Idyll #477 ..Flower Power

dodgerdudetteApril 7, 2010

We do love our flowers don't we ?

Carry on Idylls !

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Yes indeedy, we do love our flowers!

I am just home from photography class and it was fun! We viewed each other's pictures and I'd say we have a talented class. Our assignment next week is to make moving water a blurred image, and then make it sharp.

It was fun to have a big birthday bang around's been too quiet lately :)

G'night all!


    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 10:12PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A quick wave from this corner. At work, we're having the busiest spring in several years, which is a wonderful thing. On the home front, the chicks are doing great. They've got wings and tails and they get bigger every day. DH gets home tomorrow evening; he called this evening and it was so nice to hear his voice!

I'm determined to get to bed at a decent hour since last night was a late night.

Hosta manana!


    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 10:30PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

YEAH!!!! New plant supports were delivered today. I hope we get around to installing them on Sunday. Life is hectic before then. I'll photograph them once they are in place.

Ivy plays Canasta:

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 10:36PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Well, I'll chat a bit here til I get "caught"...
Great cards everyone!! Boy, too numerous to mention them all - they are Great!

That Miss Ivy sure does look like her Mom to me, 'bug -- what a cutie!

I've spent the last 2 nites lugging hoses around -- things are just drooping all over. Have had some odd winter damage/losses too -- a S. Bernhard peony that was probably 15 years old and massive in the front garden seems to have died off -- I think there was huge runoff from the roof melt and 5 foot piles of snow there, is all I can figure -- there are 2 little stalks that have shot up but that's it -- it leaves quite a whole in the front/side garden... I managed to coppice all my japanese hollies around the patio down to the ground because of severe breakage in their centers - but with this heat, geez, could I have done it at a worse time? will be interesting to see if they make it .....

The bulbs are a bit of a fiasco this year too -- many many must have been gotten by squirrels or water rot -- there are huge blank spots where I know I planted groups and maybe 1 is there now. An entire box of supposedly rose colored ones turned out to be very very bright orange in the backyard -- but I dont recall what cultivar they should have been - other than pink -- well, luckily they bloomed early & with daffs and they've been blown out by the heat - gone over as the lovely Brit phrase says...

I have serious cleanup on the patio to do, buying compost/mulch and dirt to replace huge areas where water runoff lowered the soil areas and o geez, so much more. No rest for the weary -- but I am managing to WALAT as I water at least.

Cyn - meant to tell you how lovely I thought that viburnum looked in one of your cards! Really pretty - is it a carlesi type?

Norma - I loved your shrub photos -- they all look so mature and beautiful - cant wait to see more of your gardens as they really pop this Spring.

Glad to hear things have picked up for your work, V -- altho it will require craziness on your part Im sure re hours, etc. -- ultimately that's a good sign isnt it?

well, I've blathered enough -- missed saying hi to lots of folks Im sure....


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 1:16PM
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Had to sneak in for a moment..did anyone who subscribes to it notice the contributor of the FG Garden Photo of the Day today ? One of our own ! Beautiful combo Michelle !

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 1:42PM
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We should probably add a link, Kathy :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Fabulous Photo of the Day!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 2:26PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yeah Michelle!!!

So much talent here...and not only on the gardening front either.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 2:40PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Ooh Michelle, wonderful combo. Obviously, everyone else agrees!! Congrats.

Cindy, I just bought the viburnum (yes, carlesii)at Merrifield. It caught my eye because it was covered with just buds in that amazing deep pink/reddish shade. I don't think I had ever seen one at that stage before, so the "just looking" trip turned into a "just buy one thing...or maybe two" trip. Now I am trying to figure out where to plant the dang thing so it will get enough sun. I have watered some, too. Can't believe how dry it is!

kathy, sounds like a fun celebration at the awfice and a lovely evening at home, too.

Chelone, you do make me laugh. It was nice to hear your 'voice' on the last thread.

Ah, Ivy...I used to play canasta with my grandma, too. Need a refresher, but remember it was always fun. She taught me bridge as well, although I never learned it well enough to join her bridge club.

Going to neighbor's for casual dinner-old (former!) neighbors are back in the area for a couple of days, so we're all getting together. Should be fun and relaxed.

I am thinking of getting some Astroturf type stuff (the new kinds are supposed to look pretty good) put down where the pups have done the most damage. Wonder if that is feasible? Affordable? I am tired of hard-packed dirt around that side of the patio. I don't think anything alive will survive. Maybe some of those violets?

All for now. Cold front coming in tomorrow-we'll be going from 90 to 60 degrees. Why the devil can't we have 72 degrees????

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 4:23PM
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My grandma loved canasta. She was widowed when I was 11, we each were assigned a week to stay with her in the summer to keep her company and so we play alot of canasta and dominoes. A gardening grandma would have been more fun.

Ivy is really concentrating on those 2 cards.

Tonight I did my big burn of the wildflower area. The wind had been blowing fiercely the last couple of days and finally quit.

There was a nice box of plants from the UPS man when I got home. Now to decide where to put them.

Cyn, we went from a few days that got to around 80 back to the 50's. It was 59 when I got home today, but sunny and no wind. It was really quite lovely this evening.

Cindy, some years things seem so disappointing in the garden. I'm always suprised how quickly other things take over and shine. You have had some weird weather. Its unreal that you have to water so soon. I rarely water until at least mid-July.

I really didn't think about submitting to the FG photo of the day thing, but I was browsing through some pictures the other night and thought I'd give it a shot. I'm sometimes amazed how much nicer my garden appears in pictures out of season. I think I don't appreciate it enough during the season if that makes any sense.

I was looking through the pictures trying to remember what I wanted to move. Usually I make a list but either failed to or can't find it in my somewhat disorganized garden shed. So I spent a little time tonight after dark cleaning the shed.

Last night I finally started the roman shade that I've been putting off. Of course Garden Smart came on and I thought I'd take a break. That was the end of the sewing. I should really get at it.


"To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch their renewal of life - this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do."...Charles Dudley Warner, author, editor, publisher (1829 - 1900)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:26PM
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Roses are days away I think, a few have opened but the big showÂis still several days off-days not months mind you ! There is a rose garden across the road from Mission Santa Barbara that I hope to visit when I am down there next week, it should be way ahead of me bloom wise.

I hope to spend quality time in the community garden plot this weekend, hopefully it will be ready for planting when I return from SB. More rain is on the way though !

Thanks for propping me up with that link Saucy ! It was fun to open that up this morning and see our Michelle ..or at least her plants. I get that in my awfice e-mail , starts the day out on a proper note. I hope you will share some of your images from photo class. I still need to sign up for the class in May here at the community college, but I am trying to work in a trip up to Portland, so scheduling is tricky.

V, I am very very happy to hear that business is good for you. We are seeing some good signs at my company too, though California is usually one of the last to go down , and one of the last to recover. Our garden center though is a definite bright spot.

What a kooky year youÂve had Cindy ..and Cyn too ! Hopefully things will settle down to a more normal pattern does hate to see the favored plants either blow or pass-on . I bought my first Lantanas last weekend , but had to hide them under a bench when the frost came back.

Awaiting Âbugs planting picsÂ

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Yeah-Who the hell IS 'Babs'!
Oh-oops that's me.

Let me first just say I am just floored that anyone(besides Chelone,of course)would think of me let alone post bday pics for me. Thanks-really that was so kind of you all. I have to give Michelle credit for clueing me in(thanks!)I just figured I've been missing for so long and didn't even think to look here too.Sorry.

What have I been up too? Well lets just say we're in teenage mode and I've decided that boys also go through whiplash-neck-breaking hormonal stuff too-man, and what if they got cramps too-a very ugly notion. : ) Well all I can say is at least Ryan has a few years before he evolves into the creature from the hormonal lagoon and AJ really isn't that bad, he was just an eye-opener. lol.
Really,we're all good here!

Sorry to run but I need to go to joann fabrics for notions. I'm making a prom dress for a friend's niece.

Nice to know you are mostly all here still!


    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:48PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Julie - what were you doing re your neck?! (see Moments thread) Get well soon...:-)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 2:15PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I just realized I got behind on the birthday greetings...

(May your roses be snail-free!)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 2:55PM
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Here you go girls! : )

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 4:19PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well so nice to see you Babs! Do stay a while! Glad to hear you are still sewing. I bet you are decorating cakes and playing nurse perhaps too? Are you in the same house?

Julie, now there must be a story attached to your recent news. Can we blame it on your horrid neighbor or was it the dogs' fasult? I hope things are getting better but it sounds like the sort of thing that takes a lot of pampering. (wine? meals in bed?)

Today is very cold and gloomy here but tomorrow should begin a warming trend. DH gives an exam in the morning, but I hope to get on with heavy garden things on Sunday. (Rain barrels, plant supports, burn pile...)

Time for true Canadian content.
An update here to DD's hockey season:

And Skyler practicing with neighbor kids:

TGIF to all!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 4:59PM
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Happy Birthday Kathy,

An overall pic of the pond and some of my beds.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 7:09PM
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Happy Birthday Denise

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 7:19PM
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Happy Birthday Babs, Good to have an update from you.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 7:23PM
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Michelle, congratulations on your FG picture post.

Julie, we need more details. But I'm guessing if your arm is not working right it's probably hard to type. Take good care of yourself.

I love to play canasta and taught my grandaughters too. We had lots of laughs when the would come on summer vacations.
Maybe next winter we should get a game going on Pogo.

Congrats to Bugs DD on the hockey win. And while pregnant too. I admire that girl. Yes Ivy does look like her mom.

Probably some stuff from the last thread I am missing. Hard to keep up right now. The weeds are growing faster than the flowers. But I am enjoying the spring show.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Good evening my friends ! The house was opened wide tonight after the awfice, very pleasant in the afternoon and evening, but the nights remain chilly with frosty conditions.

What fun on the Idylls today so see Babs emerge from the bushes to check in. And more glorious photos and b-day wishes.. there is an advantage to being born in spring.

Hi Babs ! Great to see you here, please stop by again..we miss you !

Norma , thank you so much for posting that long view of your garden , with the fabulous pond ! I love the shape of the beds and the paths , the tree punctuation , everything . I am going to nag for a photo from the same view this summer so you better add it to your things-to-do hereby advised.

And that reminds me, we talked about a four seasons photo shoot to share next winter taken from the same spot in our gardens. I have taken a few pics (Im taking one every month ) and this is a reminder ..we could have a pretty cool thread when garden season is closed . Get your cameras out Idylls !

Julie, what in the world happened to you ? It sounds serious, painful etc. I hope you will take it easy, can read along , and will update us when able. I hereby command all those men of yours to take as good care of you as you do them. (((Julie))).

Our family likes Pinochle, Hearts, and poker. My DH was a serious bridge player, and though I learned I didnt have the level of dedication to do it right. My kids have never learned Pinochle so its been years since we played

Lol Woody, I too hope for snail free roses.. the thorns tend to discourage them.

