Six on Saturday – Pot Pourri – May 18, 2019

This week’s SoS pot pourri are not all from my garden.

Last weekend the husband and I were in Spokane, Washington for the graduation of our granddaughter from Gonzaga University.  We were so proud as Ellen graduated Magna cum laude. All of our four children were there to celebrate. They live in different parts of the states so it’s unusual to get them all in the same place at once. It made the weekend even more special.

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2.  It’s strawberry time in Maryland. But it’s been so wet I wondered if I would be able to get berries to make jam. I snagged a flat of these beauties on Thursday. Some have already been made into jam and some will top shortcake. Any leftovers (doubtful) will go in the freezer. Local strawberries are such a treat we eat them at least twice a day for the time they are available.

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3. My tomato bed at the community garden was planted two weeks ago. These are Amish Paste and Tiren (a new to me Italian plum tomato). I put down a paper that is supposed to degrade by the end of the growing season. This is the first time I have used this product and will be interested to see how it does. Anything to keep the weeds at bay.

This morning I planted a slicing cucumber at the front of the bed. The photo was taken before I did that.

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4. The rose on the new trellis by the shed is very happy. This is the third year for this rose which was a bare root planting.

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5. Yellow false indigo does well in a sunny spot in the garden.

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6. The Knock Out roses along the driveway are in bloom. They have become a favorite as they bloom until we have a hard frost and require very little care. I cut them back in March and then again mid-summer to keep them from getting too tall.

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That’s my Six on Saturday for this week. This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – In Every Corner – May 11, 2019

There’s something happening in every corner of my garden. The window boxes in the front have been planted and the drip irrigation placed in the boxes. The drip system in the back in my raised beds and the gardens around them has a geyser, but an oops plug should fix it. We’ve had more rain so I am still in my chicken boots walking around. The  roses are beginning to bloom.

  1. The Golden Showers rose that I planted two years ago has multiple blooms this year. I love the closeup photo.

2. The straw bale now has the baby volunteer potatoes inserted into it. There is a turn off valve before the part of the drip system that used to go into my purple wheelbarrow. I may need to tweak this as the wheelbarrow is history. But for now it’s been so wet, I don’t have that part of the irrigation system turned on.

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3. Last year the cornflowers I grew from seed last year didn’t do much. Just a couple of blooms. This year the plants are full of buds and this is the first open flower. In another week or two that part of one of my raised beds will be spectacular.

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4. A white peony… the roots given to me by a friend. I don’t know the name. This year I managed to get support around it early so the blooms didn’t end up on the ground. The azalea in the left foreground is Rosebud. If I was an artist I would try to paint one or these peonies as a watercolor. The gray tones against the cream are gorgeous.

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5. Last weekend’s rain filled the Jan Kirsch avocado. Just beyond it and in the foreground are Martha Hitchcock azaleas. My favorite. I lost three large Martha Hitchcocks in another area of the garden this winter. I think it was just too wet. These plants are in a drier area. However, this year that’s a relative term.

6. In another corner of the garden the hardy orchid, Bletilla Striata, is just coming into bloom, a compliment to the clematis Abilene. The black pot on the left has hyacinth beans planted in it. They have not germinated so I will try again. The pot is near one of the supports on which the hyacinth bean vines climb.

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That’s my Six on Saturday. There is something happening in every corner of my garden at this time of the year. This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Making Progress – May 4, 2019

It hit 85 degrees Farenheit on Thursday.  Those kind of temperatures mean I am in the garden in the morning after my yoga class, long pants tucked into my socks to deter deer ticks and a hat to keep the sun off my face. I’m inside by 10.

  1. One of the new trellises by the shed is now twined with a Zephirine Drouhin climbing rose.  This is its third year and it’s finally taking off. It’s hard to see but there are lots of buds. The brand new trellis has been planted with Carolina Jessamine, a climbing yellow jasmine. Both will take some years to cover the trellises, but I was glad to find the jasmine at The Village Market in St. Michaels and get them in the ground. I had to use my Root Slayer shovel to dig the holes as this is close to the river birches we took out last fall and I ran into lots of roots. I am hoping the neighbor’s boat goes in the water soon.

2. I try to give my neighbors a good view. The Major Wheeler honeysuckle is blooming facing their yard not mine. I have to confess that was not the original plan.

3. The ninebark is beginning to bloom. It’s the only dark leafed shrubs I have. They are not my favorite and this one always blended into the shadows of the river birch. It is much more visible now.

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4. Clematis Abilene is covered with open blooms this week.

5. The Roseum Elegans rhododendron survived the winter and is showing off. Some winters I lose most of the buds. After eleven years this is now a decent sized shrub on one corner of the house.

