Idyll #447, the Blue Sky Idyll

cheloneJuly 1, 2009

Maine: 10 months of winter and 2 months of damn poor sleddin'. State fabric: polar fleece. ;)

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I've polished off my egg and am working on coffee #1 while I contemplate the gloom over my shoulder. I really try not to grumble about the weather but this stretch is really starting to make me pricklier than I normally am. Hrrrmmmph. Anita, as the crow flies I live about 200 yds. from the Atlantic Ocean. I can hear it, I can smell it, but I don't get to look at it from my home. I'm OK with that.

Plumber is due in today and I have a series of little piddly things to accomplish on my way home today so I may keep some forward momentum over the weekend. There is much to do, none of it terribly difficult but it all has to be done in a precise order and that means paying attention making sure the materials are on hand in case the business suppliers decide to take Sunday off, too. I hope they do!
Some sort of plaster-y skim coat for the ceiling. Primer. Ceiling color and wall color. Base for laminate, a sheet of laminate, contact cement. That oughtta keep me off the streets. Pray for rain, OK?

When I had my hair cut yesterday the woman cutting it remarked that the slugs are starting to hang out on her back deck. Seems as though even they're sick of all the moisture. She says they're everywhere but interestingly she doesn't have the bright orange variety I have here. She has been blasting them with vinegar I have opted for the free-range approach. ;) Live and let live, baby. I like this one, too... she had a toad hopping around inside her house last week, lol. How do you suppose a toad managed to get inside the house?

The usual flurry of calls that preceeds a holiday has not yet arrived at work. It's got to be the weather, I think the recreational boaters have about given up any hope that there will be any weather that will make plying the bounding main pleasurable. The thought of actually going swimming in a lake is as appealing as it might be in say, October. Let's hope the weather for Camp smiles down on us and those of you "from away" have at least a little glimpse of what it can be like in July.

I love the colors on the bee-eaters. What pretty birds and I love the way they all have their little spaces carved out on the tree limb.

Time to fill the coffee cup again and mosey on outta here. Toodles.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 5:26AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Seems like the chain gang starts work early these days Chelone. Has the boss changed her tune are you simply ignoring her and working when it suits you?

It is actually dry on the pavers outside my windows, but humid nevertheless. I see swallows darting about, so no doubt the biting insects are out there too!

At last it is payday today! That means lots of errands. Probably too squishy to garden anyway. DH has his voice lesson so I get to do things when I choose pretty much. Julie and Chelone, I too have made an appointment for the pre-IU haircut. Phoebe needs one too. I would like to get new running shoes for the occasion, but I suspect the money isn't there and the old yucky black ones will have to do. I don't even dare to guess what the temperatures will be by then.

Today is my brother's birthday. It seems these celebrations come in clumps in our family.

I just checked the weather forecast and Chelone's Idyll Tidyll seems to be right on for the weekend! As for today, I figure 30% is pretty small, right?
"Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. High 68F. UV index 5 or moderate."

Here's hoping! I just found this historical shot of blue skies, with Woody's DH and mine enjoying the shores of lake Ontario.(May 2007)


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 6:16AM
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Greetings from soggy Cornfield Park. Between rain and rabbits a few of the gardens look absolutely sullen, but roses and other water lovers are absolutely stunning.

Grateful to be assured again this year that rabbits do not like Lavandula, so Cornfield Park might become the Lavandula compound of the east in the tradition of the former BrookEdge (37 varieties in the ground).

It's been a whirlwind here but mostly good stuff including:

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was camped out on my Mom's street for the last 12 days and it's been exciting to say the least. The recipient family considers my Mom their "other grandma" and she was involved in a lot of the "close friends" production. Yes, she met and actually touched Ty Pennington. All preconceptions about him being an egotistical maniac crashed down and the thousands (literally) of volunteers shared his enthusiasm and a perfect house has been built. Truly a deserving family and a truly humbling experience. The goodness of Man lives!!

Rich got a small one-day job that elicited enough $$ to do some larger advertising for a month. We've decided that if by the end of the year the business can't be self- (as opposed to Martie-) supporting it will be legally and emotionally closed. Kyle has been working with him on computer skills and ......

TA TA DA DA!!!!!!! We are seriously considering a home-based fresh herb business. There is currently only one good commercial supplier for all good restaurants in the area, and we're being strongly encouraged to give it a shot by many in the culinary field. "Use Local" has taken hold and these people mean it. Zoning will allow up to a 20X30 glasshouse in our backyard and Rich's building talents easily translate to putting it in with all accessories it will need. Initial investment can be covered by a micro-loan from the State Agriculture department who are encouraging farmers in our area to switch from tobacco to edibles. That could include us since we're in the right "zone." Farmers markets in the area would provide another income source and since we wouldn't be dealing with plants, only home-based plant products, it eliminates a lot of licensing. Some of the chefs have even said they would supply literal seed money to get us going. Will keep you all up to date.

So this is an all about me, but know that I'm loving the pics and ideas and banter and can feel the excitement of new family additions and trips and triumphs over garden pests :-) Kathy nails it when she describes this as a place of safe support no matter how often one stops in.

Thinking of you all....


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 9:01AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

I have to agree 100% with Chelone, Hrrrmmmmmph..the weather is getting REALLY OLD! And it is getting me down in the dumps. Part of my business earnings are for my gardens and when IÂm not even inspired to go plant shopping after having a successful seminar there is definitely something wrong in my world. The sunshine has only made very brief sporadic appearances in the last several weeks and its appearance generally causes all this wet humidity to get sucked into the sky so it can come down again in torrential thunder storms. As I really dislike chronic complainers IÂll cease and desist complaining about this and perhaps put my rain gear on and do something outside in the rainÂ.

Cindy, IÂm thinking you sent your weather to us? I couldnÂt believe you were talking about schlepping hoses. I never remember going three weeks without watering a container. Can you even imagine that?

Bug, love the pics! What an amazing resemblance in those babies! Love the Dh/blue sky photo. How refreshing.

Martie, how marvelous about EM Home Edition being in your MomÂs neighborhood. My friendÂs son worked on one of those makeovers last year, heÂs a master plumber, and it was a great experience for him.

OK IÂm going to go out and spread some sluggo so there will be a few Hostas left by the time IU6 rolls around. Have a great day all!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 9:25AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

OK, so here's my show & tell. This is Ivy's new sweater with matching funky hat.(The button is a moose!)

Martie, I have a friend who used to sell herbs to the local grocery store chains. She's no longer able to do it due to an accident, but it was great fun for a few years. It's a small community, so there weren't many outlets to supply.

Gotta run...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:53AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Love that hat, Gardenbug! So adorable.

Martie - nice to hear you guys are always being innovators -- interesting concept and I hope there's a real market for it for you.

Yep, Deanne - I joined the hose slinger crew -- I even had the sprinkler running last nite during a short rain shower we had as I could tell it was unlikely to amount to much - folks at the awfice heard me mentioning watering last nite and looked at me like I grew two heads in front of 'em, LOL - but really, after about a week of higher temps and no moisture, the plants were all hovering at ground level - in fact Im not sure I got 'em in time. It's just from one extreme to the other.

Counting the hours til the holiday is upon us - yes, I know that means at least one more day of mule burden, but Im hoping it will be light toting....

Havent had a chance to take any recent photos but am enjoying the daylilies and other lilies that are in full performance w/ interesting colors this year, and the platycodon & astilbes are really kicking in too.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 1:58PM
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Dere's pink in dat dar hat! Good for you and wonderful marriage of the earth-tones with the sunrise/sunset pastel. Adorable. And MOther Nature certainly provides a varied palette, does she not?

The scent of that purple contact adhesive plumbers use for PVC connections hangs heavy in the air. Rex gained access to the trash after the plumber left and was looking decidedly guilty when I arrived home and surveyed the carnage. Is it insecurity or the fact that his pea brain is unable to retain the "stay out of the trash" part of good boy manners? lol. I see a beating is in order. :)

Martie! good to hear from you. You know, I always wonder about the motives of those who say that some celebrity is getting too big for the britches. Sometimes they're right but it's just as likely that they're wrong. I prefer to make those judgements for myself. I like the concept of the herb business. The helpmeet and I have been wondering for years when the pendulum was going to begin swinging back from the huge, corporate agri-businesses to more sustainable, locally based growers. It's always been about finding your niche or working with groups of people to make sustainable agriculture work at a local level. I'm becoming increasingly nervous about agri-businesses in general. I've been appalled at the clout they wield with respect to genetically modified crops and I see it as a growing danger to the security of the world's food source. I think you two have plenty on the ball to make a good business decision. It will be interesting to see what you decide.

OK, calls to return and contractor's trail to clean up now. Oh, and a dog to beat...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Appropos to dogs foraging in trash, a friend's small dog ate 3 oz of dark chocolate, and when she found him his body was rippling with seizures. Seems to be mending OK at the vet, but too early to foretell long-term damage to organs. I've never had a first-hand account of the dog-ingests-choc scenario before. No urban legend there.

Love the green sweater. Such things should be hung up like quilts to look at. Hat is cute too and covers all the gender bases ;)

Martie, I am so excited about your herb-growing venture! I churn over business ideas all the time. At one point I was sure this city needed a do-it-yourself dog wash.

The comment about the UV index had me look up mine. We're 10+/extreme, and we've been in the upper 70s, clear blue sky. So I looked up Chelone's UV index: 2. Deanne's UV index: 2. Also checked their 10-day weather forecasts. Chelone gets sun around the 10th., all this moisture and cloud cover is great for your skin! Sorry to be glib, I know how painful it is. Surely the fuchsias and hostas must love this weather...

Watched The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie last night for the first time and have been thinking about it all day. Must get the book by Muriel Spark.

Chelone, we're keeping our local hardware store busy with lists like yours.

back to work

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 4:29PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

gb - that sweater and hat - particularly the hat - are great. The resemblance between Ivy and Reed is sure striking. It must produce a lot of mixed emotions.

Martie - I hope the business goes well - it certainly fits with the shift to local produce. And you get a glasshouse out of it...:-)

Chelone - you should have some interesting pictures for us soon - right...? You and Julie have before-during-after Extreme Makeover photo assignments due :-)

Cindy - I'm not sure why you could view the swag photos but not other photos previously. They are all on the same
Picturetrail account. I wonder if Picturetrail changed something on their site that made it more acceptable...?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 5:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

No sign of blue skies here yet and my lupines already have seed pods on them, but this was such a cheerful photo for the Idyll Tydll....

A shed stands in a field of lupine in Halifax. After the American Revolution, Nova Scotia was deluged by New Englanders still loyal to the crown and England. Settling farms vacated by Acadians, the recent immigrants doubled the province's population by the 1780s.

(Text adapted from and photograph shot on assignment for, but not published in the National Geographic book Canada's Incredible Coasts, 1991) Photograph by James P. Blair

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 6:53PM
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Martie,good to hear from you. How wonderful for you mothers adopted family to be recipents of the extreme makeover.
Here's hoping either Rich's business takes off or the herb growing gets off the ground.
So is Kyle back at home?

Bug, Ivy will be the best dressed baby with her Grnadma designer sweaters. Another gorgeous one.

Deanne and Chelone, like Cindy I know what you gals are having with all the rain. Been there earlier. Also like Cindy I am having to water now. This ground drains so fast and with the heat we had it is like baked clay. The gatdens are looking tired already and I feel like I didn't even get started on many things. At least the sun is shining here.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:00PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Another cool and cloudy day here. The good news is that it was a great evening for taking photos in the garden and I'm uploading a boatload as I write this. The "imagine that" news is that I went to work on July 1st wearing a sweater. Cindy hit it on the head with her "one extreme to another" comment.

Marty, the herb venture sounds like it could be a good one! There's definitely a market for locally-grown right now, and you know your herbs. Hope it works out for you.

'bug, I love the sweater!

OK, after a slight misadventure of unsaved changes, I have some photos to share. Here's a hot combo for you:

The shrub to the left is Physocarpus 'Centerglow' which was rescued from a trash can a couple of years ago. The large yellow flower is Echinacea paradoxa. There's Asclepias tuberosa and Lysimachia 'Atropurpurea' in the background.

And from the front garden, here's a bee for Saucy:

OK, I have a button to sew on DH's shorts before he gets home tomorrow. Not that he'll need shorts tomorrow, but . . .


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:21PM
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Tomorrow is a de facto Friday-love those ! Also love a 3 day weekend, especially one which features nice moderate summer temps, 80s daytime and mid 50s at night. Im planning a three day garden marathon- this is summer clean up time for me, everything that looks crappy and heat stressed is either being cut back or pulled up. Zero tolerance. Ill plant my new daylilies too.

Marie, I would wear that hat in a heartbeat-although I expect my head is to large ! I love the color combo-we are all about color combos arent we ? It seems to spill over into other non-gardening areas of life.

Martie ! At last youve come to see us..and with such interesting news too. I am not familiar with Extreme Home Makeover; and have no clue as to who Ty Penington is, but it sounds as though there was fun and excitement and Im all for that. I hope you will keep us informed on the details of the fresh herb business as it progresses It sounds very timely for your region as the tobacco business continues to come under more pressure.

Denise , thanks for the memory jog on Jean Brodie , sure has been a long time since Ive seen it and judging from your comments it must hold up well- hard to go wrong with Maggie Smith in any case.

I cant keep up with Cindys gardening challenges this year- from squish to hose dragging. I can relate to how quickly things can dry out though, I think it took about two days after our last rain.

Nice pics there V. ! Is Saucys bee on a Knautia or a Scabiosa ?

All for me, its cool enough to WALAT tonight, and I will do so now..

And a photo-wave to Martie From Garden 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:04PM
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I'm SATCLAPing tonight...(sitting at the computer looking at photos), and have come to the conclusion that Idyllers here win hands down in the Best Photo category. Some days, it takes my breath away. It makes me want to do better.

bug...Love the sweather/hat combo. Ivy will be the best little dresser in Canada. A whole lotta love went into it, too, and it shows.

martie...what a cool story about your mom meeting Ty. That show does a great job, although I don't have the patience to watch it. Let us know when it airs, I will watch that episode. I think you should go for the herb business. Locally grown goods is becoming the in thing.

I need to look up Jean Brodie, my curiosity is piqued. I just finished The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore. A good read with very descriptive prose on gardens.
Bug...what does "tant pis" mean? I'm thinking "such a pity," but can't be sure. There were a few french phrases peppered throughout.

chelone...Is the beating done yet? I'm glad 5 lb. Tequila can't reach the garbage can, because she would if she could. We've recently been leaving her uncrated when we leave, and she's behaving well. Glad the bathroom is moving along. Will it be ready by the Idyll reunion?

kathy...It's interesting that your garden climate is prime for a ripping out session already. My marathon will be due around mid August. Then I can rip out with guiltless abandon, and get ready for all the fall bloomers. It's a necessary cleansing act.

V...I hear you on the sweater. At least we didn't need fleece like chelone. I absolutely love the hot combo photo. I don't have any of the featured plants, but do have cultivars of each one. Do I see a small part of 'Lorraine Sunshine' heliopsis in the foreground? I do have that one.

PM...your NG photos always remind me how many truly beautiful places there are on this earth. I wish I was a traveler sometimes.

cindy...LOL on the office reaction to your night watering. Don't people get it? Hope your weather balances out soon.

deanne...Missing your frequent posts. Don't worry about venting about the weather to us, we're kindred spirits and will understand. So vent away. Just post pictures, and you'll be forgiven. :-)

Not sure what my holiday plans are yet. I would love to work in the gardens all day, but doubt DH and kids would approve.

Here's hoping blue skies descend upon all of you tomorrow.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:04AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

"tant pis" is "so be it","so much the worse" or "so what!"
"tant pis pour toi!" means "too bad for you!"

So here I am, at 3:30am, anxious about a spot in the garden and not sleeping because of it. I think I need to pick up some top soil tomorrow (today!) and move some hostas to the flats. They have become huge and are even producing babies. I'll try to edge there and define the grass area and see how many will fit. Maybe scatter more primula seeds there as well. It is supposed to rain, so perhaps it would be a good time for it. I need a few extra days added to this month! There are other spots in the garden to deal with as well. One in particular with Japanese anemones to eradicate...which is rather on par with eliminating goutweed.

Anita, I am "all about color combos" for sure. In fact, I have an orange version of the "funky hat" for a bit larger baby...later on! V's hot colors in the garden are so cheerful! I love the feathery Echinacea paradoxa. I just bought an echinacea 'tiki torch' on the recommendation of friends who know I like orange in my garden. Still in my plant ghetto though... Odd that one review from zone 7 is negative while a Connecticut one is positive.

PM, has your "gastro guy" booked appointments for you? Are things improving yet for you? Probably a bit early for that, but I'm hoping!

I'm imagining lots of great Grandpa and Grandma time with Kenzie these days....

