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Category Archives: gardening

Susans, Sharon, Johnny, and the Crocodile

Aren’t they pretty?

I went outside just now take a picture of the Brown-eyed Susans I previously mentioned as peeking over the edge of the deck.  Looking at my Media Library,  I wonder how different this shot is from others of these flowers.  However, I took several other shots before looking at my Media Library,  and I see no reason not to share them as well.

A wider shot to show volume.

The Brown-eyed Susans have really spread out since they magically appeared a year or two ago.

Who wouldn’t want an alligator in their backyard?

Full disclosure:  this could be a crocodile.  He has been in various parts of the yard.  Right now he is where he can get maximum sunlight.

Please ignore the weeds.

My Black-eyed Susans have a lot of blooms. I find them cheerful.

Also looking pretty good.

I grabbed an update on our Rose of Sharon while I was in the area.  Then I thought of our Johnny Jump-ups, which I had noticed are also looking well.

My favorites!

They have not jumped up elsewhere yet, but they have filled in the little area where I planted them.

I hope to plant more flowers next year.  Then I might have more variety in these blog posts.  In the meantime,  I feel this is a better post than my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday.   Does anyone agree?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

 

Do I Have Rocks in my Head?

Today I decided to plant the Johnny Jump-ups I purchased on Sunday at A&W Greenhouse Gardens in Little Falls, NY (more about them later) (preview of coming attractions).  This might be worth a blog post, especially as I took a couple of pictures.

There is a space to the right of our porch (facing the house), which needs work.  Originally some really blowsy day lilies grew there.  Steven eventually  mowed them down a few times.  Last year we tried covering the space with an old shower curtain and some decorative rocks.  We used red, but they are not that color now.

This year, over the difficult to mow space in front of the no longer red stone, I put some dark garbage bags weighted down with stones.  This is supposed to produce an area suitable for planting.  This is where I wanted to plant my new flowers.  My hope is that they will jump up (which is what they do) all over the front yard.

I guess I did not wait long enough.  When I pulled up the bags, there was still plenty of grass underneath.  This proved fairly easy to pull up, so I had at it and soon had at least a small area cleared.  I dug into this area with my dirt digger upper (no idea what the tool is really called), and planted my Johnny Jump-ups.

Perhaps I need to buy more.

I put rocks around them, so I would not mow over them (no promises for the ones that jump up elsewhere, but I will do my best).  Then I decided to put the garbage bags back over the surrounding grass.  At least it is that much space I don’t have to mow, and maybe I can put fall flowers down later in the year.

I let the rogue daisies live.

As you can see, I have a lot of rocks.  I hope to do more landscaping things with them eventually.

I love the different colors.

I close with a different angle of the new addition to my lawn.  I confess to feeling a slight frisson of virtue for not making a Tired Tuesday Post.  As always, thank you for tuning in.

 

A Blooming Saturday Post

Before.

Today I was determined to put these flowers into pots for my container garden.  I had a small-ish bag of dirt, because they were out of the bags of one or two feet square feet of of dirt,  which I have purchased in previous years. Oh well, you snooze, you loose; I took what I could get and used it.

One angle of my deck.

After filling two urns, I was outof dirt and had to return to the store.  However, I found that with smaller bags, it was easier for me to pour the dirt from the bag into the pots.

The other angle.

You can see the lawn chairs in the background.  I put them out in the lawn to take advantage of the natural disinfection of sunlight.  These chairs have previously resided in my garage,  which smells just a slight bit of mildew.  One cannot always control the moisture in these situations.

I took another picture, of my feet and and what you could see of the deck beyond, but I cannot find it now.  That is how technologically inept I am.  However,  I feel I have done a good job on my deck.  Steven and I sat outside and enjoyed the view for a while.  No doubt we will do so again.

In the meantime,  here is one more picture of my backyard.

I’ll get another shot, when there are even more blooms.

