Summertime!

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Glory be! Its HOT here! I just spent a couple of hours in the garden weeding and checking the watering system, and fixing the timer. Fun times. And here are my words of wisdom for you this week:

Growing old is not for the faint of heart.

And that’s all I got to say about that.

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When its so hot its hard to work up any enthusiasm for going to the nursery, much less actually buying plants and bringing them home to try and keep them alive. So right now I’m more focused on garden equipment LOL. I got a new hose THAT IS AMAZING. I got so tired of the Costco “kinkless” hoses constantly kinking. So I asked Sallye at the garden center if she would order me a good hose. She ordered me the same hose that they use at their nursery, a Gilmore Super Duty Flexogen. It was expensive, but so worth it for the lack of frustrating kinks. And Sallye says it really lasts a long time.

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The chicks are growing quickly in this heat. First I opened up the whole house to them. And then I turned their lamp off when it started getting so hot. They are almost fully feathered now, and look more like tiny bedraggled adult chickens. I watch them closely for signs of rooster behavior (I ordered all hens, but they don’t guarantee 100% accuracy.)

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That one that I claimed was a Rhode Island Red rooster the first week? That is my new best friend. So I’m hoping against hope that he is a hen 🙂 He comes running to the door when I open it, and enjoys hopping up on my hand and getting an aerial view of everything.

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They are fascinated by anything shiny, which I guess includes light spots.

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I was proud that I figured out how to build them a lower perch. And I found scraps of wood to make little steps for their ramp. They would climb up the ramp halfway and then slide back down.

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Of course, its always fun to find a higher spot to roost on…

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And they still do the same thing–“oh look, there’s something fascinating here, come look! come look!”

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And that’s how it goes around here. I am (literally) limping towards the finish line. I guess that’s a good thing. Because if it didn’t hurt to walk, I would probably back out of the knee surgery. They moved my pre-op appointment up a week. It will be good to get more answers to some of my questions.

 

This Week in the Garden

 

Well, lets start out with the biggest change in the garden this week–the new drip/watering system! After MLG installed it, I played with the settings, and got them all set to go off in the three different areas of the garden at 8 am each morning. So each morning I scamper out to stare at the little mini-sprinklers and see how they are doing. It will take a little time for me to learn just how much water each area needs. I have already found a few places that need more sprinklers.

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The foxgloves are just crazy big and tall and wonderful this year. In the past I have had to stake them up, but I haven’t done a thing with these. They seem to be holding their own.

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A close-up of their wonderful coloration:

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The new old iris!

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These pincushion flowers are doing well. I have a reader to thank for telling me to mulch them over the winter. All three plants made it through and are doing so much better than last year.

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This is the rose I got from J&P last year (that I complained about so much.) It seems to be very healthy and growing well. It smells delicious, and is pink. What more could I want?

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The Grocery Outlet roses (paid $3-5 for them.)

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These campanula are small but make a big impact with their big volume of blooms! I have them in several places in the garden.

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So. Last year I bought a nice little compact plant at the nursery with pretty pink blooms. But it was about done blooming and that was it. This year, in the same place, this multitude of single stems grew up. I really was not sure whether they were the same plant or maybe some weed. Turns out they were, and I am going to get a ton of blooms from them, if the buds are any indication. They are Mexican Evening Primrose. Hmmm. Just read up on them–can be aggressively invasive. They will fit right in with the violets and the fairy impatiens 🙂 Snapdragons in the background.

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This is the rose I got last summer in a four inch pot. Its on its own rootstock, not like most roses. I took this picture so you can see the multitude of blooms that it will have. Also, you can see some of Noah’s hair there…

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Back to the other side of the garden–this is the same rose that I showed at the beginning of the post, but now at the end of its bloom–still beautiful.

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And a last shot of the foxglove flower bed.

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The garden is good for getting me outside a bit every day, and getting in quite a bit of functional exercise. This morning I swept and then washed down ALL of the stone paths. And that’s the garden report for this week!

P.S. My baby chicks have been shipped!! I will be back soon with a different kind of report :))

Garden Stuff

A few days after I shared the pictures of the beautiful blooms of the flowering cherry, I went out for a walk, and this is what I saw:

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Fleeting beauty, that’s what plants are.

In the background you can see those tall money plants. I had eight of them planted in various areas in the garden. I could see all their “money” seed pods starting to grow. And I could see why they would spread everywhere and why some people considered them a weed. I did not want a whole garden full of money plants. When I bought the seeds, the seed packet did not make them look five feet tall. And I did not like them well enough to keep them. So one day last week, I went out and uprooted ALL of them. They were blocking the view of some of the plants I really wanted to see.  I re-planted three of them outside the garden, in the forest, and if they grow there, fine. I will have a whole forest full of flowers in a couple of years. More deer food 🙂

These plants are so pretty! Lime green leaves with deep brilliant purple blooms. They seem to do well without a lot of sunlight. Sorry, I can’t remember the name.

