Idyll #452 Fighting Back the Doldrums

saucydog(z5MA)August 15, 2009

I've decided to try to skip right over the doldrum portion of this summer, how are you dealing with it?

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By cutting down trees. Mostly oak and red maples that have sprung up between our house and BIL's. People put too much emphasis on saving trees, IMO. Most of them are really nothing more than giant weeds when you really make the time to look at their form and structure with a critical eye.

Now, if I could only convince the helpmeet to get rid of the 5 or 6 Yews that have languished in the shade for nearly 18 yrs. now... they looked like crap when they were rescued from the compost pile and things haven't changed much. I can't, for the life of me, understand how he can be sentimental over those foolish things! So, for the time being I have decided that's not the hill I wish to die on.

Time to get back at it. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 10:05AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I've succumbed completely I think! The new front bed needs weeding - as does the main front bed and everywhere else in the garten! The big white rose is in desperate need of deadheading and de-beetling. It's been too hot the last week to work out there. I much preferred the previous unusually cool weather!

Randy arrived back yesterday afternoon from a week in Calgary at his parents'. Things are not going so well there - his monther continues her mental decline; his father is awaiting tests to see if he needs surgery on one knee; his father refuses to consider getting help - such as a much-needed cleaning lady, or personal care assistance for Randy's mother, as he sees needing help as a threat to his independance. In a lot of ways, needing surgery for his knee might be a good idea as it will force them to deal with the fact that independant living is no longer a safe or viable option! We await the crisis that is inevitable....

An hour after Randy got home, Liam arrived for the weekend. We had a Frisbee session at the schoolyard this morning before it got too hot - but had to cut it short when I became a target for wasps! OUCH!

When Randy was in Calgary, his last boss called to see if he would be willing to work part-time for a while. An unexpected maternity leave arose (unexpected because it was an adoption - baby available NOW...) Randy's not too keen on the idea - retirement suits him :-) and it's out of the question for the next couple of weeks anyway because of vacation plans and impending medical appointments for me. He will be discussing it further next week with his boss and then we'll see if it suits us or not.

The winter dog-sitting season has crept up on us already. Blue's owners are planning on spending time at their condo in Mexico this winter. We didn't realize quite how long they planned to be there until they told us this week that it'll like be from mid-December until the end of January - or into February! So Misty will have a buddy for a good chunk of the winter.

gb- Ivy looks cute and happy - and big! - in that Jolly Jumper.

Denise - how's your father today?

Gotta run... food shopping time...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Good morning
70% chance of rain here today. Saturday is of course is my one day to really accomplish things in the garden, but at this point Im not too bummed as our need for rain for the crops is reaching the desperate level. WeÂve been having temps which are reaching the 90Âs and yesterday was windy as well. So moisture is welcome.

Âbug, we were at a picnic on some friendÂs farm and they were using the burdock leaves to make leaf castings. Wow, the picture of Ivy and Phoebe is great! Both are really inspecting the other.

Denise, sorry to hear the news about your dad.

Cindy, from the looks of their website, Terrain looks worthy of a stop to investigate.

Woody, it sounds like things are difficult in the parent dept. I dread facing those issues. Hopefully, RandyÂs dad will come to terms with reality in an easy fashion.
I've added a link to a slideshow from our visit to the Iowa Arboretum. Hopefully, if I've done it correctly you should be able to click on the picture below to see it.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 10:31AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Denise, very sorry to hear the news about your Dad. I wish it were better news for all of you. I imagine there are no other specialists that might offer a second opinion? Turning your attention to gardening when trying to keep the stress manageable is very smart. Sometimes you just need something else to focus on for awhile. I think it's comforting too.

Ivy does look exceptionally happy, Marie. Funny to hear that she gets furious. [g] I can't imagine it. Our kids loved one of those too.

Woody, we are not as hot as you sound right now and we had a couple of small sprinkles. I still think I should be out there watering very soon. Last hot spell, I started using the sprinkler on two areas of the yard a day. One section in the morning and just leaving it there for an hour and a half to two hours and then another section around dinner time. And just kept moving it around until all the beds were done. Takes a few days, but everything gets a good drink and I don't wear myself out. Everything else will wait for cooler weather ..... Sorry to hear about your parents. I do understand that resistance to having help, unfortunately. [g] I think it's very hard to let go of doing things you want to do, especially if you think you might never do them again. It would be great if they would accept it while it can still allow them better quality of life instead of wearing themselves down trying to do it all.

Michelle...enjoyed the Arboretum pics. The cool wall bricks, the prairie style, Rudbeckia Summer Nights with that yellow Echinacea...very nice!

Summer Doldrums are just a pause. :-) I just spend more time planning and making lists of what I want to do out there. Actually, when it's hot, I do tend to just walk and look things over in the cooler part of the day, rather than working out there. Right now, I don't even have any interest in visiting nurseries looking for bargains. It's not really hot but I'm very sensitive to humidity for some reason and I've got the a/c cranked. I always expect that half way through August, even if it gets hot during the day, for the most part it cools off at night. We've had a whole house fan for many years and I would never be without one again. We get a lot of use out of it. Plus, I hope to get away to visit DS in the next couple of weeks. Then DD will be moving, which we will be helping with that, I'm sure.

Hope you all are staying cool... :-)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 1:43PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

My oh my but its hot and humid out today. Its supposed to get to 90 or so and continue on with the heat through Wednesday. I know its summer but like Woody I much prefer the unusually cooler temps weve had most of this season. The fuchsias and hydrangeas are all just wilting in the heat. A lot of the fuchsias can take higher temps and sun if thats what they are used to but theyve put on a lot of growth and budded up with cooler temps to Im probably going to have to do some serious pruning in the next few days. Theyll come back in time for their September show though.

I fixed eggplant parmesan last night with the eggplants from our container veggie garden. It turned out great and was a kick to actually fix something we grew.

Woody your Brugmansia is lovely! Its a shame you dont want to keep it but I totally understand the work involved with keeping them going. They require serious amounts of water and food to do well. ~~ Bummer about the wasps. I had a yellow jacket nest in the wall in the shade garden and Doug was finally able to get rid of it with wasp spray a couple days ago. They can get pretty nasty and aggressive this time of the year.

Michelle, hope you get some rain for the crops. What a worry. ~~ Love the pics from the Iowa Arboretum.

Denise sorry to hear about your dad. ~~ those are some amazing looking beetles.

Bug that jumper thing is pretty cute. Looks like Ivy is loving it.~~ Love the cyclamen! Cant believe you grew that from seed.

Kathy, funny you are contemplating evicting some long time plants from your gardens. I am too. I want to try to get the second tier of the terrace garden pretty self sufficient. Its next to impossible to get in there to dead head mid summer so those daylilies have to go. Im seeing more medium sized shrubs in my future.

Cindy, I dont know how you deal with summer long temps and humidity like this. Its brutal.

Saucy, Im fighting the August doldrums with nursery and garden visits!

So here is a pic for the day. The patio looking toward the west container garden.

Stay cool everyone!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 1:56PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I would LOVE to stay cool. In fact I'd like some rain tonight! But that won't happen and so I'll need to water some more...later on.

GOT A WHEELBARROW - A close replacement, for $250. Sorry to bill a non profit organization for this, as well as money for the bridge, but gee, maybe they should hire competent people? You think? If you can't drive a 5 ton truck, well, DON'T! And after you hit something, STOP, and don't continue and hit something else. At least she missed the gentleman working a yard away from the scene.

Today we picked up a friend of DD's and brought her back to the farm to visit and sleep over. Next week a friend of mine may arrive from Ohio. I love company, but all back to back is a struggle...and the heat is horrendous. With humidity, we are operating at 95F today and for the next few days as well. Yes, I like unusually cool temperatures!

Added a few more plants from a sale to my ghetto too. Nothing exciting, just colour!

Off to deal with a big basket of blueberries now. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 2:30PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Run through the sprinkler, Marie! [g]

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 2:54PM
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After digging out half a dozen plants this morning I drove upvalley a few miles to the art festival, where I saw at least a dozen painting I would have loved to buy, but showed restraint as 'big ticket' purchases are on hold. Picked up cards and brochures from several of the artists for future aquisitions. On the way home I stopped at a couple of winerys to take photos of thier are some

Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) at Trefethen. For those not familiar, the flower is above eye level, plants are huge. From Winery Gardens 2009

Olives, Lavender and Rosemary From Winery Gardens 2009

Almost ready for Good Wine Night, Cabernet Sauvignon fruit From Winery Gardens 2009

An exotic vignette from Darioush Vinyards From Winery Gardens 2009

A fun outing always helps the doldrums !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 3:38PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Good idea PM! Along with the stinky dogs who have been rolling in stuff.

I finished the blueberry pie and it is ready for dinner later on. Reminds me of Cynthia who enjoyed the recipe...Yoo Hoo! Hi Cynthia! I'd love a recent photo of your gardens.

Hoping to see Woody and Randy on the 25th for an Indian meal. I hope it is a cool evening!!! Phoebe needs to visit with Blue too in order to know if they would be good buddies together at Christmas time. That remains to be seen at a later date. My gardens will NOT be presentable, but that's just too bad for me as I'm sure Woody will want to inspect the disaster areas. ;)

Chelone, I know what you mean about trees. The environmental crowd seems to worship trees of any sort, any size. They never consider shrubs or grasses as having value. I don't get it. Our local gravel pit planted a row of 16 spindly trees and the maps now have that labeled as "woods". I really don't get it. There are pretty trees around, like aspen, poplar and mountain ash...but none of them have a long life. Maples require a good deal of water and don't always survive drought years. Yet they are planted everywhere. No one plants oaks or serviceberries or evergreens around here. ..and I think it is a shame.

Those of you dealing with aging parents, spouses and special relatives, well I hope you have lots of support from family and friends. Know that others are thinking of you and wish you well on your journey.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 4:02PM
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I came in to warm up. Yes I mean that. The rain has been pretty much a fizzle. It just spits, but its only 73 and windy. So yes its cold! Its good weeding weather though since and the wind and cool temps have the mosquitoes in bed. I decided an afternoon nap would be nice since I slept poorly last night. I never do that on any day but Sunday.

Rick has spent weeks cutting down trees in our grove, mostly ash and maple. All volunteers that want to grow up through the spruces.

Deanne, from the looks of your picture your garden certainly doesn't have the doldrums.

Kathy, how nice that the wineries also have gardens. Lovely ones at that.

I think I'll try to complete the weeding the Butterfly garden. It's one of my largest and fullest and also the one that I battle grass the worst. I cut down 2 huge baby's breaths and cut back some the baptisia that tends to fall over the edging and makes mowing hard.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 5:01PM
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What a lovely trip through imaginary land courtesty of Kathy! I almost can't believe the blue of the sky behind that statuesque poppy. IF it existed in reality I'd almost bet Napa is a very beautiful place.

My co-worker is now facing the declining health issue with her mother and my heart bleeds for her as it does for Denise and Randy. I know she doesn't get very much help from the numerous siblings, though they all seem to have an opinion on how she ought be handling things and what she should have done to prevent the last catastrophe. The view from the cheap seats is always beyond compare. 'bug once said to me that I would emerge OK but would never be the same and I believe she was right. It changes you, the same way water can change rock; softening rough edges but embuing the rock with the ability to create interesting eddies and sandbars... . I spoke with an elderly man in the antique store yesterday, he beamed and was delighted to talk. He was clearly failing but was having a lovely time sitting and poring over a box of postcards, sorting them into piles after careful inspection. His daughter was so patient and we all laughed when he couldn't recall which stack he wanted to buy and had to go through them again. Time is so precious and making time is even more so. ;)

There are a lot less "trees" here now than there were this morning! Oaks (red) and red maples are the indigenous hardwoods that take over abandonned fields in this area. And white pine. I am pleased with the result though there will be more "fine tuning" and more clean up in the future. But there is a lot more light in the area and the feeling of deep shade is now gone. We limbed up the Sweet Gum, too and I like the new "look" which opens the northern portion of Sanitary Ridge up noticeably. The burn pile is getting almost too tall for me to place things atop it. It'll be one helluva weenie roast when we touch that baby off next March.

I smiled at Deanne's eggplant parmesan. Is this the first time you've tried your hand at vegetables? As you know, I'm not allowed into Vegetable World, but I definitely enjoy the proceeds. We have vegetable crispers full of produce right now... green beans, lettuce, beets, brussel sprouts, and tomatoes should be plentiful IF they ever start to ripen. Your patio looks so pretty. I can't believe I never see a cat in any of those pictures... do you deliberately shoo them away or are they just "camera shy"?

$250 for a wheelbarrow? does it come with a laborer, too? Seems to me that a "non-profit" is well titled if their volunteers regularly rack up substantial tabs for being stupid. Sorry, I calls 'em as I sees 'em! Sound to me as though you'd better hire the Army Corps of Engineers (Canadian variety) to re-do the bridge if you're expecting future visits from the organization.

