Thoughts on all things garden themed from an antique dealer gone amuck! I write, play with the dogs, and fill my house with garden art. There is hardly time to work the dirt!

Copyright 2010-2013 Barbara Barth, Writer With Dogs

Monday, March 18, 2013

Beginning To Look A Lot Like Spring

A bit of Jasmine circles my Lady of Lilburn vintage statue (so named because she stood in front of my shop in Old Town Lilburn when it was open. She came home with me when I closed the shop!)

With the sun bright in the sky on Sunday, I decided to take a few photos of my yard. Spring is just around the corner and a few buds are peeking out to remind me of that. The amount of overgrown weeds is also a harsh reminder I need to get busy if I want my yard under control. I like to decorate my yard, more than work in it. This year I hope to do both.

At almost human height, she is quite a vixen in my back yard.

My old rusty garden chairs sit behind a farm fence. Just a hint of blue paint left on them.

I love the handle on my old blue shovel.

The shovel has not been used in a year and is overgrown with ivy. I like the statement it makes and probably won't use it this year either.

I uncovered my pink cart last week after trimming back all the rose branches. Fond memories go with this cart. I purchased it when I worked in the gift shop at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens a few years back. Spray painted it pink, like my favorite pink roses.

This life-size vintage iron angel is in memory of my friend Anne, who was my late husband's cousin.

A sweet garden shed that holds all my old furniture that needs to go to my antique booth.

I love old concrete garden items

An old wood wagon waits for pots of herbs.

The dogs left their mark running through this bed. 'Ouch' cried the little bloom.

One of of too many dog graves in the garden. Foxy, Jake, and Boy Dog each have their own memory statue.

I love my yard for so many reasons, none which have to do with gardening! It is a safe haven for my six dogs. They can romp and play in their private setting. They don't bother the neighbors and the neighbors don't mind so many dogs. The garden is full of memories of my old life and promise of things to come. This year we'll see how much planting I do. I'll confess my sins here on my blog as the weeks move forward!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Quote From May Sarton

Found this quote on Pinterest. I'd forgotten about May Sarton, although when I was younger I read all her journals on life and solitude. I mentioned her in my own book. A quick stop by Pinterest brought back many memories of an author, memorist, and poet who enchanted me many years ago.

May Sarton (May 3, 1912-July 16, 1995) left an impressive legacy of over fifty books, including novels, poetry, memoirs and journals. Her appeal lay in her ability to "sacramentalize the ordinary" by probing everyday subjects such as flowers, gardens, animals, changing sunlight and personal relationships in order to find deeper, universal truths. She examined such themes as the need for solitude, the role of the muse in the act of poetic creativity, and the role of the female artist in society.

Read more about May Sarton by clicking here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Death By Roses

Day one, daylight savings time. For a gal who has put off working in the garden for three years the knowledge that this was the beginning of daylight savings was like an alarm clock blaring in my brain. Everything I have not done in three years I decided to tackle today. Well, not everything. But more than I'd done in months, years.

I am blessed with a private back yard that has several well established beds. I do nothing and things bloom. Not the same things every year, since the stronger plants take over the weaker ones. I also have a variety of small trees in my big beds that were not there last time I really took a look. The larger trees put off seeds, pods, whatever trees do, and baby trees were birthed. Trees that now will need to be dug out if I hope to have flowers again. But wait, my butterfly bushes, six feet tall will bloom. Never mind.

My huge deck with the lattice inserts blocks the offensive part of the yard, the untamed, unruly, ungodly mess that used to be full of daffodils and lilies. My containers that line the brick patio and deck await lavender, rosemary, and other small herbs. There is hope for me with some garden chores.

I used to spend hours in my yard, years ago. Things have changed, and six dogs romping in the yard bring their own pleasure. Flowers are not as important as the dogs being able to run through the remains of the grass and bask in the warm sun on my deck.

My concern for my dogs may have prompted my garden endeavors today. I could not go down the deck steps into my yard without being grabbed by large, leafy, green limbs of another unknown border plant, out of control by the back of the house. A lone, almost dead rose bush, reached out from the backside of the house, down my the entrance to my basement. Brown, thorny, limbs, like an octopus reaching out in all directions. I knew those two areas would be my target today.

