The Master Gardener, the Spring Chick, and a Little Lesson.

Last weekend it was warm & sunny so I pretty much planted myself at my potting bench!  That was then - when I started writing this post - & this is now when I'm finally publishing!  Those little things called "Life" and "Internal Error" tend to put things on hold so my apologies for the delay.
Meanwhile, back at my bench....you might want to go grab another cup of Jo....it's a long one.
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
What to do, what to do?
Around here they say,
"Don't fill your outdoor planters until Derby!"
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
Who are they kidding, that's not until the first Saturday in May.
  They're not kidding!
Peace by Collier Porter
Peace In the Garden-Hose by Collier Porter
I remember our first Spring here in the Bluegrass and the suggestion of waiting till May to fill my patio & deck with flowers did not settle well with this Spring Chick.   So I went from nursery to nursery - well, actually only two - certain that someone had given me the wrong information!
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
Nursery #1
I was pretty much the only one there.  Ok, so the owner was there too.  I strolled through the main shop pretending to be a master gardener on a mission!
She looked at me like I was from Mars but could not have been nicer.  It was freezing outside and before I knew it, this sweet woman was offering me coffee.  The other option was to wander outside down desolate pea gravel paths yearning for velvety green boxwoods and the scent of sweet magnolias.  Let's just say I never left the main shop.  A good visit with a wise gardener & some new gloves later & I was on my way.
Now, not to be a doubter but I can be a bit persistent so I made just one more stop.
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
Nursery #2
The same plan of action but with a bit more confidence because Nursery #1 had taught this spring chick a thing or two.  Again, I appeared to be the only customer.  I could see a woman unpacking boxes in the shop and I noticed a gentleman outdoors in denim work clothes preparing for the first shipment of trees & shrubs to arrive.
Gosh, he was a handsome rugged man with such a friendly broad smile.  I decided to keep my coat on and follow him around for a bit.  Even though he was quite busy, he acted as if he had all the time in the world for me. 
Handsome rugged man: "Welcome how can we help you?"
Spring Chick: Oh, I was just dropping my kids off at school and decided to stop by for a look...
You see, I have stacks & stacks of garden books from the local library and have been planning & plotting all winter long!
getty images
I want a raised garden, a shade garden, a sun garden, a scented garden, and I live in hardiness zone 6, with annual temperatures ranging from -10 to 105 F : )
He smiled his broad smile, removed his hat & gloves and introduced himself.
Handsome rugged man: "Are you new to the area?"
He put me so instantly at ease that I decided to wise up, drop the master gardener act and start asking questions.  However, he wanted to begin with mulch. 
Spring Chick: Mulch, don't you mean dirt? I've got plenty thank you.
As I mentioned earlier, he seemed to have the time & I had till the 3:15 dismissal bell so we continued on.
By the time I left I was a master of mulch & had ordered my roses!
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
Little did I know that I was in the company of Kentucky gardening royalty!
This kind man was master gardener,
Louis Hillenmeyer.
It was in the spring of 1841 that the Hillenmeyer family's first shipment of fruit trees arrived in Lexington.  This set into motion what is now six generations of his family in the horticulture industry making Hillenmeyers one of the oldest continuously operated family-owned landscaping companies in the country!
photo, Joseph Hillenmeyer
photo, Joseph Hillenmeyer & Associates 
Today "Louie" continues to provide the best to Lexington gardeners at his delightful Flower Power Shops.  The selection and service are consistent and always delivered in style.  Beginner & master gardeners are given the same generous amount of time, knowledge, and great conversation with Louie and his beautiful & talented wife!  She has a green thumb & great style & will gladly help you pair any of the incredible baskets or pottery that she buys in France with beautiful healthy herbs, ivy, plants, and flowers. 
photo, Lisa Porter   photo Lisa Porter   
One of the ways that the Hillenmeyers are contributing towards keeping Lexington "green" is by selling many of their smaller plants in simple terracotta clay pots, the way nurseries used to!  I like that!