6. Finally a bit of garden housekeeping. The husband helped me add some hose extensions to the drip irrigation system. The timers need to be removed in the winter when we shut the system down and then replaced in the spring. What we really needed were better hose bibs but I had a piece of hose I’d been saving for someday staking a tree and it was enough to cut up and do the three extensions. $36 at the hardware store for the fittings. We had to soften the hose in a pot of boiling water to get the fittings into the hose, but we didn’t have to call a plumber.

That’s my Six on Saturday. There are still more housekeeping chores but we are making progress. This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Helicopter Wars Begin – April 27, 2019

The husband and I sat on the deck the other night with glasses of wine looking at the millions of helicopter seeds on our large maple trees. The Helicopter Wars are about to begin. The seeds swirl as the float down to lodge themselves in my garden beds, tucked into places I can’t see, waiting to germinate. We had some strong winds last night and the ground is littered this morning, The worst part is that the winged warriors insert themselves into the small crevices between our deck boards. They have to be removed with a putty knife. I do go out with the blower every couple of days. That helps some. But there’s no point in doing much until they are all off the trees. Once that happens we’ll spend time on our butts  getting the deck ready to be cleaned. It’s a yearly chore that I grouse about, but I wouldn’t trade it for my old maples.

Here are my Six on Saturday.

  1. Clematis Abalene is just opening. Hosta Frances Williams is spreading its leaves among the ferns against a backdrop of azaleas.

2. This week I had our handman guy come and put up one new lattice for me. Our wonderful neighbors have parked a boat in their backyard. It will soon go into the water, but after we took down the river birch clump last fall I knew one more lattice was needed in that area. The river birch stump is where I am planning a “feature” made from metal hoops I rescued from rotten barrels. Note: the lattice is level, it’s the boat behind that’s not.

The other lattice is next to the shed. I had white plastic lattices on either side but they required cleaning with a bleach solution every spring so both have been replaced with wood. Another chore now off my list. These will weather to silver gray. I gathered up the climbing rose and tied it together with twine so it wouldn’t be damaged while the new lattice went in. It is now tied to the new lattice. (no photo)

3. This shrub is in the front of the replaced lattice by the shed. It was here when we moved and has always been an evergreen place holder. It was under water most of the winter and is looking very bad. However the limbs are still pliable which tells me it may come back. I am going to cut it back by a third and see if it comes back.

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4. This is happening in one of my raised beds. A yellow mullein I raised from seed last year is getting ready to bloom. I didn’t realize it was a biennial. It better be spectacular or it won’t have been worth the wait. The other photo is an opening allium Schubertii that makes a huge head. I used to have many more but the squirrels must have dined on them.

5. A year ago a friend and I talked about trying gardening in a straw bale. She got two bales and planted an herb garden in hers. The other bale has lived in the back of her truck – out in the weather – since then. I didn’t have any way to get it to my house and I guess she didn’t need her truck until this week. The bale is well rotted and now I have to figure out what to plant in it.

In front of the orange flowers (what are these? they come back every year) are some yellow potatoes. Clearly I never get all of them out of the ground because a few come back every spring. I was wondering if I could lift them out and plant them in the bale. Anyone have any suggestions?

Oh, and the old wheelbarrow I painted purple is no more. It was settling into the ground so I pulled it out and the husband took it apart for me. I had two knockout roses that I’d stuck in another area of the garden where they didn’t get enough sun and put them in that area.

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6. Seedlings I started on a heat mat inside have been put in larger pots and are now living outside in a sheltered area until they can be put in the raised beds. The blue bucket  is full of cuttings of red twig dogwood that I’m rooting to fill in the swampy area of the bed that was under water all winter. The red twigs that were there didn’t seem to mind the wet conditions.

That’s my Six on Saturday. The garden is looking lovely. I am astonished that a month ago I was wondering if anything had come through the winter. This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

Six on Saturday – Pop, Pop, Pop – April 20, 2019

Every day this week something has popped in the garden. We had more rain, but this time it dried fairly quickly.  It’s still squishy in parts of the garden, but getting out is possible. We had some strong wind gusts with the recent rain. No trees down, but lots of litter to pick up.

  1. The flowering cherry is in full bloom. Last year if it bloomed, I missed it. Maybe the photo will get me out to handle the stones that got thrown on this area last fall as well as the two bags of soil that are meant to go under the two big pavers the black bench sits on. That’s a job I’ll need help with.

    2.  The azaleas that made it through the winter have started popping this week. I’ll have azaleas blooming until the end of June.

3. The chokeberry is starting to bloom. I and the birds will be rewarded with red berries in the fall.

4.  The hostas have shot up, some leafing out. Now I can see where the fireplace ashes can be spread.  Ashes deter slugs.

5. The epimedium is blooming, though you have to get close to see how beautiful the coloration of the leaves is.

6.  Two weeks ago when I was cleaning out leaves I couldn’t tell where the ferns were. I knew where the Solomon Seal was because I had stuck a pink landscape flag close by. I have to be careful where I walk. Some perennials are just beginning to emerge.

