With all the rain we’ve had over the past three weeks, you’d think my house would be squeaky clean.
Alas, not so much.
With all the rain we’ve had over the past three weeks, you’d think my house would be squeaky clean.
Alas, not so much.
Things are booming (no “L” in that word) in the garden. We’ve had several inches of rain over the past couple weeks, interspersed between bouts of temperatures north of 85 degrees. In fact, as I finish up this post and wait for pictures I took early this morning to upload, it’s raining again. Which saves on my water bill and the plants are all growing by leaps and bounds with the combination of moisture and heat. I am piling on dirt and straw on the potatoes daily, sometimes twice a day.
But still no bLooms on the tomatoes or peppers. In due time, I know…
Whatever is nibbling on the beans is continuing its nocturnal noshing. The beans are trying mightily to move past it and putting out new leaves, but I’m not sure if they can win this game. I’m tempted to try some commercial pest deterrent, but I hear it has a wretched odor and I don’t need to stink up the garden. Anyone have success with a less malodorous solution to keeping rabbits and/or turtles out of the garden?
Summer is officially here and so is the urge to garden. Actually, the urge started last weekend, along with rain in the form of intermittent downpours.
A dedicated gardener gardens in the rain. A delusional gardener is surprised when she gets dirty or wet while doing so. But it takes a heaping helping of insanity (and a wellspring of optimism) to create a new bed where Bermudagrass recently grew, and hope for anything other than a really nice stand of Bermudagrass to grow.
I did all three last weekend – which probably qualifies me for a 72-hour stint in the mental ward (and if they’d let me sleep in, I might sign up for a long weekend.) But planting in the rain is great for plants, even if it’s a soggy proposition for the planter. Saturday’s 20% chance of rain turned into an all-afternoon rain-a-thon; when the rain let up every so often, I scampered outside to plant and transplant things. And was repeatedly surprised to find myself soaked and my shoes and shovel covered in mud and muck. Duh.
With Middle Son’s help, I divided my water lilies into half, and planted each in a nice big tub, and sunk them in the middle of the pond. (When I say help, I mean he watched from the bank, and asked me if I had seen the snapping turtles – yes, plural – or water snake. He’s helpful like that.) Now I will watch and wait for them to grow and bloom and beautify our pond. Several pots of purple irises now grace one steep corner of the pond; dozens of Louisiana irises were installed (with bona fide help from that same son) around another long stretch of pond bank. That will make Mr. Official happy since he won’t have to mow the steep patches. My gratification is delayed until next spring when they bloom.
While moving things from there to here, I tucked in Heuchera and several hosta divisions in a new shady bed that middle son and the Mantis tiller created for me, then edged them with caladium bulbs sent to me by Bill at CaladiumBulbs4Less (thank you Bill! Pics coming as soon as these pretty plants are up and flourishing!) The area had some straggling Bermudagrass before it was tamed by the Mantis, so we’ll see – I could be dog-cussing this decision the rest of the summer. But it is just a temporary bed; it needs to be deeper and swoopier (if that’s a word) before I will call it a real border.
Two hydrangeas (a new dwarf oakleaf and a deciduous hydrangea) are now installed along the new fence row; the remainder of the perennials I acquired back in April are planted under an oak tree near the driveway – again, they’re in a holding pattern. The bed has potential but needs some serious rearranging in the fall.
After a few years’ abstinence from any serious or heartfelt gardening, it feels really good to throw myself into digging into the soil and tucking plants into new homes here at our new homestead. Need more proof my gardening mojo is back? Look what we brought over last week:
|Little Dog isn’t so little anymore…|
I might just have to bring the fig and lilac that flanked it at the old place. (One was historically accurate: lilacs were planted for odor control back when an outhouse was really an outhouse. The fig just seemed like a good choice – you never know when you might need a fig leaf for something or other.)
The sermon on the mount is found in Matthew 5. Toward the end, Jesus said, “For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust…”
A few years ago, we suffered a very late freeze (three nights of freezing temperatures after trees and shrubs had fully leafed out), and then a severe drought that summer. Before that happened, I often grumbled if the weather didn’t suit my plans. After losing so many established trees and shrubs to the double-punch that nature dealt that year, I decided I would accept whatever weather we receive, and most especially, never complain about getting rain at an inconvenient time.
Last May, we endured what “experts” called a 500-year flood, when it rained for three days and nights. This year, we received nearly as much rain, at about the same time of year. The Cumberland River didn’t flood this time, but so much for the experts being able to offer reliable opinions.
This week, we finally got a much-needed break from weeks of mid-90 days and no rain. The rain comes at an inconvenient time – I need to be mulching and weeding the old house in order to get it ready to sell. But I won’t complain. I am planning a garage sale for Saturday. If it gets rained out, so be it. The sun feels good, and so does the rain. I think I’ll just focus on doing what I can to being counted among the “good” and “just” in that teaching, and let the one who made this world worry about the weather.
…well, since at least 2,600 hours ago. (And no, of course I didn’t expend valuable mental energy calculating that when there are websites that will do it for me.)
Two fronts rolled through here this afternoon, bringing rain, and then a much longer and harder rain shower with a lot of thunder and lightning to accompany it. At 6 pm, we had as much (or more) water running in front of our house as we did during the floody weekend of May 1.