So if you find yourself driving up & down Tates Creek a million times a day like I do, take the time to stop by Louie's Flower Power Shop!  Whether I'm picking up a gift basket full of geraniums or Christmas greens, I always grab a coffee at Fresh Market and stroll over to Louie's to enjoy the classical music, visit with all the nice people there and start planning for the season.  I always leave feeling like a happy gardener!
  photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter   
I'll admit, I'm a bit partial, as Louie's daughter is a dear, sweet friend! 
For many wonderful years we were little league moms huddled together up high in the bleachers under wool stadium blankets in early spring & umbrellas in late summer.  We were faithfully cheering our sons on & upholding the family pride!  Taylor was often working the concession stand & our husbands were coaching their Minor League Texas Rangers down in the dusty dugout!
Baseball by Collier Porter
photo Collier Porter
Back to gardening, sorry!
Since the weather continues to be predictably unpredictable, before we head over to Hillenmeyers, we head to the forest.
The forest? Yes, it's down the road just up past the ballpark!
I know you're probably lost.....
When we moved here from So Cal ten years ago, our children only knew sand and saltwater. That first Spring  I was excited for them to discover dirt that was hard as clay, soft green moss, sticks & stones.  Our first gathering produced burlap bags filled with moss & enough sticks to start an arbor! 
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
A few months later sweet Clematis took over and began to blossom, a feathered friend moved in & the arbor felt like it had been there for years. 
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
So you might be wondering where this story is leading to...not the ballpark.
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
I'm heading back to my potting bench because as I've mentioned in a post before, it's where I go to relax!
I've also had many inquiries as to what I'm going to do with all that moss!
So with a little help from my friend...
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
I'll show you.
Over the years at Easter, my kids have gone from coloring & collecting eggs, to "I was wondering if there was any chance of us going to the late service & are we going anywhere for brunch?"  Every year I bring out special items that we have cherished for years but those brightly colored Easter baskets, (still love them) now consist of gifts gathered from God's green earth in celebration of Easter, Earth Day & Arbor Day too!
Now, if you're still with me, gather a few garden supplies and your Mother Earth imagination!
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
I use these lightweight half-barrel planters - that Taylor had painted white - highlighting the black straps.
Then I place a couple of plastic pots inside them but upside down. 
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
The upside-down pots create a raised flat area for the moss to sit. Since you don't need much soil for this project, you can fill in around the edges with anything you like, I use the left-over pinecones gathered at Christmas. They retain moisture keeping this all very low maintenance.photo, Lisa Porter photo Lisa Porter
I then take a couple of large round biodegradable coconut liners and pull them apart to the diameter that I want.  These are optional but they do create a natural kind of nest & help retain moisture which the moss thrives on. You can fray the edges a little or go crazy pulling every which way.  I use this stuff year-round.  If you like the look, it's a great filler for any container like my favorite basket on my front door!
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
Now for the fun part.  This is when I grab a sweet tea & turn up the volume on my garden mix! When I collect the moss, I visualize sort of a woodland theme at my front door so I grab anything interesting on the forest floor. Twigs, fungus, twisty curly things, bark, nuts, and grass.
You didn't know I was so green, did you? 
Actually, I give the MR. full credit for providing this lush green backdrop. 
He is master of the lawn!  : )
I kept having to move out of the sun to photograph all this so carting it around in the wagon made things easier.  Rustoleum spray paint in high gloss John Deere Green gave the old girl new life so now she Runs like a Deere!  My high gloss black lab Gracie did not run like a Deere & instead stayed right in the middle of it all.  I like that though.
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter 
Back to the planters.  To give things a boost, I found a couple of gnarly logs from what's left of the woodpile and plopped them on top. photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
I added handfuls of soil and started planting around & up onto the log.
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter 
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
Then I just started playing with all the different varieties of moss, tucking some into a split in the log, and another variety around the base of the grass and so on to help hold the soil in place.
Remember these guys from the potting bench?  Being that these are Easter planters, I borrowed a flat mossy stone from the patio for one bunny to sit on.
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
More layers of moss with some blue-green fungus, some tree bark, and some twisted vines to finish it off!
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
The other planter was more wild & woodsy. Once again I started with a big old split log for height and then added some grass & some long-stemmed wild garlic.