EDEN? You must be a busy Grandma too these days. I have planted my Angelica ebony seeds and placed them (covered) in the fridge. We'll see what happens later on.

This is the weekend when the gang goes to see The Lion King. Ivy was supposed to stay with a babysitter, but she refused to learn to drink from a bottle, so I guess she'll be going too.

And for those of you getting up at a reasonable time, here's a smile to start your day!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:58AM
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Oh swell, now I'm being bombarded by babies before breakfast. ;) If I can't have blue skies then I'll settle for a blue onesie (that's what those rigs are called?) with no spit up on it. It's a start.

I awakened to heavy rain drumming on the filon roof outside the bedroom. And Spencer curled up right next to me. The cats have been very eager for a warm body to curl up against the past few days.

The water lines are moved, the waste lines are in, and the vents have been tied into the main stack. The trail has been cleaned up, including the cat puke that contained identifiable rodent remains. 'Tis the season. I've selected the counter and we'll measure the size as soon as the sheetrock is in place. The shower base has a slight rock to it, so there will need to be some sort of foam product procured to immobilize it before hanging the hardiback and tiling. Yes, Anita, it should be finished before IUVI. I really wish I didn't have that pesky thing called work to interfere, since the bathroom is considerably more entertaining and rewarding these days!

For a neutered dog Rex has balls the size of oranges, let me tell you. Not only did he get into the trash but he did it IN FRONT of the plumber and the building inspector, lol. I teased them that they clearly have no credibility with that fool dog. Had I been thinking more rationally I'd have skipped the beating and forced him to wear "the cone of shame" for a little while (a reference to the movie, "Up").

PM, the helpmeet and I have contemplated selling the Compound to the first available yuppie with 3.6 children and a Golden Retriever and moving to Nova Scotia. ;) I have lots of family there. I'd be one of those people like 'bug who "missed" Canada Day, too. What a lovely shot, the Lupine show downeast is really spectacular. I am not surprised by chippie's acrobatics in the feeder. They're the cutest little things, aren't they?

V., your garden shots are great and very HOT. Everything here is green. Very, very green. And grey. Thanks for the pick-me-up. I think it's Knautia in Saucy's picture.

I noticed the daylilies I relocated a month or so ago are sending up scapes (right term?) even though the foliage looks really ratty. That's a good thing because there are two sorts, both orange, but one is very basic and the other is quite pretty, paler and double. The latter get to live another year, but the plain ones will be tagged and summarily sent to the great compost pile in the sky as soon as they reveal themselves. I have some yellow ones, too, but they're notorious floppers and may be evicted this year, too. Right now I need the filler!

Time to go bust some rocks at the land of chaos and then get the hell outta there. I've stuck to my guns on my hours, 'bug, they work for me and it's what I have to offer. I'm definitely into working to live, not living to work these days. I've far more important and fulfilling things to do than repair canvas encrusted with seagull and pigeoun crap. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 5:25AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning....

Sorry, I had no energy to post more than a photo last night. Early morning here too, Marie, or at least it was when I started. [g] It poured all afternoon yesterday and there is thunder and lightening at the moment. Very comfortable sleeping weather.

Marie, I did have my GI appt on Monday and some appts have been made. This doctor is new to me and I was underwhelmed. It's not easy for me to find specialists that understand my underlying medical issues and without that, their conclusions always seem skewered to me. But I was expecting that, so it was no surprise. I seem to be able to eat enough to get by, although very limited choices. I'm doing okay at the moment, thanks for asking. :-) ......As always, I love your handiwork on the sweater and hat combo and your choice of buttons. I enjoy that green and I'm with Kathy, I would also love that hat. And thank you for the smile to start my day, and it really does make me smile. :-) Ivy is looking so bright eyed and bushy tailed! Our two youngest loved the Lion King when they were small. We loved the lyrics and the kids knew most of the songs by heart. Do I remember that Skyler saw it last year?

Well, there's the rain starting again and it's coming down in The shade lovers.... Hydrangeas, Astilbes, Ferns are all loving this weather.

Martie, an herb farm sounds right up your alley! Potential financial help sounds very encouraging. To end up with a greenhouse too would be perfect! I hope everything works out for you.

Anita, I would have loved to travel more but it has not worked out for us, so I really enjoy the NG photos very much. It must be amazing to see some of the beauty in person. Although sometimes I wonder if some of the wild places are getting too much traffic. I'm glad you enjoy the NG photos too. :-)

Kathy that's a pretty combo. What is the yellow bloom? It almost looks like a wild four oclock.

And very welcome hot colors, V. None of that going on here.

Denise, thanks for sharing the story of your friend's dog and the chocolate. I had never heard an actual account of a bad reaction, so that was very eye opening. I will have to pass it along to our son, his dog Noodles loves getting into things.

Deanne, I've stopped plant shopping too. We almost went out to weed in the rain last night, but I talked myself out of it. [g]

Chelone, on my mother's side, my grandparents lived in Nova Scotia when they first came to this country, then they moved to Maine. We don't have any family still there that I know of, but I still feel a connection. I've often thought it might be a great place to live. I am not charmed by modern life and still wish we could turn back the clocks to a simpler time. Sturbridge Village is a place like that and we had a membership for years when the kids were small. I would love a car-less world with horse and buggy travel. I have some perception that Nova Scotia might be like that, even though I've only driven through on the way north. Even better than Sturbridge as it has the ocean. :-) ....Yes, chippies are cute, if my camera was working I would have tried for a video. I see there are lots of video hosting places online now. Maybe if I get a new camera before the summer is over. [g]

That's out of chit chat. :-) Waving to Cindy, Norma, Saucy, Marian, Woody and Eden. Fingers crossed I haven't forgotten anyone. If there's no time to read and post, what about some photos?


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 5:56AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

This morning I woke to the sound of crashing thunder. Ive seriously hit a wall with this weather. I normally can kick my butt out of the doldrums but this is just too much. The slugs, earwigs and sowbugs are just ruining stuff and I cant get out there to do anything about it because of this hideous rain. Im missing the blooming of the Asiatic Lilies and the slugs are eating those as well.. This morning I opened the back slider and shook my fist at the sky Like that did any good? Most of the begonias will probably be going into the trash when I get outside again. The cane type begonias have lost most of their bottom leaves and the rexes are full of slug holes. I could just spit.

Anyway, all I need are a couple good sunny days and a pair of pruners and Ill probably perk up. Its just so frustrating to see so many things getting ruined and not be able to do anything about it. But, this too shall pass Lets hope that well be getting all the rain behind us and will have a lovely weekend for the IU festivities.

On a good note all the clematis here are putting on the best performance theyve ever had. The vines are all beautiful and chock full of flowers. Im thinking that Clematis must be like roses and love lots and lots of water if their feet are well drained. Also, Dougs little vegetable garden in a pot is doing really well. It looks to me like a couple of the little grape tomatoes are starting to turn color. Incredible since weve not had much sun at all. Doug wanted some veggies so I told him that if we could make it decorative in a container that would work so I bought a tomato, a couple pepper and eggplants. Then I planted parsley and purple basil around the edges of the pot. It looks great and the veggies are all pretty happy considering.

V. great pics! How large does P. Centerglow get? (Ill take a sweater to a sweater with a raincoat any day. LOL)

Kathy, I just love the blue and yellow wave

Anita, I LOL over SATCLAPping.

Bug, shes a cutie.

Chelone, I love Nova Scotia One of the prettiest places Ive been. Ive friends in the Minas Basin area and its amazing. Those tides are a show every day.

PM, I actually did go out in the rain to work in the gardens yesterday. I just put on my rain gear and did some much needed deadheading and policing of the dead and mushy plant matter in the gardens. I was finally chased in by a heavier downpour and then didnt feel like going back outside. I just keep telling myself that this cant last forever.

OK Im out of things to say so will go and get on my exercise cycle and then do a bit of grocery shopping. Waving hello to all,

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 8:59AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

SATCLAP is one of those terms that has a name -- it sounds like what it is ( ya have to clap at the pics for sure...) - my brain's doing a fried synapse at present as to the English term for that sort of word... great new addition to the GW thesaurus.

Love all the mega color - V & Kathy!!!!

Deanne -- I think we can all relate to how you feel altho yours is likely on a Huge scale from all the containers and things -- I had an angiozanothos plant I glombed onto - it has already succumbed to too much water; the agaves we wont talk about (the survivors need a teepee I think...)...cant talk about all the things keeled over on the ground from just the showers we had (after I watered of course..). I will be excited to actually see your gardens in person, no matter what their condition and have so much fun and laughs w/ good friends -- the rest will be forgotten...

okay, gotta put in the rest of my "time" before freeeeedom this p.m.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:49PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

"onomatapoeia" Cindy?

I'm back from collecting 3 crates to transport cats to their appointments on saturday.
I collected 1 ball of yarn and returned one.
I picked up 12 bags of top soil.
I made an appointment for a pedicure, then a date for Phoebe's haircut.
I cut the line for the expansion of a garden area, but it is too wet to deal with now. Perhaps tomorrow?

Then I spoke to my SIL who spent the week celebrating the death of her oldest son with her four other sons and other family members. What a year it has been. I think Brenda, Honey and many others would agree.

Clematis continue to bloom. :) Today Emilia Plater, Viola, Madame Julia Correvon and others have made their first appearances for 2009.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:56PM
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SATCLAP ! Brilliant Anita! SATCLAPing is what we do when the WALAT becomes impossible . Occasionally we SATCLAPADAB. (Sitting At The Computer Looking At Pictures And Drinking Adult Beverages.)
Came home for the awfice today all primed and ready for my 3-day weekend, and have made a list of tasks that I would like to accomplish over the three days. Lots of clean-up, trim up and fertilizing. After list making I mooned over Saucys IU6 itinerary, which made it seem so close to reality. What a great trip this will be..still time to book it folks !

PM, the yellow plant you see in the background is Tagtes Lucida which is commonly called Mexican tarragon. It gets about a foot or a little more tall and these yellow flowers are very small , but bloom all summer and fall,basically till frost . Flowers are edible and foliage is very reminiscent of French Tarragon. I use it ornamentally as I have F. Tarragon growing nearby. I hope your DR visits provide some results for you ..maybe you need to try out one of the holistic Drs. ?

Jeesh Deanne, I really feel for you and the constant deluges you seem to be enduring. I know how crappy it is when we have a wet spring, (a distant memory at this point) and all the roses turn to blobs , and perennials recline in the bathtub dripping and drooping when they stand up to dry off. As you say, this cant last forever , and I bet the Fuchsias are in hog heaven.

Chelone, I think perhaps a photo-op with all Idyllers crammed into the new Loo toasting our absent friends might be in order. Have you psychologically prepped the Helpmeet for what he may have to endure come Idyll Camp ? Scapes=right term .

Cindy, the term you are looking for is Acronym with a nod to Marie, I think the onomatapoeia refers more to words that sound like what they describethe only word I can think of right now is swish. Maybe gulp too ? Any English majors out there ?
Wave to all and yoo-hooing to Mary, Marian, Saucy, and Eden

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:55PM
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V, you have given me an idea with the knautia and coreopsis. Your hot combo works very well.

Kathy what new daylillies did you get? Most of mine are blooming now. I can't keep up with the deadheading.

Anita you have coined a new Idyll abreviation. Clever of you. I hardly realized it is 4th of July weekend coming up. No plans here. I think the grandsons will be coming for a few days next week now that they are done with summer school.

So, Ivy has a mind of her own ey? Tiki Torch is nice, but none of the newer ones will live for me. Even White Swan dies out after a couple of years. The purple ones at least reseed.

Waving back atcha Pm.

I was going to go to town today but got to piddling with plants and didn't go. Really making an effort to wrap up planting things. You know kittens are really not much help in the garden. They think everything needs attacked weather it is a fragile plant or not. And they can scare the bejeebies out of you if you are not expecting something to pouce on you from the undergrowth. She is full of beans these days.

Getting drropy eyes, so night all. Norma

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:13PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Not much new to report today. Worked like a demon to get all of tomorrow's tasks done today so that I can enjoy a vacation day tomorrow. We plan to take the train to Chicago and enjoy Taste of Chicago with a million or so of our closest friends.

DD spent her afternoon with her cousin taking a lesson in how to sew a skirt. The fabric DD chose was a lovely toile print, and I'm sure that Chelone knows the joys of working with a one way print! It took her five hours to cut out the pieces for an "Easy" pattern.

DH and I took a RALAT (riding on the ATV instead of walking!) to see what's up in the various corners of our universe. I was very excited to see a New Jersey Tea plant that had grown from seed out on the prairie. Not so excited to see some white sweet clover in a few too many places.

Let's see if I can answer all the questions. Yes, the bee is on a Knautia macedonia. No, that's not 'Lorraine Sunshine' in the first photo, although I do have some great plants of that in my front garden. What you're seeing in the foreground is Lysimachia 'Golden Alexander'. Physocarpus 'Center Glow' is supposed to get 6 to 8 feet tall by the same width. Mine is about four feet tall this year, but it started two years ago as little more than a stick in a pot. This is the first year that it's really taken off and put on some size.

'bug, you didn't ask but I'll give you my opinion on E. 'Tiki Torch' and performance issue. IMHO, one of the biggest problems facing the horticulture world right now is the push to get new and unusual cultivars on the market FAST. New plants aren't getting the trialing that they used to get, but more importantly, growers are discovering that tissue culture is not the slam-dunk route to speedy propagation that some think it should be. There can be wildly different results in growing on TC starts. I'm not a degreed hort person so I will limit my speculation, but I will say that I have seen some very nice plants come from TC starts and I have seen some very sad plants as well - of the same variety as the well-performing plants. I suspect that some growers have few qualms about shipping some of the weaker plants. And that's how you get someone in Zone 7 complaining that her 'Tiki Torch' is not doing well and someone in Zone 4 is absolutely pleased with the performance - the Zone 4 gardener got a much stronger plant than the Zone 7 gardener.

OK, enough lecture. How about more photos?

The stems on my Echinacea pallidas are all over the place this year, I think due to the weather extremes we've had. These stems look like they're bending over to sip from the stream.

And another one that makes me think of Saucy - I bet she'd love to have this leaf to cast! That's native Prairie Dock in front of Wild Quinine.



    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:30PM
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Put one in your suitcase V..

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:03AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning! I just looked at the weather forecast and at least some sunshine is on it's way. Yay! And I had some news from my doctor late yesterday. My thyroid hormone is too high. This could be a partial explanation for my digestive problems of late and lowering it could bring about some relief.

Kathy, I have been seeing a Naturopath. Sometimes he has made a difference for me but not everything he has offered me has worked out. Still, I think coming at it from both directions gives the most opportunities to work things out. ....I like that Taragon. Do you use a lot of herbs in your cooking?

Scarlett, oops, I mean Deanne, I laughed out loud at you shaking your fist at the sky. :-) Yes, a little sun this week and some judicious pruning and you're right, by IU6, your garden will be as amazing as usual. I had a bad earwig problem a few years ago. Waking up in the middle of the night has to be good for something and I would make trips out to the garden where the earwigs would be at their busiest and just knock them into a paper cup of dishwashing detergent and water. Luckily, they've never been that bad since.

Norma, it sounds like you are enjoying the new kitten, what's her/his name again? So have you worked out the problem you were having posting photos yet?

Marie, it really has been quite a year. Does SIL live nearby and how is she doing?

V....have to agree with your speculation on the new cultivars coming out. Rush to market and not enough trialing were my assumptions, but hadn't considered how many are using tissue culture for propagation. Progress is not always an improvement. .....I have a Physocarpus 'Summer Wine' and it was moved last fall for the second time. I think it finally likes it's location. I noticed the other day it has shot up a good foot and a half in the past month.

Sorry to hear about your agaves, Cindy.

Marian, are you feeling better at all? What are you and Nolan doing this weekend?

We have nothing special planned this weekend. DD is away for the weekend and DH has to go into the office part of the day today.

Hope everyone has a productive and relaxing Friday...!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 4:55AM
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I've just come in from a WALAT with the huge one and one cat. I just love this time of day, it's peaceful and there is no road noise to disturb it. Everything is so wet, but at least it's not raining (so far). All the low places in the back yard are full of water and the south lawn squishes under foot when walked on. But this is how the area is supposed to respond to heavy rainfal and it's always interesting to me to watch how quickly the ground absorbs the excess ultimately recharching the watertable.

I'm not sure what time my brother is going to arrive but we have lots to get done today, though I don't think it will involve sheetrocking unless we can get the inspector to roll in sometime today... a very slim prospect on the day before Independence Day, methinks. I sent him home with "Wall E" on Monday and when I spoke with him yesterday he was settled in on his couch with "40 lbs. of cats" and was about to start watching it. Can't wait to hear his thoughts on it. I'm really looking forward to today; this project is basically training camp for the work to come on THTTF.