A furious baby made me smile, too, PM. Me? I'd simply place the offending infant on her cradle board and hang her in a tree a long way from the house... . And fetch her after the crying abated. I'd have to call Kathy or Sue to bail me out, too. :)

OK, I think dinner isn't too far off and I'm HUNGRY.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 5:05PM
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2pm beer as the watering continues. Thanks to our friend Jerris suggestion , I downloaded Mozilla Firefox this morning and it is now officially my new default web browser. Ive been having really annoying issues ever since I upgraded my Internet Explorer to version 8, the pics on GW wouldnt load properly and it was s-l-o-w..problem is now solved . Firefox has some cool features, and its free.

Its a late summer day here for sure, hazy , bordering on hot-lots of drooping plants , and the hose is getting a workout.

Went fallow on this post for a bit, a quick run to the store and brief dish duties

bug, a 250$$ wheelbarrow ! Wow, does it have a Bently hood ornament on the bow ? Do you know, I do not own a wheelbarrow, which seems wrong somehow. I had a rusty and very small unit at one time , and when the tray rusted through sent it off to the dumpster and failed to replace it. Ive wished I had one several times since, and have access to whatever style and size I wish through work. Think I need this on the shopping list-it sure would be easer to hoist around bales of compost !

Michelle, I enjoyed the visit to the arboretum- have we had pics of the butterfly garden this summer ? It sounds like both you and Chelone are embarking on some tree thinning activities. I geep gazing longingly up into the neighbors locust tree , which is becoming an issue for me, and might force me to remove my Japanese maple . Its getting way too dark in that area.

And speaking of Deannes eggplants, I am getting serious about some infrastructure work ( primarily demolition) that would allow me to have a small veggie garden, and am inspired too by the beauty of those we saw at Stonewall Kitchen in Maine.

Im with you PM, although the humid thing is not a factor here , I usually stop any heavy garden work after about noon , and then go out in the evening while it is still light to plan and peruse. My plants needed list is growing ! My plants to be evicted list is too, lol.

Deanne, your Fuchsias are unbelievable. Im watching garden development for next years trip in Sept, I want to time it to catch the end of summer and still be able to see some fall color. I even went back to last falls threads in the Idylls to see what was happening in gardens and foliage. Im thinking last week in Sept, first week in Oct. I know the fall color thing can be a crapshoot.

Allright friends, time to think about an evening WALAT and a glass of winethinking about Sue at the shore, and wondering if Wendy is home ? And V ?

As promised, my Iochroma, bought in spring in a 1 gal pot, under 1 ft tall. The fence behind it is 6ft.The top growth is loaded with buds. Im happy !

Kathy in Napa-the Mythical Land

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 8:10PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Wow, Kathy, that Iochroma is fabu!!!! What a beauty. I think this is the year of the Iochroma for the Idylls as many of us have been growing it for the first time this year. Monique had one in her gardens last year and I was charmed by it and HAD to have one. Will yours winter over outside for you? I'm going to try to winter mine over the same way I do the brugs. ~~ Love the pics from fantasy land! looks so beautiful there. Can't wait to visit next year.

So speaking of next year. I'd love if you'd come here next Sept/Oct and I'll take you up to the White Mountains and up to the Flume Gorge and Basin. It's beautiful there in the fall and I only seem to go when I have company to take there. I just need to plan for the dates so I can make sure I don't have any seminars scheduled while you're here.

Michelle, it seems that we've reversed our weather. It was 92 and humid here today. I can't believe it was in the 70s there. Hope you get enough rain for your crops.

We took MJ out to dinner for her birthday tonight and it was a perfect evening. So happy we have such great restaurants so close. We'd have paid twice the price for the same meal if we'd gone to Boston.

OK I'm out of energy and need to get some sleep. Nite all!


Containers are the best way to fight off the late summer doldrums.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 9:51PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Deanne....your garden is just a pink and green confection! I still cannot imagine having enough energy to keep all those pots looking so perfect. :-) Where is your Iochroma, I don't remember seeing it?

Kathy, I just love your photos of Napa. The second shot of Olives, Lavender and Rosemary really appeals to me. I like the distant view of what looks like Italian Cypress, one of my favorites. And I had a good laugh comparing my own two year old grape vine growing in part sun, to this photo of a 'real' grape vine. [g] .... Plus I'm liking that Iochroma more and more. I wonder if it appeals to hummingbirds? And what is that variegated plant next to it?

Michelle....we were watching golf yesterday and it started raining. They were in Minnesota and I wondered if you were getting any of that rain too.

Chelone....I enjoyed your story of the elderly gentleman. Not enough people enjoy the elderly, I imagine. .... a 'cradle board' ?? I am envisioning a papoose. I will have to get a photo some time of something I used when my kids were little that also fits that description. It was a little board inserted into a fabric 'mini bed' that had handles and you zipped them into it. You could have actually hung them up on a tree branch in it. [g]

Marie....I think we need to see a photo of that new wheelbarrow. [g]

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 5:26AM
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Yeah, PM, that basically what a cradle board was. I recall reading that early settlers were astonished that Indian babies cried but didn't squall very often. The reason was apparently pretty simple, it was discouraged because it made hunting and evading enemies more difficult; meltdowns were dealt with by removing the offender to a location removed from the group. Interesting that a society so reliant on group effort employed the same sort of "zero tolerance" displayed on "Super Nanny"! I was just thinking that it comes back down to the issue of time, rather the "making" of it. Making the time to interact with littles, elderly, animals fortifies them with trust and confidence in their interaction with otherss. You encourage the behavior you wish to foster, ignore the nuisance stuff, and come down hard on the really out of line stuff. And things usually work out OK.

I grew up in very small community and when kids my own age were really mean I had plenty of elderly "friends" to help me through it. So I've always liked the unique perspective they offer. It's never bothered me that memory can fade, so what? and it doesn't bother me that they move more slowly. When the day comes that I can't be pleasant and friendly and make time for them in my "busy and important" day it will be time for me to get off the planet. I recall the kindness (and the impatience) bestowed on Mum when she was really failing and it made a very large impression on me. Big lesson there.

Time to get the largest dog in the house outside as I hear him stirring in his resting place. It's a beautiful morning and a stroll with my coffee will be nice. Back in and I can testify to the voraciousness of deer flies this morning! Yikes, poor Rex had a squadron of them buzzing his head when we came out of the woods.

None of that bodes well for the relocation of firewood to the storage area under filon roof that's on the list for this morning. Seems hard to believe that in 3 mos. we'll be glad to have the wood at the ready to chase away the chill. Interestingly, I am already noticing the leaf change in those plants in the swampiest areas.

Michelle, I clicked the photo in your post and was taken to the slideshow, but abandonned it because of piggy-backed advertising. Perhaps I'll try it again later today. But nice going on the new skill!

I like the color of the Iochroma, also the size and scale of it. I hope we'll be treated to a shot of it in full bloom. Time to wander back to the kitchen for a reload.

I love this time of day, no tourists out driving around, no waves of "loud pipes" motorcycles and only the occasional cyclist or jogger. I give it about another hour before they begin to stir in their motel rooms and start to relocate. ;)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 6:50AM
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Good morning!

It's so nice to sit and read of all the Idyll doings on a quiet morning. I got up early and watered everything good because we're headed to the ocean today. We're planning on bringing nothing but towels and chairs and seeing where the day takes us.

Maybe I'll throw in a camera :)

Yesterday I cast the biggest leaf I've ever attempted. I hope it works! I used fiberglass mesh tape in this one...

I also potted up a shrub jasmine yesterday, compliments of my neighbor. Oh my...the sweet scent is heavenly! I hope I can overwinter it - she grows hers as a standard houseplant....but I noticed it usually loses it's leaves.

I'd better get moving...I hear Nick scraping the bottom of his oatmeal bowl :)

Have a great day!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:22AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good morning! We arrived home about 6:30 last night after a lovely week at the cabin in Ontario. We had a mixed bag of weather but we did have some heat - almost 90 one day! as well as some cooler temps and some wonderful thunderstorms. The thunder there is amazing because it just keeps echoing against all the rock until finally it end up shaking the entire cabin. Once you remember that the cabin has held up to this stuff for 62 years, you stop worrying that it's about to fall down on your head and you start to enjoy the shear fun of it.

On the trip home, DD noticed that Sunrise was getting ready to throw up (remember, this is our lab that throws up ALL the time) but we were in heavy traffic with no good place to stop. A few minutes later, I was headed for a rest stop exit and DD was getting a little upset, saying that there was blood in the vomit. We got the dogs out of the car, and DD watched in amazement as I crawled in to get an "up close and personal" look at the remains. She decided that ability must come with being a mom; I decided that Sunrise had feasted on wild bunch berries, which are bright red, edible and no cause for concern. Sunrise this year mostly turned up her nose at her dog food and preferred foraging for wild blueberries, raspberries and bunch berries.

I'm off to enjoy my first hot shower in over a week. I got a couple of lovely shots of a bald eagle that I will try to post tonight. In between, I'll be doing laundry, cleaning the car, et cetera, et cetera!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:33AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I just returned from setting up the sprinkler, now repaired by DH. :) It promises to reach 31C or 88F today...with 100% humidity, too hot to plant any ghetto items. (I didn't know you could do that without rain. It seems the temperature is equal to the "dew point" and therefore it IS possible.)

Yesterday we all went to the farmer's market in nearby Guelph. Sarah bought a $20 basket of blueberries and so I used half to make a pie. WOW was it good! Last night, after the salmon, tomato/cucumber/feta and olive salad, and zucchini & rice casserole, the "girls" had FOUR pieces each. It is GONE. I guess I make a second one today.

I remember the Iochroma from one of our Idyllunions, probably the one in Sue's area. Somewhere I have a photo I took of it. It intrigued me..rather like a giant corydalis to me.

A story for Chelone: The day Skyler arrived here he sat down for dinner and began his nonsense: "I'm not going to eat xxx. I don't like it. I like yyy and will eat that instead. ZZZ looks yukky. No I've never tried it but I don't like it and ...." So of course I piped up:
"Skyler, I don't care what you like and don't like. Do you hear Sarah telling us what she wants to eat? Is your Dad telling us it looks yukky? Does your grandfather whine about what I've spent time preparing for dinner? Be quiet and eat whatever you want that is on the table and I don't want to hear a word about what is on your plate unless it is positive. Capiche?"
He never spoke about food at all for the rest of his stay and his Dad and Sarah were delighted.
While driving to NH, they played a new CD of Harry Potter to entertain them all. In fact, they said it was the shortest 10 hour trip ever because of it. Since that time, they have used the characters to describe Skyler's behavior. "You are acting very Dudley-ish at the moment!" It surprises him to be compared to a spoiled brat disliked by all, but he at last gets the message!

There were several moments where I had to laugh out loud because Skyler is developing a sense of humor. He was asked to find his hearing aid by his dad and wandered off to search for it. When he returned his dad asked where it was and Skyler said he couldn't find it. There was a loud "GO FIND IT NOW!" and Skyler magically pulled it out of his pocket. There were other examples too. I love it when their own unique humor develops!

Kathy, very little beats a combination of olive trees with ANYTHING for me. Must be my days in Provence that did it to me. I can smell the air of southern France in your photo.

Well, off to my smog warning landscape. I believe our house guest has prepared rice pudding for breakfast. Whatever! I love being waited on by the troops!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:47AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Just a quick visit... A friend who works for the provincial ministry of agriculture and lives in a fairly rural area e-mailed this morning. I got a chuckle - and grimaced! - at this:
'We lost two of our three sheep to coyotes one night. I have only found one carcass - never found the other - and the antics of disposing of the one I did find would make a comedy movie - if I hadn't been one of the principal actors! If I didn't work in the Branch that administers the "Livestock Disposal Act" .......'

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:59AM
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Good morning friends, getting ready to head outside for more plant evictions, deadheading and attempted tree trimming. I have coleus cuttings to pot up too, to be displayed in the very sunny lunch room at the awfice, which is a dreary place that one of my workers and I are attempting to fix up.

Chelone, If you click on the slideshow link on the upper right area of Michelles photobucket page it will take you to a full screen , where you can also slow it down, pause it etc.

PM, those are indeed Italian Cypress you see . I wish Id taken that shot before the lavender was bloomed out. The variegated plant in my Iochroma pic is my beloved lace cap Hydrangea , which I need to do something with , as the neighbors Magnolia tree death has put it in full sun all day and its not happy. Not sure what my approach will be, that plant has been there for probably 12 years and moving it would be a challenge.

More olives for bug ! From Winery Gardens 2009

Back later !

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 11:26AM
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It's quite warm now and things should be busy at the beach. I'll bet it's going to be a memorable day for Saucy and her family. It's a perfect weekend in tourist land! I'm in from 3 profitable hours spent moving the most seasoned firewood under the filon on the west side of the house. We have about 2 cord ready for the house. Next move will be to get wood for the Salon stacked in proximity to the door and devise some easy to manage cover for it. And then there will be more splitting of recently felled trees. We could probably make some quick money selling some of it.

Woody, the e-mail from your friend made me chuckle, too. I was thinking that a sheep carcass in the summer didn't sound like too much fun to dispose of. EEEEwwww(ee?) Rex had a delightful time rooting around the compost pile and searching out the mice that were summarily evicted when we moved the firewood this morning. He also did a lot of digging to create a cool depression for relaxation. Don't know if he's been "in the pool" yet, though. But he'll be in there at some point today. I always get a kick out of watching his antics over the course of the day and I can't imagine not allowing him to "swim"... my boss didn't let her Lab. do it very much. Can you feature?