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I am working on replenishing the shade garden. And for some reason, Noah has chosen to dig large holes here. So this is my attempt to deter him. You can see the little half-stomped heuchera there. I have a hard enough time with heucheras without Noah stomping on them. I got a couple of “Kong” coleus at the nursery because they were colorful. And that fern there–I’ve got high hopes for it. Its a maidenhair fern, but its from Australia, and its hardy to -9 degrees! and of course I had to get some of my favorite corsican mint. I don’t think I’ve ever planted it here–we’ll see how it does. Those spiky things growing there are, I think, the mini calla lilies that I planted last year.

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And lookie!!! The foxgloves have started to bloom. And can you see the surprise bloom in front of them?? Its an iris that I planted about four years ago that’s never bloomed. I was going to dig it up and throw it away last year, but decided to give it one last chance. I can hardly wait to see what color it is–its been so long I can’t remember what I bought.

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Yesterday I took a quick trip to the bay area to see my mom. I managed to fit in a very quick stop at my favorite Livermore nursery, Alden Lane. Just a beautiful place to explore.

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I only bought one plant for myself–one more addition for the shade garden. Its called a Jacob’s Ladder, and evidently its supposed to have some nice blooms. I bought it because I like the foliage.

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I am keeping busy, moving plants and other heavy garden things. Endless weeding continues. Lots of functional exercise going on! Hopefully I’ll have more to show you in a week or two.

Garden Report

The cherry tree! I remembered how, when I worked, I would take a walk on my lunch break, and go and stand underneath these two beautiful cherry trees. Those two trees were the inspiration for me to buy this tree. So I went out and stood under my cherry tree and tried to get some good shots. This is a flowering cherry (no fruit) and the blossoms are huge and fluffy. And pink 🙂

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I got a better picture of the fringed tulip. These were spectacular. I will be getting more tulips and daffodils from that John Scheepers company. All of the bulbs I ordered grew and bloomed. The daffodil, Narcissus Golden Echo, lasted forever! I went back and re-read the description, and one of the things they said about it was that it was “incredibly long lasting.”

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Then I walked over to get a picture of the lily-flowering tulips.

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I found a few pansies that Noah had not plundered!

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I turned around and thought that I’d take a couple of long views of the garden to share with you. the Japanese maples just glow in the early spring.

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And lastly, encouraged by Shelley’s new purchase, I bought myself a bougainvillea! Put it in one of my leftover big pots, and placed it near the fence. MLG even pruned up a couple of low hanging oak branches so it could get more sun. It will be an annual here, because it is not frost hardy. We had one when I was a kid in the Bay Area, and it covered our entire porch! I loved it.

Oh, and I couldn’t get a picture of it without the “Pile of things we might need someday” in the background… if the bougainvillea grows well, it might be able to hide that pile 🙂

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And that’s the garden report for the week. A garden this size takes a lot of time in the spring. I have spent a lot of time weeding and pruning and raking in the past few weeks, and very little time planting. I’m definitely getting quite a bit of that functional exercise!

P.S. I have to share a couple of pictures of the little girls. Every day I spend some time in the studio. The girls seem to enjoy spending time in their beds snoring while I stitch. Sophie, Bess, and Chloe got new sparkly collars. I looked at tons of collars, and finally figured out that the customized ones with their names on them were the most economical option!

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Little Fuzz (Zoey) likes to have a bed all to herself if possible.

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The Garden and the Chicken Coop

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Let’s start with some pansies! I got so tired of Noah (and now Chloe) eating all the pansies that I decided to haul this big pot outside the fenced yard. Better to feed the deer than be irritated at my dogs. I found a little piece of portable fencing to try to protect it from the deer. Within a few days, there were a million blooms!

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I am so happy that the lilac is blooming so well this year. Last summer MLG, with my direction, did quite a bit of pruning. They say that lilacs don’t particularly like pruning. I guess we did a good job!

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Most of the blooms are too high for me to touch, but this is the best its bloomed in years. I am happy.

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And now inside the yard and to the right. Those tall plants are the money plants. They are way taller than I thought they would be. Their blooms aren’t anything spectacular, but its nice to see blooms early in the season. I like the shape of the plants and the leaves are very pretty.

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Here’s a close-up of the fringed tulips in that bed.

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The flowering cherry is blooming.

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And the Japanese maples look so pretty when the leaves first come out.

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I can hardly wait for these foxgloves to bloom!

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Another view of more Japanese maples. You can see my car there, and a truck behind it.

