Archives for posts with tag: gardening

I’ve blogged about my little garden in the past. Today, while I was poking around to see if all was well and as it should be, I noticed that my garden is doing remarkably well this year. It’s really coming into its own. So I grabbed my camera and began to click away – and I’d like to share it with you.

Join me in a pictorial tour of my tiny, little garden…

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Rhododendron

Our first neighbor when we moved into our house was a landscaper who worked for a large garden center in town. Every now and then he’d give me a plant that wasn’t in that great a shape to see if I could revive it. I planted this rhododendron in a spot that worked great for it when it was puny – but now it’s getting fairly large. It may need to be moved this fall.

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Spirea?

This was another freebie from my neighbor that has thrived. I think it’s Japanese Spirea, but my leaves have a feathery quality, while online photos show a smooth edged leaf. In any case it’s done well.

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Ugly Little Sun Ornament

Hooray for the Dollar Tree! I find at least one semi-decent yard ornament there each year. Sometimes more!

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Grape Expectations?

This is one of two clusters of something or other on the grape vine I planted just this spring. I’m not sure if they are the beginnings of a grape cluster, but I’m super happy with this plants growth so far. It’s kicking ass and taking names!

IMG_2713I found this feller at K-Mart around 4 years ago. He was marked down to next to nothing in a fall clearance. He’s one of those solar powered statues, so at night his body lights up green. It sounds super cheesy, but he has been my front path sentry-man every since.

IMG_2703Ah Lilies. Don’t you just love them? These are the variety whose blooms last for quite a few days. I find them to be spectacular!

IMG_2701Lily #2 – with more to come in the days ahead.

IMG_2695My hydrangeas are just starting to spread out – you can see a tinge of blue along the edges of some of the petals. Unlike Madonna, I adore hydrangeas. They remind me of summers on Martha’s Vineyard, and my grandparent’s backyard.

IMG_2723My husband, while dismembering some of my garden chachkies, made this adorable little scene in a niche where nothing much grew due to a plethora of roots just below the ground. It was so cute and clever, I had a hard time staying mad at him for taking liberties with my ornaments.

IMG_2715Hostas. I LOVE hostas. Of course keeping them from turning into the all-night salad bar for area deer and bunnies is a chore. I’ve sprayed enough critter repellent that even my neighbors stay away! Notice my lush, green grass. A few weeks ago that was nothing but dirt and a few tufts of sorry looking grass!

IMG_2677Foxglove! This bloomed for the first time this year. I had forgotten what it was – this little mound of green leaves sat in my garden for all of last year doing nothing. But I knew something was brewing when it began to double in size this spring. Then one day it shot up a foot or more and soon thereafter, these beautiful bell-shaped blossoms burst from the stem. It’s a real showstopper. I may have to plant more!

IMG_2709My goofy little bird ornament.

IMG_2687I forget what this stuff is called, but I have it growing inside a little circle of stones that surround my dogwood tree. It’s grown so big it’s almost hiding the little green frog I have tucked in there.

IMG_2707Fishies! Our fish, that wintered in my daughter’s science class, seem very happy to be back in there sprawling summer home – our pond. It’s nothing more than a water trough for a horse, but hubby transformed it into our garden pond. It’s visited by frogs and other critters all summer long, and is our cat’s main source of water – luckily they leave the fish alone for the most part.

IMG_2685My twisted little snail. I can’t get his head to stay straight anymore, but that’s okay – I still love him.

IMG_2706This is the leaf of a wisteria that my husband killed, but mysteriously came back. It used to climb a large oak with a forked trunk and had vines that were at least 3 inches in diameter –  until hubby dumped some substance on it – pond solution or concentrated plant food. He’s killed quite a few things that way, but I yelled at him thoroughly enough that I think he’s cured of such shinnanigans. In any case, the vine popped up in a new location the next year, and I am trying to train it to grow in a spot that will work best. Shoo fly!

IMG_2688Impatiens are a garden must for me. I’ve loved them since I lived in New Jersey and they are in my garden every single year. Some years they do better than others. These are coming along just fine so far.

IMG_2728And finally, our cat Dodger helps keep my garden growing. He helps keep the pests that tunnel and eat and otherwise ruin my plant’s growth down to a minimum. But it’s not all pretty. There is one spot, behind my azaleas, that is his Dennys – his all night diner. We find feathers and squirrel tails and vole remains on a daily basis. Ick – hubby is good to have around…he scoops up whatever is left with a shovel and…disposes of it. ugh.

Our other cat Olive does her fair share too, but she roams rather far, and was not available to be photographed.

I really enjoy my garden. I love going out and weeding and pruning and trying to find growth and where things are filling in and where things need improving. It’s taken me over 10 years, but it’s starting to shape up.

Now I need to go cut my grass!