Polly caught a little garter snake, about 15" long earlier this morning. Poor little guy was curled up protectively and was motionless. I picked him up and tenderly carried him to the stonewall where I figured he'd have a chance to recover. He slithered away pretty quickly, so I'll bet he'll be OK. Oh, and Spencer left a big fat vole on the filon roof... so I have to get out the ladder and dispose of that before it bakes in the afternoon sun... or maybe I'll just let the flies have their way with it... ;) shouldn't take long for it to "go the way of all flesh". (I might not be so cavalier if it was the size of a sheep!)

V., I laughed at the inspection of Sunrise's regurgitation. I recall doing that when Rex decided to eat all the anti-inflammatory pills he received before they rebuilt his knee. You do what you've got to do, don't you? Big life lesson there. OH, and I believe I have zip front hoodie that belongs to your daughter... and a cord and recharger for a Nikon... sound familiar? Welcome home, you pictures should be fun to view. I love thunderstorms. :)

As for Skyler's palette (or lack thereof): Brava, 'bug! No need to have some little brat disrupt a meal. I don't see anything wrong with some well timed and no-nonsense discipline. Bet hearing it from someone who clearly loves him made quite an impression. Nothing like a good beating, I say!

OK, what to do next?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 11:29AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Breakfast, watering, raking etc accomplished. Ivy was introduced to the feel of grass under her feet. I potted up some euphorbia seedlings that grew between patio bricks. Time for a BATH!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 12:05PM
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Welcome back to V, and brava on the level-headed emesis analysis, lol. Lots of carcasses littered throughout the idylls this morning! Joe left the remains of a mouse for us to appreciate yesterday, but that's about it on the wildlife front, other than constantly ducking the erratic flight of the fig beetles. Grey cat is running from food again, so the mouth issues seem to be back, where the teeth and gums inflame making it too painful to eat. Vet said all teeth eventually have to be pulled, which MAY stop the inflammation. Marty says he'll handle the vet visit this time, which is as ominous as it sounds...

Thanks for the kinds words and wishes for my dad. It feels odd not to mention such a central fact to our lives, with everything weaving in and around his health these days, but I expect this will be the rhythm of the next few months, and I'd rather not belabor the issue. You guys all know the drill pretty well anyway, and having this unfold against the backdrop of what passes for a healthcare debate in the U.S. -- well, it's best to compartmentalize, lol. Good luck to you and Randy, Woody, on his parents' situation. Trying times, indeed. That's so cool that you and 'bug can visit and swap and share pets.

Good for you, Saucy, tackling bigger and bigger leaves. Wonder what's on the curing table? Beach lounging sounds perfect for today.

Michelle's slide show worked fine for me. Lots of beautiful and interesting ideas, so thanks for that. What a nerve-wracking wait for rain to come. Fingers crossed it's just over the horizon.

Thank goodness the wheelbarrow was replaced. Skyler's sense of humor reminds me very much of one of my nephews, a bit on the mischievous side.

Deanne, just like your container plants are the highlights of August, my neighborhoods are ablaze with the tropicals and subtropicals, with curtains of bougainvillea everywhere and fuchsias the size of hydrangeas. There's an orangey-pink boug that's beginning to make a dent in my resolve not to invite a climber of such monstrous proportions (and thorns!) into the garden. Sometimes I envy how you firmly escort the plants off the stage in fall and into the wings for a long snooze, while here they threaten to eat the house!

Kathy, I've been casting sidelong looks at that iochroma at nurseries all summer, the purple one. 'bug nailed its description as a giant corydalis.

I'd been promising Mitch to attend one of the weekend performances he does the photo work for and was reminded that there's only two weekends left in a particular concert series. So last night Dune, Marty & I headed downtown to see Zap Mama...and were escorted to front-row VIP seats. That's gotta be a first! The outdoor amphitheater was overflowing -- I'm told this was the most well-attended show of the season. Phenomenal performance. As one of the encores, she started to improvise with some acapella vocal beats. Then she said, "You're all so far away," which hinted at a frustrated interactive portion of the show (the stage is separated from the audience by a large water/foutain feature). Mitch was hunched down behind a speaker with his camera, invisible to the audience, and she gazes down and says, "Photographer, give me some sound!" We hear a muffled "Ooooohm, gak" from Mitch behind the speaker, and the band built up an improv around those two sounds for the next 10 minutes, us laughing and clapping along. What a hoot! After the show, a shaken Mitch came over -- "I'm not supposed to be part of the show! Fly on the wall, not part of the show!" Dunno what else he could've done. For Chelone, Zap Mama wore a neon yellow Seven Year Itch dress, (Marilyn's dress billowing up over the subway grate), with a fuchsia gauzy underskirt, and came out in heels with yellow tennis shoes slung over her shoulder, changing into the tennies as needed. Very effective stage outfit for a large arena and wonderfully captured her movements. Mitch got in about 5 a.m. this morning, so I can't rouse him for some photos.

I've written too much already so will wave to all and wish everyone a fine Sunday, hopefully on the coolish side.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 2:10PM
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Denise, I say give in to the Iochroma , I literally do nothing to it but throw water on about once a week(if that) , and then watch it grow. But then there is the potential size- they can get absolutely towering in frost free zones. The variety I have is called "Royal Queen" and claims to get 5 ft mine is about 61 at the moment-buyer beware. Have you seen the reddish version ? Zap Mama is awesome. A sidebar for Mitch, as he continues the fly on the wall gigs, is that chance to see some great acts live- It might be hard to remain detached at a Zap Mama concert !

More digging and dispassionate disposal today in the gardenI am also putting a couple of roses on the watch list.. Evelyn continues to be puny and Amber Queen looks great the first bloomflush and paltry thereafter. I cut the Nepeta back to the ground yesterday, and Ted has been dozing next to it protectively all day today. Reminded me of Rex selecting a depression for his snoozing comfort. The freshly cut stems must be enticing him, as that is not one of his usual spots. I will allow it to put on some growth for a late season show, and then its heave-ho.

Waiting to see whats for dinner at bugs house tonight, though Ill pass on the humidity !

Hi to all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:09PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Dinner chez Bug:

Leftover rice casserole
Leftover black bean/corn salad
Spinach/strawberry/pecan salad
Leftover spanakopita

Dessert? Well maybe later.

We just typed up the invoice for the damage to bridge and barrow. The new wheelbarrow does not have a Porsche tag on it or a hood ornament, only a painted label saying Erie 1035 Contractor. It was a house warming gift years ago but had a new barrow last year. DH declines being billed for his work but included our friend's time and purchased parts as well. Perhaps a photo will follow if things cool down tomorrow. I REALLY want to weed and plant. A friend of mine arrives on Tuesday, hoping to meet Ms Ivy before she returns to Edmonton.

I'd like to have a hammock in the middle of an olive/ rosemary/ lavender garden. Oh, and gardeners too please Kathy!

But instead of olives and hammocks, we have dogs to be bathed. Lots of rolling in mysterious gunk has occurred. So far vet shampoo and hosing has not helped. P-U!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:32PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Another activity while escaping the heat...I'm updating my Plant Inventory List. It is really quite eye opening. [g] I try to at least list every plant I've purchased. It is amazing how many I've either given away or killed for one reason or another. I am starting to think that I don't give plants enough of a chance. Some I have actually moved a few times trying to find the right spot, but others, I have given up on. I'm certainly not lacking plants and I find it a little startling, remembering some of the plants I've had that I don't have any more.

Last year, I ripped out every single Shasta daisy that I had. I had ordered a few hybrids and some were grown from seed the year before. I guess I really disliked them that But, I might have liked them better in a different location, but maybe not. One that I really miss, is the Sambucus 'Sutherland Gold' that I really loved until the branches just started dying for no reason. Now, I have a Sambucus 'Black Beauty' that is having foliage problems this year. Sambucus just doesn't like me, I guess. Ninebark 'Summer Wine' likes me a whole lot better. Three years ago, I put Siberian Blue Dianthus with Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' and I really liked it. Now I hate it, it reminds me of Easter colors. What's up with that?

August could be an annual memorial for long gone plants, just before the annual September musical chairs. What are yours?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Musical chairs is already in process here PM ! Disliked plants are being dispatched heartlessly. Gone is the floppy purple Penstemon, numerous sanguineum geraniums that have crept everywhere , Walkers Low Nepeta, -one gone and the second one has had a reprive till October, and 3 Heucheras that have done nothing for ages. LOL, the Shastas- I have asked my neighbor for a chunk of his double white, and he has asked me for a chunk of my pale yellow.
Im impressed that you have a list !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 11:33PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well we are truly in the Dog Days of August here and are in for our first heat wave of the summer. I dont think it would be such a bother except we havent had any weather like this and arent used to it. The sprinklers will all be making an appearance today after watering the containers. Im thinking Ill be spending the day inside with my paints. Ive got to design and paint a new project for my September seminar and this is a good time to get started with it. ~~ Yesterday Doug and I did a nice 25 mile bicycle ride but again Im suffering from a very sore bum this AM. LOL Other than that Im not suffering any ill effects from the ride which is a good thing. Weve been adding seven to eight miles a week for our weekend rides and are looking to do a thirty plus ride next weekend. Should be fun.

The gardens are not enjoying this heat one little bit (well other than the banana and cannas) and the foliage and flowers are getting a bit fried around the edges. Even the rudbeckia are looking a bit worse for the wear but the Chelone and Blue Plumbago are really pretty right now and the Eupatorium Little Joe is fabulous. Im thinking of using that in a couple other places in the gardens as it always looks great and needs little attention.

Sounds like youve been really busy Kathy, Im ready to SP a few things but have no idea what Ill be replacing them with. Ive already decided to remove the bulbous oat grass in the driveway garden and replace with a dwarf thuja. The grass is a pretty thing when it emerges in the spring but always goes dormant mid summer then looks ratty for a while before I cut it back to the ground. A dwarf evergreen sounds just the thing. Every change Ive made in the borders has been toward things that require less work.

Kathy, Im loving photos! Those olives are beautiful

PM my Sambucus Sutherland Gold did exactly the same thing for years until I finally got tired of the constant die off and hoiked it. It was splendid when it was looking good but you never knew when half the branches would die back. I replaced it with a Cotinus Golden Spirit and I love it there. It isnt as elegant as Sutherland Gold but it always looks good.~ ~ OH yes, I think you asked this a few days ago, my Iochroma is in a container on the front steps. Ill get a pic of it for you when it gets a few more flowers on it.

Bug, your leftover dinner sounded great. I love spanakopita!

Denise, I know without a doubt that if I lived in your zone Id definitely have a bougainvillea! There is a variegated one Ive seen offered in hanging pots that I love. ~~ Yes I actually enjoy having several months off from the gardens. I think Id go bonkers if I gardened year round. Id love to see the fuchsias out there. Ill bet they are gorgeous.

Saucy, hope you had a great day at the beach. ~~ Cant wait to see the latest creations.

V. nice to see you back and glad to hear you had a great vacation.

Pic for the day. I wintered over the Colocasia Gold Splash under the lights and its finally growing again. I saw this plant at IU5 and just had to have it. Im loving it with all the chartreuse leaved plants in that area

Have a great day all

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 7:51AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Muggy morning here...Sauna weather. A busy day ahead too.

I seem to edit my gardens can't think of any specific plant material I am eliminating apart from the laundry pole garden and now the compost area will be turned into lawn.

Russian sage is a plant I love that always seems to be shovel pruned. Just doesn't work for me. Elderberries are a strange plant, I agree, with lots of dead branches every year and much pruning involved, but I keep them! As I get even older, plants that require cutting back or need constant attention are the first to go.

Ivy has just woken up, so off I go.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 7:54AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

There are plants that require no work at all for me and that I'd hate to be without... At the moment I am thinking of Baptisia.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:16AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good Monday morning all! For some reason GW would not let me log in for a few days...seems o.k. today though.

You are all working so well to fight the doldrums! I have been feeling kinda doldrumish myself lately, so am getting back to my routine - half day in the house, half day outside, one JJob a day, do whatever needs to be done in one room a week. This week, as DH and TCS will be away, I will be painting the guest room. I bought a new toy - a carpet shampooer, and tried it out with great success in that room yesterday, as all the furniture is out (and, I must admit, has been out of there for three months now waiting for the paintjob!).

Got stung by a yellow thing (bee? wasp? yellowjacket? hornet? I can't tell the difference) yesterday. I react badly to bites and stings of all kinds (remember the bug bites that V's daughter and I had at IU VI?) so spent most of the afternoon sitting in the shade, hand in ice and doped up with Benadryl. Hand is sore and swollen today, but tasks await! I will be watering - it's been 90+ and very humid here for about a week - and laying out the edging for the back perennial garden. I hope to get that edging in while the men are away.

I do like Elderberries, but the only one I have now is the Black Lace, and that was a gift because I was moaning about my inability to have Japanese Maples here. The fact that I get lots of die-back is good as my gardens are small and the last Elderberry I had, also black but not lacy - grew to be a monster in just two years, so it was SP'd.