That’s my Six on Saturday, photos of my garden as plants pop daily.This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

Write on Wednesday – All Shapes and Sizes – April 17, 2019

My writing projects come in all shapes and sizes recently. Ongoing work on my novel revision is BIG. Smaller projects are less time consuming. I was asked to come up with some ideas for the copy that would go inside the presentation box of this year’s Christmas in St. Michaels Christmas ornament. I was told what the ornament would be but sworn to secrecy and produced some ideas which may or may not be used. A new ornament is designed each year, usually by my gardening buddy and artist, Joanne Buritsch. That little project just took a couple of hours.

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Another project is more fraught. I belong to the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels. We are a social club with a purpose and get together for recreation and fellowship and our fund raising supports a number of community outreach projects. We are particularly proud of the scholarship we give each year to one or more seniors at St. Michaels High School.

At our monthly general meeting we begin with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. We also recite a short Collect. Or some people do. I don’t know when the Collect became part of the way meetings were started, but it has a distinctly religious tone which I don’t find appropriate for a social club that hopes to be inclusive.  I, and many others, stand there and don’t recite the Collect and would like to see it modernized. Others like the religiosity and the history of the words.

Our brave club president called a meeting of those who would like to have a discussion about the collect. About a dozen people showed up. I don’t know what that says about our membership of 170 women. Maybe most people don’t care. I am one of the people who does as I think the current wording doesn’t reflect who we are, nor do I think it is welcoming to potential new members.

So now I am on a committee to work on putting together some suggestions for possibly changing the Collect. That word, by the way, means prayer so that’s a problem for me right from the start, but I totally understand about traditions and how hard change can be.  We have people on both sides of the issue who will meet today to continue the discussion.

I have some ideas about a compromise which would be more reflective of who we are as a Woman’s Club and keeps a lot of the traditional language in the original. This small writing project really goes to the heart of how important every word is. It remains to be seen how this will play out. Novel revisions seem easy by comparison. I get to make the final decisions!

Image credit: ID 69931279 © Trueffelpix | Dreamstime.com

 

Six on Saturday – Housekeeping in the Garden – April 13, 2019

We’ve had a dry spell and there is not one soggy place left in our yard. I have a few housekeeping chores in the garden to do today (Friday) in anticipation of some predicted weekend rain. But I’m happy that the leaves have been pulled out of the azaleas and raked from the areas where perennials are shooting up. There is always that brief window of time before raking becomes impossible.

I pulled out seven azaleas that I lost to the winter wet conditions. Or perhaps a combination of late summer drought, then months of wet. Who knows. I’ll have to do some thinking about what to replace them with.

Chores for the upcoming week. 1. Clean out the fireplace and spread the ashes around the hostas. Thanks, Fred, for the suggestion. That seemed to work well last year to deter slugs. 2. Hook up the drip irrigation system and test it. 3. Explore my seed box and see what old seeds can be planted outside to see if I get germination. I hate to throw away seeds.

  1. I have started some seeds inside. The cord on the light support broke after two days. I took it apart, went to the local hardware store which helpfully had an array of cords and then tried to figure out how to thread the damned thing. A long piece of slender copper wire and 45 minutes of patience and I was operational again.

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2. A week ago I wanted to finally start some seeds. I couldn’t find all the parts to the heat mat/light gizmo so remembered someone told me they started seeds in egg shells. What the heck. I had all the parts and these were old seeds for Sun Gold tomatoes. A week later seedlings had emerged and I had found and repaired the rest of my seed starting equipment. It lives on the top of what is now called “brown furniture” but what we seniors call an antique sideboard.

3. The amaryllis bulb that I rescued from a red wax casing last year and then lost in the garage…was found a couple of months ago and planted. (There seems to be a theme here of me putting things away and then losing them.) This is the reward. There will be four blooms in total.

4. This is a geranium a friend brought me last week. It’s such an unusual color. I’ll wait awhile before putting it outside. In the meantime I’m enjoying the pop of color. I’ll try and take some cuttings.

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5. When I cleaned out the winter foliage from the window boxes in the front of the house, I found a lone tulip. It must have been planted by an industrious squirrel. I used to have a lot of tulips. Most have been dug up by the squirrels. This year there were a few coral colored ones near the hellebores. I’ll have to decide if tulips are worth the bother. If the squirrels don’t get them, the deer think the blooms are a delicious dinner.

6.  Last fall when I helped with clean-up at the Reading Garden at our local St. Michaels library, I pulled up a sucker on the Buckeye Bottlebrush shrub colony. It is always spectacular in the early summer with lots of white flowers. I’ll put these in pots until they are big enough to survive in a bed.

That’s my Six on Saturday, photos of my garden as it comes alive after what seemed like a longer and certainly a wetter winter than usual.This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.