Morning in the Garden

This morning the light seemed just right in the garden. I headed out with the camera, and found a lot more to share than I thought was there! Picture-heavy post, but not too much reading, so just scroll through and enjoy!

The big bag of oriental lilies I got at Costco did very well for their first year.

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A secondary flush of foxgloves. Most of the big plants died, so I bought a six-pack of mixed foxgloves to replace them (they are in the bed below behind these foxgloves.) They are growing very well, so I am excited to see what colors I got next spring.

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Sophie cracks me up–she’s like a little kid walking along the wooden rails.

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Each hydrangea has a different bloom time. The blue ones are fading just as these white ones are starting.

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I bought some new plants to fill in empty spots. I loved the color of the leaves on this “Nine Bark.”

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This is not light shining through, it is the actual variegated color on the leaves.

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The double impatiens seems to be in just the right spot.

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And I just love all these flowers blooming over here.

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The zinnias that I got to fill in are really doing well.

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LOL, I was taking so many pictures over here, Chloe just came and sat down and stared at me. “People are hungry, don’t you know?”

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The Belinda rose is doing very well. the stems seem a little weak to me, but it is the first year. I’m just glad its still alive:)

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A hollyhock I bought last spring.

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The ____ Peace rose. I didn’t notice the bug damage when I was taking the picture!

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The Abutilon. Have to stand on my head to take pictures of the blooms.

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The Phlox are so tall and beautiful.

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That little pink vine I got is doing very well.

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I got some more white marigolds to fill in here.

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The bee balm. Now its about 10 inches tall:)

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And the little rose from the two inch pot. I’m so glad it likes its place right by the front gate.

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Tiny perfection.

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And on with the week. I have taken my ninth early morning walk–well on my way to 21 for an established habit–yay! Today is a day of running in and out to give the whole garden a good soaking. And, I am prepping ten yards of fabric–finally gonna get out there and use my new dye studio.

 

 

What Does a Garden Cost?

I guess that’s the wrong question. Because you can spend as little or as much as you want on a garden. What did MY garden cost? I never kept track of it. I fooled myself by just spending a little at a time. Most of the time when I went to pick up rocks, the most my car could carry is one or two hundred dollars worth of rocks. And then the next time MLG came over, I would pay him to put those rocks in place. Or we would get a load of wood from Lowe’s and then he would build the planters in a couple of sessions. Sometimes he brought over free stuff, like the railroad ties, to use in the garden. Before I found MLG, I would stop at Home Depot on my way home from work, and get six or eight stones. And then put them in place myself. Those are still there! If I had hired a garden contractor, and gotten an estimate on the cost of all the work we have done, I don’t think I would ever have done it. But doing it bit by bit, the cost didn’t seem so bad.

Of course, the plants… plants are a good deal, if you ask me. Six dollars can bring a lot of enjoyment, and if you choose carefully, and take care of it just right, and all the stars align just so, that six dollar plant can bring you years of enjoyment!

These first two pictures are kind of what I see when I drive up to my house. I mostly can’t believe that I have such a wonderful garden.

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And here’s the walk-around for this week. Here is the bee balm in its THIRD location. Here’s hoping it will be happy here.

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This is one of those tiny roses that they sell in two inch pots. How about that–it lived!

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Petunias.

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I think I was going for a red, white, and blue theme here. But something ate the white marigolds. And I planted a pink plant in the back…

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Oh. This is what I have to do to keep Noah from TRAMPLING these poor plants when he insists on chasing cars.

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The new honeysuckle gets the gold star for growing the most in the first season!

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Lobelia border.

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Lace cap hydrangea.

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New flower! I think a pincushion plant? Its supposed to be frost hardy. I really like it, and its a tall plant, which is what I needed.

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All the oriental lilies are starting to bloom!

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I planted a row of zinnias behind the carnation patch.

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A view of the mostly sun bed. LOL. Hoses are everywhere and always out. I have nice carts to wind them on, but what’s the point? I will have to unwind them tomorrow.

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The volunteer nasturtium. Its doing quite well this year.

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And so ends the garden tour for this week. Noah says, won’t you come back again?