I am always hesitant to chime in on reviews of new cultivars because I really don't have any here, bein' the "bullet proof" fan I am. But I recall the rush a few years ago to add "Limerock Beauty" coreopsis (I think) to gardens. And the sore disappointment that followed when it turned out to be marginally hardy for many. Thanks for the explanation of tissue culture, V., it makes a great deal of sense and I'll bet your speculation is probably spot on. I have tons of Echinacea because it reseeds so readily. I have a few "White Swan" but mostly the purple, some are the fully reflexed sort and there is some "Magnus" in that mix, too. I see they're budding up, no doubt hoping for some sunshine. I see the "rush to market" is not limited to new, patented drugs from the major pharmaceutical companies... let's hope Tiki Torch fares better than Celebrex did!

We lit the stove last night. It was a balmy 54 degrees at 7 PM and the dry heat from the fire felt awfully nice. I should have done a load of laundry to extract the last bit of energy efficiency from it, huh?

I chuckled at the image of Deanne shaking her fist at the leaden skies, hard to believe she'd do a thing like that, huh? ;) It's discouraging to see the damage to things you've worked so hard on. The helpmeet reports that slug and snail bait is becoming hard to come by on the east coast... I propose slug races for IUVI entertainment, though I'll eschew any wagering on the outcome of any such races. How fun that Doug has joined the ranks of vegetable growers; I'll bet the pot is really pretty. If he catches the bug you may just say goodbye to the fairway in your front yard... think of it, raised beds and all the fresh vegetables you'll need. Maybe an Idyll harvest party to put up pickles and freeze the tastes of summer... . Thumb your nose at starvation and all that good stuff. :)

I love it when the kitties stalk and attack me, Norma. It makes me laugh because there is something endearing about a mature housecat indulging in such silliness. I now want another kitten or two. Thanks a heap.

Nothing exciting planned for the Independence Day weekend here, either, but I'll have to find some band music to play while I put out the flags and the buntings (forgot about those!).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:36AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,


So Hello to all and I'm going to get myself outside for a day in the gardens, well until the thunder storms arrive this afternoon....

Have a great day all!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:14AM
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Sarah's up early - could it be that the sun shining in her window stirred her from slumber on a summer vacation day? Why YES the sun is out!

I have a long list of things to do that can only be done in dry weather....

I got my IU haircut yesterday and picked out my toenail polish - it was a tough call but No Room for the Blues won out over Teal the Cows Come Home :)

I'm sorry that I haven't had much to say here. I've been reading along and nodding in agreement, enjoying all the photos.

Sarah and I have been playing Free Rice again and I'm surprised at her vocabulary - looks like the 4th grade was a big turning point for her reading.

She's got laryngitis and has taken it upon herself to not speak this weekend, as that makes her voicebox hurt. Wonder how long she'll last?

I'd better get moving - that grass isn't gonna mow itself and the fridge needs to be cleaned and stocked! TTYL!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:45AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Liam was just delivered for a visit until July 19th. He and his 'daddy' are a silly pair!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:42AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I am reading along, and enjoying the pictures...but just do not feel I have much of interest to contribute here. Maybe one of these days I will get motivated to post another picture thread.
My physical condition is not great, but all that much worse than it has been for some time. It waxes and wanes.
I am having problems with the heat on very hot and humid days, and with insect bites....I have my first bout of chigger bites. They always set me back some....

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:17AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Gee, I don't know if I should post on this thread or not, seeing as we haven't had Blue Skies for at least a week and another five days of rainy weather is forecasted...At least my transplanted garden is happy, the clems are going great guns with huge Etoile Violets, Presidents, and Durandiis having a whale of a time. And the golf course grass seed is sprouting happily, wherever the pups are leaving it alone.

I still have 18 bags of earth to fill in a dip in the back yard and then seed. I have lots of ugly dead patches where the dogs pee and where the bags of plants sat for two weeks waiting for the fencing to be complete. So the rain is probably a good thing in the long run. But I don't want a long run, I just want a coupla summer days! Sheesh. I am going to pull a Deanne and go out there and shake my fist!

I too have spent lots of time SATCLAPing, and at least I have managed to read all of the posts.

Marian, I kinda feel the same right now in terms of interesting things to add here. I suppose I could transfer some photos out of the camera and show what a mess my yard is. Next summer it will be lovely, I hope. No chiggers here, but the deer flies really get me - big swelling, lots of Benadryl, ice etc. Only been bitten three times so far...

Being my usual ludite self, I haven't been able to read the IUVI stuff yet. DH is going to "help" me later...

Everybody seems so busy - I feel like a slug today! I think I will go try to do the photo thing...




    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:56AM
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My brother spent a good deal of time on electricity today. We had to go to the supply yard and on the way he spied a 4' double sided ladder (treads on both sides) and remarked that it would be a good thing to have. I said, "let's buy it". He commented that it would probably be expensive, I shrugged and said, "what's the point in having money if you can't spend it on someone you love?". :) So, no sheetrock or hardibacker in the shower, but I really like the way things are wired for lighting over the vanity. He is much more thoughtful about things like that than the helpmeet is and more inclined to explain options more fully and listen to my thoughts on the subject.

While he did the electricity I weeded the front bed that hasn't been touched since I raked it out in early April. I also did something I don't generally do, I prepared a bubble bath for slugs. I plopped every one of them I found into it. Several were sleeping contentedly in the concave portion of Hosta stems waiting for nightfall to "go out for dinner". I have another small portion of the bed left to do. I have a huge Krossa Regal to divide and patch of Polygonatum that is threatening to take over the entire bed. The trellis that once was home to clematis "Maidwell Hall" is vacant, since the hosta outmuscled the clematis a few years ago... Time to assume control, I think!

Oh, and I also put up the buntings and put the flags in the windowboxes this morning. We're looking decidedly celebratory now. And I see the sun has disapperared and there is the distant rumble of thunder. What would the evening be without a thunderstorm? The geranium blossoms are squishy on the tops from all the rain and several of the leaves were soggy and brown with mold on them. They really need a few straight days of sunshine to perk them up. I thought of Deanne today and wondered how crazed she must be trying to make everything as perfect as she can...

OK, time to get back at it and perhaps finish the weeding before rain. I don't think I'm doing anything very interesting either, but that sure doesn't stop me from writing about it, Julie. :/

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 4:32PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wow, it's pouring again! lol Hard to believe this weather. I can remember one summer when I was about 9 or 10 years old that the weather was similar but not since then. We were spending the summer in a resort town and it was overcast and/or raining all summer it seemed. I remember feeling like we didn't have any summer at all that year. We did get some sun today and DH managed to weed out a good chunk of the back border that was out of control and get some newspaper and mulch down and finished it about 15 minutes before the skies opened up again. At least the plants had a brief reprieve today. I'm sure it did them some good.

Marian, have you ever tried tea tree oil for the insect bites? I find it is the first thing I think of for anything on my skin. Thinking it would speed up healing, maybe. Are you reading any books lately?

Woody, nice that you have a visitor for awhile. I'm sure you enjoy the company. How have you been feeling lately?

This weather is perfect for your newly renovated garden Julie and next year, I'm sure you will be so happy with it.

Chelone, I am enjoying hearing about all the activity on the compound. Looking forward to bathroom photos. Have you picked out tiles yet and is so, what color?

That's it from here. Hi Saucy :-)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 5:02PM
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Break time . Spent the morning in the front garden , went to the grocery store and will be moving to the back after the sun gets a little weaker. The back yard is a western exposure and can get toasty on summer afternoons. Notable task of the day was the post-bloom pruning of the Star Jasmine, and removal of the ageing Biokovo from around the mailbox. At this point in the season I may just pop some Zinnias in there while I think about what kind of planting I want Its a small brick planter surrounding the mailbox post, about 2x2 so not large .

So heres the tale of my Celosia spicata Flamingo Feather that I grew from seed this winter I planted two of them in the Basil Orchard area around the same time I put out the Zinnias- April probably, thats when our soils start to warm up. And there they are, have not grown beyond one inch tall. They do not appear to be dead (once you bend over far enough to actually see them.) in fact each one has a teeny weeny flower. I have another two that are still in their cell pack, same story. Im going to take the two in the cell pack and repot them in a 8 or 10 inch pot his afternoon and see what happens. Very strange. Michelle sent me some seeds of the purple variety and it will be interesting to sow both next winter and see what transpires.

Deanne, I did get a kick out of Dougs vegetable garden, and began to envision ever more dramatic vegetable container combos featuring the like of artichokes and rainbow chard, with you and he dueling for space ..

OK back out- more later

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:23PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Got a big chunk of the flats weeded out and edged. I moved 4 hostas down there, a goatsbeard and some wayward primulas too. There's more to go, but it is good to be getting at it! There's so much tidying up still to do!

Tomorrow is the special garbage drop off: batteries, lightbulbs, paint cans, spray containers, etc. That's at 9am. Then at 9:30 the three cats have their checkups. I wonder what they'll say about poor Vita who has been chewing off the fur from her legs...

My favorite white cherries (Queen Ann) are now in the a price. Their season is not long, but they are a memory of my youth and I still love them! That will be my dessert later on. :)

They say the gloom will change to sun tomorrow. We shall see! In the meantime I enjoy reading of the updates at the compound.


PS: Do check out this interesting idea, below.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:36PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

gb - it sounds like you had a very productive day!

One of the odd adjustments to Randy retiring is that Saturday morning grocery shoping has moved to Friday morning - so it felt like Saturday today! I wonder how long it will be before it stops feeling like we're shopping on the 'wrong' day?!

The rose swag is looking pretty good at the moment. The house side looks best because it gets the most sun, plus on the other side the rose is partially weaving itself through the neighbour's shrubs so it doesn't present such a solid mass of blooms. I was looking at something on the RHS site that seemed to idicate that the laterals get tied into the swag too rather than pruning them down. So we did some tieing - and weaving - in of the laterals. Goodness knows what a mess it would become after a few years! Clearly pruning would be necessary too.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:43PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Kathy, thought you'd get a kick out of this. they are doing so well so far I'll probably do a couple more pots next year.

I love it that it's in an artichoke pot.... LOL

Woody, that swag is divine!!!

Nite all

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:23PM
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Woody, the rose swag is just terrific! I was wondering how you prune it to keep the swag, promote vigor and reblooming, as well as keeping it rejunvenated. I really, really like the whole concept. I recall being quite impressed with ivy swags in a public garden in Paris and thinking what a handsome way it was to dress up a fence in a deeply area. Just grand. :)

Deanne, I think Douglas deserves his very own vegetable parterre, you could start him out with a basic 4x4 plot. I have always thought vegetables can be every bit as wonderfully decorative as perennials and Martie's beloved herbs. I am enchanted by the delicate flowers of eggplant, not that we've had any this year, lol. The pot itself in your shot is handsome... but you know I suffer from urn yearn anyway. I thought of you as the round of thunderstorms rolled through late yesterday afternoon. I hope you had a relaxing and productive day in your gardens.

It's another drippy morning out there but I can see the sun is going to burn off the low-lying haze of humidity. Rex and I circumnavigated the Compound rerouting our usual path because I neglected to put on my waders. ;) The south lawn near the pond and heading down to the woods is like walking on a saturated sponge (well, that's what it IS!) and I'm not sure I'll be doing any mowing today unless the sun comes out early. Amazing!

I like that shot of Liam (even though I hate dogs). He clearly is an animal who has great confidence in his master and I like to see that. It disturbs me to see dogs who appear to be in a constant state of uncertainty... nervous and continually looking for reassurance or guidance that never seems to come. Know what I mean? And 'bug is going to have an interesting mornings with the cats and the vet.. I put Vera and Polly in cases but Spencer is too strong and too smart for those. He knows how to get out of them, he pulls the door inward and snaps off the plastic hinges in about 30 seconds. So, he now wears a figure 8 harness and a leash instead. He seems more comfortable when he's not confined to a small container. At any rate, I fully appreciate the coordination and orchestration required to accomplish the mission. May the force be with you.

Nice to see Marian pop in a for little bit. I can't even feature hot weather given the fact that we had perhaps 5 sunny days in all of June. I remarked the other day that I have yet to put on a pair of shorts this season. My gleaming alabaster backside has been termed a navigational hazard by the helpmeet who threatens to put on a welder's mask regularly to protect his retinas, and now my legs are included in that category. I've not experienced the delight of chiggers, but know about ticks, blackflies, mosquitos, and deer flies from long experience. Fact is, I've not spent enough time outside in the past few weeks to suffer any of them to any great extent. I'm disappointed by the Kousa dogwood this year, only ONE blossom! though the tree looks healthy enough and seems to be putting on new growth. So maybe it's just decided to take a year off to acclimate more fully to the site? After the loss of the Viburnums I'm now nervous about any sign of decline. Sigh.

Time for more coffee. I wonder if there will be pictures of the divine Miss Kenzie entertaining Michelle in our future? I sure hope the visit is full of fun, smiles, and laughs. She must be so different than she was at the last visit. Quite the young lady now, no doubt... still in Princess mode?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 6:15AM
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Good morning all! I woke early because the sun was shining through the skylight over my bed! A welcomed way to wake for sure. I immediately thought of my bees and how they will make the most of this fine stretch of upcoming weather and will be putting up honey. So today (or tomorrow, I haven't decided) I shall don my veil and add my honey super! It strikes me as hopeful to do such a thing....that they would make enough honey for me to steal from them at the end of this summer. We'll see.

The "honey super" is just a shallow version of the larger boxes. The reason it is smaller is because it brings the weight down into a manageable size, about 50lbs of honey instead of 70. Think about how awkward it is to carry a heavy box....

I mowed the grass in between thunderstorms yesterday. I got the larder stocked (as Chelone would say). AND I bought a new grill :) I got a barrel style grill with charcoal on one side and gas on the other. Nick and I both like hardwood charcoal, but don't always have the time, so this makes us both very happy :) It's a beast of a thing, so it needs it's own spot behind the shed: someday it will have it's own patio with a light, I am promised :)

Sarah's sick and she has declared that she has pneumonia again. This is the 5th time or so, and I am really worried about her....and don't call me silly, but part of the reason that I worry about her is the swine flu. I worry that it will come back around worse this fall/winter. She's the child I worry about in the health department. Before any honey supers go on, we've gotta see the doctor. If it is confirmed that'll be a bummer, cause it knocks the wind out of your sails for about 6 weeks....and then another round has been hitting every 6 months. The girl needs a year or two....shoot, lets shoot for heal.

Well, that's all from me this morning. It seems as if you've gotten a glimpse inside the melon I call a head :)

May the sun shine on all your gardens today, with a crisp cool breeze and lots of shade for those suffering in the heat!


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 7:13AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all, It is a deliciously sunny morning here with temps hovering around 70, couldn't be a more perfect day for gardening. Im just having a bit of a lazy morning and enjoying the sunshine on the flowers in the back gardens. I got a ton of stuff done yesterday including finally getting the roses all fed, cleaned up and tucked in with a fresh mulch of leaf compost. Ive also had to liberally sprinkle some sluggo around as the slugs are now forming armies and taking down everything in their paths. The driveway garden is so stuffed this year Im going to have to divide a bunch of things in the fall. This wet weather has caused things to grow exponentially. Yesterday when the sun hit the brugmansias they all wilted to an alarming degree. I was afraid of that theyd put on a lot of large, soft growth with no sun and now those surfaces are transpiring water faster than the plant can bring it up from the roots. I misted them all a couple times and that helped but Im thinking I might prune some of that growth back. It will kill me as it all has buds on it but one has to do what one has to do.

Saucy, I hope Sarah isnt too sick and I hope she gets well soon

Julie, Perhaps you could try the fist shaking as it seems to have worked for me. LOL

Chelone, you know me so well! Yes Ive been trying to spruce things up to my normal standards but its a daunting task. ~~ Doug and I have actually been talking about putting a decorative type veggie garden like the one at Stonewall Kitchens.

PM You got a lot more rain yesterday than we did. It stayed dry for most of the day but rained last night after dark.

Kathy, bummer about that Celosia. Has your Tithonia bloomed yet?

Ok time to get outside and enjoy this beautiful day, Happy 4th to all!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 8:56AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good morning. I've got the New England rain this morning, but I will not complain because we've had nothing since our deluge a couple of weeks ago and the rudbeckias were starting to droop last night.

We had a great day yesterday. We took a 7:45 am train into Chicago and then strolled down to Millennium Park, where we enjoyed the Lurie Garden and the current sculpture display. We had a long discussion about the various ornamental grasses. DD and DH tell me I need to rogue out most of my Northern Sea Oats as it is becoming too dominant.

Then we headed over to Taste of Chicago where we enjoyed samplings of many different dishes. One of my favorites was the Bananas Foster Bites, small cubes of spiced bananas that were quite yummy. Least favorite was the Columbian empanadas, with very tough pastry, far more potatoes than meat and no spicy taste whatsoever. Most fun was waiting for our serving of Jerk Chicken at Vee Vee's African restaurant, which has been visited at the Taste by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They were our very first stop and not quite ready to go, but it was interesting to watch the staff scurrying around, calling for "More goat sauce" and trying to move hot trays without dropping them.

Once we had stuffed ourselves, we headed back to Lurie Garden, which has a water feature that's designed so that you can sit down and dangle your feet in the cool water. Boy, that felt great! A garden volunteer leading a tour told her group that the water feature represented the Chicago River, which bisects the city, and one of her group asked if the Chicago River had lots of pennies at the bottom. My sotto voce "you don't want to know what's at the bottom of the Chicago River" got some chuckles from fellow foot danglers.

Once our feet were revived, we walked over to State and Lake and visited the rooftop bar at the Wit Hotel. The bar is on the 27th floor and has amazing views. In keeping with the idyll tydll, the skies were quite blue and it was a lovely afternoon to enjoy a drink in a beautiful setting.

The assembled masses are telling me it's time to get in the shower, so I need to run.

Happy Independence Day to all!


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 9:33AM
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Good Morning everyone, from way out yonder in the wild west..the marine layer has come in this morning which will make for pleasant working conditions in the garden today, raking, trimming and mulching is on the agenda with periods of digging interspersed.

Deanne, that veggie container is lovely ! Very nice with the parsley peeking out around the edges. Keeping potted veggie plantings looking attractive as the season wears on is always a challenge , one that I am confident you are up one messes with the Container Queen ,by god !

How much honey do you expect to harvest this year Saucy ? Maybe some green tea with a dollop will sooth poor Ms Sarah. Nothing worse that being sick in the summertime if you are a kid yknow ?

The swag is coming right along in great form Woody it must be very satisfying to see it fill out and a-droop with those lovely blooms.

Ive made note of the Wit Bar on State and Lake for my next visit to Chicago- thanks for the tip V

I wonder why I have never considered the Chelone method of cat/vet lasoo-ing, although getting Doobie into a harness might also prove impossible.

Just about time to head outdoors here, but some granola and strawberries first !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 10:25AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Beautiful sunny day here! I'm eager to get out in the garden after my morning of hauling the cats off to the vet's. All have a clean bill of health. The two girls got rave reviews on their perfect teeth, but MeToo, the male, may need some attention further down the road. I think that means dollars, don't you? He remains the skinny one, the girls are certainly heavier, Minou (NOU NOU) being the heaviest at about 12 pounds. The concert going there was something to behold! They also had to have their ID portraits taken.

We were 10th in line at the Hazardous Waste drop off. The guys, in lunar landing suits and gloves, all were more interested in the cats than their work. They were quick, but I worry about all the stuff they gather! We dropped off various liquids that have been sitting for 12 years in our garage, 4 bags of medicines we collected last night from our 3 bathrooms, and also a small bag of used up batteries. Feels good to at last be rid of this stuff!

Later I returned with the 3 cat carrying cases, collected gasoline for the mower and car and then of course a few plants at the nursery next to the gas station. (Another astilbe, a third amsonia, a small Lime Ricky heuchera, etc...)I took DH on a clematis tour to see how things are faring. This is truly the best year for them. Part of the excitement is that a few clematis I started from seed are blooming for the first time. Nothing great, but mine. :) The weed situation is outstanding too unfortunately.

I'm all for vegetable gardening Deanne! It is work and so weather dependent. My eggplants haven't moved since June 1st! Pathetic... We've had a bunny eating up the parsley, basil and various flowers too from my containers. NOT FAIR! They leave the little bits around and don't even eat them. Grrrr

I've tossed together a cold pasta salad for his Highness's lunch with feta, tomatoes, artichokes and black olives. Then on with the mowing and weeding, if I don't fall asleep first. Sounds like a coast to coast gardening holiday to me!


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 12:37PM
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Oh my, in for a break since we've just had another shower complete with distant thunder.

I've gotten the lawns mown and the remainder for the front bed weeded and disposed of all accumlated garden waste. Several more slugs have gone into the bubble bath, as well. It's time to mix up some Miracle Grow and feed the windowboxes outside the bedroom and those on the ground floor.

I've also moved the two chinses red chairs I rehabbed a few years ago to the deck and cleaned the cobwebs off them. I've hauled out the foam and scrubbed the cushion covers in the sink to get the grime off them. They're now in the washing machine with the shower curtain and should be ready to restuff in the morning. Wish I'd thought to do that yesterday as it would be nice to sit out there with a glass of wine later today.

I don't think Rex is feeling well. He was totally uninterested in a game of "ball" and that's a bad sign. He's been grazing a lot and just lazin' around so I think a light supper with lots of vegetables and some brown rice might be just the ticket to move things along, if you know what I mean.

Poor Sarah. Nothing worse than not feeling well and summer is so short it seems a shame to squander a day of it on being sick. I am generally pretty hardy but I worry about things like Swine Flu, too, because they're so easily passed along and 6 mos. is plenty time enough for a virus to mutate and become more virulent.

OK, what am I going to do inside until the shower passes and I can go back outside and WALAT for some later afternoon amusement?

Anyone having a cook out please have a grilled hot dog with mustard in a grilled roll for me, OK? A little potato salad would be nice, too, esp. if there's some dill in it...

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 3:03PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Hi Idylls!

I know I haven't been around, but I wanted to pop in and say "Hi¨! I know it's been way too long. There have been many times I've meant to pop in and see how my old Idyll friends were doing, but life always seemed to get in the way. Life, in fact has been leading me around by the nose, but I'm trying to steer the boat!

Anyway, it's so good to see Bug's newest addition. Congratulations to the whole family. She's adorable and looks like such a happy baby. I love smiley babies! If we could all walk around with smiles on our face like that...what a change it would make in the world!

I know I've missed a lot of important things in all of your lives and for that I *am* sorry. I may never get up to speed, but want you to know I think of you and always am sending all my best wishes your way.

Speaking of changes in the world, I loved your link Kathy...what a wonderful and creative idea. I'd love to see more songs that way. I've always had this fantasy about how fun the world could be if we lived our lives as if we were in a musical and everything we wanted to say we would have to sing...wouldn't that be fun?! Okay, maybe it's just me...LOL!

So I lost my job in December. The biz was closing for the winter (a gardening service) and I was told that I might not be re-hired, due to expected cutbacks. Anyway, it all worked out for the best, as it was around that time when mom took a turn for the worst and I started taking care of her full time. The last couple of months were bad. Mom couldn't control her bowel or bladder any longer; could not walk and could barely stand. About a week before she passed away I took her to see her doctor (with Paul's help) because it was quite a struggle for me to lift her anymore and getting her in out of the car really seemed impossible. Thank God for Paul! I don't know how I would have done it without him. Anyway, the doctor told me then there was nothing to be done for her, but to make her comfortable. He told us we could put her in the hospital for tests, but he felt that there wasn't any point in making mom suffer through all that, since there was nothing that could/would be done...her body was giving up. He called in hospice. Sis didn't want them staying in her house though, so they were only set up for home visits and for bathing which I found too scary to do myself anymore. The last time I tried to shower her, I was terrified that I was going to drop her or slip! Anyway, hospice came in on a Tuesday for an assessment and told us right then, that we could no longer care for her at home on our own, so for the last 4 days of her life we had to put her in a nursing home. It actually was a blessing for mom and for us. We completely lucked out in that a *wonderful* nursing home in our area had a space for us (thanks to hospice's efforts). They were wonderful at the nursing home, every morning when I would come to see mom, she would be bathed; her nails cleaned, hair combed, fresh depends, skin moisturized...I can't tell you what a joy and relief that was for me ! Mom was no longer aware of anything going on and hadn't really been for about a week before that. But the night before she passed away I was holding her hand and I really do think she knew I was there because every time I would start to slip my hand out, I could feel her trying to close back in on mine. Anyway, mom passed away the night before Mother's Day. Though I miss her terribly and know I always will, I'm glad for her that it is finally over. And I am comforted to think that she's now with my dad and I'm sure they are both very happy to be together again.

Anyway, I wanted to share something that happed while this was going on. For me it was a gift and I do believe Mom's way of sending me a message..."a mother's bond is forever...even if life has to go on".

On a particularly bad day with mom (the last time I gave her a shower alone) I came home feeling depressed and upset. I couldn't understand why such a loving, kind and gentle woman would have to suffer. I pulled into my drive way and saw this...sorry the images are so large, Im using a new service and I havent figured out how to make the pics the size I want yet:

I hadnt noticed her making a nest, but there she was nesting in the light by the garage door! :-)

The day mom had to go into the nursing home was the first day I spotted this:

How is it possible? Such beautiful perfect little eggs in such an unimaginable color! Hey...looks as if somebody is already trying to peck his way out!

Believe it or not, on Mothers Day the eggs hatched! How perfect is that? I love all that pink fuzz! :-)

When I first snapped this picturethis little guy looked like Buddha to meLOLand check out that smile on his face and that big fat belly and the little tufts of hair on his head and tummytoo cute! He was laying on his back and mom had just fed him. Hope you can make him outI used an arrow, cause its kind of hard to spot what is what at this point.

Mom and dad were kept busy for 4 solid weeks.I cant believe how much these babies ate!

Will you look at these proud parents! Doesnt it look like moms saying to her hubby "Look at what we didhave there ever been more perfect babies*ever*!"...or maybe she was saying "That's the last time you're getting near me Buster!"...LOL!

Mom feeding her babes:

Four babiesjust like mom had! :-) Looking at their funny faces, I couldnt help but think of Moe, Larry, Curly & Shemp:

Paul and I were the paparazzi of the Robin Jet Setsnapping pictures every day"Oh look, Moe just peeked his head out""look their turning left""Oh, take that piclook how Curly is smiling"Honestly we took over 100 woulda thought we hatched them ourselves! :-)

Heres a game of "pop goes the weasel" the babies would play with usLOL! Apparently every time we opened the garage door, the nest would vibrate, which would wake up the babies who thought mom or dad was coming to feed them. So, soon as the garage door would open"POP", all of them would stick their necks way up in the air and open their mouths the widest they could:

Well the babies grew quickly:

See all the speckles on their feathers? That stays with them until they become adultsthats how you can tell whether a robin is an adult or a child.

As you can see the nest is getting kind of crowded and it wasn't long before they would all be leaving the nest. Paul and I were sad to know the day was coming soonbut glad for them that they all did so well and were getting ready to spread their wings! Over the course of a week, one by one they started leaving us. Till only this one remained:

By the end of the day they were all off with mom & dad learning how to fly and feed themselves.

And, like typical teenagers, they left their room a terrible mess!

Now I know where the saying "Empty Nest Syndrome" comes from. And I was really sad to think Id never see them again. But, they have all stayed together hanging around our house! :-) My little speckled buddies and their parents spent a good part of one week savoring all the fruit from my Amelanchier tree. And as it turned out it wouldnt be our last experience together. About 3 weeks ago I was working in the front garden when I heard a loud familiar thud. Someone had slammed into the picture window. Imagine my heartsick feeling as I discovered it was one of my teenagers lying on the porch, neck twisted into a horrible position and laying on its side. I got a towel and picked him uphe was still breathing, but I didnt think the outcome would be very good. To my surprise he kind of snapped out of it and picked up his head so I could see his neck wasnt broken. I took the towel off of him so I could get a better look at where the injury might be. Im sure his brains were a bit scrambled, so maybe that was why he was just sitting there in my hands. He finally stood up, but didnt seem to have any interest in leaving me, so the two of us just sat there on my bench for awhile. Mom was calling him from the Amelanchier tree and I dont know if it was because he was still in a daze or what, but he wouldnt go to her. So, I put my finger under his chest (like you do a parakeet to get them to perch on your finger) and there he stood perched on my finger just looking at me as I petted his head and stroked his little chest, checking him for injuries. Now the whole family was calling him and one of his brothers was sitting on a birdhouse that was on my lawn. I decided to put him on it, thinking that would get him to join his family. He jumped off the birdhouse and I thought goodhes alright and hes going to fly off to mom. But instead he hopped along the garden bed as I worked! I started thinking that maybe a wing was broken and Id have to take him to the wildlife haven, when suddenly Scout started barking and "bam"Master Robin took off like a bat out of(well you know the saying). You cant imagine the thrill of having a wild bird perch on your finger! And to be a Robin no less, the harbinger of spring and my favorite bird! It will be a memory that I will keep forever.

Think the story is overwellguess what? SorryIll have to bend your ear just a bit more. A few days later I come downstairs in the morning having just woke up, when I look out the picture window and at first I cant believe it. There is a bat hanging from my Amelanchier tree! Rubbing my eyes cause I cant believe what Im seeing I discover its not a batbut one of *MY ROBINS* hanging by one leg and flapping his poor little wings! I go out on the porch and discover that his leg is caught somehow in the tree. Luckily the ladder was on the porch because Paul had been painting. So I grab the ladder and climb up to get a better look. I cradle his back in my hands, but I cant see what his leg is caught on. I had to run back in the house and grab some scissors to cut the twig off the tree. Of all the crazy of his little toenails was trapped inside a leaf and he couldnt get it out. I had to cut the leaf off with one hand, while supporting him with my other. There.Free! And with no more than a "How Do You Do"he was off to join his family.

I have a Bird in spring by Emily Dickinson

I have a Bird in spring
Which for myself doth sing
The spring decoys.
And as the summer nears
And as the Rose appears,
Robin is gone.

Yet do I not repine
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown
Learneth beyond the sea
Melody new for me
And will return.

Fast is a safer hand
Held in a truer Land
Are mine
And though they now depart,
Tell I my doubting heart
They're thine.

In a serener Bright,
In a more golden light
I see
Each little doubt and fear,
Each little discord here

Then will I not repine,
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown
Shall in a distant tree
Bright melody for me

Anyway, sorry to bend your ear so much, but I enjoyed sharing the story and I thought if Im ever going to post, I just better do it now while I have the opportunity.

Oh, Ive added a few links Ive been saving, that I really enjoyed. If youre bored some time, check them outI think youll enjoy them. For "Romancing the Road" youll probably have to click on the arrow in the video to get it to play. That one I've added the link. The other two I guess you'll have to cut and paste because I don't see how to add extra links here at the GW.

Happy 4th of July Idyll friends! I know the pictures are obnoxiusly large...sorry...I'll take these off in a few days and then try to figure out how to make smaller..but not too small pics later.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 5:15PM
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Happy July 4th Idylls!!

I'm here in the DC area with Ruth having had a wonderful celebration at her community pool with tons of BBQ food, pool games, greased watermellon toss and an egg catch. Lots of fun for old and young alike. We're back to recharge batteries before heading out for fireworks tonight. I'm feeling very American:0). Driving home tomorrow so I should be back in commuication. I've had no access to email so forgive me if I owe anyone a reply.

Your absent friend,


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

My deepest sympathies for the loss of your mother, Ei.
Your account of the robin family is great. As usual, you did a wonderful job of pictures and text.
I hope your life gets better, day by day. You are so fortunate to have such a supportive husband.
Is there a granddchild in your future?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 8:04PM
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What a pleasant surprise to check in this evening and see a post from Ei ((Eileen)) for the struggles youve had and I hope the best for you and your family. I always think of the time after the loss of someone close to be so transitional in our lives, and part of the process is re-arranging yourself to fill in the gap. And the gap is never really filled all the way is it ? Thank you so much for posting the saga of your nesting birds-I had no issues at all with the size of the pics-in fact Im glad they were that size so we could enjoy the detail . What a wonderful story. I know we would all love it if you continue to stop by !

And Mary has checked in too ..glad all is well Mary, and you are having an enjoyable holiday with your family.

What perfect weather we had this morning for manual laborthe marine layer stuck around till well after 11am , and so afternoon temps were moderated. Got lots done today but tomorrow will be another full one- Things are looking so much better after two days of clean-up. DS is working this evening and the neighborhood is fragrant with BBQ aromas- no grilling here tonight, so I am sniffing the air vicariously. DD and family pulled out of Eugene this morning heading down to their new little abode in Lake County, a couple of hours drive north of here.

bug, Ive never had to wait in line for our hazardous waste drop off-not sure whether that is a good sign ! My last trip there was in fall , and I can relate to how great it feels to get rid of that stuff. My load was bigger though for my trip to the electronic waste facility, and I have somehow accumulated a few more items that need to be hauled there . All in all Ive made progress in the garage, and should have room this winter for 2 light set-ups for starting seeds.

Deanne, you asked about my Tithonia, and yes , the one in the pot is blooming, I will get a photo at some point. The one I have in the ground it behind as it is a replacement for the slug-destroyed plant , and has not caught up yet. Tomorrow is fertilizer day, so a jump-start may be in its future.