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Each and every Mother’s Day I do the same thing, weather permitting. I buy plants, herbs, veggies, bags of potting soil and I get my garden ready for the upcoming growing season. It’s quite possibly my favorite day of the whole year.

When we moved into this house in 2001 my little side garden was pretty bare. There was a bush here and there, and a few hostas, but it was basically a blank canvas. Now, after 12 years of tinkering in the soil, it’s looking fairly grown in and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.

It was a journey figuring out what would grow where and what wouldn’t. I’ve lost my fair share of plants, which annoys me to no end. I’ve also learned that there are bare spots where nothing will grown because there are too many roots underneath.  That is where I place pots filled with impatiens or some other colorful plant.

Last year I decided to grow a maple tree. I love the color of their fall foliage, but I was too cheap to go out and buy a tree. Instead I found seed pods on a tree in town and planted it in a pot. My sapling is on it’s 2nd year and has encouraged me to try growing another. This year I got seeds from a Japanese Maple – I hope they sprout.

We also added a pond in a spot that was pretty much good for nothing – the soil was always dense and wet, and it got no sun. Now it’s the centerpiece of my garden. We get tadpoles every year hoping they will grow into frogs, and we have two Koi that spent the winter in my daughter’s science class. Time to get those bad boys back in the pond.

My deck has also become a garden of sorts. I grow tomatoes and cucumbers in containers, and have an herb garden as well. Last year’s lemon thyme, rosemary and parsley were wonderful accompaniments to many a summer dinner.

My veggies? They never do too well. I think I yielded 4 tomatoes from my plant last year, and the only cukes I grew resembled spiky golf balls. They were really tasty though. Even though I’ve proven to not have a green thumb for veggies, I don’t give up. I’ll keep trying different varieties until I find one that works for me.

Of course the cicadas are ruining it a bit for me this year. Everywhere I turn I’m finding shells or newly-hatched cicadas, and I don’t like bugs, so it’s sort of like gardening in a mine field. One flew in my daughter’s hair yesterday and she screamed, threw my trowel 6 feet in the air and ran in a circle until I could deem her bug-free. Then she went in the house for the remainder of the day.

Another blight on this year’s garden-o-rama was a slight “doh!” moment on the part of my hubby. One day while he was out doing some pond/yard work he got it into his head to put out all my garden decorations. He even broke some to use in ways he felt would look nice. This is such a major faux pas, you don’t even know. Half of the fun of my Mother’s Day planting spree is to find the perfect spot for each little bird house and garden spike. I was mad. I don’t think he’ll do it again next year.

Whatever your Mother’s Day ritual is, I hope you are having as good a day as I am – the weather is beautiful and the sun is shining bright in a clear, blue sky. Hell, what am I doing typing this? Time to get back outside and do my thang.

mowing-the-lawn

When my husband and I bought our little house 12 years ago, there was no lawn. There were weeds, and saplings, and bramble, but no lawn. The property had been left to the ways of the wild; every acorn given free reign to grow into a mighty oak, every pine nut encouraged to sprout up a tiny little pine tree.

While viewing the house with our Realtor I picked my way around the lot, tripping here and there on a root or a rock. I imagined a rich, sun-dappled lawn; green and lush and freshly mowed. My brother-in-law suggested we mulch the whole front, and I gaped at him in horror. Mulch? No sir!

Before the ink was dry on our mortgage papers we called in a landscaper. Hubby and I spent a weekend digging out and pulling up every tree, root, rock and weed. Then the men came and tilled the soil, added in pounds of lime and other things good for the soil, spread seed, and laid down the straw. Within a few weeks the front of our house was carpeted in green. A neighbor even stopped one day while walking past and told me how much nicer the house looked.

The lawn held it’s own – for a few years. There were spots where the grass never seemed to take hold, and I’d scrape up the earth and re-seed it each fall and spring, but eventually it would revert back to dirt, or clover, or moss.

We rented an aerator once and plugged the entire lawn, then put down more seed. Our lawn looked great until we hit a drought. It rained something like 4 times the entire summer. Everyone’s lawn looked like crap that year.

Then we decided to hire professionals – TruGreen to be exact. Their team came in and did a whole bunch of treatments and sprays and seedings and feedings, and our lawn looked great. Until we went on vacation for 2 weeks. We halted the service and by the time we got back our lawn had deteriorated greatly. Our neighbor told us we’d had plenty of rain, so it couldn’t have been that. It made me distrustful of the company – how could a lawn could fall to pieces in the span of 13 days?

So we fired them. Here we are 3 years later and our lawn is in the worst shape it’s ever been.

I stare at neighbor’s lawns with envy. My husband says it’s because we have too many trees on the property, but I’ve seen homes with lush, green lawns that have just as many trees as we have. I want to give up, but I just can’t.