I managed to finish moving the seven patio stones, removing sod, amending the soil, planting and mulching the new garden beside the Spite Fence last week. I planted a Ruby Diamond hydrangea there, a standard, and a nice Sum and Substance Hosta, as I was so taken with the huge ones I saw in Maine (not to be confused with The Huge One).

I may have solved my dilemma about what to plant on my chain link fence: I found four seedlings of the Clematis Tangutica that Marie had given me years ago, growing behind the newly relocated shed, so with luck, those will be planted on four sections of the chain link. I can just imagine a 48 foot wall of yellow blooms in a few years! I also have rooted four cuttings of Virginia Creeper for other areas that will be a little less visible from the yard but will show from the street view. Hopefully in a few years the weed patch between the fences will no longer be an issue.

Hmmm, the stung finger is now swelling rapidly, so I think I will go find the Benadryl again, and give this hand a rest!

I love reading about all of your doings, and have lots of thoughts and questions to put down here, but they will have to wait until later!

Cheers, everybody, and have a great Monday!


    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:22AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That's a gorgeous photo Deanne. You do have a talent for finding the unusual and putting them together in a pleasing composition. You seem to be doing well with the Colocasia this year. Is your 'Golden Spirit' really golden, or more lime? .... I'm very impressed with the length of the bike rides you and Doug undertake.

Denise, I enjoy several months off from the garden too. Plus, I love getting all new foliage every spring. It's like a fresh start every year.

Kathy, I'm definitely a list person. Why are you letting go of your Walker's Low? Is your penstemon in full sun? I was just admiring a new Penstemon I added last year....'Pike's Peak Purple'. It is very clean and neat and erect all season and it had a first flush of bloom, I trimmed it bk and it is just starting to bloom again. It looks nice w grasses to me. I have the geranium sanguineum and I can see replacing it with something else. Mine grows in fairly low light, so while I'm busy in other areas, it gets a reprieve.

Marie, I love Perovskia but no matter where I put it, it flops. I moved it to full sun in the front last year and it's still flopping. I think there is another variety that is supposed to be more erect. I was just noticing this morning that I love the color of the perovskia flower with my Rhapsody in Blue Rose. I'd like to refine that combo but I think I may look for the other variety for it. ..... I wonder if I can treat the Black Beauty like a Buddleia and cut it to the ground every year.

Lot of stings this year. I've been seeing tons of spiders but not that many yellow jackets or wasps.

Looking forward to photos Julie. :-) Are you really sure about that Virginia Creeper? Four plants? One might take over your whole neighborhood. [g] I've read some very sad posts on GW about people regretting they planted it. I have one still in the pot and keep toying with the idea of adding it, but I'm chicken. :-) If you decide to do it, I will be very interested in your first hand account. Your 'demilitarized zone' sounds like a perfect place for not only the Clematis, but Honeysuckle. I was just reading that they have a difficult time climbing, they don't twine well, but in England, they put a stake in the ground, surrounded by a sleeve of chicken wire and plant the Honeysuckle between the stake and the chicken wire and it works great. I'm trying to picture how you are getting access to plant.

Wondering how Norma, Ei and Marian are doing?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 12:43PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm busy trying to eradicate Tanguticas that seed all over the place. I'd never do that again. Also got rid of Rose Blanc Double de Coubert which did not grow well for me and usually looked like a used Kleenex bush. :(

Indy caught a large groundhog today and gave it to Phoebe to chew. Oh joy! DD carried it off to an island area and now the dogs are indoors. The whole back room smells of wet dog. DD has now left with Ivy and her friend for an overnight and Indy is sad that she must stay with me. It is thundering too and she really is not happy about that. In spite of the sprinkles and thunder, things need watering.

Some shots from today:

Angelica gigas

Lilies and Phlox Franz Schubert


Ivy's ankle bracelet.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 2:07PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM2 - lots of spiders here this year too. And we're paying a lot more attention to them after reading the story in the article linked below! I've seen those here....

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 2:15PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Do you merember this picture I posted in June when we visited Taylor Nursery:

We went there again today looking for a gift for friends getting married on Friday. I drew a plan for their garden this spring so something garden-themed seemed appropriate. All those cast heads were on sale - buy one; get another one free! So we bought a Green Man (the one to the right of the white pots in the picture) and bought a second one for us! I've also put together a few line background on the Green Man, featuring the linked poem (click on music and poems; it's the last poem in the list of poems by BOG brothers), which seems appropriate for a wedding.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 5:00PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

What fun Woody!!! (NOT the spiders, that's for sure!)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 5:28PM
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Well, it finally rained here. I spent yesterday morning watering, then the skies opened up its fury. The weather changes so fast. A little more rain today, but the humidity is hanging on. Did some weeding today, and was happy to see that the weeds are somewhat under control. The August doldrums
are definitely upon my gardens, though, and have an eye on what will be SPed. I agree with others who are replacing SP items with shrubs that will have easier upkeep. They make for a better winter scene, too.

The weekend's subtitle was food. Dinner in the city for cousin's night on Saturday, a baptism brunch on Sunday, followed by a fantastic dinner at Capital Grill in the evening. A great steak place with excellent service. I feel like I should fast today (but I won't

I picked up The Secret Life of Bees at the library, and half way through decided to watch the movie instead. It was on On Demand and thought it a perfect way to while away a rainy morning. I loved the storyline, and learned a few things about bees. Did you know that the honey will be purple when the bees dine on elderberry berries? Saucy will be able to tell us more, I'm sure. And how smoke calms them so you can get the honey?

bug...I'm enjoying Ivy's photos and glad I can witness her beautiful smiles. Loving the giga bloom. Tried it once but did not get any seedlings. Should try it again, because it's a great plant. Good for you for helping Skylar with his table manners. Kids are forever testing just how far they can go...if they don't have an audience to their tantrums, they guickly lose interest in continuing with it.

chelone...I wanted to mention before how much I admire the hard work it takes to train large dogs. Sounds like you've done a great job with Rex from the Idyll reunion comments posted. I stand in awe every time I see a large breed sitting tamely at their owner's side. great to hear of David's positive progress on his leg. Sounds like you've been having a very busy summer.

Martie...Hi there. Did you ever mention when Ty's show was airing...the episode where someone you know will be featured? Hope all is well with you.

Denise...(((Hugs))) for your dad.

Woody...(((Hugs))) to randy, too, regarding his parent's health. It's so hard when we see our parent's struggling with failing health.

Wendy...What a great place to vacation in. Nova Scotia is on my list of vacation ideas.

V...glad your vacation week was restful for you. I LOL about DH counting your containers on the sly, then questioning you. Sneaky. You have 90? Wow.

PM2...Hi to you. I don't have good luck with russian sage or 'Sutherland's Gold', either. Think I'll try the cotinus 'Golden Spirit' like deanne did. Same color, but more hardy.
Glad to hear your digestion issues are getting better.

deanne...FABU! Great word to describe your gardens. No way are their August doldrums in those containers. How special to finally be able to "eat the fruits from your garden." I have a feeling you will be expanding on the vegetable container garden in the coming years.

Julie...How did the painting go? Sounds like you've been very busy, but ouch on the sting.

kathy...Sounds like you've been as busy as usual. I recognized the variegated hydrangea in that photo right away. I have one (or similar to) in my garden, although it doesn't bloom in my zone. I just love the leaves, color enough for me without the blooms. Can you take cutting first if you do decide you have no choice but to move it? That way if it doesn't like its new spot, you still have the cuttings. 12 years is a long time to have a plant, and I'd want to ensure its survival in any way I can.

Michelle...I'm loving your photos. Your butterfly garden is outstanding this year. Scary deer story...glad you two were fine.

For some reason, I looked up the word Idyll in the dictionary the other day while doing my daily crossword. Two of the meanings struck me..."A lighthearted carefree episode..." and " A simple descriptive work of prose that deals with a rustic life or suggests a mood of contentment."

I like to visit here to share my gardening episodes, or glimpses of life, with my fellow Idyllers. But more importantly, to learn of yours. It's nice how gardening often defines, or fulfulls those moments for us. Something a non-gardener might have a hard time understanding our need to share.

Enough for now, (did I hear a collective sigh of relief?) but hope everyone has found at least one such episode today. Hi to all I missed.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 7:06PM
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A couple of quick comments between groceries, a snack and hitting the garden.

PM, try Perovskia 'Little Spire' Its taller than I thought it was supposed to be but stands quite upright, at least in full sun.

Woody, the head planter seems to be a gift that will endure the years, much better than a toaster. The square birdbath has caught my eye.

'bug, I have angelica gigas planted fairly near 'Franz Schubert'

As for 'Black Lace' mine was quite spindly, so I coppiced it last fall and it really looks good finally.

Kathy, thanks for the iochroma picture, mine is loaded with buds, so hopefully soon.

Out to the garden with me.


Deanne, that 'Gold Splash' is fabulous.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 7:19PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Monique & Les convinced me that C. Golden Spirit was a plant I needed at an early Idyllunion. It suffers through severe frosts here ...but by August is a lovely shrub. The same with 'Black Lace'. I also love Tiger's Eye Sumac, which is not a serious spreader for me like the wild version certainly is!

Today I pruned back the berberis that is supposed to be 3-4 feet tall but is in fact about 6' and growing! Makes it hard to look out our diningroom window. I also filled in a rut made by the offending 5 ton truck. This is my second try at it but it sinks again and again. Planted some autumnal brownish-gold rudbeckias by the barn too. I hope it cools off a bit tomorrow so that I can plant more.

Kathy, dinner tonight was tomato/feta salad. We are sick of eating. Maybe cookies later?

Phoebe was sick tonight...and deserved it! I will not give details about the groundhog she ate. EEEEEEW!

It has been 6 hours and I miss my grand daughter!!! She returns tomorrow but leaves Wednesday. How will I make it until Christmas??? Perhaps I'll try the method below.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:20PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Love that Angelica gigas and Ivy's ankle bracelet is adorable.

Woody, scary story about the black widow spider. I didn't think they were this far north. I can tolerate spiders if they don't bother me. I like that they keep insect populations lower. As long as they look normal. I don' t like some that are too big or different colors etc. I stay clear and I try to think before reaching my hand under a shrub or plant. I may try to take some photos tomorrow of some. I love those 'pot heads'!! Nice that you both get one.

Anita, that's happened to me more times than I can count. You never know when the weatherman is going to be wrong and you have to water any way. .....I had forgotten to mention to V, how sneaky that was of her DH about the containers. Your post was a great summary. [g]

Michelle...that was the variety I was trying to remember, thanks.

I think I need some 'Golden Spirit' photos. :-)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:39PM
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Greetings Idylls, Monday has not been too bad, though I sympathize with V on the return to work after vaca issue- I was in that place not too long ago. To offset this I am planning a long weekend at the coast in Octoberthis is all Sues fault ! A good reconnaissance mission though, in the event there is actually a west coast IU in 2010. Ive selected an inn and have only to verify work related dates and Im good to go. Included will be a trip to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. I have also factored in two garden work days after my return . This is only a 3 hour drive for me ( and I cant even describe how scenic this drive is ) and its a drive I used to make every 6 weeks or so during the 5 years my BILs lived out on the Mendo coast.

Julie, I missed your posts ! Glad you are back in the fold and encouraging to note that JJs are on the agenda. Im suspending indoor JJs until November. I have admitted to myself that Im not spending my weekends indoors , and after the awfice evenings are so very pleasant this time of year. Its still light out but the light is getting progressively less intense and starting to cast that dreamy fall-ish golden cast that I love. Have you recovered from the wasp thing ? I havent even been stung by a honeybee since the 60s..I cant imagine how Ive escaped ; they are all over the place here. Will we have photos of the newly planted areas anytime soon ? We need a frame of reference!

PM , Walkers Low gets very floppy and a bit weedy looking here. In a small garden like mine the flop etc is kind of in your face, so I just decide to get rid of it. Im researching some other Nepeta cultivars . Im familiar with Pikes Peak Purple, and I have a couple others that I might use as well. This is a full sun site, but Ive found that my soil is too rich for some of the varieties, and I think that is what creates the flopping in many cases. I sure have planted and then dug up a boatload of Penstemons over the years. I love them and am always searching for cultivars that look good in my environment.

Hi Anita, so glad to see you! Great idea to try to take cuttings from my Hydrangea, think Ill try it." A lighthearted carefee episode" very apt for this group !

Sweet corn picked today from Lodi was consumed this evening (pretty much the only thing Lodi has going for it ) with salad of my neighbors cukes and my Sungold tomatoes. The grape harvest started this weekend, sparkling wine grapes are picked first.
Adois my friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 10:59PM
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We had a "pet" black widow spider - or rather my father did. She lived in an egg shaped jar that was filled with the colored sand. I thought about her a lot and wondered if she was happy - she seemed happy. She burrowed into the sand and used a pepsi bottle cap as the entrance, and then she spun a web all in the air space above. My dad brought her insects when he'd find them in the house and we'd watch her eat. She had a red fiddle on her abdomen.

It kind of sounds creepy, and cruel. She lived for years, if my perspective is correct.

I am HORRIFIED if I come across a spider in the garden. One day I was working in the field for my neighbor and she saw me jump, yell, and rip off my gloves and throw them. She thought I had been bitten by a snake, or something, and came running over only to find that a spider had touched me. She got a good laugh out of that.

