A Garden Dressed in White

“The first of all single colors is white … We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

When I studied color theory, it surprised me to learn that white pigment is the absence of color whereas in light, white is the combination of all color. Scientifically speaking, white isn’t a color at all, but as ‘non-colors’ go it’s loaded with symbolism and meaning.

I also learned today that white or pale flowers are more strongly scented than their darker counterparts. Who knew!

Come join me for a walk through my mid-autumn garden. The ‘color’ of the day, isn’t a color at all.

flowering basil

Flowering basil

The rest of the vegetable garden went to sleep in October, but this pretty plant continues to thrive.

bacopa

Bacopa: This survived the summer heat and very little water

I gave this potted Bacopa very little water this summer. Now that it’s cooler and we’ve had a bit of rain, the plant revived.

camellia

Camellia along the back fence

This gorgeous, Camellia is one of my favorite splashes of white this time of year.

cosmos

A fading Cosmo, one of the lasts flowers in the curb garden

This Cosmo looks tired, but it is November. She’s been pumping out blooms for some time.

hydrangea

Hydrangea, grateful for some rain

Again, one of the last blooms on this plant.

sweet alyssum and begonia

Sweet Alyssum and Begonias on the patio

There are a few begonias in the back of this pot, but the summer belonged to my Sweet Alyssum. As it goes to sleep, a pretty white shower drifts below.

amemone

The last of the Anemone. They’ve been flowering since August

Saying Goodbye to King Tut

My sister’s beloved kitty died yesterday. He’s been a wonderful companion to her and will be sorely missed. He had the whitest coat, emerald-green eyes and the cutest little ears. He also had a sweet personality to match. Farewell KT.

KT Eating Kitty Greens

KT Eating Kitty Greens

Additional Reading:

Sensational Color: All about the color white.

Wikipedia: White

Color Matters: Basic Color Theory

Blended Edges

Early spring is all about growth. Seeds sprout, bulbs emerge, and branches fill with leaves. It’s an exciting time.

By mid-season, everyone is branching out.  Creepers move across the ground at a steady pace with flowers popping up along the way.  Plants seem to fluff themselves up, growing taller and fuller daily.  Like guests at a party, individual plants seek the company of others.  Once distinct, they’re all blending at the edges.  It’s one of my favorites times in the garden.

hydrangea and bellflowers

Hydrangea and Bellflowers

Campanula, commonly known as Bellflower, hug the patio. Hydrangeas branch out just above.

alyssum and baby tears

Alyssum and baby tears

Sweet Alyssum joins the party, merging with baby tears growing along the path.

flax, anenome, alyssum, begonia

New Zealand Flax mixes with flowers

New Zealand Flax shades the Anemone which will be covered in white flowers by August. On the subject of white flowers, the Alyssum smells like honey as it takes over the pot. A begonia came back from the frost last year, now shadowing the tiny bulbs below.

lindy and bellflowers

Daphne and Bell-flowers

It’s a fun time to explore the garden, too. Here Lindy emerges from behind the wheelbarrow, her green eyes blending with the Daphne and Campanula. I think they’re all sweet.

mouse and geraniums

Mighty Mouse is the garden exception. He’s not the blended edges type. Bright white fur and his stand-out personality defy convention. It’s only fitting that he’s photographed here with a bright orange geranium, craning his neck to see the hummingbird, above.

Growing up with bright red hair and freckles, I had a hard time ‘blending edges’ as well. It took some growing up to get comfortable with my ‘center.’  This wonderful cat and my blended garden are happy metaphors for healthy growth in life.

Do you like to blend at the edges or stand out in the crowd?

Gardening, Labor and a Societal Ban on Wearing White

When I flipped my Old Farmer’s Almanac wall calendar to September, it greeted me with this quote:

Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job. – George Bernard Shaw

It certainly is a labor of love, at least for those of us that pursue gardening as a hobby and not a livelihood.  For those who truly labored long and hard before us, Labor Day is more significant.

We can thank Labor, also known as Unions, for the following:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: By 1937, these labor actions created enough political momentum to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act, which helped create a federal framework for a shorter workweek that included room for leisure time. [reference, below]

Thank you for the time to putter in my garden and extra time to spend with my family, both the two-legged and four-legged ones.

tending the garden

Tending the garden

2. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor. The very first American Federation of Labor (AFL) national convention passed “a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment” in 1881, and soon after states across the country adopted similar recommendations, leading up to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated child labor on the federal level for the first time.

Thank you for helping me keep my children safe.  They have the freedom to tend school (please ignore the whining you hear from my open windows) and the freedom to be home with their family.  They’re learning life skills to prepare them for future work, without sacrificing healthy lungs, potential loss of limb and a shortened lifespan.

learning leadership

Learning about leadership (no child harmed in the taking of this picture)

3. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans

We’re still working on this one, but with the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act, people like my sister with a chronic, pre-existing condition known as Multiple Sclerosis, can rest a bit easier.

DSC_0007-001.14. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

When I gave birth to my first child in 1997, I worked for an employer with fewer than 50 employees, so this benefit didn’t apply.  Still, it’s a big step forward.  I had to smile when I heard that Prince William will be the first to take advantage of a similar law in the UK. When my husband returned to work a mere two weeks after the birth of our first child, it was all I could do to keep from knocking him to the ground as he left home to spend 10 hours a day elsewhere.  I managed not to break the baby who is now 16 and taller than I am.

growing up

Growing up

On the sillier side of this important day, “In high society, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day of the year when it is fashionable to wear white.”

With a pair of white felines and several pretty flowers still in bloom, we’ll be bending the ‘no white after labor day rule’ for some time.

mouse onthe sidewalk

Enjoying Labor Day

white flowers

Anemone Flowers

white cosmos

White Cosmos

References:

Blooming Thursday: It Must Be August

 

In the far corner of the garden, the Japanese Anemone are about to put on a show.  The plant is unremarkable most of the year, with a low, leafy green spreading across the rock wall.  After a winter die-back, they reemerge in the spring, gathering energy for the days ahead.

Anemone Buds

Anemone Buds

Anemone japonica white

Anemone Japonica ‘White’

July arrives and on cue, the Anemone burst forth sending out tall stems covered in lush green leaves. July is dress rehearsal.

japanese anemone flower

Anemone Bloom

Take a seat ladies and gentlemen, the show is about to begin.  The chorus lines the rock wall, tiny buds at the ready. When the curtain opens, dozens of white blooms take center stage.

Be sure to tell all your friends.  The show continues its run through late August.

 

Birdhouse Gourd: First Snow

 

Okay, not really snow per se, but the birdhouse gourd flower is snow-white. I’m sure the seed packet said something about white flowers, but I’ve been so focused on the gourds to come, that it took me by surprise. I just assumed it would flower yellow, like the pumpkins, zucchini and other members of the squash family.

Not all the garden surprises have been good this past week, but this one’s a gem. I love the delicate petals and the beautiful contrast to the plants green arrow-head leaves. I’ll be keeping a close watch over the next two weeks for signs of emerging gourds.

Have you found any surprises in your garden this week? Please share in the comments below.

White Birdhouse Gourd Flower

Flowering Gourd