Sunday, May 27, 2007

Busy, Busy Days And A Tip

As I said in my last post this is "crunch time" for me when it comes to getting the gardens and my containers in order. I've been running back and forth to a couple different garden centers picking up the last few plants I need and also trying out some new "goodies" that have just hit the market.

One of the nurseries has all sorts of "Proven Winners" which I'll swear by, myriad new coleus, and luscious new tropicals as well as animals. There are sheep, goats, and a llama to feed and pet. (An emu named Raquel used to be there and I was given one of her gigantic eggs. She's gone now, though) Ever since Ashley was little, we'd go there for plants and to see the animals. This Friday we took a quick trip out there for "just three perilla plants" and ended up with a double decker shopping cart full of wonderful plants. .
Here are two "Black Lace" elderberry shrubs and a wonderful "Tiger Eye" golden cutleaf sumac that I found. We also picked out a couple of the "Supertunia" varieties, various "Superbells" (calibrochoa), five or six sun coleus, and the perilla.

There was quite a line at the check out when Ashley remembered she wanted some "Fiber Optic" grass she's seen in the back greenhouse. We pulled out of line and the cart and I ended up by a closed, temporary check out booth open at only the very busy times. No one was there at that time. Well, a few minutes she came back without the grass - she couldn't find it. I told her to stay by the cart and I'd get her plants. Well, when I quickly returned, a young man had opened the check out and was fussing over Ashley and had her nearly all rung up. And we had quite a cart load! Still standing in the other check out line were, seven or eight, mostly women my age or older and they were giving her the evil eye. So my tip is: if you want to get checked out right away, leave the cart with your lovely grand daughter. Young men will jump at the chance to help her!
In my last post I wrote about the metal rod contraption that is designed to stack pots on. Actually all but the bottom pot is supposed to be tipped but I tried it this way. When I was through I was sure Steve would hate it - he's quite conservative. He was gone while I was constructing this but when he returned he just raved about how cool it looked. And today when Ashley came over, she loved it. I must admit, it is growing on me. The only drawback is that the tipped pots are extremely hard to water without the soil running out. The directions say to "water gently" - that is an under statement! I'm thinking of using a small tube pushed in each pot and pour the water down that.

I will show you the flowers in my Main Garden that I truly hate - if it is possible to hate a flower. They are some yellow iris that I had rescued from a deep woods down our street. I couldn't imagine how anyone could throw such pretty plants away! Well, here's why:
If there is one breath of wind, these things topple into a horrid mess. I thought I'd pulled them all out once, but I fear I left a few root pieces behind. This fall for certain, I will dig them all up and throw them back into that woods that I rescued them from!

Here is another bit of whimsy that I couldn't pass up. I've been moving him from place to place among the gardens but Steve says he looks best on the entry steps. That's where he's sitting tonight.
A mini Garm . . . .

Of course, Steve is working in the gardens too. I've got a grouping of four half whiskey barrels that are at least ten years old. The bands of two of them had fallen off and they were rotting. Steve bought two new ones and began to replace them. The bottoms had completely rotted away and tree roots were making their way upwards. Every year I dig and renew some of the soil in them, but never all of it. I had wondered why they were drying out so very fast last year. Those thirsty tree roots were taking all the moisture. After he completed that, he decided to chop out a decaying (lots of rotting stuff around our yard!) stump that one of the other barrels was resting on. Oh, everything becomes such a project here! It took him hours to get most of the stump and here he is. . . . .

The previous day he'd helped his son re roof his house, today he planted impatiens and the two elderberry bushes in that very far line of rocks (not the circular burning pit) which is a new area he made last fall. He then spread a fragrant mulch around the plants. It's quite beautiful. I don't know where he gets his energy - he's 59 and can out-work fellows half his age.

I still have the flower/vegetable garden to finish up as well as clean the little pond and put the fish in. That is at least two to three more days of work for me. Ashley said she'd clean out the pond, but I don't think her heart will really be in it. Oh well, any help she can give me will be appreciated. There are also containers and hanging baskets that I want to do. There is always next weekend.

This rich, dark columbine blooming near the birdbath was a complete surprise for me this year. Isn't it lovely . . .

Our pride and joy at the front of the house - a fantastic stand of "Krossa Regal". It gets alot of sun and never burns out and keeps this frosty blue color all summer. No pests bother it either.

And finally, some pretty lettuces and a pea plant and an angel lost among the Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Francis Williams hosta and ornamental grass. Obviously I haven't found just the right place for her. But I will.

Today ,while listening to a song by Bob Seger, I began to think of how many memories music can evoke in me. Many of the important times of my life are marked by music and in my next posting I'm going to explore that facet of myself with you.

Bye for now,


Monday, May 21, 2007

A Little Bit of a Change

Instead of pictures of flowers, pugs, or elephants I'm going to put some silly and strange pictures by the artist Michael Sowa.
He's a living German artist who is known for whimsy and humor. I happened on a lovely and, I feel, quite optimistic picture that is entitled "Diving Pig" that I just had to have. It's quite a large picture with a small pink pig diving off a pier into a small pond surrounded by reeds and trees. She looks so completely free! I just love it and had it framed and it is now in my bathroom. I have had so many positive comments from visitors. He's also painted another diving pig pic but in a rather somber setting - a somewhat stark pond in front of a dark old house in a windswept field called "Diving Pig Autumn" or something very much like that.