Thats all I have tonight, I hope all of you had a splendid holiday, doing just asking what you wanted to do !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 9:07PM
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(((Ei))) My deepest condolences. I know you're thankful you were with your mom, and so was she, right at the end. Of course she felt your presence. She was lucky to have such a supportive daughter. The transition into the Robin hatchings was perfect timing. You documented it so well, and you are a very entertaining story teller. I eagerly anticipated each word of the story. Sorry about your job, but it was good that you had the time for your mom.

We enjoyed a very relaxing holiday at my DD's house. My DSIL grilled shrimp and chicken kabobs, hotdogs and hamburgers, fruit salad, fresh corn on the cob, and homemade guacomole dip and chips. I supplied the dessert pies. After dinner, we played three rounds of Scene It. A fun game, if you've never tried it. The rain was a steady drizzle all day, so we passed on the fireworks, which is rare to miss. Oh well, next year.

I plan to do a kathy marathon for the next two days, and clean up the garden beds. Glad to hear that you got a lot accomplished kathy in your gardens. Hope DD and family has a safe trip. Will you meet them upon their arrival in CA?

woody...The rose swag is looking beautiful. Have fun with Liam. What a great friend you are to look after him for such a long visit.

V...Your Chicago trip sounded great. You sure know how to have a good time. Glad you caught some nice weather to go along with it, too.

deanne...Lovely veggie planter. I look forward to seeing what you come up with for next year's proposed (maybe) decorative vegetable garden. If anyone can come up with a neat design, it's you.

Hi chelone...still awaiting photos of the bath redo. I want a picture to go along with the words. I love redos!

bug...I admire your energy. What are the flats, and why are they called that?

Time to call it a day.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:13AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good evening and Happy Fourth! :-)

DH I fell asleep before 9pm, after being awake and up at 2am the night before. [g] Brother! Now, I'm already up.

How nice to see Eileen! I have thought of you often and miss your presence in Idyll-land. :-) I assumed there were issues in your life that prevented you from joining us and I'm very sorry to hear that it was the loss of your mother. Sounds like you've really been through the ringer. I'm glad you have had Paul to help. How old was your Mom? ....Your photos are so special. Especially since I have rarely seen a bird's nest with a family in it and I enjoyed it very much. I just love the color of those robin's eggs! .....How is everyone else in your family? That was a very surprising link about Romancing the Road. Very uplifting.

Anita, sounds like you had a great day. Your fourth of july menu sounds excellent! I haven't played SceneIt before, I will have to look for it. We have enjoyed a game called 'Catch Phrase' when we get together sometimes. Have you ever tried that one?

That veggie container, as expected, is very attractive, Deanne! How interesting that Doug is getting interested in a veggie garden. I really couldn't be without a veggie garden, I just love them. Do you have an area that has enough sun? Did it rain at all there, yesterday?

Woody, that swag just keeps looking better and better. I am considering replacing a rose [Penelope] I have on my fence with New Dawn. I just love yours!

Saucy, so sorry to hear about Sarah. I wonder if she is a good eater? I'm always reminding my kids to make sure they eat right. They do fairly well most of the time but get off course sometimes. The most neglected part of a good diet to me, seems to be 'greens'. They are so nutritious. I don't really enjoy greens but I keep trying to find ways to include it in our diet. It works great to add it to soups in small pieces. I usually juice collards or kale for myself 4-5 times a week, but with my digestive probs I haven't been doing it for awhile. I found a supplement, called Green Magma to substitute until I can get back to it. It is organic barley grass that is supposed to be chockfull of nutrients and I see a difference since starting it. I tried the powder once but hated the taste of it and I just discovered that they now have tablets. Very easy to take. Hope she feels better. :-) [see link below]

What a whirlwind of a day you had V. Sounds like a lot of fun. I would have loved dangling my feet in the water feature at Lurie Garden. I hope to get there one of these days.

Well, everyone seems to have either had a very fun and relaxing day or a very productive one. We had a quiet day that didn't seem like a holiday at all. But then again, just having a whole day of sunshine, was like a holiday. [g] DH took me for a tour of his new office and we had planned to shop for plants for it. We drove 40 minutes to find my favorite 'houseplants' nursery was closed for the holiday. That will teach me to call ahead. We enjoyed the ride anyway. DS had made DH a music compilation CD and we had a chance to listen to that on the way. We are finally making a dent in the weeding and will be back at it tomorrow. We also met new neighbors and their dog yesterday. Cute young couple with one eleven year old daughter and a cute chocolate lab that is almost a year old. Their first house. We haven't met the daughter yet but the lab has given us a few chuckles already. He managed to get under the fence of another neighbor and helped himself to a swim in their

Hope Rex feels better, chelone and glad to hear good reports on your feline crew, Marie. Hellos to Marian and Mary! :-)

Well, I'm feeling sleepy again, so back to bed.... good night. :-)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 2:08AM
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Ei., I was charmed by the story of the Robins, that you had pictures to illustrate the tale was even better. As Kathy mentioned the pictures were the perfect size for viewing. What a lovely slice of life to contemplate after the loss of your mother.

Please accept my condolences on the death of your mother. I know very well how hard it can be to see that someone frail and failing is well taken care of and know that no matter how willingly undertaken it takes a toll on you. My aunt once penned a note to me with this line, "it's not easy getting off this planet", and she was right. It doesn't address the pang of loss but knowing you made her last years comfortable and surrounded her with love is meaningful, too, and makes the "tough days" easier to bear. (((Ei.))

When I dropped off the mother lode of electronics in the early spring I asked about hazardous materials day, too. Our's is in October and I learned it costs the town 30K just to get the truck on premises to receive the nastiness! I have plenty of work cut out for the since there are many cans of aged paint stacked in the board room that have "missed" that day in years past. I look forward to that feeling of relief, 'bug. Nice work!

I received a note from the vet. that our's are due for rabies shots... get this, they send out notices about 3 months apart for all the individual shots... think they're trying to milk the "office visit" charge??? Give me a break, we'll be looking for a rabies clinic, thanks. What was the word on the furless front legs of Vita? wass there some sort of expensive "lifestyle" drug recommended that she'll have to take for the rest of her life? ;)

One day, V. I hope to visit Chicago which I've been told holds many delights. What is the Sinclair Lewis novel (at least I think it's one of his) that turned out to be an expose of the meat industry and stockyard/slaughterhouse practices? As I was reading about the water feature representing the Chicago River I was thinking how cool it is that gardens are now being designed with "interactive" water features like the alternating fountains and umbrella sprays. Isn't the Chicago River the one that was "reversed"? Sounds like you and DH had a thoroughly delightful day.

At present Anita there is nothing much to see in the bathroom, save exposed studs and some new electrical outlets. I failed in my mission to scrape off the popcorn ceiling yesterday. The pressure sprayer thoughtfully provided by the helpmeet turned out to have a pinhole leak on the bottom that revealed itself under, you guessed it! pressure. ;) Perhaps I'll tackle that miserable chore this morning while everything outdoors dries out after yesterday's round of showers. Fear not, I do have pictures but right now they'll remain in the camera so I don't freak myself out unncessesarily. ;)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 6:10AM
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Good morning!

Ei, how nice to hear from you! I loved your pictorial of the robins and how it tied to your mother for you. I'll second that you are a great story teller - I shared it with Sarah and she agreed!

Speaking of Sarah - the "urgent care" clinic was closed yesterday, so we laid low and did quiet things. We'll go in today (mostly likely for a quick xray if the past is any indication). Yesterday we painted: I stained the deck railing while she sat at the easel and painted watercolor masterpieces! We watch all the painting shows on pbs to try to figure it out :)

PM, if she had the choice she'd only eat bread and crackers with water. I make her pepper it with broccoli, carrots, and lean chicken or beef (she's boycotting pork after doing a report for school on pot-bellied seems she read that they're used for food in some countries). I imagine that a similar occurence is going on in Mary's house :)

Maintenance to the Saucy deck and outbuildings is in full swing now that the weather has shifted. I'm going to get out there and wrap up the stain on the railing so that Nick can come behind me and coat the deck! Oh friends, I've been waiting a long time for this day....cross your fingers for me that it all comes together!

Anita, that sounds like a perfect 4th celebration! I'm stuck on Bananagrams right now (I'll bet it'd be right up gb's alley!) - it's like scrabble without the board and everyone plays their turn at the same time, so there's no waiting for the dufus in the bunch to come up with a word, lol! SunnyD turned me on to it.

I'll have to try SceneIt.

Okay friends, I have a jam packed day. I'm also taking SunnyD garden shopping for ideas. She's ripping out grass, folks. She's been bitten hard :)

Mary - nice to "see" you! Glad to hear you're having fun - you deserve it!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:46AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning everyone!

We are having another lovely sunny day here with high temps in the 70s perfect gardening weather. I got a lot more done yesterday and finished polishing off the driveway garden and staked the Regale lilies. They are about six and a half feet tall this year and the buds are huge. They should be showing their faces any day now, maybe today with all this sunshine. I gave all the pots and gardens in the front a good liquid feed yesterday as all that rain just leached any food out of the soil and Ive got to do the back today. This is going to be the first time Ive watered any of the pots in the back in three weeks. Amazing for this time of the year and even when they are first planted up in the spring they cant go this long without watering. I still cant get over the amount of rain we had the last couple months. The Merrimack River is the highest Ive ever seen it this time of the year.

Eileen so lovely to hear from you but so sad to hear about your Mom. Im so sorry for your loss. ~~~ I really loved the Robin saga with all the photos. What fun! Thanks for doing that for us. I hope you are able to post more often.

Hi Mary! Glad to hear you are having a great vacation with Ruth and family.

Kathy, it look like my Tithonia is finally setting some buds. I cant wait for those fabulous flowers.

Anita, your fourth celebration sounds like it was a lot of fun! Sorry you missed the fireworks because of weather. I NEVER go anymore. The last time we went there were people firing off rockets in the crowds and the mosquitoes almost sucked my dry. LOL

PM we didnt get a drop of rain for the last two days although it rained all around us including at my girlfriends house which is only two miles from here.

Okie dokie. Ive got to get off this computer and get outside to enjoy this gorgeous day.

Waving hello to one and all,

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:49AM
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I think we've missed a birthday!

This picture was taken at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, TN.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:59AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Happy Birthday Julie!

Sneaking your birthday in between two national holidays almost can be as bad as a Christmas birthday!

Yesterday we had a small gathering at MIL's, and one of the guests had his new girlfriend with him. She had dark curly hair, and at one her dark curls made me think of Ei and wonder how she was doing. Lo and behold, Ei was posting right about then!

So very sorry to hear about your mom, Ei, but how nice to hear the story of the robins and the comfort that it brought to you. I hope life allows you a little more time to join us a bit more often!

Chelone, the book you're thinking of is "The Jungle", and yes, the Chicago River was reversed to keep the c*** out of Lake Michigan. The city is looking amazing of late and is well worth a visit.

Kathy, just so you don't go astray, the bar is called Roof and it's in The Wit hotel. The bar menu also looked delicious; we were a bit sorry that we were stuffed from the Taste.

I had a very early evening last night and missed any fireworks. Something I ate disagreed with me; I'm wondering if there was avocado in the salsa my MIL used in her quesadillas. So after dealing with the "fall out" I was in bed by 8:00 pm and asleep shortly thereafter.

The four-legged ones are about to demand attention so I'd better run!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 8:21AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Sorry, Julie. I should have put my birthday wish to you here , as well as on Facebook yesterday. :-(
I hope you had a good one.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 8:25AM
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Happy Birthday Julie !! From Garden 2009

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 10:59AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

((Ei)) my condolences to you! As others have said, there is undoubtedly comfort in knowing that you were there for her when she needed you most.

I enjoyed the photo-essay on the robin. Unfortunately the story of the robin nesting on the fence here this spring did not have such a happy ending! I'm not sure exactly what happened but the nest has long since been empty and no little hungry beaks ever appeared....

Saucy - I hope Sarah recovers quickly from this bout of whatever-it-is. Have they tested for Swine Flu? Our town has had a high number of cases of it, especially in schools. I'm a bit paranoid about it - they say those born before 1957 have some immunity. I was born IN 1957 so I suspect I'm on the wrong side of the immunity issue - unless Mom got it when she was pregnant! I'm seriously considering getting the flu shot this year if they've got the swine flu version rolled out by the time the shots are available in the fall.

PM - New Dawn is certainly a great rose. It's been very hardy, disease resistant and floriferous for us but VIGOROUS!! Be prepared to control it somehow - the swag is working well for that so far. I wish we had made one from the begining so there would be less of a jungle up there on the top of the arbour!

Sunny but cool here this morning. I need to go out and cut cown the Brookside geranium that is smothering the front bed - the circle of blossoms has to be about 8-10' wide!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:08AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Happy Birthday Julie! Hope you have a juicy weekend. :-)

It is a gorgeous day here! Sun has been out all day, nice breeze, comfortable humidity. Ahhhh!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:15AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:25AM
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Eileen, thanks so much for your photoessay of the robins. What a heartstopping moment when the little guy crashed into the window! Watching a parent's strength ebb is terribly hard, but knowing how well you took care of your mom I hope brings some comfort.

And for the birthday girl, whose garden was adroitly flipped from one side to the other like pizza dough -- Happy Birthday, Julie!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:00PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It was a long morning of weeding here. I thought about my various Idyll friends while at work.

The flats: Anita, this area of our property is closest to the creek and is a flat soggy mess much of the time. In Spring there is usually flooding there. Later on, during dryer times, I mow down there. Shade plants do well there and I grow primulas, astilbes, hostas, chelone, ferns, ligularia and much more in this spot. Most of the soil runs off every year so it is discouraging too. Wild angelica grows here and is very pretty now as the buds start to open.

V had me thinking about what lurks at the bottom of the Chicago river.... In fact, Chicago has definitely had a face lift since my days attending my first year of college nearby. (Lake Forest College) The drive from the airport into the downtown is even filled with sculptures and plantings.

Well Ei!!!!! So very nice to get a musical update from you with exclamation marks and asterisks. ;) Your robin saga was a treat to read. Especially the happy endings. I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom, but I think you both were ready in the end. I'm happy that she had good care and a smart doctor, in addition to a loving caring daughter.

Chelone, I worry about what might be bothering Rex. I hope for a good update on the matter. As to the vet, well the local establishment is certainly about financial gain...and not mine! But my choice of vet is the one who cared for Charlotte and told me it was her time and not bother with extreme measures. The owner of the place is different in her approach. (This is a ladies only place) So Dr Joann is my friend and I respect her (and told her so!). She, along with her DH, runs the animal rescue shelter for the county. This is where Sarah's super dog was rehabilitated and later put up for adoption. So as far as her approach to Vita, she said yes, some cats do this "over grooming" thing. Sometimes it is boredom, other times stress over other cats, and sometimes you'll just never know what the cause. There are anti-stress sprays on the market for this, but she suggests living with it unless I can't tolerate looking at her bare tummy and thighs. Seems to me I can enjoy her regardless of her looks. Heck, DH would spray that stuff everywhere if my looks were all that mattered!

Saucy, sounds like we invented Bananagrams...all except the part where we get royalties! I'll have to check it out at the toy shop. Speaking of that place, I collected some small things for the August visit from the grandkids. Last night Ivy phoned and actually spoke to me! I'm not sure what it was all about, but Sarah says it was her life story. :)

Ms Julie, here's hoping you are enjoying a perfect Sunday today!!!!

'bug (of the dirty fingernails...)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 3:17PM
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    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:08PM
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Good evening Idylls..another three day weekend almost done for, my next time off will be for IU . I have wisely given myself 3 days of recuperation time after I fly home , Im sure the gardens will look pretty sad after a week away in high summer, despite tending by DS. I worked on a neglected area today an off-agenda item, and in fact it is chronically off agenda, thus neglected. My WALAT this evening left me with a feeling of accomplishment, things look substantially better all around than they did on Thursday.

Chelone, you asked on another thread about Daylily placement- the scale of my garden does not lend itself to using them as edging unless they are dwarf varieties, , and many of the cultivars I have are rather tall. Fairy Fanfare and Purple Rain are both short and are used in front of the border, but those are the exception. My new selections are planted among some roses and hardy geraniums, they all work well to hide ugly knee syndrome that plagues some of the rose hybrids.

Anita, hoping you garden marathon was productive too- DD is moving to a town 2 hours north and it is a resort area of sorts so there is no way I was going to head up there this holiday weekend. Im sure we will get together at some point in the next few weeks. They need time to settle in and adjust-they were not happy to leave the city they were living in , but were forced to do so as an economic necessity.

Hooray for Sunny D and the grass ripping gig! I did some of that this weekend myself as I continue the bed expansion in the back garden. I think another week and the heavy duty digging part will be done.

