Farm Life, Flowers and Indiana Flower Wars


Many of my friends and neighbors hitch up their horses to go shopping.

In my neighborhood, women aren’t judged by the size of their diamonds. That would be prideful.

Nor are they judged by designer labels or gowns. Most wear calico dresses they make themselves. Veiled buns are the hairstyle of choice. A luxury car is rarer than a hen’s tooth. Ladies around here hitch up and head for town in buggies.

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Wildflowers in a field.

But, those same women whose manner of dress and way of living is known as plain…in their gardens create artistic masterpieces worthy of display in any museum. Beds of lavender phlox spring up through silvery rocks in contrast to pink spring tulips. Clumps of blue salva alternate with red geraniums. Tubs and old wagons overflow with colorful pansies. Red petunias then white petunias then purple ones line long, winding drives. Wildflowers abound in uncultivated fields.

drive-through-the-country-025.jpg A Mennonite Buggy takes the family to town.

A ride to town through the country is one of my greatest pleasures. It’s also the source of intimidation and pressure. Because I want to fit in. And before I met DH, the only flower I ever planted was a marigold.

It died.

To avoid failure, I bought expensive already done-up hanging baskets. And the prettiest flowers the greenhouse had. Mission accomplished. A piece of cake.

Only I didn’t know you were supposed to deadhead blooms once they’d wilted. I had no idea how much water impatiens drink. Or that they don’t do well in direct sun. Or that they should be fertilized.

blog-pictures-007.jpg Birdseeds fall from the feeder and grow into flowers that attract bees, butterflies and lots and lots of goldfinches.

I put my geraniums on my porch in the shade because I thought they were the nicest looking of my flowers and I wanted the people driving by our house to see them.

“Your flowers are looking wilted,” DH would say. But, I’d watered them the day before. They didn’t need water every day.

It is amazing how long and stringy and dried out toward the bottom petunias can get if they are never deadheaded. Or how soon geraniums quit flowering. And then there were the weeds in the front flower bed.

I didn’t take pictures of my flowers the first year.

blog-pictures-073.jpg My favorite lilies. There is only one bloom now, but more are budding and on the way.

The next summer I did better. Because I didn’t want to take chances, I still bought expensive already-done hanging baskets. But, I read the directions on the flower tabs. (Before buying, even.) My mother explained deadheading and gave me starts. On one happy day a lady at the greenhouse complimented me on my flowers after I told her where I lived.

That was two years ago.

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“Meet me at my garden gate.”

This spring, I did my own hanging basket arrangements. Some were even from $5 flats of “not such good looking” flowers and $1.25 geraniums purchased from kids raising funds for their 4-H club.

There were mistakes.

I accidently pulled out a bunch of what I thought were weeds. Except, the one weed I missed grew into a tall, lovely and out of place looking, lone flower, right in the middle of the bed. I didn’t have the heart to pull it.

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Another flower picture.

My beds are kind of haphazard because I forgot what I planted where last year and perennials have popped up unexpectedly between annuals on sale I couldn’t resist. But, my new flower hobby is colorful, challenging and outdoors. Digging in dirt, strangely enough, gives me the same feeling I used to have when I painted on canvas.

I am an artist living among many great masters. As religiously as any apprentice, I study their technique. And, I dream and aspire…

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The cat’s favorite napping place is under the bench. Wonder why?

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Touching up my Thyme sign in anticipation of spring and summer.

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Our trumpet vine will soon be blooming. Two years ago, before we rearranged our fencing, the horses ate it.

blog-pictures-005.jpg The trumpet vine eaters.

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  1. barngoddess’s avatar

    what nice gardens you have!

    I only have marigolds and geraniums, haha. They are looking pretty pathetic too…

    great photos by the way

    Reply

  2. intlxpatr’s avatar

    Jolynna, I LOVE the work you have done on your gardens! They are a work of art!

    Reply

  3. Simply Marvelous’s avatar

    What a wonderful view into your lovely life. Enjoyed the photos and absolutely love your pasture surrounded by all those trees. This really makes me homesick for the Midwest.

    Keep writing …

    Reply

  4. jolynna’s avatar

    Barngoddess, thank you for the garden compliments! I have a way to go…but since I am new to gardening, it all seems awesome to me. I go out to look at my flowers several times a time!

    Intlxpatr, thank you so much. I never thought digging in dirt could be so satisfying.

    Simply Marvelous, thank you for your nice words. I love my pasture surrounded by trees too. I grew up in the country, but after I was married the first time I lived in cities. Which really makes me appreciate the fields and woods.

    Reply

  5. growthumbs’s avatar

    Very nice indeed. I really like the never enough thyme wall. It sort of looks like my Mom’s wall. Garden looks good!

    Reply

  6. jolynna’s avatar

    Thanks for your kind words.

    The *Never Enough Thyme* sign was left behind by my husband’s ex, so I can’t take credit for picking it out. I like it too, though.

    Reply

  7. marguerite’s avatar

    Hello. What a wonderful site and what a great life you are living. I don’t know how else to contact you besides leaving it on a comment and this may be a long shot but it is worth a try. I moved from Denver with my 3 cats to LA 3 years ago. I have always had cats my whole life and have always had them until they have passed away. I love cats so much and love my 3 cats very much! I have a dilema that has been so hard on me. My cats love to be outside almost all the time and where I live now it is being limited how often they can go out and my career has started having me travel a lot and I may have plans on moving to New York. I feel my cats are very unhappy and I really feel that they would be so happy living on a farm where they could be outside as often as they wanted but still had shelter and food. It is making me so sad to even think about finding them a new home, but I want them to be happy and when I look ahead at the future I see that my circumstances will not be fair to them. So I am writing to you and anyone else who reads this to find them a place like this. I don’t know if you are looking to having anymore cats running around, but I thought I would ask since I can see you love animals and have beautiful land. My cats are very loving and used to other cats and dogs. So I know this may be a long shot but I am very upset about my cats and want to make them happy and if you can help in anyway or anyone reading can it would be greatly appreaciated.
    My email is mendsley12@hotmail.com
    Thank you!
    Marguerite

    Reply

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