Getting Started

Last week I was invited via email to Budeke’s (local paint store) Benjamin Moore Color Workshop on new spring colors.  I had been to two similar workshops and had a great time.

  • They have food when you arrive.
  • The seminar is well-planned and presented by a pro from Benjamin Moore corporate.
  • They give you a gift bag with gifts and coupons when you leave.

The actual seminar was last night but before it began I was ready to purchase my paint for the little bedroom project. I bought a gallon of “Head Over Heels” with a $5  coupon from the last seminar and a free sample pint of “Meditation” for a special project that I have in mind. Both of these colors are from the Affinity Colors line which, by the way, fan deck ($25 retail) was included in the gift bag.  The Affinity colors are special because any color of the 144 in the deck goes with any other color in the deck.

Affinity Fan Deck

 So today I can finally begin this long overdue project.

Are you getting started today?  What’s the project?


Japanese Red Maples

 When I first moved to the Glade, as a housewarming gift, my friend gave me two red maple seedlings about three feet tall from her own yard along with her gardener to plant them. 

That was  thirteen years ago and here they are in early spring. One in the west yard as you approach the house

 and one in the back yard beyond the vegetable garden.

Japanese Red Maple under large Oak

 When I went out this morning I had the opportunity to reshoot the Japanese red maple in the west yard. This tree is a little lopsided because two years ago a storm cracked the trunk in two.  Instead of pruning a very large piece off we tied the tree together with rope like a giant spider web.  It is still healing but has really come back very nicely. In fall these trees are fire-engine red. Don’t you love the way the branches swoop down to the ground?  I do; Charlie hates it (but he’s the one who mows so they’re in his way).

Japanese Red Maple in the morning light

 The Japanese red maple (and green variety as well) throw off a lot of seedlings. Last year we dug up a few of these seedlings and potted them.  Each seedling is unique in color, leaf type and habit.

3 Potted Red Maple Seedlings

 I especially like the one with the lacy leaf.

Lace Leaf Japanese Red Maple

 Following is a rather lengthy, not-so-well-known poem by Robert Frost called Maple which is not about a tree but a girl. So thought provoking. Enjoy.

by Robert Frost
Her teacher’s certainty it must be Mabel
Made Maple first take notice of her name.
She asked her father and he told her, “Maple—
Maple is right.”
“But teacher told the school
There’s no such name.”
“Teachers don’t know as much
As fathers about children, you tell teacher.
You tell her that it’s M-A-P-L-E.
You ask her if she knows a maple tree.
Well, you were named after a maple tree.
Your mother named you. You and she just saw
Each other in passing in the room upstairs,
One coming this way into life, and one
Going the other out of life—you know?
So you can’t have much recollection of her.
She had been having a long look at you.
She put her finger in your cheek so hard
It must have made your dimple there, and said,
‘Maple.’ I said it too: ‘Yes, for her name.’
She nodded. So we’re sure there’s no mistake.
I don’t know what she wanted it to mean,
But it seems like some word she left to bid you
Be a good girl—be like a maple tree.
How like a maple tree’s for us to guess.
Or for a little girl to guess sometime.
Not now—at least I shouldn’t try too hard now.
By and by I will tell you all I know
About the different trees, and something, too,
About your mother that perhaps may help.”
Dangerous self-arousing words to sow.
Luckily all she wanted of her name then
Was to rebuke her teacher with it next day,
And give the teacher a scare as from her father.
Anything further had been wasted on her,
Or so he tried to think to avoid blame.
She would forget it. She all but forgot it.
What he sowed with her slept so long a sleep,
And came so near death in the dark of years,
That when it woke and came to life again
The flower was different from the parent seed.
It came back vaguely at the glass one day,
As she stood saying her name over aloud,
Striking it gently across her lowered eyes
To make it go well with the way she looked.
What was it about her name? Its strangeness lay
In having too much meaning. Other names,
As Lesley, Carol, Irma, Marjorie,
Signified nothing. Rose could have a meaning,
But hadn’t as it went. (She knew a Rose.)
This difference from other names it was
Made people notice it—and notice her.
(They either noticed it, or got it wrong.)
Her problem was to find out what it asked
In dress or manner of the girl who bore it.
If she could form some notion of her mother—
What she had thought was lovely, and what good.
This was her mother’s childhood home;
The house one story high in front, three stories
On the end it presented to the road.
(The arrangement made a pleasant sunny cellar.)
Her mother’s bedroom was her father’s still,
Where she could watch her mother’s picture fading.
Once she found for a bookmark in the Bible
A maple leaf she thought must have been laid
In wait for her there. She read every word
Of the two pages it was pressed between,
As if it was her mother speaking to her.
But forgot to put the leaf back in closing
And lost the place never to read again.
She was sure, though, there had been nothing in it.
So she looked for herself, as everyone
Looks for himself, more or less outwardly.
And her self-seeking, fitful though it was,
May still have been what led her on to read,
And think a little, and get some city schooling.
She learned shorthand, whatever shorthand may
Have had to do with it–she sometimes wondered.
So, till she found herself in a strange place
For the name Maple to have brought her to,
Taking dictation on a paper pad
And, in the pauses when she raised her eyes,
Watching out of a nineteenth story window
An airship laboring with unshiplike motion
And a vague all-disturbing roar above the river
Beyond the highest city built with hands.
Someone was saying in such natural tones
She almost wrote the words down on her knee,
“Do you know you remind me of a tree–
A maple tree?””Because my name is Maple?”
“Isn’t it Mabel? I thought it was Mabel.”
“No doubt you’ve heard the office call me Mabel.
I have to let them call me what they like.”
They were both stirred that he should have divined
Without the name her personal mystery.
It made it seem as if there must be something
She must have missed herself. So they were married,
And took the fancy home with them to live by.
They went on pilgrimage once to her father’s
(The house one story high in front, three stories
On the side it presented to the road)
To see if there was not some special tree
She might have overlooked. They could find none,
Not so much as a single tree for shade,
Let alone grove of trees for sugar orchard.
She told him of the bookmark maple leaf
In the big Bible, and all she remembered
of the place marked with it—”Wave offering,
Something about wave offering, it said.”

“You’ve never asked your father outright, have you?”

“I have, and been put off sometime, I think.”
(This was her faded memory of the way
Once long ago her father had put himself off.)
“Because no telling but it may have been
Something between your father and your mother
Not meant for us at all.”
“Not meant for me?
Where would the fairness be in giving me
A name to carry for life and never know
The secret of?”
“And then it may have been
Something a father couldn’t tell a daughter
As well as could a mother. And again
It may have been their one lapse into fancy
‘Twould be too bad to make him sorry for
By bringing it up to him when he was too old.
Your father feels us round him with our questing,
And holds us off unnecessarily,
As if he didn’t know what little thing
Might lead us on to a discovery.
It was as personal as be could be
About the way he saw it was with you
To say your mother, bad she lived, would be
As far again as from being born to bearing.”

“Just one look more with what you say in mind,
And I give up”; which last look came to nothing.
But though they now gave up the search forever,
They clung to what one had seen in the other
By inspiration. It proved there was something.
They kept their thoughts away from when the maples
Stood uniform in buckets, and the steam
Of sap and snow rolled off the sugarhouse.
When they made her related to the maples,
It was the tree the autumn fire ran through
And swept of leathern leaves, but left the bark
Unscorched, unblackened, even, by any smoke.
They always took their holidays in autumn.
Once they came on a maple in a glade,
Standing alone with smooth arms lifted up,
And every leaf of foliage she’d worn
Laid scarlet and pale pink about her feet.
But its age kept them from considering this one.
Twenty-five years ago at Maple’s naming
It hardly could have been a two-leaved seedling
The next cow might have licked up out at pasture.
Could it have been another maple like it?
They hovered for a moment near discovery,
Figurative enough to see the symbol,
But lacking faith in anything to mean
The same at different times to different people.
Perhaps a filial diffidence partly kept them
From thinking it could be a thing so bridal.
And anyway it came too late for Maple.
She used her hands to cover up her eyes.

“We would not see the secret if we could now:
We are not looking for it any more.”

Thus had a name with meaning, given in death,
Made a girl’s marriage, and ruled in her life.
No matter that the meaning was not clear.
A name with meaning could bring up a child,
Taking the child out of the parents’ hands.
Better a meaningless name, I should say,
As leaving more to nature and happy chance.
Name children some names and see what you do.


 Have a beautiful day. (I won’t go so far as to say “hug a tree.”)

I Want One

One what?  An outdoor shower. I’ve been on a quest to figure out where to put it and what exactly it should look like.  If you visit my Pinterest site I’ve come up with the following inspirations.

This one is what I thought I could actually have.  Very basic, but nice on a hot summer day.


And then a comfortable but draining floor would be nice.

Perhaps a little privacy is in order.


Of course, then I saw this stylish beauty right at the front door. The placement doesn’t thrill me but the color and materials are awesome.


Maybe I could find a couple of tree stumps to use. (Who am I kidding, I could find dozens.)

Finally, I love this shower. I might want something like this in my future downstairs bathroom, but an outdoor shower in this color, with this rustic tile, and the well-draining floor, and a couple of tree stumps. Oooooh. Yes, please.


