Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fine Gardening

I submitted pictures of my gardens to Fine Gardening magazine. Here's the "Garden of the Day" feature!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

High Gardening Season

We had a very wet, cool start, although not as cold as last year.  Cold enough, though, to kill most of the buds on the white azalea. And wet enough to cause root rot on the peonies.  This is disheartening when you wait all year to see them.

The iris from my mother's garden bloomed this year; the light purple doesn't flop and the maroonish one was my grandfather's. I bought an Autumn Moon Japanese maple. Funny how when you go to plant something, the place you had in mind just doesn't work.
The maple is the orangey chartreuse plant.
I got rid of the dwarf evergreen; it just never looked good after the transplant. I transplanted two boxwood out back in its place; not sure if they'll live.  Ugh.  At least it's not my pretty Green Mountain box.  And the blue lacecap bloomed for the first time in a long time.  I have a few blooms on the macrophyllas, for which I'm grateful.  Last year was pretty much zero.
I have to finish transplanting stuff that I left last year - the Stella D'Oro daylily being crowded out by the Fairy Rose and the peach daylily being crowded out by the Tiger Eyes sumac. I also bought a white catmint, which I probably shouldn't have because I just read that they self-seed prolifically.

That's my Dusty in the background!

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Garden Goals

I'm not liking this trend toward superficial, rushed communication.  Twitter, Instagram, texting.  So I'll continue to use an "old-fashioned" medium like blogging.

We had a ton of rain last year and it really helped make things grow, including young and transplanted plants.  But I should have transplanted all four Green Velvet boxwood rather than one.  Also I need to move the peach daylily out from under the sumac.  This year I MUST NOT FORGET to prune the Pinky Winky, Strawberry Sundae, oakleaf and Invincibelle hydrangeas.  Pinky looks all kooky and straggly behind the beautiful baptisia foliage.
I'm pleased with the new garden (where the huge barberry tree was), although the ajuga groundcover obliterates the rock-framed border.
Ugh, I see plastic bags of leaf mold I didn't finish applying, and weeds.  Maybe my goal should be removing junk before I take pictures.  I dropped my camera once again and this time it was fatal.  I found taking pictures with it easier than with my phone.  I abandoned my weekly photo shoot after that.

Last year I bought amsonia Blue Ice, the things I've talked about before, Blue Billow hydrangea, Sunjoy Gold Pillar barberry, Sun King aralia, Sum and Substance hosta and Halcyon hosta, and maybe a few others I can't remember.  This year I'll buy an Autumn Moon Japanese maple to put at the corner of the deck near the new bed and maybe some lavender, but I can't think of anything else that's needed.  Maybe this will be the year I'll have the nerve to get rid of the struggling roses planted in my original garden in 2006.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019


Happy New Year, 2019!  I was on Twitter and saw a tweet saying to post your top three personal accomplishments of 2018.  I couldn't think of any.  Maybe I need to be more creative, and reflective.

I saw a bear.  I saw an owl.  I lived past the age my father was when he had his heart attack.  This year I want to record things, like in a journal.  Does anyone have success with that?

My pipes froze mid-January, again.  We had incredibly bitter cold weather last December and January.  Not much snow though.  Starting basically in August there were two very ill family members in and out of the hospital, one time together.  One got diagnosed and is waiting for surgery.  The other doesn't really have a firm diagnosis, or treatment plan.  I  was reminded of my control issues during this period while trying to advocate for these capable adults.  Did they do what I said, call the referrals I gave them?  What did the doctor say to them?  Did they interpret it correctly?  I was reminded of a wonderful song by Robin Mark called "All Is Well."  One verse goes:

All is well, with my soul,
You are God, in control.
I know not what You've planned,
but I know I'm in Your hands.

Right now I'm way behind on renovating my dining room (I started it in April!).  Scraping paint took longer than planned, then I wasn't able to paint over the popcorn ceiling.  So I removed it.  Now I'm stuck trying to remove the texture at the edges, abutting the crown molding.  There's also caulk there.   Ugh.

