Six on Saturday – A Retrospective – February 23, 2019

Much of my garden is still under water. We have lived in this house for twelve years now and there is standing water where I have never seen it before. I don’t like to think about summer mosquitoes if this continues. I suggested to my husband that we might build more decking over the worst of it…a suggestion that was not greeted with enthusiasm.

So I am began looking through past photos around this date. That resulted in some surprises.

  1. 2018. Last year I had blooming crocuses on February 20. This year no buds yet.

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2. No garden photos this time in 2017 but I did find these spectacular sunset clouds. I actually remember where I was when I took this. I had arrived at Easton Airport for my Working Writers Forum meeting. It would have been about 5:30 in the evening.

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3. In 2016 around this date Bartlett Tree came to trim all the maples in our yard. The River Birch with the exfoliating bark in the foreground was removed last year. The grass is green and no standing water.

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4. In 2015 we had significant snow around this time in February.

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5. In 2014 the agapanthas I had brought inside were blooming. I have since put them in the ground outside in an effort to reduce the number of pots I carry in for the winter. They survived in the ground last year but no blooms last summer.

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6. In 2013 I had early doffodils blooming. I don’t see buds yet this year.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This retrospective shows me that crocus and daffodil are late this year. I wonder why. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

Six on Saturday – Surprising Color – December 8, 2018

I wandered in my garden on Wednesday to see what I could find for Saturday’s post. I’m going to be out of town so needed to get something written. I was surprised at the color I found.

  1. The little maple I grew from a seedling finally put on a show.

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2. Several azaleas showed color, but some stay green. I have lost a number of azaleas due to all the rain and wet areas in some garden beds.

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3. Despite the killing frosts, I was surprised to see a few Sheffield mum blooms.

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4. The red twig dogwood (Arctic Fire) is now on full view. If we get a little snow to cover up the mess in that bed, it will be dramatic.

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5.  I noticed that impatient daffodils are coming up. This is a variety that proliferates like crazy. I started with one clump and now have them all over the yard in the spring.

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6. The Sunpatiens in the front window boxes succumbed to a frost. I pulled them out several weeks ago. This week I stuck pieces of everygreen cuttings into the potting soil. That anchors them and only a few end up in my neighbors lawn when we get a strong wind. It’s such a fast and easy solution to dressing the boxes for winter.

I have some red bows to add to the boxes, but that involves wiring them to something I can stick in the soil. I might get that done. ..or maybe not. If I had an electrical outlet on the front of the house, I’d add some twinkle lights. If you are wondering what the white piping is, it’s the drip irrigation llines to those beds. I put it in white pvc as the drip lines are black.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Making Progress – November 3, 2018

Our neighborhood is finally getting some color on the trees. A sugar maple on the other side of the fence is orange. If I hadn’t been out taking photos I wouldn’t have noticed how the sugar maple complements the brick on my house. Out of my office window I see a yellow leafed maple, and beyond that some reds. The crepe myrtles usually have lots of color but so far mine are still green.  I’ll stop complaining and enjoy what we get this year.

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2. The seed heads of the native milkweed are open. I’ll push some seeds in the ground here and there and hopefully get babies. The butterflies, especially the Monarchs, love the milkweed flowers.

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3.  I have seen more bees on the Sheffield mums this week than I have seen all summer. At least I think this is a honey bee athough it doesn’t have the orange stripes with which I’m familiar.

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4. Following a suggestion from another SoS gardener, I stapled bird netting to my wooden fence. The clematis seems to appreciate having something other than the trellis to climb on. And the yellow jasmine is finally happy. When I put it in this spot in the spring the ground was so wet for so long, I thought I might lose it. It should be spectacular next spring.

5.  The rainbarrels have been emptied. They were made from food grade 50 gallon plastic drums used by a local wine maker and were free for the taking. Porch furniture has been stored behind the shed. Potted geraniums have been brought inside along with a couple of other tender things. They fill a corner of the living room and get light through a sliding door. Leaves are coming down and that will be the next clean-up job.

6.  This is one of the crepe myrles in the area where I took out the river birch. It grew lopsided as it reached for the sun although I rather like the wonkiness of the trunks.  I am hopeful with the birch gone I can coax it to fill out on the empty side. The husband will get those birch logs moved eventually. They won’t be fire ready for a year.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – No Flo – September 22, 2018

Tuesday, the day the remnants of Hurricane Florence hit our part of the mid-Atlantic region I spent the morning on Poplar Island. Clouds in the photos below were all we got. Some rain was predicted but we didn’t get any until the afternoon and it was minimal. We are all so grateful we were not in Florence’s direct path.

My Six on Saturday starts with Poplar Island. Here’s the backstory.