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Thoughts on Seeds and Other Stuff

Earlier this year, I tried planting seeds in those little peat pots to give them a head start, because we can’t be sure that frost is over until at least May 1. That experiment was mostly a dismal failure. The sunflower seeds were the most disappointing. I’m pretty sure they would have done better had I planted them directly in the ground. Out of 8 pots, only three weak seedlings survived to be planted in the ground, and of those three, only one remains. The hollyhock seeds (that were a couple of years old,) fared better. I got six seedlings, and planted them in two locations. Three are doing well–I’m guessing they are getting more sun than the others. Penstemons were a bust, as well as the cilantro. The ones that are doing the best are the “money plants.” I bought them because the picture on the seed packet was charming, and it said they were a staple of cottage gardens. Eight out of eight lived, and I planted them in various locations, and ALL of them are doing well. So yesterday I looked them up on the internet to read more about them. “Many people consider money plants a weed.” Oh…. that’s why they are doing so well, and in so many different locations. In reading further, they just self sow their seeds freely. So they will be like the fairy impatiens. I like them, I just don’t want a garden full of them. And I feel a little guilty “weeding” them out, since they are really nice plants. But I have learned to be ruthless with them:) Conclusion: I will probably try seeds in the future. I will just plant them directly in the ground at the proper time.

Speaking of self-seeding–my little free petunia garden continues to do well!

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The hydrangeas are really doing well this year. I think its a combination of being well established and having a cooler, wetter spring.

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The bloom of the newest abutilon. There seems to be a lot of hybrids of this plant in the nursery these days. Not all are frost hardy. This is a short variety–supposed to get only 3 feet tall.

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This little vine is such a pretty plant–also not frost hardy. I’ve bought one every year for the past few years. I think I’ve got it in the right spot this year.

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Even though they want more sun, the daisies are starting to bloom. I really like the way these double ones look.

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Changing the subject rapidly….and I know, sounding like a broken record…but this is one of my favorite recipes. Its so simple, especially if you have the meat pre-cooked, and buy vegetables that are already pre-chopped for you. Recipe for My Fried Rice is here. This batch has chicken, bean sprouts, broccoli slaw, mushrooms, onions, peas, a little bacon, and a scrambled egg. Only 250 calories for that big soup bowl. Dinner!

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Another favorite–protein pancakes. This is the very best way to have them–put some walnuts in the batter, and I use about 1/3 very ripe mashed banana mixed with a little SF syrup for topping. I use Lori’s recipe. Only I noticed that I have substituted 1/3 cup of egg beaters for the whole egg. Either which way, YUMM. 300 calories with my additions.

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Cleaning: When I’m not in the mood to clean, I’ve found that if I set the timer for 10 minutes, that is actually all the time it takes for most chores. I can unload and re-load the dishwasher in 10 minutes. I got a new vacuum cleaner recently. Just your basic Hoover. But it sucks really good compared to my old vacuum. So today, when I had vacuumed the bedroom and the mudroom rug, I didn’t want to vacuum the studio rugs. 10 minutes, I told myself. At the very end, I smelled something burning. I was so irritated. That’s what I get for buying a cheaper machine. So I go to see if there’s too much hair wound around the roller. There was what appeared to be a WHOLE SPOOLFUL of thread wound around it! So it took 10 minutes to vacuum, and 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong and fix it. In my defense, the spool that the thread came from was in the drawer where it belongs. Its not even thread that I’ve used in the past year! I guess the new vacuum really does have super suction!

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I am off to the gym, for a longish swim session. I am happy to report that all the leg pain I’ve been dealing with is MUCH better, I’m pretty sure because I kept on exercising every day. Have a great weekend! Enjoy the (literal) fruits of summer, and have some fun exercising.

Four Days and Four Hours

I spent four days the past week consistently working in the garden. Weeding weeding weeding. And watering. Moving plants around. And yes, I did go to the nursery and get quite a few plants for all the empty spots. This year I tried to be more organized, and  paid careful attention to the labels–FULL SUN, PART SUN/SHADE, and FULL SHADE. I think I did a pretty good job of getting plants that might thrive in the environment that I have.

Then yesterday MLG came over to help out. I swear, he can do more in four hours than I can do in four days.

