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Today’s gardener writer is Ryan Jo Summers, who will be talking about Emma and George—two trees in her garden. Welcome, Ryan Jo.


Thanks, Catherine

I have always admired formal yards and gardens, with sweeping terraces of blooms, multiple shades of different sized flowers, and natural rock gardens. Bonus drool for water features and koi ponds. Sigh….one day….


old steps with ivy and ferns spotted on one of my dog walks

As I write this now, a gentle rain is falling. The approaching growls of thunder chased me inside from where I was planting today’s shipment: Old-fashioned Bleeding Hearts in white and pink, another rose, and a Goji berry. I got as far as the pink bleeding heart when the approaching storm sent me inside to this instead.

squirrel and Oak leaf hydrangea

Two and a half years ago I bought my very own place here in the south. It’s a half acre, home of a 1920 cottage. I love it! There were already two flower beds installed, flanking the walkway, full of oakleaf hydrangea, forsythia, and endless daylilies. Plus a few odd bits that some I’ve yet to identify and others I’ve yet to decide whether to keep them or move them out.

split rail fence I installed, with ‘established in 2014’ plaque, planted with dwarf burning bushes, roses and black-eyed Susan

Two more beds had been established once upon a time, one held a rotten tree stump and some hostas and another forsythia bush while the other was depressingly empty. They held such promise! In the time I’ve lived here, I’ve added to both those gardens, slowly over each planting season, and added four more flower beds to the yard. (Five if you count the transplanted day lilies moved to flank the garage door).

stone steps alongside house, with assorted flowers slowly growing, just starting to peek over the lattice border

Now, I adore fences and random steps, almost as much as I like water features. For me, rustic is the way. Since I pet sit/ dog walk part time, I see a good bit of landscaping and gardens. I like snapping photos of scenes of stairs and fences that inspire or delight me. They don’t necessarily have to go anywhere, or hold anything in or out. Just simply being in the right place, with the right look, creating the right impression is an art all to itself. Like spotting a random painting in a gallery, not anything specific or unique about it. It just has that right look. It just is. Such is a good garden scene.

Emma — looking upward in the fall after her leaves were gone

Now, at my house are many tall, stately trees. In the courtyard in the back are two trees in particular, that have endured themselves to me in a special way. One, an oak, is right outside my kitchen window. I sense a femininity about it and call her Emma. I often ponder how old dear Emma is, for she is very tall and quite wide. Squirrels delight in racing up and down her weathered trunk.

— Emma’s roots outgrowing her allotted space

Doubtlessly, the courtyard slate stone was installed when Emma was still younger and more slender, as her roots and widening trunk have pushed the stones up and aside over the years. Poor planning on someone’s part.

Emma and her trunk having grown around a hanging hook

There is also a hanging hook attached to Emma’s trunk, about six feet up, for hanging pots, bird feeders, wind chimes or whatever. Unfortunately, and further proof of the lack of consideration people have shown Emma over the years, her trunk has grown over the hook, sealing it like a giant scab over a wound. I wonder how that must have hurt as her trunk grew and now the hook has become a permanent part of her trunk.

Mighty George

A few feet away from Emma stands George, a straight, noble-looking Pine. George is huge, both in height and circumference. He reminds me of royalty, like a king, hence his royal name. Scattered around him, at the height of roughly thirty feet or so are three of his off-spring.

curious wrinkles at the base of George’s trunk

English ivy grows rampant around the courtyard, and encircles George’s trunk like a green robe. Diligence on my part keeps the ivy growing around George, and not up his massive trunk. Unlike Emma, George has no blemishes or human fallacies to mar his noble stature.

Considering how long Emma and George have lived, and the house they saw built, the stories of the people who lived inside, and the relaxed under their branches, I wonder what stories these two trees could tell. As I watch my newly planted flower gardens grow, I also enjoy the richness of two special trees. Once upon a time they were but small saplings, and they have grown to leave an indelible mark in this place and on me. I hope the maple seedlings, plants, and flowers I am planting now will one day leave another mark once Emma, George, and I are gone from this life.


About the Gardener/Writer:


Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.

Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants (50 ish and growing), poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.

WEBSITE: http://www.ryanjosummers.com/

BLOG: http://www.summersrye.wordpress.comm/

FB:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Jo-Summers-author-page/312875648810797

TWITTER:        https://twitter.com/RyanJoSummers

 Coffecake Chaos

by Ryan Jo Summers

Avianna Goodman and Sawyer Steele had been young lovers. Now she is a caterer, building her own business. Right now she needs cash to help her family. He’s being ordered to stop his wild ways and settle down to take over the family empire. His controlling mother has picked out the perfect heiress for him. Now they need the right caterer to launch the perfect engagement celebration.