Anyway...just popped in to say hello. I'm off to the gym and then back for some garden time before it gets too hot. Deanne, no creations to show, yet. It takes a while from mud to wall hanging...there's a lot of waiting under the plastic sheet, lol....


    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 7:52AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good Morning!

Yesterday with the humidity factored in our temps. were 107F! I did manage to cut the back lawn and water everything out there, but early. DH and I dropped TCS off at a friend's for the morning and did some shopping - looking at new chairs for the wine deck, without success, and some cedar to build a dog gate to keep Ajax and/or Tucker on or off the wine deck as necessary. Picked TCS and friend up for lunch and then I stood guard as they played in the pool and DH built and installed the gate. Drank copious amounts of water all day. How boring compared to the rest of you!

Yes, I'm pretty sure about the Virginia Creeper. I have about 140 feet of chain link to cover and I want it covered completely. I don't have to plant in no-man's land, PM2, *LOL* that space is only about 8 inches wide - and I am considerable more than 8 inches wide - I am going to plant on "my" side of the fence. Marie, I never had a problem with the seedlings of the Tangutica. Maybe having just that little extra harshness of climate kept it in check? It did wonderfully for me and behaved itself. The only reason I have some extras is that the Phils ripped out the clothes line post with the clem intact during the shed relocation, so I think the bits I have growing are from a few roots left in the ground.

I am trying to SP a Blue Rug Juniper that has done just as its name implies - grown like a rug all over the patio, the adjoining plants, the lawn, and into the park. I am busily hacking off all of the branches. If I can't get the monster out, I may try to neaten up the area and see if it starts to grow again, and then work at keeping it under strict control. I doubt that it will ever look good after my "pruning".

Chelone, we were unsuccessful in searching for chairs, so I decided that I could take a page out of your book, so to speak, and make some new cushions for our existing chairs, which we actually quite like. So. What kind of fabric should I be looking for? The chairs are outside, often not under cover, exposed to sun and rain often. I hope to have DH cut me four squares of plywood, as the webbing is letting go on the seats, and then putting a thick foam on each,covering with fabric and just using a staple gun to attach the fabric under the plywood bases. Does that sound remotely feasible?

Isn't there an old song that start out "I don't like Spiders and Snakes/ But if that what it takes/ to love me..." or something? I am o.k. with the creatures if they are of a reasonable size (read small) and if I know in advance that they are there. I sure don't like to come across them unexpetedly. Saucy, my reaction would have been exactly the same as yours except that my feet would probably have stayed about a foot above the ground all the way out of the garden *LOL*

I am sorry to hear about all of the issues surrounding aging parents. Been there, done that, and it was no fun. Scary too, and now that all of my and DH's parents are gone, we are the next generation of aging parents. How sobering is that? And my kids are already saying stuff like "Geez, Mom, you have to calm yourself down. You're going to hurt yourself (moving patio stones) or wear yourself out. You will eventually pay a price for all this stuff you do...." Meaning that they forsee having to pay the price for all that I do....

Hmmm, sounds definitely doldrumish...

Painting: well, I have the paint chips. If there isn't a colour that I like, I am going to do the ceiling and the woodwork and keep looking for a wall colour. I'll let you know.

I'm off - again a hot and humid day. The front yard is going to get it today!



    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 8:59AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Had a little rain around 6am today and may have thunderstorms later on too. At least I won't be playing the hose game! The garden is really looking neglected...because it is. No opportunities for weeding or planting with the hot, wet, humid conditions. The pile of wood chips is fermenting under its tarp, the weeds are huge. DH began chopping the burdocks with his axe again. If only we had a few days of 65F when I could really attack things and make use of the new wheelbarrow! I am keen to set some flagstones down near the compost bins and plant a Cornus kousa in a new location and give it one last try at success!

It is now time to clean up the house a bit before my friend arrives and Sarah returns with Ivy to mess it all up again. ;) Tomorrow is their last day. Boo Hoo! Ivy has been so good natured, a real darling.

I think I'll make corn on the cob, salad and steak for dinner for the gang tonight and another blueberry pie. Easy and festive.

OK, off to get the day movin'!!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 9:08AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wow, it's hot out there. I got outside for about an hour just to do the minimum watering and I am dripping with sweat. I laughed at myself a couple of times, because I've been quite at attention in the garden since reading that story about the spider yesterday. Usually I see about three major webs. One by the back door, one in the Butterfly Bush and one somewhere in the front foundation area by the faucet. This year, in addition to the usual places, one has built a web on the outside of the kitchen window just where you look out over the sink, there's one on either side of the spigot in the back, two on the back porch, one building something inside the latch on both gates. Everywhere I walk I'm running into a web. I had an overgrown row of phlox subulata and I usually cut those back to 1/2 their size long before now, but I was still finishing up last week. A slew of baby spiders scrambled away as I was pruning them. I found myself checking my hair and my jeans when I came in the house. And they didn't even touch me, Saucy. [g]

Why is it that they so actively build webs at this time of year and not as much earlier, I wonder? One good thing, I have seen a lot fewer flies this year. Too hot out there today to take photos of them.

I saw a Monarch on the 'Hummingbird' Clethra this morning, that was a treat. My garden is very quiet now. I've stopped feeding the birds for awhile. I'll start up again in early winter I guess. They often desert us about this time of year any way, but this year, I stopped early to discourage the chipmunks and the pigeons.

Julie, I don't know why I was imagining you trying to get your hand through the holes in the fence to plant on the Not thinking at all on that one. :-) Oh good, if you're going to try the VC, I would love frequent updates with photos.

Have a fun evening with your company, Marie.

Something cool from NG this morning...

Captured one morning along the River Avon, this beautiful swan was cleaning itself before stretching its wings in a classic pose. The early morning sun rays add to the surreal image as they burn away the river mist.

This photo and caption by Jason Wickens

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 9:31AM
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bug...copyright protection won't let me view your Ivy link. It's not cleared for the USA, I guess.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 10:49AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all, it's beastly out there. It took me three hours to water feed and do a bit of deadheadind and I've got to be inside for the rest of this day. I'm feeling yukko from the heat.

Woody, that spider story gave me the willies. I loathe and detest spiders. Most other things like snakes and rodents don't really bother me but I can't stand spiders. ~~ I love, love, love your Green Man. I wish I lived closer. I'd be all over that sale.

Julie, I'll bet your Blue Rug Juniper comes back fine. they are tough as old boot nails. I've got one in my driveway garden that I've been severely pruning back for years and it always comes back and looks good.

Saucy, thank goodness it wasn't this hot last week when we went to Tower Hill! Want to come up for lunch sometime? You can peruse the paintings available. LOL Can't wait to see the unveiled castings.

Kathy, Sue calls that Nepeta "Walkers Not So Low" LOL I think all Nepetas get floppy. I cut mine back three or more times a season and it always comes back and looks better for the pruning. ~~ Can't wait to see pics from Mendocino. I love that place!

Bug that dinner sounds fabu. We are going to have grilled sea scallops marinated in Soy Vay Teriyaki with a tossed salad. I'm thinking about running out and getting some fresh corn if I can deal with going out in the heat again.

PM here are a couple pics of 'Golden Spirit'
Its the chartreuse shrub next to the lilies

Have a great day all and stay cool!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 11:34AM
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A few things that are beating the doldrums here. The 2nd and 3rd are each 1/2 of the Butterfly garden per request from Kathy. I just finished weeding and mulching this garden. The last pic is of my clematis 'Arabella' cutting I planted last fall. It's been blooming its little heart out. I have 2 that made the winter.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 11:59AM
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Deanne, I meant to mention, there certainly are no summer doldrums in your driveway garden - oo la la!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 12:01PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)'s a clip from "This Hour has 22 Minutes"...about the new product, COMA. It would allow me to ignore all the time between now and Christmas and get slim in the process. LOL!

I'm back from the grocery store with corn...and 14 bags of top soil. You know, the basic necessities. I checked out the flagstones and they are 17 cents per pound. They didn't fit in the car, so that will have to be later. The plants were the most pathetic I've ever seen in a store...all soggy and brown and dead as door nails.

Deanne, everyone knows I love white in the garden and so your lilies with Golden Spirit really strike my fancy! And Michelle, everything looks fantastic at your place. Oh to have your energy...and some cool weather to weed and mulch things! I see your Angelica gigas there too!

Hi to lurkers and everybody!!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 12:39PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Hi everyone. We had a bit of bad news today. Sunrise went to the vet today and was diagnosed with multiple tumors on her spleen and liver, as well as internal bleeding from an unknown source. The vet doesn't think it makes sense to do anything further for her at this point, so I brought her home to say farewell to everyone, and then we need to schedule the final trip in the next few days.

I knew this time was coming, but it doesn't make it any easier. I may be scarce for the next few days. Thanks, friends.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 10:22PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 10:31PM
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Hi ho Idylls !
An observation on my new Firefox browser: I get a spell check function in both the FB dialog box and the GW dialog box. Very useful if one is drinking wine and typing at the same time.

So, on the topic of spiders, I like them-in a way. I never willingly destroy them and they are all over the place in my garden. Potential visitors beware ! And my house is wide open all summer, no screen doors , just open to the outside, so I have the daddy long-legs dudes setting up camp in the corners of the ceilings.

Feeling badly for those that struggle with the humid issue- I think there are pros and cons- the humidity provides a lush environment for plants, especially the tropicals, and It is something I can never hope to duplicate. Our summers are dry, dry ,dry and sometimes you can water prodigiously to no effect . You pour it on , it evaporates. People here complain about mosquitoes, but really there is no comparison ..I understand now the screened porch thing, and why they are pretty much non-existent out here.

Julie, I like your plan re: the Wine Deck chairs , and Im sure Chelone will have some valuable advice on the issue. We will of course need a photo of the finished project.

LOL Walkers-Not-So-Low Deanne. I found a couple of Nepetas at Digging Dogs website that look promising , and Im also considering a visit there when I go to the coast in Oct. Their use permit discourages visitors , but it can be gotten around if you place an order and request to pick it up at the nursery.

Michelle, thank you so much for posting the butterfly garden pics, its wonderful ! You didnt identify the flower in the first photo ? Very pretty whatever it is !

All for tonight

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 10:45PM
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(((V))). Wishing Sunrise a peaceful journey to the Rainbow Bridge , and a fine departed pet IU with Katie, Zoe, Tasha, Boo-Boo Kitty ,Callie Cat and all others we have lost.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 11:06PM
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V, so sorry - cyber hugs to you and your family.

Kathy, it's a Belamcanda chinensis, common name Blackberry Lily.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 11:21PM
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(((((((V))))))) I am so sorry to hear about Sunrise, and my thoughts will be with you in the coming weeks. It's so very hard to say goodbye to one who has given such unconditional love.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 11:37PM
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Michelle...I was going to ask about that first photo, also. I love the colors, but didn't recognize the bloom. I have that plant and like it, just never appreciated it at such close range.

kathy...It amazes me that you can go screen-less in the summer. If I did that, there wouldn't be any room in the house for us...the flying insects would take over! I've been using Firefox for a few years now and would never go back to IE. The spellchecker has saved me many a times.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 11:45PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Such sad news from V. today my thoughts are with you and family. Weve said it often here, our furry family members just dont live long enough. (((((V))))))

Michelle, That first shot of your butterfly garden made me say, "Oh wow!!!!" Just gorgeous and I love it that youve photographed the Angelica against the white phlox. Its beautiful. Im assuming you started them from seed? How long is that border? And how deep? I just love your little baby Arabella! What a cutie and how terrific it came back from a cutting. Thats wonderful.

Kathy, I cant imagine being able to live outside in summers without screens! Amazing. ~~ Which Nepetas are you looking at?

Weve had three days in a row of mid 90s and I must say Im not enjoying this one little bit! I dont know how folks in TX and OK have dealt with the heat this summer. Yesterday afternoon a brisk wind came up around 3PM so not only was it 95 it was 95 with a wind and all the stuff Id diligently watered earlier dried in a snap. Grrr. I think today is supposed to be the last of the 90s and the rest of the week will be a bit cooler. Im hoping a ten degree drop in temps will inspire me to get out there and spruce up the perennial borders which are looking very tired at the moment. All the daylilies need to be stripped of old foliage and some of the Asiatic lily foliage is done for the season so Ive got to get out there with pruners. The containers are looking great though and they do such a good job of carrying the season when so many of the perennials are finished for the summer. OK Ive got to get some breakfast and get outside to water before the day heats up. Have a great day all!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 6:05AM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Good morning! Just having a slow stroll through the Idylls, catching up on everyone. As always, the pictures put a smile on my face. Beauty of all shapes, sizes and species :)

I wanted to pop in and say a thank you to all for the many kind emails I got about Chuck. There are many good things to look forward to, and many to reflect on. I got to see the ultrasound pictures of the impending grandbaby. Too early to know if it's a boy or girl, and Mom and Dad seem to go back and forth on whether or not they want to know. Granny doesn't have a preference :) DD was a little worried because she didn't think she was as excited as she should be. Now that she's seen the pictures, she is JAZZED. Hard to believe the little girl is going to be a Mom.

