COLUMBINE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 20, 2019 – Columbine

While they were so busy blooming, I took pictures. I think the next time I look — tomorrow if it isn’t pouring rain — I will see the beginning of the blooming of the daylilies.

I think if there had been a bit more sunshine, they would be blooming already. I don’t know if the roses will bloom this year. We cut them all the way down and it may take them a season to grow back.

I’m sure they will grow back. They are much too stubborn to die.

Columbine along the picket fence

Closeup Columbine

COLUMBINE – IT CAME BACK! – Marilyn Armstrong

Columbine – FOTD – June 2, 2019

I thought the Columbine had bloomed and died in a week. I was wrong. Apparently, that was merely the leading edge of a whole lot more Columbine.

One of the odd outcomes of the recent windy weather we’ve had because, as we all know, climate change is propaganda created by the Chinese, is that flowers are showing up in places they were never planted. Half of our garden is now on the other side of the driveway. Not roses or other things that have shoots but flowers with seeds which could be blown a distance.

That’s how we found Narcissus over there — which is still puzzling since no narcissus has grown in the regular garden in years, so those seeds were either dropped by a bird or blown from who knows where. Now there’s a lot of Columbine there, too. There has been so much wind and so often, I have no idea what’s going to show up next.

Meanwhile, there’s Columbine all over the garden, at least twice as much as I’ve seen there before.

COLUMBINE, THE FLOWER – Marilyn Armstrong

Columbine – FOTD – May 26, 2019

Between a few days ago and today, the Columbine bloomed — and started to die. I mean literally, two days. It usually hangs around for a while, but we seem to be hurrying into summer. It seems to be that when spring comes late, the garden starts to hurry towards summer, skipping the usual pieces.

It still has buds so maybe ….

Columbine along the fence

A MAGIC GARDEN – Marilyn Armstrong

Photo Challenge Ambience

Our garden is magical for one month every summer. Usually between late May through much of June.

This year, it was July. It’s all roses and daylilies and for its single month, it’s absolutely magic.

Daylilies with roses along the edge

Also red roses

It’s not a macro, but it is as detailed a photograph of a daylily as I’ve ever taken.






The weather finally broke and today was an exquisite spring day. Our maple tree is in bud. The buds are fat and red and this morning, the little red finch was sitting on a limb and the only way to tell he and the buds were different was that he was moving more than the twigs.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

There was no point in trying to get a picture. It’s a really bad angle and there’s a big smudgy window in the way, full of dog-nose prints and the little gray lines of lint that rain drops leave behind.

You’d think the rain would clean the windows, wouldn’t you? It makes them even dirtier. And yesterday, it poured buckets for the entire day. Our sump and pump were in overdrive, but at least we didn’t flood.

When I got up this morning and opened the shades, the sky was robin’s egg blue with a few high cumulus clouds just to give a nice balance to the sky.

Today was it. Clean out the garden or die trying.

Last year, we did it in one day, but the terrible winter weather seems to have escalated growth.

The hard part of this experience is cutting back the hedge roses. When I bought these supposedly “miniature roses,” I was thinking “ah, lovely scented roses in my garden.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I was not thinking lethal, killer thorn bushes that were originally grown to keep burglars out of the yard. They could keep anyone out of the yard. They spread like crazy and for every rose, there are a thousand thorns. A barbed wire fence is friendlier than these roses, so pruning them is a job nobody wants, which is why I do it.

My son hates those roses. My husband thinks all the flowers are pretty, but he is no gardener. His father was a good gardener, but Garry didn’t inherit the gene — if there’s a gardening gene.

I like plants, but I really prefer looking at them to grappling with them … and then, there are the roses. Last year I trimmed them lightly and the result was barbed wire rose shoots everywhere. They also crawl along the ground and send up new shoots, by the way. We’ve got them in red and pink and they look very pretty in bloom. Not much scent, though. These are the barbed wire roses of old British country houses.

After I convinced Garry that no, he should NOT shower first, we went outside. I was armed with the expensive clippers I bought a couple of years ago.

Owen said I didn’t need them.”What’s wrong with the cheap ones?” Every year, I’m delighted to have them. They really cut cleanly and you don’t need to be a giant with brute strength to get them to lop off a branch.

