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Because I have an extensive garden, I often get asked what folks should plant in their gardens. My response is always the same: plant what you love.  

Gardens are alot of work. No getting around it. And after a long day of digging, hauling, lifting, pruning, planting, weeding, fertilizing, mulching and watering, you’d better like what you are looking at! 🙂  

Our home came complete with a fairly nice landscape base but it contained many plants that I simply did not care for. It took about three years for me to summon up the courage to remove said plants and start building my garden. And it’s a process that will continue until the day I become compost. 😉

Nara

“Nara” (Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Kinkaku’, Japanese Tree Peony), Nikon D300, 1000mm (600mm w/1.7x teleconverter), F/13, 1/125s, -1.3EV, ISO 200

So when the knees of my jeans are encased in dirt, my muscles are sore and my hands appear like I’ve been farming the back nine, I don’t have to look far to understand why I do it. The reasons are right there in the peonies and the clematis, in the rhodies and the azaleas and even, in the vegetable garden. I also see it in the eyes of the birds and critters who share this space with us.  

Yep, my garden is a labor of love and right now, this labored gardener could use a hot bath! 🙂

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32 Comments

  1. oh I love peony :)))

  2. Such true words you speak, Tracy! Each time I read your blog, I feel more and more like I’ve found a kindred spirit! (Hope you don’t find that on the weird side, LOL!) Gardening is most certainly a labor of love, and I love your peony! Still waiting for mine.

    • Ha! Not weird at all, Karma! I’m flattered! Makes this great big ‘ol world seem just a little bit smaller, right? 🙂 Also, it is nice to know someone else is getting grimey knees, too! 😀 Today was a particularly tough day in the garden as nothing went easy. But, getting this shot in the late afternoon light put it all into perspective.

      This tree peony smells like lemons and citronella – sort of a strange, spicy scent but really neat (and memorable)! The only issue with it is it can be a bit floppy as the blooms are so large. In this shot the bloom is being held up by a support that is carefully hidden with the leaves.

      My early herbaceous peonies are getting ready to ‘pop’! Should be soon (I hope!) Happy Gardening! 😀

  3. I will happily wash your knees upson my return! 🙂

    I actually think the critters know how much you care about them and they appreciate all you do for them. I know I do!

  4. And imagine all the beautiful pictures (like this one) you’ll take when you plant what YOU love! 🙂

    • So TRUE, Michaela!! (It’s a co-dependent sickness really…without flowers to photograph I’d be nowhere!) 😉

  5. As a friend of mine says – gardening is my creativity, my therapy, my exercise and my spirituality all rolled into one.

    • You have one brilliant friend, Lynn! Thanks for the super quote! 😀

  6. It all sounds pretty exhausting to me… lol.. and maybe explains why I’ve a distinct lack of flowers here… Just some grass and weeds and plenty of other evergreen things… Now if you could get self watering and self pruning flowers !!!… Maybe I could get some plastic ones… 😉

    Or better still I’ll just stick to wandering the local parks and checking out your blog… lol..

    • Ha! At times, it really is exhausting, but it’s the good kind of exhaustion…the one where you feel really proud and fulfilled. It does get easier as the season wears on. Spring is tough and we tend to make it tougher because we are always changing things! A typical Saturday can start off like this, “Whattaya think about ripping out that holly….?” Oh, the trouble that gets us into!! 🙂

      NO! NO plastic flowers! A few folks do that around here – there is even one house where they have wood cutouts of shrubs in their front, NOT KIDDING! – like we can’t tell it’s fake. C’mon! 🙂

      You are welcome anytime, Brian! 😀

      • Well I think all your hard work definitely deserves a cold beer… I’ll just grab “me” one from the fridge… I’m feeling quite exhausted now after reading about your garden… 😉

        And LOL… even I’d not consider wooden cutouts… Do they have paper weeds too ???… lol…

      • No beer for me…can’t stand the stuff! Mine will have to be either a Smirnoff Ice or Mike’s Hard Lemonade!