I didn’t tell you about this little incident that almost gave me a heart attack. Last week, when I was out of town, I got a text from my baby sitter saying that Zoey had escaped the dog yard, and then escaped the big yard, and a neighbor had found her barking to get back in. She told my next door neighbor, who put her back, and then called my babysitter (who lives on the same road,) and she came over and found the little hole that the bad little girls had dug under the fence. Zoey was the only one small enough to get out! Its not safe outside the big fence, so I was really upset that that happened. My babysitter texted me twice a day to reassure me that all the dogs were still in their yard, which was sweet of her. Anyway, that was the first thing I wanted MLG to work on–fixing that area of the fence so they couldn’t dig out again. He is so clever about just looking around at what materials we have available, and using those for repairs. He suggested putting the pots there for a deterrent, and also just to make it look nice. Good idea. He arranged the pots and put the dirt in them for me, and then after he left, I dug up some of the crazy impatiens and repotted them, and put that bark there, just because I had it. I was pleased to see this morning that it looks like the impatiens have survived their move. (In case you’re wondering, the majority of the dog yard is chain link fencing, but that small area between the storage shed and their dog house is different.)

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I had said that we were done with the stone work a while ago, but actually MLG had requested a few more large stones to finish up this area. I picked out six huge stones at the stone store. Just six stones weighed 300 pounds! It finishes off this area nicely.

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MLG did this the last time he was here. The ground cover in the foreground was in a pot. I told him I was ready to toss it. He doesn’t like killing any plant, so he suggested planting it in the back garden. It has taken off nicely.

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This is a new little area. I just planted a row of lobelia, and a new plant–I think the guy at the nursery called it False Oregano.

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I think its really a pretty, unusual plant.

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The rose bed lost the big clump of snapdragons this year. So I got one of my favorite lantanas, and a new-to-me violet yarrow to fill in. I will plant new snapdragons in the fall.

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Noah inspects MLG’s work.

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I added some begonias to the shade garden, and the double impatien in the pot is starting to bloom.

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I found this cool plant with the huge leaves, that said it needed part shade. I hope it will do well in this  spot. I’ve had a hard time finding a good plant for this little area (adjacent to the shade garden.)

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The front bed, which has now become a pretty shade spot, thanks to the cherry tree and the honeysuckle. I did the most weeding here. It was a mess. In the fall I will replant the daisies to a sunnier spot. I found these new plants that need shade. They are a bright yellow-green color, and the flowers, which are supposed to flower all summer and fall, are a gorgeous shade of violet blue. Hmmm. As you might have noticed, I am terrible about keeping plant labels and remembering their names. Sorry ’bout that.

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But isn’t it pretty?

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I planted petunias early this year in this area. I got a “rosa Bonica” in a little four inch pot. Its supposed to bloom prolifically, so I think it’ll be a real nice addition to this area  in the future.

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Just a shot of the marigolds, geranium, and a volunteer nasturtium. This was one of the areas where I weeded a LOT.

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Much earlier in the year, I split a six pack of sweet peas with ML, my rug hooking friend. I’ve never had much luck with sweet peas, and I planted these in an “iffy” area–soil wasn’t primo. So I have been very pleased to see them take off and bloom a bit.

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A nice shade of pink, don’t you think?

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I have tried to get a good picture of this area. It is so charming to me. All these petunias, each of them a different color, self-seeded themselves between the stones here. I never thought they could make it, but so far they are doing very well.

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And that is the end of the garden report for the week! If you’ve made it this far, thanks for following along, and have a great weekend.

 

Re-Entry

I had a great time on my trip to Cambria. But I think there was a little too much sitting and driving. I came back so stiff and sore, it scared me a little. I returned to a garden jungle, thanks to our rain and nice warm days. A few days spent working in the garden, along with a trip to the gym and some good wholesome food, and I am almost back to normal.

See? It really is a jungle. I did quite a bit of weeding and a little whacking as well.

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Back to Cambria. One day, after class was done, my friend Mary Lynn and I took a short trip to the ocean to see the elephant seals. We took our friends from Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan! Phyllis, from Michigan, has an indomitable spirit. She drives herself across the country to Cambria every year! She told us we had walked 2000 steps on the boardwalk at the beach.