Michelle, I've wondered several times how you guys were doing for rain. We were getting to the critical point, but got a nice rain Monday morning. We still have chances for more today and tomorrow. The crops look good, they just really needed a drink, and DH was gearing up for a hissy fit ;) Wonderful pictures! It looks like you're staying on top of the weeds. Me, not so much, lol! That soaking rain will make the job much easier, though. We have cool temps and low humidity coming.

V, I've been thinking of you, your family, and Sunrise since I got up this morning. It's so tough. (((V)))

Mary, I read that David is doing well. So glad to hear it. Even when I'm MIA, you all pass through my thoughts often.

Kathy, I just switched to Firefox yesterday, and I'm amazed at the difference. Now, if I can just hang in there until the new version of Windows comes out. Still not liking Vista, so I think at this point....I don't like it, lol!

Saturday morning, my friend, Diane and I are taking off to go skydiving. I think she's about convinced to do it. Reverse psychology is an amazing thing. "Of COURSE, you don't have to jump. I totally understand. If you get there and want to, great. If not, also cool." I'd be evil if I wasn't so stinkin' harmless ;) Last weekend was Princess Weekend. There's nothing like a best friend and some cheap wine to fix what ails ya!

I'm off to wrangle laundry. I've been away from home so much lately, I have a guilty conscience. That doesn't look like it's spelled right, but spell check seems to like it.

Oh, here are some faces to go with names. DH has been an absolute rock for the past year, and can cook and work the dishwasher pretty well :)

We dubbed this one "Prelude to a Princess Weekend". Diane was a pallbearer for Chuck. I could not have been more proud of my friend :) Please try and ignore how thirsty the plants look. They were, but so were we...

Okay, time to get busy for real now! Take care, all, and thanks again for being the Idylls.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 6:16AM
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Kathy, I have a fabulous upright catmint! It stands as straight and tall as can be....and it was one of the casualties of time around here known as THE SPILL :) It's coming back to life, but not too photogenic this year...let me see if I can dig up an old photo. (I think I have n. faasenii 'dropmore blue' but mine doesn't flop like the photos I'm seeing on google images. Mine is straight as an arrow and waist high! Photo is a must now...)

Hugs to you V, and family.

I'm going to go play around the deck...I'm up early, might as well make use of this cool time of day.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 6:20AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

V....sorry about Sunrise. Such a beautiful name by the way. I am always surprised when animals end up with some of the same health problems as we humans. It just doesn't seem right. They are so innocent and loving, they should get a pass. Wish it were better news.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 6:25AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Oh V. Such a sad time for you all. It is so hard to lose our devoted furry friends, and I agree that it doesn't seem fair that those babies of ours who never grow up should have to leave so soon. Hugs to you.

Yesterday I worked on a problem bed beside the front patio. That is where the crummy juniper is, and hopefully it will be gone or at least tamed a bit by the end of today. There also was a Remember Me Hosta, completely crowded out by a Monster Mantle ( Alchemilla)and two huge and ugly looking astilbes. Under it all was a completely covered Tiny Tears mini Hosta. It took me an hour and a half to dig, chop, and pry out the Achemilla. It was a mass of roots at least two feet in diameter, and the earth was like concrete. It now sits in a plastic bag in a box waiting for someone to take pity on it. The two astilbes were hard and dry, and after several unsuccessful attempts to split them, I relied on my Boy Scout training (which I don't have, but anyway) and took the axe to them, getting 6 divisions. Two went back into the existing bed, two went into the back garden, one went into the patio stone garden, and one is sitting with the achemilla. I hurt all over. But sometimes one just hasta suffer!!

Today I hope to finish off the Juniper and, a la Deanne, put a pot there until the end of the season. Maybe some fall Mums, as they are on sale here now.

I was thinking of Chelone yesterday as I took TCS out for dinner. We had a lovely chat about what to order, and then a long and quiet discussion about what to pack for today's trip to Toronto. TCS displayed his best manners, even asking the server if he could please have a few more minutes to finish reading the menu and to make a final decision. When he went to the front to read the dessert board, the diners at the next table atold me he was an extraordinary child and that it was clear that we share a wonderful relationship. I am still glowing over that one - we did have a great evening!

I have plans for this week, involving a lot of work in and outof the house, things that DH would not really encourge as it involves moving furniture and the like. I also have some volunteer work to do and lunch planeed with a friend. And I am going to actually sit down and read a bit. I'll keep you posted.

gee Brenda, even reverse Psychology wouldn't work on me. I barely made it to IU VI and I was INSIDE the planes!!



    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:53AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

((V)) Losing loyal, fun, furry members of the family is one of life's unfairly continuing sadnesses.

Our little furry friend gave us a good chuckle yesterday. We had temporarily stashed the Green Man head beside the south gate. Yesterday Misty followed us out through the gate; when we went back through the gate, she saw the Green Man for the first time - and was obviously scared silly of it! Her tail went down, her eyes went big, she circled back and forth about 6' away from it but would not pass it no matter how much we coaxed her! She finally ran past it after Randy stepped in front of it to hide it. It looks like we'll have to site it carefully when we move it to the backyard - it looks like Misty will consider whever it is to be off-limits for her! I wonder if visiting dogs will react the same way....

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:01AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Im so bummed to hear about Sunrise, V -- thinking of you and your family - major hugs too.
I have succumbed to those doldrums - no fighting it -- but love seeing the photos of Deanne's fab garden and fantasy land and Michelle's luscious gardens too. It's definitely doldrum therapy - and free.... if only I could look at photos all day, LOL, instead of putting in time on the chain gang.

Brenda -- good luck on your jump -- you've had a tough summer and you deserve to fill it with fun and laughs if you can. Great to hear you check in.

We're definitely in the midst of the sultry, nasties here with no end in sight.... I am very thankful for air conditioning! I will say that I've spent some time online recently at the NYBG site and have been amazed at the Seasonal walk pics -- the Oudoulf plantings are amazing at this time of year and I think a source of inspiration - I think I may need to try some more echinaceas, etc., to get some late season pops of color in.

Waving hi to all....


    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:04AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I want to talk, but I'm too tired. [g] In the morning then...
One quick question, Kathy, did you ever try shearing that Spirea with the hedge shears? I am contemplating whether I want to keep my Golden Princess Spirea and go to the trouble of moving it or not. They do recommend deadheading to keep it blooming, so I wondered if you found an easier way to do it or not.

Ok..manana... :-)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:13PM
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Howdy Idylls. I continue to fight the good fight against doldrums using the when in doubt, prune it out method . As I WALATed this evening I noted how many open spaces I have created in the last couple of weeks. I still have two large shrubs to move, but I await cooler temps for that, and have a very mature and woody lavender to SP , but Im going to let it throw up some more blooms before I give it the heave-ho. More difficult will be choosing which Lav will be its replacement-so many nice cultivars to choose from !

Anyone have any feedback on Weigela My Monet ?

Deanne, some of the Nepetas Im looking at are Kit Kat , Little Trudy ( both more ground covery types I understand) N. nervosa, and N. Souvenir A. Chaudron are claimed to have strong stems. Digging Dog has a pretty extensive collection., few of which are found at the local garden center. It seems like Walkers Low and Six Hills Giant are pretty ubiquitous, and have the Nepeta market cornered. It will be a fun experiment to try some new ones, they do so well in our climate .

Brenda ! Great to see you over here dont be such a stranger ! One mustnt deprive our non-FB friends of their dose of Brenda. Never underestimate a DH who can cook-maybe you need to get he and Les in a recipe exchange.!

Await the Nepeta photo Saucy , and we are all in suspense pending the reveal of the most giant leaf casting,.. do we get a clue ? Was it one of Harolds leaves ? Im really excited about my leaf-casting class on the 29th- I have to choose a leaf . Any advice ? Warnings?

Woody, that is too funny about poor Misty and her aversion to the Green Man .

PM, I did a modified shearing on my Goldmound Spireas , and a more Draconian cut back on my other which may or may not be Anthony Waterer. Both are re-blooming moderately. With Anthony I did use the hedge shears and then went back and cut out the sticking out stems. Worked pretty good, its far more under control this year.

Ok, that about all I have for today , waving to all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 10:00PM
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Since it was a rainy evening, Jaden and I spent some time in the garden shed making more leaves. I wish I had Saucy as a teacher.

Kathy, I have a 'My Monet' and its fabulous. It would be great in your garden as it is a small shrub. The coloring on the leaves is so pretty. I have a close up of it on a thread called "Mid-July Garden" I think its only supposed to get about 18" tall and wide.

Deanne, the Butterfly garden is 62' long and 22' deep at the deepest spot. I believe there are more than 20 shrubs in there, so it is bigger than it might appear in pictures. Yes I did grow the angelica gigas from seed. It is quite a fun plant to watch bud up and then bloom.

Julie, what a nice compliment about TCS. He sounds like quite the little man.

Brenda, you and Diane look fabulous. I hope you have a wonderful time jumping. We did get 1" of rain today, so my farmer is smiling tonight.


A couple of container pictures. The first is the container with the iochroma. The second is in the potager. The deer have been eating the sweet potato 'Purple Heart' which is on the back side. None of the other plants just that one. I spied them last night, its a mother and two fawns.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 11:09PM
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LOL, Michelle, while you were posting this, I was fooling around with my IU pics and uploaded this ..Deannes Iochroma pot !
Thanks for the testimonial on 'My Monet' - I asked the garden center to order me 3.

Fabu containers ! From Idyllunion 6 July 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 11:53PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

Well its supposed to be cooler today and only get into the high 80s. I have to say Im ready to be done with this hot weather. So many things are just frying in the temps regardless of how much water I throw at them. The astilbes seriously hate this and are all crispy. Oh well they are all done blooming now except for the A. pumilla.

Brenda, great pic of your DH. He looks pretty serious. Love your porch! Cant wait to hear about your skydiving adventure.

Woody, LOL over Mistys reaction to your green man! Thats too funny.

Cindy, Id love to get back to NYBG again. What a fabulous garden.

Michelle, I just LOVE your iochroma pot! What a beauty! Yours really has branched out nicely. Is that a streptocarpella in that pot with it? Great combination. I really like the Sedona with that Salvia in the pottager pot too. I really need to try those variegated nasturtiums next year. Lovely!

Kathy, I recognize that container! Ive not been able to get a decent pic of that this year. Your photo is terrific. Thanks for posting that.

OK Ive got to get outside and start watering. Have a great day all,


    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 8:05AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Love your containers, Michelle -- you've made such lovely containers.

Re the nepeta, I have, in addition to the larger ones that totally flop and annoy me by mid-summer, several of the smaller ones including Little Titch and Joanna something (Reed? maybe) -- Little Titch is definitely quite smaller but I dont find that it blooms as long as the larger ones sadly.

Did we ever decide what spireas we were seeing most of at IU this year? For the first time, I have to say I was impressed by them; they've never been a favorite of mine and I think get ratty looking here in the heat and humidity of my region altho lots of folks have them... but I was really impressed by some of the varieties we saw looking so lush and healthy - particularly the red and purple bloomed ones, whichever they were.

I am definitely going to have to SP some things later if and when the heat and nasties break here - Im hoping to get some respite over the weekend. Also some R&R - my energy level seems to be at a low for some reason.

Wandering towards Friday.....


    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 9:10AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I've been enjoying everyone's photos. Thanks for the shot of 'Golden Spirit' Deanne and Marie. It's very attractive. And I like it with the lilies too, Deanne.

Michelle, that's a Candy Lily in your first photo? I've never seen one that color. It has iris like foliage right? I love that second photo. The edge on your bed and the dark trees behind, all the different color foliage. Just beautiful! It is a very good size.

Kathy, what version of Firefox do you have? I've had mine for years, but I have read about problems with some of the later versions. Yours is working well? ...... I bought Nepeta 'Kool Kat' last year and it has been in bloom for months. It's still small, but I like it. Different looking then WL though. ....Thanks for Spirea update.

Hi Brenda, glad you stopped in. Nice that grandbaby photos are stirring DD's excitement. It is kinda hard to wrap your brain around carrying a child, the photos make it more real, I'm sure. When is the baby due? ..... We hate Visa here too. Great photo of your DH. You two look like you go together. And I love your porch!

Julie, I have only one Alchemilla but I was thinking of moving it, but after reading how extensive the roots are, I may just get rid of it instead. [g] I have to divide one of our astilbes soon too. It has Sensitive fern growing up through the middle that I thought I got rid of. ...Great compliment for TCS, you will have to remind yourself of that one, the next time he irks you. [g]

Thanks for the chuckle over 'Misty vs Green Man', It reminded me of similar responses from some of our dogs over the years. They are so loveable!

Cindy, we have had so much humidity here lately and I imagine you have a lot of it where you are for a lot longer. I don't know how you tolerate it. .... I will have to check out the NYBG site, I love Oudolf.

Very little to report from here. I'm hoping for rain this weekend to get a break from watering. Friday's less than a day away. Looking forward to the weekend. Have a visit with DS finally on the calendar. DD will be moving in 10 days.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 12:03PM
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More gorgeous container porn! Michelle, those nasturtiums look so fresh in August. Just a spring or fall bloomer here, never during summer, but I've got seed for a variegated climbing type to try this fall.