Any way, I'm right at the start of my intensive Spring planting time so that I don't have any time right now to take pictures . Today I took a day of vacation and planted a number of containers, went to the garden center with my grand daughter and got her, as well as myself , some plants.
Besides spending $180 dollars on flowers I found a really neat contraption. It's a metal rod welded on a stand. You slide different size pots, either straight down or slanted from side to side, on this rod. What is created is a plant stand with graduated sized pots (about 5 of them) filled with flowers! I'm not sure I've explained it very well so when I try it out, I'll take a picture for all to see.

I'm chilling now to a wonderful CD of Chopin nocturnes - he is probably my favorite composer of piano works. And he was also a extremely romantic and passionate man. He had a tempestuous affair with the female writer George Sand and loved her until he died at the very early age of 39. A genius at composing for the piano.
So now I will show you some of the funny and strange pictures by Mr. Sowa.
Don't some of these make you laugh? or at least scratch you head and wonder what the heck he's trying to convey?
Mostly painting is like putting a message in a bottle and flinging it into the sea.
Howard Hodgkin (1932 - )
Bye for Now,

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Blooming in Wisconsin

Here are wild and tame flowers that are in my gardens or in the woods.

I have no idea how to write under all of these pictures, so if anyone is curious about a particular flower, please ask me. There are scores of May Apples and Jack-in-the-Pulpits in the woods and thousands of Lily-of-the-Valley near the vegetable garden. Working in the garden near them, the fragrance was so intense that it was making me sick. Especially in the evenings. So, be careful what you wish for. . . . The Lilacs both white and purple, the Crab Apples and Honeysuckles were all here when we moved in sixteen and a half years ago. The lovely, white etheral Columbine and her wild sister I started from seed last year. And the Petunias, Begonia, Dianthus were all started in my basement a few months ago. In the pot were supposed to be Violas - I swear that's what the packet said. If they are violas, they are very big ones!
So that is it for now. I spent a wonderful Mother's Day gardening with my grand daughter and later started my new flower garden. The weather was perfect - in the 60s and I couldn't have asked for a better day.
Next month the perennials will be at their finest and the annuals should be coming into their own. I can't wait to show you all and can't wait to see yours.
Bye for now, Alyssa
P.S. I made up this post on Sunday but published it on late Monday night so I wouldn't be late for May Blooms day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pug-Pics, Ele-Pics, Flowers to Plant, and a Disappearing Angel!

Aren't those pugs too cute!

Tarra coaxing Dulary down the ramp and out of the trailer.

Scott making sure everything is going well with the girls and their new sister.

Here are the plants I've started indoors and obviously are ready for their permanent homes. I'm feeling lots better and will spend Mother's Day working in the gardens. There are a number of Wave petunias (different colors) that I'll be putting around the little water garden. And I've decided to give up the ghost and turn my vegetable garden into a mostly flower garden. The wild creatures, deer, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and occasional woodchucks are just too hard to constantly do battle with. I'll put in tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers and maybe cucumbers and lettuce (in an iron cage!) but there will mostly be unpalatable types of ornamentals. I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders having made that decision.
A temporary loss of sanity!! I must have thought I had retired and have huge amounts of time for gardening. Actually, I've got places for the impatiens (the new planting area Steve made last Fall). The Dragon Wing begonias and coleus will be in a really neat looking 3-tiered planter (will show you that as soon as I get it out of the basement) that will be at the shaded entrance you see there. The others are moss roses and scarlet (Castle series) plumed celosia which will go in the Willow Tree garden and in barrels. The big box I stopped at (K-Mart) had a nice, healthy selection of perennials and I found a 20" iris and a dianthus that has tiny white and red flowers (can't remember their names, off hand). So, now, all I have to do is try to stretch tomorrow out to say, oh, 48 hours. That will do for a start.

Within the last few weeks, our little angel (can anyone think of a name for her?) has nearly been hidden by this large hosta. It will get a lot bigger, so I'm going to have to find a better place for her. Possibly in the shady back garden.
I took many pictures of the blooming things in my gardens and woods today and will put the draft together tomorrow night for Tuesday's Bloom Day. I'm still not real swift when it comes to making posts with pictures and it takes me hours so I'm glad I'll be able to take my time.
Well, both pugs are snoring loudly (I've put a pillow over Garm's head - lightly!) and it's bath time and then a half hour audio class on the "Greco-Roman Moralists" (it really is very interesting, really). Everyone have a wonderful Mother's Day (I know I will) and be seeing you on Bloom's Day.
A funny quote by Jane Austen:
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of. It certainly may secure all the myrtle and turkey part of it.
Hope you all have plenty of myrtle and turkey in your lives!!
Bye for now,