Saturday, May 21, 2016

A nice rain

Plants in the rain - seedlings under screen
I was up early and sat in the sunroom with a steamy mug of tea, a fragrant candle burning on the table and enjoyed the rain on the roof. Such a calming sound.

A nice rain.  No wind. No storm.  No drama.  Just nice and steady.  It's stopped now with about 3/4" in the rain gauge.

Looks like a good 'down/inside' day for me after going hell-bent all week outside.

Yesterday Mom and I went to fitness, then a Chinese lunch followed by loading up on plants for her at 2 nurseries.  She was pretty pooped by late afternoon and I'm sure she, too, is going to relax and rest up today.

I'll be putting up info on the sidebar blogs over the weekend.  Lots got done, lots needs to be posted so I'll remember what DID get done. LOL

Have a nice weekend. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The domino effect

Dang it's cold this morning!  Right at the freeze - and yesterday's rain on the deck froze last night on the edges.  There are SNOW FLURRIES northwest of here this morning and the wind is bitter.  Only mid-40s today and tonight probably into 20s.  What a pain.  

At least I got some stuff done this past week while the temps were more moderate and in between rainy times.

I needed to remove several established plants (pic 1) from underneath the sunroom bay window if I were to grow tomato plants there this year.  Thing is - what to do with the plants?  Pitch? or Plant?  If Plant, then Where?  I dithered on this all spring and finally decided to grow the tall hardy pink hibiscus & the white (Milkmaid) milkweed in front of the extension of the privacy fence (midway between the white crabapple and the Gray dogwood).

I hacked off the sod and planted 25% of the hibiscus (the rest got pitched) and the whole clump of milkweed.  Fertilized and mulched with pine needles.  There ya go.  Should look nice from the deck.

Now I have space for 2-3 large tomato plants under the bay window.  Done!

Hmmmm.  Maybe not.  Look how awkward it's going to be to mow around those new plants against the fence.  And I hate using the string trimmer - it's kinda heavy.  

*sigh*  I had totally discounted doing anything along this section of fence before and it was easy enough to mow with nothing there.  But now.... DANG!  There was only one solution.  

Another lasagna bed. 

So I hauled out all the ingredients for lasagna: newspapers, water can, grass clippings.  Less than 2 hours later: a brand new bed. Yay?  It's 40" wide and 22' long.

Now it doesn't mean I have to PLANT this bed.  I can keep it mulched, maybe have a nice display of big pots/plants on top of the mulch.  Put up a trellis for flowering vines against the fence.  A lot of options.  

Luckily none of them need be implemented at this time.  All the hard work is done.  Yay!

Then - irony of ironies, just a day after making the bed, I was at the discount store and found some lovely Diablo Ninebark plants @ $3.99.  I brought home 5.  Why?  Because they were only $3.99 and the big box stores have the same size @ $19.99!  I LOVE the purple/bronze foliage. That it would get 6-8' tall.  That it will arch and be covered with creamy flowers.  That it was a fast grower. Did I have a plan for them?  No.  (Gardeners, however, work with a different type of logic: see it, love it, buy it... figure it out later. LOL)

And where does the irony come in?  A tall, wide, bronzy, showy shrub sure would look nice in front of that empty space of fence.  You know - right where I planted the hibiscus.  *sigh*  Stay tuned....

At least I'm done for a while and I can get on with .... wait.  Hold up Nellie.   Back under the bay window.  I want to plant 2 cuke vines right in the ground (not pots this year).  Those white daffs need to come out.  And go where?  

And so it goes.  I understand there is actually a game called dominos.  I wonder if THAT game goes on for days and weeks like the garden domino game does.


12:30 pm - it's snowing...

Next day update: 

It's been a wild 24 hrs.  

Yesterday's light freeze, then a day of snow, then hail and a solid freeze last night.   

Glad I covered some of the tenders out there. 

Hopefully this is the last of this kind of cold crap. 

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Between rainy days...

... stuff is getting done.

Since I'm started fewer things every year, it's takes very little time to bring up the basement sprouts and plants. (Only 4 flats of annuals are left under lights downstairs right now.)

Daytime temps are ranging from the high 40s to low 60s (frequently on the same day!).  Nights are still flirting with high 30s so schlepping back and forth from the sunroom is the current deal.

The geraniums are good to mid-40s easily, so they don't get schlepped as often.

Anyway, all the greens are up too so it's way easier to grab chard, beet greens (actually purple), and collards for sandwiches (way more 'umph' on a sandwich).

While the sunroom is empty during the day, the view from the skylight is lovely - the dogwood is going great guns right now.

I've cleaned out the privacy bed, removed the cuke trellis (will not be growing veg in that bed anymore), popped out uncounted dandelions from other beds, nooks and cranies, hauled baskets of debris to the depot, and ran the trimmer around a bit.  

