Saturday, March 26, 2011

Here ... and There

We've spent the past couple of days with this as the view out our windows:

Gorgeous water, rolling breakers, and sand as far as the eye can see. At night - when sleep has been elusive - I've lain awake listening the the roll and crash of the waves and watched the moon rising over the ocean. A wonderful place to be ... if you happen to like 42 degrees! Yet another one of those things that nice to look at, but not to touch - at least not this weekend.

On Thursday, things had slowed down in the garden with the arrival of that mass of cold air that the rest of the East Coast bloggers have been talking about. That's ok with me because I don't really want Rose Marie's first born to bloom until I get home to watch. Am hoping the colder air and lack of bright sun will cause it to wait until Monday for me.

By then, I hope the harbingers will turn into the real thing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So Much to Do - So Little Time!

This has been a wonderful week in the garden - lots of work and lots of satisfaction.

All the spring bulbs are blooming, as well as my mystery plant. The camellia is dropping its blooms now as the end of its season is coming, but it is still pretty. The flowering fruit trees are all in full glory and the flowering almond is finally open. Everywhere I look perennials are poking their first leaves up.

And, I? I am still cutting back last fall's debris and raking leaves and winter trash off the beds. But it gets me up close and personal with what's going on. Like the lily pond. It's already putting up new leaves.

I need to drain it, scrub the liner and cut off all the old [very nasty old] leaves but it has started its year without waiting for me. The fish pond is larger and more shady, so it will be weeks before its lilies start to grow, but obviously the water in this one has warmed up enough - and gets enough daily sun - to kick start the process.

One huge clean-up task that I have taken on this spring is digging out several large areas of mondo grass. I love mondo grass and have used it a lot to make the edges of beds, but it can become a bully. In these areas it was once the front edge, but as the beds have expanded, it has become an island in the middle where I would prefer more flowers. So, I have been digging, and digging. One area is completely done, but the other will have to wait a bit longer. I have several packages of annual flower seeds that will go in here in the next couple of weeks.

A bit of sun helps this picture, too!

The current excitement in the garden is that Rose Marie is pregnant. That would be magnolia 'Rose Marie'. The odd looking "leaf" that I have been watching for weeks has started to open, and it's so not a leaf. Actually, there are two of them and currently they appear to be about a week apart in maturity. We planted this tree about three years ago as a stick. It's still not much more than a stick altho it has grown to nearly four feet tall and has added tiny little branches. It will be years before she is full grown, but I am thrilled that she is going to give us some blooms this year.

And, then there's my mystery plant. It bloomed spontaneously the first year we lived here (new house on undeveloped lot, so not from a prior owner) and has come back every spring. It comes up and immediately blooms, often I notice the flowers before I see that the leaves are up. It's a glossy green with almost heart-shaped leaves. The flowers are a deep yellow with very distinct leaves. It is either a perennial or a self-sewing weed, but it appears to spread by rhizomes, so I am hoping the former.

Anyone recognize it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blue Mystique

Walking thru the grocery store tonight I came upon this:

A blue phalaenopis orchid. In fact an entire table of them - probably 50 - at the very low price of $29.99 each. "WTF", I say to myself.

Then, I do something I had never done before. I pull out my phone and take photos and email them to myself.

[I know. The rest of you do this on a daily basis, but I still have trouble remembering which button to press to answer when it rings.]

You know how it is - even if you are not a big gardener or flower person. Blue is the holy grail of flower color. Hybridizers all over the world are working to breed a true blue orchid - but this ain't it.

Remember 4th grade when Miss Wells put green food coloring in the water of the carnations? That's what this looks like. Apparently it's not how it's really done, but it is "done". The developers say that they are created, but not exactly dyed.

There is variety in the saturation of the color, so they do vary a good bit. I rather liked this one that was more pale, but there were some that were so blue that they looked spray-painted. (Think purple poinsettias!)

Apparently they are very popular. I found them priced on the Internet for $80, while these were much less.

So , what do you think? Does it match the wallpaper in your guest bathroom? Would you buy one?

I wonder if Miss Wells did the green carnation thing for St. Patrick's Day? Maybe she wasn't as old as we all thought....

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011

Hooray! It's Spring!

The weeping willow across the street.

Catkins on the Harry Lauter's Walking Stick.

The camellia is about to shed her last blossoms, but she is still a sight!

A vinca minor that is purple and not "periwinkle blue".

I know. It can be a bully and is not a native plant here. Many will not grow it, but I can't resist. It makes such a lovely ground cover for the spring flowers and brings color to the shade garden.

Our Thunder Cloud plum tree. It didn't bloom last year at all, so was delighted that it came out fully this year. The rain last night and all the wind have stripped way too many petals already.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday's Child Worked Hard

Saturday I went shopping. Not so odd for most people, but I loath shopping.

My wonderful Mitchell does 75% of the food shopping, only dragging me along every couple of weeks to do a restocking of the pantry. He does the week in-week out drudgery and most of the quick pick ups. It's one of his most wonderful gifts to me.

I can manage a couple of hours of wondering thru cute little shops when we are traveling and the occasional trip to a mall - which I see a lot like going to a museum. "Oh, isn't that interesting. Wonder what "they" did/do with that?" When I need something specific, I'm a run-in-the-door, grab it and go kinda girl. [I do pay, too.]

But especially, I hate shopping for clothes. Too many choices, too many decisions, hovering clerks, and did I mention those telephone booth-sized changing rooms, with not one, but three mirrors. What sadist invented that?

For clothes I turn to catalogs. I can leaf thru half a dozen in an evening; order what I want (usually in two sizes); ship three quarters of it back two weeks later and be perfectly happy. But the combination of three years working at home, losing 17.5 pounds [oh, did I forget the mention that!] and a change of seasons has left me badly in need of some transitional basics. As the pile of things to go to Goodwill has grown, the number of choices in my closet has shrunk and I am not quite ready to pull out the summer clothes in the next smaller size.

So, off I ran yesterday to shop. [The last time I did this was about five years ago. Elizabeth took me to a Liz Claiborne outlet and acted as my "stylist" carrying things back and forth until she found me several very nice things - which I may be able to wear again in a few more pounds!] This time I went all by myself!

Had my heart set on a skirt I had seen on TV. [I know. That was really stupid. The chances of actually finding it and in a size that fit, were - well tiny. But they were also having a sale.] Two hours and many trips to the mirrored telephone booth later, and home I came laden with.... [drumroll, please] ... clothes!

I did find the skirt and it only needs a little altering in the waist. And, tee shirts to match (three), and black pants, and a white shrug and a black and white blouse, and a black and gray tweed jacket. [Ok. That one's a winter piece, but it's a classic that I can wear for years - and I promise I will.]

Now I still want a white jacket, but I have plenty of catalogs to look at, or maybe I can run in somewhere, grab and go.