Becky Kirts is a Master Gardener residing in Shelby County, Kentucky. She loves to share recipes, garden information and travel fun on her blog. Gardening is in her genes. Becky grew up in a family of eight where a love of nature and gardening was understood and respected. In addition to growing plants, she has spent years cultivating her passion through research, writing, and teaching. She did this while raising two children and working full time.

Becky lives in a beautiful 100 year old home on land once owned by Squire Boone. She is lovingly trying to nurture the land to make it a home for birds, wildlife, plants, pets and family. Becky’s property has over 60 varieties of trees, a vineyard, berry patch, a potager garden, and much, much more.

Becky hopes that you will enjoy her personal approach to life in her garden and beyond.
 

 

Lilly of the Valleys Make My Gardens Sing
by Becky Kirts - posted 04/16/17

I love Lilly of the Valley.(Convallaria majalis)  I know it is poisonous, it is invasive and has a shady  history. All of this does not keep me from wanting it . When we moved here over 20 plus years ago, I was thrilled to find Lilly of the Valley. It was scattered in some random shady spots. So when my son-in -law and daughter offered about 6 years ago to group the plants all together under the Big Siberian Elm, I was all on board. 
This was a win/win. For the tree it keeps the crazy lawn mower guy, my husband from getting too close and for me it has grown to be an amazingly fragrant gift this time of year. 
I fondly remember my mom singing to be about the "White Coral Bells, along upon a slender stalk,  Lilly of the Valleys deck my garden walk. Oh don't you wish that you could hear them ring, that will only happen with the fairies sing." 
So now every spring..I hear the fairies sing... 

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Blooming in my Garden…...
by Becky Kirts - posted 03/19/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Breathtakingly Beautiful Bridal Wreath Spirea. (Spiraea prunifolia).  

 It is blooming in my garden now.....It often bloom before the leaves have opened up on my trees

 

 

I really cannot verify what the variety of my particular shrub because it was here when I brought the property 20 some years ago. I love it for so many reasons. When this shrub is in full bloom it resembles a fountain of amazing small clusters of white flowers. The blooms extend all the way down the arching canes. 

 

The name comes from the fact that the canes thru the ages have been shaped into a wreath and worn by brides as a headdress for their wedding day. Very Special!!

 

I transplanted a great deal of this shrub to the back fence row about 10 years ago. Now it puts on such an impressive show. My variety grows to over 6 ft tall and is very full. It seems to prefer full sun but does fine in partial shade. My Bridal Wreath Spirea loves it out in the field along the fence row and it  provides such a beautiful screen. Transplanting some of this shrub allowed my Kerria japonica with its yellow puff blooms, to fill in the gaps. Together they are so impressive…

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Sweet Mock-orange Bush
by Becky Kirts - posted 02/26/17

I do a challange as much as possible to my garden followers... This week it was " Think About it Thursday"   I posted the pics below. No one guessed it this week.... Hope you will join in the fun... I will try to post it every time on this blog as well.... Here is the answer for last weeks picture.

 

I believe that this early bloomer is a Sweet Mock-orange Bush. It was already thriving here when we bought this property over 20 some years ago. I am not positive of the variety. It definitely is an older variety as the blossoms are single, delicate and breathtakingly fragrant.  So I am going with (Philadelphus coronarius).  However since this bush was first cultivated in1560, I am not putting a bet on this assumption. 

This variety is hardy in Zone 4-8. It is a very rapid grower . It can grow as much as 24” a year. Several years ago, after a very cold winter, I gave mine a  needed haircut. That has resulted in a more compact, more attractive bush and actually more blooms. 

This bush needs at least 4 hours of direct sun a day. So partial shade will do. It lives very happily in one of my “island gardens.”  This area shines in the spring as it has Forsythia and many different varieties of daffodils. In the summer this area host a wonderful Smoke Tree and a Japanese Red Maple that comes into its own under the shade of the Mock-orange. The daffodils are hidden under a wonderful living mulch of ferns. So little mulch is needed. Finally a very old Holly gives me shiny green leaves and bright red berries. My little “island garden” shines all year long. 

Some feel this shrub is boring except for the two weeks of blooms. But I love it for many good reasons. # 1 being my Mother had one in her garden and she was so happy to see one in my landscape.  Plus, according to Doug Tallamy, certain varieties of this shrub fit right into my mission to transition amy gardens over to more native plants. This shrub provides cover for wildlife, nest sites for birds, pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies and food for caterpillars. So what is not to love about Mock-Orange?

 

 

 

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