Catmint here is a sacrificial offering to the cats, but I have been thinking of using it on the moss basket/tripods next year, a tough plant for a billowy effect. I was thinking to try Cindy's Little Titch variety.

Funny 'bug waving to lurkers...wonder if she was also contacted recently by a Jacqui perhaps? The cherubic foot of Ivy encircled by the toy bracelet -- contrast the colors of the bracelet with that rain-drenched gentian photo above. Synthetic colors don't even come close, do they?

Woody, nice score on the sculpture. Misty and the Green Man reminded me of Ein as a puppy and his first encounters with new shapes. He'd treat a large bottle of laundry soap on the kitchen floor like it was a rattle snake, warily moving around it and sniffing.

What a great photo of all of you, Brenda. Have a great jump!

Marlene, I noted on FB the sad turn of events for your family. A big hug to Sunshine for me, and one for you too ;)

The weather here is still lovely -- can't understand how we've managed such a cool August, but I'll take it. Dune and I had a massive cleanup, shifting nine months' worth of building materials and tools from the bath house/east side back to the garage side. I had been getting quite a few comments about plants encroaching on the walkways, and it was undeniably true, so a massive purge began. Out with the tomato, the sunflowers in pots on walkways, the potting table mess. Creeping garden syndrome. I broke an enormous pot at some point, so had to shift all the contents out and find new homes, root prune the cordyline, etc, but we worked until sunset. Moved in a couple of cheap display tables with galvanized tops from the Smith&H sale, hung some grape lights in the fringe tree, and instant shangrila. Vast improvement, walkways are clear, it's positively zen now. By nightfall, the table was full of people and the lights glowing in the tree. What a busy summer it's been, and I'm still not even back to work yet. Dad gets out of the hosp Friday.

Julie, sounds like a nice night out with your little man. Mitch was describing a recent flight with two families, one the children amazingly well behaved, the other a desperate situation with meltdowns and shrieking, a ruinous flight for all involved. I do a lot of smiling at young families but so far haven't drummed up the nerve to comment.

Gotta run but so nice to stop for some idyll chat ;)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 12:09PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Two days in a row ?? *gasp*!
Kathy, I may be best taken in small doses, lol! I'm getting a bit exuberant. Driving DH crazy is my guess. I'm at the hopping up and down and clapping my hands stage, and it's still two days away. I need to look up the ground-covery Nepetas. I love the plant, and have a few spots where a lower one would be just the thing.

Michelle, I'm glad to hear you got some rain. Our crops looked great, but were really starting to hurt for water. We had another inch this morning. Should be some happy soybeans!
Love the containers! That second picture makes me wonder why I stopped planting those nasturtiums. Great color combination there.

Deanne- Yeah, he does..but he hardly ever is ;) The technology of Diane's disposable camera had him befuddled, lol! I'd like to get him to play with my camera more. He's more of a natural photographer than I am.

PM2-The baby is due in February. I can't wait until the first time she feels it move :) She texted me on her lunch break that she's gotten so fat, her belt un-did itself. She's gonna be adorable when she's big. She's a little bitty thing, and her belly is popping straight out in front..ALREADY, as she says.

I've had a mini-burst of guilt at what sad shape the house is in. Housekeeping has been neglected more than usual for the last few weeks. Going grocery shopping, changing the bed and running a few loads of laundry seem to have cured me of it. If nothing else, I know Jim won't be naked and starving while I'm away ;)
The garden is close to being a lost cause. Crabgrass :/ I was looking around today, and must have had a disgusted look on my face, lol. Jim said, "There's always next year!" It wouldn't take so terribly long to whip it back into shape, it's just a matter of deciding where to start. Dahlias are getting ready to bloom, asters and mums have started, sedums are coloring up, and Sweet Autumn Clematis is blooming. How did it get so late in the summer already??
Hubby has once again taken the reins on cooking dinner. Before long, I'll have to polish up my rusty cooking skills and start batch-cooking for harvest. As it is, I get to go sit on the porch with a glass of wine, so I'm going to get while the getting's good :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 5:46PM
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Hi, everyone. No doldrums here, just haven't had much to say. I've been plugging along but nothing new happening.

I love when you all have time to post pictures. So many lovely and inspiring sights. The containers have been fabu.
I really fell down on containers this year. The ones I have were just tossed together without much thought.

We had some storms last night and quite a bit of rain, which was a good thing. Everything, including the trees, was getting crispy.

Brenda, good to have you checking in. I guess I missed hearing of your brother passing. My condolences to you.
Exciting that you are going to skydive again.

V, thinking about you and your familys loss of Sunrise.

Looks like Sue and Wendy had great vacations.

Guess Bug may be missing DD and Ivy by now. I was wondering did they fly? What made me wonder was that Indy came too. Phoebe will miss Indy too, I bet.

Anyway hi to all. Boring me, Norma.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 7:27PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

We just had ~1 1/2" of rain in about 20 minutes! There were at least 4 tornados reported to have touched down in south-central Ontario in the past few hours - nothing close by here fortunately; some closer to gb's area. One person reported killed and lots of property damage. Summer doldrums indeed!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 7:44PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

And after the storm - a rainbow... It was quite spectacular - an almost perfect circle; only a small part of the bottom was cut off by the horizon. The light was strange though - but not as strange as it came out in this picture!

And while I was standing on the front porch watching Randy taking pictures, I noticed that the brug had some white flowers. They were hanging from the same branches as the pink ones! Is that normal Deanne or do I have a mutant Brug? :-)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 8:45PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Howdy! All is well here though we did have storms.

Phoebe is indeed lonesome for Indy who flew back to Alberta yesterday evening. We are unsure if she is mostly lonesome for her friend or if she is somewhat sick from her groundhog dinner of a few days ago...

I have a good friend visiting for a few days. We have visited the local Trans Canada Trail in Waterloo to check if Reed's name has been inscribed there yet...and no, it has not. We enjoyed visiting a small "Victorian Garden" nearby and met a soon-to-be 90 year old whose father was head gardener there starting in 1912. He was charming, alert, fit and happy. He's also a minister and a mechanic!

I have been given some of Reed's ashes to spread..and that has made me moody and contemplative. My friend Margaret is a great person for this kind of situation though.

I wonder if tomorrow we'll be able to garden some. She helped me with my hellebore garden 12 years ago and is a great person all around. DD was thrilled that she was able to visit and meet Ivy. There will of course be photos at a later date.

That's all she wrote for tonight...but wanted to add how fun it is to hear from Norma and Brenda!

Woody, is the 25th still OK?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 9:34PM
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I can see Friday peeking over the horizon.

I have duly booked myself 3 nights on the Mendocino coast for early October. This coincides with Digging Dogs Open House and plant sale on the 9th. ! There will be photos- and I splurged on the ocean view cottage too. Fall is typically much warmer and clearer on our north coast . This will be a nice treat wedged in between our various physical inventories . Even with this and IU I probably have another 20 or so vacation days in the kitty for this year. In Sept I am pondering a trade show in Spokane with a stop in Portland on the way home to visit BILS. A business-vaca combo of sorts.

Wonder what Chelones been up to the last few days I have become used to the ritual of reading her posts with my 1st coffee of the day. I hope she has not become entangled in a pea vine in Vegetable World.

PM , I think my version of Firefox is 3.5. It really was remarkable the improvement when I booted IE version 8. Ive had no problems and its way faster. Of course the disclaimer is that I only installed it a few days ago, so I suppose there could be issues that Ive yet to encounter. I am reading with interest the struggles that some of you have with Alchemilla-mine dont travel much at all, and the dryness of the surrounding soil I imagine is a contributing factor. Ive moved mine many times quite easily. So does Kool Kat " stay ground coverish for you ?

Denise, its funny, Ted and Doobie have taken to laying next to the shorn Nepeta in almost a protective way since I cut it back. I imagine the real reason is the aromas released by the cut stems. Im thinking August is a great time for slash and trash in our respective climate zones, since we often have such nice stuff going on in fall. Ive cut a whole bunch of stuff back to the nubs here lately .

Brenda , sitting on your fabu porch drinking wine while the attractive DH cooks dinner seems like the ultimate ! He is dead on with the comment about next year in the garden. This year is a done deal for me and Im feverishly planning for fall planting season.

Hi Norma! Bet the pond is looking great now I sure have plenty of years when the containers didnt please me. Seeing Deannes garden in person was quite an inspiration. As for boring, consider how different all our lives are , especially if we live in distant locations. It always interests me to hear of the dealings all of us have in our distinct environments.

Woody, what a haunting photo ! The sky is often a fabulous thing.

Hi bug ! I have very nice memories of the ash distribution for my DH, we did not do this for a couple of years after he passed and when we were ready went to a place he had loved , our redwood forests a few hours drive north of here..We cant know where they have gone , but we know where they have been .

All for me tonight , I have some baseball to view and should WALAT a bit too..
Hi to all ,and where is Mary ? Eileen ?

Kathy in Napa.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 10:45PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA's a not so great photo of the 'Kool Kat'. It's only about a foot tall here in it's first season it has slowly increased in diameter to about a foot wide. The blooms are almost blue and very long lasting. ....Your trip in October sounds very exciting! Have you been to Digging Dog before? I know I've seen a segment on a gardening show about them. Maybe Plants, Places and People when it was on. I thought they looked very interesting.

Marie....glad you have company when you are working through your feelings about Reed. Less than three weeks before the anniversary, are you planning anything? .... Hope Phoebe feels better soon. Imagine Indy flying! I'm amazed that dogs can tolerate that. Did you have a good visit with your daughter?

Woody...Wonderful photo of your brug, you can really see the texture and I just want to reach out and touch it. [g] .... I had never thought about rainbows at night.

Hi Norma....You are singing my song... I rarely am happy with my containers. This year I have two that I am almost happy with and one that I am happy with but already planning how to do it different next year. Never satisfied. [g] I have another five that I don't like very much. I'm that way about lots of things that have to do with the 'visual', like paint colors and clothing, furniture etc. Hard to please. .... I also don't usually have very interesting things to report. You don't feel bored, do you?

Brenda...another 6 months to wait, but I'm sure it will be a fun and exciting 6 months. Have fun this weekend. :-)

Denise...glad to hear your Dad is coming home today. Hope he will feel better being home and I'm sure your Mom will. ....Wow, what a productive day you had in the garden. Have you got your shades in the bath up yet? Looking forward to photos.

I've been contemplating how to redo my Long Border once the weather cools down. I feel stuck. I have the rock edge done and I like the way it came out, but I guess that was the easy part. [g] I think what makes it harder for me, is that I hate the backdrop of my neighbor's yard on that side. To me it's ugly and no matter what I do there, that is always going to bother me. Plus, it's really not a large area and part of the border is the sunniest spot in the garden and I keep trying to squeeze every plant that requires full sun into that space. Now I'm starting to think that for the sake of less work, I should try to switch to mostly shrubs, but I'm really dragging my feet about letting go of my largest area for perennials. I may just rearrange what is there and just throw in a few new things and be done with it, since I'm feeling conflicted about it this year. But it's just as much work to rearrange as to do an entire new plan. I'm glad I don't do this for a living. I'd drive my clients crazy. [g]

If you can see the Cornus tree in the background, above the Cornus 'Ivory Halo', it still has blooms on it and has had them since early May. Is that usual? Please ignore the weeds in the lawn and the pot that I didn't get the level out for. [g]

Have a won-der-ful Friday! :-)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 6:08AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Happy Friday all,

The weather people have been predicting rain since Wednesday and we still havent seen a drop. Im hoping for some soon. The back yard has gotten to the point where I can have the sprinklers on it all day long and the next day its dry again. The mature trees back there suck every drop out of the soil when we havent had rain in a while and I think its been more than two weeks since weve had any rainfall. Im now certain that the leaf drop on the Mountain Ash tree has everything to do with lack of rainfall. Normally it loses all its leaves starting in July and this year it has looked good until this week. It is again dropping all its leaves well before the other trees. The birds love the berries though so Ill probably hang onto it. It also makes a great place to hang some fuchsias! LOL

PM I love that Kool Kat! What a nice Nepeta. Im going to have to look for that. ~ RE the bad view of the neighbors. Ive got the same dilemma with my driveway garden and Im starting to plant more tall things on the edge of that garden. Im going to put my Sky Pencil and also a clumping bamboo there. I can live without the hosta, iris and lilies that they will be replacing. ~~ Nice pic of the hydrangea and dogwood!

Kathy, Im sooooo jealous that you are going to Mendocino in October. Fabulous!!!! I just love it there.

Bug, glad you have a friend visiting with you right now. ~~ Phoebe ate the groundhog???? Yikes!

Beautiful pics Woody. That brugmansia is lovely. Ive never seen one throw white and pink on the same plant. Ill have to ask my friend the brug expert about that. ~~ I envy you that rain.

Norma, you are never boring! How about some photos of your lovely pond?

Brenda, I cannot imagine being thrilled about the prospect of being thrown out of an airplane! Youre a hoot!

Denise, doesnt it feel great when youve finished a purge? I LOL at Creeping Garden Syndrome. Hmmm CGS a new Idyll term. I have that same problem. The containers on the driveway and front walk become more numerous every summer.

