Busy … and New Neighbors!

Finished up the new raised beds for the vegetables…

moved all the flowers out of the front bed…dozens of daisies and coneflower…some to the north bed…

and some to the south bed that is still under construction.  I still have a wagon of coneflowers and a small wheelbarrow of mums to find a home for, so I’m feeling a little full of perennials.

The blank space in the front of the house  is still under consideration, but I’m opting for a hedge of some sort.  It’s a 40-foot long area and the flowerbed always seemed too small for the space.  Maybe some knockout roses to grow 4ft x 4ft and bloom all summer?

Two Norwegian bachelor gnomes have moved in down in the woods…they’re really sprucing the place up!  The one on the right is Larry Garcia and the older, smaller one is his brother, Darrell.  Darrel doesn’t say much, but Larry is always ready to lean on his shovel and jaw…

I’d like to get some seeds in the ground this week-end and it looks like the weather will be perfect for it!

Happy Easter!


Spring springs anew!

I am so excited to see the blossoms and blooms of Spring!  We are making some new rest stops down along the paths in Solla Sollew.   I just marvel at the splashes of daffodil and mayflowers throughout the woods…

We’re putting in all new raised beds for vegetables.  A couple of years ago, when the NYC girls came for an extended stay, I gave up all but the perimeter of the fenced-in area  to accommodate a pool.  The pool was only meant to last a couple of summers, so it’s gone.  We’ll be bringing in all new soil, so I am fully, yes, Fully Confident that it’s going to be a great year in the garden.  Here’s what it looks like now…

I got swept up in the spirit this morning when I ran by Ronnie’s to see what they’ve got…  I ended up buying 3 better boys, 2 romas, 1 cherry husky, 1 sweet cherry 100, a 4-pack each of red pepper, california wonder peppers, and big berthas.  Oh, and I got a 4-pack of broccoli, too.  Almost forgot, I couldn’t walk past the cilantro without putting a couple in my tray.   I repotted the 4-packs and they’ll be ready to go in the ground in May or so.


Look what we spotted outside the music room window yesterday…

Pileated Woodpecker

There is so much work to do, the kind of work I love!  You can bet I’ll keep you informed.

And here’s what’s left of those seedlings I started…

Girl’s gotta try everything…even if I fail..



Seedling Update

It was with skepticism that I started 48 little pots of seed.  My track record with seed-starting is dismal…

February 9, 2017

This year’s experiments:  basil, bell and sweet banana pepper, cilantro, broccoli, german chamomile, red mums, and marigolds, 4 dozen little seeds of hope.  We’ll see…

After 2 weeks, the cilantro, broccoli and several of the banana peppers had bolted up, too leggy to last.  I held back 6 bell peppers and 2 bananas that were not quite as spindly, but I don’t think they’re going to make it…

I currently have 4 of the basil, 4 marigolds, and a full 12! of the mums.

>sigh<     They all seem to be kind of stuck now, not growing.   They have 1 more week before we take a holiday, so they’d better pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get going…

In the meantime, I planted some succulents in my wardian case.  I bought a small basket stuffed with different varieties and pulled them apart…

Outside, my forsythia, magnolia, and quince are all blooming, so I’m sad that temps are now plunging back to the 20’s.  Hubby says it’s too much work to throw sheets over the quince, but I have some buckets for the peonies that have budded already.  Everything else is close enough to the house to avoid problems.

Mother Nature is capricious gal…but she starts seeds a lot better than I do…



Wanna be startin’ somethin’

I’m a glutton for punishment.  I simply Must try starting seeds…  This season of gray, gloom, and cold cries out for some seedlings to brighten a corner and I have mightily tried to figure out how.  Unfortunately, in all the dozens of seeds I have started over the years, only a handful have survived until planting (see Here ).  Still, I just must try.

This year’s experiments:  basil, bell and sweet banana pepper, cilantro, broccoli, german chamomile, red mums, and marigolds, 4 dozens little seeds of hope.  We’ll see…

One thing I’m certain about:  the annual Orchid Escape at Mesker Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Amazonia, will be blooming!  We set up this Wednesday and Thursday, with the kick-off party on Friday, 2/10.  I’ll be out there nearly every week-end, so if you’re trying to avoid me, go during the week…   Seriously, if you’re local, take a day to stroll and sit with the plants and birds.  Every year it is spectacular.  I’ll share pictures as soon as I can, but it would be better to see you there!

