Monday, May 23, 2016

A Garden Tour

  Around here we've been checking things off the spring to do list.
The flowers and vegetables are now planted.
The porch and patio furniture scrubbed.
Driveway, sidewalks and porches have been power washed.
The shrubs have been pruned and the weeding is currently up-to-date.
It was with a great sense of satisfaction that we sat outside yesterday afternoon and just enjoyed the fruits of our labor.
While things are looking nice in the garden I thought I'd take you for a little tour, if you'd like to join me.

We'll start by walking down the garden path which takes us to the patio.  We'll tread lightly so we don't disturb the little fairy.
She's still in dreamland.

I want you to be comfortable, so please have a seat here on the love seat.  I'll be happy to bring you a cup of coffee or tea and you can relax while I show you around.  No need to even get up for this tour.

If you look diagonally from your seat you will see the pond and waterfall.  The sound is so relaxing on this beautiful morning.  There are goldfish living here, but they are kind of shy this morning.  We have also discovered many tadpoles this year.  This is only the second year that we've had the pond so we are making new discoveries all the time.
The water lilies are blooming nicely.
Over the weekend my husband added two more lily plants.  They are below the water surface, but in time will be just as big as this one.  Last year we had a problem with algae.  Now we are trying many things to avoid that issue.  The lilies will help to shade the water which should keep the algae from getting out of hand.

 Looking slightly to the left of the pond you can see the butterfly bushes I have planted in pots.  When the pond went in we had to sacrifice a couple of large butterfly bushes.  I replaced them with these which are supposed to stay small.  They are loaded with blooms and we enjoy watching the butterflies flutter around them as we relax on the patio.  You may have also noticed the hummingbird feeder.  It was placed where we could also see the hummers when they came to visit.  Oh look, here comes one now.

 I don't have the greatest zoom, but I think you can see him looking at us.

 The other day I put fresh nectar out for them.
I went in the house to put the remainder in the fridge and when I  came back out I had a little visitor sipping away.  I'm going to try hard to remember to refresh their food on a regular basis.  Seems like I always plan to do that and as the summer goes on I let it slide.

 We enjoy gardening and birdwatching too.
If you look straight across from where you are sitting, this will be your view.  A steady stream of songbirds coming to enjoy the breakfast buffet.

Continuing on with the tour, if you look across the backyard, there is another garden path leading to the walking trail which runs behind our house.  

The day lilies are just coming into bloom.
We have divided these several times and they reward us with pops of color all around the garden.

 The hydrangeas on either side of the arbor are also coming into bloom.  I love hydrangeas and have planted several varieties. I won't get into sharing them on this tour as this post is getting long enough.  Not to mention I just did a post on them which can be found here.

 When it comes to gardening, I could go on and on as it is something I am passionate about.
Don't worry though, I am going to wrap it up now.
Although there is one more thing I'd love to show you before I go.
My Blueberries!!  I have been trying to successfully grow them for years with no luck.  My three plants are small, but for the first time they have berries and one is even blue!  I'm so excited by this that I could shout it from the rooftops, but with my luck the birds would hear me and head over there for a feast.  So, instead I am quietly sharing it with you.  I finally grew blueberries.  Yippee!!!

Thank you for taking the time to tour the garden with me.

I'm linking this post to:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Here Come the Hydrangeas

All along the garden path, the hydrangeas are coming into bloom.
I am pleasantly surprised to see them doing so well.  Right after they were planted last summer we had a HOT and DRY spell which had me trying to keep up with watering them enough to keep them alive.

I am pleased to see that not only are they alive, they are also thriving and blooming to beat the band.

I especially love them when they are in their various stages of bloom.  The different shades of colors look so pretty together on one shrub.

 Pretty in Pink too.

Right across from the garden path, my old blue hydrangeas are also putting on a show.  I've had them for years and also blogged about them for years.  They seem to thrive here much to my delight.  The shades of blue they produce are probably my most favorite color in the world. 

 This little garden statue has been here for years too and it shows.
He is looking a little worse for the wear.  At the same time, he looks content to be reading away under the hydrangea canopy.  Chocolate mint is growing in the blue pot next to him.
Sounds like a rather nice spot to hang out to me, so I am leaving him right where he is. 

 I think I'll do my reading next to a hydrangea in the living room.

 I'll follow that up with dinner next to another hydrangea.
Inside and outside, hydrangeas have arrived
I couldn't be happier.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Peony Experiment and Container Gardening

I imagine that you can tell by the photo how successful the peony experiment was.  The flowers continued turning brown as the buds remained closed up tight.  By Friday evening I was so tired of looking at the whole mess that into the trash they went.  I received an interesting tip in comments from Mary on the subject of peony buds opening once they had been cut.  She said:
I've always read that peonies require the little ants crawling about on the buds to assist in opening the blooms! I'm not sure they will open indoors if you washed off the ants before arranging them! 
Yes, I did wash them off and No they didn't open up.  So, now I know that those pesky little ants serve a useful purpose.  
I'm beginning to think that I may just enjoy the peonies on the plant from this point forward.