Make me jealous, do you have an outdoor shower? Does it run hot and cold? Is there anything to beware of when installing an outdoor shower?

Green, Green, It’s Green They Say

 Do you remember when we showed you this patch of dirt? We had removed the brick planter here.

Former Planter with dirt

Then Charlie seeded it around April 13th.

Seeded Planter

 It looks like this about three weeks later.

Grassy Planter

 I’m not sure it’s better, just different.   And I didn’t think about having to mow it!!!

Deck the Halls but not the Yard


OK, what’s this all about?  You “deck the halls with”?

That’s right, “boughs of holly.” But I can’t stand the scragly looking weed holly trees in the yard. They’re sooooooooo ugly.

Look at this one that flanks the east side of the house.

Holly Invader

 Here it is again with the offender highlighted. See the snaggle tooth turn it takes at the top?

Holly Schmolly

 From the front it looks even worse!

Holly Tree

 Oh, yeah, and ivy grows up the trunk. We have a few other places in the yard where we’ve tried to remove holly trees.  They always seem to return.

Weed Holly

 Now you know where I stand, I’ll leave you with the poem “The Holly and the Ivy” by Harrison S. Morris

The Holly and the Ivy,
Now both are full well grown;
Of all the trees that spring in wood,
The holly bears the crown.
The holly bears a blossom
As white as a lily flow’r;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour.

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.
The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
The holly and the ivy
Now are both well grown;
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

I hadn’t known this poem in its entirety before. Think ye upon it. And have a great and blessed day.

On the Outside

East View of The Glade

Here is a layout of our property known as The Glade.  (Double click the picture to enlarge and read labels.)

Layout of The Glade

The whole thing is about two-thirds of an acre.  The house sits towards the front and the rest is garden, grass or woods. Note the desperate need of landscaping from the street view which used to be hidden by a fence.

Street view of The Glade

In the spring the trees and azaleas bloom profusely followed closely by iris and day lilies.

East Side Yard

Looking at the house from the east side yard are some bushes, trees and groundcover that will be removed or repositioned after the renovation.

East side of House and garden

I have a lilac bush which is green and lush but only puts out a few blossoms. The daffodils and primroses are almost gone.


In addition to the house the stationary structures include Glade Cottage.

Glade Cottage

The Wee Little House (shed)

Wee Little House in Morning Light

and the Woodshed.


Sort of semi-permanent are the vegetable garden

Vegetable Garden Layout in the Landscape

and the compost bins.

Double Compost Bins

In a couple of weeks we’ll add a rain barrel to that list. In the photo below you can easily see the shed but the compost bins are hidden under the trees.

Back Yard with shed and compost bins

Looking back toward the house is the eyesore of our heating oil tank which really needs some camouflage.  I have always meant to at least paint it to match the house but only got as far as the primer coat which looks like rust. Ugh. This view is from deep in the back yard.

House (left) Cottage (right)

Back in the west side yard we’re working on a shade perennial garden. This is the part of the property you see as you approach the house from the street.

West Yard Shade Garden

And another view.

Shade Garden viewed from the West

And that is the comprehensive tour of outside of The Glade.  We are really set in a clearing in the woods which, I believe, is the very definition of “glade”. Thanks for taking the tour.

Have you appreciated your yard lately?  Share a few photos, it’s lovlier than you remember.

I’m in the link party here.

Wye? Wye Not? But Wye!

Maryland’s State Tree is the White Oak. It was symbolized by the Wye Oak that stood at Wye Mills on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Wye Oak had been a landmark in Talbot County, Maryland, since the first settlers in the 1600s. It was more than 100 feet high, had a branch spread of 165 feet and a circumference of 31 feet, 10 inches.

 It was one of the largest in the world until on June 7, 2002, it was felled by powerful thunderstorms that also downed power lines throughout the area.

After the storm

 In 1973 the former owners (I have removed their names from the reproduction below) of The Glade acquired a seedling of the Wye Oak with an official certificate and planted it in the back yard.

Wye Oak Seedling Certificate

A mere 38 years later, here’s how it looks.

Wye Oak at The Glade

 And here’s a close-up of the leaves.

Leaves of the Wye Oak

 This large and lovely tree reminds me of the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer which I have not heard for many years.


I THINK that I shall never see  
A poem lovely as a tree.  
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest  
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;  
A tree that looks at God all day,          5
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;  
A tree that may in summer wear  
A nest of robins in her hair;  
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;  
Who intimately lives with rain.   10
Poems are made by fools like me,  
But only God can make a tree.
Wye Oak in the afternoon sun

What’s your state tree?  Does it have a story (or a poem)? If you can’t grow the tree, can you preserve a leaf?