Thursday, November 15, 2012

Six Secrets in my Garden

Jackmanii Clematis

There are six secrets in my garden that lurk behind the leaves of shrubs and trees, peek out at particular moments, or silently whisper to me at unexpected moments. They are hidden all over the garden and only are visible to gardeners who listen and watch very closely.

I am joining Carol of May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Since we are nearing the end of the year, I am highlighting many of the wonders from the entire year in this GBBD post.

Hiding Places

Lurking in secret spots are those that wish to stay secure and keep a low profile. Sometimes it is unexpected and the concealment is not intentional.

Bumble Bee in Squash Blossom

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - November 2012


Gardening Zone: 7a
August High Temperature: 82 degrees F
August Low Temperature: 39 degrees F
Precipitation: 9.08 inches

We had a litte rain in October, but Superstorm Sandy dropped about six inches of rain in just a few days. We were very lucky to have had minimal damage from the storm. I hope all of you are safe and did not suffer much damage. My thoughts are with those that have  lost so much because of this storm.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Flair

Red Knockout Rose

Much of October is filled with golds and tangerines of autumn, but there are still some blooms in the garden. The Knockout roses are still blooming. My Jackmanii clematis bloomed a second time, offering these bold and beautiful blooms.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering Sunshine

It was Tammy of Casa Mariposa who gave me the idea for this post. She asked about the requirements for growing Gerbera daisies, so I thought I would share what I have learned. Although I was successful growing gerberas this year, it has not always been that way.

Each spring, I see the Gerbera daisies in the nurseries and garden centers. The blooms always make me smile and remind me of sunshine--but in various colors. They are so beautiful with the extended petals and wide open blooms I usually cannot resist buying some. And I buy them and plant them in the garden beds only to watch them wilt and die.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - October 2012

September has been very pleasant with cooler temperatures and some rain to keep all the plants surviving.  


Gardening Zone: 7a
September High Temperature: 98 degrees F
September Low Temperature: 50 degrees F
Precipitation: 2.68 inches

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lists for Gardeners - Garden Book Review

One of the books I do not think I could live without as an avid gardener is The New York/Mid-Atlantic Book of Lists by Bonnie Lee Appleton and Lois Trigg Chaplin. I was introduced to this book in my Master Gardener's class several years ago, and it has become a gem in my gardening library.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bejeweled - GBBD 9/12

Calibrachoa 'Can-can'

In September, there are jewels that dazzle in the garden--glimmering and gleaming with color.

I am joining Carol of May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Check out what other garden bloggers have blooming from all over the world.

Citrine petals begin their journey outward to breathe a hello.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Seasonally Thinking

In a few weeks, autumn will officially arrive, and I cannot wait. Summer has had its ups and downs, and I am more than ready to enjoy the morning breezes and the rusty and golden hues.

Donna from Gardens Eye View hosts Seasonal Celebrations this month for autumn. And I have listed a few of the treasures of my autumn.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - September 2012

Two Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies on Buddleia 'Black Knight'

I accomplished quite a lot and even had some time to take a break and enjoy the company of visiting friends during my one month blogcation. With a break now and then, I find I return more refreshed and more creative. I am anxious to resume blogging and sharing my garden.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - August 2012

We did get more rain this month, but it was not enough to match the many days of temperatures over 100 degrees F. I am hoping still for more rain to keep the plants healthy and growing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Beheld

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
-- Molly Bawn, 1878

We garden for many reasons and behold the fruits of our labor. Flowers, vegetables, herbs, fruits are the rewards of our gardening efforts. The colorful and textural sights and wafting fragrance also bring us pleasure in the garden.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Garden Notebook - July 2012

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Note: We had a severe thunderstorm Friday evening that left many without power, including us. With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it was an interesting adventure. Finally, our power was restored last evening. I was unable to publish this post on the 1st of the month as I usually do because of the power outage, so here it is.


Gardening Zone: 7a
May High Temperature: 98 degrees F
May Low Temperature: 60 degrees F

Precipitation: 1.94 inches

We have had little rain this month, and things are looking dry. I keep hoping for a long day of rain. Some of the plants are beginning to look stressed even though I water them in the morning. It is usually the newly planted ones that have a hard time in this dry heat.