Lol Deanne, I never go to the fireworks either. I can see them in the distance from an upstairs window, and we are usually away for the 4th anyway. Last year when we rented the house on the Oregon coast we just dragged our chairs out to the lawn ad the display was right over the bay in front of us. No driving or traffic involved.

V, I have made note I expect to visit Chicago again next year ..a very favorite city of mine to travel to.

Ok , all for tonight , wave to all..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 9:32PM
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Well, I wouldn't call it a marathon, but I did get a few hours worth of weeding, edging and some minor pruning accomplished. I discovered, upon cutting down a broken branch off of my 'Louisa'crabapple, that it has some red branches. Which I stuck into the middle of a planter. Looks pretty. Only some of the branches are red, the rest are green. These might come in handy for holiday planters. I transplanted a poorly sited red twigged dogwood, and put it in the far west garden where it stays moister. It gets more sun, too, which both sun and water are requirements for dogwoods.

I cut the marathon short because the mosquitoes are horrendous! My DD counted the ones on my upper back alone and came up with twenty. There are more on arms and legs, too. I'm here to tell you that the clip-on repellent by OFF doesn't work. I sprayed some regular OFF on, too. They must be getting resistant these days, because they are mean and hungry. I have a mind to return the darn thing. Link below (bottom your money.)

'bug...thanks for the review of the flats. Sounds like it's a peaceful shade garden for most of the season. The angelicas you mentioned, are those the gigas? I love those, but couldn't get them to reseed.

chelone...LOL...since I don't want you to "freak out unnecessarily," don't worry about the before photos. I'll be happy with the afters. How's Rex today? Could he have gotten an insect bite that's dragging him down?

saucy...I've never heard of Bananagrams, but I love word games like Scrabble and Upwords. I'll have to look into it.
Sounds like the deck project is running smoothly, and that it was a family undertaking. Hope Sarah will be her fine self soon. I didn't know she was a painter, very nice.

PM...I love Catchphrase, too, and it's one we've played during holiday gatherings. Scene It comes in two versions: board game and electronic. We use the TV with ours, a lot of fun. Yes, sometimes it pays to phone ahead. LOL. You have a great attitude that you didn't let it turn into a wasted trip...your DH's company could never be wasted, right?:)

deanne...I'm so glad the sun is shining on your gardens. Amazing that you didn't have to hand water the pots for three weeks. Did your area break a record in rainfall inches? You are most likely zipping to and fro making up for lost time. Hope there's no more "fist-shaking" for you for a long while.

V...That Wit Hotel's Roof bar sounds fun. I looked up their website, which has one photo of said bar. In the description, it mentions a table for eight that is suspended? Or something like that. I read it quickly. Sounds like a fun place. I really need to get into the city more.

kathy...I hope DD and family quickly adjusts to their new surroundings. This economy is claiming many victims, but at least the upside for them is the proximity to you.

I ended the daylight with a walk with DH, and DGS's, Mateo and Antonio. They live just down the block. I call it our "nature" walk, hoping to spot some deer. Not a one spotted today. How come I don't have owls in the woods? Wonder how to attract them to my yard, I have plenty of food for them in the way of chipmunks. :) We went out for ice cream afterward.

I'm running out of steam. Where's Eden? and when is Michelle going to pop in with news of her Kenzi visit?


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 10:53PM
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We returned last night. I toured the garden with a flashlight LOL All appears to be well. In fact everything has grown like crazy while we were gone. The containers fared well and have put on some nice growth. I walated some more this morning. We spent the day at the lakes with my parents, my son and his gf.

Our flight was nearly 2 hours delayed and we lost an hour getting to FL. Kenzie was allowed to stay up, but dozed off just before her mommy returned from the airport with us. She took a look at us and seemed just slightly confused from the sleep I'm sure and then shouted "Grandma"

We spent lots of time at the pool staying cool. We also visited the flight academy and the hospital that DD is working at. Grandma and Grandpa spent lots of time coloring, reading and hanging out with our little sweetie. She was disappointed that we couldn't stay for the fireworks. They have a lot of crape myrtles, magnolias and hibiscus around their complex. So I spent some time teaching her the names of the various flowers.

It was a great trip but nice to return to my garden and my bed.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:38PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Hi Idylls!

Thank you all for the kind words and the warm's always good to come here! :-) I will try to do it more often.

I'm glad you liked my story. I have to admit I *do* enjoy telling stories. I think I come by that naturally. When I was a child, instead of playing with my siblings, family friends, and cousins, I would always much rather sit quietly in a chair and listen to the adults talk about their memories. I would listen to them, making myself as "small" and unnoticible as possible so they wouldn't tell me to "go play with the kids". No I'd much rather hear about their lives and experiences and it was just like listening to a story and I would get lost in their words just listening and imagining and picturing it all in my head. Funny, I forgot about how much I enjoyed that until the story telling thing came up. They were all great story tellers...Aunt Jewel's stories were always heartwarming and sentimental, Aunt Marie's were always the funniest stories and mom & dad's stories, well they often made me want to cry for the harshness of their childhoods, but I always felt grateful for the knowing of it. I think listening to their stories and seeing that instead of making them bitter, their experiences made them more appreciative and generous and kind...well, it's what made me admire and love them so much. Though my parents always struggled and more often than not we all went without, my childhood was rich with love and great lessons about life and character and I *do* feel truly blessed.

Speaking of Marian, no talk of grandchildren yet. They told me before they got married that they didn't want to have any children until they were at least 35 and so far it looks as if they are sticking to their promise...LOL! Oh well, I can wait if I *have* to! :-) I am just so happy that they are so happy together. They truly are two peas in a pod.

I *do* love Idyll birthdays...the pics are the greatest! I really like that juicy birthday PM...makes my mouth water just looking at it!

Well we didn't do anything for the 4th. It rained all day and night here. My husband said it was the *best* 4th of July *ever*!...LOL! He and Scout really dislike the fireworks. I have to admit I don't care much for the firecrackers either. But I do love a sparkly colorful light show. One of my neighbors did a pretty little set up of that at about 11:00 at night and I admired it through my bedroom window. :-)

Today we went on our neighbor's boat and that was fun. I'm not really much of a boat person in general...I can't ski and have had a few too many mishap "tube" experiences, so I don't really look forward to doing that anymore. But it was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the company, the sunshine, and the fresh air blowing through my hair - though I looked like a true southern girl with my big hair...LOL! I kind of looked like Frankenstein's wife from that Mel Brookes movie (I can't think of the name of it right now, but it always cracked me up). Oh well, that's one of the nicer things about becoming an older just don't care anymore. Well, you know what I's not that you don't care, but as you get older you realize things like a bad hair day aren't going to end your life. :-)

Woody...what a clever idea to do with your New Dawn. My New Dawn died last year. I think it was a combination of age (she had to be about 15 years old) and a particlarly bad dry spell in summer, followed by a nasty winter. I thought you would get a kick out of these pics:

Ms. New Dawn in her glory days...

And the little Ms. America who has been chosen to fill New Dawn's shoes...

Poor little thing, I can imagine the pressure she is feeling. Even the lily towers over her...
She must just quiver when she looks up the length of that trellis! :-)

Well, I'd love to stay and chat some more, but I am bushed from all that sun and air today...

TTYL! Eileen

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:59PM
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OH the pressure of "birfdays"... I have to now root through the innumerable pictures, none of which are organized and try to find something appropriate. Well, Julie, my heartfelt salutation and wish for many happy returns may be as much as you'll get. But it's sincere! Happy birthday to the the originator of the JulieJob. :)

Rex has recovered. I don't think it was an insect bite, more probably it was the ingestion of some unfortunate rodent abandonned by one of the pride and nicely decayed. It happens with appalling regularity, but at least it saves me from running over them with the lawn mower. ;) He fasted Saturday night, had rice, vegetables, and some chicken gravy for breakfast on Sunday morning, and did plenty of grazing. Right as rain by dinnertime. Good to be reminded that I really do hate dogs.

The helpmeet mowed the back lane yesterday and we raked up the fringes. We removed the old fence from Vegetable World and he week whacked that blighted area. More raking and general clean up and it looks much nicer. Those two things were really beginning to bother us and now they're done. I have asked for some judicious chainsawing today and I anticipate a lot of "devil's advocate" which could really annoy me, but I'm determined to stay "on task" and if there is too much grumbling we'll abort the mission and I'll hire Tree Boy to come when the helpmeet is at work. It's nice to be a woman of independent means with a will of iron.

I can't wait to hear how much grass Sunny D has decided to remove and what's been selected to take its place.

Like you, Ei., I was always around grown ups as a kid. I'm the youngest of the clan of cousins by at least 7 yrs. and wasn't part of the gang because I was too little. So I played with my Barbies or Breyer model horses on the floor while the adults talked and shared stories. It was a gentle way to spend summer evenings and I was privy to some really terrific tales of days gone by. I recall drifting off to sleep with the drone of voices and muffled laughter in the background. There was no TV and no one bothered to put the AM radio on in the background, either.

Today, I have to address the selection of tile. I have the measurements all written down and I long ago decided I'm going for cheap and readily available, though I'm nervous about the availability of soap dishes and the shampoo shelf... but I'll deal with that, too.

I hope Saucy's deck project has been completed. Don't you just hate it when you can't do the things you want to do because the weather interferes? How's Sarah, was the trip to the clinic revealing of anything?

Next up for me is the removal of the pitiful Viburnums and replacement with something more suitable. We're now looking at Cornus racemosa, which would satisfy the need for a "naturalized mass" (with time), plentiful food and nesting area for birds, and will handle the wet site and attain the height necessary to screen the road (8-10' with time). Thoughts? I am so discouraged that we've lost another year, at least that's how it feels to me after a busy holiday weekend with abundant sunshine and traffic. ;)

Will there be pictures of the Sunshine State Sojourn? gratutitous shots of bathing beauty Kenzie? Can she do a cannonball yet? does she still hold her nose when going underwater? (I love it when they realize it's not necessary to do that).

Thanks for word on "The Jungle", V.. I haven't read a novel in a long time and maybe that would be the one for me, I'll see about reserving it from the li-berry for some "light summer reading", lol.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 6:14AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning all.... :-)

Monday again, wow, that three day weekend just zipped right by. Yesterday was almost a perfect day weather wise. Sunshine for two days straight can certainly put a skip in your step, after a month of rain. [g] I'm sure Deanne must feel the same way. We managed to get to the nursery yesterday and came home with one large Dracaena for DH's office. It has a pretty two tone effect. No camera. :-( They were a little low on variety but will get more in about 3 weeks, so we will go back for more then. We have taken back control of the garden from the weeds. [g] Still have a few small areas that need a little more attention and more mulching to do, but we're almost on top of it. I think I have lucked out, that at least I'm not seeing any fungal problems from all the rain, and the shrub border is looking quite happy. I don't know whether to fertilize or not, we are supposed to be getting three more days of rain. ..... This week I am going to concentrate on getting a new camera.

DH and I have stopped watching the fireworks and I can't remember when we stopped doing that. For years we used to go into the Esplanade in Boston with friends and family and listen to the concert and see spectacular fireworks. We would pack up blankets, cards, frisbees and food and start in early in the day to pick a good spot. There would be a long walk from the parking area, and an unbelievable traffic jam when everyone packed up to go home. We would have a wonderful time.

Saucy, our DD was somewhat of a picky eater as a child. Give her a bowl of mashed potatoes with gravy and she was in heaven. We tried to keep serving veggies anyway and the rule in the house, was they had to try a taste of it at least but they didn't have to eat more if they didn't want to. But DD never warmed up to veggies until her first boyfriend interested her in trying new foods. Now she likes more veggies than I do, but she still won't eat squash, my favorite. :-) She doesn't drink coffee or tonic, and her 'comfort' food is Matzo Ball soup. ....I looked over that Cheekwood link and I would love to visit there. Very nice.

Woody, I think it's vigor is what attracts me to the New Dawn. I have a four foot high fence that is about 12 feet wide that I thought might work, but after seeing the photo Ei posted of how vertical it gets, I think I might be asking for trouble. I will have to find another location for one.

Anita, you are so lucky to have your grandsons live down the block. I always wished for that kind of arrangement with family but it never happened. How old is Mateo and Antonio? I love owls but have only seen one about three times in my life. I was wondering, do chipmunks create a problem in the garden? Our resident chipmunk has been hauling so much seed back to his nest, that I am waiting for a population explosion.

Michelle....we gardeners are all crazy, aren't we? lol I had a good laugh at you with the flashlight when you got home. It reminded me I did that a few times too. Just can't wait for the morning to see how the garden is doing. :-) I hope we will see photos of Kenzie and your visit.

Ei, I am jealous of your boat trip!! I love to get out on boats and rarely get the chance. What kind of tube mishap have you had? .... Your New Dawn was a sight to see! What a shame you lost it. Love your new Ms. America. Very pretty large blooms. Is that PVC Pipe that you used as a trellis?

Gosh, it's almost seven, and the SUN is out! Time to get a move on. Hellos all around and hope your Monday is sunny! :-)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 6:53AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Morning all! Good to hear from Michelle! I too would love a few photos from your trip.

Ei, I'm so glad to hear about Scout again. Ivy was almost named Scout! ;)

Today at the compound sounds like my kind of day. I love selecting something new (tiles) and getting DH chugging along with various household projects. His pace is slower than mine, but he does get a few things done - which is my goal. He often questions my requests, but eventually realizes I've considered various options first and agrees I don't make mistakes often. (Ever! Ha Ha!)

So there's been lots of weeding going on here and i certainly don't see an end in sight. I hope to accomplish more today before rain sets in this afternoon. The osteoarthritis in my hands is a real nuisance though. This weekend was a real clematis show, the best ever for me. All the rain has produced a good show in addition to those weeds.

Here's a shot or two for you-

The area I worked on recently in "the flats". (right side of photo)

Clematis Romantika

Corydalis elata with hosta

Clematis Juuli

Memories of Taryn, who gave me Salvia turkestanika years ago and a baby appeared last year. They bloom their second year.

Variegated iris

Off to start the weeding!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:37AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

EI - That New Dawn picture has always stayed in my mind; when I think 'Ei', I think of that picture...:-) To bad you lost it! Did you plant the new one away from where New Dawn was or did you replace all the soil there? I've had a couple of experiences with 'rose replant' problems so now always avoid planting a new one too close to where an old one got evicted.

PM - Part of the point of the swag is to keep the rose from growing vertical, so that's not a problem. Ei's trellis encouraged the vertical but, if you look closely, you'll see that most of the flowers are on branches arching horizontally from the main vertical canes. From what I've read, it appears that training the main canes horizontally stops them from growing as long and sends their effort into the flowering laterals. So training New Dawn horizontally along the fence should work nicely.

GB - that looks like a wickedly good edging job on the flats!

Yesterday I cut down the Brookside geraniums that were smothering the front bed. I found the 'mother' clump had 5-6 fairly large seedling clumps nearby, which were significant contributors to the size of the flower mound! The seedlings will get dug out shortly and replaced with fall mums I think. I had been looking for the second 'Fireball' hardy hibiscus I planted late last summer - one had appeared but not the other. When I cleared away the geranium flowers, lo and behold, there was the missing hibiscus! It was clearly struggling to try to get above the geranium flowers so hopefully it'll take off now that the weight of the geranium flowers is off it!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Chelone, I just noticed that you are thinking about that Cornus racemosa I mentioned. Ours is about 3 years old and is almost 8ft tall already. Having bought a two gallon size I am amazed at how quickly it put on height. Ours has not bloomed so I'm not even sure if it will produce fruit. Perplexing. It is in a lot of bright shade with a small amount of morning sun. I did hear that you need both a male/female to produce fruit. and since they are not readily available, it is not usually easy to find them labeled as such. It has an attractive structure. It suckers like mad, so if you are going to let it go, it will need lots of room to spread out. I was hoping for red coloring in the fall but so far, I am getting a muddy yellow that doesn't appeal to me due to the fact the surrounding trees are mostly yellows too. It does suit my purposes. It is in an area that has little sun and plenty of maple tree roots and it doesn't seem to mind at all. Where other shrubs have had a harder time. It's been healthy and pest free. Sometimes I'm happy with it and sometimes it looks a little too wild. I decided to pull out all the suckers this spring, but I think it looks too scrawny that way, so I am going to let it sucker next year.


Marie, love your Romantica clematis, such a pretty, plum color. You are really getting a lot of work done this year and it shows!

Woody, thanks, I have been trying to train the Penelope to go horizontally and sometimes the new branches just don't cooperate, heading out away from the fence too far. But if first you don't succeed. Maybe it's time for a new variety there. At least New Dawn sounds like it can take a lot of pruning and still keep going.

