Wednesday, May 25, 2011

need your help

One of my colleagues at work needs your help. She has this beautiful flower and can’t identify it. I looked at the picture and went: “pretty, I am clueless, but do you have any extras?” It blooms the same time as daffodils. It is growing under a lilac tree. Any and all help is appreciated. For some strange reason, people at work think that since I can grow hosta, I am all knowing in the area of gardening. Heck, I can’t even identify the hosta I have and I bought them.

now i know

Pat sent this picture with the suggestion that I use it for a wordless Wednesday post. Once I saw it, I thought Oh no! This picture answers an age old question, or at least one of my age old questions. Where do avocados come from? I am a child of the Great Lakes, cold snowy winters and hot humid summers. The Great Lakes region grows a lot of different kinds of fruit and vegetables, but I don’t think avocados are one of them. I always thought that avocados came from the Jewels or maybe the Giant Eagle, maybe they grew on vines or in the ground like potatoes. Imagine my astonishment when I saw the picture. Avocados come from the sky.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cleveland Asian Festival

This past weekend was Cleveland’s Asia Festival and you bet I went. Pat and I are always searching for festivals to visit. Since pat is still visiting the grand kids (wow! That’s the first time I’ve used that word. I think I’ll use it again, it sounds so cool. Grand kids), I ate enough for both of us. There were two stages so there was something to see and hear all day.

I mentioned to the gentleman on the right that I had not found a Filipino restaurant since I left Chicago. He finished my thought when he said; "you mean the one in Downers Grove? i used to go to that one also." Boy, that was weird and cool at the same time.

Mayor Frank Jackson, mayor of Cleveland was at the festival, and took the time to get a picture with me. I almost bumped into this guy on the way home. The deer was standing on the side of the road, looking like it wanted to cross . I stopped the car, waiting for it to cross. The deer just stood there, not trusting me. I wasn't going to go after it, as much as I might want to. You never know, he's probably related to the deer that eat my hosta.

Friday, May 20, 2011

adventures in California gardening

Post by Pat

When Katie and Sean bought their townhouse two years ago, we promised to plant the small planting beds around their front courtyard (the “yardette” as Jim has christened it). The project began with the decision to start small and just plant 2 bushes on each side for privacy. They can decide on the rest of the plantings later. So, on Sunday, Katie and I took a trip to the garden center, where we purchased 4 bushes, 2 bags of planting soil, 2 bags of composted steer manure (!), a shovel, and a pair of garden gloves. And it all fit into Katie’s little Escort (well, in two trips).
The plan was to dig a few holes, mix the soil and manure in the holes, and plant the bushes. I’ve done it hundreds of times. How hard could it be? Let’s just say that I should have gone right back to the store and rented a jackhammer.
I was expecting the soil to be hard, maybe even a little rocky. That would have been pleasant! What I found was a gravel/limestone paving base for the brick patio, extending about 12 inches into the planting beds (way larger than the actual patio). This was covered with an inch of dirt/mulch. Where there wasn’t paving base there was construction debris: chunks of concrete, odd pieces of wire, random plastic, but mostly concrete and what I would call “desert dust” as opposed to actual soil. The shovel was no match for this stuff. Back I went to the store for a hand pick.
All day Sunday I chipped away a trench on one side of the patio, long and deep enough for two bushes. I had to dig about 14 inches before I hit clay. I was never so happy to see clay! Monday I planted the first 2 bushes. Then it rained. The rain did NOT make the ground any softer. Wednesday I worked on the other side; it was more of the same. Clink, clink, clink with the hand pick. I felt like one of the seven dwarfs in the diamond mine, only I didn’t have six other helpers. Thursday I finished up the trench, hit clay, and planted the other bushes. They look really good. I just hope I’ve given them enough of a good start so that they adapt to their surroundings.

I used to go camping. I know how to pack a car.

Concrete, say hello to my little friend . . .

In the trenches.

A bug's eye view.

The finished product

I added some impatiens in a pot because I couldn't NOT add some flowers.

an Elmer Fudd moment

I glanced out the window and saw two bunnies. Ah! How cute I thought. Maybe I can get a pic or two. I grabbed the camera, walked outside and heard Elmer Fudd singing Wagner. All I could think of was “kill the wabbit.” Those cute little bunnies were actually ravenous beasts chowing down on my plants. I’ve been wondering why some of the plants in the flower bed didn’t seem to be growing. I mean plants sitting in a bed of sweet peet, warm temps and constant rain were not growing. Now I know why. I got to find new homes for a bunch of plants, out of reach from these pesky, but cute, critters

Thursday, May 19, 2011

for Pat, part II

I was stuck in rush hour traffic on the Stevenson Expressway, coming home from a funeral when I looked up and saw one of those “End of the World May 21” billboards. At the rate I was moving, there was a good chance that I would still be on the Stevenson when the 21st rolled around. How disappointing, the end of the world and I’m sitting in traffic! Bummer. I think the guy who paid for the billboard might have it wrong. I think the end of the world will occur when the Chicago Cubs get into the World Series, but what do I know?

The end of the world and Pat and I still have gardening to finish. Pat is gardening Katie and Sean’s yardette. I don’t think it’s big enough to be called a yard, so I’ve coined the term yardette. With luck, Pat will finish and get a post in before it’s too late. I am going to wait on the gardening till the back yard dries out, end of the world or not. It’s been raining for the last five days so the ground squishes when I walk on it. While the rain has brought to life every weed in the yard, at least they are easy to pull.

Here are some more pics for Pat. Maybe the yard will be dry enough to walk on by the time she gets back home. Pat, if the boys could talk, they would tell you they miss you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

for Pat

It’s been too wet to work outside, but not too wet to take pictures. Pat’s out with Katie and the girls so she is missing out on the garden coming to life. I am behind on garden work. It could be the weather or the trip to see the girls (I will refer to our granddaughters as “the girls” in all future writing, unless Pat or Katie tells me not). I think the real reason is that Pat is missing. I work better when Pat is around to tell me what to do. The pots and rabbits are still on the patio. What do I fill them up with and where do I put them. These are decisions I have never made. Maybe I will make a monument of pots and rabbits, something really garish, just this side of tacky.
Since Pat can’t be with the plants, I am bringing the plants to Pat.

Friday, May 13, 2011

rain, rain, go away

It was sunny when I left school yesterday. I was thinking that I could get a nice walk in with the boys and still have time to garden. a couple miles from home I saw a wall of rain that i was heading towards. It was a zoological rain, cats, dogs, frogs and locusts. So much for gardening and I couldn't get the boys out of the garage.