This is the story of our connection to plants, a personal journey into the joy, passion and fascination gardening has brought to my life and hopefully yours.

Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening!

I could tell you how to grow a coneflower or an apple tree, but there are a thousand sources for that information specific to your area. My fondest hope is that my joy and passion for plants that surround us has an echo, that fellow gardeners will hear something that speaks to why they garden; why we spend our time, energy, and money so lavishly on cultivating plants.

I am a lifetime gardener with over 40 years experience, a master gardener in three states, and a lifelong full time farm girl. I have gardened extensively in the west, South Dakota, Wyoming, and lastly, Montana, all zone 3 and 4 conditions and the possible plant palate never ceases to amaze me. I have been blessed to have lived my life outdoors though the consequences of the sun and wind and the long winters are carved upon my face-those lines tell my story.

Our lives are, of course, completely entwined with the lives of plants. They make our world habitable and beautiful. They feed, clothe, shelter, and cure us. We cannot live without them. I have healed my heart in the gardens, I have healed my soul. May the flowers and the trees work their magic on you. May you find wonder. Bien venidos!

Hot Wings

Hot Wings

Jun 18 2021

“The happiest man is one who learns from nature the lessons of worship.”...

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Keeping Track

Keeping Track

Jun 10 2021

If I didn’t keep plant labels, it’s very likely that I would forget that this beautiful rose is called ‘Bill Reid’. Bill was my introduction to the Canadian artist series of hardy roses and he hasn...

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Simply Divine

Simply Divine

Jun 04 2021

It’s winter again, I tend my houseplants and wait for longer days. I order seeds and plants, making plans that are perhaps bigger than my time and energy will allow for next summer. But such are dr...

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Good Fences

Good Fences

May 28 2021

My closest neighbors are deer. They feel right at home taste testing my flowers, shrubs, and trees, even within feet of my porch. When we first moved to our latest farm, I built friendly fences acr...

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A Love Affair

A Love Affair

May 20 2021

It’s true, I’ve been having a love affair for years and years, if push came to shove, I’m not sure who would win, my husband or plants. Ok, ok, I know really, but well…..maybe I’ll send him some an...

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Small Wonders

Small Wonders

May 15 2021

Blue is a relatively recent invention. In ‘The Odyssey’, Homer writes of the ‘wine dark’ sea, he didn’t use the word blue, it didn’t exist in his world. Neither did it exist in Icelandic sagas, the...

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Love-in-a-Mist

Love-in-a-Mist

May 06 2021

Do we care that the colored ‘petals’ of some flowers are actually sepals? Sepals are the usually green petal-like outermost structures that enclose a flower bud. Except sometimes they look like pet...

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Biokovo

Biokovo

Apr 29 2021

I first learned the difference between geraniums and pelargoniums when I saw our native (and delightfully named) Sticky Geranium. The genus name Geranium comes from the Greek word ‘geranos’ which m...

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From The Earth

From The Earth

Apr 22 2021

As a tribute to Earth Day, rather than a specific plant, I wanted to share a picture of one of my gardens (from last year). The rainbow was very cooperative! Though this garden is only 4 years old,...

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Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond

Apr 15 2021

It’s winter and I dream of flowers. After months of short days and the sepia tones of my winter garden, I have an insatiable hunger for color and light. I can’t get enough and I go overboard, start...

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Morden Blush

Morden Blush

Apr 07 2021

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. So wrote Gertrude Stein in her poem ‘Sacred Emily’ in 1913. Meaning, I guess, it is what it is. Maybe she used the rose because we have a pretty clear idea of...

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Goddess of the Garden

Goddess of the Garden

Apr 01 2021

In every garden there is something bigger and deeper than humanity at work. We gardeners are but one facet of the powers necessary to create gardens. Humans have been adapting their environment to...

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A Bit of Sunshine

A Bit of Sunshine

Mar 27 2021

Is it a strange thing that I can tell you where I first encountered native evening primrose flowers 25 years ago? Perhaps it’s the large round rocks (flat on top) they were growing around and the f...

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Bountiful Backyards

Bountiful Backyards

Mar 17 2021

Many (many!) years ago when I was a new gardener and a new mother, I planted a red currant bush in my first garden on our newly purchased farm. I’d never so much as tasted a currant, had very littl...

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Violets

Violets

Mar 10 2021

Violets are keeping secrets. Many plants are up to strange and wonderful things that we don’t normally notice, but violets really are secretive little buggers. I’ve been growing those ubiquitous Jo...

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Shhh!

Shhh!

Mar 04 2021

When the world gets to be a bit too much, I go out and let nature talk to me. She doesn’t speak in words of course, but you can hear something if you’re quiet. Yes, you can hear the wind in the tre...

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Mountain Meadows

Mountain Meadows

Feb 25 2021

When a gardener takes a day off, one of the finest things to do is go for a drive in the mountains and look for wildflowers. Even better, get out and walk around. On one hike to Our Lake, I found 5...

