January 23, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe
What’s a gardener to do when the wind howls and the snow flies in January? Reading an inspirational gardening book is always a good idea. This post is a review of just such a book — Front Yard Gardens by Liz Primeau, a Canadian garden professional and writer. The book, published by Firefly Books Ltd. in 2003, includes hundreds of beautiful photographs, most by Andrew Leyerle.
An updated and expanded version of the book came out in 2010.
I came across this book a few years ago while perusing gardening books in a bookstore. I loved the cover, which depicted several beautiful front yard gardens. (I later learned that the top left photo is of the author’s garden.) Those pictures inspired me to begin thinking about how to transform my front yard into something far more interesting than the small sward of grass it was at the time.
November 21, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Once a few years ago, my husband was talking on the phone near an open window. The person on the other end of the line asked, “Where are you? It sounds like you are in a park.”
The noise the caller was hearing was the early morning chorus of the birds. Serendipity Gardens is home to quite a few avian species. The ones that come readily to mind are red-winged blackbirds, robins, black-capped chickadees, sparrows, house finches, bluejays, cardinals, goldfinches, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, hummingbirds, wrens, and last year for the first time, two brown thrashers. In addition, cedar waxwings usually visit when the berries on the serviceberry tree are ripe. There are others, I suspect, that I cannot identify.
November 11, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Seed heads on ironweed glowing in the late afternoon sun
Here is a little variation on a familiar childhood poem:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Flowers are beautiful,
Seed heads are, too.
As fall winds down, the seed heads in Serendipity Gardens become more noticeable. On a walk around the garden late one afternoon, I took lots of photos of a more subtle beauty than the beauty of mid-summer flowers that produced them.
Plants have developed many ways to propagate themselves. The seeds in these fluffy ironweed beauties, for example, are available for the wind to carry away. Other seeds come in pods that burst open to scatter the seeds. Some seed pods have air-filled bladders attached so they can float on water until they reach a suitable place for germination. Still others are packaged in tasty fruits such as berries to tempt a bird or other animal to eat and digest them. Barbs or hooks on a seed head help it to attach itself to the fur of an animal. The seeds that use creatures can often land miles away from their mother plant.