Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Reading your blogs and thinking of my blog friends has finally brought me out of my self-induced stupor to post a few words.

I am so thankful for the supportive community of folks I have "met" here in Blogland - for your generosity, your concern, your creativity, your good wishes, and the general feeling of well-being I have knowing you are "out there" somewhere.

Have decided that I am a fair weather blogger.  Either that, or way too wrapped up in the garden.  I need a cold weather interest!  Keep hoping to magically become a better cook, so that i can share that with you, but so far that's not working, either  ...  maybe next year. 

With retirement suddenly just around the corner - June 1st - I find myself pushing everything off to "when I retire".  If i do everything then that I have pushed off, I will be really busy!

Today has been a quiet one here in Central Virginia.  Overcast, rainy, even sleet and then sunshine this afternoon.  
With only two of us for dinner, we have foregone the turkey - don't need to be eating bird for three weeks - in favor of a small standing pork rib roast - which is ready to go into the oven later.

The pie is baked, stuffing made, spinach washed, apple salad in the 'fridge, and rolls rising so I am in good shape for the dinner part.  Even have the wine chilling.
Sweet potato pie - not pumpkin.  One of those surprises when you get married.  Sweet potato was the "tradition" for both of our families.  At one time, Mitchell's oldest son made them for his family, so I always think good thoughts about him when i make it. 

Hope you are with the ones you love and doing whatever makes you happy today. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Workday

Two days before Halloween and all the work that got done in the garden today was to wander around in wonder that it still looks so good.  Fall is finally here, altho it was 85 yesterday and 75 today.  Tomorrow night will be 40, tho, so the times they are a changing .... and soon. 

In a way, i will welcome the cooler weather and in a way it will make me sad. This long warm and dry fall makes me wonder if we will soon be changing our expectations of the seasons - we haven't had a normal one in nearly two years now.  So, what will the new "normal" be?

It's been unseasonably dry this September and October [am still watering the garden] so our "color" is mostly muddy this year, altho the crepe myrtle and dogwood (above) look pretty. 

Am getting the last blooms of the roses and the panicle-type hydrangeas have lasted well.
The David Austin Rosa 'Sister Elizabeth' looks wonderful after a summer of struggling with critters and black spot.  
The new hydrangea 'Little Lime' is still blooming, even while the older blossom heads dry nicely on the plant. 
The last of the fall blossoms are finally out, as well.   We moved this daisy-type chrysanthemum from the old house 15 years ago, and have moved her around several times.  She still blooms reliably. 
Chrysanthemum rubellum 'Clara Curtis'
And, then there are the surprises:  Flowers on the blueberry bush ...

and a few Pincushion flowers ...
Scabiosa c. 'Butterfly Blue'
and, most intriguing of all ... the ranunculus that I planted last fall for spring blooming (which did absolutely nothing) has put up greenery.  It will be killed by the winter cold and will not bloom, but it did try.  [That is, one of 15 tried.  It is not in the cards that ranunculus will thrive and bloom here.]

So, I cut a handful of hydrangeas for the table and was very happy with my wanderings.

Let the goblins come!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October Abundance

The dahlias languished all summer.  I was really disappointed, since i had hoped to use them to supplement my other cuttings.  I planted six different types - ranging from white to a very dark burgundy and in different flower types.  Sadly, they struggled and only three of six even made it far enough to set buds.

Three weeks ago they suddenly decided to bloom and they have been gorgeous.
This may be the prettiest one i ever grew.  It looks like a lotus and is about five inches wide.
A chrysanthemum type, with the 'Double Scoop Cranberry' cone flower. 
Another chrysanthemum type in a rich pink.
Am planning to put them in a slightly sunnier spot next year and look for another source.  Anyone got a dahlia supplier that you can recommend?   I prefer the smaller ones, so that I can add them to arrangements. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Workday

Finally.  Another project done.

Once I decided that the Emerald arborvitae was not coming back, I started planning to re-do the area.  Its death is totally on my hands.  I did a poor job of teasing out the roots and then did not water enough.  I know better.  They need two (two!) inches of water a week for the first six months - at least! - sometimes longer, and i forgot it last winter.  [That's the big drawback of planting in the fall.  Who wants to water in the winter?]  I promise to do a better job this winter.  Seriously.

The last couple of weeks in September were really gorgeous here, but i was unexpectedly busy at work and not able to steal extra time in the afternoons to work outside.

Two weeks ago - tiller all serviced and ready to go - i gathered plants and mulch and set to work.   First, tilling the entire area - which was not so easy given the large root system still under ground.

Then I laid out the plants.  The pot is a place saver for the tree.  Then I moved that large clump of 'Lady's Mantle' from the left side and spread them out to form the back "border" of this bed.
You can see the remaining root in the center.  Am hoping it will rot quickly now that I have tilled out so much of it's root system. 

This is a shady area with a few hours of sun in the summer, so i am trying to bring color using greenery and contrast.
In addition to the arborvitae [Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald Green'], i put in a dozen lilyturf [Lirope 'Variegata'] and three Mocha Heuchera [Heuchera x villosa PP 18386].  Then i have left enough room between the plants and the foot path to put in some annuals next spring.  Am thinking a begonia with the green and white variegated leaves. 

Unfortunately - actually it was fortunate - the rains came before i could get the mulch down.  It took two weekends, but the bed is finally done and mulched.  All that remains is to remember to water - two inches a week!