Orchids are not difficult to grow—easier than starting seeds!–so I’m having a go at a phalaenopsis in the music room…


Peace, Love, and Flowers

7/4: the rainy edition

It’s hard to feel festive in this prolonged downpour…  We were going to watch tonight’s fireworks with the Jrs. down at the Museum, but not…

Here’s my garden-version of fireworks…


I love scarlet Bee balm, aka bergamot, monarda, or Oswego tea.  I’ve grown it in various gardens and always ended up ripping it out because of it will take over a space pretty quickly.  It is leggy and always falls during a rain, has a tendency to mold, but the scent is glorious and the leaves make a lovely Earl-Gray-Like tea.  Last year I planted one in a pot and it did all right, so I overwintered it.  This year…well, it has taken over the pot like ivy.  I hate that the bees and hummers can’t get to it, but I really have no place outside for it.  Today, though, I was glad it hadn’t gotten swamped…

I don’t want to talk about it, but I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy on Wednesday, so I can’t eat anything with skin or seeds.   That dietary restriction includes my lovely, First Tomato of the Season.


I had to harvest it before it split from all the rain…  I’m afraid to even slice it up for Casey—I might accidentally have a bite…   Surely it will be even better Wednesday evening.

The garden has no complaints about the rain…


Rainy days are a gift to a reader, so I won’t complain either!   Happy 4th, friends!

Snappy Shots

The West Front Flower Patch…

The Edible Garden…

No rain has helped us to keep the gardens hydrated through these hot, muggy days, so that’s been my major accomplishment for the week.   Our local Shriner Fest started Wednesday and I’ve been distracted by the Air Show and my Favorite–Ultimate Air Dogs.  After I do some lavender-trimming and day lily dead-heading, I’m heading back down to the Riverfront for More!!!

Enjoy your day and drink water, drink water, drink water..!

Excerpts from the Garden Journal

I keep–or try to keep–a written journal of each gardening year, especially for marking my planting and harvest times.  I also try to keep track of what worked, what didn’t, and just how much work it took to get it to work!!!   I usually start out strong, chronicling my seed-starting and planting precisely, then trail off once I’ve gotten to the just maintenance part.  Last night I caught up with my journal after a 2-week hiatus.

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I did it again—neglected my garden journal.

Everything has grown like crazy–temps summer-like and humid.

Front porch:  wicker planter and houseplants out 6/13.  Fountain is cool.

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Hydrangeas —  cut back to clear window 6/12  and now rain has front blooms on the ground.  Need to cut them all back.  Blooms cut from back are drying on front porch.  Laid soaker hose.

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North Garden —  added daisies, pruned and trimmed, put riprap around edge, added soaker hose.

Butterfly/Bird garden (east) —  Lovely!  Added a flat dish hummingbird feeder and hung all 3 from trellis.  Read an article that said this may discourage bully-hummers, but..?  Planted honeysuckle at N end of trellis—hoping to train it to cover top.  Added soaker hose.

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Daylilies —  Huge (will need to be divided this year).  Not sure I appreciate them enough for the work of constant deadheading the slimy blooms.

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Pineapple Sage –okay.  Holly — good.  Soaker hose to all .

West (front) garden.  Saw a mom goldfinch land on a coneflower, shadowed by her young’un.  She tried another and decided finally on a large, more open bloom down the way.  Baby followed and she showed him how to munch the seeds from the flower, then flew up to a branch to watch proudly as he/she fed like a pro.    Black-eyed Susan vine growing like a weed and the Moonflower Vine is Alive!!!

Edibles— I do believe I’ll have ripe tomatoes by the 4th of July!  Almost lost the bush zucchini, but I covered a broken spot with dirt and it looks like it’s surviving.  fingers crossed.  3 of the ca wonder peppers look crappy, others okay.

It has rained the last 2 days and today’s high is predicted to be 97 degrees!!!   Sounds extremely sticky, so I’m glad the pool is up now.   Olivia and I are headed over to Henderson for lunch and to check out the Handy Blues Fest.

Stay cool, wherever you are!