Life In The Garden

Dreaming of my new garden

Dreaming of a new garden

I have not written much on The Garden Frog

I realized that I need to fill you all in on what has been happening in my life and garden. This year (2016) will go down in my memories as one of the toughest times in my life. Why? Because my youngest son graduated from high school last June, my husband and I separated, and I had to dig up my flower beds to create a simple mulched landscape for a new family.

Dreaming of a new garden
2016 view from the 2nd story window after I dug up the flower bed

I am dreaming of my new garden because it is the one thing I can do to keep me from crying. For anyone who is a gardener, you know that feeling of happy- the happy when you walk out to the garden and see a new bloom beckoning you to wander over to admire its color, the aroma, and the beauty…Dreaming of my new garden

Gardening is not just about blooms- it is the circus of bees, birds, and butterflies that flitter and buzz around chirping and tweeting the songs of nature. The beauty unfolds as the flowers open in the morning to unveil a smorgasboard of yellow pollen for hoards of pollinators to visit and devour.

I am a gardener without a garden right now

Dreaming of a new garden
Sea of Black eyed Susans, Purple Coneflowers, and Gaillardia

I am dreaming of my new garden

Garden beds filled with the blooms of my favorite flower- Iris and the sea of Black eyed Susans, Salvia, Confeflowers, and Daylilies that color my world in the heat of summer. I fill with the excitement of watching the finches land on the seed heads and swaying to and fro as they enjoy the bounty of their find and spilling and sowing the seeds for next years blooms.

Dreaming of a new garden
Finches love Black Eyed Susans

I have not sold the house yet and continue to scour the internet sites morning, noon, and night for a new home with lots of space for flowers. I am staying in Virginia, zone 7, where the seasons change and where I do not need a winter coat very often. I will be buying a fixer upper on my very small budget and I have to have room for 2 dogs, 3 cats, and the hundred plus perennials I have stashed in the back yard hidden from a buyer’s view.

Dreaming of a new garden
as of November 2016

Dreaming of my new garden after digging up my flower beds has kept me going at times when I wanted to cry. Cry? Yes because as a gardener I am lost without digging in dirt and cultivating my green thumb. I am lost without my blooms, without the birds, and without all the bees flitting about my garden. I cannot buy plants. I cannot plant. I can only check on my stash of Iris, hosta, ferns, and hydrangeas that fill an area under the canopies of the mighty

I am a gardener without a garden. I am a woman lost without the color of nature. I am worried that I will not be able to find a new home where I belong and where I can grow along with my garden. I cannot put in to words the feeling of euphoria when a plant fourishes in the soil that I tended with my hands.

Dreaming of a new garden
Attracting the birds

How many of you have purchased a wilted plant that struggled to survive on the racks of the garden center?

Then you know the feeling that wells up inside when it blooms for the first time. The excitement that makes you explode and tell everyone and anyone who will listen how you saved a plant from the dumpster.That is the feeling that I have experienced over and over for many years. As I post the pictures here, I could tell you a story about how it came to be (and one day I should share?) That is what gardening is about- the memories of working with nature to create your own slice of heaven in this chaotic world.

Want to talk about gardening or have a question?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my story. And do not forget to visit my other blog- The Garden Frog Boutique. 

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2017 copyrighted material C Renee



Life In The Garden

I am a gardener without a garden

I am a gardener without a gardenI am a gardener without a garden and have been since spring (2016) when I dug up my flower beds and sold hundreds of plants. Going through a divorce and knowing I was going to sell the house, I had to I create mulched boring beds that would be easy for a new home owner to manage. I am a gardener without a garden

I am currently looking for a new home to start my life as an empty nester and a divorcee with 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a love of all things green, colorful, and beautiful. I dream every night about finding this new home with lots of room for my new gardens. Plus I have to find and buy this new home with a not so realistic price tag.I am a gardener without a garden

This is not what I had imagined

When I turned 50 back in February 2016, I counted down the days for my youngest son to graduate high school and I dreamt of the day I would find my dream home in the country and return to the country life my husband (now ex) and I had talked about for years.  Our dream (I guess it was actually mine all along) was to find a house with a wrap around porch overlooking the pasture with farm animals grazing and a big red barn. The perfect setting as I gaze out my window and to be inspired to write that book and fill my life with peace and joy. I am a gardener without a garden

