Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I spotted a scrawny, scraggly wild animal last night about 7 P.M. in the neighbor's driveway. At first I thought it was a fox, but it's a coyote. I've also seen a fishercat there. Now I'm terrified to let my cats outside. They are not going to be happy, especially my adopted stray. I heard some weird sounds Sunday night but couldn't figure out what it was. I was too tired to look out at the backyard. I listened to some animal sounds online and think it might have been a raccoon, but I haven't seen any this year. Yikes, that makes me nervous. I had seen what I thought was a fox earlier this year on the next street over, and my neighbor said she saw a fox with babies at the top of the second hill on our street. Maybe they were coyotes instead?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Everything's Coming up Roses (and Other Things)

Actually, these pictures are from about the third week in June when all my roses were in their first bloom. They're in their second bloom now. I'm just happy the two I planted last year (David Austin old English rose "Abraham Darby" and "Queen Mary 2" hybrid tea rose) survived our freaky warm-warmer-cold weather pattern last winter. I planted the red ("Crimson Bouquet" grandiflora) and yellow ("Sunny Delight" floribunda) rose this year. I'm really pleased with the red one's performance. I think they've taken a hit from two recent heat waves and my neglect. I was out of the house due to the floors being refinished and my sister broke her arm, so I've been helping her out.

My plan was to have this be the Year of the Garden. When I bought the house two years ago June 7th, my father died six days later, and I had scheduled a trip to Hawaii for late July. All I really wanted to do, anyway, that first year was clean, get rid of the junk left behind, and figure out what colors I wanted to paint the inside.

Last year I started painting in June and finally finished in March! That was fairly torturous, but probably not like my planned winter project of stripping, scraping, priming and painting all the woodwork and doors.

So for the Year of the Garden, I played around with re-using bricks and pavers left by the previous owner and working on the edging. I planted an Endless Summer hydrangea (which is pale lilac), two tomato plants, two cucumber plants and a packet of sunflowers and pumpkins. I've picked three cucumbers, the many tomatoes need to grow and turn green, the sunflowers never came up and the pumpkins are taking over the garden. I also planted a beautiful Aurora Blue delphinium, which has new growth, as does the hydrangea. My May Night meadow sage I planted last year didn't come back, nor did a chrysanthemum which I planted two years ago. I have three others that came back, although one has been eaten somewhat by a woodchuck.

Next year I want to buy a cedar trellis, like I did for the wisteria in the front yard, for the entrance to the garden and plant a climbing rose on the sides. I'm trying to figure out how to lay out everything, like stones for a path from the patio to the "entrance" to the garden. Right now I have two big pots with pink geraniums (cutting variety) and purple verbena in them. I don't have enough bricks for the paths in the garden so I might replace them with stones. There are so many huge rocks in this area.

You might not be able to tell from the last picture, but the verbena pots are sitting on two enormous flat, squarish rocks. Can you see my nemesis, the woodchuck, munching on my cucumber plant? Look to the right of the white pail. Also, ignore the blue tarpaulins. I'm trying to smother my other garden nemesis, the mighty Japanese Knotweed.