Here is our rhododendron.  I thought it would be blooming soon. I do love a tree that blooms.  I must plant a few more.  No doubt I will make another blog post when I do.

 

It’s a Blooming Blog Post!

There! I feel better now!

I like flowers.  They make me feel better.  I was sitting here trying to begin my blog post, and I backspaced over several leads, erasing others while they were still in my head.  What IS my problem?  Oh, I don’t expect any of you to figure it out.  Just throw your hands in the air (like you don’t care), and enjoy  a few pictures of my yard.  The above is my front yard.  I do not remember what year the daisies showed up, but they are sure out of control now.  I love it.  I only hope they don’t overpower the peony bush

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Come on, Peonies!

Astute readers may notice that I capitalized Peonies in the caption while I did not do so in the preceding paragraph.  That is because in the caption I am directly addressing the buds, so Peonies are like their names.  I guess they all have the same name (I just flashed on a Dr. Suess story about a certain Mrs. McCave, who had 23 sons and she named them all Dave).  I saw some other peonies in the neighborhood that bloomed (must try to run by them and take a sniff on tomorrow’s run), so I’m sure mine will be opening soon.

Hmmm…. It looks better in real life than it does in the picture, but you’ll have that.

Also under the heading Preview of Coming Attractions is our Rose of Sharon.  At least there is more green on it than previously.  My mother, who gave us the plant, told me we did not have to prune back the old branches or even pull off all the brown stuff.  At least, I think she told me that.  I’ll have to double check the next time I call.

Another plant that is better in person. Next time I’ll try to zoom in on them. If I can figure out how.

I do love forget-me-nots.  These just magically appeared near the rhododendron and spread a little more each year.  I would love to have a whole yard of flowers and never have to mow.  Maybe one day.

A little overshadowed by the pine tree, but beautiful blooms.

I think the rhododendron is lovely, too.  That is another one we did not plant.  It wasn’t looking so good until one year when I broke off a bunch of dead branches.  Who knew I could do something right in the garden?

I supposed I should have weeded before I took the picture, but I think you can see how beautiful they are.

This is the reason I was outside with my Tablet on Camera Mode: my irises, another gift from my mother.  She has had irises at her house for as long as I can remember, and periodically she has to thin them out.  Her iris bulbs have bloomed as far away as Arizona!

As these pictures show, I have not done much with my flowers except let them grow.  I hope to get outside tomorrow and do some weeding.  Maybe I could take some nice After pictures of neat, orderly flower beds.  That would be a change from Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  If it rains, I’ll probably watch monster movies.  It’s always nice to have a back-up plan.

 

The Blog’s Gone to Pot

I took some pictures of what I have so far for a container garden, hoping I could make up in pictures what I lack in words.  Seriously, my brain is dead and writing is just not happening for me.  Well, I’m not going to whine about it (although it is somewhat distressing) (no, no, NOT whine).  Instead, here are some pictures:

I guess you can’t see the flowers very well, but aren’t they pretty?

I had three pots with the design, but one broke last year.  Now that I look at this arrangement, it does not look as symmetrical as I had hoped.  Size-wise it’s good, but I don’t like the two decorated and one plain.  I’ll have to work on it.

Oh dear, you can see the icky garage and crappy window in the background.

I had never seen black Johnny Jump-ups, and I like the way they look with the orange marigolds.

An overhead shot, for a different view.

I liked the combination so much, I did two pots of it.

Ooh, I like what’s in the background of this one.

I tried to have “the thrill, the fill and the spill” in this one, but I think the “spill” looks a little unhealthy.  Perhaps they will pick up as time goes on.

Fresh pesto, you will be MINE!

Basil is the only herb I have so far, but as you see I have a nice amount.  Ooh, I LOVE fresh basil!

I would also like to get some dill and cilantro, as well as a few more pots of flowers.  Unfortunately, the malaise that has been causing my writing to atrophy seems to be infecting the rest of my life as well.  Then again, I see I have managed over 250 words on a blog post I thought I couldn’t write.  Maybe there’s hope for me after all.