I also set up the 4 big pots on the bench in front of the deck readying them for the upcoming geranium installment.  May 18th is our traditional final frost.  Will be interesting how it shakes out this year due to the crazy inverted weather we've had so far.

Elsewhere, views are improving:

The view as you come down the driveway toward the house.  The crabapple is in full bloom, the double-file viburnums and ready to pop and soon the grey-twigged dogwood will join the party.  

The original curved section of the privacy fence does a great job of screening the back yard and swing bed so I can sit there anytime and not be distracted by road traffic.

When rounding the garage, the brick border and crabapple bed is the view.  The Robinson crabs have done blooming, but the amount of perennial green underneath is bursting forth now.  Kenilworth ivy is in full bloom on the brick border.  All those tiny blue flowers, so delicate - and tenacious.

Finally, a look at the burning bush hedge.  Planted in spring 2014, these guys are doing great.  The fence canopy have so far thwarted the deer, allowing for some good root and stem growth.  Well-timed application of Milorganite is also helping a lot.

More rainy weather over the next few days.  Mom (who is NOT sick LOL) will be spending the weekend for some Mother's Day fun.

Hope all you and your Mom's have a great holiday too.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Back on deck

Finally, some deck action.  Now that the deck has had 4 days to cure/seal and several rainfalls to sluice off, I got around and made the effort to make the deck look more appealing.  I put up the fountain (no water yet), set up the bistro set, hauled up the back bench for some of the overwintered plants, and gave the also overwintered geraniums front and center on the newly painted yellow folding door.

The weather is on and off right now and we're out of the sunny days into the gloomy cooler "showers in the are" days. In fact, I've already filled 3 rainbarrel at the garage and nearly 2 back at the shed.  

The gloomy weather steered me to the basement and I've put up an 'update' post on how the basement growing is going.  CLICK HERE

With the rain & wind, I'm staying inside. Still, the view from the sunroom is now much improved. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tardy post

I was going to put up an entry early last week, but on Monday night Mom called.  She was sick.  Tuesday to the doctor and found she had another (milder) case of bronchitis.  So this time we kinda knew what to do:  a nebulizer treatment at the doctor's office, steroid pills and inhaler for home (and by home I mean HERE at my house). Cough pills and lots of tissues. 

She's been here since Tuesday and we both seemed to turn a corner yesterday. The wheezing has stopped, she's sleeping very well and the cough is much diminished. I think she'll be ready to go home tomorrow.   

I'm sure I caught the virus from her, but I, too, suffered less than in January.  What really caught us off guard was the fatigue this time.  We did little, no energy.  Mom napped a lot then slept through the night, night after night.  I can't nap, but did sleep long at night too, far more than is usual for me.

Yesterday we started feeling more like ourselves.

During the week I did manage to sit on the mower and get the lawns cut, some forays out for groceries, mail, little things like that.  But little else besides preparing meals.

I'm so glad that I got so much done the week before: clean/seal the deck, bread baking, taxes done, etc.  It was a good week to be sick, if something like THAT would EVER be the case.

Anyway, I'm making up a ham & scalloped potato casserole so I can send leftovers home with Mom tomorrow.  We're both looking forward to getting back to normal, although we'll let Mom skip fitness center this coming week, let her rest up a little more before taxing her system.

Right now the sun is brilliant, the breeze almost nil, the hostas spearing up, shrubs leafing out, birds at the feeder and golfers all over the links.  

More soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spring at last???

If the forecast is to be belived, we may have finally turned a corner weatherwise.

The past 2 weeks were hard on all the plants that had been lulled into "spring" by March's persistent above-average temps.  

This past couple days with icy snow and temps in the teens put the lid on any blooms on my redbud or bridal veil spirea.  Those buds are just mush (like the magnolia tree that was hit while in full bloom).  What a mess.

Anyhoo, with all this sunshine right now, I'm hoping for the best.

I crawled out onto the sunroom roof and removed the skylight covers.  I moved the geraniums and B&B salvia out into the sun after languishing in the sunroom for more than a week.  And though today's temps are still shy of 50 out there, the bright sunroom is now above 70 and feels great!

So thankful was I to say goodbye to that freezing stuff, I celebrated and roasted a turkey this morning.  

Nothing says thankful like turkey! Yum!

And with more outside days ahead, what's not to love about turkey salad, turkey sandwiches, and the ever popular turkey soup right at hand for lunches.  

Yep, things are looking up (especially the temps).  Woo and hoo! 

P.S. Tried something new when I cut up the turkey.  (CLICK HERE for the story.)

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Alberta sent us a little present last night.  The clipper is still dropping snow and temps.  Bitter winds. Might get to single digits tonight.

Spring in Ohio.  Not for wimps.