Garden Updates

A while ago, I documented the first big progress in our butterfly garden for Millie: You can read about our fall additions here; the end of week one progress here; check out the grotto in progress here; read about the chopping of our cherry tree here; and see what we started with in our before pictures here.

Brrr. It’s been cold, we’ve had a bit of rain, some hard frosts, and many overcast days. We haven’t made many new changes to the garden, but we have done a few things…

So what’s new this week?

Camellia. Mom, Mon Cœur (MC), and I recently took a trip to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, where I saw their beautiful, tall camellias in full bloom on a cold day. I am absolutely horrible with names of flowers, so it was nice to take a walk through the gardens and note what was blooming now as well as their names.

Being back at work has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and colleagues and I was recently chatting about the garden to a friend. She asked me about camellias, and the next Monday, she had brought a beautiful, pink Winter’s Star camellia to work for me.

Picture credits:

Generally, camellia flowers symbolize love, affection, and admiration. Camellia flowers are available in white, pink and red with each color having its own unique symbolism. Pink camellias symbolize a longing for someone and is given to someone who is missed.

Our camellia will have pink flowers and I am not sure if this was intentional or serendipitous – it’s so fitting though.

Taking the camellia to the garden the day we got home with it.

Camellias like early morning sun and afternoon shade, and with the cedar trees in the garden and the overcast days last week, we weren’t able to plant the camellia immediately. Luckily, there was a sunny day yesterday, and I am glad we did not plant it in the original spot we had planned.

In the picture above, you can see MC’s “peekaboo rock” (top, right) – which is where we were originally going to plant it. I think that spot would have been okay, but I think the camellia will be much happier to the left of the pillar (center) above. Throughout the morning and afternoon, MC and I took trips out to the camellia to check and take pictures of the camellia and any shade, and this spot looks much more promising.

Gardenia. MC and Chouchou popped over to Mom’s last week for a surprise visit after story time. I was so glad that Chouchou and MC had some time together. While they were at Mom’s she gave Chouchou a gardenia to plant in the garden. She said this gardenia liked being close to other things, and I already had a hole ready by this family of four boulders, so voilà we plopped it in and gave it a home.

Now back inside, where it’s warm and cozy…We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and I appreciate how hosting a celebration helps to declutter a house…or in some cases, shuffle the clutter (wink, wink). Millie and Dad had been front and center on the secretary in our kitchen, since she came home with us, but I recently decided to move them.

After creating my homage to our loved ones passed for All Saint’s Day, and finding a spot to hang it, I thought it only natural to put their urns with it. I finally unwrapped the plaque we had made for the grotto, and placed it by Millie, along with the LED candle we received at our October support group.

To the left of the urns, I’ve placed all the seeds we’ve collected or been given for the butterfly garden, along with one of the most comprehensive butterfly gardening how-to books I’ve ever seen (although I confess, I haven’t searched far and wide). This was a very thoughtful gift from one of Chouchou’s dear friends and colleagues, and has been a constant companion as we have decided how to design and what to plant in our butterfly garden.

The only thing I wish it had was a picture that accompanied the 50 most popular butterflies. The best thing about this book is the appendix which notes the most common butterflies, and a listing of the necessary plants for the whole life cycle of the insect from where butterfly prefer to lay their eggs, to what the caterpillar eats, and eventually the preferred nectar of the butterfly. While it is essential to think of the whole life of a butterfly and its dietary needs throughout, I confess that had I not read this appendix before planning the garden, it would have been an afterthought.


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