Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summertiiiiiiiiiime.....

....and the lemons are squeezy.

 Temps keep on jumping...

 ...and I'm cotton-mouthed dry.

I just don't miiiiiiind...
If I'm rich OR good lookin'
With iced lemonade
I'm sure not gonna cry.  *sip*

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Clip joint

I can't tell you how many times I'd wander around the gardens on some errand or other and notice that something needed to be clipped or trimmed.  I chastise myself often for not having my hand pruners with me, but I just can't carry everything with me everywhere.

So when temps cooled down to 70 last evening, I started clipping in earnest.  First off the spent daylilies had to go.  Then I crawled around a couple of crabapple trees and did the best I could with rampant suckers.  I also cleaned up brushy birch branches (lovely graceful trees but very very messy) and pulled down one really long (10') dead branch.

I was out early again this morning and I brought along a few friends for the hand pruners: loppers, reciprocating saw, circular saw and a shovel.  Oh, I was into it now!

I clipped off the mass of spent stalks from 2 Johnson Blue geraniums, a rose yarrow, lots of hosta.  Then I 'limbed up' the 11 tomato plants so nothing was touching the ground (then I top dressed them with TomatoTone and mulched heavily with grass clippings).  


Enough with the pruners.

A couple weeks ago I cut down 1 and seriously trimmed back 2 rhodies in front.  But I couldn't finish shaping one of them because a robin was sitting on eggs. Now the chicks have fledged, so between the loppers and the reciprocating saw that task is done.

Then I grabbed the shovel and headed for the golf course border and dug up a few more tree sprouts that wouldn't yield to hand pulling.

Finally,  I used the circular saw to cut the long 4" thick dead birch branch into 12" lengths for starting fires this winter.

I got done about an hour ago just as the sun was starting to really beat down on the turnaround blacktop.  *whew*  It's so hot out there now I could roast a chicken on the driveway.  (Note to self: investigate solar oven.)

Tomorrow I'll shove all this debris into my hatchback and take it to the county residential yard waste recycling center.  It's kind of a pain that the center is only open 3 days a week, but honestly, I'd rather have that than no center at all. 


Truth be told, ever since I found out I could take stuff there, I've really gone gardening into high gear. Before that I felt limited by the amount of debris I generated. Super thick stalks, woody material, noxious weeds, etc. didn't work in my compost.  And I refused to start a nasty 'brush pile' like some neighbors do (and the vermin they attract). I usually had to pay someone at least once a year to take away piles of branches, etc.  But now, thanks to my tax dollars at work, I compost as much as I can handle here at home and the rest gets made into county compost for the park system.

Win win, for sure.  Well, there is a downside.  There's usually something crawling around in the car. And it gets kinda dirty in there and every now and then I have to open the doors and the hatch and blow the thing out with the leaf blower.  Ahh, true gardening is not for the squeamish!  LOL

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hedge fund gone!

Privet hedge, that is.

PRIVET
Saturday in the (relative) cool of the morning, I was still feeling the glow from figuring out the sunroom leak problem.  Being in a positive attitude, I decided to tackle something I meant to take care of last year, but I let go because I'd spent weeks refinishing the deck instead.

Three years ago (Spring 2009) I Wintersowed privet seeds and ended up with a dozen or so plants.  Not having plans where to put them I dug them in this compost bin and let them be.  Well, now they are big and I don't want them (privet being not only an invasive species, but not all that attractive to boot).  I figured since the raspberries pulled up easily after the big rain, why not the privet?

And indeed they did.  They pulled up like tall weeds.  The soil shook right off the roots with no prob.  (Amazingly only 4 days from the big rain, the soil was not wet, in fact barely moist!) But it was nice and loose and I only had to use the shovel a couple of times, just to lever out the 3 plants whose roots had taken hold in the rock pile behind.  In all it didn't take me more than 30 minutes to clear the bin.

I will compost the privet.  But I did save/pot up the (also WS'd) beauty berry bush for future relocation.

Then I amended the bin with fresh compost and organic fertilizer and (finally!) planted my last 2 Ambrosia melons.  The whole project was done in less than an hour - just as the sun was turning the world into a steam bath.  *pant*


REPURPOSED BIN
Soaked to the bone (even my socks were wet), I squished back to the house to spend the rest of the day in the a/c.  I wouldn't come back out until evening when I made myself start mowing.

Why is the grass growing when it's so hot??  These brief storms aren't letting it go dormant.  Well, I'm not really complaining - much.  I view grass clippings like green gold.  My garden beds are all created by newspapers and grass clippings.  Nothing that you see in these pics could have been accomplished without it.  Still, a gal would like to get a week off now and then! *pant, again*

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vigilance

Critter hole
Some folks wonder why I wander around the gardens so often during the day.  I'm out in the yard ALL the time.  Yet I can't NOT go walk-about.  Things happen so quickly in a garden.  They are not the static landscape many people assume.  No.  It's a living, breathing and ever-changing world out there in the yard and it's waaay more compelling to watch than any TV show.

For the past couple of days I've spent an over amount of time inside to escape the oppressive heat and humidity.  So when I forayed out yesterday in the early a.m. I found a serious hole just a few feet from the crab bed.  Good grief.  Something stole in under the radar and went to town.  There was a lot of torn grass strewn about.  It's way bigger than any chipmunk hole I've encountered before, yet with the roots it had to dig around I can't see how anything much larger could squeeze in there.

So I set a trap, covered it with an overturned bin, and will await results.

In other news, we got another .6" of rain on Friday!!  Twice the rain pounded down fast and hard.  And, being the obsessive type (I-just-gotta-know) that I am, I actually spent part of the 2nd downpour up on the sunroom roof.  (I truly truly don't recommend this action to anyone, especially during a storm!)  Anyway, I discovered one of the reasons the previous deluge soaked the room below.  That storm had blown a bird nest into the 2nd floor bedroom gutter, causing it to overflow and waterfall right onto the roof of the sunroom.  Water washed uphill under the window ledges (a mere 2" above the sunroom roof) and found leaks into the room below.  At least now I know why things happened.

There have always been drafts in the sunroom because it was never properly sealed to the side of the house.  But at long as the gutter didn't overflow, most of those seams never got wet enough to leak.   Now with the gutter unclogged the sunroom is dry again.  But I'm still going to have to do some serious work on the sunroom roof.

Meanwhile, back to more heat and humidity.  At least now I won't have to hold back on the rain-dancing.  ;-D 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aftermath

Nothing likes a good thunderstorm (and 4.5" of rain!) more than cukes.
I harvested cukes (sweet success & diva)
The soil was moist and loosened so ...
I pulled out all the raspberry canes and a patch of tickseed - everything pulled up easily.
That leaves me a clear space by the golf course for some commando gardening this Fall
Then, what with the soil so well watered, I decided to plant some things I'd been holding off for Fall.
This lavender had been in a pot since I pulled it out of the crab bed a couple of months ago.  Now it has a home at the end of the wall bed.
Where the lavender pot had rested in the birdbath bed, I planted a white (or pink?) mum rescued from my Mother's garden.
And finally I planted 3 3-gallon late-season bargain ($10/ea) azaleas I got at a local nursery under the gum tree.  They should fill in nicely behind the bench and give me lots of Spring color.
While I'm still chafing about the sunroom leak, I am taking full advantage of the unexpected wealth of water and current soil conditions.  Today I'll work up a section in the ring bed reserved for my 2nd planting of bush beans.  The seeds have been soaking overnight so, hopefully, I'll get some decent germination.

Weather continues hot and humid (90s), but I'm not complaining at out temps.  Some of you out there are dealing with some really scorching triple-digit heat.  Be careful, all.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Deluge

This morning within 3 hours we got almost 4.5" of rain  :-D

Unfortunately a large measure ended up in the sunroom  :-(

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We now return...

...to our regularly scheduled blog-gram.

I'm back.  It's been a looong June and July.  I pushed myself very hard to catch up with the April/May projects that were not attended to due to the overlong winter.  At the same time I stretched myself to finish June/July projects that I just would NOT let slide.  *woof*  I've worked myself into near exhaustion a couple of times and have lost nearly 10 pounds of 'winter comfort'.   But I kept at it.  And at it.  And - finally - I'm done.  Well, not done done, (there are still years on my to-do list) but at least now I'm where I hoped to be at this time of summer.

And that is ...  SITTING MY TAIL DOWN IN A DECK CHAIR and drinking lots of iced tea.  The brakes are on for now.  Outside of mowing grass, puttering in the beds in cool mornings or watering as necessary, I'm geared down in response to the scorching weather.  It's time to coast for a while.


But the thought of listing all the things I've done since I went on hiatus unnerved me and would probably bore everyone to tears anyway.  So I'll just post pics of how some of the beds look as of today.


(As always, click on pic to enlarge, then magnify for better focus.)

SW view from driveway

NE view from driveway
Garage corner
(note: clematis transplant succussful - 2nd bloom just starting)
Arbor bed

Stump bed - looking much better this year

New privacy fence & bed
Crab bed (without Nishiki willow)
Brick bed
Wall bed (in previous years only tomato plants,
but now filled with zins)
Birdbath bed (Golden Jubilee reaching 4 feet -
can barely see birdbath so they
will be replaced with shorter plants next year)
Deck (still 2 center benches of perennial seedlings that
will be planted out in September when temps fall
and rains return)
I'll post some veg harvest pics soon, but that's all for now.  I'm bushed and am off to refill my iced tea.  All this typing has worn me out... ;-D