Fall can be a Tranquil Time in the Garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn November 2006, I wrote this story for the Outdoors column of North Mississippi Christian Family after visiting the lovely home and garden of Iline McQuirter of Winona. She was hosting members of The Winona Garden Club at her home and it was a beautiful fall day…Fall in the garden can be a tranquil time for those who have the right “bones” in place. That is the case for Iline McQuirter of Winona.

Edith Schaeffer in her book, “The Hidden Art of Homemaking,” said, “A Christian, who realizes he has been made in the image of the Creator and is therefore meant to be creative on a finite level, should certainly have more understanding of his responsibility to treat God’s creation with sensitivity, and should develop his talents to do something to beautify his little spot of the world’s surface.”

Iline has taken on that responsibility and develops her talents to surround herself, friends and family with the beauty found in God’s creation.

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A member of The Winona Garden Club and a passionate gardener, Iline has built a gorgeous yard that is eye-catching through the changing of the seasons. By using plants with a lot of texture, the garden has drama and interest, that provides a relaxing “widow’s retreat” in her own backyard.

Throughout the landscape, one of the more interesting plants in the landscape are caladiums, which are a great source of color and texture.

Caladiums have been called the geranium of the South, because of their popularity and versatility. There are two basic types of caladiums based on leaf shape– Fancy-Leaved and Lance-Leaved. The Fancy-Leaved caladiums have long stems and heart-shaped leaves. The Lance-Leaved caladium have short stems and more narrow leaves.

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Caladiums are excellent bedding plants for shade and partial shade locations, such as Iline’s backyard. And they are thirsty! One of the most important things this plant needs is an adequate supply of water daily.

Iline has caladiums in pots and in her landscape. The potted plants will be happier inside once the temperatures drop below 65 degrees. In most cases, the potted plants will live year-round, as long as they are warm and happy in the winter.

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The caladiums in the landscape can survive our mild Mississippi winters, if it doesn’t get too cold. All the books say they should be dug up as the temperature drops below 65 degrees. These are tropical plants and even though Mississippi doesn’t usually have a white winter, it can get chilly.

Most people take a chance and leave them in the landscape throughout the winter. If it is a mild one, these beautiful plants will be back next year to provide a tropical flair to the landscape.

In my Sunday School class, we are learning that there are three basic ways we learn more about God: through the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and through the wonder of His creation. Fall is a great time to see God as a creator and an artist. Iline has created a wonderful place to relax and learn more about the mystery and wonder and awesome power of God, right in her own backyard.

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This story was featured in the November 2006 edition of North Mississippi Christian Family magazine…see the story at NMSCF November 2006 page 14.

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