Managed to get the tomatoes tied up and in good shape this morning. Lugged watering cans of fertilizer to tomatoes and pots on the patio and weeded out another veggie bed. Very pleasant out there this morning. Heading back out in a bit.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:26AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM - before I had the swag chains, I had hooks along the fence side and I used those to hold the canes against the fence. I tie the canes in using strips cut from pantyhose (cut across the legs to make about 3/4-1" rings and then cut open the rings - they make soft, strong, stretchy ties that don't damage the plants and are almost invisible.) So maybe run a length of chain, heavy rope or big hooks along the fence to give you something to attach the rose to. The canes should be bendable in their first year of growth so train in the new canes as they appear.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 12:31PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

What a lovely pleasure to see Ei check in - Im so sorry to hear of your loss, but it sounds as though your Mom had a very special daughter and was lucky to end her days as she did. You are to be commended. I hope this summer finds you able to recoup and regroup and regain some energy and joy in the things to come.

Sorry to have missed a birthday while I took the "veil" and disappeared from cyberspace to recharge -- Happy Belated Birthday, Julie --


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 1:22PM
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Lol about taking the veil, Cindy. :) I hope your weekend was tops and the return to the awfice isn't that bad. I'm sure quality time with Chloe was helpful. What a pretty shot above; I've not grown Mondarda in many moons and had forgotten how interesting the spikey petals can be.

I am embarrassed by my New Dawn but have determined to leave it as is for the humorous value and also to get practical suggestions from all of you with respect to its future. I'm think that in this case "size matters". And so it is with the rest of the Compound.

PM, thanks for the info. on Cornus racemosa and the shots provided. Very helpful. My site is full sun and it's below street grade and receives the full brunt of all manner of run-off and associated nastiness. After the past month there is standing water there, though it will soak into the ground depending on the level of soil saturation. I love the idea of a "rain garden" because working with the site is the only financially feasible option. And besides, there is something that bothers me about engineering your way out of something like that; frankly, I feel we've already done enough of that as it is. There are some advantages to a low lot, though it does underscore the difficulty too much water can present. But I have to do it with shrubs to provide the sort of privacy screen I'm really, really missing since the bahn was built.

I ordered the countertop and the tile today. Choke. I was appalled by the price of the "cheap" option but some comparison shopping quickly revealed how lightly I've gotten off. They don't call it "sweat equity" for nothin'! I scraped the awful "popcorn" ceiling yesterday and was reminded that it's a dreadful operation, though I was pretty adept at mess containment. I dropped the pressure sprayer on my toe and really nailed the nail bed... not sure if the nail is a goner or not but it was plenty sore for the rest of the day. Get this: before starting the project I contemplated putting on my muck shoes but figured the sandals would be OK. That'll "learn me", huh? I can't wait to undertake the application of the fresh, SMOOTH coating, as that's another thing I've never attempted before. Lots of "firsts" with this project.

Time to harvest the most recent round of laundry and get that stowed away. Jeez, I don't want to go to work tomorrow!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 4:55PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Woody, thanks for those expert tips! I usually use pantyhose for my tomato plants and I don't know why I haven't tried it on the roses. I haven't tried using hooks in addition to tying them in place, either. That is a great idea too. I have an open picket fence and it's not easy to tie the horizontal branches to it and have them just where I want them, so the hooks would make a big difference I'm sure.

Chelone, I love the idea of rain gardens too. I have looked into them over the past two winters. I have debated doing rain gardens instead of using rain barrels, to keep all the water on the property and out of the sewer system. I found a lot of great information that comes out of the Chicago area, where they have done a lot with rain gardens. My problem is I have a completely level lot with a gentle slope toward the street in the front. In the back if it really rains hard, it does collect briefly about 10ft from the house but is quickly absorbed. So, another future project. :-)

I'm sure you've already researched it, but I wanted to satisfy my own curiosity of which shrubs might grow where there is standing water. I came across a list that is linked below. It is from the North Carolina University so not sure they are all hardy in Maine. I see that Ninebark is not noted for growing in standing water but the Ilex verticilata is. I would love a deciduous holly for the birds and the winter interest, but my yard is too dry for them. I'm surprised not to see Willow on the list. I thought they were perfect for standing water. On another link, I also saw mention of Alnus rugosa, speckled alder, a native, that can grow in standing water. Not sure if that's a tree or a shrub. Dawn Redwood is supposed to soak up standing water. I find it fascinating that a shrub or tree can grow in water like that. Well...I'm sure you have it already figured out. :-)


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:31PM
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A rough night on the Compound last night, I'm sad to say. It began with duelling Foxy Loxys that in turn set alarms bells ringing for the Huge One who, in turn, lent his own special vocal to the chorus. The cats were very disturbed, leaping to windowsills and growling protectively at the darkened world beyond the screens that harbored DANGER. I did not have a restful night. :/ So provoking me with stupid stuff today could prove dangerous...

The weather doesn't look as precarious as the weatherman predicted but I suspect my shorts are a bit too hopeful for the coming day. It's July, and I have yet to wear shorts to work once!

Thanks for list above, PM, they're all familiar names to me, many don't get quite tall enough to do the job and many are also difficult to find locally and in decent size. Oh well, the delay isn't going to kill me.

Time to gather up my fruit and head out the world of work.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 5:31AM
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Good morning

Ei - it is such a treat to hear from you again. I am very sorry to hear about your Mom. To have spent those last moments together and knowing she left this world in peace, holding the hand of someone so loved I hope brings some comfort. How is Scout doing these days?

Julie - hope you had a VERY happy brithday - card to follow.

The beginning of the school holiday was a bit of a blur but things are starting to settle down. Our trip to DC was fun and took my mind of worrying about work, healthcare and other tedious things. I can also start looking forward to IU6 in earnest which is a perfect diversion.

At the moment Annie is busy with Drivers Ed and is still applying for summer jobs everywhere she can. Unfortuntely no one seems to be hiring young seasonal workers and I feel her discouragement. She is taking her her first AP course next year in Euro History and has been busy reading and starting on some of the essays she has been assigned. So far she is enjoying it.

David is doing a summer program this week called String jam. It is alternative music styles for orchestral instruments and is very cool. They learnt some Armenina folk music and today they have a funk band coming in to teach them Stevie Wonder's "Superstition". It looks so much fun I wish I were up there playing with them.

The week we were gone appeared to have rained almost non-stop and the mosquitoes are out in force. My delphiniums were all toppled but everyting else is looking good. It is poppy season so I am very happy every time I wander out. Things are lush and colorful and from a distance you don't see any of the weeds. I could stand to do a bit of edging though and GB's work has inspired me to start.

have a good day!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:47AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, I can certainly empathize with you. I have many many nights that leave me feeling as you do this morning. :-(
I am glad that all were safe from the Foxy Loxys. It really scares me when our two cats are outside when the coyotes start their seranade close by.

BTW, speaking of varmints....several locals have sighted an alligator in the creek that runs through Harrison, Arkansas! Yarrgh! What next?

I am sad to report that my car top cucumbers are not doing well. I planted them in a large container, in what was supposed to be good potting soil, but they are too scrawny and yellow. :-( I mixed up some Miracle Grow and poured on them yesterday...hopefully that will help. What they really need is some good 'barnyard'. appears that my large crop of coleus seedlings are all pretty much the same type. :-(
I may compost most of them....I have at least 100 of them!
I had an unplanted window box, so planted it with some of them this morning.

I ended up with a nice assortment of Caladiums. I have them all planted in various container combos. And the very large container on the corner of the deck is now sporting an Elephant's Ear and various companions. The second one is in a large enameled pot. I don't know where it's permanent summer home will be. I am running out of deer free areas to put things.

It is lovely and cool....low 60s outside, and upper 60s inside, when I got up. Predicted to get into the 80s. I would like to do my mowing this morning, but the dew is too heavy. The cool has certainly not slowed down the killer deerflies!

Someone spoke of Froggies inside....I am frequently putting such 'visiters' out. :-)

Chelone, I got a kick out of your chipmunk visitor. I think we have slowed down on the invasion of them out on the deck. But I am still working on the indoor white-footed mice! I am catching and disposing of them about every day! I have never had such an influx of them. Usually it is in the late fall.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:53AM
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Thankfully, I don't have a job in downtown LA today, which will be the proverbial madhouse due to the memorial service.

Hi Mary, sounds like things are humming along. If Annie can't find work, volunteering looks great on a resume.

Marian, my potted squash is also doing poorly, but the beans are fine and tomatoes of course seem to thrive in pots.

The floor was laid in the bathhouse yesterday, and if Marty wasn't working today we might have finished. The tub will go in next and be leveled, then after the tub is installed the last pony wall will be built in, baseboards, pull-down blinds, then all done. We'll worry about putting in glass windows, if desired, down the road. Maybe vintage linens instead of blinds. Photo below shows current status. See the faint gleam of the little faucet in the pony wall? Just an industrial cheapo model. On the back wall the opening is for an electrical outlet. It will be be so nice to have another place to wash/soak without someone banging on the door! And there's room for a reading area and a glass of wine before bed at the opposite end. In the main (and only) bathroom, the shower door metal is showing the effects of the heavy use from the four of us, with the hard water calcification crud reaching superfund status, so I'll probably have the local glass guy replace the metal stripping with new.

The south and west exposures of the house need paint (what else is new?), and I'm thinking it might make more sense to keep some colors constant for ease in touch-ups, such as keeping the trim cream, with sage green reserved for pergolas, fences, and then changing only the color of the house siding if something new is wanted. (I bet Monet had maintenance in mind as much as color theory when he hit on "Monet blue" for his garden structures.) I'm leaning towards a deep blue/grey for the siding this time around, with maybe burnt orange accents on the the roof peak. Hideous? I'm thinking it will tie in easier with all the brickwork and terracotta tiles in the patio.

Anyone else seeing pottery from Vietnam at local nurseries? I picked up two terracotta urns yesterday for my tulips this winter pretty cheap. There's a new chartreusy santolina out, 'Lemon Twist,' that had to come home with me too.

Someone mentioned Penelope. A lovely but very awkward-growing hybrid musk. Felicia is much more supple and trainable though more pinkish than tawny like Penelope. Roses became quite an impediment to my constantly changing garden so I'm rid of all roses in the main beds. As Woody mentioned, I think I was bumping up against some rose replant disease issues as well. When the time comes that I can't live without them again, it should be safe to plant! I always forget I even possess the climber Renae, which was moved to the parkway/hell strip under a jacaranda, a move synonymous with throwing her off a cliff into the ocean and expecting her to grow. But there she thrives, amazingly enough, unwatered, and is in bloom now, leaves bright green and healthy, and she's thornless to boot. I think she's Ralph Moore's creation, a climbing polyantha not hardy past zone 7. Now I'm inclined to help the plucky thing climb the tree with perhaps some discreet chicken wire wrapped loosely around the tree trunk.

I love the idea of working with the low-lying areas and letting them do their important absorptive work. If money was no obstacle, Kathy's driveway project would be perfect for installing a cistern in the area. As it is, I insist all paving here must be porous. The crew we hired to bust up the old jacuzzi concrete pad and rebrick the area wanted to cement the bricks in and seemed very dubious of laying them only on sand. I showed them other areas I had laid on sand more than a decade ago to get them going and demonstrate how durable the concept is in this climate, but I could tell they thought I was nuts.

This dahlia has been very good this year, 'Gerry Scott,' leaves still clean and pumping out the blooms.

Very much appreciating all the photos of 'Juuli' since my little first-year freshman from Chalk Hill has just opened one of those little lavender-blue blooms.

Nice to have Michelle back with fresh news of "our" little Kenzie.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Of course things are super busy at work since my return and I've been busy trying to get on top of the weeds that grew while I was gone. I haven't had time to read.

Ei, I did see your post and was happy to hear from you. My condolences for your loss. Cyber hugs to you.

I also wanted to send a belated wish to Julie. Here's a picture for you. Evidence of the rains that we continue to get here. We aren't complaining as it doesn't rain so much and being farmers/gardeners we are grateful. Last night we got caught outside during a thunderstorm and took refuge in my garden shed. It turned out to be a good oppurtunity to talk on the cell phone with Kenzie about the fireworks.

Finally a few pictures from the trip. She likes to pose. She also loves dresses and the one she's wearing with the flowers and ladybugs was one that I recently sent to her.

I have to be out of town tomorrow and Thursday we leave for our camping trip with family. So I will be absent for a while again.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 4:46PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Love those shots of Kenzie, especially the one of her climbing on the playground ladders!

Today has been a chilly one here. We expect 49F tonight. I guess this is the month called Juliary. At least there are no frost warnings. My friend John came today and dug out the rugosas along our bridge. He left one healthy one on each side. Later, when all the weeds are removed, I'll add a clematis or two. It will be so nice to have that area cleaned up!

On the down side I've somehow misplaced my debit card and have had a frustrating afternoon searching for it. You can't imagine how many times Ive gone through my wallet. I searched my jeans, even did two loads of laundry checking ALL pockets. Nothing. I know I last saw it Sunday when DH and I did banking at the same time. This really irritates me. Fortunately it is of no use to anyone without my password. I'm still festering about it though.

Phoebe got to play with her 6 month old buddy Morgan. They wear each other out...which is great! Thursday she goes for grooming once again because burdock season is fast approaching- and perhaps warm weather too. She looks so cute all pouffy but that will end when the groomer attacks!

Some Canada Day shots of Ms Ivy with her maple leaf t-shirt.

And here are the clematis surrounding the vegetable garden.

Clematis Emilia Plater

The weeding continues here....
Enjoy your garden!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 5:51PM
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Kenzie on the ladder is my favorite, too. I think the dress is just darling. I'll bet it was hard to say good-bye, Michelle; you must miss her terribly. I am amazed at how grown up she looks... when I notice you know there are big changes!

And ditto for Miss Ivy, 'bug. She looks so alert, clearly the cogs are meshing accurately and smoothly and there is a whole lotta learnin' goin' on behind those bright little eyes. W. looks so relaxed and so natural with her; the months spent waiting to cradle and cuddle a little one after having been so cruelly deprived must have been very, very long. Makes me misty, even... ;)

Cold here, too. Juliary, indeed! more of same tomorrow I'm told. Grimace. I think I'll skip the fire and go straight for my book in a cozy bed. I'm tired!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 6:54PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Chelone I just saw your post about Maine...LOL! Sounds like Illinois, except for the month of August when it's in the 90's here with 90% humidity. :-)

Marian, I'm so sorry to read about how you've been suffering. The other day I saw something on T.V. about fibromyalgia (which made me think of you) and they described it as all of your nerves being extremely sensitive and on end. I can't imagine what that must feel like! I don't get froggies inside (what a treat that would be)! However I do have a Toad Undergardener...he's in charge of the watering:

Marian, will you carry your Caladiums over in the house in winter and if you do, will you keep them growing on or will you let them go dormant?

Hi Mary! It's great to "see" you too! Glad you had such a nice July 4th...sounds like a lot of fun and it's always great to hear what your kids are up to...I can't *believe* Annie's in drivers ed! Where does the time go? How fun David's "jam session" sounds. What a gift that is and a pleasure he can enjoy all through his life. Thanks for asking about Scout. He's doing pretty well...he is 10 years old now! I'm just amazed and grateful as can be, considering what a time he has had of his health ever since he was a puppy. He's getting gray hair now...but he's still as sweet as ever & the love of my life (well, next to my son and hubby..LOL)! For the last year I've been making his food (ground turkey, brown rice, mixed veggies, olive oil, & parsley) and I really believe it has made an improvement in his life.

Denisez...your new bathroom plans sound so nice! As soon as I saw the pic of the area to be done, it reminded me of a pic I've been saving forever. It's from the Arts & Crafts period and is what I think they called a "Well Room":

Sorry the pic is only in black in white, which is a shame because the wood is just gorgeous. I've always been drawn to it. And I love that the bed is in that little "nook" separate from the bedroom proper. I guess it's basically like a sunroom, but not quite. I love the bead board and the old wood ceiling and all those windows. I guess that's why your bathroom made me think of it...because of all the wonderful windows. If I ever get lucky enough to build my own home it will definitely be in Arts and Crafts style¡ it's my favorite time period. Anyway, your bathroom is going to be wonderful and love that you'll have a little reading nook. When I was a kid walking around Oak Park I'd always fantasize about what it would be like to have a bedroom in one of those little turrets. :-)

Beautiful pics Bug! Though I know it must be a lot of work having such a big property, I've always loved your home and property. I love your property and all your flowers, but the picture that stays in mind all the time is a snap you took with two rocking chairs looking out a window? It was such a serene image...a personal favorite. BTW, I love Ivy's name...though Scout would have been great too! :-)

Woody I can see why you would get more wonderful blooms from New Dawn by growing it as you do...kind of like the rambling roses; right? When I dug out New Dawn, I took roots, soil and all and did replace the soil, although I have to say, in all the years I had New Dawn it never once showed a smidge of disease. I miss her and am sorry she's gone. I think I may have had an excellent stock plant there! BTW, I'm having the same thing happening with my Brookside. I was very surprised to see 3 nice sized clumps (one underneath her and 2 just a few feet away from the mother plant. I love how floriferous Brookside is when it's in bloom...what a show, but am always puzzled about how to handle it after the flowers start winding down. Mine opens up and looks a little crazy. This year I decided to cut it way back to base and see if that solves the problem. Do you have the same problem?

