Garden Moment at ATL

magical-garden-artArt brings garden feel to subway tunnel

 By Michael Leach

I didn’t expect to have a garden moment in the subway of the Atlanta airport, but it happened. 

Shunning the train to get  in some needed walking en route to my gate, I passed several pieces of sculpture by African artists in one of the connecting tunnels between concourses. The greenish color of some of the stones, the serene faces and fluid lines suggested life outdoors and fresh air. I coveted several as focal points in my landscape.

Among my favorites were Galactic Dancer by Tapfuma Gutsa, Woman Showing Traditional Salute by Edronce Rukodzi, and Caring Mother, by Lameck Bonjisi.

galactic-dancer-statue

“Galactic Dancer” by Tapfuma Gutsa

woman-showing-traditional-salute-statue

“Woman Showing Traditional Salute” by Edronce Rukodzi

 

 

caring-mother-statue

“Caring Mother” by Lameck Bonjisi


Adding further outdoor ambience was a colorful installation suggesting a leafy canopy running the entire length of another connecting tunnel.  Recorded tweets and trills of bird songs added to the fantastical effect of being deep in a whimsical, shaded garden.

Had I known my flight would be delayed by nearly an hour, I’d have hoofed it through the rest of the tunnels to see what was on exhibit. Or backtracked to look more closely at the photo exhibit and permanent exhibit of Atlanta’s history. 

To learn more about art in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport visit: http://www.atl.com/about-atl/airport-art-program/.

The Kiss of the Sun for Pardon

Magnolia buds

Buds on a star magnolia offer promises of brighter, warmer days ahead.

 

By Michael Leach

Winter brings special magic to the garden. Visions of snowy branches, frosty twigs and bluish moon shadows on clear frigid nights come to mind. But sunshine is part of the potion.

Sea oats

Seeds of northern sea oats glow in morning light.

 

In this part of the Midwest, winter sunlight can be a rare and fleeting phenomenon. Weeks of gray skies are not unusual. So there is delight when the sun makes an appearance. When those welcome rays appear in early morning and late afternoon,  the garden glows softly with the burnishing effects from the sun low on the horizon.

ornamental grass

Plumes of ornamental grasses stand out against the somber backdrop of evergreens.

The poem on a garden plaque I keep meaning to buy starts, “The kiss of the sun for pardon … .” That kiss in winter, no matter how brief and infrequent,  warms my heart regardless of the temperature.

 

sycamore

Sycamore branches are tinted with the first rays of a February day.

In recent weeks I collected images of this warming touch. Perhaps they will inspire you to go forth in the remaining days of winter to look for special effects and golden vignettes before becoming overwhelmed with all the work that lies ahead.

Prairie dock leaf

The withered giant leaf of a prairie dock wears the gilt of sunshine on a winter morn.

 

yucca

Love ’em or hate ’em, yuccas seem magical at dawn on a clear winter day.

 

A walk in the woods in late afternoon brings enchantment and the voice of the woodland.

 

 

Autumn Jewels II

Aut Flw Tricyrtis hirta Sinonome10-6-15By Debra Knapke

I’ve often heard the complaint that autumn is dull, and all we have is mums and pumpkins.  Well, I recently went searching for jewels in my autumn garden and found not only jewels, but a plentiful array of flowers.  Below is a glimpse of these treasures.

Aut FlwTricyrtis macrantha close 10-6-15 resize Aut FlwTricyrtis macrantha plant 10-6-15 resizeThis weeping toadlily, Tricyrtus micrantha, is a rare jewel in a Central Ohio garden. In my garden since 2007, it has been a shy bloomer. But my patience was rewarded this year with this gorgeous display of 1 ½” golden bells.

Aut Flw Tricyrtis hirta Sinonome 2 10-6-15The more typical flower form of a toadlily is an open six-pointed star with six stamens (male reproductive structures) fused to a six-lobed pistil (female reproductive structure). If you look closely at the buds and stems you can see how Tricyrtis hirta became known as the hairy toadlily.

Aut Flw Tropaeolum majus Alaska Mix 10-6-15Aut Flw borage 10-6-15I do not have Michael’s zinnias, but this nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus ‘Alaska Mix’) offers a zing of orange which contrasts beautifully with its variegated leaves. An added bonus: the flower petals and leaves are edible. Borage (Borago officinalis) offers another edible flower; imagine a cool whisper of cucumber flavor. The blue flower is also a complimentary color to the orange nasturtium flower. I often plant them together as I find it to be a pleasing color combination.

Aut Flw Aster laevis Bluebird bumble 10-6-15The smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve ‘Bluebird’) is one of many asters in my garden. Asters supply food to bees, butterflies and later, birds. Two asters I can’t show you, since they don’t bloom until late October.  Perhaps, a last drink for pollinators?