I went out yesterday and bought a bag of plain Jane grass seed – nothing fancy. No self watering, mulch covered seed – that’s too expensive. I scraped and dug and scratched away 3 wheelbarrows full of moss, and seeded 1/8 of my lawn. I was too tired to do any more then, but I will today. I’ll work hard to fill in the gaps and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a halfway decent lawn by July.

Then Hubby and I will fight over who gets to use the lawnmower.

 

Mother’s Day may mean breakfast in bed and a bouquet of flowers for some women, but for me it means it’s time to finally get out in my garden and get things planted. This is by far one of my favorite weekends of the year – where the calendar tells you frost is no longer a threat and those tender annuals can find a new home nestled in the earth of your garden.

My garden – how to describe it. When we bought this house it was a sorry little patch of land between the driveway and house. It housed 3 sorry azalea bushes and a few trees. The first spring after we moved in I set out to make it a little shaded oasis. The bushes were uprooted and replanted in a more suitable location, and I added a path of stepping stones running from the front walk to the driveway, and also to the water spigot.

Over the years I have planted many things that have died, and some that have taken off with an absolute flourish. But now, 10 years later, my little garden has matured greatly. My husband added a pond a few years back in a spot that nothing ever grew well in. Now we house koi and goldfish in the pond each summer, and it’s nice to take a few moments each day and check on the fish and see how things are growing.

After so many years, bushes that were once little, are now so big that my wee stepping stones were under the bush rather than beside it. So yesterday I got out the shovel and the crowbar and repositioned 5 stones to make my little garden path passable once again. That was a ball breaker – I almost tore off one of my finger nails in the process, but I am tickled pink with the results.

I also went to our local nursery, a great little family owned business, and bought my annual flat of impatiens and a few other plants. It’s the first of many trips I will make to that place over the course of the summer and fall, but I adore that first trip.

I have a hydrangea and a rhododendron that are threatening to merge right over the path to my water spigot…someone is going to have to be cut back or transplanted, but I don’t have the heart to do it. Yet. In the fall I think Sr. Rhododendron is going to be finding a new home elsewhere on my property.

That’s another reason why I love this weekend – Mother’s Day presents! I have told my family that on Mother’s Day I am ONLY supposed to get gifts that relate to gardening. Pots, plants, statues, garden stakes, trellises, you name it. If it can be planted, grown or housed in my garden it’s a great gift.

Books, DVD’s, and cooking utensils are for my birthday and Christmas – but for Mother’s Day, it had better involve dirt and a shovel.

Wah! Wah! Wah! Snap out of it!

Today started off bad. First, my calf was rocked with a massive cramp that registered 7.4 on the richter scale at approximately 4:12 am. This woke me from a sound sleep clutching at my leg and muttering a string of sleepy obscenities.

Once that subsided and I was able to fall back to sleep, my brain devised an evil plan to hijack my dream and turn it into a true parental nightmare. In this dream, my 9 year old daughter was happily riding in a miniature train during a class trip. As I watched, the train derailed and cars went flying everywhere. As I rushed to help kids who were in peril, I watched my daughters car careen off the road and into a pond. As people dove in to save the kids, they came up with all of them but mine. Of course I was unable to move.

It was only 5:45 when I woke up close to screaming, but there was no need to try and roll over and go back to sleep. My brain would have none of that – I could still see my baby’s blonde head sinking under the murky water. Cup of tea in hand, I headed for the computer.

Here is where my day got more depressing. Facebook friends of mine are living life large! One spent the night partying in Atlanta with great friends that they are so lucky to have! Another is on a whirlwind trip of Europe with her family! Ok, a third had a kid throwing up all night – so I guess everyone’s life isn’t sunshine and lollipops.

Regardless, it got under my skin this morning. I work so hard and it feels like I get to do so little. Our bills get paid and then the money is gone. I have very few opportunities to get out. There are no fun friends to party with. Europe?? I’d have to win the Mega Millions first. There I sat at 6:30 a.m., my Lipton’s cooling, wondering how I was going to face the day.

I know! I’ll clean! The house was a mess, so I marched around picking stuff up and getting things done. I started some laundry. I set up a few sun tea jugs out on the porch. I found my Lipitor prescription that had been missing for the past month. I filled out the RSVP card to my nephew’s wedding in California (you guessed it, we can’t go) and purchased some cool stuff off his gift registry at Pottery Barn. I walked around my garden to see how things are growing – pumkins and cukes looking good – my tomato plant? I may need a new one. Hydrangeas are starting to fade, but some tiger lilies I transplanted two years ago are starting to flower again.

And I feel a bit better. It’s almost 9 a.m. as I write this and I may have started the de-funking process. I’ll continue to clean, weed my garden, make some braised ribs for dinner, and perhaps take the kids to the lake or the pool.

Of course, having to get into a bathing suit may depress me all over again.