Spring, as is its pattern lately, was late and cold and brief.  Summer wasn't too hot.  I'm trying to remember what I did.  Oh, yeah, my major makeover continued of the first (back) garden.  In addition to what I mentioned in my last post, I planted a viburnum in place of a pink knockout rose I transplanted to the side garden.  My newer rose did much better this year.  I have to remember not to prune it so it can make rose hips.  The transplanted irises from my mother's garden didn't bloom so I'm looking forward to seeing what colors they are.  The transplanted daylilies from her garden bloomed.  They should bulk up next year hopefully.  I transplanted some more this year.  Seems like I moved some of mine around as well.  Wow, I really need to document things better.  Although it's fun to see what comes up in the spring.

The bleeding heart I thought died came back to life and kept putting out new foliage through August.  The white clematis didn't come back so I planted a yellow baptisia there.  Baptisias are my new favorites.

A couple hostas got a deadly disease, Hosta X Virus.  Hopefully it hasn't spread to the others.  My hope is that this continues to be a relatively warm, snow-free winter, and spring is just around the corner.

And lastly, my cats have finally figured out I'm not a pyscho serial killer and will actually lay next to me on the couch.  Progress.  They're both snuggle bunnies.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Update on the Kitties

After nine months Davey finally emerged.  Be careful what you pray for.  He became enthralled with the Christmas tree.

I finally got a good look at him.  He's a pretty tuxedo boy.

He's quite playful.  I'd heard him playing with a ball in the basement and saw that he moved his toy mouse around.  But this guy is hyper, like a kitten.  He pretends that various items are prey and makes that awful crying sound to show me what he's caught.  His favorites are cloths that I clean my glasses with and fabric samples.  Now he's dragging my clothes and slippers all around the house.

At first he recoiled from my touch but now he's my boy, greeting me in the morning and always wanting to be around me, moreso than Dusty.  He doesn't run away when I walk in his direction like his brother does.  I also can pick him up and pet him.  I miss my cats that sat on my lap, came when they were called and greeted me whenever I entered the door.  Oh, well.  Maybe some day.  In the meantime, Dusty's quite the clown.  He's very relaxed while resting and is a deep sleeper.

I'm not fat, I'm fluffy!

The boys are very close.  They get along great, unlike my previous three, although Dusty sometimes gets annoyed when Davey jumps up next to him to get to me.
Davey particularly loves to drink out of the faucet.  He races ahead of me like a puppy when he sees me heading to the bathroom or kitchen.
Dusty doesn't like to be left out, but he barely fits on the windowsill.
I'm hesitant to let them outside because they tend to wander.  I accidentally left the basement door open one night, and found them staring intently at something in the garden.  I was able to lure Dusty in with treats, but Davey decided to stay out until about 3:15 a.m.  I didn't speak to him the rest of the day.  I noticed he came back looking like this:
Two bare spots on either side of his nostrils, at the base of his whiskers.  My friend says he was in a fight but I didn't see any other wounds.  Any ideas?

So the moral of the story is if you get a shy kitty who hides continually, give him nine months or so.

It's Summer!

And it's stiflingly hot.  Hard to breathe.  Can't garden.  But I did some work today because I've been off work since Friday and have to go back Thursday.  We're so busy, a lot of stress.  I blame it on millenials, but really it just seems that the whole world is a lot uglier these days.  The beginning of the end, to quote my now-retired former boss.

The winter was incredibly cold, and early, like the beginning of December.  My pipes froze once again the beginning of January.  I'd just attended a deacon's meeting in which Pastor Deryk said that people seem to be suffering from some sort of funk, and we will experience troubles in the year ahead.  And these troubles should be considered God's gift.  I'm still thinking through that one.