 

Woo Hoo! They Grew!

I am resorting to pictures for this week’s Tired Tuesday post, but I went outside and took a few of my backyard.  My impetus for doing so is that the rhododendron is in full bloom and is lovely.  I was worried it would not last another day so wanted to take a picture.  Naturally I could not find the Tablet.  Steven and I searched almost all of the house except for the dining room chair it was sitting on.  Eventually I found it and was thankful it had not started raining again by that time.

An old boyfriend used to call me his “little rah-d’den-DRAHN”

The bush gets bigger every year and has since a few years ago when I broke off a couple dead branches.  I suppose there’s a metaphor for life there, but I really do not feel like figuring out what to prune off myself for improvement.  Having captured this picture, I moved on and snapped a few more shots.

That’s the neighbors’ pool and house in the background.

My mom gave me the Rose of Sharon in 2011.  After Steven accidentally mowed it down a couple of times, it started to grow bigger.  I’ll have to take another picture after it blooms.  If it ever does.  And speaking of wait till it blooms, here are a couple more shots of plants that are going to look better later.

I suppose I could have pulled some of the weeds first.

I got the Black-Eyed Susans from a sale at the Herkimer County Humane Society back in 2011.  The chives are, I think, from Tripple’s Produce in Schuyler, NY.  They were in my container garden some years ago (I forget when but prior to 2011).  After the season, I put them in the garden to see what would happen.  Woo-hoo, they grew! (Hey, that might be a good title for this post.)

Ooh, even more weeds over here.

The irises are from my Mom.  She’s had irises in her yard for as long as I can remember.  Periodically she thins out the bulbs.  This is the first time I had a yard to put any in.  There are more very year, so woo-hoo once again.

You can just about see all the other stuff in the background.

This last shot is another preview of coming attractions.  These are the plants I purchased at T & J’s Fruits and Vegetables in Herkimer on Sunday.  They will eventually be part of my container garden. I hope to share some pictures of that eventually.  When I’m not too tired to put them in the containers.  Happy Tuesday, everyone.

 

Not Overboard Yet

Today’s post actually took place before yesterday’s post. At first I felt a little silly about that and wondered if I shouldn’t have made it all one big post. Then I remembered it is Non-Sequitur Thursday. Perfect! On with the post!

Saturday Steven got out of work early enough to do something fun. I had seen in the paper that Ilion Farmer’s Market was selling flowers and herbs, which I wanted for my container garden. Tabby is welcome at the Farmer’s Market. Our plan was set.

We got there around three. Right away we saw the small display of plants, but first we went into the barn to browse. A few of the vendors had changed, but the historic barn’s atmosphere was still warm and welcoming. Tabby found all kinds of interesting places to sniff, and a few people petted her. I did not let her go near the cafe. I may have to come by without Tabby sometime and enjoy a little of that good food.

Back out at the plant table we chose basil, dill and two different flowers. I don’t know what they’re called (have I mentioned today that this is not a real gardening blog?), but the big blooms were red, pink and white while the little blooms were purple. The herbs looked very healthy. I sure hope I can keep them that way.

Jim Parker, the folk artist who runs the Farmers Market, told us they would be getting in more plants. I said I might be back next week. I’ll try not to go overboard (as I said yesterday I tend to do with my container garden), but what’s wrong with leaning out a little over the rail?

Sunday we decided to supplement our Farmers Market purchases with a trip to T & J’s Fruits and Vegetables in Herkimer. I’ve stopped there for produce many times, most recently finding a wonderful hyacinth for my mother’s Easter present. I had noticed their greenhouse was full. All kinds of choices. They even had the leaves that grow straight up (I’m not describing them very well, but perhaps you know what I mean).

“That’s what you need for containers,” I told Steven. “You want the thrill, the fill and the spill.” I said it with gestures, demonstrating the contribution of each “ill.” I did not purchase any thrill, but I found some fill and spill. The fill included marigolds, and the spill some little yellow flowers I of course do not know the name of (some of you are probably surprised I recognized the marigolds).

