I Almost Missed It

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So busy looking down…for things I need to work on, to make sure I don’t trip on uneven ground, for plants that need water and weeds that need picking. So busy looking down I forget to look up, and I almost missed a perfect rose high above my head.

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!

Fun With Strawberries!

I am so lucky! Usually, strawberries are grown in the valley, and little strawberry stands pop up along the highways this time of year.Trouble is, the valley is about an hour away from where I live. But last year, Mr. Lee, who regularly sold at our local farmer’s markets, bought a plot of land up here in the foothills, and put in his strawberry patch. So now I can get the best strawberries any day of the week, only about five miles from my house. And it just happens to be on the way to the gym, so strawberries are the fruit for me this time of year!

Here’s a couple of fun ways I’ve eaten them the past few days.

My own “fruit on the bottom” yogurt. When I have too many strawberries, I just mash them with my potato masher, and put them in the freezer, kind of like freezer jam. I thaw some out when I need it, spoon a little bit in my bowl, and plop half a cup of homemade yogurt on top, and then finish off with Shelley’s hippie granola. Yumm.

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Yesterday for my afternoon snack, I made “stuffed strawberries.” Just hollowed out the big ones, and cut a wedge of Laughing Cow Lite in 4 chunks, stuffed them in the middle, and finished off with a sprinkle of Splenda. Yumm yumm:)

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Working in the Garden

Yesterday I set as a DAY TO WORK IN THE GARDEN. Between the extra rain we’ve had this year, and my travel schedule, things had gotten a little out of hand. I worked most of the morning in the garden, took a lunch break, and then went back out for a couple more hours. The changes seem so minimal, and yet, it makes a big difference to me, to see some of the weeds disappear, and also to get some pruning done on the trees.

I did some pruning on this lace leaf maple, but I need to work up my courage and do a bit more.

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The stone paths were the main place I weeded. Good grief, I have a hard time getting anything to grow between the stones, but weeds! They are happy to fill in the gaps. However, when I started weeding, I was really pleased to see that some of my favorite ground covers (irish moss and corsican mint) had self-seeded between the stones. Seems our lack of rain has probably been the main detriment in getting the ground cover to grow!

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Then I moved on to the carnation bed, which I guess gets the most sun, and therefore, the most weeds?

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The patchwork path is doing well. I changed out some of the ground covers, and planted some blue star creeper in there.

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The campanula bloomed for the first time this year!

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And lastly, I put a few plants into the ground. It actually takes me a very long time to decide where to plant the new plants I get. This is a calla lily. I have admired these at the nurseries for years, but never bought one. We’ll see how this does in the shade garden. It will get a fair amount of sun where I planted it, so hopefully it will take off.

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I went back out this morning to take a few more pictures of the flowers. Here are the carnations.

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This rose is much prettier than last year! I almost dug it up before it bloomed! Glad I gave it a chance.

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Lori, what is this plant? It is rather rangy and messy, but the little flowers are pretty, and I believe I bought it because butterflies like it.

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And the new little honeysuckle plant has taken off and reached the top of the fence already! So happy. Just a little sniff is all I need:)

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This is a dwarf abutilon (flowering maple) that I found. Bright red blooms, and it only gets about 3 feet high. Yes, it has its own little fence to discourage little doggies who like pink (and I guess red is a form of pink?) blooms.

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And that’s the garden report for today. There’s a lot more work to be done, but that will have to wait for later in the week. I have one more short trip to make!