Wednesday, June 16, 2010

blogus interuptus

I was driving to Chicago for family business when a rain storm hit. It was one of those hydroplaning, can’t see in front of me, still going 65mph kinds of storms. The car was enveloped by rain. I was enveloped by melancholia. The trip back home was one of many I anticipate to make this summer. Each will be sadder than the last. I can’t hope for a happy ending, only a peaceful one. In the midst of this melancholic funk, I hear George Jones singing about crying and beer. I come out of the daze and think, of course I’m in a funk because aren’t all George Jones songs about heartache? I slip a Tom Waits cd in. Tom Waits always perks me up. Not this time. I finally settle on Nancy Griffith. I remember Ann Richards telling a story how she always listened to her while driving the endless miles of Texas. It took her mind off any troubles she had. I also remember one of my students asking why such a happy person as me listens to such sad music. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now.
I need to be in the peace and tranquility of my garden, weeding or moving plants, or just reading -- my garden or any garden right now. I will admit that it would look strange if any of you found me weeding your garden one morning. Or I want to be on the computer looking at other gardens and talking to garden friends on Blotanical. Yeah, I think of all of you as friends. Anything but driving to Chicago.
I will not be blogging as much as I would like for the foreseeable future. Whatever spare time I have will be spent in my garden. I will miss my daily interaction with the community that is Blotanical.
Big Blue is almost ready to flower. Pat said it was waiting till I got home. Maybe.

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, June 12, 2010

feed them and they will come for lunch

Pat and I garden with our house guests in mind. We do not use any chemicals. If it's not good for the boys, it's not good for the guests. We have a constant supply of food and water. The plants and bushes we planted are good for hiding. It all seems to go hand in hand with gardening.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

now back to the garden

Back in April Pat and I were pleasantly surprised when we noticed pumpkins growing in the new flower bed in the front yard. We let a pumpkin winter over (nice way of saying we forgot it) in the bed's smaller predecessor. I was literally giddy with excitement (or as close as I get) thinking about the possibility of growing a pumpkin. That is correct, I was thinking pumpkin in the singular. I thought the pumpkin vine would look nice winding around the flowers and grass we planted in the bed. I did not expect to get the behemoth that has taken over the flower bed. There are healthy day lilies and daises within the mass of pumpkin leaves. I've moved the grasses twice. Not that we've learned anything from this. Pat planted three zucchini around the soon to be overwhelmed water feature. I'm going to have to make the flower bed bigger. Oh yeah, my neighbor says I have to do something with Q-tips and the pumpkin flowers because I can't rely on bees. I am clueless; there are loads of bees in our yard. I really thought that pumpkin stands got these things from semis filled with them and the semis got them from somewhere down south.

Yes, that is sweet peet under the tarp. You never know when it will come in handy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hawks Win, Hawks Win!

I know this is not a gardening post, but Hawks Win! Hawks Win!

I hope the Chicago Blackhawks are OK with me borrowing the logo.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Berm

The top picture is from 06/05/04, 3 years before I realized that picture taking, blogging and gardening all went together. Pat and I had already started on the berm. When we moved in, the berm was a wasteland of tree stumps, buried plastic sheeting and the dead garden dreams of previous owners. What made me think that wood chips were the answer to questions I did not have is now beyond me. We planted the grass and the day lilies in 03. I can’t remember what the rest of the stuff is. By the looks of the paths, we must have just finished them. Look at them so wide and weed free. And will you look at all that grass. I know my motto is that the grass should look good till the day I kill it, but that is a lot of grass. Ah! Beginning gardeners, such pleasant memories, I can’t remember how my back felt after 28 tons of #57 river rock.
The rest of the pictures are what the berm looks like today. This is Pat at her best. We populated our new front bed with plants we needed to thin out from the berm. We have chives, creeping geraniums, day lilies, evening primrose, obedient plant, goats beard, Russian sage and who knows what else. I think I did a pretty good job of naming plants. With me it’s usually a hosta or it’s not. This stuff's in the sun even. You may see ragweed in the berm. We do not consider it a weed. Butterflies and bees love it. I forgot the sedum. We have three kinds of sedum in the berm. I’ll remember the names for another post.
Our attempt at vegetable gardening is in the foreground. If the fence doesn’t keep the rabbits out, I’ll have to turn into Elmer Fudd and play Wagner.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Someone had a nice meal of hosta. Whoever ate the hosta must have liked it because there were no leaves on the ground. I've tried the leaves and don't get it. Even with oil and vinegar, I don't think I 'd like hosta leaves. I do like rabbit (the probable culprit). Not the kind we have in the yard. Our yard rabbits and all the wildlife that call our yard home are like house guests. And you do not eat your house guests.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

spring has sprung

It seems like it was only a couple a weeks ago when I was fretting over an early spring yard. The only signs of life were the hellebores. I wondered if anything was going to come back. Now I can’t even find the hellebores. This past weekend, while Pat was planting new stuff in pots and rearranging the nursery, I was digging out overcrowded plants. Our neighbor is now the proud owner of a dozen 3 foot tall ligularia plants. As a rule, Pat and I do not dead head our perennials. I am basically lazy and it seems like so much work. I do cut down old daylily and hosta stalks, but that is about it. We prefer to let the birds get the seeds and any self-seeding is a bonus. When we had a lot of empty between plants this seemed like a good idea. Everybody was a winner. We got extra plants, I got to take cool winter pictures and the birds got some extra food. Last year we still had some empty, this year, not so much. In the past if a small plant was threatened by encroachment it was easier to move the plant than worry about the encroachment. This year our big hostas bumped up against ferns and ligularia run rampant. Or was it the other way around, since hosta don’t move real fast and rampant expansionism are not usually associated with them? I’m not moving these guys. They are just too big. How does one person move a hosta that is 3 ft. tall and 5-6 ft. wide? Besides, I have a garden box to build and more plants to get. The ferns and ligularia had to go. Now I know you probably heard their cries as I was digging them up, but I assure you, they all have good homes; some are even in our yard.
You can see how the ligularia is crowding out Big Blue

Now Big Blue has some breathing room.

We finally decided upon a 4 ft. by 8 ft. garden box 18 in. tall. It will complement the tomatoes and peppers we grow in pots. We put a grid pattern over the garden box to give us an idea where to place the plants. We are interspersing flowers among the vegetables. About the time we need to either contact the UFW or rent a combine (I really am a city kid), we’ll make a decision about adding another box. I think we can turn this thing into a cold frame with a little work. I want to thank NikkiJabbour at year round veggie gardener for her advice. We made the box out of manufactured wood made from recycled plastic and wood products. Her blog is a great read, so if you haven’t visited, give it a try. Bangchik at my little vegetable garden has a great blog for flower and vegetable gardening ideas, so visit if you haven’t. It seems that the people I read also read the people I read. It’s kind of eerie, but just in case, I recommend these two blogs. Well I have to get a pair of bib overalls. I can hear it now. Green Acres is the place to be….

Our gardening season is already a success. Look at the pumpkin plants growing from the pumpkin we let go to seed over the winter. We have moved plants around because who knew it would get so big. I thought that semis filled with pumpkins left them on farmers fields after aliens made mazes and designs on their fields. The day lilies stay until they finish blooming.