Weekly Garden Journal #4

We had a week that taught patience…again…with lows in the 40’s, high’s in the cool low 60’s, and rain that defied forecasts, but came on anyway.  I think we are finally done with the 40’s, done with the planting and mulching,and ready to put up the pool, but I’m no meteorologist…

My zucchini continues to worry me, but I am talking to them in dulcet tones, praising them for any growth I can spot.  The tomatoes and peppers are stellar!!  I was going to plant the second crop of green beans on Mother’s Day last Sunday, but the wintry weather persuaded me to wait a bit.  The original crop of bush beans is just so-so, but the pole beans are a wonder!

Check out the lavender, planted  with a stray coreopsis and daisy, alongside two pots of nasturtium that seem to love their location in the part-sun.

Earlier we had pulled down an old trellis/birdfeeding area on the south side of the house.  At first I thought our 3-5 year-old butterfly bushes were going to fade, but they look great.  The new center is an old-fashioned snowball viburnum, native to these parts, and a gift for the birds…  It will grow quickly to 8-10 feet tall, 6-8 feet wide and become a veritable condo for our feathered friends…

The entire east side of the house has been updated with a new hose caddy, new plantings of phlox and liatris, and a dandy solar lightpole planter that I picked up for 66% off at the end of last season…   I’ve planted the planter with super bells and petunias of some sort that can tolerate hot sun in metal…I hope…

Coming home from Olivia’s birthday dinner last week, the kids were wide-eyed and surprised when we abruptly pulled over to pick up these chairs from the Heavy Trash on the side of the road…the owner was just bringing them out from his backyard where they’d spent the winter, said he just didn’t need them….

Yes, we will take your free stuff, especially if it’s better than ours…

Keep on Growing…


Weekly Garden Journal #3

In the Edible garden, the green beans are worrisome with large gaps in the rows.  I pushed in some new seeds, hoping for the best..  All of the original tomatoes look terrific and we staked and caged them.  Casey’s out picking up a load of mulch from Hillside Gardens and that will pretty the place up nicely.

The Bird Garden is a Real Garden now and we’re keeping a close eye on our birds, spying several rose-breasted grosbeaks…and a dang brown-headed cowbird–boo… and the Cardinals are loving it, even using the bird-bath!    Plenty of hummingbirds have dropped by–they don’t care if we’re out there working or not.

The peonies have burst into bloom!  The rose bushes are covered in buds, but just a few have opened…  Honeysuckle is hosting a party for the bees…

I still have some containers to fill, and hope to get the Viburnum planted sometime this coming week.  I’m kind of sad that it’s winding down…but there is another bed of green beans to plant, and All That Watering!

I harvested my arugula and made a delicious arugula, beets, and goat cheese salad.  I would have taken pictures, but it was not as attractive a dish as it was tasty.  I harvested the cilantro, as well, and have a week’s worth of cilantro-lime recipes lined up…

Keep on Growing…

Weekly Garden Journal #2

I love the sleep that rewards a day of working in the garden. I wake up feeling like I’ve been healed and nourished, praying “God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world”.

That is, unless it’s another rainy, gloomy, cool-ish day like today.  That’s Spring for ya, a moody little witch that can get you high in the 70s and kill that buzz with a low 40…

We had some good work-days this week.  All of the veggies are in.  I’ve kept one bed free for a second sowing of green beans.  The original bed is sloow popping up, thanks to those 40s and some pounding rain, but I think they’ll be okay.  I’ve changed around some of the container contents, and may change them again. I ended up with too many bell peppers and roma tomatoes and had no choice but to plant as many as I could find space for.  I still have 4 peppers and 1 roma left, if anybody’s interested…


The Big Excitement, though, is Phase I of our Bird Garden.  We spend quite a bit of time watching the birds, especially in the winter and we realized we wanted our feeders to be closer, and where we could more easily see.  Inspired by Sharon Sorenson’s book, Planting Native to Attract Birds to Your Yard , I started envisioning planting a playground for our birds to frolic as we while away the winter watching..

You’ve probably noticed that I change my mind a Lot, but this is a start.  First thing we bought was a Sweet Bay Magnolia.  This tree is allegedly a bird-magnet, providing a little something for every season.  I already have a 10-year-old Jane magnolia, but that is not native.  The birds love it, though, and it is a great backdrop for photos in the winter.  The sweet bay grows larger than Jane, and we put it strategically away from the house, positioned to eventually touch the Jane’s branches.

I broke my rules and bought another non-native Jane because I wanted a smaller tree to define the south boundary of the garden.  The hummingbird feeders are hanging to either side of the south door and already are hosting hummers.

In my head is this grand design using picket fencing, but in order to get things going for next winter’s bird-watching, we simply moved the bird feeders currently in use and planted native rudbeckia and echinacea around the poles.  We still need to widen the flower area, but that is some tenacious weed growing there.   Sharon didn’t have to tell me how much the birds love the black-eyed Susans and purple coneflower! I can hardly wait to watch the goldfinches feast on them.