As I said, I haven’t gone overboard yet. But it’s early days. We’ll see what the weekend brings.

Me and My Boring Deck

Every year I make a container garden on my deck. And every year I go overboard. I purchase more plants than I have containers for and by the time I’ve found a place for every plant, we have a hard time finding places to put chairs when we have people over. Still, it looks nice and I get a nice sense of accomplishment when its done.

This year it seems that sense of accomplishment is far away and receding. I have done some work in the yard (perhaps you read my blog post about it). I have purchased a few plants and some dirt. Oh, I’ve been good. In my determination not to go overboard this year, I don’t think I bought enough stuff. That’s OK, greenhouses all over the Mohawk Valley have more. A short trip and I’m set.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel too bad about my so far boring deck. After all, it is best to wait till all danger of frost has passed. I’ve been told to don’t plant before Memorial Day weekend. Why, that was last weekend.

If only I had spent the weekend hard at work. I did get a little done on Monday (when the only blog post I could manage was a Middle-aged Musings Monday). Three largish containers now have flowers in them and half the dill is in a container (I hope to plant dill in the yard as well. Oh, ambitions, they always get me in trouble). Then the sun started to get to me. I have kind of a sensitivity in that area. The rest would have to stay in their original little plastic pots for now.

I promptly forgot to water any of it. Oh dear. That is a cruel thing to do to pretty flowers and delicious herbs. I poured a lot of water on them Tuesday after work, as soon as the deck seemed shady enough (I’ve been told to don’t water plants in direct sunlight). I watered them again Wednesday morning (today), just to be on the safe side.

So my deck is still boring, is what I’m saying. How appropriate is that for Wuss-out Wednesday? I will have more blog posts about my container garden as the work progresses.

Working Hard in the Yard and Garden

How about a gardening post in lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday. I was about to put a question mark, but since I intend to write it before receiving any possible replies, I decided against it.

Perhaps yard work is a better term than gardening. The reader may judge. Steven went to work at nine as usual. I went to the store and picked up a few items (not blogworthy, except for the nice conversation I had with a lady in the yarn aisle), then returned home determined to do something useful before Steven’s return.

I had my prescription sunglasses on, because it was quite a bright day (cue unkind remarks about how I’m not). I thought, why not add my crazy old lady hat to the ensemble (pronounced “ahn-sahm,” as the French do) and mow the lawn?

The lawn had been mowed nicely last Saturday by two neighborhood boys. It could go a few more days before it really needed it, but I find if I’m going to use the non-power mower, sooner is better. I have to use the non-power mower because I am quite incapable of getting the power mower started. I like it because it is quieter, and I get that little frisson of virtue because I am being “green.” Also it is good exercise, which I sorely need.

So there I was, pushing and pushing. The lawn didn’t look too bad. Maybe I would write a blog post about it (and I am!). I still need to do something about the edges of the lawn, but I had another notion for the rest of my outdoor activities for the day.

When we moved into our house, the front yard contained a whole lot of orange day lilies. Not the short, nice ones with spiky leaves on the stems that I see in other people’s yards. They were tall and, quite frankly, a little blowsy. Steven mowed them down, except for a big patch at the side of our porch. There they still grow, along with some ferns of jungle proportions. Not that I’ve ever been to the jungle, but with a plastic gorilla and a Barbie doll, I bet we could film a cool version of King Kong.

Last year I went and cut down all that I could. It was late in the season, so that was all I did. This time I had another idea. First I went and pulled up or cut down everything I could. Then I found an old shower curtain we had in the garage and put that down. That would keep any of that crap from growing back. I had to cut the shower curtain and arrange it. This was going to work.

Next I pulled out a bag of mulch we hadn’t used last year (or maybe even the year before. Oh dear). Three cubic feet, could I drag it out front without hurting my back. Yes I could! I am da woman! I spread it around as best I could. Then realized I should have smoothed out the shower curtain a little better. No matter. I pulled the ends and did the best I could.