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The truck belongs to J. the Contractor. Yes! The time finally arrived for the construction of the chicken coop. He and his helper were here for an entire week working on the house and yards! Here is the coop with the first yard that was built between the wood shed and the coop.

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Nest boxes can be accessed from the outside, and are built at just the right height for me–no need to bend over 🙂

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Nest boxes from inside the coop. The rail in front can be removed for easy cleaning.

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And a little ramp for the chickens to get outside each morning. There is a sliding door (that I can close from outside) to keep them safe each night.

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I started worrying that the yard we planned would not be big enough for the chickens, so I asked J. to build a second yard behind the coop. Both yards are connected by a simple gate. You can see my house behind the coop, so you know where its located. I like that I will be able to look out my kitchen window and my studio windows and see the chickens.

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And I thought I’d end with a lovely neighborly story. My neighbor is a wonderful gardener. Over the years she has shared many vegetables with me. This year she planted a lot of tulips. And twice, before a big storm hit, she has gathered some tulips and brought me a beautiful bouquet.

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I wanted to show you the white interior of these dark tulips–so dramatic! Tulips last a long time in the house–who knew?!

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Spring Flower Show

I always think of summer as the time for flowers in the garden. But putting in a little extra work last fall has really paid off. All the nice rain and mild winter we had didn’t hurt either. Either which way, I am really enjoying the flower show in my garden this spring.

Let’s start with these John Scheeper Faith daffodils. Now, these are pretty. But doggone it. Don’t exaggerate the color in the catalog. They were shown as pink as the camellia that follows. And they just aren’t. Also, it might be polite to include that these tulips face downwards, so you don’t really get to see them without bending over… Anyway, they did bloom well, and they are still pretty 🙂

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The camellia has never been as full of blooms as this! I’m surprised the bush is still upright. Its a shame they couldn’t spread out their blooms over a longer period of time.

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I’m not kidding. Every time I aim my camera at this bush, Sophie wanders over to check it out.

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Here’s the Camperdown Elm with its little lime green “blossoms.”

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Close-up. I think they’re very pretty. I suppose they’re seed pods. But I think this is a grafted tree, so the seeds probably aren’t useful.

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The last cluster of the Angelique tulips. I planted these a few years ago, and it seems to me that tulips don’t usually last too long, so I was very happy to see these make an appearance.

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From John Scheepers–Sunset Miami–fringe  tulips.

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Close-up–aren’t they pretty?

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The tall plant in the foreground is a money plant. They are biennials. So I grew them from seed last year, but this year is when I get to see the blooms. And actually the seed pods are the “money” part of them–purportedly looking like silver dollars. I will have to wait until the end of summer to see that. The flowers seem a little insignificant. But hey! I just looked them up, and it says that the pilgrims brought them with them on the Mayflower! Thomas Jefferson grew them in Monticello!

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I love these violets. Over there on the right is some fescue grass. I got it for the patchwork path, but had some extra.

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My pot is looking good. The purply flowers in the front are a cross between violets and pansies and are a perennial. And evidently are not as tasty as pansies. Yay!

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My favorite flowering almond is just starting to bloom.

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MLG built a trellis out of bamboo stakes for the bridal veil bush which was falling all over everything.

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These just started blooming–some lily-flowering tulips from costco. Oh, and you can see the black tubing in there–MLG has been working on the drip/irrigation system. I ordered a 4-way timer from Amazon, and so he’s figured out how we can put the entire garden on a watering system. Whee!! More time for me this summer 🙂

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Whew! And that’s the end of the garden show for this week. Have a wonderful weekend, and I will think good thoughts for my East Coast friends that they will see some sunshine and flowers!

More Spring!

Every day new things are blooming! We are having a nice warm week, and the plants just can’t seem to grow fast enough. It is supposed to cool down next week, and I am looking forward to that. Maybe the color will last a little bit longer.

The view from the front door:

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The bridal veil bush. According to the inter webs, its not meant to be a neat and tidy bush. Performing according to plan!

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These daffodils were just buds last week. I think Noah is still beheading the pansies in this bed…

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Some hyacinths and frilly daffodils.

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Close-up:

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The forsythia in full bloom. Remember, this bush languished in deep shade for many years. Finally had to move it when we were doing some construction on the house, so I am very happy that it has survived, and seems to be thriving in its new spot.

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New daffodils, that I got from the John Scheepers company.

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Each of them has two blooms per stem!

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The new violet path is coming along nicely.

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And that’s it for the garden report this week. Every day I do a little weeding. I have a box full of one million tiny little pieces for the irrigation system. MLG will be here tomorrow to start that project. And I finally found the fencing I was looking for for my chicken pen and have ordered that. And in the meantime, I work in my studio every day, quilting and stitching. You can check out what I’m doing on my other blog, if you’re interested.