Saturday was the day set aside for planting the small vegetable garden and making up a few containers for the porch and patio.
This required visits to a few of the local garden centers.  It was a picture perfect spring day.  Just wonderful to be out there with fellow garden enthusiasts looking at all of the pretty choices.
 I'm curious to know how you go about making your garden containers?  Do you stick with the same plants and colors each year?
I find that I like to change it up a bit from year to year.
I do try to bear in mind the color of the brick on our house and choose colors that are complementary.  I also like to wander around the garden center and check out what they have combined in their containers.  This year I was struck by the colors pictured above.  The garden center had large containers done up with these plants.  In the center they had a tall purple grass.  I loved everything about it except the size.  Way too big for my patio table.  So I looked around and found the same flowers.  The purple grass, however, would have been way too tall.  After looking over all of the grass and spike plant choices, they were all going to be too big.  So, I asked one of the employees for a suggestion.
 She led me to this funky looking grass.
I set it next to the plants and rather liked the look.
The height and light requirements were ideal for my situation and I think it might even be a good conversation piece while dining outdoors.

Once everything was planted, I found a little bird to snuggle into the arrangement.  You have to look closely to find him.  I thought he might spark conversation in that "I Spy" way.  Okay, that may be a stretch... but my grandson might play along.

If you were celebrating Mother's Day yesterday, I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable day.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Moving into May

 It's been awhile, hasn't it?
It seems as though as April drifted away, I drifted right along with it.  There seemed to be no motivation for picking up the camera much less composing a post.  I've done some visiting, but the comments were not forthcoming for some reason.  I surmise that I have arrived at the crossroad that many bloggers seem to come to at one time or another.  What else is there to say when it seems like it's all been said over and over through the years.

Last night we had our own happy hour on the patio enjoying the dappled sunlight, the brilliance of spring greens and the profusion of blooms on the shrub roses. 

Up until a few days ago we were practically begging for rain around here.  Now, after a few days of good soaking rains, things are growing by leaps and bounds.  Here I started sunflowers and Heavenly Blue morning glories in pots.  I was amazed by the growth spurt they had once the rains came through.

 Once happy hour was finished Brett told me he wanted to show me something.  Look what he found behind the A/C unit.  Ugh!
You may remember me telling you about an experience last year with a snake slithering between the bricks shown below:

That was bad enough, but it looks like he squeezed in under the vent this time and left his skin behind.  Is that something like taking your shoes off at the door?  
Thankfully (I guess), these openings lead into the crawlspace under the house.  Although, if I think too long about the whole thing I get the creeps knowing what is lurking below the floors I walk on.  Yikes!!!  Change the thought pattern quick!
I'm sorry.  By now you must be wishing I had stayed "adrift".

How about this?
A peony bouquet.  Yes, I think that is much nicer than unwelcome guests of the slithering kind.
I was recently reading an article about peonies in which it was suggested to cut them at the bud stage.  So, I ran right out there and cut a bouquet consisting of many buds and a few blooms.  I didn't realize that the buds would open while in the vase so I am conducting an experiment here.  It is now three days since I cut them.  The big white flowers are mostly brown and the buds remain tightly closed.  Hmmm???  Not quite sure what to think of this.  Have you any thoughts on the best time to cut peonies?

In other exciting news, last night I was trying on a new shade of lipstick.  Red to be exact.  It came in a free gift I received when I last purchased foundation.  Having never worn a true red lipstick before I put it on and decided to take a picture.  I thought this might give me a more objective view.  While performing this little task it dawned on me that I have never taken a selfie before.  Thinking it might be time to get with it a little, I snapped a few.  When I took a look at them my first thought was who is that old woman?  I'm not kidding.  Guess I don't zero in on my 58 year old neck very often.
So, I resorted to a different head angle and a different lipstick color.
Now I know that I haven't missed a thing all these years.
That was my first and last selfie.
No to the selfies and no to the red lipstick.
: D

Edited to add:
 To avoid any confusion, the selfie shown in this post is the one that happened after the red lipstick was tried and rejected.  This is back to normal lipstick color with the head looking down (in an attempt to hide the neck) and eyes downcast (in an attempt to hide the puffy eyelids).  Brett saw this photo and innocently asked why I took such a strange picture of myself.  Ha Ha.  Men!!

True color of the red lipstick shown below:
Scarlet Siren

Very pretty on the right lips.