Evolution

The monarda and grass have since been replaced in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

The monarda and grass have since been replaced (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

After decades of gardening there is one thing I can tell you with certainty; nothing stays the same. Gardens evolve in a number of ways for a number of reasons. Plants die, creating a vacancy for something new. Some plants outgrow their space while others simply don’t please us any more, ultimately forcing us to make changes. It is during the editing process that we can explore fresh ideas and experiment with different plant materials, which is part of what makes gardening so interesting and challenging. Evolution equals change, something that everything and everyone does every day, hopefully resulting in a more desirable outcome. In other words, when your garden is overrun with mint . . . make mojitos! As a self-taught gardener, I learned a lot from the evolution of my gardens and following are a few of my observations that may help you as you delve into the unpredictable world of gardening. [Read more…]

Ice Capades

Frozen Kent Falls in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Frozen Kent Falls (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

I remember colder winters, when snow was deeper and seemed to last longer.  And our lakes and streams froze over for months, allowing us to skate for hours at a time-day after day.  My mother would pack up a thermos of hot cocoa and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and off I would go until dinner time.  Sometimes sleigh riding down neighboring hills with friends, but more often exploring the nearby rivers, streams and ponds; gliding around enjoying the scenery, totally taking advantage of the frozen world.  It was an adventure to explore these otherwise inaccessible spots, stopping midstream to inspect a beaver chewed branch, looking through transparent spots in the ice hoping to see a fish, doing swirls and twirls pretending to be Dorothy Hamill. [Read more…]

Garden of Lights

Santa Sign in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Santa Sign (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Over the years, I have driven by this exorbitantly decorated property, thinking that it was a bit over the top.  Actually, I thought it was pretty tacky.  But this year, I looked at it with fresh eyes and a different perspective.  Perhaps, after all, this elaborate holiday display could be looked at in another way; as something beautiful and special. [Read more…]

A Time for Thanks

A hummingbird visits the new garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

A female hummingbird visits the new garden (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As many of my readers know, 2015 was a busy year spent rebuilding our home after a fire loss, and 2016 has proven equally challenging as I continue to tie up loose ends around the house, while trying to rebuild my life. Some days I take things in stride, other days I do not. But either way, I am always grateful. Grateful for the roof over my head. Grateful that I can get through each day. Grateful for the love and support of family, friends and community.

Traditionally, November and December are months of togetherness and celebration for my family. Yet, with several birthdays mingled between the holidays, it often becomes so hectic that there is rarely time for reflection. For a quiet moment to look back on the year’s accomplishments and lessons. As this holiday season approaches, I would like to share what I have learned and the ways that I am recharging my gratitude meter. [Read more…]

What Our Plants Teach Us

Burned rhododendron in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

The charred remains of foundation plantings (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

The durability of plants never ceases to amaze me. A seed is planted, occasionally sprinkled with water, and bears luscious fruit within a few months. A forest decimated in a raging fire quickly produces new growth, emerging victorious. Monstrous trees grow from the seemingly impervious rock walls of a mountainside. Plants are simply amazing. And if I’ve learned anything from gardening these many decades, it is that plants have a lesson for us. A lesson about persevering, no matter the odds.

A rainbow of colors displayed in iris petals in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

The colors of the rainbow are displayed in the petals of this iris (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Look closely and you will witness plant miracles every day. The miracle of a gorgeous coneflower blossom in hues that challenge the color wheel. The marvel of a lobelia’s scarlet flower providing nourishing nectar for a visiting hummingbird. Or the intricate petals of a bearded iris, laid out like a hand of cards displaying all the shades of the rainbow. Our landscape plants withstand winter’s horrendous cold and summer’s intense heat and drought without succumbing. Sure, they may wilt a bit, or even turn brown under extreme conditions, but give them a little love, and they’re right back to status quo. [Read more…]

Easter Tidings

Bambi and Thumper in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Bambi and Thumper from Disney print

It’s the time of year to celebrate bunnies, those cute, brown eyed, long eared, bushy tailed bundles of irresistibility.  There’s Bugs Bunny (“What’s up, Doc?”), Ricochet Rabbit (you know, the fastest lawman in the West, Sheriff “Ping-Ping-Ping” Ricochet Rabbit), Bambi’s brown eyed friend Thumper (named for his habit of thumping his back foot), and last but not least, the infamous Easter Bunny.  What is it about these cuddly critters that we find so engaging? [Read more…]

A Garden for All