Time for dinner ..nite all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 10:13PM
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Oh my goodness Julie that sounds awful. Please update us when you can and know that good vibes are going your way.

Norma, that first picture is amazing! One would think botanical gardens.

Babs, great to see you. We all know how incredibly busy the days are with teens and tweens in the house. Do stop in and give us periodic updates.

Thanks for the reminder Kathy. I did a winter shot of the butterfly garden but not one since. Not much is really happening yet. Other than some daffodils theres no color. Just some green.

Im really enjoying the Friday moments thread. You just never know what you will see.

Today is the first day in the field for Rick the excitement begins.

I spent more time cleaning in my garden shed. It seems in the fall its just get it all packed in, the weather turns cold and I never really get things tidied up. I found a dead mouse yuck! I had a couple of cast leaves that I never painted last fall, so I started on a castor bean leaf also.

Did I mention that Im getting a chandelier for my shed? My dad picked one up on a garage sale and asked if I wanted it. It even has the dangly crystals.

Im so glad its Friday. We did an equipment upgrade at work and the internet has been flaky all week. Customers are getting testy. The company that bid the job didnt do enough research on our system and that caused much of the problems.


"Out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships."...Beverly Rose Hopper

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 11:07PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all of you whom I have missed. A beautiful Spring day filled with the promise of renewed growth is a wonderful thing to have!

About the neck....well Bug is right, the dofggies are involved, but it was my own stupidity that caused my injury.

Picture this: early to bed before a busy long wseekend. Rattiest pj's. crazy hair, good book. Tucker decides he too would like to snuggle down for the evening. So I lean waaaaay over, circle his twenty five pounds in my arms.......and fall out landing square on my head on the uncarpeted floor. Ambulance, backboard, go to local hospital, then transferred to the city, CAT scan, MRI and Easter week-end, of course with beautiful weather, spent sitting in the hospital. Fortuantely everything that was troubling is o.k. except my left arm, which doesn't want to work. I am in a neck brace until the 19th of April when further tests and scans take place and I have a visit with a neurosurgeon.

As my daughter said:"Thios isn't funny now, Mom, but it will be by Christmas!"

So that's the story. No cleaning. No lifting. No stairs. NO GARDENING@!!!!! I'll figure something out. And yes, my men are taking good care of me. Bunch of Mother Hens!



    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 6:44AM
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Ouch, Julie! I'm sure Chelone will give Rex a beating for that one :) I'll be thinking of you and hoping that you spontaneously heal up before your doctor's appoinment!

Norma, the long shot is amazing! First of all, what a lot of work has gone into your gardens! You girls with the big spaces amaze me. Did you have the vision before it came together? When I look out my window, I can "see" my GG even though it is not there yet :)

We had a rainy day yesterday and I had a 70 y.o. man here to repoint the brick foundation. Lots of experience :) Problem was that he worked in the rain and I kept worrying that he'd be sick out there! He talked about how much he loved his wife every time I brought him a hot cup of coffee.

Kathy, I will share some of my class photos but I have to find a better way to get them up...I'm still struggling with processes. This class has taught me lots in just the two sessions!

Okay, time to go see what this day brings.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 7:10AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

There is sun! (There's also snow on the ground...)

DH has to give an exam today, but I don't. I need to get to the dump, change the cat litter, write a letter for my Swiss friend in English and get him to help me reply to my uncle's letter in French. But all that after I hit the treadmill. With my class reunion in June, I need to achieve some level of fitness. Gardening should help.

Some garden thoughts for 2010:
I'm hoping the nurseries have a few interesting selections this year. It has been a dry couple of years in terms of selection for me. Even clematis choices have dwindled since my friend has stopped his business. I've seen things on the web, but seldom available nearby. I liked Acanthus 'whitewater', but it is for zones 7-10, which certainly is not here! Last year I wanted agastache and couldn't find ANY. A photo of Agastache 'Black Adder' appealed to me. Euphorbia 'ascot rainbow' looked nice in photos, but never saw it here. Oh well, first to clean up the beds, prune trees and vines, and work on edging and weeding. (Yes, weeds are growing already.)

Yesterday I tried to order several plants by mail and ALL OF THEM were already out of stock. Strange when dates for the last frost days are a month away still.

Time for breakfast everyone!

Enjoy the weekend!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 7:48AM
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Beautiful day in the forecast here so Im anxious to begin working outside. Dinner planned, DH gone for the day, laundry running through as I typealmost ready for a playdate in the gardens!

Michelle, congratulations on your FG photo! You have such a touch for combining plants whether in containers or in ground gardening. Curious if you mentally plan a whole grouping or fit plants into existing areas? Promise youll post a picture of the chandelier, what a find!perfect accent for adding yet more charm to the shed.

Norma, I am continually amazed when you post garden photos. I had no idea they were so expansive and established. The long shot brought an "ooooh" to my lips. Previously, I had only seen the pond photos and though they were marvelous! BTW, that photo of Niki just cracked me uptotal, boneless, relaxation.

Thanks for the reminder on the four season shots, Kathy. Still time for the early spring scene although without blooming bulbs itll be pretty barren in my garden.

Julie, Julieomigosh! Your acrobatic attempt gives me pause in regard to the contortions I do without thinking of consequences. Hope you improve quickly and the arm problem is just from an irritated nerve ending. Take care!

Bug, youve taken some great photos of DD shes looking happy and contented. And what a darling profile expression of Ivy with the cards!

Dryer is off so I must fold clothes in order to proceed outside. Waving to all I missed and wishing everyone a good weekend doing what you love!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Julie, I've seen where people with small dogs will have some small steps for the dog to get on the bed. Of course then you have to be careful not to trip over the steps. The no gardening order is really a bummer. I'd have a hard time obeying that one.

Candy, I'm not a big planner usually more of a plopper. This area is a little more planned since I made it only a few years ago after I learned a thing or two about garden design. Now just to work on all the hodgepodge areas.

'bug, I deal with that all the time here. The nursery offerings are just the more common plants that non-gardeners and landscapers will buy. If I have my heart set on something I really have to order it. I can see why you can't find clems locally with all that you have.

Saucy, what a sweet man. I doubt that my DH thinks much about me while he is working.

Have a great Saturday.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 10:56AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Julie - I sure hope the arm problem is temporary! If it turns out not to be though, I can tell you how to make typing easier. QWERTY keyboard are a PITA to type on one handed but the Dvorak right-handed keyboard is fantastic and Windows easily switches between the two of them.

Norma - ditto what Candy said re the pond photo - fabulous place...

Michelle - congratulations re the FG photo. And we definitely need a picture of the chandelier! I tend to associate certain images to each Idyller and that beautiful shed and its garden is what I think of when I think 'Michelle'.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 11:00AM
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Yow-za Julie, scary how such a simple every day act can have such ugly results ! Good wishes for a speedy recovery and the continued devoted service from the guys.

Norma, I meant to mention yesterday day that the photo you posted on the moments thread of Niki is just classic ! One always wants to have a camera nearby for episodes like that.

Saucy, Ive found Picasa pretty slick for organizing, editing and web-album-ing my photos. Its free too. Ive been using it for a few years, but learned a few things in my photo class that were very helpful , and as a result I have done a lot of clean up in my files, and have a better understanding of how they work.

bug, I am on the prowl for a couple Agastaches too; I bought one in fall, but I dont think it survived the winter in its little 4" pot. They are usually hardy here so I suspect operator error.

Adding my call-out to Michelle for a pic of the chandelier. I always wanted to hang one in my late gazebo.

Its been cool breezy and overcast here today, with more storms coming in starting tomorrow. Got all my rain collection devices set up . I am fretting over a few plants that have not shown any signs of breaking dormancy, most of them Dahlias, and my Salvia Wendys Wish that I planted last year. Ill be bummed if it doesnt come back; it was a great plant . I found the tag today and it says its hardy to 20 degrees. We had several nights in the 20s this winter but I dont recall it dipping much below 25. My Iochroma looks pretty dead too. If I dont see life on those Dahlias by the end of the month Im going to have to think about replacements. We did get a tremendous amount of rain this winter, so rotting is not out of the question.

Ok, here are some sights from my garden today waves to all my imaginary friends .

Kathy in Napa

This Iris is always early. From Garden 2010 Spring

Niobe ! From Garden 2010 Spring

Spring greens From Garden 2010 Spring

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 7:55PM
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I want to say Happy Birthday to Kathy, Babs and Denise! And thanks for the beautiful BD pics for me, everything is so pretty.

Kathy, your garden is beautiful. Hard to believe that somewhere out there in imaginary land iris are blooming...

Candy, what brand of shoes did you get? I am always on the prowl for something I can stick my foot into, and with the Idyllunion coming up, I want to try to find something I can walk in all day. I have some sandals type coming. I think they are Ecco brand. I will post a pic, the top strap is cut across my toes and totally avoids my toe knuckle. To my way of thinking, way too expensive, but they are going on sale, so she is ringing them up on the 17th, and when I try to go cheap, I end up not wearing them. I just gave away 4 pairs of gym shoes that were a waste of $$$, and I end up spending more than if I had just bought the one I can wear the first time around. Getting old is rough..

Norma, your garden is absolutely gorgeous! I just love spring, and it looks especially pretty at your house.

Julie, hope you are recovering from your mishap.

Today my goal is to clean the front foyer, and then try to get out in the garden. The kids come for dinner on Sundays, so I have to head to the store and pick up some food. I didn't think Mary Kate and Brandon would come out with the baby so fast, but she just called and asked if the invite was still open. I had told her I would bring dinner to them if they didn't want to come out because she lives around the corner. When they had Charlie, they didn't take him out this fast. She must be feeling pretty good, and I'm glad of that.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday. It is sunny here..I want to work on my seeds this afternoon too.. when the weather breaks it seems like there are a million things to do.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:38AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We have a beautiful day here too Drema. I'm in for a short break. It has been "one step forward and 3 steps back" this morning. First we were going to move the potting bench out of the garage. Unfortunately, it is rotting and DH will need to make it sturdy once again. But it in order to get it out of the garage we needed to move the riding mower. To do that we needed to recharge the battery. You get the picture? Anyway, the mower is working now but the bench remains in the garage. DH is working on the burn pile. I cleared a few branches and twigs and then went indoors to wash up a few dishes. There was no water. What the heck? So with a fire burning we definitely needed water. I collected some buckets of water from the creek and then DH went inside and found that a fuse had blown. Pretty mysterious about that, but at least that was fixed easily.

While picking up sticks I found a large branch from a wild hawthorne had landed on a hellebore of mine and snapped off the blooms. :( Just yesterday I marveled at how pretty this seedling was. I'll show you this yellow one:

OK, time to get back out there and do something productive before lunch.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:22AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

gb - very pretty hellebore! A seedling? Patent it and make a fortune... :-)

Productive day in the garden here. Front garden cleaned up enough so I can turn my attention to the backyard starting tomorrow. Randy removed the Hot Cocoa rose. It had exceeded its allowable black spot quotient in the last few years! I've decided to make the herb bed (where it was) into a bed that shades from the pink Angel roses at the bottom through apricot/peachy tones in the middle to orang/red tones at the top. There are already some orange/rust daylilies near the top and an orange trumpet lily. Last year I planted a 'Peaches and Cream' Oso Easy rose near the pink roses and a 'Paprika' rusty orange one near the top. I'll add a 'Mary Webb' rose in the mid rection (after Randy harvests the garlic growing there now) and some of the orangy coneflowers and red hot pokers at the top end. The silver leaves of the lavender and sage in the bed should help blend everything I think.

I'm determined this year to get the Vyvyan Pennell clematis to climb and not be just a blob at ground level! I cleaned most of the old dead stuff off it (and a few bits of live stuff by accident!) and tied up the old stems to the lattice on the front porch. They reach about 3' up so I'm hoping I can get the new growth that's appearing to go up too.

There are a couple of weeks spring and fall when I think the garden is too big! But I can't think of anything I'm willing to give up... I think as we get older and more decrepit, we'll have to hire a landscape crew for a week or two in spring and fall and supervise them closely to make sure they do things the way we like them done!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 4:07PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

What a perfect day to work outside!

I managed to seed some grass, weed Reed's (memorial) garden and install the bird bath there. I moved some sedum Angelina there too.

DH finished burning lots of branches and twigs and I escaped to a nursery where I picked up a few things. I bought a container and filled it with more Angelina. Also bought a Morden Sunrise rose (again - I admit it!), a couple of special hellebores, another tall grass, blue phlox and a strange looking corydalis. What fun to be back in the swing of things!

The owner of the nursery remarked that they have seriously cut back on roses because people are no longer buying them. It may be that folks simply think they are fussy and don't know how to choose suitable ones for our climate...or maybe they are buying them elsewhere. I know that David Austen roses are heavily advertised but they don't usually make it through the winter for me.

Upon my return I discovered that Phoebe was off for a walk with our friend along the river. When he came back, he decided he wanted to rebuild my potting bench. We'll see how that goes! I expect that tomorrow will involve more garden cleanup. The weeds are pushing up everywhere, but it is exciting to see the grass so green and growing tall. Soon it will be time to mow.

Oh yes, her are the supports I bought but they aren't installed properly yet...This is the one to help contain Clematis Betty Corning.

This is a view of all three.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends to the fullest!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 8:47PM
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Rain , and more rain today , its showery now but it rained steadily all day long till about 4pm. Only 2 days at the awfice this week and then its off to SoCal, and my long awaited visit to Lotusland. The trip-staging area was opened today , and so far includes mostly camera and computer items . I hope to post from the road, both here and FB. The advantage with all this rain; DS will not have any watering to do except for my seedlings in the garage.

bug, I really like those supports , they look quite sturdy and will be unobtrusive when the Clems envelop them.Wow, on that Hellebore ! Im with Woody, Id buy one of those in a heartbeat.

Drema, I usually buy New Balance , and they have worked well for me the last few years. I was interested in Cyns post too, always looking for something better. The weight of the shoe seems to be a big deal for me. I buy all my shoes at either Lands End or LL Bean, except for the sneakers. I have always wanted a pair of Converse high-tops, not sure why ! I guess I like the way they look, but I bet they are no longer serious walking shoes.

Woody, I have a hard time imagining you being decrepit ! I think your plan is very apt, I have thought about the really heavy manual labor issues in my garden, and how I can sustain them. Right now I can still do almost all of it myself, but I know realistically there will be a time when help will be needed.

All for me tonight pining away for our absent friends.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:52PM
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I love the hellebore seedling too. I also really like the clematis supports and can't wait to see them filled out.

I struggled through the weekend to get anything accomplished and so today I shall have to wrap lots of little jobs up. It was too windy to play outside, and so I sulked around doing jobs, like laundry and cleaning the front porch, half way.

How exciting about your trip, Kathy. I have been thinking of a trip to TN but haven't put a lot of effort into it.

I lost my pick up truck today. We hired a new employee, so Nick went back to the pick up and gave up his van. Now I am thinking of all the jobs I did with the truck and am shopping for a replacement (hopefully with better gas mileage).

I have to take my leaves to a studio later this week, and I will have to be very creative to get them there in my car. Horse manure doesn't work in the car, either :) Nor do all the plants for sales.

I'm going to get ready for my walk. Have a great day, Idylls!


    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 7:21AM
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This is going to be a busy week here. The Wrecking Crew arrives tomorrow afternoon and will be here for a week. I watched the cats prowling around the yard this morning and felt bad that their world is about to be "rocked". C'est la vie, kids.

Tension at work is building and fills me a with a sense of dread as I am confident a confrontation looms. I have rehearsed a few pleasantly benign "conversation stoppers" that will permit me to cling to the "high road" in the face of relentless badgering about my hours.

I vacuumed the Salon yesterday, Saucy. I used my new Miele "Neptune" and I love it. Funnily enough it's very nearly the color of the walls! (not having to schlep that Kirby up and down the stairs is a real treat). What exciting news about your leaf castings! Incidently, one of my customers was blown away by the one you gave me. :)

Manure in a car is definitely a bad idea. My car is having a spa day today, having been greatly overdue for scheduled service.

I haven't done much in the gahdens. It's still pretty wet and I've been otherwise occupied with meaningful work (slipcovers that have turned out beautifully). It's probably not going to do itself, so when I have time it'll be waiting.

I gotta go.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:52AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Aaaw, how nice to have a post from Chelone! Yes, with spring comes heavy work and demanding people with impossible expectations. I'd love to hear some of your prepared comments, knowing you usually hit the nail on the head. Last night we were writing up a response to an outrageous government document and I wish we had your input. I told DH last night that each fact needed to be backed up with a corresponding vivid image that bites...and he came up with several choice ones. ;)

Here the house has already succumbed to dust bunnies, piles of laundry, unscrubbed floors and beyond. Fortunately I don't have a salon which people must see! This morning, since it is so chilly still, I did manage to tidy up my bedroom closet and gather some old garments to be recycled. Henceforth, it's all about the out of doors.

Saucy, all your activity WOWS me. Superwoman!

Time to get at it....

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:19AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Norma I ditto re the incredible "botanic garden" comment of your long views of your gardens I dont recall that vista before (except the snow one) and its soooo lovely to see how its all breaking out. It must lift your heart to see it from that view. Truly wonderful.

I confess to having ordered 6 agastaches for spring delivery I figured several likely had bitten the dust from the winter calamities and Im hopeful there will be a return to more normal zone 7 temps to overwinter my new purchases. Guess time will tell.

Julie be careful!!!!!! Glad to hear your guys are taking care of you now, if only you can supervise them in the gardens too. (I broke my foot on a Chloe toe when she was 2... its amazing how easily those accidents happen...)

O, Kathy your gardens are in full swing now I bet there isnt a bad angle to see there now.... love those iris.

Its been a bit of a struggle to stay out in the garden absent my buddy but I worked hard on Saturday and cleared the patio and set up a new bakers type rack to hold newbie plants, etc.; planted a few things and then could not work up enthusiasm again on Sunday but made some lists and took inventory of what remaining clematis have been lingering or if indeed any signs of life exist for them... I better be ready for the deliveries to start coming in the next 2 weeks...

Drema - that's amazing that your DD is feeling so terrific to be visiting already and only 24 hours in the hospital! Whew - hope she holds onto that energy as a new mom.

I hope, Saucy, you do get to upgrade on your vehicle its amazing how big trucks and cars come in handy for gardeners...

Glad to see Chelone check in Ill cross my fingers for the dreaded but expected confrontation... its amazing how just thinking of such possibilities can make one so stressed... I hate prolonging stuff like that.

'bug - I do also like those plant supports -- great concept for walls. I am using fencing somewhat like that (e.g., a tunnel up against the wall) but I think your concept will allow them to flow out much better and permit some air flow from the columns. Cant wait to see them in bloom.

Where is idyller Mary these days among others?


    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:21PM
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Saturday was a beautiful day! 79, sunny and no wind. Plants on wheels lots of moving and dividing. I heard a commotion and spotted a very funny grackle who had noticed himself in the mirror thats propped against the fence. All afternoon he tried to impress the bird in the mirror it was so funny. Later while taking a break in the shade I got s__t on. Probably that same grackle getting back at me. Things are beginning to look neat and tidy.

Sunday Rick got the idea to drag out our bikes. Both had flat tires and one blew out just after he filled it. So no biking for us. When the kids were home we hit the bike trails with regularity, but we havent for a few years.

This evening is another story Im housebound by the wind and cool temps. I guess bookwork should take precedence.

A new trainee started today and it seemed to go well. Im keeping my fingers crossed.

Hellebores are fairly new for me. I was wondering if you all cut all the foliage back or just the rattier stuff. I have 2 Ivory Prince which got huge last summer. One I cut all the foliage back and the other I left some. Its quicker to do it all.

Saucy, losing your truck to a new employee sounds like a good thing at least for the business. Hopefully, you can find something suitable. I dont actually use truck much. Whats the scoop on the studio?

bug, interesting just added Morden Sunrise and Blush. I fell in love with Sunrise a few years ago in Duluth. Did it not survive for you? I have 2 David Austins but thats really pushing the zone for me.

One of my oldest plants is a Nelly Moser clematis. I made the newbie mistake of giving it too short of a trellis. So like Woodys clematis it was a blob on the ground. A pretty blob though. So this was the year to cut it back. Rick may revise the trellis to give it longer legs.

Woody, my SIL who also gardens makes comments about my gardens being too big to take care of when Im old. I figure they may keep me young or Ill worry about that later. I would hate to give up a minute of the fun Im having now to worry about what may or may not be. Im like you and figure I may have to hire a little help someday.

Kathy, I like the fullness and two tones of your iris. The spring greens remind just how far ahead of me you are. Here the iris are about 4-6" tall.

I dont have the chandelier, but will certainly post a picture when it arrives.


No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth,
no culture comparable to that of the garden ...
But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.
- Thomas Jefferson, Garden Book, 1811

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:13PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'll try to call Mary for you Cindy!

There are 30 more animal photos, all winners of the 2009 National Geographic competition.

And then this recipe might attract some of you...(See below)

Off to soak in the tub. I ache all over from hours in the garden.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:17PM
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Thanks everyone for comments on my long view of the garden. To answer Saucy, I did not have a vision to begin with. Just a love of flowers and a dislike of ugly problem areas. So create a flower bed there. LOL, and especially if I could see it from inside the house. A lot of trial and error and it is a long way from perfect. Many plants come and gone too.
And as Woody said, "There are a couple of weeks spring and fall when I think the garden is too big! But I can't think of anything I'm willing to give up... "

Cindy,I understand how it must feel to be outside whithout Chloe, when that was a big part of your time spent with her.

Sounds like everyone is staying busy. I am so tired by the time I get in I don't always turn the computer on.
We are dry and warm here, and with the trees not fully leafed out things need watered already.
The pollen is so thick it's hard to tell if our truck is red or green. Can't leave the windows open or the house would be full of it too. I'm hoping with things leafing out all at once that maybe pollen season won't last as long. I've been suffering from allergies.

Bug love that hellebore and your new trellis look like just the thing. They look great along the shed too.

Kathy, have fun on your trip. You are probably ready for some R&R. I have buds on some iris but no blooms yet. Do you have daylillies blooming yet?

We catch Niki asleep in some pretty strange contortions. DH just called my attention to her a few minutes ago. She was half on her back with nose tucked into her tummy. Sorta looked like she fell asleep giving herself a bath. She is totally grubby these days as she wallows in every bit of dirt she can find. I'm going to have to give her a bath soon.

I'm fading away here, so TTYL. Norma

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Cute picture Bug.

Michelle, Bob just welded some pieces on the legs of a couple of trellis for me yesterday. I hope my clematis do better this year. I don't know if it is our ground or climate but They really don't thrive here.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:50PM
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Just a quick pop in tonight. Did not intend to post until I saw baby Jack had arrived. Long day and I've been curled up reading; more than ready for an early bedtime tonight.

Drema, Skechers had the original concept, I believe. Mine are Avia's version as I generally have good luck with that brand in sneakers. They're also coming out with different styles like Mary Jane's and a sandal. The shape eliminates the need to bend and stress the toe least the Avia's do for me. Go try a pair on, I'll be curious to hear your opinion and hope they work for you!

Night all...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:03PM
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The rain has let up and none is forecast for tomorrow- but its cold, I expect the wind machines will be on in the morning. Its seems we have had either frost or rain for the last several weeks. It will probably be a great year for cherries, apples etc, the fruits that require chill-provided the blossoms dont freeze. I brought awfice work home with me tonight , hoping to offset the horrid piles of work that accompany return from a few days off.

Michelle, so funny about that gracklethere is a bird that interacts with my passenger side mirror if I park in a certain spot when I go to work- a couple of people in the smoking area have observed his behavior and the evidence is all over the mirror and the side of my car . Apparently he perches on top of the mirror and then swoops in to attack his refectionthis seems to stimulate his digestive system quite a bit ! I know we are zones apart, but I cut all the old foliage back on the hellebores in winter as soon as I see evidence of new growth. This is yet another plant that is favored by snails ( the foliage only, they dont seem to care for the flowers thank god!) and they look really ratty by November.
I feel like the garden really keeps me active and will continue to do so for many years to come. I am still lugging around bales of compost , digging up mature shrubs etc ., and Im actively trying to do things that promote strength. Use it or lose it, right ? I try to be careful about my back, and if there is really heavy lifting to be done I call on DS for help.

Chelone, I hope things at the salt mines resolve themselves for you one way or another. Schlepping oneself to the office under those conditions is draining and discouraging !

Saucy, I dont think it sounds like you have time to go to TN ! Fortunately I have only a 6 hour drive to where Im going, and once I get past San Jose, its pretty scenic most of the way , especially this time of year . I have written down the addresses of a couple of garden centers down there- zone 10, so likely a month ahead of me here.

Cindy, Im sorry for the void you feel with your garden friend gone over the bridge. I enjoy my feline companions company so much, even though they seem to be snoozing most of the time.

Time to start closing up shop around here..later friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:53PM
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I have been neglect in telling you all what is going on across the street. I am working for my neighbor again, and this year she has decided to have an open garden party. She's been out of commission for a couple of years because she had shoulder surgery and her heart wasn't all in it.

I'll tell you, I'm tired every afternoon when I get home. We're amending each bed with composted horse manure that we source from a friend of hers. That means I'm pitching into the back of the pickup each morning.

I'm really excited for her and excited to see our progress. Her garden hasn't looked this good since the year that I moved here and started helping. Well, I guess it probably looked good before that, but I hadn't witnessed it :)

Good idea to work on the paper piles, Kathy. No one likes to leave knowing they're coming back to a pile of work!

Speaking of shoes - I've been wearing old athletic shoes in the garden and I'm looking for a better idea. What do you guys wear in the garden? I need something to keep the dirt from getting on my blue toenails :)

GB, I always imagine you running circles around me, so I can't imagine that you think I'm busy! In fact, it's all of you that sound busy to me!

I'll bet Mary will be here when we have school vacation in April.

My photography class has me walking all around my neighborhood looking for subjects and seeing things differently. I am using Picasso, Kathy, but I think it is the laptop that is the problem...and my lack of desk space. That is something I've been needing to set up and I haven't done that yet. Put it on the list for a rainy day, I guess. Pictures tomorrow when I prepare them for class!

Have a great garden day if you can!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 7:09AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

well, that rain is coming in our direction now, I believe, Kathy -- altho mostly showers and we could use it... Six hours is a long drive in my estimation (altho to NE it's usually about 8 or 9 for me from my area - and it tuckers me out)...I hope you truly enjoy the drive and the vacation!

Michelle -- eek re the grackle -- and especially the response you apparently got -- I hope it was not on your head at least! I know a woman who used to walk on the Mall here in D.C. and had that happen at least 3 times - right on her head -- we started calling her bullseye because that must have been what she had on her head for birds... very strange how odd things happen.

Saucy - I wear the muck shoes - love 'em -- in the garden w/ socks -- it dims the dirt issues for one's toes, but doesnt completely guarantee clean ones. That's neat that you're getting both a great workout and reward watching and working in your neighbor's gardens - I bet it will be a blast with the garden party.

Here in VA, most of the schools have had their vacations - it's usually either earlier or right before Easter.... always interesting when other areas have different schedules.

Im sorry the allergies are causing such suffering for you, Norma -- I have them year-round too, but it's really bad right now -- and I never have my windows open sadly because of that.

'bug - what cute photos - you'll have to take up the PM2 mantle and offer up regular NAt. Geo photos for us. And I do love your quotes, Michelle, that you've been signing off with -- where do you get them all?

I have to get cracking on being inspired for some of the things I ordered -- most of which as usual I really didnt figure out where they're supposed to go.... and other things that have died now present new opportunities of a sort but Im suffering design block or something, LOL. Well, truthfully, I havent spent a lot time figuring it out yet... but I better get busy!

Happy Spring day to all....


    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:13AM
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The FG Picture of the Day or GPOD is from our friends Les and Monique's extrordinary CT garden.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:45AM
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Stealth post..

Once again Idyll fame is far and wide FG photo of the day is from the fabu-fabu garden of Les and Monique !

I wear Mucks too Saucy, and love the. They are hot in the summer though , so if I'm not digging holes I switch over to crocs or clogs.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:52AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I usually chop off all the leaves of my hellebores in April, except for any very new growth. This year the blooms came early and I am behind.... It's a bit tricky to work there because the martagon lilies grow between the hellebores and I'd hate to crush those.

I wear my old running shoes in the garden. (I can't work without arch supports.)

This morning I installed the old porch swing and got the cushions out there for it. I'm taking a break now for a bite to eat. Been weeding around the clematis holding bed in the veg garden. I feel behind already!

All that talk about preparing for the time when you'll be too old to work the whole garden! I'm there, and have been for 2-3 years. It is a tough thing to admit and to feel. I have not told DH however. It is so nice to have younger friends who offer to do a few things for me. Frankly, there are few people I trust to weed here. People don't always understand that there are plants that are late to surface or leaf out, grasses that do not get cut back, how to deal with roses and clematis and so on. Most "landscapers" love their machines and spend 20 minutes using them for big bucks. They do not ask questions either and make terrible mistakes. That's why Saucy's help is so valuable to her neighbor! Right now the only thing I don't have is someone willing to spray my fruit trees with dormant oil. The couple that comes help out is great, except that they are so booked that I don't see enough of them!

Here's another of the National Geographic winning photos from 2009.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 12:44PM
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Packing, laundry and food prep tonight. I always like to make /bring food for lunches and at least one dinner when I take road trips- usually means I can afford to stay in a nicer hotel. I might consider an upgrade from my garden view room to ocean/harbor view when I arrive tomorrow, depending on what they want to charge me.
The sun came out today , and I should have good weather for my drive tomorrow all the way.

bug, I want martagon lilies in a bad way. I have yet to be able to figure out a location where they will do well. I think for our climate morning sun only is a must. I have one spot that would be great , but it would involve removing a mature Viburnum . The location is really too narrow for the V. anyway , and though Id love to save it and move it somewhere else, I dont think it would survive the extraction. Love the shot of the geese ! The NG pics always make me think of PM.

Ok, thats all for tonight , and I hope to contribute reports from the road in the next few days

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 12:41AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good Morning everyone! Beautiful warm and sunny day here today, with warm temps. and light rain predicted for the next three days.

This means that my cold weather crops (bok choy, peas, carrots, lettuce) will be sown in the raised beds today. I really feel that our really cold weather is behind us now, very early in the year for us.

I am feeling much better now. No pain in my neck, still headachy a bit, for the last two days I have managed to be up all day. Left arm still doesn't work, no improvement there yet, but I see the neurologist on Monday for a flouroscopy to see what I damaged....we'll go from there.

I busied my self yesterday with reading 17 pages on the Banana site on GW. That's right, seventeen! I planted five seeds. I have three sprouts, 1 seed still intact, and I can't find the other one. I was smitten by Deanne's plant at IU 6 and want to grow a big one on my patio.That's the thing about gardening - there's always something new to try.

Thought of Kathy a lot yesterday - our plantation shutters in the living room were installed! I love them. I hated the curtains that were there but they came with the house and did their job. I now have the shutters in almost every room in the house.

Sounds like a great trip, Kathy. Lots of great adventures!

I gather you had a wonderful visit over the March Break, Bug. I can't believe how big Skyler is now! I think he was about seven when he was introduced to us first. DD Looks well, and Ivy is a sweet little girl. When is the next baby due?

Love all the photos I'm seeing here. The clematis supports look like they'll really do the job. I bet that wall will look gorgeous in a few months! I am extremely pleased to see that my Josephine clem, that DH weed-whacked to the ground last summer, has sent up three very stong shoots. My Durandii is also looking very healthy and also the Tanguticas that I planted to help hide the spite fence have all taken! Thanks Bug, I have had those ever since I first met you at Canada Blooms seven years ago!

I planted six Virginia Creepers on the part of the spite fence that I don't see much of, because it is beside the house, and every one of those has taken also. I am very happy with this - It means that one whole side of my property will have a living fence, a nice backdrop for the rest of my yard.

Thought about Mary and V this week when I heard that Vancouver has now passed a bylaw allowing chickens to be kept in city back yards! Ottawa, which can't ever make a decision without six months of acrimony, has also started to debate this.

Hey Chelone, you could have chickens - you could build them a little house next to the salon....Just kidding of course. How is vegetable world looking? I am sure that you guys will have a lot done by now. I still think of the nice little sitting area under the trees outside the patio doors of the biddy suite....

I'm off to do some chores today - mostly phoning around to get people to do things that I still can't do myself. Dog nails is one...

Later all; have a super day!



    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 9:25AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

I look forward to road reports from our steadfast roving reporter and tour guide! Drive safely, Kathy, but be sure to stop and smell the (flowers)....

You're sounding much better, Julie -- feeling better does amazing things for one's psyche - I hope you didnt damage much and the arm issue is a temp one.

Neat to see that FG photo of the day was from our IU friends' residence - I hadnt read the details 'til it was mentioned -- they have the most glorious combos in their gardens - it would make for endless photo ops.

Fickle Mother Nature gave us some April showers and cooler temps - back into low 60 (w/ last nite upper 30s/low 40s)... but it isnt stopping my clematis Asao -- I've got the first blooms on it already !! will try for some pics later in the week or tonite if I get a chance....


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 1:14PM
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I hear the Wrecking Crew huffing at the bottom of the stairs. I've left the barrier up to keep them down there and out of my hair for a few minutes. (they are such idiots; totally "high maintenance" without a clue about how to just "chill"; meanwhile their mentor has simply gone back to his bed and is goin' with the flow).

No call from the sewing machine mechanic today. I'm a little disappointed, he said delivery of my new machine would probably be this week. (how many days until Christmas, Mum?).

Benign conversation stoppers have not had to be deployed as yet. But it'll be rainy on Friday and I suspect the "ambush" will occur then. I am prepared. Today was was tension-filled; the icing on the cake was when the filing cabinet tipped over and about 10 yrs. worth of accumulated crap on top of it hit the floor... . I cracked up (wrong response; but I do pride myself on NOT being politically correct) and then watched as a minor tantrum ensued. I'm cool with that (I occasionally do the same thing), but hot-footed it out the door at the first available opportunity. :) I feel strange saying this but I'm actually looking forward to "the talk". Go figure.

Julie, good thing you don't have 3 Bostons. Keep doing what the medical professionals counsel and I'll keep my fingers crossed for an encouraging test. Vegetable World is still pretty dormant as the helpmeet turns his attention to his latest challenge, digital music recording. But I know the faint green haze on trees has him thinking about food production. I am wrestling with Hosta "Krossa Regal" and a super-abundance of Polygonatum commutatum at present.

I like keeping such august company... FG 'n' all! Wow!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:11PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Spent the morning taking a photo for DH's critique of the ministry meetings he has been participating in. It was rather fun in a way, but I discovered that I am not good as a photographer of scary things. First of all my vehicle is bright red. Hard to be sneaky in it. And then as I parked at the entry to the gravel pit, I had to put my flashing lights on as I rolled down the window to shoot. Anyway, I'll never make a super sleuth. I certainly was jittery.

I checked out the closest nursery today and it is barely open. Lots of pots at huge prices, pansies, pansies and more pansies. I picked up a very small table and 2 chairs for the patio at a discount. Why a discount? I don't know...but the owner offered it so i didn't refuse 1/3 off! I also picked up some clematis fertilizer and a hand weeding fork.

Julie, the new baby is due in mid September. Plenty of waiting time. Ivy starts day care in May at which time DSIL returns to work. Yes, Skyler has come a long way since he was 7. He'll be 11 on April 22nd. I hope Adrian's meds are under control these days. It is so hard being a kid at times! Ivy's Birthday is in May and I have no ideas for a birthday gift.... Sigh.

Phoebe has been behaving like a naughty girl lately. I guess it is a mix of my having been away and the fresh smells of spring. I used the leash for the first time in ages yesterday and she was TERRIBLE, wiggling from left to right and starting and stopping and trying to pull. UGH. Good thing Chelone didn't see! Yes, I know, beatings. DH actually tries to reason with her - with predictable results.

Here is another NG photo from 2009.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 4:48PM
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Today was an exciting day for me. I was invited to a studio after the art exhibit blue ribbon and today she invited me to display my leaf!

I have the opportunity to teach classes in the space as well as display my leaves for sale in the gallery.

I have to come up with a plan and figure out how it will all work, but I am really considering this - in fact I left my biggest leaf!

You all have been my biggest encouragement :) I am so tickled right now!

Back after class to


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 5:32PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Congratulations Saucy!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:17PM
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Greetings my friends, from the coast of Southern California, in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara. The drive down was a pleasant and scenic one , through the central coast inland valleys along Hwy 101, a drive I have always enjoyed. It always surprises me how exotic this area seems to me now, even though I grew up and lived into my 30s in this climate ! I took a brief walk-about this afternoon and snapped some pics in haste to share. Tommorow is Lotusland and probably the mission too.

Yay to Saucy ! So happy for you !

Waves to all, hope for a more coherent post tommorow !

Here are a few photos thus far .. From Santa Barbara 4-2010 From Santa Barbara 4-2010 From Santa Barbara 4-2010 From Santa Barbara 4-2010

Kathy in Santa Barbara

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:26PM
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Wrecks is all about grabbing his leash in his teeth and doing the tug o' war thing with me on the way home from a walk. It's funny, he's full of beans on the way "out", "boldly going when no dog has gone before", then settles down to a sedate "cruise". But when we're about half way home he gets silly... grabs the leash in his mouth and acts like puppy; shaking his head, hopping backwards, and growling. I'm fine with it, actually, 'bug. He knows how to behave himself on a leash and I know he's just "being silly" and just wants me to play with him. So he just bounces along backwards, shaking his head, growling while I offer minimal resistance while still moving toward home. Idiot.

Rex is a wader. The Wrecking Crew is definitely into the complete baptism. I am not accustomed to thoroughly wet dogs (which reminds of yet another reason why I hate dogs). But, they are Labs. and water figures prominently in their "job description". So I use the stairway barrier and make sure they have a comfortable place to "dry off" after I take them swimming in the pond in my BIL's backyard. Want to exercise a Lab. in no time flat? walk to the pond tossing a tennis ball ahead of you and have them retrieve it for you. You can get them to run countless yards in no time flat if you have decent throw (and even if you don't!). On the way, collect all sorts of sticks and bundle them under your arm. When you get to the pond, toss the items into the water far enough to require a goodly swim to retrieve them. Keep this up for 20-30 minutes. On the way "home" repeat the process. And allow plenty of time to roll; this greatly assists in "drying out" and will help minimize that "stink". Base and foul creatures; which is why I hate them. Stupid, too.

I am worried that my precious Vera hasn't shown her sweet little tabby face since noontime... I won't sleep well until she's in.

V., recommendation for a book: "In Fed We Trust" by David Wessel. It's great, a good read about the Fed's war on the
Great Panic" and current economic policy. I thought of you frequently as I was reading it. Woody, too, actually. I think you'd like it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:26PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Just a fly-by to say that I had to giggle a little when I opened the picture of the hosta and the Chelone 'Hot Lips' a few posts back from Kathy. :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:33PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Wow -- great photos, Kathy -- it looks to me like the Land From Down Under -- it is Exotic for an Easterner -- cant wait to see more...

I hope Chelone (not the Hot Lips one) has an okay day tomorrow and no confrontations - unless you're looking forward to the event.... aargh; Im into denial these days myself.

Saucy - that is so incredibly cool that you not only get to teach something you love doing but are going to make some money doing that and the classes!!! Amazing - keep up the success stories for us.

Waving to all.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:13PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Working hard out in the gardens and already feeling behind! Did some un-caging of shrubs (just a few) and weeded several yards of a row in the veg garden. I've been wearing gloves (which I hate...) and my hands are already dry and scratched.

Rain tomorrow, so probably back to housework!

I've always admired Saucy's energy and enthusiasm, so this latest reward is not a surprise, but certainly well deserved! Hurray! To think I knew her back when... It's great knowing all of the Idylls...even before fame. :)

Another National Geographic winner from 2009.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:31PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Fly-by post - need to get back out and tie up 'Harlequin' honey suckle vines...

It always makes me nervous when Randy gets up on the roof but it's interesting to see the garden from literally a different point of view! Randy was trying out a wide angle lens for his new camera...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 3:36PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Neat to see Randy's shadow too!
Rain here tomorrow, with possible thunderstorms.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 4:41PM
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An enjoyable day was had here in zone 10,capped off by a nursery crawlthe results are on the counter in my hotel room loo. One of the nurseries had a rose sales area unlike anything Ive encountered thus far, and it was in peak bloom; just dumb luck that I stumbled upon it.
Lotusland . Because the garden is an estate situated in the most tony area going in these parts (Montecito) their use permit is very resrictive. Unless you are a member, all visits are docent led (small groups of about 8 which was nice) and the walk is two miles in 2 hours. Not the best photo taking situation. I ended up putting my camera back to auto since I didnt have time to mess with the settings. Membership is 75 a year, and you can wander around at will without admission twice, and as many other visits as you wish for 20 bucks.Im definitely going to come back, and will buy a membership when I do. In any case here are few of the more decent pics I took, and I can tell you they in no way do the place justice. A very unique and beautiful place.

Tommorow the SB Botanical Garden

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:07PM
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Saucy,thats terrific on the studio invite. How fun to be around other artistic people too. I would take your class in a heartbeat. With that and working with you neighbor you will be very busy.

Woody, thats a great view of the front garden. Now he will have to update the view a few times. Makes me nervous to have Bob on the roof too. Especially since the end where he cleans the flu is two stories high with a gable too.

Bug I didn't notice Randys shadow until you mentioned it. What an eye you have.

Kathy, great eye candy. I like the differant colors of foliage in that hedge by the mosaics. I can picture your hotel bathroom of plants. LOL

Chelone, I love that Rex is silly sometimes. It shows that he enjoys life with you. You are such a treat for the wrecking crew. I imagine they dream about their time spent at the compound.

Hi Cindy , Candy Cyn, Julie and all the rest.

I'm tuckered again tonight and need to go to town tomorrow.

I'm hoping all the rain doesn't go around us tonight and tomorrow.
The early iris are starting to bloom. The redbud blooms and pollen are flying everywhere. New weeds sprout everyday.
Niki caught a vole last night and Rocky got a mole this morning. Way to go animals. Rebel is howling with the coyotes all night and sleeping all day. Jasmine sleeps 90 percent of the time. LOL.

Later Norma

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:16PM
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The trees are starting to take on a nice green haze. It makes my drive to work more enjoyable. I try to notice interesting things each day as I travel. One of the things that really caught my eye this winter was an apple tree that held red apples all winter on bare branches. It looked so cool against the snow. I really should have taken the time to take a picture.

I have worn Ladybug garden shoes for years. You get them at the farm supply store. A couple of years ago I tried the Crocs without the holes and they work well too.

Saucy, what a great entry into the art world. I wish you great success.

Kathy, great pictures but what a nuisance to have to keep up with a group. Interesting how different gardens can be.

Woody, I love the overall view. It gives me a better idea of the layout of your garden. I've done the same thing from our roof or even the 2nd story window.

Chelone, dogs - hate them or not you have to admit their antics are pretty comical at times. Jaden although believed to be part lab doesn't really like to get wet. A little wading through the creek but not swimming in the pond. She won't fetch anything either. She loves to run though. If we start the 4 wheeler up she goes nuts and will run along side for quite a distance.

'bug, the NG pictures are really amazing. Of course baby animals are always fun. They've even made snails look good.

Cindy, the quotes are all from sites on the internet.

Norma, I hope you get the moisture. Its the pits to be so dry right away in the spring. We had rain the last 2 mornings. Which has been good for the plants that I've moved.

A few shots from my garden tonight:


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:38PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

O, Michelle - what a treat to see such lovelies in your garden. Makes me wonder where my pasque flower is now; hmm, I wonder if it got crowded out? That hellebore is beautiful - is it Ivory Prince?

Woody -- that's a very neat vista, but scary to think of Randy up there -- and gosh, you are so far behind my region - it really brings it home... But I wont be trying a vista like that!

Kathy -- sounds like you're having a great time; you're a testament to solo garden travels --- Lotusland is certainly a unique and amazing place - I did the virtual tour at lunch today with you, LOL... but you've got some amazing photos even if they were on auto; that is indeed hard to be in a garden where you cannot just wander at your own pace....

Well, suffering a bit of insomnia here, but it was nice to have the time to check in and see all this great stuff.

Received my first order today, Part 1 from Lazy S Nursery.... they're coming...... I guess I better get busy figuring out where it's all going, LOL.

I managed to cut the grass tonite for the first time -- ready for rain showers tomorrow. Have a lot of bare spots this year that are going to need reseeding -- Mother Nature and Man contributed in equal amounts I think to its ruination. Guess that will be on the urgent to-do list this weekend.

Thanks for the photo eye candy, all. Can't wait to see more!!


    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:31AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Kathy - the colors and patterns in that last picture are wonderful!

Michelle - that's a fabulous looking hellebore - so lush looking and perfect with the variegated leaves (euonymus?) in the corner - another picture for FG...?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 8:50AM
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Hi All!

Gotta say Norma, that dicentra pic is be-e-eautiful! How old is that plant? I sure wish mine was that huge: ) It's just gorgeous.

Michelle-how neat that you scored on a chandelier for the shed-cottage! With a chandelier it can't be called a shed anymore; )

Saucy that's really exciting about the gallery! Good for you!

Woody-That's a neat pic to see the bones of your garden(looks nice!)-but I also like how you can see Randy's shadow as part of the pic illustrating your story : ) All I keep thinking is, "please be careful!" lol.

Kathy your trip looks very exciting!

....Funny/strange how different my life is~I used to put Ryan to bed/nap then fill the afternoon with Idylling : )-that seems like SO long ago and I guess it was! I miss that.

'Bug-love those Nat'l Geog. pics! Per your quest. about our home situation, we're still in the same home-the only thing for sale here has been the foreclosed homes-it kills me when I see homes that are selling for $20,000.00. We're sticking it out and just planning to make improvements while waiting for the market to straighten out.

OK guys, so AJ graduates from gr.8 in 6 wks. When I'm on the other computer I'll post his Confirmation pic from last Sunday-he wore a suit for the first time since his First Communion(6yrs ago). He's had an aversion to button-down shirts,ties,dress shoes;anything formal~typical teen? Funny though, he soon decided his getup was actually quite comfortable after all-lol.

Well need to get cleaned up for work. Highs today will be 70; by tomorrow highs will be just 48...

Have a good one!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 8:58AM
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A quick one from the awffice. Check out the link below if you love babies. (Chelone I dare you)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 5:08PM
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I sure don't "get" the whole baby thing. Sorry. They can't hold their heads up, they can't control their bowels and they tend to spew vomit. And they scream whenever things don't suit them. (sounds like a winning combination to me!).

It's definitely hormonally governed. It has to be or our species wouldn't have evolved enough to share this kind of crap... .

Never let it be said I won't take a dare, Michelle. ;)

(woodstove is fired up, snow is falling and melting on contact, all cats are in and the Mongrel Horde has wrestled, growled, and is now settling down and the nice lamps are still intact. Afternoon outdoor exercise was probably too short for their needs but it was raining and cold. We'll spend quality time on obedience drills tonight!)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 5:58PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Ah Chelone. Now I rather agree about gimmicky posed shots of babies. I do think that babies tend to look a bit like old people in nursing homes at times too, what with drooling and falling asleep. But I also think that people of all ages have what you call "winning combinations": hangovers, outlandish clothing, foul language, burps and f*rts and so on. So all in all, I study each and every one on his/her own merits. Babies smile way more than adults...and mean it. That has to be a positive!

Here's a NG shot for today:

More later if I find a moment.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 6:16PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Yes but....Chelone, none of us came into this world full grown !

Marie, I love that pic.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 7:24PM
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And that, Marian, is why some of us never "squeezed out a pup"!

We just never felt any great urge to do so... I pretty much knew I didn't want kids by the time I was 12-13 yrs. old. I always felt sort of weird about it, too, frankly. We did talk about kids after my Dad died, but neither of us felt any overwhelming urge. In fact, the more we talked about it, the more comfortable we were with not having any.

I fancy myself incredibly fortunate to have had the benefit of fairly reliable birth control available to me. I can't imagine the horror of an unwanted pregnancy in a time when prevention was difficult and termination illegal!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 7:54PM
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The internet is slow here tonight, and Im on my laptop which has the dreaded Vista. Today I visited the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, far more advanced than the last time I was there-in the 90s I think. It is high in canyon abovethe city and features primarily Cal native plants. They have done a really nice job-its not a large garden and very untsructured.

After that visit I went off to Carpenteria which is the town just to the south of SB, there are lots of wholesale nursery operations there , and I had 2 retail spots to visit. I give a two-thumbs up and a wow to Seaside Gardens, I wandered in there and was just blown away by their display gardens. Ill post photos when I get home tomorow.

How nice to have posts from Babs again !
All for now,

Kathy in Santa Barbara

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 9:27PM
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Good morning!

Nice to see you Babs! Stick around for a while. We miss you.

Kathy, sounds like you're having a blast.

The pictures of everyone's gardens are fun to see. Spring is unfurling across all of Idylldom.

Sarah and I are off to Old Sturbridge Village this morning. It's a field trip with my photography class. Sarah is going to use my old point and shoot. Funny, she just had Colonial Days at school (and enjoyed it) so this should be fun (and on track) for her. She's hoping to spy a pig.

We're digging up a few beds across the street that have been "let go" for the past few years. I'm coming home exhausted and covered with dirt. We're also picking up (shoveling) manure each day from a local horse farm and then dressing the beds. It's really nice rotted stuff with lots of bedding. It makes a nice mulch.

Time to rustle up some breakfast and start this day!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 9:16AM
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I'm off on a photo shoot this morning too Saucy..waiting for the sun to come up and them I,m heading downtown to shoot get pics of some adobes before the tourista hoardes descend..then it's pack up and head back to Napa.

Hope all enjoy thier Saturday...

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 9:41AM
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Hi Everyone! Hope you are all having a good day/evening. It was really cold here today, I could not seem to get warm, but one of the reasons was that we went to Lowes to get the wood for the greenhouse. It is all stacked up and ready for Skip to start putting it up tommorrow. I was so happy when the city approved the plans. It may not be gorgeous, but it will function, and I am excited about that. I also got 2 apple trees and 2 cherry trees, so I am excited about that. The bad news is that I seem to have a stye on my eye (yuck) and my sinus on the same side is clogged. The local video store is going to change their video department into a wine room, because they have a wine cellar, and I think they do better on the wine than they do videos, especially since the grocery store just got a box that only costs $1 to rent a movie. Anyway, they were selling all of their DVD's 3/$1.00, so we all went down and picked out a few. The boys are watching 13th Warrior right now, ( not my kind of movie, especially..but . Skip, Sean and Devin are watching it. I think they put names in a box or something to decide which one.

Bug, I really enjoy the NG pics you posted. Hope Phoebe is settling down for you. Spring Fever maybe? My little puppy is a lot of work, I am thinking I may have bit off more than I can chew with her. I guess I forgot in the 12 years since I had one how much work they are the first year. She keeps us hopping, but is a very nice dog, just a lot of keeping my eyes on her.

Michelle, the baby pic link was fun to look at. I will have to watch the video that explains how they take the pics. I think Anne Geddes photoshopped some of hers. They are so sweet!

Chelone, I didn't like kids either. I was the oldest of 5, and my big goal was to get away from anything resembling babies or anything to do with them. I didn't even babysit in high school, like my best friend who loved kids, and she ended up deciding not to have any.. We often laugh about how it turned out... saying who would have thunk?

Woody, nice overview of your gardens. It is nice to have a way to get above it all for a bird's eye view. Different perspective.

Kathy, thanks for sharing the pics from your travels. It is so nice to see all the bright color.

Well my eye is starting to sting from looking at the computer, I think I will head to bed.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 10:39PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It seems there has been a Kenzie visit! Of course she needs a picnic in her secret garden. Special for all!

The birds are singing away this morning but our weather has been cold and strange. There has been a combination of snow/rain/wind falling horizontally and it feels pretty nasty against our faces. Tonight it is expected to fall to freezing. On 10 acres I simply cannot cover plants and so can only hope that the garden will deal well with natural events. No matter, it is better than fallout from the erruption of the Icelandic volcano!!!

I still have not put together photos for Skyler of my trip during his March break. I hope DH can help me with that soon as his birthday is on the 22nd. Ivy's will be on May 3rd. It may be that bikes are in their futures, we'll see.

Yesterday we bought wood to repair the potting bench. Perhaps today we'll start that project. Also need to make some photos to send my French uncle, and that is a task that gets done in town. I'd like one or two for myself as well.

A most strange coincidence last night. I Googled the name of a Nigerian friend of mine, a man who taught at my school there, who studied later at the University of Toronto, worked in both Ottawa and later for NASA in the southern US. This man is a mix of talents, a minister, a chemist, a teacher, a parent and more. The shock that appeared in my search was that he and a fellow University friend were kidnapped on March 24th by hooligans demanding money for their return. I spent a good amount of time tracking down the outcome, and finally determined that the men were released. Others were not so fortunate. I am hopeful to regain contact with him through his university, but that is by no means certain.

A NG photo for today- Perhaps Chelone will tolerate this baby?


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 7:24AM
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Isn't it funny, GB, how a friend will pop into our heads - and so often we find that they have had some trouble in their lives. I hope you will be able to connect.

I wonder how PM2 is doing and if she is happy with all the rearranging she had done at this time last Spring?

It was nice to see Kenzie in her garden!

Drema, I am so happy for you and your new greenhouse! I think you'll get a pleasing structure, as all your other projects seem to come out!

Yesterday, Sarah and I went to Old Sturbridge Village (a colonial town) to do our photography assignment. The rain allowed us to have the place mostly to ourselves. Sarah was invited to make a door nail with the blacksmith, which was the highlight of the day. She said many times how much fun she had.

I'm off to see what the day brings me.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 10:09AM
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Heaven knows I tolerate all the other ones, 'bug. ;)

I have been snatching every rain-free moment to get the Wrecking Crew outdoors and exercised. It ain't easy. Vera has recovered her tabby composure and is now mincing around the house with cautious impunity. Everyone has enjoyed the evening fires in the woodstove, too, it's been a wonderful aid to inter-species tolerance.

I haven't been to Old Sturbridge Village since I was a kid. It was great fun and I'm certain Sarah had the time of her life. What fun.

I think we're finally going to get a nice show from Magnolia "Butterflies" this spring. I am looking for an attractive, not overly aggressive groundcover to plant at her feet... suggestions?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 10:37AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Good morning, all -- I am wondering where my Spring went today... it's very very windy and chilly - upper 40s but w/ the winds, it feels like 30 -- I see a few things keeled over outside - my Asao clem in full bloom in its container took a tumble Friday nite and it's now back in a corner of the patio; things I'd unpacked were covered back up and I doubt it's a good idea to plant them out today. Not sure my "delicate" nature permits me to endure out in these winds for gardening - Im such a wuss - altho I confess I dont want to get sick again either and that's in my silly head.

I spent yesterday w/ my DD shopping -- looking for "fat clothes" for the expectant Mom - it was really nice to have a whole day with her and she even stayed into the evening and we looked at some old photos and talked of little missing furry creatures dear to us. I find the house very oddly large and empty by myself these days. It is a testament to how much we permit our pets to take control happily of our lives isnt it? Silly things, like Chelone says who need daily beatings, LOL....

I loved seeing all the special photos on the moments page -- that picnic in the garden, Michelle -- what a fun grandma you are!

I sure hope all you folks taking photo classes do not sufficiently intimidate we ignoramouses from posting photos, LOL.... it's really incredible how terrific all your photos are becoming! I think Im gonna stick with point and shoot.

Drema -- sorry about your eye - so annoying Im sure that is - and hope your sinuses open up -- that neti pot seems to be a hit with lots of folks here -- allergy season can't help it either. Cant wait to see how your greenhouse comes into being -- I know it's going to be creative and neat looking - Im sooo jealous!

Kathy - glad you had a neat trip and you're such a great idyller to keep us up to date from the road with such magnificient scenery. Does it make you want to move back to that region re-visiting or seeing it thru a gardener's eyes now?

The sun seems to be missing now here too - hmmm, I guess it's going to be an inside day for me.....

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, folks! I should go look for a few more plant photos to perk this up... maybe back later.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 11:03AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Cindy, my Asao in the Maackii is opening it's first bloom. The one by the bedroom end of the house has lots (to me) of big buds fixing to open. It looks like it will be a good year for most of my clems. I pray no late freeze, or other disaster hits them.
I have started dumping all the last years's potting soil from pots into the beds at the base of the house. Makes them look much prettier, and is good for them too, of course.
My slackness in tending to things properly has ended up with 2 of my largest clay pots being cracked. I hate that. I sure can identify with what has been said about aging gardeners, since I am the oldest one that posts here. But it is amazing how beautiful spring weather ,and all the new growth, can perk one up, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is not easy for me to get around, but I am gradually working on it.
I mowed quite a bit of our yard last week. And enjoyed it very much.I rode the rider, of course. It fired right up, after setting all winter, with gasoline still in it. I had to move more storm damaged limbs before I can finish in some areas. We are waiting until the blooms are gone on the trees (Serviceberry and Dogwood) before removing the broken limbs.
I believe this past winter has taken the biggest toll on both of us, mentally and physically...but thank God we are both improving now.
I do read along, as best as I can ....sometimes it is not easy reading so much, but I enjoy what I do read. And enjoy the pics.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 5:39PM
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Good evening friends

I could hardly bring myself to hit the grocery store today, just wanted to stay in the garden, but if I was interested in having food for the next few days there was no way around it. Still have not done laundry..I may have to wear my gardening clothes to the awfice tomorrow. My suitcase remains unpacked in my closet.

I spent quite a bit of time staring at my new acquisitions and being indecisive about their installation locales. Executive decisions were finally made, lots of stuff got planted. I also took a corpse inventory , admitted they were in fact corpses and gave them a decent burial in the yard waste bin. Closure ! Was very happy see foliage emerging on my Fascination Dahlia, but still no signs of life on Park Princess , or my Iochoma. They have a week before the shovel comes out. Rain is expected to come in tomorrow night, which is good , I always like to head into May before I have to water the gardenand it was warm today, mid-70s.

Cindy, If I were suddenly acquire a fortune, I would buy a 2nd residence in Santa Barbara in a heartbeat. But as permanent residence, nope, I prefer it here, with 4 distinct seasons, less crowds and traffic, and the ability to grow plants that require dormancy. I feel remiss in not visiting SB more often though, it is in fact my favorite city in California, has been since I was a kid. I have made a promise to my self to go at least once a year in the future, its really not that far and there are plenty of places between here and there to stop for a night if I dont feel like doing the drive in one stint.

Saucy, I had an e-mail chat with PM last week before I headed down to SB. She is still working through health issues, but feeling better. I hope she will drop by here this spring ! I miss her outlook and positive attitude.

Marian , I dumped potting soil on my lawn today, hoping to revive some bald spots..I dont feel very hopeful though ! Im glad to hear that spring has helped raise your spirits. Its hard to feel puny with the beauty that is all around us this time of year.

Chelone, Im afraid I would not be very useful suggesting ground covers for your zone, but what about kind of a tapestry of Huecheras?

Drema, turning a video store into a wine cellar sounds like something that would happen here ! Most of the video stores around here have gone belly-up..Netflix is just too convenient and the selection cant even compare with the pitiful roster of films to be had at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.

Babs, so great to see you here ! It seems like a hundred year ago that I had children in school..they can still be stressful, but at least they can dress themselves, feed themselves , drive themselves and semi-support themselves, lol.

I have Clematis, roses, and my Grosbeak pair that comes every year is back. Spring is awesome.

Mary ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 10:17PM
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It was an awesome weekend weather wise. I spent much of the time in the garden but got little done. Kenzie and I had a fabulous time though. Thats whats important.

Cindy, we had that wind this past week and I stayed in several nights. Another reason I appreciated the fabulous weather this weekend no wind.

Chelone, Im not big into ground covers but do have a fair bit of lamium around. The one that I like the best is Shell Pink I think the silver leaves would look quite pretty with the pale yellow. Plus lamium is basically evergreen here in my zone 4b. So it would look fairly decent at the time of the magnolia show. I never really thought about yellow and silver together until I saw the container them at the MN Landscape Arboretum several years ago and they used yellow, silver and white together so effectively.

Actually to tell the truth Im not all that crazy about tiny babies but really get a kick out of toddlers through the grade school age. Teenagers havent ever excited me a lot either.

Drema, how exciting to see the greenhouse come to fruition. I still have in my mind something similar to Edens. More for fun than anything.

bug, Kenzie enjoyed your NG photos with all the baby animals.

She also enjoyed the baby link and each shot elicited and "awww"

Babs, how wonderful to get an update from you. We do miss you. Drop by occasionally if you can.

Kathy, it sounds like you had an enjoyable trip.

The hellebore I posted is Ivory Prince and as common as Emerald Gaiety Euonymus is, it is evergreen for me so does work well with the hellebores early bloom. Spring is really getting under way here. I have a fair amount of pale yellow tulips that are fairly early that make a pretty decent show. Kenzie and I walated together many times over the weekend. She also picked a couple of bouquets. She likes one flower of each thing blooming in the garden.

Thats about it for me tonight.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 11:04PM
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Ive thrown myself into reseeding bare spots in the yard. The huge pin oak is gone but left behind barren, uneven ground. Weve had no April showers to speak of and total rainfall for the month might be half an inch. A most unusual April so far! Temps were mid eighties for several days although were having more seasonal weather this week. Too windy for the sprinkler so I thoroughly hand water grass seed and gardens with the wand but its definitely not the same as rain. Working compost into the shrub borders when Im not watering, rearranging some existing plants and enjoying the exercise after the long winter.

Saucy, happy to read your news of the studio and classes. Such good things are coming your way! The visit to Old Sturbridge Village sounds so interesting, do you have any photos to share? I love those kinds of little road trips.

Michelle, how wonderful to see Kenzie in the Secret Garden. Im sure it really comes alive when shes there, creating more memories until the next visit!

Thinking of you in your garden, Cindy. I know you probably still see your little garden buddy out of the corner of your eye in those favorite spots. Dont over do out there and take care.

Drema, first you taunt me with a tea room and now a greenhouse, lolcant wait to see some pictures of it!

Hi Marian! Ive been wondering where you were and hope you post some spring photos soon.

Bug, thanks for sharing the NG photographyIm a huge fan of NatGeo, always fascinating material.

Kathy, incredible photos of Santa BarbaraIve really enjoyed the series! Entirely different world than the Midwest, sheesh. The neighborhood looks drab and my gardens pallid after viewing such vivid colors!

Nice to see you back, Chelone. Mary must be mastering another projectbuilding a pond, writing a novel, or perhaps she got a permit to raise llamas? Whatever, Im sure it will be amazing!

Waving to Woody, Norma, Denise and all I missed so much needs done outside this time of year its wrecking my schedule and affects my time at the computer.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 12:19AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Hello everyone, going to make an attempt to reconnect here as I've been beyond busy with plants, work and my bird photography. I've been painting up some new things and the new studio classroom is working out wonderfully. The gardens are emerging and I just love this time of the year when all is new and the season is so full of promise.
Things of note here in the gardens are the Hydrangea petiolaris on the oak tree is bigger and better than ever and will put on a show for the record books when it blooms and the Wisteria tree is absolutely smothered with buds. It's never had so many before so I'm rubbing my hands in anticipation for the show. I'll have to detach the camera from the big bird lens and get outside for some garden photos.

I've been working on getting the fuchsias outside and finally got the last of them out of the basement yesterday. It looks like I only lost three fuchsias over the winter which is not too bad. The bad news is that it looks like the Red Abyssinian banana is marginal. Might not make it. there is only a small bit of living tissue in the center of the plant and I've got it outside in a temp pot so we'll see what happens.

I did lots of bird photography over the winter and was pretty pleased when I won the monthly photo competition in November and again in March on Birdforum. Very cool stuff.

OK must run. I've got a busy garden day planned.

Have a great day all


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 7:10AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Big outdoor plans for today here too...but we'll just have to see what materializes! Book Club tonight: The Help is up for discussion.

NG photo for today -


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 8:02AM
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That's a cute picture, GB, but that cat comes off as a smoking wino, he he he. The cigarette butt bugs me.

Great gardening day here and the kids are out of school for the week. I'm setting up my backyard studio today, too, and Nick bought me a plywood top for my workbench (which is just sawhorses). I think I will paint it a loud color...maybe apple green to go with my cobalt blue tent top.

Happy gardening, friends!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 8:47AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

The winds have stopped here - it must be Monday... ba humbug! Missed a weekend of gardening -- but it was good to spend the time w/ DD as that is a rare opportunity any more. But am jealous of those who get to garden today. It is still quite cold here tho -- I think we have one more cold cold nite up for tonite .....

O great to see some familiar faces -- Babs & Deanne & Candy - come back and play more regularly - Im working on that myself...

Kathy, you have such energy - amazing you've already got your purchases planted! Wow, very impressive. I like the idea of wearing our gardening togs to awfice... I might get sent home; gee, wouldnt that be a bummer, LOL. I forgot about the lack of 4 seasons in SB - yes, that would likely depress me. I love Spring too much.

Deanne, Im sorry to hear about your banana - but knowing you, if anyone can revive it, it will be you! Sounds like you're really rolling already in the garden w/ dividing, etc., altho I guess having an open garden day visit would motivate most of us to get cracking.

I've got lots of bare spots too, Candy, in the yard this year and reseeded a bit last week; but no rain and cold temps - not sure how viable the seed will turn out. Thanks for the thoughts re my Chloe - yes, I pretty much see her everywhere; much of the back garden was created with her and her little eccentrities in mind - LOL, I guess you could say she helped design the garden.

Michelle, that is so wonderful that you WALATed with Kenzie -- you're such a fun grandma, along with Laura - so imaginative -- and I hope to emulate you guys - taking furious notes. Altho if my g-baby turns out to be a boy, I will have to consult you guys for other ideas!!! Altho Brenda is likely to have a bunch of ideas (but I just can't do skydiving - sorry...).

Well, gotta get the work day rolling. Enjoy the day in the garden folks who can.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 9:08AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Post.. to Chelone re groundcover (shady Im assuming?) -- Michelle's idea of lamium is a nice one -- it's not an aggressive groundcover that I've found; in fact, I would say I have a bit of a problem getting it to spread; but it's quite lovely - like Michelle, Im fond of the Silver Beacon; but I just planted another silver called Orchid Frost (blooms are lavendar; but silver foliage).... or how about hellebores?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 9:19AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm not fond of lamium and sweet woodruff because the weeds mingle in with them and that bothers me. Getting weeds out of the middle of a dense low lying patch is not easy! How about a batch of hostas beneath your tree? They'd even bloom in the Fall. You would want to remove the foliage before the snows arrive though.
One ground cover I like is Sedum Angelina. I know you don't care for the color, chartreuse, even though it changes throughout the season. But there are many low lying sedums that are reddish, blueish or brown that you might enjoy.(S.Vera Jameson,S. Acre, S.Dragon's Blood and more....)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 10:00AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Funny how our different regions have different issues/reactions - I've never had issues w/ weeds thru my lamium, 'bug - but then I dont have in a large large area.... I open the idea re groundcovers into a larger idea tho - this is one of my favorite posts from the blog 'Away to Garden' about underplantings - and it shows some terrific combos, to be added or subtracted, I think:

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 1:13PM
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Nice combos Cindy ! Bug had mentioned Sedums, and I'm doing a 'tapestry' planting in one of my beds that features Sedum prominently, along with Thyme, and Geranium sanguinium. It's been fun to be on the lookout for new Sedums and I've got numerous specimans now. Many different shades and colors as bug says.

Kathy the awfice :-(

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 1:45PM
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So glad to see post from Deanne ! and with news of the possible demise of the Banana no less. You cant say it didnt serve you well over the last few years ..maybe you should get out a recip-saw and hack it down to the good tissue and see what happens. Didnt Sue actually leave hers out a couple of years ago? They die back to stumps here in the ground but always come back. I dont have one mind place to put one here. Cant wait to see your H. petiolaris.

bug, Sweet Woodruff is one of my Why did I plant this thing ? items. The weeds have no chance against it . Every fall and spring I pull(peel) up chunks of it , and I worry now that it will choke a couple of my Clematis. Ive come to accept it in certain areas-its almost like having green mulch. But I really have to be vigilant.

Cindy, I have been known to wear the gardening togs to the awfice if I go in on a Saturdaysometimes I will sneak up to my awfice the back way and work for a couple of hours on a Sat if I need to get caught up on something. Seems like I can get 4 hours worth of stuff done in 2 if nobody knows Im around. No phones, no e-mails ! My gardening clothes are extremely slovenly too..but comfortable .

Michelle, so glad you got a chance to spend some time with Kenzie. I know what that means to you.

Candy, what you are experiencing this April with the lack of rain is our lot here on the west coast from about May through Sept. We are totally dependent on irrigation, and you are right, it is not the same as rain. I love my roses, Delphiniums and Dahlias though, so I mulch super heavy and irrigate deeply with soaker hoses about once a week. So far I have only had to water containers and have had enough rainwater collected to take care of that, but once we go a couple of weeks without rain it will be time to drag out the hoses again. Rain is expected tonight and I hope its enough to keep the hoses wound up for a few more days.

Would love to hear from Mary !

nite all.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 10:28PM
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Not that I have any experience with it but I've always wanted to add some Asarum europaeum. I notice it used in the "tapestry" in Cindy's link. (Great link by the way) Its not a plant you see around here at nurseries.

I would call my raised sun bed somewhat of a tapestry. At least at this time of year its mostly low growers such as sedums, creeping phlox, candytuft, armeria, minor bulbs, tulips. This is its best time of year. I really need to work on more interest for later in the season.

Cindy, you will be a wonderful grandma - its not all that hard.

Deanne, congrat on the bird photo awards. Yours are really quite wonderful. I've missed you here along with your bird and garden photos.

Back to work


    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 12:03PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I absolutely love Asarum europaeum and have grown it in shady wet areas here. A WONDERFUL plant, pretty expensive, and you need lots of it too.
Back outdoors now...

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 1:06PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Michelle -- I confess that that blog & the combos made asarum europeaeum on the the wish list for a year here and I finally made a couple of purchases of it to try to emulate that tapestry as I have some of the other plants as well --- your info, 'bug, reinforces to me that I pretty much thought it is a slow grower/increaser...golly tho, it sure is purty and glossy! I do think the idea of the mosaic foliage creates a lovely picture below some trees rather than one continuous groundcover - I noted in the first photo that it shows a mature magnolia - one reason it made me think of Chelone's question... the possibilities are endless of course.

Im feeling a terrible case of Spring fever and needing a "garden work day" but unlikely for the near future. I did manage a very short WALAT last nite and noticed that things (esp the clematis) are growing by leaps and bounds and more have buds; the roses are starting to bud up too (and hmm, me thinks I see some insect issues already, darn it).

That's good to hear what you said about hte galium, Kathy - it too is one that's been somewhat on my "how charming" list but have been hesitant about.. and I suspect our regions are close enuf I'd come to curse it too if it's a nuisance for you... I dont have any real isolated type beds to plunk it into -- it does have pretty foliage tho.

Here's hoping many of you folks are out having fun and working hard in your gardens today!


    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 1:20PM
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I was hoping to scoot in under the flag before another idyll closes and just made it. Can you tell we've been enduring the Grand Prix races? Mercifully over last weekend.

First off, I hope Julie's head is better! I pull that reaching over maneuver with Ein all the time so knew exactly what you were describing. A man Marty works with came off a ship's ladder hard, dropping about 10 feet onto a steel deck unexpectedly, which caused a Bell's palsy on his face. It's a harmless, temporary paralysis, but we were surprised the fall caused it. Maybe your neuro injury to the arm is something similar from internal swelling.

Congrats to Michelle for the FG photo, which is no surprise since your perennial borders always knock my socks off.

Kathy the Santa-BooBoo (no idea why we call it that) photos of Lotusland and environs are stunning.

Congrats to Deanne on the bird photo awards. Not too many more plant losses than the banana hopefully.

And going back a bit, congrats to bug's DD on their hockey win, placing No. 1 if I understood the photo correctly. Hockey has stayed on my radar since the Olympics, and our LA Kings are in the playoffs, first time in eight years (playing Vancouver now, best out of 7).

For all the rest of us sans awards, hello! It's drizzling right now, so we're getting a little of Kathy's rain.

Have never grown it but a big fan of gorgeous asarum. What about bergenia for under the magnolia?

There's a movie coming out about babies born round the world, Africa, Japan, U.S., and the different child-rearing practices. Marty was shocked that I want to see it. I'm sure Chelone will run right out to see it too ;>)

Ein's developed a cataract in one eye, which corgis are prone to. It's either a cataract or something similar that doesn't impair vision called a sclerosing...something or other. Shocked us all that the little guy is now middle-aged but such is life.

Marty finally got a retirement date, May 8th, so it's really happening. He wants a rowing skull for a retirement present. Sounds fine with me.

Looking forward to more spring photos and news.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 5:35PM
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scull. Rowing scull.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 5:38PM
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Guess I'll slip in and close this one out ! Denise, lol, glad to hear that Marty has not decided to take up the pirate trade as his retirement job. If ypi are up that way, I strongly recommend a visit to Seaside Gardens in Carpenteria.

Rain last night and this morning and a blustery cool afternoon. I'm back in a turtleneck, a sweater and warm pants. One can't count on anything this time of year.

My plant purchase list is lengthening.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 10:14PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

A beauty of a day is going to be enjoyed with a trip to Tower HIll with my friend Saucy! can't wait to see you girlfriend!

This spring has been pretty great with lots of lovely warm days, and lots of rain. The gardnes are showing their appreciation.

Denise, so you will have a retired DH around the house. How is that going to work out for you???? LOL about the 'skull'...

Cindy, hopefully you'll have some great weather for gardening this weekend. I'd like to plan that Asarum here somewhere but can't decide on a location.

Michelle, congratulatons on the FG photo. A gorgeous combination!

Kathy, stay warm, many thanks for all the beautiful photos. It's such a great shot in the arm to see all those wonderful colors.

Must run and get some gardening done before I hit the road for lunch with my buddy.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 7:31AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Good Morning!

Deanne, maybe near your garden shed? I can see Asarum back there.... :)

Yesterday the roses got trimmed here. I started on the asparagus patch too. I hope to finish weeding there today. Everything is very dry. We've not had Deanne's rain & warmth combination so far. That is why I was able to do some mowing though. Usually things are too wet for mowing in the flats at this time of year.

It is another glorious day, although the insects are starting to come out. We expect below freezing temperatures tonight though, so perhaps that will stall them for a bit longer.

Woody, I keep trying to send you email but it is not working for me. (Our system is down) This weekend is the sale for Whistling Gardens:
Garden Centre Opens Next Weekend Saturday, April 24th
Open 7 days a week until June 27th
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
15% off ticketed price!


    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 8:10AM
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