I am a gardener without a garden and I have struggled with the sadness. It is a sadness that has consumed me at times. I have not been to a garden center since last fall and I can barely walk through the garden center at my local home stores without feeling a sense of loss and twinge of grief because I cannot buy a plant and enjoy the beauty of the blooms in my garden…because I do not have any flower gardens.I am a gardener without a garden

I struggle every day to feel in touch with nature

I have even shed tears over my thoughts about just letting go of my houseplants and other tropical garden plants. Letting go and not bringing them in and just letting go of the idea of gardening and nurturing my green thumb. But then I remember that some of them are from my dad’s funeral over 17 years ago and I just cannot let go of the connection. Gardening is my connect to nature.

I am a gardener without a garden
Google pic prior to 2008 sorry for the picture quality but it shows the shade and landscaping

My gardens were cultivated from red clay dirt that was so barren weeds did not even grow. The yard was shaded from more than 18 Oak Trees on less than a 1/4 acre plot. I had a few Oaks taken out and had the tree guy limb these beautiful 30-50 Oaks up to the canopy allowing the sun to finally hit the ground. For 8 years gardening was my therapy for my unhappiness and burying the denial of a marriage that had been troubled from the very start. The bees, blooms, butterflies, and beauty that exploded in my gardens made me happy.

I am a gardener without a garden
Some are in pots but the majority are crowded sitting on the ground

I am a gardener without a garden. Therapy of dirt under the nails, the smell of a flower, and the buzz of a bee as it lands next to you in the garden. I miss that. I am pouring my heart out because anyone who tends a garden- flower or vegetable- knows the joy that gardening can bring to your soul. The first bloom of the season, watching a butterfly flutter from flower to flower, or the first tomato you pick off the vine…there is nothing so special as those moments in nature.

I am a gardener without a garden
This is the opposite side of the above picture. Just one area where I have plants ‘stashed’

The Iris, hostas, and many assorted perennials in pots or sitting closely woven together in an area in the dappled shade waiting for their new home…since July my (15 or more varieties of) Iris have been scattered about on top of the ground just waiting to be planted. The ferns, hostas, and even heuchera are just happily crowded back there in the back of my yard hidden from view. I even have some phlox, coneflowers, and hydrangeas mixed in. I have packets of seeds waiting to be sown…dsc_0267

I continue to house hunt and dream about my new home on the edge of a small town with room for a veggie garden, orchard, tons of flower beds, greenhouse, chicken coop, barn, and a workshop. It has been quite exhausting putting aside the past and moving forward stuck in my house which is not a home without my flower gardens. Is this my dream? Am I still a gardener? It is very difficult for me to pass a garden center and not think about what I am…

I am a gardener without a garden

Thanks for stopping by and reading my story. Check out my other stories too.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

copyrighted 2017 C Renee Cumberworth

Life In The Garden

Digging up my garden

digging up my gardenDigging up my garden

It wasn’t the 90 degree heat of summer (2016) that had me exhausted but the task of digging up my 8 years worth of cultivating my beds from a once barren landscape. It proved to be one of the most difficult tasks for me emotionally and physically. Why did I dig up my garden? I should say garden beds because I had to prepare my house for sale. Being a gardener and selling your home is quite an ordeal because buyers want simplicity- clean mulched beds filled with green trimmed bushes. Ugh- so boring!

July 2016

If you are a gardener, then you know that going from flowers buzzing with the sounds of bees and the beauty of the blooms swaying in the breeze to perfectly square foundation shrubs and edged beds filled with neat wood mulch tugs at the heart strings of the gardener. I lived for eye catching yellow of the Blackeyed Susans and the purple spikes of the Salvia mixed in with the blooms of daylilies and coneflowers. My beds were filled with the glorious delight of bees, butterflies, and Finches.

But not anymore. I had to rip all that up. It was like cutting away a piece of me. I cried as I dug up my beautiful flowers. For 2 months now I have had to stare out my windows at the few flowers left and all the brown mulch that fills the void where my flowers once stood.

