Saturday, July 27, 2013

Not wondering what to do...

Do you ever get those weekends where you aren't wondering what to do? The list is piled so high that the only question is how much will be left, not will I get done early? Well, I always have an ongoing list of what I'd like to do, but this weekend there was a bit more than usual. Part of this is self imposed as the year seems to be flying by and I haven't planted my winter crops yet and haven't painted the house yet and the ivy still needs a trim and on and on. The other part is that these things actually need to happen. 
On top of all of this, I finally decided to put beauty bark on the front planters. I have been staying on top of the weeds and watching to see what else I should add. However, this time weeding could be spent elsewhere and I don't think I want add much. I do want to add more heather next spring, but that won't be for a while. I figured I would need about 7 yards but when I called the delivery fee made up for a little over two yards and at 10 yards the delivery was free so I decided to get ten. There are always more places for this if I get extra right? Well, imagining 10 yards and seeing it steadily and seeing it whole are two different things. It is a growing heaving miasma. It looked more like the blob than a pile of bark. Well we started early spreading the love to avoid the heat and got a good bit done. I think I may be able to finish by mid winter, but I'll keep chipping away at it. Overall I am pleased with the look. I know that it will fade, but hopefully it will deter some of the weeds. Weeds are like painters. They see a blank canvas or dirt and decide they want to stop there and mess about. 

I just put this picture in for fun. The dahlias are doing their thing and the sweet peas are doing well also. The corn on the right is a month ahead of the middle row and should be ready soon. The ears are forming and I'm just trying to be patient!

As usual when I do a biggish project I forget to take the before picture. This is only an after, but there was a hoophouse overgrown with morning glories. Then they spread out like a carpet and covered everything else. I pulled some, mowed some and took the hoop house apart. I am planning on reusing the pieces and retrofit one of the raised beds up front for winter veggies. The cold frame was also overgrown, but I am going to have that ready to plant for next weekend (hopefully... I'll keep my fingers crossed) It looks much better than it did. A bit more on the manageable side of life. Sometimes that seems like all you can do, try and keep things manageable. 

A friend of ours is borrowing our nice lens to take vacation pictures, so these are iPhone pics. Not as nice, but better than nothing. I watered all of our roses and seeing all of the water droplets I just had to take pictures. Maybe it was the 29 days of no rain around here that is addling my brain, but I haven't seen roses with fresh rain or dew on them in a while. Well, this is simulated rain to keep them all healthy and blooming and looks every bit as nice!

Here is the bark pile now. It doesn't seem like I did much, but like the sower, I have put some on all types of soil so I will just try not to look at the pile and will look at the front bed all brown and chippy and will be content... tired and content. 

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A lesson in geography and lots to eat...

Every once in a while, you - well probably not you - but I start to think I know a good bit about the local area. I know where seattle is and even how to pronounce Sequim. (its more like squim) Then along comes some joker and says "Lets all go up to Lummi Island." I start checking for new moon bases but no, that would be called Luni Island. Not to hold you in suspense too long, for on these glorious gardening days I can tell you are anxious to get out there and look, love and linger over those wonderful plants of yours, I will tell you. It is a littlish island about 20-30 minutes away from Bellingham. Coming from Tacoma where I live, it is about 3-4 hours depending on when you drive.
My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband all went there and rented one of the most interesting cabins I've ever come across.
It was built along the lines of a hobbit hole, the shoe the old woman slept in and the winter retreat in the swiss alps. It doesn't seem like they could all fit into the same house, but somehow it was contrived. The house was built on a steep embankment so it sort of grew out of the hill. There were lots of little curving steps that led past the garage, past the hot tub (which was heated by building a fire in a fireplace in the hottub then stir the water well), the onto a porch that was actually the roof of the garage. The 1st level was the kitchen and sitting/tv/hidabed/dining room. then you traveled up the next narrow staircase and met with the two bedrooms which seemed to grow out of the mishapen body of the house like the giants two heads of well... of a two headed giant. On the plus side, it was warm and the sun rose on our side of the hose so the bedroom and kitchen and porch our looked out into the murky depths of the ocean and the sunrise.
What does this have to do with gardening, well, not much. There were lots of plants there, but as the owner wasn't too into them, they weren't too into making it a place of sweetness and light.
We stayed there over night and then went to Seattle to muck about. It being the Bite of Seattle, the mobs of people attracted us like flies to honey. If you've ever been to the Seattle Center then you probably saw the large fountain in the middle. It was about 80 degrees so all of our kids loved running bravely into the middle, then seeing that someone had turned on the water run straight back. We did get a few surprise showers from the fountain but it being such a nice day it didn't matter. There were also hundreds of food stall, millions of people, and live bands; so it was an enjoyable day. Like all good (and fortunately bad) things, it must end so we came home and everyone went to bed early and slept long. If you get a chance to visit the mob scene it is fun as long as you enjoy masses of humanity and masses of food.
I know, alas this has little to do with gardening as well. So now I would tell you about the garden, but it seems to be calling me. Not to be in suspense too long, for on this glorious gardening day I am anxious to get out there and look, love and linger over those wonderful plants!