No complaints, mind you. We had a couple weeks of 100+ degree days and zilch for rain those days. Made me wonder if we had been transported back to Oklahoma just in time for the annual August heat wave. So I’m grateful for today’s deluge, even though it comes too little and too late for poor Alberta Spruce (aka Victim #4) which has indeed bit the dust and looks like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
Speaking of Christmas, it’ll soon be time for our friendly family competition: we all start listening to commercials to see who hears the first Christmas commercial of the season. The Rockettes have historically been first out of the gate, but with Opryland’s flooding problems last May, who knows if they’ll be in town this year? We will be going to see Straight No Chaser at TPAC next month; wonder if they will do their Twelve Days of Christmas?
This morning saw the husband and daughter head off to go white water rafting. (My hernia problems have kept me from joining them for several years now. Bummer, but it beats having a second hernia surgery, which the surgeon warned would not be as quick or easy to recover from as the first.)
As soon as I got them out the door and finished a cup of coffee, I poured a second mug to go and headed to town in search of anaheim pepper plants. Three nurseries later, no anaheims, but amazingly, my car was full of plants, wheat straw…and a cantaloupe. The aroma of wheat brought back memories of riding in an un-airconditioned pickup as we bounced along rutted dirt roads and fields, to check on the guys in the field, harvesting the wheat or baling hay. I remember those trips as hot, dry, dusty and I was probably cranky and whiny. But the smell of wheat brings back a flood of good memories. Long days, when the sun didn’t set until after my bedtime, and when I was the one asking “what’s for dinner?” instead of the one answering.
The cantaloupe smells luscious…we’ll see if its taste lives up to its smell when I slice it for breakfast tomorrow.
The additional tomatoes (2 Health Kick and a Black Prince), a hot chili pepper, plus zucchinis, cucumbers and pole beans are in the ground, and everything is mulched with straw. It was tremendously hot and muggy work, but middle child helped, so the job went much faster than it would have otherwise. Thunder grumbled a few times while we worked, but it held off while we broke for lunch. As soon as I began setting out the bedding plants and perennials, the rain began in earnest, so I took it as a sign to break for a while. Hopefully it will clear off and I can go back out and finish up everything today. But in the meantime, my desk is going to get a deep cleaning and the card table that has been set up for VBS activities will be tucked away in its rightful home. Order WILL be restored to my workspace today.
I woke up to the pitter-patter of raindrops, so no moseying around on the deck with a mug of liquid sunshine this morning. As I pulled out of the drive this morning, I was informed we were under (another) tornado warning. Fortunately, no tornadic activity came to pass. After the rain, I thought I’d slip out and get a few pictures, just to remind myself what these things looked like when I first planted them. Then I can see what they look like after I tend or neglect them for a while! Here are the three pots that survived another winter, decked out with some purple pennisetum grass, fuchsia-colored geraniums, coleus in various shades of pink and red, some twinspur, gold creeping jenny and purple oxalis (the small pot has a clump of diamond frost euphorbia that will hopefully turn into a billowy mass of white flowers. Now to find four additional planters to arrange around the deck’s entrances, find plants to complement but not duplicate and of course, take care of all summer.
The sidewalk between the garage and deck is flanked with coral bells (technically Heuchera and some Tiarella, and maybe even a few X Heucherella tossed in for good measure), along with hostas, from tiny ‘Kabitan’ to tall blue ‘Elegans’ and a couple ‘Guacamole’ types that are large and getting larger, now in their third year in their new homes. But once the coral bells are done blooming, the foliage gets a little boring (serenely so) and so I added some window boxes along the deck to introduce a little color on the way from the backyard to the deck. This year’s lineup includes a yellow/purple torenia, a purple-y calibrachoa (theoretically both should trail over the edges), some purple heliotrope in the middle for good smells, lobelia to fill in all the rest. Looks like my cocoa fiber cutting needs a little fine tuning.
As I was snapping pictures, I realized a Clematis I planted (and forgot about) finally scrambled up the arbor on its own and is swathed in flowers right now. I fed it this spring when I was weeding and mulching the bed so hopefully it will continue to grow and develop a nice sturdy root system – maybe next year’s blooms will cover the entire arbor! For now it does add a nice punch of color if you approach the yard from the side. The oakleaf hydrangea is almost ready to let loose with her annual display of blooms. (Then it will be time to tame the beast once again…she quickly gets 8-10 feet tall and wide if I don’t take the pruning saw and loppers to her annually.)
Last week’s menu was in an uproar…again. One of these days life will settle back down (no need for a laugh track there…I know that’s worth a chuckle from those who know me.) But I am eager to use the revamped grill this week, so I’ll see what I can find for some innovative new meat or veggie flavor pairings and update the chalkboard with something more than a wish list.
In the meantime, I have a big dog/little dog picture I snapped last week when Scadie came to spend the day with us. When it was her feeding time, I figured I better give Spice a little food as well, just to prevent an outbreak of WWIII in my kitchen. I figure I should probably take pictures regularly…otherwise she’ll soon be out of the puppy stage and growing into those massive paws of hers. A better shot would have been when I took them both for a walk, although I would have needed a third hand to hold the camera, since they don’t walk at exactly the same pace. I hope this Sunday afternoon finds all our family and friends enjoying a peaceful day that God has made, whether the sun is shining or the rain is replenishing the land where you live. And if you have any inspired ideas for container pairings, please drop me a note. With four to fill, my biggest fear is that they all start to look identical, or they clash hideously.