National Color Day – The Garden Way!

”The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”

– John Ruskin

 

Today is a big day! Not only is it the first day of early voting in Texas but it is also National Color Day! Woo hoo!!! If you know me or have been following this blog, it’s not difficult to see that I’m a lover of color…especially in the garden. When I design a garden I like to apply the same techniques that I use when painting. I decide in my mind where each color should live on each section of the garden canvas. I actually tend to begin more with color than with height, size, shape or flower type. The special key to proper pollinator gardening, as well, is that you should plant in mass. A solid stand of a particular species of flower will be much more effective in attracting butterflies from high above, for instance, than just two or three plants. Each honey bee worker also only collects from one species of flower per flight, so giving her a nice bundle from which to gather lots of pollen is also helpful. What can I say? It’s important to color block.

The funny thing about a good pollinator garden, though…it keeps changing. Like the Mona Lisa, year after year altered by the master, it’s never quite “finished.” This is largely because pollinator gardens beget seeds sown randomly without any thought or order. But that’s kind-of what makes every spring exciting, you never know where some things will pop up next!

In preparation for National Color Day, I spent a little time in my gardens this weekend capturing some of my fall favorites before they fade away to mere memories. So instead of the usual Morbid Monday series, let’s celebrate a little life today through color! I hope you enjoy my color share as you wrap up your Monday, and I suggest that you get out this week for a while and enjoy the beauty of this stunningly pigmented planet that we are blessed to call home. No need to go in search of the rainbow, folks. We’re living right smack dab in the middle of it. Enjoy!

 

All the best,

A. J.

 

RED – Love and Strength

(Blanket Flower, Red Autumn Sage, Ornamental Pepper, Firecracker Penstemon)

 

ORANGE – Creativity and Determination

(Swiss Chard veins, Orange Zest Cestrum, Tall Orange Cosmos)

 

YELLOW – Happiness

(Yellow Cosmos, Goldenrod)

 

GREEN – Relaxation and Growth

(Sweet Potato Vine, Boxwood and sculpture, Oxalis over stone, potted Peppermint in sunshine)

 

BLUE – Imagination

(Common Dayflower)

 

PINK – Sophistication and Sincerity

(Zinnia, Lantana, Balsam Flower, Petunia, Standing Phlox, Pink Autumn Sage)

 

PURPLE – Power and Ambition

(Pincushion Flower, Thai Basil, Gregg’s Mistflower, Indigo Spires, Balsam Flower, Butterfly Bush, Fall Aster)

 

WHITE – Purity

(Frogfruit, Frostweed, Balsam Flower)

 

BROWN – Reliability and Warmth

(Overgrown Path, Brick Backdrop, Pond Basin, Death gives Life)

 

BLACK – Mystery…the absence of all color

(Earth…the promise of color to come)

 

– All content photos by Amanda J. Schulz

 

Life After the Storm

”Every storm runs, runs out of rain, just like every dark night turns into day.”

– Gary Allan

 

About this time last week I assumed our next step would be to build an ark. North Texas was absolutely pummeled with rain for days. And days. And even more days, it seemed. I have a hard time remembering a recent period in our weather history with more continuous rain than that. The showers sequestered sorrowful students indoors at the school where I volunteer as garden coordinator, and our home garden just sat, leaves and petals slouching under the weight of water. It’s no surprise, then, when “enough blue in the sky for a Dutchman’s britches” (as J.’s grandmother would have said) finally stuck its bottom through the clouds, that we all feverishly ran outside to check on life.

I think my camera might have actually gathered a little dust during the storm, but throwing that strap over my head this week was like riding a bike…I didn’t forget. And WOW was life alive! The temperatures had shifted from the sweat of summer to a pleasantly cool warm, and EVERYone sought to enjoy it. Newly hatched butterflies flitted and floated everywhere I walked. Bees began gathering their preparatory pollen for winter. Even a litter of bunnies emerged from a mulch hole in the school playground (much to the dismay of our Brassicas).

As I stepped outside this week and could finally inhale a long and deliberate gulp of fresh air, I thought about the storms we all go through in life. I happen to be braving some storms with a few friends right now. I’m like their umbrella holder. The rain is a torrential sideways downpour at the moment for them, with absolutely no hope of staying dry, but at least I can help by shielding a little water from their faces. Inevitably, though, just like a thunderstorm ends so does a life storm. They’ll weather the storm. We all weather our storms. And amazingly, somehow, all of the colors come out in the wash twice as bright as they were before…just like a cutting garden after a hard rain. The bees buzz, the buds bloom and life begins anew.

So if you are braving a storm right now, just know that it WILL run out of rain. You’ll likely get wet (hell it might actually flood up to your neck), but at some point the waters will subside. And I guarantee you that eventually, when the sound of splatters finally silence on your back, your umbrella will tilt just enough to let in a glimpse of blue, and you’ll shake hands with the Dutchman. Man…won’t it be great to finally greet him.

 

May you enjoy my seven favorite photos from this week of life, witnessed after the storm.

 

All the best,

A. J.

 

Spread My Wings (Gulf Fritillary on a bedazzled path)

 

A Slipping Down Life (Snail hangs from the end of a Passion Vine)

 

Emergence (The first Goldenrod crown begins to open)

 

Outsmarting McGregor (Tiny bunny hides within a cavern of vines)

 

Nectar of the Gods (Hummingbird sips from a Turk’s Cap)

 

Face Plant (Male Southern Carpenter Bee embracing Indigo Spires)

 

God Bless Us, Everyone (Tiny Ceratina Bee balances on a Goldenrod bloom)

 

Sweet Harvest (Rain or shine…a life’s work finally comes to fruition)

 

 

 

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