Saturday, May 23, 2015

...a topiary trim, the ghosts of pumpkins past, and bike gardens...

It’s a gorgeous spring day with temperatures in the low 70s with little humidity at least by Virginia standards. It was the perfect day to douse myself in sunscreen and do some weeding and pruning. 

The Pom Pom, a topiary pine, was ready to be cut back. In early spring, light green growth will appear on the outside of the pom poms. For several weeks, the little tree looks like he’s going wild. If you trim the pom poms at this stage, you will bruise the foliage so you actually have to let them look a little weird for a bit. Once the leaves turn hard and leathery, the pom pom is really to be trimmed. After that, I weeded which is really just an excuse to look at everything and see what is growing. The lilies will explode very soon (gwee!) The salvia is stunning in a dark purple. This also reminds me that I had paired some of my side-yard salvia with Dianthus barbatus Heart Attacks. I love the dark purple- deep crimson red combination but my Heart Attacks have disappeared! They’ve been there for about four years so I’m not sure what happened to them. We have clay-based soil here but that never seemed to bother them before. Hmmm.

In other somewhat scary news (because I simply do not have space!!!), I decided to let one of our wedding pumpkins go back to nature last fall and well, this morning I noticed that the weedy thing that I was getting ready to pull away from the butterfly bush was a pumpkin leaf. Oops. Not sure what I’m supposed to do about this except maybe guide it around the other plants in hopes that it will survive. Wouldn’t that be neat?!? I took a picture of our wedding carved pumpkin that we also put back into nature. I think it looks pretty cool in a I’m-not-going-to-touch-that-mush kind of way.

Bike Garden at the train station
After playing in the garden, I went walking for a few hours around town and was able to see a few more of the Ashland Bike Gardens that have popped up around town. These Bike Gardens are stationary bicycles not intending to be moved. They're placed strategically throughout the downtown area of the town. I first saw one on my walk to the train station.  Ashland is a pretty artsy town for its size and it also has a huge cyclist community so I didn't realize this was a piece of art in a series. Once I saw a few more, I discovered that while these are for town folks' enjoyment they are also intended to send a larger message.

Richmond, Virginia actually won the right to host the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Road World Championships, one of the preeminent cycling competitions in the world, this September.  Through the public art project and in preparation for the fall event, Ashland wants to show that it is a bike-friendly community. And while Ashland is a good 15 minutes north of the city, the event is expected to draw close to half a million spectators to Richmond for about two weeks and attract a worldwide television audience of about 300 million. Someone from that crowd is probably going to seek out the place that calls itself the Center of the Universe.

Bike Garden in front of the library


  1. I like the bike gardens and skull of flowers! Hope the pumpkin plant makes it!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I was just gone for a week and came home to a magical transformation as my garden is in bloom! It makes a beautiful sanctuary, like yours.