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Little Presents

Little Presents

Feb 17 2021

You can grow blueberries in Montana if you are determined. You can add lots (and lots) of peat moss to our soil, build raised beds filled with soil you buy, buy acidic fertilizer and use it regular...

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Boxes

Boxes

Feb 10 2021

I try really hard to think outside the box. To my mind, boxes limit choices. I've never believed that I could possibly know the one right answer to much of anything-actually, I don't think there i...

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Alchemy

Alchemy

Feb 03 2021

Alchemy is the magic and (pseudo) science of changing one substance into another, like changing another metal into gold. Strangely enough, there is a plant named after this idea-Lady’s Mantle or Al...

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Surfboards and Coconuts

Surfboards and Coconuts

Jan 27 2021

The growing season here in Montana is relatively short, we can expect frosts into June and again in September. About 100-120 days, tops. It is true that many perennial plants are untroubled by free...

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Kintsugi

Kintsugi

Jan 21 2021

Kintsugi is a 400 year old Japanese art involving putting broken pieces of pottery back together using gold (with lacquer) to create something even more beautiful than the original. Philosophically...

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Rhythms

Rhythms

Jan 13 2021

Frost is coming, and winter is not far behind. It’s always hard to let go of the rampant greenery and color of the gardens-not that we have any choice in the matter. I keep hearing that we should b...

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Two Ways

Two Ways

Jan 07 2021

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein...

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Hand Me Downs

Hand Me Downs

Dec 31 2020

Plants have stories to tell and the best stories are the ones that speak of love. The plants that your grandmother had, those that grew from little starts your friend gave you, or that favorite flo...

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10,000 Flowers

10,000 Flowers

Dec 23 2020

According to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the United Kingdom, there are 391,000 species of vascular plants known to science of which about 369,000 species are flowering. However, as many as 2...

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Sedges Have Edges

Sedges Have Edges

Dec 17 2020

Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, Grasses are hollow,...

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A Gift

A Gift

Dec 09 2020

A garden is not just a garden to me. It is not just some tomatoes and corn to eat or some trees and flowers to fill my yard. It is a constant reminder that the world is an incredibly beautiful plac...

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Useful Plants

Useful Plants

Dec 02 2020

Not long ago I was working at a local greenhouse/nursery and a customer told me that her husband would only let her buy useful plants. As soon as I quit sputtering over the ‘let’ word, I politely a...

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Luna's Garden

Luna's Garden

Nov 25 2020

As I lay awake one night, thinking garden thoughts (I don’t imagine I’m the only one who does this) I realized I had inadvertently put a lot of white flowering plants around the corner of our house...

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Quitting Time

Quitting Time

Nov 19 2020

I read an article that said the best time to retire is never. I agree, with any luck, I’ll lie down in my porch swing in my 90’s, gazing mindlessly at my garden’s last fall colors, go to sleep and...

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Says Who?

Says Who?

Nov 12 2020

The world gave me flowers. Before I even knew that was what I wanted. I grew up on a farm-a practical world where everything you grew was for money or food. Even the windbreak lilacs had the practi...

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Wayfarer's Tree

Wayfarer's Tree

Nov 05 2020

Legend has it that someone on a journey will not get lost near a Wayfarer’s Tree, also known as a Rowan, or to us, a Mountain Ash. In fact, legends abound about this Northern European tree. It was...

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Meraki

Meraki

Oct 29 2020

Meraki is a Greek word meaning to put your heart and soul into what you do and to do it with love and pleasure. I almost never see what I do in the gardens as work-it's just pleasure. Even weeding!...

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Bryophytes

Bryophytes

Oct 22 2020

If one wakes up at 1am worrying about some personal issue really better left alone, it is a very good idea to get out a plant book and read up on bryophytes and lichens. Safer territory, and may in...

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Bare Bones

Bare Bones

Oct 16 2020

I’ve always hated winter-long dark days where I struggle to keep my spirits up and nothing is growing. Taking a walk in a snowy woods is magical, I know, but in my mind it can’t match the glory of...

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Persistence

Persistence

Oct 11 2020

Cotoneaster (no, don’t say cotton Easter) is a humble low maintenance shrub from northern China that has long been sold as a windbreak shrub because it is so tough and reliable. While I have read t...

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The Candy Store

The Candy Store

Sep 27 2020

I recently had a discussion with a couple of avid gardener friends about our complete inability to control ourselves when it comes to buying plants. It’s an obsession-go to any greenhouse and you a...

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Edible Forests

Edible Forests

Sep 23 2020

As early as the 1600’s escaped slaves in the Americas formed maroon communities (from the Spanish word cimarron or runaway). In Brazil these communities came to be called quilombos from a word for...

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It's a Wabi-Sabi Thing

It's a Wabi-Sabi Thing

Sep 14 2020

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that embraces imperfection and transience; it holds that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. It teaches an appreciation for the patina of a...

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The World Is So Full

The World Is So Full

Sep 06 2020

Fringed Grass of Parnassus is a tiny wildflower that I’ve seen growing near Memorial Falls by Neihart, Montana in the Little Belt Mountains. It is not a grass and is obviously not growing on Mount...

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Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Aug 31 2020

A wonderful thing happened not so long ago. I put up a hammock in my garden and for the first time ever, I laid in a hammock. I know! What other small thrills have I been missing? This momentous ev...

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Smultronstalle

Smultronstalle

Aug 23 2020

The Swedish word ‘smultronstalle’ literally means a small remote place where wild strawberries grow, but it’s greater meaning is “rare moments of peaceful tranquility.” And rare those moments are....

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Anytown, USA

Anytown, USA

Aug 17 2020

Drive down any suburban street anywhere and what do you see? Yard after yard with a lawn, a couple of trees, and the ubiquitous foundation junipers. I realize that many homeowners have little time...

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For The Birds

For The Birds

Aug 10 2020

It seems there are a lot of gardeners who are also bird watchers, including me. It had never occurred to me to design a garden around bird watching until I saw one at a Texas State Park. Technicall...

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Whirling Butterflies

Whirling Butterflies

Aug 02 2020

One cannot dislike a plant called ‘Whirling Butterflies’, I shouldn’t think. It’s a fitting name, it’s four petaled butterfly like flowers dance at the top of wiry, wand like stems. It blooms for m...

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A Home In The Meadow

A Home In The Meadow

Jul 27 2020

1. I grew up on the prairie where I used to ride my horse for hours and hours across many miles of grasslands largely undisturbed by civilization. As long as I closed gates behind me it was underst...

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Cocktails Anyone?

Cocktails Anyone?

Jul 23 2020

At the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, I attended a class given by C.L. Fornari, author of ‘The Cocktail Hour Garden’ and I was smitten. I immediately pictured myself in my porch swing...

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Earth Music

Earth Music

Jul 12 2020

“The earth has music for those who listen”-George Santayana...

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Flower Talk

Flower Talk

Jul 05 2020

Poppies are the stuff of dreams. Even Dorothy fell asleep in a field of poppies. Considering that opium comes from poppies, it’s not an altogether surprising reference and may explain why one of th...

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Sparkly Things

Sparkly Things

Jun 28 2020

Quite possibly, the most enchanting garden I ever visited was a small herb garden and nursery in Oregon. There was a small, maybe 30-40 foot wide, round sunken area filled with trees and a circular...

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Hope Lives

Hope Lives

Jun 22 2020

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the song without the words
And never stops-at all....

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Talking To Trees

Talking To Trees

Jun 14 2020

I revere trees. I was probably a Druid in a past life. One of the most spiritual moments of my life was walking through a cathedral of redwoods in complete awe of the power of nature. To plant a tr...

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It's Gotta Be Love

It's Gotta Be Love

Jun 06 2020

There’s a patch of brome grass to the right of our driveway where I want a garden. This is extremely problematic as I have to dig it out. Brome grass is good for pasture, it’s tough, tenacious and...

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Amo, Amas, Amat

Amo, Amas, Amat

May 31 2020

I love, you love, she (he) loves. There, and you thought Latin was hard. To me it’s poetry. The Latin names of plants tell you more about that plant and they’re really fun to say. Like arctoshaphyl...

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The Pursuit of Pleasure

The Pursuit of Pleasure

May 25 2020

In the third century BC, a philosopher named Epicurus taught that the highest purpose of life was the pursuit of pleasure and the goal of life is happiness. We’re not talking rampant gratification...

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A Little Eden

A Little Eden

May 18 2020

I’m a dreamer. I see things as I wish they could be, my husband just wants to know how much that will cost. He has, however, made the very wise decision not to question my plant purchases. My garde...

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On Chaos

On Chaos

May 17 2020

A grape vine, sweet peas, snapdragons, beets, peppers, tomato plants, some up and coming baby’s breath, goji berries, an apricot, a service berry, self-seeding spinach, sunflowers, a small hazelnut...

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Take a Load Off

Take a Load Off

May 10 2020

Someone once said to me that I have all these sitting places in my gardens and I never sit in them. It’s somewhat true. I sit down, see a weed and jump up to pull it. I remember that I forgot to mo...

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In An Ideal World

In An Ideal World

May 03 2020

I like weeding. Maybe it’s because I don’t get all perfectionist and obsess about it. Don’t get me wrong, I obsess about plenty of things, but for some reason I don’t seem to mind if my gardens are...

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Livin' Easy

Livin' Easy

Apr 26 2020

I had a friend, a fellow gardener, when I lived in South Dakota. Eleanor, at age 90, could rattle off the Latin names of plants and called her shovel Gus. Her cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and sense of...

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Me and the bees

Me and the bees

Apr 19 2020

Joe Pye Weed in it’s second year in my garden has reached over six feet tall, each of the 24 or more red stalks topped with a pinkish purple dome of flower heads more than a foot across. Each dome,...

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Gardening from the heart

Gardening from the heart

Apr 12 2020

This is not a story of how to make a garden, no big plant lists, no instructions and above all, no shoulds and shouldn’ts. The only rules I abide by are mother nature’s and she’s a pretty liberal m...

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