        Ha! No need for paper weeds…they have enough of the real kind? (You think people with wooden shrubs would spend time weeding??? C’mon!) 😉

      • Oh wow, I’m a fan of Mike’s Hard Lemonade too! LOL!

      • Now why does that NOT surprise me? 😀

  7. I have a garden as well, but it often gets neglected. With kids, work, and always wanting to live up the weekends, I tend to it about every 3rd week. Good for the garden that I know my shortcomings and installed irrigation. 🙂 I do look forward to the day I have more time to tend to it.

    • Ah, yes, irrigation. Have it, LOVE it! We’ve even worked it out so we have drip lines that feed the window boxes and planters. How smart are we?? 😉

  8. Lovely, just lovely.

    • Thank you, Derrick. Peonies are my favorite! Well, that and clematis, and irises, and… 😉

  9. More power to you. I enjoy the plants but I do not like to work outside. This is beautiful. I bet your garden is lovely! Nice job.

    • I really don’t mind…the rewards definitely outweigh the work, but man, there ARE the days that try your patience!!

      Thank you, Jan! Not one to toot my own horn, but, even I have to admit my garden IS lovely! 😀

  10. you could use this photo to give a seminar on how that boring old rule of thirds really can create beautiful images.

    how do you pronounce peony? pony? pee-OH-nee? PEE-uh-nee?

    • Ha! I already teach some photography classes. I’ll have to add this image to the examples!

      Thanks, Stephen! I like to pronounce it pee-uh-nee. I’ve heard the other pronunciation (‘pee-OH-nee’) and always think it sounds, well, pretentious and ugly. But that is just me!

  11. ohhhh I am soo jealous, Narrow balconies that scrape together the very last rays of the day in summer and get next to no sun the rest of the year make not a good garden, …believe me I’ve tried. Definitely the downside to apartment living.
    If I ever won the lottery big time I have only three items on my personal luxury wish list: a big garden, an Aga oven and a walk-in fridge. Forget the fast cars, cruises, designer clothes etc. A massive herb garden, veggie patch and somewhere to cook, bottle and store it all would keep me happy for decades 🙂
    ok. Maybe I’d open a Cafe too, but the Garden would come very top of the list.
    I’m certainly joining you in the thought that compost is COOL!

    • Ha! Thanks, Kiwi! We are blessed with a lovely landscape that is sooooo worth the effort! 🙂

      You and I are alot alike, then. I drive a 2000 Jeep and I shop at Marshall’s (sort of a discount clothing store that sells name brands for much less and I typically cruise the clearance racks for what I need). I’d MUCH rather spend my money on our home and I would LOVE a walk-in fridge! We are currently shopping for a new fridge as ours likes to freeze items that are placed near the freezer side – ridiculous! As far as ranges go, I’ve tried Aga’s but prefer a big ‘ol commercial gas range. We have a BlueStar now and, although I do like it, we cook so much that it isn’t quite holding up. Sadly, our kitchen is small and can only fit a 32″ size so until the commercial folks realize not all of us can fit a 36″ wide model, we will make due.

      My veggie garden is small but we did put in a herb patch this year – hooray! Looking so forward to fresh tomatoes and basil…yum! 🙂

  12. I share your passion for garden(ing) 100% – and for photos from the garden 🙂

    • I really never thought I’d be a gardener but, well, here we are. The photography feeds the gardening and vice versa. Our landscape is a real oasis from the hectic world. Can’t wait for summer! (It is 90 degrees here today which is actually TOO hot for now, but, bring it on!) 😀

  13. Lovely photo, Tracy! The colors are just beautiful, and I like it how the background disappeared.

    Superb as always.

    • Thanks, Juan! Nice to see you around – it’s been awhile! 😀

  14. What wonderful light. Beautiful!


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