Earth on Her Hands



Every now and then a book comes along that changes your way of thinking, perhaps, even your life.

That book for me was Earth on Her Hands, The American Woman in Her Garden, by Starr Ockenga.
In 1999, when I started my home decorating shop, Acorn Lane Vintage Living, it was the greatest contributing factor for me to take the leap of faith, and realize my dream, that of starting my own business.
Although the theme and topic were totally unrelated to what I wanted to achieve, reading the book firmly established in me the knowledge that we as women, and individuals can achieve anything if the desire and fire within us is allowed to be kindled and fuelled.

I read the book from cover to cover in one evening!
Each woman a visionary, standing alone with a dream and a purpose!

The book showcases the gardens of eighteen, ordinary, extraordinary women.....ordinary only in the fact that each of them is not a professional, none is a garden designer or owned a nursery.  Each garden is private, and has been created to be enjoyed by themselves alone and family and friends.
Crafted for herself alone....


The garden that resonated the most with me, was that of Ellie Springarn, who with her own hands crafted more than 600 feet of stone walls throughout her property, and maintains extensive rock gardens without any help, save that of her trusty vintage tractor.

"The rock was a gift from nature."




In my own garden, below, the majority of the rock gardens and elevated terraces were created with the help of my husband's uncle and ourselves, with rock and large stones quarried from our surrounding woods.
I think I could manage my own Cub tractor if I could get one!



Things are still popping out here, with the weather cooling down this month, and our location, with its own micro climate, we are usually a bit behind every one else.   The surrounding woods, and the coolness of the valley floor keeps all the plants asleep a bit longer here.....the sweet wood ruff edging the stone stairs is blooming....and the" Duchess" clematis is budding on the obelisk beside the stairs.



The Japanese maple has arched nicely over the stone steps, in the distance, creating it's own arbour..




The south garden, edged with beds of rhododendrons, Japanese anemones, lilacs, peonies, English roses and white wisteria on the arbour...still in early bloom....all the colours I strive for are lavender, pinks and white.... great colours for shade....



The peonies, in early stages....



a new introduction to the garden last season, white bleeding heart....



a patch of lily of the valley, in the wood land border...originally a gift to the garden, from my husband's grandmother



Sweet wood ruff edging the stone steps.....




......with all the rains  this week, the pond is topped up!






....white deutzia beginning to show off its tightly packed clusters of florets...



....more stones and rocks which anchor the gardens....bordered by ivy...



....peonies look promising......with lavender rhododendrons in bloom in the background...



I am dedicating this post to my beautiful mother, Sara, who truly was a woman with "Earth on Her Hands."
From the time she was a young woman in her native, Italy, tilling by hand, her family's fields and vineyards, and olive groves, to her small, meticulous and bountiful garden in Canada, my Mom understood the earth and loved it....she passed on that love and wisdom of gardening to me....teaching me how to use a garden fork to turn the soil ,to augment it, to know and experience, and feel the earth and the gifts it would yield in return....
....that plants and flowers are like children, they need patience and nurturing and love...

I wish all my gardening, and non-gardening mothers, a most beautiful and bountiful Mother's Day!
With affection and gratitude to all my readers....

The above photo was our passport picture, my Mom, Micki, my sister, and me in the little red dress!

N.xo
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