I had to figure out how to get up to the bushes. Our garden is raised, but you have to remember which rocks you can stand on … and which ones are dodgy and might make the wall come down. I’m not exactly a good climber.

Basically, I cut every piece of rose-bush I could reach, being only 5’1″ tall. I got stabbed and torn. Like a true gardener, I wiped the blood off on my arms onto my jeans and lopped off another branch. If you think for a minute that they will not all regrow faster than I can say “what did I do with my shears?”, you’re wrong. These hedge roses are sturdier than the weeds. I should know because we have weeds. Serious ones.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Garry got into the raking and dumping into the trash can. HE was wearing the leather work gloves, so I did the bleeding, but he did the bending. I guess that makes us even.

We didn’t finish. I also have a gigantic holly bush which I had to clip back. If I didn’t cut it back, we wouldn’t be able to get in and out of the yard. I couldn’t clip the top branches. Owen’s going to have to get to them. I’m too short.

Then I had to dig out the well-head. It’s not a good idea to have your well buried in garden soil. No matter how hard you try, the dirt will sink into the well and your water will turn muddy. We have filters to keep out the dirt, but there’s more dirt than filters.

There were more earthworms than I’ve ever seen in one place. They kept popping up and I kept pushing them back into the dirt. I also tried the best I could to get the strangle weed cut back, but it’ll return. You can’t pull the roots out without the rocks falling down, so all I can do is cut them as close to the earth as possible and hope I can keep lopping them off as they come back. Which they will do. Soon.


When we were done for the day and too tired to do anything more, we agreed to finish up tomorrow. It too is supposed to be lovely. I managed to shear most of the sprouting killer roses and made it possible to walk past the holly without it grabbing you and hauling you into fairyland. You didn’t know there was a fairy kingdom in the middle of the giant holly bush?

Tomorrow will be easier. Mostly raking. I think an hour or two will do it for now.

The flowers are on the way. While we worked, four dandelions bloomed and I swear the daffodils finally set some buds. We have lots of columbine coming up, too and tons of day lily flags. I think the awful weather actually improved the hardiness of the plants. If it made it through last winter, nothing will kill it.


The roses have no buds. The day lilies are tall and green, but no flowers. Not a single flower and I don’t even see buds. This weather has just stopped the flowers in their tracks. I’ve never seen this before, where the flowers just stop growing. I am hearing this from others, so this season has been a strange one.

The roses have no buds. Maybe they will develop late buds and do all their blooming at the end of June or even July? They typically have a long blooming life … but none at all? I can’t believe they won’t even throw a couple of random flowers. By now, they are usually covered with perfect little roses. So … other than the Columbine, we have a few spiderwort and a few wild strawberries. Everything is incredibly green, so maybe eventually we’ll have more.

Meanwhile, we don’t have the flowers we should have, but we sure do have a lot of Columbines!

Flowers of the Day


With all the rain we’ve had this spring, our garden is growing with a fury. Many of the flowers are coming up late, probably because it has also been rather cold. When the flowers finally show up, they will be giant flowers.

At this time, the garden is rich in columbine which typically, by this late in May, would be fading away while the lilies and roses take over.

No lilies in bloom and no rosebuds, either. But the lily greenery is huge. They are taller than I am and the rose bushes are thick with leaves and the beginning of buds.




The catalpa tree left today. I rarely remove trees because I love them, but this one was growing right into the well. It’s amazing what tree roots can do. I have known them to crack the foundation of houses, break through iron pipes. They are slow, but steady.


Except this Catalpa was growing fast. Repeated efforts to uproot and move it failed, so it had to go. Other people have trouble growing Catalpa. Around, they grow like weeds. Better than weeds.


A little extra irony — Catalpa is one of the trees the gypsy moth caterpillars will not eat.


The garden is doing well. The moths are dive bombing everything. The wasps and juncos are chasing the moths. It’s an airshow out there. I just duck, cover — and run for the door!


My only comfort is that they don’t live long. That being said, I’m not worried about them. It’s their eggs that will be the next generation of destruction that worries me.




72-garden weeds

The winter killed a lot of the garden and I’m not able to fix it up. But a few things survived. the damage was severe, but not total.

columbine garden

If there was a 911 I could call to help with the garden, I’d be dialing it now! I feel bad for the few flowers left to struggle on without assistance. But there’s nothing for me to do. The garden is on its own.

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal