Tuesday, August 30, 2011

end of august stuff

Pat and I are back from the land of no weather. I mean 69-78 yesterday, today and tomorrow with no humidity was a nice change of pace, but really, is that weather? It was fun hanging out with Katie, Sean and the girls. I promised myself once that I wasn’t going to turn into that grandparent who showed everybody pictures of his grandkids. Well that was before I had a bazillion pictures to show. With a digital camera, there is no such thing as too many pictures.
One of our neighbors volunteered to water our containers while we were gone. I figured that the rest of the garden could fend for itself while we were gone. We are over a foot ahead last year in rainfall so how bad could it get? While August is traditionally pretty dry, it’s been raining what seems to be every other day. As luck would have it, we got a couple of gully washers while we were gone. We landed in the rain. Only a gardener would be happy landing in the rain. We had standing water in all the normal places.
I needed to get into the yard and get my garden fix. I have not spent nearly the amount of time in the garden as I wanted to this summer. The garden is source of peace and tranquility for me, sitting out there with the critters, birds, bees, butterflies and my books. I’ve taken a ton of pictures but haven’t had time to post. The wet summer gave us the best ligularia display we have ever had. You can hear the bees buzzing around the yard. Butterflies have dog-fights over the flowers almost every day. The front yard is also booming. The tall rudbeckia doubled in size from last year, as have the hibiscus.
Disaster befell our pumpkins this year. Something attacked the stems right where they broke through the surface. All our plants died. We pulled the vines up and replaced them with mums. Hopefully, we’ll do better next year.

Here are some pictures of the yard in no particular order. I chose them because they look cool.
Pat and I are going to split all our hosta and thin out the ligularia, probably in October. I’ll send them anywhere that doesn’t cause late night knocks on the door by some state’s garden police. So give a yell if you want any. I’m not good with names, but can match pictures.

 Everything we have planted in this soil tile has been eaten. In years past impatiens would big as giant ice cream cones and then poof! gone overnight. Lancifolia hosta would get huge and then, gone. I thought that maybe the deer or giant rabbits wouldn't like albomarginata hosta. Well before anyone brings up the whole insanity definition nonsense, I am going to move the soil tile in the fall, away from the deer path.

wordless wednesday

Thursday, August 11, 2011

garden where you find it

Pat and I are visiting Katie, Sean and the girls this week. Pat planted 4 camellias 3 months ago when she was visiting and this time I got the urge to add to the yardette. We amended the soil with 7 bags of garden soil and planted periwinkle as a ground cover till Katie can get some giant pots in the yard.  I know some people think that vinca minor is invasive. Well, I prefer to think of it as exuberant. Hardy and fast growing is what Pat and I wanted because with the twins at 4 months, Katie doesn’t have time to garden. We also put some New Guinea impatiens in the pot.  The whole thing only took about 2 hours. I got my garden fix and Katie, Sean and the girls got a nice front yard.

I had to put a picture of Pat and the girls in. Abigail is on the left and Fiona is on the right.

Monday, August 8, 2011

color on the horizon

Pat and I have been making weekly trips to Chicago this summer, sometimes together, but mostly alone.  It’s a five and a half hour trip whenever we leave and I can probably do it in my sleep. The trips are depressing when driving alone. About half way through the trip melancholia surrounds me like a Steven Foster song. The radio becomes an annoyance instead of a distraction. I think about how I told myself I wasn’t going to do this, this summer. I was going to stay at home and work in the garden all summer. But we make the trips to see my mom and Pat’s mom. Right about the time when I want to sink into despair I see color up ahead. Not the greens and ambers of farms, but garden colors. I pull over on the side of the road and gaze. I don’t know if it’s a sign or just serendipity but I feel refreshed and my sadness disappears.   

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ohio State Fair

Weekly visits to Chicago have not left much time for gardening or day trips for us. Luckily, Pat and I found ourselves back home during the Ohio State Fair. It is BIG! HUGE! GARGANTUAN! We saw a giant cow made from butter and a giant pig and piglets made from chocolate. We visited the various animal barns and discovered marketing at its best. You can visit cows in the cow barn and then eat them at a steak stand. You can visit the pigs in the pig barn then eat sausage at a sausage stand. Outside the hose barn there was an iced tea stand. After all, we are civilized carnivores in Ohio.

The arts and crafts barn was a cornucopia of stuff. Quilts, duck tape creations, cakes, preserves. There was a vegetable and fruit carving competition while we were there. One of the barns had flower arrangements. I find flower arrangement amazing. I can barely grow flowers, let alone create designs.

Pat and I walked around the fair for 3 hours and found ourselves at the opposite end from where we started. It was a good thing that there was a gondola ride to take us back to where we started.

Since we were heading down to Columbus, we thought why not make a detour to our favorite nursery? Scioto Gardens, in Delaware, Ohio, specializes in plants native to Ohio. They grow all the plants they sell and have an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. The young man who helped us last month remembered us and our plant selection. That is really good customer service, or else he knows the signs of a plant addict. Either way, I knew we would leave happy. I even kept the receipts from the last couple of visits so I could use the plants’ actual names when I blogged about them. Alas, we are visiting the grandkids in California and the list is in Ohio, so the post on our new plants will have to wait.

I am an urbanated individual. My knowledge of farm animals extends to knowing that you eat them, after you buy them at a grocery store. So when we came across the chicken barn I found Foghorn Leghorn across the aisle from Mr. Black Chicken.