PM...I do like boat rides too; just not into the sporting stuff anymore. None of my tubing mishaps were all that serious...just serious enough to scare me. I've been catapulted out of the tube a few too many times and I don't think my old bones could take that anymore...LOL! BTW, yes, that is PVC pipe. I stole the idea from an old gardening show that I *loved*. Unfortunately the series didn't last long, but it was with Barbara Damrosch... called "Growing Naturally", I think. Anyway, I thought it was a very clever, easy to do, and inexpensive fix. All you need is rebar; pvc pipe; and the couplings...fittings...elbows...whatever you call them thingamajigs to connect the pvc tubing. :-) I think we completed the whole project in one afternoon (from stopping at the hardware store to get the supplies - to putting it all together and setting it up in place). And as you can lasts forever.

Today I took my cousin (who is a wonderful cook and true foodie - she has a wonderful food blog) to a Maggiano's out here. A friend of ours is now a regional manager, but once was the head chef at the Maggiano's in Oak Brook. Anyway, I asked him if he would be able to take my cousin on a tour of the kitchens because I knew it would be a real treat for her. We had a great time and she was ecstatic! The manager was great and spent a good couple of hours showing us everything.

Do you remember my koi named Alvin? Probably not...LOL! But, he was the first fish I ever put in my pond and he did wonderfully all these years...too wonderfully I guess! I probably knew 2 years ago that he was really too big for my pond, but I just couldn't bring myself to give him up. We had become old friends. He was always the first to greet me when I'd come to the pond. And after he ate he would still sit up at the surface and chat with me. Okay, maybe he didn't talk much...but he was a great listener!

Anyway, in late winter my husband made a horrible mistake with my pond and killed all my fish (except Alvin - thank goodness for that) by trying to break some ice in the pond. I knew you weren't supposed to do that, but he didn't listen to me. Anyway, Alvin survived the debacle, but this spring when I saw that lonely, *huge* Alvin in the pond all by himself, I just knew I couldn't keep him anymore. As much as I would miss him it would be cruel to keep him in such cramped quarters. Poor Alvin!:

The picture is deceiving...he is much larger than he looks there...two breast strokes and he would be across the pond. Well, the idea finally came to me to call Trudi Temple. Remember how huge her pond was? I think just the one pond was as large as my whole yard...LOL! Anyway, I called her and she was such a sweetheart. "Sure I'll take him...bring him on over." Before I hung up the phone I thought to add;¨by the way his name is Alvin¨. I laugh about that now because she probably got a big kick out of me telling her his name. When I got to her house she had to have about 50 koi and I don't think they were named...LOL! Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. So, we get a big bucket and put Alvin in for the ride over to Trudi's. Right away I could tell he was not happy. His long body could not lie horizontal in the bucket and so he had to do a "fish stand"...his tail at the bottom of the bucket and his head kind of out of the water looking me straight in the eye. Visions of this...came to me:

I swear, Alvin had the exact same expression on his face. I kept telling him, don't worry Alvin, you're going to love it in your new home, but I don't think he believed me. Anyway, we get to Trudi's and lower Alvin & the bucket into the pond. At first he didn't want to come out of the bucket...he kept on looking up at me in a very distrusting manner. Finally he stuck his head out and then his chest, and by the time he got to his tail...he was out like a flash. He swam like a madman back and forth and to and fro...if a fish can express happiness...Alvin was expressing it big time! Trudy loved him and commented on how beautiful he was (proud parent moment for me -lol)! All the other fish came swimming up to him to meet him. Trudi was tickled - "isn't that cute, they're all curious about Alvin!" Anyway, she had a lot of koi, but none of them were anywhere close to as large as Alvin. :-) So now Alvin is a *big* fish in a *big* pond instead of the big fish in a little pond and I think he thinks he's died and gone to heaven. Last fall I started making some changes to the pond area and decided to complete it after Alvin moved to his new home:

I even bought some more fish...buttefly koi:

I probably shouldn't have bought 5 of them, but they were so pretty! Besides, now I know where I can take them when they get too big! :-)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:14PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Oh my Michelle...the flowers are beautiful but they can't compare to Kenzie...what a beautiful little girl! I can imagine what a joy it was for you to spend time with her again.

And what a joy to see Ms. Ivy! Oh, and the garden too...but you know it's not fair putting flowers up against those beautiful little girls, M & G...the girls will have to win! :-)


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:20PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good evening.....

After all the rain we've had and the sunny weekend, today was by far the rainiest day all season. It was roaring down from the skies with intermittent thunder that was so loud, it was startling. I would guess we might have had four inches of rain just this afternoon. There is a lull in the action at the moment but it's dark and still.

Since my garden is normally so dry I think the trees and shrubs can't help but appreciate this unusual amount of rain this year. The Annabelle Hydrangea has lots of huge blooms this year but they have been soaked for so long, most of them are on the ground. The lawn is looking lush. I have collected a couple of dozen red lily leaf beetles the past few days and so far, the lily foliage is not looking too bad. I'm happy about that.

Denise, your outdoor bathing porch is shaping up to be a real retreat! I am a sucker for bead board and exposed ceiling beams. So inviting! What have you done to the floor, I can't tell? I am picturing a large hanging Boston fern. You will be the only person I know that has an outdoor bathtub! :-) ..... I have the Penelope and it is awkward growing. I bought it for fragrance and disease resistance. It has disappointed me more often then not. Thanks for the name of Felicia, I will look into it.

Mary, how is David's leg coming along? Is he out of his cast now?

Marian, sorry to hear about your cucumbers, how are your tomatoes doing? Speaking of chipmunks, I had only seen one until today, but now there is a pair of them chasing each other around the sitting area. I think I am going to be in trouble!

Michelle, Kenzie does look so mature with that haircut! She has such big beautiful eyes. So they all seem to have made the adjustment of the move very easily. I will enjoy hearing about how you felt about your vacation when you have some time to visit more.

Ivy is looking so sweet in her maple leaf shirt, Marie. She looks like herself in those photos. Feminine comes to mind. Growing fast! There is a certain expression on DSIL's face that's hard to describe. Looks like they have the playground operational there. ..... I love that photo of your clematis on the veggie garden fence! Such an elegant design decision. The weedfree, mulched, precision edging helps too. [g]

Well....I'm rushing, needing to go pick up DD, so I'm saving your post, Ei, until I have time to enjoy it.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:42PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Oh my...I LOVE your post Ei! The toad that is in charge of watering is such a delight! And your story and pics of Alvin. You really have a talent with such stories.
BTW, Alvin was the first word our Tim said. He got it from Alvin and the Chipmunks. I am sure some of you are famuliar with that show. One day Tim was standing in his crib, and he yelled out "Alvin" !
The ad on TV about Fibromyalgia must be the one for Lyrica. I have Lyrica, but seldom use it. It causes too many side effects for me.

Today was one of my better days. Besides getting all my dishes washed (grin), I got almost all of our yard mowed.
I think I am on an adrenalin rush from the excitement of making contact with the wife of the preacher that baptized Nolon and I almost 43 years ago. I found one of her grandsons on Facebook, and sent him a message asking about them. After a couple of messages back and forth, we exchanged phone numbers...hers and mine. I had told him I would try to remember to call her on the weekend. Well, I was not feeling too great that weekend, so did not call, but she called me! We talked almost an hour! Her husband passed away about 12 years ago. We exchanged email addresses, and right after her call she emailed. We have 'talked' back and forth several times, via email. We have so much catching up to do, and she is so excited about it! She is about 8 years younger than I. She does not have Facebook, but the grandson is going to get her set up there.

Michelle, I love the pics of Kenzie. She is a beauty.

Marie, I also love the pics of DSIL and Ivy. She is a doll.

Pm2, my tomatoes are not looking too vigorous either, but better than the cukes.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 8:47PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Wow! Busy day here.... :-)

Denise - the outdoor beth look interesting and full of possibilities - keep the progress pictures coming... And I want to see a picture of the rose in the tree! I've always wanted to do something like that but don't have anywhere suitable for it.

Michelle - what big beautiful eyes Kenzie has! Great pictures of her...

And great Ivy pictures too GB. And the vegetable garden clematises - oh my! That is definitely my favorite part of your garden. Juliary is a good name for this month so far. If it wasn't July, I'd suspect frost might arrive sometime! it was definitely jacket weather today, highly unusual for this time of year.

Ei - Cute toad and cute fish story :-) I cut Brookside back to about 4-6" each year around now. It looks pathetic for a week or two and then regrows to a nice neat mound that turns a nice bright red in mid-late September.

Marian - I'm glad you're feeling a bit perkier. How nice to make contact with someone from the past like that. One of the strengths of the Internet is the opportunities to connect with so many people.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:42PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Warning, a drive by Grandma post.

More photos of DSIL on Canada Day, this time with Skyler. I know it would be easy to say that he gets to be the Disney Dad and not share the tough stuff...but that would be a lie. He's a fine Daddy all around!

Time to put Ms Phoebe to bed now...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 10:46PM
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Good Evening friends ! Glass of cheap white wine at my side, and have already done a WALAT - I always perform multiple WALATS of course as one could miss something the first time around. Much like multiple photo viewings on the Idyllsand many nice ones are on view today.

DD and company are in the throws of unpacking-she had a lot of anxiety about the move , but pets and Mr Baby traveled well, and they are happy with the little house they rented sight unseen. Not that they had a choice in any case- I advised her that lack of choices is a feature of poverty, and you do what you can to survive. They will likely come down this way in the next week or two, I have some hand-me-downs for them and we are hoping DS can fix her ancient laptop. W can also hopefully load the zillion photos of Aiden that she has been unable to deal with onto my computer for safekeeping until hers gets fixed.

Denise, your bath resort looks terrific so far ! So what is the plan for lighting ? I can speak to the Vietnamese pottery- China, Thailand and Vietnam are the main sources for glazed pottery here. Garden centers will book partial containers with mixed pallets to arrive in early spring. My intent this year was to buy a full container from Thailand, but in view of the business environment we held off . The Thai stuff is often the darker bronzy , or even blackish colors with a matte finish instead of high gloss.
The concrete on my lot just makes me wild.. I hope to do everything in my power to get rid of about 80% of it in the next 6 to 12 months, much of it depending on how the little family of DD fares in their new digs, and what the price tag is. And what is the plant size of Gerry Scott ? Im always looking for Dahlias that stay under 3 ft.

Michelle, Kenzie is coming right along , a pretty little girl I must admit-like the shades action there ..

And bug, nice shots of Ivy and Dad, and wondering what the hair color will be when it grows back in- My DD was born with black hair and was solidly blond within a few months. Your gardens look just beautiful.

Eileen, your black and white photo reminds me of the cabins up in the redwood forests north of here where we usually go for the 4th of July. I also love arts and crafts and my home town (Los Angeles) has some wonderful examples in some of the older neighborhoods, and the California Bungalow is an offshoot of that . I just love Alvins story ! Please dont run away from home for a bit- you always have so much to add. How about hopping on a plane for IU ?

Chelone, I am in awe of your attempt to eradicate the dreaded popcorn ceiling. Whoever invented that crap anyway ? What a pi*s-poor idea. I would love to get rid of mine, but would not even consider trying it on my own- ceilings are too high in the living room even if I could undertake it myself. Painting ceilings is bad enough ! I wil be sure to admire and praise your popcorn-less ness at IU .

Mary, very glad to have you back in the fold, and we need an update on the poultry ! Maybe some photos ?

Heres some pics from my neck of the woods, taken at the worst time of day, but Im chained to the desk at the awfice during prime-time for photos, so this will have to do.

Tithonia on the left with it's pals Bela Lugosi, un-named Lavender, Aster frikartii, and others. From Garden 2009

Tithonia From Garden 2009

Amaranth viridis From Garden 2009

nite all ...

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:22PM
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I particularly like the proposed color scheme for the house, Denise. I also like the pragmatic way you've opted to keep other colors for trim and accourements. New England is the land of the white house and the red bahn, but that was historically for pragmatic reasons as both colors lasted a long time before requiring recoating. Homes in maritime areas were historically left to weather naturally with only an oiling every so often to keep the wood in good condition.

The bath house looks grand. I can picture a leafy display of houseplants, too. I was appalled by the conditon of the old faucet in the tub... it literally fell apart in our hands when it was removed, another victim of "hard water", so I commiserate with the condition of the supporting metal frame of the shower door.

I love Mr. Toad supervising the watering, Ei.. I love toads, esp. their ringed eyes, they're so cute. I'll have to read the full story of Alvin later today, but have to remark that your gardens are lovely. I always think of New Dawn when I see your name, too. ;)

A bit of "sunshine" today is a very exciting lunch date with (at least) two we all know and love. But more chill, clouds, and rain for today, so I'll pack the raincoat and the bumbershoot. Warnings for heavy mosquito infestations are all over the news now. I see it will be time to crack the whip about turning over buckets left outdoors, not the helpmeet's stong suit.

I am ready to scream with relentless Michael Jackson coverage. I enjoyed his music along with everyone else, but also thought he was a very troubled, damaged individual, the result of being forced to "grow up" unnaturally. In all, a very tragic figure and certainly not a role model. The whole scene is too weird for me, from 2 wks. of this expensive nonsense to the gold leafed casket... are they ever going to "plant" him? I wonder no one has come up with idea of stuffing him, a la Lenin, and displaying him for posterity at Neverland... good way to pay off his debts and provide another income stream for his family. Ick.

Time to gather up my snack items and mosey on down to work which is a fun project, a full deck enclosure that will look sensational when it's finished. And the prospect of excellent luncheon company!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 5:31AM
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Good morning! Yesiree, I'm meeting the gang for lunch today - wish you could all be there!

A bit of excitement here yesterday: Lightening struck my neighbor's house and he came running over to ask if he could use the phone - he saw smoke coming from the basement. I called 911 and they called all the stations (we have 3 in town) - thankfully no fire. Just damage. The kids got a kick of having the whole fire department in their front yard, and thankfully it was not a true emergency. They did spend the rest of the afternoon chasing after the same sorts of calls, though, as the weather was wicked here :)

My lawn has never looked so good in July.

Ivy is growing leaps and bounds, and her big brother looks happy, too! Kenzie's a model in training, I see - Sarah went through the posing phase, too. We'd take one picture for mommy (au natural) and one with your best pose.

The dueling bathroom models - much like dueling banjos, I guess? I love the idea of a quiet place to wind down the evening, Denise. And Liz, I'm glad you took the extra step to remove the popcorn - you could've gotten tired and left it :) I can't wait to see what tile you chose. I'm always dreaming of remodeling my bath, but I think I'll wait as long as I can since it's our only one (we have a powder, but that's not the same....).

Ei, loved your fish story! Your new koi are cute, can't wait to hear their names :)

Kathy, next year I'll add tithonia to the list. I'm really kicking myself for not growing the amaranth! I wanted it so bad and then ran out of spring. Yes, walating must be done several times....funny, now Sarah says, "while I was walating...." but I don't think she's always looking at flowers.

I need to get moving - I've got lots to do before I embark on my lunchtime journey. Have a great day.....


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 7:01AM
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    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 7:10AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

(Monkshood Stainless Steel)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:05AM
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Laura, I hope you have the most wonderful day - Happy Birthday!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:43AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy Birthday, Laura -- Hope it's a wonderful day.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 9:07AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 9:07AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Did anyone notice GB's SIL's hand in the last picture and wonder what it meant? He's signing a casual, affectionate 'I love you' - presumably to Sarah... What his hand is doing is making the combined signs for the letters I (little finger in the air), L (thumb and index finger), and Y (thumb and little finger). When you do them all at once, it's the equivalent of, for example, saying 'Love ya' to someone as you go out the door. If you were making a passionate declaration of love, you wouldn't use this casual sign. It's a commonly used sign that you sometimes see hearing people use too.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:52AM
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(Woody, I just tried it and can't get my fingers to obey.)

Happy birthday, Eden!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:59AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Have a wonderful birthday, Eden!

[The medium size looked too small and this looks too large. Sorry about that.]

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 11:46AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Hmmmm, that's strange...I KNOW I posted a birthday wish and pic for Eden, but it has disappeared!

So...I will try again.

Eden, I am hoping you are having the great day that you had planned. Here is a repeat of the pic I sent you on Facebook:

I took this pic yesterday, and I'm glad I did. The entire bloom stalk was gone this morning. :-(

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 1:20PM
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