A Little Adventure and Some More Flowers

You Guys!! Did we ever have an adventure around here yesterday. I was gone most of the day. So when I came home, I followed the same routine I always do–I come in through the studio door, find Noah’s bark collar, let him out of his crate, put the collar on, let Bess out of her crate, and then open the door to the mudroom. They both run out through the doggie door, and I follow through the human door. As soon as Noah got outside, he barked once (bark collar) and that’s not that unusual. As soon as I got out the door, I heard something that sounded like one of my pipes or hoses had sprung a big leak and was spraying water somewhere. So I turned my head in the direction of the sound…. and there, curled up in the corner of the house, RIGHT NEXT TO THE DOGGIE DOOR, was a HUGE rattlesnake. He was hissing and rattling, and that was the sound that I heard!!!

Here’s a picture of where he was, you can see how close he was to the doggie door.

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So even though I was hyperventilating, I managed to get Noah to come to me, and picked Bess up, and took them carefully in the house. The snake never stopped hissing and rattling, but he didn’t move from his corner. I put the hard plastic thingie in the doggie door (just in case he decided to come inside) and got the dogs back in their crates, and called my neighbors (the best neighbors in the whole wide world,) and asked in a very shaky voice “is Tom there?” So Debbie sent him over. It seemed like it took forever for him to get here (they live about 1/2 mile away.) The whole time I was pacing around the house, and then peaking through the mud room window to make sure the snake didn’t move. That would have been even worse, not knowing where it was!

So….you can see the “scar” on the siding there. Just one shot, and it was over. I made myself spend time outside watering the garden so I wouldn’t get all paranoid about being outside. If I was a better blogger, I would have gone out and taken a long distance shot of the snake while I was waiting for Tom to get over here. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

And to end on a pleasant note–one last look at the rose bouquet in the oak tree.

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And a close-up shot of one of the prettiest roses I’ve had this year…

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I love these liriope so much. I have five of them and this is the only one that bloomed. I’ve done a little research, and I think I’ll just move all of them to a different location to see if I can make them happier next year.

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The color and the substance of the blooms just fascinates me.

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I hope you had a great weekend.

In The Garden–What Season Is It?

My oldest laceleaf Japanese Maple thinks its fall. I think it got a little dry and so it decided it was time to change colors!

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Is it spring? The rose bouquet in the oak tree fascinates me🙂

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There are at least six blooms up there!

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It must be summer. All the annuals continue to thrive.

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The white marigolds have finally started blooming in earnest. I put the short ones in too early this spring, and I think they did worse than if I had just been patient and put them in later.

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I bought a new hibiscus a few weeks ago. Couldn’t resist, even though I know its not frost-hardy. Aren’t the blooms beautiful?

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Beautiful, yes. But a bit too close to pink–Sophie was EXTREMELY interested.

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Ha! A Sophie-proof container. Every morning she stops below the pot and stares wistfully up at the blooms. And then she goes and chomps down one of the little blooms on the Abutilon. Her look says “they’re not nearly as tasty, but they’ll do in a pinch.”

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I am enjoying the garden and the cooler temps we are having. I hope you all take time to smell the roses along the way.

The Dog Days of Summer

This is the time when, for me, I just have to muscle through and keep taking care of the garden. There is not the huge reward of the springtime blooms. But the plants still need water, more than ever. I am looking forward to fall color from the Japanese Maples, so that is a motivating factor, and I’m babying along a few plants that will reward me with blooms next spring. I still buy a few plants at the nursery to motivate myself, and also to fill in some empty spots and add a bit more color to the garden.

Most of my flowering bushes are huge, and I’m letting them go for now, hoping for a big springtime show, and then I WILL PRUNE them. In the meantime, I keep reading up on the best ways to prune the various plants. MLG has been over, and has helped transplant a few plants, trying to find just the right spot for each of them.

Here’s the scene this week.

The phlox are really huge and tall this year. I cut back the rose of sharon after its first bloom, and it has continued to send out a few buds. I like that geranium that I put in the ground, so I will do that next year (usually I put them in pots.) And I like the salvia, but this year there wasn’t much of it that came back, so I will have to buy another little six-pack.

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Best buy this summer: a big $2.50 investment of a six pack of these zinnias. They grew like crazy, and have filled in the area behind the carnation patch.

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So I got another zinnia, a little bigger variety.

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And then I found a GIANT zinnia this week🙂

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These gaillardia have done much better this year. Funny what a little water can do for a plant🙂

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This is the stupidest rose bush. Can you see that huge long stem, going all the way up into the oak tree??? This is the kind of thing that makes me want to replace plants. I am thinking about replacing several of my roses. If you’re going to spend the time and effort to care for roses, I think they should be really nice roses, don’t you?

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Here’s the top of that rose, blooming up in the oak branches.

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I really like this hydrangea, but it does this every year. The branches don’t seem to be strong enough to support the big flower heads, and so they all bow down like this. I’m going to do some research to see what I can do to encourage stronger stems. Otherwise, I LOVE this hydrangea, and I really love that it blooms in August and looks so nice.

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I transplanted this liriope. I really like them, and I have several of them. This one is the only one that is blooming. Boo…

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I like this little pink vine, and the new marigolds seem to have taken hold.

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Here. This is what a lot of the garden looks like. Kind of sad and messy. Those purple penstemon just kind of fall over on the ground, and the other firecracker blooms are so rangy. Oh, but you know what? This is where I planted the cleome seeds that Lori sent me, and I THINK that one of them might be growing. Also, it looks like there is a healthy lupine growing, and so maybe that came from Lori in with the cleome seeds. I asked at the local nursery about cleome, and she said that they just aren’t available out here, but that she had other customers from the east coast that also inquired about them. Interesting, don’t you think?

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This double impatiens is so pretty, but this is what it always looks like. I think its just too hot for an impatien to be happy. If I move it further into the shade, it doesn’t bloom at all.

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Also, I think its called the dog days of summer because this is the time everything is so dry, and the dogs bring bits of the outdoors inside every time they come in and out…its a conundrum–do I clean, or do I water?

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.