Friday, May 27, 2011

"School's Out for Summer"

School is done and so am I! With work, that is. Now I can be at home, my favorite place to be. Gardening, crafting, baking, even cleaning. I love it all!

We have had a week of cold, rainy days. So the garden hasn't gotten a lot of attention. Most of the roses are on hold; just big buds ready to burst with the first sunny day.

This "Golden Showers" is the only one blooming. It hasn't bloomed in several years. I'm not sure why, but I'm very happy to see it again. (It's a little droopy with the rain.)

The Japanese irises around the pond are coming on. I just love that shade of purple.

And the peonies are just starting. Love the fragrance. I like to bring them inside for arrangements, don't you?

Well, have a good weekend, everyone! I just hope the sun comes out!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Birthday Bees

Yesterday was our middle son's 27th birthday. We had a special dinner for Andrew on Sunday, complete with his favorite, strawberry rhubarb pie. Our gift to him was a hammock. But his gift to himself came Monday night, and this is how he spent his birthday:

  Andrew has wanted bees for a long time. He and his wife bought a house in town, so he asked if he could have keep a hive at our house. Well, of course!

He and his younger brother, Eric, spent the afternoon getting the bees settled in their new home.


For a short time the bees swarmed in a nearby tree, but the boys took care of that. Then they sat near the hive and watched them and talked. It was a great day for Andrew and guess what? No one got stung!

Happy Birthday, Andrew! (The bee whisperer)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lately we have been seeing this a lot. Our neighbor's white cat and our Loyal sitting outside the chicken house, just watching and waiting. We figure they are hoping to catch a mouse that they can hear inside.

 They crack me up with how intent they are. Hope they get a reward for all that vigilance!

Our Sam is too timid to venture far from the house. But sometimes she gets brave enough to go down the garden path.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do You Believe in Fairies?

When we were in San Diego last spring we went to Summer's Past Herb Farm. They had so many great garden ideas, but the one I liked the best was their Fairy Garden in an old wheel barrow.  When we came home, I was able to replicate it. We had an old barrow just like theirs!

I already had the metal miniature pieces. And I just transplanted some of our small sedums, thyme, and moss. My husband found the round rock that was split in all those pieces.

We haven't had a fairy visit yet, but this gnome has made himself very comfortable.

I really like sedums and have been collecting them. When we went to Chicago we stopped at Gardens on the Prairie in Lowell, Indiana. They had a huge collection of sedums and other succulents. I bought the ones below and put them in the kids' old wagon.

They don't mind getting dried out occasionally, and there are holes for drainage for when it rains.

I've got a couple of hypertufa troughs that we made last year that I need to plant up. I'm thinking alpine plants, or more sedums.  Decisions, decisions!

Monday, May 16, 2011

30 Years Ago

Today is our anniversary! Thirty years ago Rick and I became husband and wife. It was such a wonderful, fun day. And it almost didn't happen!

The year before, I was going to marry someone else, and canceled those plans when I realized I was in love with a friend of ours. It was a hard decision to make, of course, but I knew it was the right one. And we have built a good, happy life together. It has gone by way too quickly!

To celebrate, we will be taking a trip soon. I'll have some pictures to show when we get back.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden Update

With the July-like temperatures we've had for the last few days, the garden is growing like crazy. But we haven't had enough rain to settle in all the new plantings, so we've been lugging the hoses and watering cans around. Not my favorite thing, especially this early in the season.

The bearded irises are starting to bloom. We mostly have the  old fashioned blue ones, but I try to add a new color each year. Then I forget what I bought and get pleasantly surprised, like with this very pretty white one.

The perennial bachelor buttons and columbines have seeded themselves along the side of our deck and the path to the vegetable gardens. I love the lush look they give to this spot.

Here is another columbine that just turned up. I really like this woodland variety.

The herb garden is starting to fill in (except for that bed in the middle - basils and dill will be coming up soon.) We have lots of those old fashioned poppies. I got a start from my dad, who got his from my grandfather. A good pass-along plant.

 The fruits and veggies are coming along. Just look at all the strawberry blossoms! I can't wait to pick a bowlful of berries for breakfast, and pies, and shortcake, and...

I wanted to pot up some herbs to put on the deck. I know most people would do this to use them for cooking, and I will. But I mostly like the look of herbs and especially in this planter on the wire shelf. I'll show the rest of the deck and the back porch as soon as I get them cleaned up and "staged" : )

I'll leave you with this picture of our newest "babies". Since we don't have large fish right now, they have a good chance of maturing into insect eating toads for the garden. Though I have noticed that in the years we have lots of small toads and frogs, we also have snakes. Oh, the fun of living in the country!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Busy Week

Just like many of you, I have been spending every spare moment working in the garden. This is such a glorious time, with changes happening everyday, and so many plants to buy at my favorite garden center!

To make the season even more special, we are anticipating the birth of our first grandchild.  Andrew and Alison's baby shower was on Sunday. It was a great time and they received so many lovely and useful gifts.

I made this quilt using fabrics that Alison gave me. They are doing the nursery in muted primary colors and vintage toy motifs. We are so proud of our Andrew; he is remodeling the room and even put in new windows. Alison is doing the painting.  It will be such a sweet room when they are done.  

My niece and her boys came over from Illinois for the shower. We had some time to go to the first of the summer flea markets. We always have a great time shopping together. Sheila bought a unique wire egg basket. I finally bought this cast iron plant stand. I had my eye on it all last summer, and my husband told me to go ahead and  make an offer. It was still $60.00, but I love it. What do you think?

Now for the last installment of my garden tour. This is the pond garden. It doesn't look that great right now, but when the butterfly bushes, loosestrife, and irises are blooming it's a wildlife magnet.

This last area is the border next to the veggie garden. We put in the greenhouse last summer and getting a lot of use out of it. I have the tomato plants in there waiting to be put in the ground this weekend.

That tree stump is from the last of the fruit trees we took out. (We decided to go with dwarf varieties.) Now I'm wondering what new garden to put there. Mmm..

My gardening buddy, Loyal.

Now, if you're still with me, a few plant pictures.
Mouse Ears hosta
Japanese fern, pulmonaria, and caladium
Jack-in-the-Pulpit and a new coralbells
Late tulips and "Thumbles" oregano
A new iris, "Fall Fiesta"
Can't wait for these to open - love them!
 I hope everyone has a great weekend, and a Happy Mother's Day!