Aut Flw Heuchera villosa Bronze Wave 10-6-15Our beautiful native Heuchera villosa and its cultivars (above is ‘Bronze Wave’) have become one of my favorite shade to part shade plants. Tolerant of dry shade once it is established, it offers a bold foliage effect and long-lasting flowers that bloom in August until frost. The inflorescences are so heavy that they gracefully bend and intermingle with other plants. Watch for hummers when heucheras are in bloom.

Aut Flw Chrysanthemum Mei Kyo 10-6-15Last, but certainly not least, are the hardy mums. This is an old hybrid, Chrysanthemum ‘Mei Kyo’, which has graced my garden for 20 years. Its flowers are just starting to open. I will have flowers to bring inside until a hard frost sends this mum “to bed”.

Aut Flw anaemone 10-7-15Where are the beautiful hybrid anemones that often grace an autumn garden? Well, in my garden the buds and flowers have become choice edibles for my herd of deer. I did not protect the flowers so I have beautiful leaves and naked stems adorned with a few seedheads of flowers that got away.

‘Wishing you a beautiful and creative fall!

Hello, Fall!

20140927_092612_AndroidLooking for some fall gardening inspiration?  Well, check out some of the season’s best posts on Heartland Gardening:

 

 

Happy 4th of July

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Rainy Days in the Garden

IMG_0165By Michael Leach

Rain is one of a garden’s greatest allies. But too much of a good thing, becomes tiresome. In my part of the Midwest, we’ve been having a rainy, dreary summer.The result is weeds and mosquitoes going berserk and al fresco activities canceled with scant notice. All too often, we remain inside, looking out through rain drops trickling slowly down window panes. 

Yet raindrops add a unique look to plants. So hoist an umbrella, kick off your shoes and prepare for a fresh perspective when “pennies from heaven” start to fall.

Hostas look fine no matter the weather, and a spangled woodland poppy enlivens the scene. 

Woodland poppy

 

Roses sparkle after a rain.rose

 

 

 

 

 

Waterlilies get into the act, too.

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Drought-tolerant succulents assume a different look.

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Downpours bent the stems of a couple of over-loaded lilies. No matter. They became an opulent bouquet and brought a whiff of the garden indoors.

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Happy May Day

Wishing you a bloom-filled May Day from Heartland-Gardening!

By Teresa Woodard

 

Snapshots: Michael’s Daffodils

Leach curbHello, Yellow!  Golden Daffodils and Trim Add Plenty of Curb Appeal

By Teresa Woodard

Our fellow blogger Michael Leach definitely has a green thumb, and his gardening efforts this month are showing some golden results! At his home southwest of Columbus, Michael planted hundreds of daffodils around the family farmhouse where he grew up as a child and returned in 1988 to make his own and transform the gardens. Check out these recent snapshots of his spring paradise.Daffodils and old maple tree

Century-old maple trees were planted by Michael’s uncles who built the home in 1890.Back edge of propertyMore daffodils frame the rear view of Michael’s property.

Mixed bulbs by back steps Michael creates many charming vignettes like this mix of bulbs at the back steps and a spring container arrangement at the yellow garage door.Yellow garage door Rear view of home Rear view of home

Original farmhouse trough An original trough from the farmhouse

Magnolia bloom Garage and back doorSide entry

Front walk with scillaSide walkway

Buck decorated seasonallyThanks for sharing your garden, Michael!

 

Snapshots: Poultry Rule at Ohio Nationals

By Teresa Woodard

No where is the growing trend of poultry keeping more evident than this weekend’s Ohio Poultry National at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus.  Here, hundreds of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas and partridge arrive from across the country to compete for best of show.  You’ll find heritage varieties, fancy ones with crested plumes and feathered feet, large turkeys and small bantam ducks, and even pink silkie chickens.  Below are a few favorite snapshots from the event which wraps up today.

Narragansett turkeys are known for being one of the largest of the heritage turkeys.

Narragansett turkeys are known for being one of the largest of the heritage turkeys.

Brahmas are known as the "Kings of Poultry" for their size and strength.

Brahmas are known as the “Kings of Poultry” for their size and strength.

The frizzle-feathered chickens are the divas of the poultry world with their curled feathers.

The frizzle-feathered chickens are the divas of the poultry world with their curled feathers.

 

The crested chickens are the beloved subject of old Dutch and Flemish paintings.

The crested chickens are the beloved subject of old Dutch and Flemish paintings.

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These pink chickens were a hit with kids in the trading area.

Snapshots: Snowy Spring

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Debra Knapke

The forsythia is in bloom – here is the first of three snows!

 

Actually, the snow is a protective cover on this cold morning.  Tonight, the temperature is supposed to go down into the high 20’s. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I will be covering my few cold hardy annuals, but the new leaves on the trees will have to fend for themselves.

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