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
I piled more soil upon a section of the log and then layered some sheets of moss over the top.  This log was actually kind of pretty & had the perfect spot for a bunny to sit so I left that part exposed. More moss, some nuts & twigs and twisted vines gave this one great character!
photo, Lisa Porter
photo Lisa Porter
What I really love about these is that they change, daily.  Little clovers & ferns from the forest floor have been known to sprout up overnight!  Now it's time to grab my latest Veranda and another sweet tea, relax &  let Mother Nature take over for a while.   
Don't forget to water!  Thank you, Collier : ) photo, Lisa Porter

photo Lisa Porter
For some of the finest gardening in Kentucky by one of the nicest families in the world, I invite you to visit the Hillenmeyer family.
Courtesy of Joseph Hillenmeyer & Associates
photo,  Joseph Hillenmeyer & Associates
Using both, classical hand-drawn plans and renderings, as well as state of the art computer animation, Louie's son, Joseph Hillenmeyer and his professional staff, offer professional care and advice for all of your horticultural needs.
"We often find that our clients feel they have gained much more than just a garden. They have added a whole new way in which to relax and enjoy the beauty of their home." Joseph Hillenmeyer
click to visit Joseph Hillenmeyer & Associates

Central Kentucky has a fine reputation for being home to the most beautiful horse farms in the world and Hillenmeyers has been providing their services to many of them for more than 100 years!
Courtesy of Stephen Hillenmeyer Landscape Services
photo, Stephen Hillenmeyer Landscape Services
Lexington also has a fine reputation for being home to some of the most beautiful gardens in Kentucky.  Well known for his high standards, Louie's brother, Stephen Hillenmeyer offers professional landscaping services that are tailored to fit the needs of both commercial and residential properties of every size.
click to visit Stephen Hillenmeyer Landscape Services
This stunning garden is a collaboration between Stephen Hillenmeyer, and local resident Georgia Rodes. Rodes Residence, Lexington, Kentucky
photo Hirsheimer & Hamilton for Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky
You can see more of the private retreat & many others in the extraordinary book,
Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky by acclaimed garden designer, Jon Carloftis.
Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky coverBook Cover by Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Now if you're not exhausted from all the gardening & baseball & if you have time, walk with me down through Lexington's Historic District. Lexington Historic District  Tour the private porches & gardens of Ashland residents.Ashland Porch & Garden Tour And visit Gainesway Farm, one of the most beautiful horse farms in the world.Gainesway Farm                                 
Enjoy & Happy Gardening!


Far away places.

It's a beautiful morning
and I'm so thankful to be home with my family
and here with you too.
We've turned the televisions off
and I'm going to try to spend the afternoon in the garden.
But before I head out, I wanted to share my thoughts,
because with a heavy heart,
it's still difficult not to think about those in many faraway places
and worry & wonder about the people of Japan.
photo: via marleyandme
As we all know,
the situation is constantly changing
and the uncertainty of what is next is cause for concern.
So many people around the globe
are being affected in so many different ways.
My children are older.  They have studied about Japan.
  They have had the pleasure of knowing exchange students from Japan.
They are worried too. 
photo: Eric Roth
Even at their age though, it can be difficult sometimes to grasp
the magnitude of what has happened.
Japan can seem like a lifetime away,
  especially when you are young & your porch is your playground
& your neighborhood is your world.
photo: Target Levels
That's ok especially if you feel safe, happy & loved.
It's also a good thing for them to realize that the world is not perfect,
that people are different & that nature has a way of giving and taking.
That is real life.
flickr Our family sends love & support to all those who have been affected by this horrible disaster
and we continue to keep them all in our prayers.
photo by saganaga
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Chronos & Kairos

Greenwich, standard, eastern, mountain, central & pacific!
It doesn't matter what kind of time it is.
All that matters is that we never seem to have enough of it!
clocks via Konfetti
Up until this time.
via east atlanta
Time and time again.
old time via flickr
Old faithful time.
The watch of Claude Simard
For the time being.
tumblr_lagz0x70fU1qc3htso1_500 via sadie olive
Since the dawn of time.
waterbury clock co. via flickr
Times up!
stopwatch via flickr
When I think about life, I try not to think about time. 