The edges of the shower curtain still showed. I had put rocks down on the corners. Could I find some more rocks and cover the edges? That would look nice.

Something else I did when we first started working in the yard was collect rocks. When I would be digging up areas to plant stuff, if I dug up rocks I would save them for future use. There are some in a ring around our rhododendron now. Others reside in a heap under the deck awaiting my need.

Walking back and forth from the deck to the porch probably constituted good exercise, especially carrying rocks of varying sizes. I was careful every time I straightened up not to hit my stupid head (which I am unfortunately prone to do).

Oh dear, I think this made a better story in my head while I was doing it than it does now while I’m writing it. Never mind, I’m almost done. I still need a few more rocks (cue jokes about how I DON’T need more rocks in my head), and then I need to put something on the mulch to be decorative. Some potted flowers or perhaps a stone garden statue.

It’s too bad I don’t have the proper camera and know how to post a picture. Then again, maybe your mental picture looks better than what I actually did and would only disappoint you. At any rate, this is the longest Sunday post I have done in a long time. If you’re still with me, enjoy the rest of your weekend. If you stopped reading two or three paragraphs ago, I still wish you well.

Me vs. the Yard

Anybody who is anxiously awaiting the return of Saturday Running Commentary (I am), keep waiting. It’ll get here. This week, I went to Curves and exercised instead. When I got home, I thought I wouldn’t waste the sweat but do some work in the yard.

Lots of stuff has been growing up around the garage, none of it pretty. Oh, we had some pretty things there earlier this year. Some lovely irises, some pink flowers whose name I never knew, some chives and parsley (maybe not exactly pretty, but yum).

Now it is overgrown with weeds, and some of them are getting quite tall and unsightly. I like to blame the inordinate amount of rain earlier this summer rather than my lack of diligence at weeding, but really, does pointing fingers get us anywhere in this situation? In fact, you don’t even need to point your fingers at the weeds I ought to be pulling up. I can see them perfectly well.

I started in back of the garage. Yikes! I rarely see in back of the garage. I like to sit on my deck, where that part is nicely hidden. Today I was confronted with a huge bush/tree/something. It comprised several different plants, I think, some of them with some nasty stickers. I was armed with gardening gloves and clippers. I strode bravely into the fray.

And was soon saying, “Ow! Ow! Dammit!” Those gardening gloves are not exactly impenetrable. And they only cover up to my wrists. It is not long sleeve weather. I did not get very far on what I now think of as the Monster of the Back Yard. For one thing, the sun had moved around and you know how sensitive I am about direct sunlight (at least, I suppose new readers, if any, don’t know, but I am).

I moved to the side of the garage, the unsightly part we see when we are sitting on the deck. The worst of the weeds were among the irises. Now done blooming, and even the greenery didn’t look too healthy. I figured it would be OK to cut or pull the green stuff as long as I left the bulbs in the ground. After much huffing and puffing, I accomplished it. I left the most of the greenery from the unknown pink flowers. It still looked pretty good, and I managed to get most of the weeds around it.

Moving on up, I came to a place where last fall Steven had planted some flowers from my container garden on the deck. We thought we’d see what happened, not being clear on if they were annuals or perennials. Some stuff had grown. It had not bloomed, so I had begun to suspect that they were not flowers. I began to pull them up as ruthlessly as I could manage (not being a particularly ruthless person).

And noticed a pleasing aroma, even penetrating my screwy sinuses. I sniffed closer. Why, yes, that was mint! I forgot I had put some mint there. The ground had been hard, it hadn’t been such a much when I planted it, well, I’ll be a ding dong daddy, as my grandmother used to say. They say mint will take over your yard. I say, have at it! I plucked some mint and brought it inside. Later I will make some mint tea. Aaaahhhh!

And that is my gardening story for the day.