I felt well equipped. I'd just purchased used vintage clippers from an antique shop. Rusty with charm, I was curious to see if they were sharp enough to cut the spindly limbs. They were. Like a mad woman in my pj bottoms and sweater top, I clipped and pulled, breaking some branches by hand, superwoman at best, nut case at least, until the back side of my house looked respectable. I came away unscathed. My new garden gloves with their heavy palms seemed perfect to gather the limbs and drop them in the back fenced area that I use for mulch. Ok. I don't use it for mulch. It is just easier to toss everything over the back fence where it can't been seen, then to haul it down my long driveway, to be picked up by the garbage men tomorrow.

The sun was hot. Two of my dogs followed every step I made, Chloe, the seven pound Chi, and Bertha, the wildebeest. The other dogs saw I was at work, and went back to sleep on the sunroom sofa. I joined them for thirty minutes, since all the activity had me at heart attack level. My face was beet red.

My second wind hit me an hour later. I grabbed my gloves and headed straight to the back bed. My prize rose bush was out of control. It nailed me with its long arms as I passed it earlier to dump the other clippings over the fence. Three years and it had reached out to cover the entire area. It roamed over my six foot, vintage, metal angel in the middle of the bed, and covered an even larger pink iron cart. Tendrils wove in and out of the angel and cart, so long I could not tell where each began and ended. I knew it was not safe to walk by the bedI had already gotten nailed. Thorns eight feet high stood two feet past the flower bed. Soon my lawn man would be back to take care of my weeds, mow them down until, squashed, the green color gave the illusion of grass. I didn't want one of those dangerous thorny arms to nab him as he rode by on his mower. Then there were the dogs. I worried they would try to run into the bed and be trapped in a maze of thorns.

For over an hour I carefully clipped, tugged, pulled, and cleaned out the overgrowth. Thorns tore holes in my cotton PJ bottoms, snagged my white fleece vest, and ripped at my legs and arms. They pierced my gloves and drew a spot of blood. Time after time, I got caught and had to twirl to unhook myself from the rose monster. I succeeded with my chore. By twilight my bush was tamed. The last injury came as I lifted the piles of thorny limbs to dump over the fence.

I don't know if this is the season to prune roses. I never know what to do when in my garden. It was time to take control and that is what I did today. There is enough of my rose bush left with life so I will be curious to see if it blooms. It was no more shocked by my attack then I was by its attack on me! I am still alive, I assume it is too. We will meet again later this spring to see who fared the best.

Today I felt like I had death by roses. Tonight I am treating myself to death by chocolate.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Fever Cured by Annie's Annuals & Perennials Web

One more rainy day and I will eat more chocolate. I want the sun. I want the moon - but that is a different post entirely! Right now all I can think of is spring, gardens, and sunshine. We have had two days with sun and my spirits soared and life was good. My six dogs romped in the yard and stretched out on the deck. We were all relaxed and happy. Then I woke up today and the sky was dark, more rain on its way. It is not that it has been a harsh winter in my metro Atlanta town of Decatur, Georgia, but it has been bleak. Rain and cold that chills to the bone. Six dogs who refuse to go out in the yard. Don't ask about that! Dog owners know what I mean. I've been blessed it hasn't been a terrible winter, but I am cursed it has been a dark rainy one. I love the sun.

Just as I reached my limit today with weather and was going on another food binge, I found a site on Google that made me smile. It gave me hope. A ray of sunshine and whimsy on another rainy day in Georgia.

Annie's Annuals & Perennials Web put me back in the mood for dreaming...of gardens, sunshine and spring. I want to share her site with you, if you haven't already found her. Visit her web by clicking here and find more surprises, photos, links, to make your mind spin with ideas. I just signed up for her newsletter and ordered her new catalog.

I am happy today thanks to Annie!

Specializing in rare and unusual annuals and perennial plants, including cottage garden heirlooms and hard to find California native wildflowers.

Plants, gifts, how-to-videos, and more. You will have fun visiting this charming website.