Digging up my garden

May 2016 the garden was spilling over

I saved much of shade garden which is now sitting in pots or plopped on the ground in a shady spot under the Oak trees. I show you a picture of where all my ferns, hostas, and even Iris are just sitting waiting for my new home, my new garden. I have friends and neighbors amazed that my once beautiful lush gardens are now piled in a remote spot which adjoins my back yard. My beautiful plants are still alive and growing. This keeps my emotional state in check and calm knowing that my gardens are going to come with me to my new home (where ever that may be).

Digging up my garden
Some in pots, some on the ground all huddled together in the shade

I saved seeds from my Coneflowers and even a few random seedlings that popped up.I threw (literally) the daylilies in the woods because I just could not save everything. Much to my surprise they are thriving! I have a hydrangea sitting atop the ground surrounded by some coneflowers, Autumn Joy Sedum, and even a few clumps of Variegated Solomon Seal. I had to dig up my American Beauty Bush and even my beloved Japanese Maple.

The house is up for sale and I am looking for my new home. My youngest son graduated from high school in June and it is time to downsize and get the hell out of the suburbs. I found an area I love and hope that I can find a new home for me and my 4 fur babies. I do have a house in mind, another fixer upper, with a decent size lot on the edge of a small town which backs up to woods. Plenty of room for the hundreds of hostas, ferns, and other plants I dug up. The garden is a love song quote

I am getting back on track with my blogs so stop by and visit my other blog The Garden Frog Boutique.Thank you for stopping by and watch as I journey through starting over not only in my gardens but in life.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016-17 copyrighted material C Renee


Life In The Garden

The Hummingbird Moth in the Garden

Hummingbird Moth in the garden, Hemaris thysbeThe Hummingbird Moth in the garden

The Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thysbe) is one of the coolest insects that will visit your garden. The Hummingbird Moth resembles the hummingbird and is sometimes mistaken because it hovers over and  feeds on nectar of tubal plants such as Honeysuckle, Phlox, and BeeBalm just as a hummingbird does. The long proboscis unfolds to reach deep inside the flower and curls up when the moth is in flight. Unlike the hummingbird, the Hummingbird Moth does not have feathers and is not a bird even though the tail of the Hummingbird Moth looks like it has small delicate tail feathers.

Hummingbird Moth in the garden, Hemaris thysbeI get so overjoyed when I see a Hummingbird Moth in my garden

I have watched the steady decline in the past 5 years since my neighbors hire one of those companies to spray for mosquitoes onto their yard, bushes, and even 30′ up into the mighty Oaks. The Hummingbird Moth lays it eggs on the host plants (for the caterpillars) such as Honeysuckle (including the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle), Viburnum, Hawthornes, Black Cherry, and Plum trees. After the eggs hatch and the caterpillars feed and grow into green horned worms, they inch along to the soil where they spin their cocoon, become a pupa and rest until it is time to emerge as the Hummingbird Moth. Here in zone 7, the Hummingbird Moth can lay 2 sets of eggs- first set anywhere from March- June and the 2nd set from August- October. In colder climates the Hummingbird Moth will lay its eggs anywhere from April- August. If it gets too late in the season, the pupa will not emerge into the beautiful Hummingbird Moth until the following spring.

Hummingbird Moth in the garden, Hemaris thysbeThe Hummingbird Moth sips the nectar from many native bushes and flowers too. Wild blueberries, phlox, wild roses, wild blackberries, BlackEyed Susans, and the red clover found in outlying wooded areas and open areas are important food sources for many insects, wildlife, and birds. Even the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle is a food source for the Hummingbird Moth. If you want to attract these cool and interesting insects into your garden, then I would plant some  garden phlox (paniculata), BlackEyed Susans, and even plant a Japanese Honeysuckle if you can take the time to keep it contained and not become too invasive in your yard. Note: in the pictures this is David’s phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘David’) which is a cultivar.

Gardening is not always about attracting human eyes and compliments. Attracting insects, birds, and furry creatures keeps your garden and our great planet alive. Do not panic just because a spider has created a web on your flowers or you find a weird looking caterpillar crawling on your petunias. Not everything in the garden is bad and most of it is good.

Let’s talk gardening

I hope I have inspired you to think outside the box and work more with nature to attract all kinds of creatures great and small. Thanks for stopping by!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @The Garden Frog Boutique