Growing a Little Country

Meet John Moore. He lives a few miles from me. Through the family-owned William Moore Farms, he has continued a 100 year tradition of farming, with a bit of modern twist. A few years ago he launched Pure Prairie Ornamental Grasses – marketing seed varieties, which are normally considered crop seeds, as garden and flower bed seeds.

The result has been spectacular for flower beds across a country and urban backdrop. Who knew poppies and wheat grass would flow so poetically?





I love this tribute to our agricultural heritage in the form of beautiful grasses.








I use the seeds in different beds and gardens in my yard every year. They pop up so beautifully amongst the flowers, they always make me feel like a bit of an artist. As if I’d planned the canvas. This is not my flowerbed, by the way, it’s John’s. Lovely, isn’t it?

One of my favorite writers is Roger Ebert, and I often check in on his site for inspiration and obviously, excellent movie reviews. He proses in a recent post, “We all occupy our own box of space and time. We have our memories and no one else’s. We live one life, accumulating it in our minds as we go along.”

So it is. My memory knows a house similar to this, with the grasses swaying against it, tickling my legs as I launch a leap across them, so much more than it will ever know a manicured lawn.

My childhood daydreams are evoked with this. The view from the warm and hard prairie ground looking up at the vast skies.

My winter views filled with these symphonies of life outside my window.

Chilly late October nights, running through fields like these with my friends, and our limitless energy.

Thanks John, for bringing us these beautiful heritage seeds. I look forward to planting them every spring. Beyond their modern beauty, they remind me a little bit of the circle of my life. I like it.

See all the varieties of John’s Pure Prairie Ornamental Seeds at his website.

To celebrate the planting season, I’m giving away three sets of Ornamental seeds. All you have to do to enter the contest is let me know in the comment section below which ornamental grass you’d like to try out sometime.

Contest closes this Friday, May 27th, we’ll do a random draw after, and results will be posted shortly thereafter.

My Favorite Flowers This July

I’ve always been drawn more to the slight flower, the mere leaf, the understated beauty as opposed to a flower bed overflowing with grouping of the bold and beautiful. Not that that sort of arrangement doesn’t merit admiration, try strolling through Buschert Gardens, for example, and not be overwhelmed with the color and scents; but here at the log house, it’s prairie simplicity I prefer.

A single orange tiger lily against a burnt wood log wall. A sprig of lavender-hued bachelor buttons waving in the afternoon breeze. That sort of thing.

Sometime last summer I spent an afternoon at a neighbour’s house – it’s an English cottage meets wide open space type of setting. She has a small, seemingly effortless room furnished simply with a few books, a daybed, and brightened with a largish window, the lower sill of which, if you are reclined on the daybed, is about chin level and offers up a classical prairie view – immense skies, waving fields of alfalfa, and a horizon of Rocky Mountains in the distance. She planted an entire meadow of wild flowers against this window and though I was only in the room for a few minutes on a bright blue-skied afternoon, I’ve dreamed of it since. It was breathtaking. This kind of clarity –  natural and mostly untouched simply cannot be paralleled. Perhaps I love it because of the absence of complication, an aspect that my psyche may be drawn to in my daily life of chaos, hecticness and an agenda which overflows with addendums.

I suppose that’s why I love the simple flowers most. Typically, I have difficulty keeping up with the weeding, watering and daily maintenance flower beds, gardens and planters require. This year, a little help from overnighting family, and Mother Nature with all her rain showers helped fill in the gaps and I get to enjoy a yard resplendent with flowers and greenery.

I’ve always liked the color combination of blue, yellow and white, and use it often on my deck. It might be just that I have a yellow door, and a once-blue deck, now distressed and sanded down. Around here, the rustic look rocks our world.

There are a couple of overflowing baskets of color on the deck, both purchased one Saturday morning at Frog Hollow Garden Center. I’ve been really pleased with both of these. I can build my own hanging baskets, but this was just not the year for that!

I’m loving the combination in this window basket – slight and elegant.

In the flower beds it’s all about hardy and drought-resistant. There are simply too many weekends we are away showing to be anything but. So, there’s plenty of these in mass plantings.

And finally, against the garage, supported from wind are these perennial beauties – delphiniums.

Hope the flowers in your yard are bringing you pleasure this summer too!

Outdoor Table Planter

I just realized I haven’t posted any gardening posts lately. I guess I’ve just been so busy with horse shows and show results, and new foals, and kids and horses, and spring storms and great new art exhibitions, and well . . . yardwork.

Gardening, landscaping, yardwork – however you wish to refer to it, here at the log house, it’s a gigantic commitment – and when it all comes together, one of the greatest aspects of living on this property.

So, I’m going to remedy my lack of gardening posts beginning today with this idea for you to create your own outdoor table centerpiece.

It’s extremely simple and will leave you feeling a little like Martha. Post prison-term, and back on Turkey Hill, of course.

What really makes this arrangement special is you can likely create it without spending a penny, and it will take you less than a half an hour.

First, choose a container. For the arrangement above, I chose this basket the girls gave me a Mother’s Day plant in, from which the plant has long since hit the compost pile. Whatever you choose, ensure it has drainage holes. I’ve done this as well with an old coffee can that I punched a few holes in the bottom of.

Then, dig up one of your strawberry plants, ditto the herb or your choice from your herb basket or pot, and plant each of these at opposite ends of the planter. Choose two pretty flowers for the center. If you really want to go crazy, make the flowers nasturiums or something equally tasty, and you’ll have an entire “edible basket.”

Here’s the aerial view. Strawberry in the right corner, Greek Oregano in the left corner, and two pretty flowers in the center. It’s still a little sparse as I just planted this, but in a few weeks it will be overflowing and luscious.

Set it on your table, and wella, you have a lovely flower and plant arrangement that will last you the summer long. Remember to water well.