I like to think more in terms of seasons, you know, 
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1 
via aurum
Yes but not at the same time.
Have any of you tried to raise happy, emotionally well-adjusted children,
revel in a fabulous marriage, and work a sixty-hour week? 
Life Time
When we can't do it all at the same time, then we are meant to do only some of it.
  The trick is, finding out what the "some" is supposed to be!
antique-clocks via flickr
Since the dawn of time, we've tried to understand her nature.
But time is a mystery, an extravagant gift meant to be experienced, certainly not controlled.
Time's mystery is hard for most of us to appreciate because we have so little of it!
photo by philip newton
This might be the season for you to wipe a little runny nose. 
Doesn't necessarily mean that the season of running your own business won't ever come around. 
via everythingyoulovetohate
This might be the season of moving and living out of a suitcase. 
Doesn't mean that the season of restoring a beautiful old farmhouse will never occur. 
tumblr_lh68nrgveF1qei7a7o1_500 via awelltraveledwoman
Making deals over lunch doesn't mean you won't be making school lunches someday.
via Bekah Stewart
We must have patience.  Patience is the art of waiting.  Patience takes time to master!
There is an art to using time to your advantage, being at the right place at the right time, knowing when to pick your moments and when to bite your tongue!
tumblr_kt0t0uk5qK1qzkbrlo1_500 she will always be Rory Gilmore
Even though we've all been given 24 hours each day, it sure doesn't seem to go very far! 
Isn't it dreadful to run out of time!
via awelltraveledwoman
Patience is something I learned all about once I became a mom. 
I began to discover the patterns and cycles that cradle us all and ensure that if it has happened once, it will happen again! 
tumblr_lg8u12JcEl1qdlt8qo1_500 via dainty and dangerous
Having that kind of patience led to having perseverance.
Perseverance in life is being steadfast, keeping the ship on course.
via awelltraveledwoman
Persistence is another thing, it's grittier than perseverance.  Persistence is all-out sweat! 
Persistence is knocking loudly and so often on the door of your dreams that eventually you'll get what you want!
I've been told I have a lot of that.
tumblr_lh338mwL6q1qbowx7o1_500 via style and the city  In order to discover some serenity during the busiest days of our lives,
we need to also discover Time's twin nature which the ancient Greeks called
chronos and kairos.
via google images
Chronos is clocks, deadlines & agendas.  Chronos is time at her worst. 
tumblr_lh1wkdVidG1qb39djo1_500 via mad grace
Chronos keeps track.  Chronos is a delusion of grandeur.
Chronos is running a marathon in heels!
via google images
Kairos is transcendence, infinity & joy.
via awelltraveledwoman  Kairos is time at her best.  Kairos let's go!
Kairos is a Schubert waltz in nineteenth-century Vienna with your soul mate.
via google images
Most of us exist in chronos & long for kairos!
Chronos requires speed so it won't be wasted.
Jill by Jill Stuart Kairos requires space so that it can be savored.
tumblr_lgce8jjA1p1qzcd3bo1_500 via pedalfar
We do in chronos.
The New York Times
In kairos, we're allowed to be.
tumblr_lfrrl0PzG71qa8oz7o1_500 via marleyandmeWe think we've never known kairos, but we have.
When lost in music's rapture,
tumblr_lg6xlrM2NI1qamhazo1_500 via cabled     when working in the garden,
via google images itscomplicated
when exulting in a passion,
photo by Lisa Barber
or watching over a sleeping child.
photo by Pixdaus By going about whatever we are doing as if it were the only thing worth doing at the moment.
HA6EiTMtQosoo1hySIhk0amWo1_500 via life on sundays
By making time.  By taking time.
photo by Keiko Oikawa
It only takes a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, but it does take a moment.
I like to think that if we are determined to gather life's honey, to stick our hand into the hive over and over again, to be stung so many times that it doesn't even hurt, to persevere and persist, till those who know and love us no longer call us normal, then we will be called authentic.  I like that!
Once upon a time.   tumblr_lgyfsqgQ2v1qdqctyo1_500 via thatgirlinpearls
All in good time.
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