Poplar Island was a 1140 acre, crescent shaped island in the Chesapeake Bay in 1847. It had a town called Valliant which included a school, a post office, a church, a sawmill, a general store and about 100 residents.  Erosion ate away at the island and by 1920 the last permanent resident had gone. By 1990 the island had been reduced to 5 acres.  In a joint project of the U.S. Army Corps and Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the island has been recreatedt using dredged materials from the Chesapeake Bay’s approach channels to Baltimore where there is a thriving port. Dredged materials from Baltimore harbor are not used because they are contaminated.  Poplar Island is now back to 1140 acres with an additional 575 acres planned. This is the Wikipedia link if you want more information.

  1. Our group from the St. Michaels Woman’s Club boarded a boat on Tilghman Island for the twenty minute ride to Poplar Island. We started the tour with a guide who gave us an introduction and then boarded the bus for an informational trip around the island. The garden pictured is maintained by Maryland Master Gardeners. The mosquitos were ferocious.

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2. Tours are free and this was my fifth trip over the last ten years. The island has changed dramatically since my original visit when the island was comprised of “cells” waiting to receive dredged materials. Now the island is lush with native plant material. One hundred and seventy-five species of birds use the island, but the biggest wildlife success is the terrapin hatchlings which have a 99% survival rate because there are no foxes or racoons on the island – yet. Typical terrapin hatchling survival rate is 10%. Some baby terrapins are fostered by selected school classes and the kids return to Poplar island for an emotional release of the turtle they named and raised. Eventually the island will be a wildlife refuge of half wetlands and half uplands and will be closed to the public.

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3. This view shows work on the projected additional 575 acres. Most of the island looked like this when I first visited.

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My final three photos are from my garden.

4. Hyacinth bean vines are still blooming but are also creating beautiful, glossy purple pods.

5. The butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) plant’s airborne seeds are flying.

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6. Six feet tall (even after a fourth of July cutting back to half), this aster is just coming into bloom. Another plant that someone gave me. I don’t know the name and when I googled tall asters none of those listed grew this tall. Another shorter aster hasn’t started blooming yet. It needs to hurry up.

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

Write on Wednesday – July 4, 2018 – Finding a Voice

If you write fiction, finding your voice can be an ongoing search. My talented writing friend, Brent Lewis, has a unique voice that comes from growing up and hanging out with Eastern Shore folk. He eloquently writes about the Eastern Shore on his blog EasternShoreBrent.com and graciously gave me permission to repost Summer Marsh. It seemed appropriate for these hot summer days and the Fourth of July. Thank you, Brent.

Brent eastern shore landscape

 

SUMMER MARSH

by easternshorebrent

Muggy drops of humidity hang suspended midair and almost visible.

The pungency of the marsh is pervasive, strong. It sticks to the skin. Rich with the cycles of life and death, the marsh is a sensory reminder of the changes wrought by time’s tides.

A blue heron flies low and with grace across a dish-calm creek.

Something else drifts by on the slow, saturated breeze. Something wistful. Something that smells like bulkhead creosote, tastes like warm beer from 10 oz. cans, and looks like cutoff denim shorts and bright cotton tank tops that provide free advertising to bars, beverages, and billionaire rock bands.

Feels like a dock splinter, like nostalgia.

Sounds like a summer squall. Electricity cracks the sky. The downriver horizon darkens with much more threat than warning. Regret storms in through unbattened hatches. A few minutes of intense natural fury and the tempest blows north, up the Chesapeake Bay.

Local tomatoes: heirloom red and sweetheart firm. Pale yellow sweet corn, cooked in the husk, swathed in butter. Blue crabs caught on trotlines, steamed and spiced to perfection, giving the best of themselves only to those who know their secrets.

Soft crabs fried. Served on white bread or Saltines as God intended.

Watermelon.

Carnivals, county fairs, and the ghost-march of long extinguished firemen’s parades.

Lightning bugs announce the dusk.

Grand explosions of red, and white, and blue, and gold, and silver thunder in the night sky while the marsh lies silent below the blasts of rockets, solid looking in the dark distance and surrounded by shallow, murky waterways and paved-over wetlands.

From the intended solemnity of Memorial Day, through the patriotic celebration of the Fourth of July, to Labor Day, when we honor those who work to make this country work, there’s nothing like summer to remind an Eastern Shoreman how the marsh permeates his soul.

Follow Brent at https://easternshorebrent.com/author/easternshorebrent/

Brent’s first novel, Bloody Point, is a page turner with a quirky cast of characters involved in  a mystery set on the the Eastern Shore in 1976. Available on Amazon.

This is Brent and me at his book launch signing party. Where else but at a crab house on Kent Island.

Brent Lewis book signing

The fantastic cover of Brent’s book was designed by my multi-talented writing partner, Laura Ambler. Brent is also a long-time member of our Working Writers Forum which meets monthy.