In the next phase, we’re adding a Viburnum and some sweet virginia sweetspire around the south side for them to feast on, though that’s out of our sight..   I hope by winter we’ll have a ground-level bubbler added, but for now we’ve got an old birdbath thrown down for water…  Still needs Imagination when I look at it, but I like it…

Last year, looking for a red perennial vine, I found a half-dead Rebecca clematis at Lowes, brought it home and nursed it back to health, but not bloom.  Check it out this year!

While the heavens water the gardens here at Sonnystone, I’ll be turning my attention to the weather in Louisville tomorrow for the Oaks and Saturday for the Kentucky Derby…


A Time to Plant

In the past, I’ve carefully enumerated the plants as I placed them in their new digs.  While I could do a quick calculation of this year’s work so far, I don’t really need to impress myself like I used to.  Besides, do you count seeds?  When I dig up daisies and replant them someplace else, does that count as two?  All I can say is we did a helluva lot of planting on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week…

We finished up just in time for soaking rains.  Good thing, too, because we need to continue working on the porches..

There’s still more fun in store.


Garden Diary 29 July 2018

The month of July is always full of grandies enjoying Camp Sonnystone.  The garden takes a back seat, but we did manage to pote our buckets around and keep everything as watered as we could…well, almost everything.  Despite our best efforts, the lack of rain combined with the heat took its toll.

After the Jose’ fam left, we surveyed the damage and brought in whatever veggies we could, which was plenty.  Most of the yellow squash had bit the dust (literally) earlier, but there were 3 zucchini producing.  The tomatoes were covered with ripening fruit and the bell peppers are (still) carrying on.  I ended up freezing a dozen quart bags of zucch and squash, though, so I’m happy.  Now there’s one more zucchini on the last plant.

I had to take down a tomato that suddenly went yellow on me, and the better boys have slowed down, but I’m hoping they’ll get started again.  I still have dozens of tomatoes, even after making a huge greek tomato salad and slicing every chance I get.

I’ve harvested 4 pots of basil and made an ice cube tray of pesto.  There’s a pound or so of onions, and some chive put up.  Casey’s barrel of potatoes only produced a handful, but the experiment gave us great ideas of next year.

Oh, and that’s a jar of lemon verbena leaves, ready to be transformed into tea, or infused into some nice vodka.

I’m really grateful, as I know many gardeners have had worse seasons and I do have a lot to show for my work.  It’s just that vegetables are a bit of a gamble.  Yet each year I learn something new.

The flowers, though….  daisies, rudbeckia, roses (!), pineapple sage, butterfly bushes… they are blooming, attracting the birds and bugs and making me smile.


Casey has started a Major New Project, and I’m planning an August Extravaganza of sorts…  You’ll want to read about it over at The News from Sonnystone Acres…



July 2 Garden Photos

The rains continued to do our watering, perhaps a little over-zealously, until Friday last and now it’s our turn.  The garden is in Full Summer Swing…

I pulled up the first crop of green beans — about 3 lbs — and got them cleaned and ready to be snapped by Sonnystone Campers next week.  Grandpa should have plenty of new potatoes, too.

We’re over-run with Squash And Zucchini!!!  It is a regular on the menu now, and I’ve frozen a couple of lbs! The Garden Fairies Love Me Again…!

Still waiting for the tomatoes to ripen up, but that should be just in time for my visitors.  We’re leaving the garden under Jr’s care while we drive down to Disney World to pick up the Joses and bring them back for Camp Sonnystone.  They will be here until the 20th or so, and I know you’ll want to check out the Fun we’ll be having over at The News.



Garden Diary 5 June 2018

Thank-you, Alberto, for dropping a whole lotta rain.  From 5/29 to 6/3 the plants jumped from…well, look!

The edible garden is earning its keep, scoring a First with a lovely Better Belle followed closely by 3! Big Berthas.  A dozen tomatoes are on the Better Boys and Celebrity.  The cherry tomatoes are blooming all over the place.  I’m especially proud of the zucchini and yellow squash.  I’ve had so many Fails with them in the recent past.  When we lived over on Harmon Ct. they grew like crazy, and I’ve stubbornly persisted in trying to replicate those years.  It looks like this might be My Year with the Squash.  I don’t want to jinx myself, though, and rile up the squash bugs that are just looking around for a cocky gardener to bring down.

It really was a Whole Lotta Rain, possibly too much for some of my containers, so I’ve moved stuff around in my usual OCD manner.  I’m still not done….Will I ever be?  Do I want to be?

We are taking a break and heading up to camp at Harmonie SP for a couple of days.  I’m ready to cook some foil meals,  hike some easy trails, soak my clothing in Off!, and sit and stare at the campfire…