In any event most of my lavender plant died, as well as the butterfly bush in the side garden, and my sister-in-law's groundcover rose in the front yard completely croaked.  It had been moved by the sewer repair people, then replanted in the wrong spot.  So of course I had to move it again.  Getting too arrogant and/or careless.  In the shade garden I lost two bleeding hearts, which I don't understand because I've seen some enormous stands of them.  But then I had some weird stems come up where my beautiful Gold Heart variety was.  I thought the woodchuck had struck again but then realized I must have oversprayed some Roundup in that area.  I'll never learn.  Apparently in a fit of pique I sprayed my neighbor's bittersweet and grapevine.  Bad move because I'd come to rely on the latter to cover his chain link fence, which borders the shade garden.
Poor Gold Heart.  Not sure if it'll recover from being poisoned.
I do actually have a few hydrangea blooms on some plants. I transplanted the Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea last fall, apparently permanently wrecking my thumb. I needed cortisone for my trigger thumb condition. Aging is not for sissies. Anyway I had to prune it hard because it was so huge, and now it's being attacked by wood borers. I had to cut it back farther; hopefully the glue and/or nail polish on the branch tips will prevent further infestation. The Blue Billow hydrangea is very beautiful this year. I planted a new one in front to replace the rose.

I've continued with the major renovation of the back garden, buying a Royal Purple smokebush and Tiger Eyes sumac. It'll be a while, though, before they reach full height.  I've acquired quite a taste for chartreuse things.
Smokebush's in back with pink plumes; sumac behind orange butterfly weed.
I've yet to plant a Judd viburnum in place of a double pink knockout rose. I've just about given up on some roses in this garden. This rose will be placed next to another one in the side garden. Maybe it'll do better there. My fairy roses are gorgeous per usual; the red one has really grown.

Peonies and clematis were very prolific this year.  I'm always afraid of clematis wilt but I think mine just suffer from the heat.  Finally got around to twisting a wire around the deck post for Comtesse to climb.
Comtesse de Bouchard.  Ignore the garbage bags please.
Good old Jackmanii.

Once again I'll be moving things around, like a hosta under the Japanese maple that doesn't get enough light and is changing colors. Also the irises in the front garden got so big they're crowding out their neighbors. The red fairy rose got so big it crowded out a beautiful pale yellow daylily and Rozanne cranesbill.  I'll quote whomever again - gardening is the art of moving things around.  Constantly.
I'll have to move these beauties; few blooms next year, darn it!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Random Late Summer/Fall Stuff

With all the rain that we had the Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea grew to about six feet by six feet.  It was gorgeous, until it flopped when it got too heavy.

We went to White Flower Farm and it was beautiful as usual.
Their hydrangea droops too.

I want this sumac but I don't think I have any room left!
Beautiful cimicifuga.
The Lloyd Border.
Can you believe the size of this weeping beech tree?
My mother's town, South Windsor, has some lovely gardens.
The spiky bush is caryopteris.  I want it (of course).
Can't show you foliage in my yard because it hasn't changed yet. Can you believe that? I'm really looking forward to the holidays this year. Despite the angry people, violent manmade and natural disasters, national and international crises, there is so very much for which we can thank God.

Castine, Maine

Tone on Tone is one of my favorite blogs.  They have a cottage in Castine and after seeing pictures, I wanted to go waaaaay up there, Downeast.  Castine is a tiny little town with only a few streets and mostly historic houses built in the 18th and 19th centuries.  It's a long drive, especially the last 15 or so miles, in the deep darkness, when you don't know the way, and your aging eyes don't see well.  We stayed at the Pentagoet Inn, built in 1894, a couple decades younger than my own lovely abode.  The breakfast was out of this world.  We were in an adjacent building in a small room with a tiny bathroom.  I think the inn was filled up with Navy folks and contractors.  Castine is home to the Maine Maritime Academy, from which my co-worker's son recently graduated.

We stayed to the left (forgot to take a picture of the main building!).

Here's the town beach.
We stopped at York, Maine on the way up. It's a really beautiful town as well.
On the way home we ate at the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine.  We saw the review on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Channel.  Thankfully, the chocolate cream pie was just out of the oven when we were ready for dessert.  It was absolutely divine.

We've had pretty much continuous warm, sunny, beautiful days this autumn and our time in Maine was no exception. Flowers were still blooming.  My mother really loves Vermont. I prefer Maine, which has so many beautiful, picturesque towns. What can I say? I'm a Maine-iac.