The blackbirds have been very busy chasing away the songbirds from the feeders, so I  adjusted the weight on one feeder to close when they land. And I changed out some of the sunflower seeds to safflower seeds. This seems to be working well. They still come, but not in droves.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Each year on or around my birthday, I like to take a day all to myself where I spend the time alone doing some of my favorite things in peace and serenity. I try to disconnect from email and phone and spend some time outside in nature and with myself.  I usually spend this day admiring the garden, reading a book, and watching a film or two. These are some of my favorite things. Later or on another day, I will celebrate with my husband and friends and family.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Petal Passion

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice'

I am fascinated by all of the plants and flowers in my garden and in other gardens, but each year hydrangeas entertain and awe like few others.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Breathing Lessons

My breath could tell a story all its own. When I am frightened, my breath is shallow, slow, stale. When I am excited, my breath is like a pant--quick, uneven, unpredictable. With calmness and relaxation comes a breath that is even and full, open and free. As each moment of each day unfolds, there is a breath that accompanies it. There is a breath that resists or a breath that embraces. And, inevitably, there is a lesson--a breathing lesson. These breaths reflect the lessons I learn in the garden.

One of the most marked events this year in the garden has been the alternate weather. Our weather has not followed its usual pattern with a cold, perhaps snowy, winter and a warmer, but still cool, spring. Instead, we have had an unseasonably warm winter. The ground never froze and hardened, and as spring arrived it was very warm with temperatures sometimes reaching the 90's.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - June 2012

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly


Gardening Zone: 7a
May High Temperature: 93 degrees F
May Low Temperature: 51 degrees F

Precipitation: 3.48 inches


The bluebirds fledged and are now being taught how to feed by the parents. Just this morning I saw these same fledglings eating on their own from the feeders. Mom and dad must be so glad for the break.

Here are two of them begging from Dad. It was hard to get a clear photograph as they were moving around quite a lot.

Two Fledglings Begging from Male Bluebird

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Seven Faces of My Garden - GBBD May

Carpenter Bee on Chive Blossom

In my garden, there are seven faces that nature provides to maintain my interest. And although many of these same faces emerge each year, they grow different and more interesting from season to season and year to year. They are the faces that make me gasp, lure me closer, and inspire me to continue gardening. These faces add beauty, texture, color, and life to my garden with gentle suggestion and bold insistence.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

All the Books from The Earth Day Reading Project 2012

When I shared my selection, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, I did not know it would become a theme for the project. Many of the books selected were children's books. From Beatrice Potter to Lewis Carroll, there were books that inspire, entertain, and offer a subtle message. And there were other books as well. Books that I have put on my reading list. Great books that offer new perspectives and new lessons in sustainable living and appreciating nature.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - May 2012

It is May 1, and I am documenting my garden on the first of every month.

Each year is different than another just as each month is different than another. April seemed to fluctuate in temperature and weather conditions just as much as most of the months in 2012 thus far. We did have a few weeks without rain which slowed growth a bit, and I used up all of the water in the rain barrels. Finally, last week we got some much needed rain. And rain has been coming every few days since. All the plants and trees are bursting with growth as a result.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it is a very small element of a bloom, such as the gentle curl of this iris.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Many are celebrating Earth Day today. Our earth feeds and provides for us each day, and I am very grateful. For more information on Earth Day:

The Earth Day Network

Friday, April 20, 2012

Landscaping to Deter Animal Pests - Garden Book Review

A few years ago, I found a book that discusses planting strategies for deterring animal pests, such as deer, raccoons, rabbits, and voles. Deer-Resistant Landscaping presents numerous solutions to deterring mammals in the yard and garden.

Title: Deer-Resistant Landscaping
Author:  Neil Soderstrom
Publisher: Rodale Books, 2008

Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden Gifts - April GBBD

How wonderful it is to be in the garden again. To see the plants and flowers emerging and filling in the  gaps is pure joy.

Colors emerge in jewel colors.

Wild Iris

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Natural Garden Recipes for Pest and Disease Control

Earth Day is April 22, and I will be doing some posts with that theme in mind this month.

Many natural mixtures work just as effectively as chemicals in deterring pests and preventing diseases in the garden. Over the years, I have found several recipes that work very well.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Earth Day Reading Project and Giveaway - 100th Post!

Earth Day is April 22, and I like to celebrate by hosting the Earth Day Reading Project, a meme where bloggers share what books inspire them to live or garden more sustainably. This year will mark the second annual Earth Day Reading Project, and this just happens to be my 100th post! What a great way to celebrate! I look forward to reading about the books that inspired and continue to inspire many of you.

My Garden Notebook - April 2012

It is April 1, and I am documenting my garden on the first of every month.

As April begins, spring has been here for about a month. So many things are blooming or have bloomed. It is an accelerated spring--early and many things blooming at once. It is not often that the dogwoods are blooming at the same time as the daffodils. There is a surge of color all around the garden.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Contemplate the Garden

Although there is much work to be done in the garden, there are times just meant for observation and regard. Forms, textures, and colors are the backbone of a garden--giving it the beauty we often intend.