from the front porch of the house

the ferry dock on Lummi Island

Watching the fountains.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Another pleasant weekend...and garden bloggers bloom day

It's always pleasant when there is nice weather, nice company and nice money to spend. We had all three! The window boxes of dead violas had leered out us long enough. It's silent censure tugged at our heart strings so we put them to rest in another spot and went look for some replacement recruits. After much interviewing, research, and social behavioral study; Lucy chose some diathus and lobelia. Our hopes, and the plants signed a binding agreement, is that the diathus will get a little taller and the lobelia will spread over the sides and be one big happy... flower box.

Now, this idea I stole, well not exactly stole, but definitely borrowed. There is a show called garden to table or victory garden or something which aires on saturday morning and the host showed a picture of his potting shed where it had a shelf with a few misc clay pots. I also had watched a show called crafty or something or other where the host (this time a lady) painted clay pots with chalkboard paint and labeled the plants. These two ideas with a splash of my own I put together and ended up with this! 
Below are the herbs we use most and one we don't use (rosemary) but love the smell of. I also added some violas (these were self seeded ones from last year that have been popping up here and there) and some lobelia to drape, add color and spice things up... get it? spice things up. because we are talking about herbs which are bff's with spices. 

Out in our garden, the lettuce and spinach has been bolting really fast due to high heat. This is abnormal for us, but I was looking for a solution, so this is it. I got concrete wire (the stuff that you lay in concrete to make it stronger and not crack) and wired two lengths together then made a hoop. I planted peas to climb this and spinach and lettuce under it. the goal is they all grow and provide a little shade house for the lettuce and spinach. Will it work? only time will tell. Keep watch and I'll let you know the final outcome. 

The rest of the photos are just lilies and dahlias that we planted and instead of their usual shrinking violet behavior, they are growing vigorously and blooming their pretty little heads off. The lilies are exceptionally fragrant and the dahlias make nice cut bouquets. What's not to like?

I call this "dahlia behind foliage". you might be able to guess why.

And here are a bunch of flowers that couldn't be left out. 

not exactly flowers, I know, but they are growing and have a distinct aroma at times!

Well, that is all for now, but I hope this day finds all things fragrant, blooming, growing, and beautiful. Enjoy your day; happy garden bloggers bloom day!

Check back to and you'll find lots of other blooms from around the world!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Knitting up the raveled sleeve of care...

As you have already noticed there has been a shortage of posts this last week or so. Yes, the soliloquy has been turned off like a tap and not a word of explanation. I picture many, many (well I hope so don't you?) people checking their email, blogger or whatever method of you choose for the daily - well, we'll call it by weekly - news from the front office. They sift through the documents and never find even a scrap from the ignorant gardener. Well, as you have discovered that has now changed. Sweetness and light can now come pouring in like a healing balm. Like Browning so aptly put it, "the lark's on the wing, and the snails on the thorn (ouch! I would have thought, but by the general tone of the poem I guess it is something snails like) God's in the Heaven, all is right in the world." Yes, we are on the air, live and kickin'. Well, not so much kicking, but definitely alive. 
The black plague or one of it's nasty friends has descended on our little nook and done it's ghastly deed. It didn't want to do things in small measure, so instead, it took care that each of us would be sick on a different day. I thought I had escaped, but no, it was just waiting 'round the corner. Now, thankfully, we are all on the mend and I am hoping for all of us to be in full force for the weekend. 
So for now, I bid you adieu, and will end with that favorite line from McBeth as we all sleep the sleep of the weary. And so that you don't have to end on a downer, there are a few pictures of the last few days - good ones from the last few days - we don't try to capture a soul in travail. 

"Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast."