Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Here at Namasté, we're giving a shout out to a member of the farm family as she launches her new blog:


Christy is an amazing woman - mother, poet, teacher, friend, creative spirit.  I hope you'll follow her!

Friday, July 11, 2014


As the corgis and I took our morning walk about 6:30 AM, my trusty camera tagged along in my pocket.  There are many things, both wild and domesticated, in bloom around the farm now. It'll take more than one blog post to record them, I'm sure. Come along and take the walk with me.
My favorite zinnia - pale pink, delicate, feminine.  A heirloom from a variety pack I bought in NC. 
I tossed zinnia seeds in the cold frame at the end of the deck in late spring, knowing that I'd have some volunteer four-o'clocks there as well.  Oddly, the only four-o'clocks that came up are the brilliant fuschia ones, a beautiful backdrop for the pastel zinnias.

I frequently contemplate taking the gargantuan Rose of Sharon bush out since it occupies a large portion of the fence line space in the side yard. However, when it flowers and plays host to numerous hummingbirds and butterflies, I always reconsider.

All the Nicotiana on the farm is volunteer.  Along with milkweed, these blossoms provide an strong, sweet evening perfume that wafts all around the farm.  One of my favorite parts of the day is sundown on the deck, where I sit and contemplate the day while savoring the sweet fragrances of these elegant, delicate blooms.
Coneflowers abound in various places around the farm.  Plans for the fall are to clean out and separate the lilies, coneflowers, tansy, and various other flowers in this bed come fall. 

Remind me that I don't need to scatter handfuls of cleome seeds all over my flower beds next year.  If anyone wants seed, just give me a jingle!

When I walked out this morning three hummingbirds were vying for these hosta blossoms.

My orchids love vacationing outside during the summer in the shade of the corner maple tree.  They reap the benefit of its cover and summer humidity there.  I watch them carefully to ensure little spiders don't have a feast on the leaves.

Coleus grows alongside of the orchids.  I found this neat, sturdy bread display rack at Rink's for $5.00, and it's the best for housing the orchids in the summer. Six of eleven orchids are currently in bloom; the oncidiums will flower along about December or January.  I have now idea about the dendrobium.  I'm just not successful with them.

I'll share sunflowers and lilies in subsequent posts, and as other things open up, you'll see them here on Namasté in time. Welcome to the garden tour, farm style!


With pretty lilies, mostly all in a row.  All of these, save the fifth one down, are ones I brought to the farm from Boone.  I purchased them from the Farmer's Market there, and they've flourished here at the farm.  It's hard to get a good photo of them in the row that's planted in my side yard, so I feature them here individually.  I have three more varieties that are yet to open, so soon they're feature in a post by themselves. 
It'll be soon time to divide these beauties - perhaps after next year's blooms.  If anyone's interested in a few starts, let me know.  You can come for a visit and take some home.



With glorious sunflowers, not necessarily in rows, but all over the farm.
As the sun hit this one squarely in the face this morning, the drop of sunflower juice sparkled in its rays like a diamond.

Shaded at the moment but turning its face to the sun.

An heirloom varietal, Evening Surprise (I think), this deep maroon beauty is one I started from seed and planted as a spindly, gangly little plant that I wasn't sure would flourish.  This is the first bloom of four plants that survived an unexpected cold snap and corgis traipsing through the flower bed.  I love it!

I know, I know....I should (and will) keep record of the names of the flowers I plant, especially the heirlooms.  This soft lemony and multi-flowered beauty is a volunteer from an heirloom I started last summer.  One of my favorites, it's really more of a soft, pastel yellow - very delicate and prolific.

Sunflower and silo - both in awe of the flawless sky.

I believe I might have a cross-breed in this flower.  I have a variety that has a deep reddish-brown circle around the seed center.  If I am accurate in my hypothesis, this slightly circled flower could be a cross between my lemony yellow heirloom and its friend with the darker centered circle.  (I failed to get a photo of that one in this batch of images, regretfully.)

Two different varieties growing side by side, both volunteers from last year's seeds.  I will, yes I will, take notes of their names once I get back into my seed stash.
As I was taking photos this morning of all these happy flowers, I stopped to watch the number of pollinators that were busy on the plants.  I saw numerous bees of all sizes, along with other insects who shared the pollen.  And at this very moment as I type this, a female goldfinch is perched on one of the flowers within an arm's length of my chair. 
I invite everyone to enjoy these glorious flowers and plant some of your own.  At the very moment I type this, a pair of goldfinches are eating from a plant within an arm's length.
WOW !!!!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


I'm always amazed when people have really strong opinions about which flowers are pretty and which aren't, what makes a beautiful flower garden, what sort of flower garden meets the prerequisites for local garden tours, etc. I recently learned sunflowers aren't a favorite of a friend of mine. Shortly thereafter, I listened to this same person voice her shock that a couple of gardens on the local tour lacked mulch and had milkweed growing in them.  OMG!
I happen to love sunflowers. I love their color.  I love their many varieties. I love the way they bow to the sun, shifting in direction to honor it as travels from east to west over the course of the day.  I love watching goldfinches perch on the huge flowers to feed on their seeds.  I also like to munch on the seeds.  I love their name in Spanish - girasoles.  Ask me to extol their virtues, and I can provide a list a mile long.  (Of course, I'm not the sort of gardener who gets uptight when the wind takes them down or when the weight of a gigantic seedy head hits the earth.)
 I'm also a huge fan of mildweed (asclepias incarnata).  Yesterday afternoon, when I returned home from a short trip to NC, I rolled down my windows to get a whiff of its intoxicating, sweet aroma. The dogs and I later took a walk around the back field, and I counted 20+ different species of dragonflies, butterflies, and colorful bugs hanging out on the fragrant, mauve milkweed balls. And yes, if milkweed didn't naturally surround me in every direction, I'd plant some in my flower beds.  I think they're beautiful!

If we didn't have milkweed and other "weeds," we wouldn't have monarch butterflies and other species who need this unique plant in their lives. Carl Linnaeus named the genus after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, because of the many folk-medicinal uses for the milkweed plants.  (Google) In further defense of its worthiness, milkweed's bast fibers make a beautiful paper.  The fiber is strong, and when I prepare pulp with milkweed, it cooperates better than other "weeds" in bonding with other base fibers. As a kid, my cousins and I would pretend the sticky juice from the plant was Elmer's Glue, and we would make collages from flowers in the field on old barn boards or river rocks.  
In a couple of weeks, I'm going to invite the person who was astounded at milkweed in a flower garden over for dinner.  We'll take a glass of wine and walk down into the lower field.  Perhaps when she passes the sunflower patch, she'll be fanned by the breeze of goldfinches taking flight from the "girasoles" and become bedazzled by the brilliant colors of the monarchs and other butterflies hanging on the milkweed.  Maybe, just maybe, she'll catch on.....