Six on Saturday – Six on the Fly – July 6, 2019

It’s hot and muggy. I was out by 6 a.m. using muriatic acid to clean up the motar repair job I did on the front brick walk. It looks pretty good, if I do say so. Another job off the “to do” list for this summer. I was in the house by 8 after patrolling flower beds for baby maple trees and picking up sticks that those glorious old maples throw down every time the wind blows.

Here are my quick six this morning.

  1. Diminutive hostas around a seating area are in bloom. They proliferate like crazy and need to be thinned. My dad made these Adirondack chairs for my first house in 1965. They have been mended with screws and Bondo and the original cedar painted, but they still offer a quiet place to watch the garden.

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2. I found this box turtle in the drive and put him in a flower bed where I hope he/she will snack on slugs. When I showed the picture to my husband he asked, “What are the letters painted on the shell?” They are just normal box turtle markings but I did think the same thing when I picked it up.

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3. The zuchinni plant in a big pot succumbed to borers. It went in the trash this morning. I thought I could outwit the borers by using a pot. Every year I say I’m giving up on squash and every year I try again. An  example of “hope over experience” but I’m pretty sure there is some stupidity involved.

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4. The packet of striped zinnias seeds that I planted has now put out a pink and white bloom. Another seed saver flower.

5. A yoga pal brought bags of elephant ear tubers to class one morning. I threw some in a big landscape pot and they are thriving in the shade of a big maple.

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6.  A view along the side of the garage. The hosta in the foreground needs to be divided as do many in the garden. A chore for fall when the humidity is lower. The monarda are still giving a pop of color although the leaves are getting mildewed.

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That’s my quick 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. #lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Hot, Hot, Hot – June 29, 2019

Summer temperatures are finally here. In the mid-nineties most days. No rain for a week but I’m not complaining…yet. I’ve been pressure washing the house a side a day with the  loan of equipment from my neighbor. I’m wet by the time I finish, but with the heat I don’t mind. There’s lots of color in the garden this time of year and I enjoy my early morning walk to check on everything. Saw the first Japanese beetle last week so will start carrying a container of soapy water on my walks around the garden to drown them in.  Easier than squishing the beetles.

  1. This clematis just keeps blooming when the others have stopped.  I lost the tag for this one when the lattice was replace but I thought it was Arabella. When I googled clematis Arabella it said it was non-vining. This doesn’t get very tall but I have tucked it into the lattice and it seems happy. I’m sticking with Arabella.

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2. The Vitex tree (aka Chaste tree) at the end of the driveway is now in full bloom. I didn’t get around to cutting it back this spring so it is now taller than I want it to be. It blooms on new wood so will need to be trimmed aggressively next spring.

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3. I planted a packet of zinnia seeds that I found in my seed box. This first bloom has wonky petals but I love the color.  Some other zinnias I planted from seed are too tall and get floppy. Next year I’ll pay more attention to plant height but I will certainly save seed from this beauty.

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4. Getting more sun with last year’s removal of a river birch has benefited this clump of purple coneflower.

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5. I have shasta daisies several places in the garden. They are descendents of a clump at the house when we moved here 13 years ago. There wasn’t much here. The daisies were planted in a small circle in the middle of the backyard ringed with a variety of odd stones the family must have brought home from trips.

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6. Coreopsis Moonbeam spreads and I now have it multiple places in the garden and in some pots. If sheared back by a third, it will bloom again late summer and fall. Wikipedia tells me: “Coreopsis verticillata is a North American species of tickseed in the sunflower family.” I am a sucker for anything with yellow flowers. I love the pop in shaded parts of my garden.

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That’s six from my hot summer garden. #lovemygarden. The SoS 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.

Six on Saturday – Spring Has Arrived – March 16, 2017

Thunderstorms were predicted for Friday afternoon. It’s now 5:00 and I suppose we could still get some rain, but I’m hoping not. I walked around the garden in my Sloggers because the standing water is gone. Things are still very muddy, but the garden is coming alive. A neighbor’s tree was full of noisy grackles, but I didn’t mind. It was over 70 degrees and I was outside without a coat, hat and gloves.

On the Eastern Shore March 17th is the day the ospreys return to their nests. We’re all watching.

  1. Daffodils are blooming — the tiny Tete a Tetes and another somewhat larger daffodil. In another part of the yard a different variety has some opening blooms.

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2. The hellebores are stunning, even if you have to get on your knees to really see them. Lots of babies coming up. Does anyone know… do they cross pollinate? If it stays dry, I can get into that bed and clear out the winter damaged leaves. The epimedium next to the hellebores needs to be sheared. This bed was shady before we took out the river birch. I’ll be interested to see how everything does with more sun. The crepe myrtles should give them some shade.

3.  In another section of the garden the stump of the river birch clump is waiting for me to make the metal hoop sculpture to sit on top. One of the SoSers suggested I include one one of the big leaf castings in the sculpture. I’ll post a photo when I get it finished. I thought it interesting that the river birch stump is weeping. I know it will sprout up again.

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4. Nearby a bird house is waiting for occupants. I found it at a garage sale for a quarter. I need to measure the hole to see what kind of birds might use it.

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5. In a window box of herbs the tarragon looked dead but when I poked around I found green shoots.

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6. My azaleas are full of buds but I won’t know if the buds were cold blasted for another two months.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, photos this week of my waterlogged garden coming alive. The SoS 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 – Rescue Operation – March 9, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I asked if any of my friends had orchid plants they were going to throw away. If so,  I would love to see if I could make them bloom again. The following week I came home from my 7 a.m. yoga class with a plant. This is what I got from Paulette, my yoga instructor.

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This phalaenopsis orchid had one purple bloom when I got it. There was no tag as to the original parentage so if I succeed in resurrecting this plant it will be called Paulette Purple.

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I could tell there was a new plant (a keiki — Hawaiian for baby) which had grown on a previous blooming stem. It had long aerial roots and Paulette told me it had two blooms this year.  Usually keikis are removed way before they get this big. I was uncertain about the two 18″ aerial roots. Fortunately there were a number of useful videos on Youtube. I ordered some orchid potting supplies. Special potting mix, plastic orchid pots with special drainage slots, and some New Zealand sphagnum moss.

The supplies arrived this week and on potting day the first thing I did was to soak some of the new potting mixture so it would be wet when I used it. (A tip from one of those helpful videos.)

I cleaned and sterilized my cutting tool with alcohol (another tip) and cut off the keiki. The photo shows it perched on a bowl in my kitchen sink but doesn’t really show the two long  roots. I sprayed the roots with warm water to hydrate them. You don’t want to break the roots and these needed to be bent around and around to go into the pot. When I am transpanting ordinary plants I often root prune. This was not recommended for orchids and after hydrating the roots they bent easily.

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Below is the potted keiki. If it lives it will be genetically identical to the mother.

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I also repotted the original plant with new potting mix. The three leaves look sad, but maybe it will send up some new growth from the crown.

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Behind the repotted orchid is the one with white flowers that I’ve been bragging about. As soon as it’s finished blooming I will repot it as well. It will take months before I know if my rescue operation has been successful, but I’m a patient gardener.

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This is what I hope for next year but with purple flowers.

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