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There is a wonderful nursery across the street from the lodge where we have our camp. I saw this outstanding flowering plant there, but it was $103.00, so I decided to pass on it!

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Back at home, in the garden jungle, the day lilies had started to bloom!

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The first hydrangea was in full swing.

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The gallardias were nice and cheerful.

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And the Rose of Sharon was putting out a lot of blooms. This is such a rangy plant, though. I am not sure what to do with it!

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This little geranium gives me a lot of pleasure. I love seeing it there in the back of the garden being so cheerful and putting on a show.

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Finally! Success with the Astilbes. This one is apparently in the right spot.

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Ha! When I was scrolling through my most recent pictures in iPhoto, it scrolled back to the first picture on this computer. Wasn’t he a funny, cute little guy?

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And here is what four concentrated days of work at rug camp resulted in. If you want to read more about the process, check the other blog.

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All in all, I am very happy to be home for a while. I am planning on returning to some of my art quilting, and also concentrating on my health, with lots of good fruits and veggies, lots of exercise, and plenty of trips to the gym. Oh, and probably a LOT of work in the garden:)

This ‘n’ That

Lots of stuff going on around here, but its mostly fiber art related, so I write about it over on the other blog. If you want to see what I’ve been up to, you can visit over there. One of the things I am doing is going to rug hooking camp, and I decided to attempt a portrait rug of Noah. I have taken one million pictures of the Big White Dog, and still ended up liking one of my older ones best. This is from one of his many photo shoots, and I used it in conjunction with the older photo to draw the outline for the rug.

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This is the first rose I bought. Only one bloom on it so far this year, and the stem was so ridiculously long (over 6 feet high, I’m not kidding) that I decided to cut it off and enjoy it inside.

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Its a very pretty rose, and it has a very nice fragrance as well.

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This is the JP rose I showed you earlier. It looks even prettier when it is fully opened. Its called Belinda’s Dream.

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Last week, I was bemoaning the fact that my dogwood tree has not bloomed since we planted it. It was also leaning precariously to one side, so MLG tied it up to a bigger tree to straighten it up. Then he called me over to look at something. Lo and behold, there were two little blossoms at the top of the tree! Maybe next year, if I treat it just right, I’ll see some real blooms on it!

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Glamour shot of Miss Zoey. Isn’t she the cutest? Its pretty fun for me to have a long haired dog to take care of again.

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Last night, I got an email from Hungry Girl, with a recipe for Cherry Pie Baked Oatmeal. I thought about making it, but then decided I just wanted one serving. This morning, I used my single serve recipe, and added a handful of frozen cherries. Quite yummy!

And that’s all the news around here for now. We have all of a sudden heated up to over 90 degrees, so I am looking forward to my trip to Cambria next week, over by the coast, where the high is supposed to be 70 degrees!

One more thing! After I finished this post, I went out to water the garden (again) and saw this swallowtail landing on the marigolds! I left the water running to distract him, and went inside and got my camera, and he was still there when I got back out! These are the little surprises that I like best about gardening.

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A Little Garden Report

The last big garden project–a stone path through the hydrangea bed. Here it is from one end:

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And from the other end:

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The hydrangeas are big and lush this year. I can hardly wait for them to bloom. And that reminded me of how far we’ve come. Here’s a before–they are one of the first things I had MLG put into the ground–April 2013. They were small and spindly from too many years in a pot.

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And here they are now!

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Here is the sad Japanese maple, growing out of its planter box–the tree that started this whole garden project.

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And when the first bed was complete, the tree had a new home.

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Here is the same tree today!

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I’ve been scoping out the nurseries, and got a few new plants. This is a moss rose. I love the delicate coloring, and the bit of lime green in the center.

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I got these lemon drop something-or-others. They do well in the shade. And the deep red petunia is a different color for me. And some blue lobelia, because they are just so darned pretty.

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The first (and only) bloom from the J&P rose I got last fall. It is still a tiny bush. But I like the color of the bloom, and it does have a very nice smell, as promised.

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This is the snapdragon I got from Annie’s last year. It is a nice delicate apricot color, which I love. I hope it will re-seed itself, or at least stick around for another year.

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And that’s all the news that’s fit to print this Sunday morning. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!