Walk around the garden and contemplate the seed pods as they form on spring trees looking like gold dripping from the network of branches. If you look closely, a small chickadee sits on a branch on the left.

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Enchanted Garden

For many years, I have been captivated by enchanted gardens--gardens that are lush, alluring, romantic, and fascinating. These are gardens that, when entered, bring about a sense of awe and wonder. Colors, fragrance, and textures abound. Plants and trees have grown to a size that is manageable, and yet, breathtaking. At every turn, there is a beautiful surprise and more for the eyes to feast upon.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Spring is the season of emergence.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Vole in the Garden: Control Methods

When I was building and preparing my garden beds about eight years ago, little did I know that I would encounter one of the smallest, and yet, most threatening, creatures to a garden--the vole. Since my house was part of new construction, it would be a few years before the voles moved back in after their exit from the disruption of the building process. It was not long before they began by burrowing small holes here and there. Then, I noticed leaning plants with root damage. Spring tulips were devoured. The roots of shrubs, small trees, and perennials were nibbled until there was no hope for the survival of these plants.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - March 2012

It is March 1, and I am documenting the developments in my garden every month on the first of the month.

I have spent a lot of time lamenting the non-winter we have had, even beseeching Old Man Winter with a letter. Although there are officially a few weeks left in winter, I do not think I would welcome Old Man Winter after March 15. With the advent of blooms and sprouts, my garden is whispering a call to behold the display regardless of time and to tend to its needs.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wing Flair

© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Letter to Old Man Winter - Time of Vicissitude - W4W

This winter has been a time of ups and downs and flip-flops--a time of fluctuation.

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Outdoor Oasis - Garden Book Review

For many years, I have dreamed of an outdoor oasis--a place to go to rest, be still, observe nature, and enjoy good company. Over the years, we have slowly created elements to complement that vision.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Brush Piles Are For the Birds

In the spring and summer, we prune a lot of our trees and shrubs and throw the brush in a pile. It can be unsightly, but I know wildlife, such as birds and rabbits, use brush piles for shelter. Last year, we had a hurricane and some severe tropical storms that felled some trees and scattered branches around the yard. All of this went in the brush pile. This winter I see the Dark-eyed Juncos cavorting on and around this brush pile. In the photo below the brush pile is just beyond these young trees below the arrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Roses for Valentine's Day

Roses for Valentine's Day.

The petal maze of a rose seems unending, spiraling into infinity.

Hues of magenta wrap around a rosebud to encapsulate a magical surprise...

Saturday, February 11, 2012


In the last 20 years, it has been very important to me to try, when I am able, to see the good in the world and people. I find when I look for that I usually find it. One of the ways I try to see the good is to try to appreciate and acknowledge gifts-- great and small, tangible and intangible. Sometimes a smile, a hug, or my husband's jokes are the biggest gifts I can ever receive. I have discovered when I take the time to be grateful and truly acknowledge the receipt of these gifts, I feel my life is full and joyful. I am able to see the blessing that we call life and live it to the fullest.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Unruly Raspberries

I am pruning my raspberries today. They tend to get a bit unruly and spread. Mine are very young, but they still need some pruning.

This photo was taken in the fall.

To prune raspberries, prune away the fruiting stalks (that fruited this past year) and prune away the stalks that are spreading out further than about one and a half to two feet.

I happened upon a video that explains how to prune them. It is really helpful and helped to refresh my memory. I shared it on my Facebook (The Sage Butterfly) page...and also on my Google+ page. (Michelle Potter)
I am off with pruners in hand...
© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - February 2012

This month, I begin to document my garden here--projects, plans, inspirations, garden activities, etc.  I will be posting My Garden Notebook on the first of every month. I will look back on the previous month and look forward to the coming month, recording weather conditions, garden phases, project plans, and other important elements of my gardening month.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In the Timber Grove

In winter, the bones of the landscape are more visible, prominently displayed in lieu of bright blooms and lush foliage. Textures and dark hues dazzle the forest, and what is hidden in other seasons is more conspicuous.

The harborages, dens, burrows of the inhabitants of the wood are there in the tree trunk and the forest floor. What could be finding home here in a tree?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Awards and Such...

I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Virginia at Tangent Gardening. Thank you, Virginia, I am honored to receive this award. I am grateful that there are people like you that find value in what I have to offer. My quest through The Sage Butterfly is to explore, discover, and chronicle my garden and nature. If I inspire or give joy in any way, I am honored and feel inspired to continue on my quest for creative reflection.

Over the last year or so, I had seen this award and the nominations on several blogs, but I never really knew the history or much about it. So, I decided to do research.

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