Cindy, that spirea we kept seeing in ME was Anthony Waterer.

Pic for the day, the back side of the Mailbox Garden. The dahlias are finally putting on quite a show.

Have a great day everyone

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 7:28AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

gb - yes, we're still on for the 25th. I was going to e-mail you this weekend to sort out details. I know you've been busy with company... Today we're off to the wedding of the friends we bought the Green Man for. Gotta run... (the wedding is at noon at city hall in their town - second marriage for both of them; they're in their 50s - so just a small wedding with family and close friends in attendance.)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 8:31AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy Friday - this week was just too darned long for some reason - possibly the horrible commutes, weather, or lack of vacation days...

I forgot to mention (again) how much I loved that Greenman pot you got for a wedding gift, Woody - it was the one that I zoomed in on when you had the earlier picture and Im truly envious - I think it is a splendid wedding present for a couple that likely has everything else already... Have fun at the wedding.

Deanne -- Im having a hard time imagining you letting go of lilies along the driveway garden - they're all so stunning. But I understand the wish for the screening and verticality and sounds like you've got great ideas for that. Those dahlias are smashing altho I can see you're suffering the leaf wilt from the extreme temps -- it's been horrible here and I've lost a few containers that I didnt get around to watering every evening.

PM - I think that's an eternal struggle most of us gardeners go thru and in my case continue to angst about -- giving over the shrubs and woodies and letting go of perennials... I say every year Im going to do it, but still keep buying new perennials but my space has not gotten any larger.

How nice to hear from you Brenda and Norma - glad you havent succumbed to the doldrums, Norma! Brenda, that' a great DH to assume the cooking for at least a season or so - enjoy it while you can -- and we'll all be thinking of you this weekend and looking at the sky!

Yep, I like the Creeping Garden syndrome phrase and definitely suffer from it... the patio is entirely covered w/ crapola. I have not gone to check out the local SH store for fear of finding too many goodies altho I would love to get some more pots of theirs... I swore I'd clean house this weekend... but maybe just a wee trip to SH just to "see"???? I definitely am suffering from garden shopoholic issues...


    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 8:56AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Cindy - the Green Man is not a pot but a sort of curved statue - you can put it in front of a pot so it looks like it's a pot, or you can stand it somewhere like a statue. The people we're giving it to have a couple of tall cut off tree trunks. I thought it might look good 'wrapped' around the base of one of those.

Deanne - it turns out that the white brug is just the pink bud when it opens! All the brug flowers are pink this morning so I assume that we just happened to catch those right after they opened and before they 'matured' to pink! The buds are actually quite yellow before they open.

Time to get motoring here now....

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:08AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Fought off doldrums actively today by weeding the old compost area, digging out roots, raking the whole thing over. Then I drove the mower over it a few times and then raked it smooth. Next I bought flagstones for the path in front of the new composters there, moved two hollyhocks and bought grass seed to plant there. So all is ready for me to eventually sink the flagstones and plant seed. The hard part is over. Phew! Then I rewarded myself with a few new plants for 30% off. (You're right Cindy, I'm all talk about planting shrubs...)

Tomorrow we visit a friend up north and attend a "water festival" (conservation stuff) and enjoy a lovely setting. Phoebe will join us.

Yes PM, the visit with Sarah's family was just great. She will always be my baby though..;)! She left a leash, a hairbrush and some other stuff. Every horizontal surface was covered with junk, no progress made in emptying things from our barn, lots of guests invited here for me to feed, etc etc etc and yet of course we loved it all. Already I have nagged her for more photos as they are going camping this weekend once again. I have no real plans for Reed's anniversary, but I'm sure I know where our thoughts will be in early September.

I am roasting tomatoes in the oven and need to go test them. ;)

Later friends!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 9:13PM
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In the immortal words of Sue


Hot weather is back this afternoon, but forecast (for what its worth) indicate back to low 80s tomorrow. I have left myself an open roster for this weekend. The list of to-dos has grown- and it may be time to address some of the mundane household chores that always seem to be on the back burner.

PM , thanks for the nice photo of Kool Kat- it looks like an excellent selection to try. I havent been to Digging Dog in years, and I dont think they had a display garden then as I recall. They are in an extremely remote location . I wish you could have seen Sue and Les and Moniques gardens- they have both really perfected the art of the shrub border, and Sue has a lot of shade to contend with . They have both used foliage very artfully and their gardens are very colorful , with or without the perennials.

Deanne, I hope your yukky heat and rainless streak passes you by, and sympathize with the un planned deadheading by your high winds today.Your Dahlias look fabu ! I have some major deadheading this weekend on mine. I have gone to floral snips for that task by the way, as I can cut closer to flush with the stem and it leaves less of the ugly stump that seems to plague Dahlias. Do you have any secrets to add ?

Cindy, I support your garden shopoholia . Garden shopoholics are way better than handbag, shoe or cosmetics shopoholics .

All for me tonight, more tomorrow

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 9:36PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Evening all,

Major damage in the gardens today and not by the severe thunderstorm or tornado watch posted but by the hideous gusty winds that came before the storm. It blew down many huge containers that I never thought would or could get blown over. I was in tears when I was picking up all the broken fuchsia branches from the four large plants that got taken out. As much as a pain in the butt as cement is because it's so heavy to move and deal with I'm going to plan to put more of these things in cement planters so this doesn't happen. The good news is that my 'Christina', huge 'Beacon' and the 'Beacon Rosa' standard fuchsias are all fine - they are all in cement planters....

Sorry for venting but you are all gardeners so I knew you'd understand my distress.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:17PM
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(((Deanne))) .. totally understand. Were these in the back container area along the fence ? I'm sure you can re-arrange stuff to look fabu as ever. You have alot to work with ! I hope a good nights sleep (and a Martini) will ease the mind..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:51PM
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Deanne, that sure was a gusty wind that blew through here! My cheap-o plastic pot was the one to go! The banana blew over, but with sails like that, you expect it to, lol!

I planted a Gunnera yesterday (now I know 2 people growing it in my area!) and all the leaves shriveled up, and crisped up...I don't know what I did wrong!

Someone mentioned Harold's leaf: it didn't survive the trip in a pliable condition. It was dry and crumbled by the time I was prepared. I was bummed. After reading about cow parsnip online, I decided not to try to plant the seeds. I think a leaf hunting expedition would be better :)

Not much going on here. I'm having trouble working in the heat without my feet swelling up and feeling like I'm just going to die. It's a bummer because I felt like things were rolling along for me, and bam! I feel like someone threw a wall up in front of me. I know it will pass, but it's irritating...

SunnyD's husband has a Bobcat and they're tearing up the front yard today, to be a new garden. She's very excited, and he couldn't be more excited to do this for her :) He's got a water feature planned and I can't wait to see it come to life.

Well, that's all from me this morning.

Chelone: (tap tap tap) are you in there?


    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 7:08AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well the storms rolled through here last night and we finally got some much needed rain. Im over the moon that I dont have to water today. I love that freshly washed look of the gardens. I went out early and started picking up the pieces of things Id quickly relocated yesterday when the gusty winds kept getting worse and worse. I have several fuchsias that are half the size they used to be and the standard is listing to one side. But it could have been worse and in a couple weeks I wont notice the damage because the fuchsias grow and bloom at light speed this time of the year.

Kathy, the Beacon fuchsia on the patio next to the urn with the abutilon was one of the ones that went down. Also, the Beacon Rosa thats on the corner of the terrace garden under the clematis. What was strange is that there were plants from all over the yard that took a nose dive, the variegated brug in the tropical container border, the big pot between the garage doors, a large fuchsia and caladium on the hot tub deck, stuff on the patio and one of the ceramic pots on the front walk, but nothing in the west container garden went over and it isnt uncommon for those shrubs in plastic pots to go over in the wind. Strange. ~~ I never notice any stumps on the pruned dahlias, maybe because I plant my dahlias so close together it isnt noticeable?

Cindy, no worries, Im keeping most of the daylilies in the driveway garden. Im just going to relocate the yellow ones at the back of the border next to the bird bath. Moving those and the Golden Tiara hosta will give me space for the clumping bamboo. So, no worries, the Pastel Classic, Jolyene Nicole and Preppy Pink are all staying where they are.

Woody, how interesting that the opening blossom on your pink brug is so dramatically different from the mature one. Do you have a photo of your Green Man in his new home? Id love to see where you put it.

Bug, those roasted tomatoes sound delish. You got a lot done yesterday.

Saucy, bummer about the banana going over. I hope it didnt damage anything. ~~ Sorry about not feeling up to snuff, Im not either and this weather is completely to blame. I feel great when I get up in the AM and after a couple hours outside in the heat I feel yukky for the rest of the day.

So Kathy is totally right that I have LOTS of stuff to work with so any damaged containers really arent noticeable with all the other things going on. Still looking good here for August.

Here is Fuchsia Christina in her cement pot.

Have a great day all!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:09AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Deanne - it looks like your pots have cleaned up well. What a lot of work you do to create and maintain that beauty! Re the Green Man - we ended up not going back to their house after the wedding so I'm not sure where the Green Man has ended up. Here is the bride and groom with the Green Man:

Getting to the wedding did not go as planned. We were supposed to be at their place by 11:30 before going with them to City Hall for the wedding. BUT we forget that it was Friday and heading north (towards cottage country) on a Friday meant we needed to allow a LOT more time! By 11:30 we were nowhere near their place! So we pulled over and called to ask for directions to City Hall so we could go straight there. But we couldnt find it. We had to stop at a gas station and ask where it was we had passed it twice but didnt see it! We arrived at 12:15 and the wedding was supposed to be at 12:00, so we thought we might have missed it! Fortunately they were running late.

Thursday I came down with a sore throat and was feeling lousy. The sore throat had abated a bit by yesterday so I wasn't feeling too bad but today it has all returned with a vengeance, particularly in my nose! YUCK!! I hope it passes quickly so it doesn't affect our plans for next week's vacationing in gb's neighbourhood! I intend to do as little as possible this weekened other than drink lots of hot lemonade and eat chicken soup.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:43AM
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Woody, I had no idea that Green Man was so large from your original photo ! What a splendid garden accent that will be !

Out deadhading, sweeping and drinking coffee this morning..

later all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 12:19PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Kathy - it's heavy too - probably 20-25lbs. I was curious so I Googled the manufacturer's name - see link below... There's some very interesting stuff (including a Doug the Troll for Deanne :-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 12:58PM
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A pleasant evening here, an am hoisting my IU6 memorial wine glass after an hour of deadheading and a brief bit of planting. I acquired two David Phlox today , anong with a dwarf Agastache Sonoran Sunset these were not planted yet, they joined the collection of plants that will be installed in one of my new areas in back once the temps cool down enough to facilitate moving mature plants into new positions. I have also started the massive pruning effort involving Lady Banks. I think Im going to remove half of her this fall, and will try to redirect her so that she is not casting shade where I dont want it.

Have you noticed how the light is changing ? I feel a bit of regret, but on the other hand Im excited about the planting /plant relocation Ill be doing when fall comes. It can very hot here in Sept so most of the major moves will be done in Oct.

Hooray for Sunny D and DH ! I sure have never regretted for one minute removing my front lawn, and I am actively planning the removal of some concrete (no loss there lol) that will allow me to plant a bit of a shrub-border to hide the neighbors truck and utility area.

Funny about your west container border Deanne, your winds must have come in from an abnormal direction. No stumps on the Dahlias ? Damn ! Im going to take a pic tomorrow of a Dahlia stump. Maybe you just deadhead farther down on the plant too. That Christina is just fabulous !

I wonder if Chelone is having computer problems again ?

Woody, what beautiful stuff that mfg has. Im going to make a wholesale inquiry when I get to the office on Monday, although I bet the shipping is astronomical from BC.

Ok, time to sign off

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 8:41PM
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No computer woes. Just busy, behind, and I lost a pretty good post today. Irritating.

Hi everyone! :)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for checking in !

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:15PM
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Mariposa and some other stuff.. From Garden 2009 From Garden 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:04PM
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The plan for today was a new front door and storm door. Along with new gutters this will help complete the new front door garden. Picking the doors was challenging as on our farmhouse, the "front door" actually leads into the kitchen. The "back door" goes in to the mudroom. No formality here. We only ended up getting the door in and not the storm door, a few complications arose. I basically got nothing done in the garden today.

Deanne, how fun that my iochroma pot is so similar to yours. Yes that is a streptocarpella. As for the nasturtiums I always put them in the potager. Sorry to hear about all your wind damage. I feel your pain. We had some wind a few weeks back and my largest coleus standard tipped and the whole top broke off, but then I do still have 4.

Kathy, I love that Mariposa coleus, it looks like velvet.

Saucy, I saw you mentioned using fiberglass tape on a large leaf. Have you tried the fiberglass flakes? Ive used them for years in the stepping stones I make, its so easy to use. I made a couple of large rhubarb leaves recently. You mentioned you did your largest leaf ever, what was it?

I too am still a sucker for new or interesting perennials. I did a count this a.m. while walating and came up with somewhere around 150 shrubs that Ive added to my garden over the years. I am curious about how the Anthony Waterer spireas were used that you all noticed at the IU. I have a couple. They were moved from the front door area last fall when we revamped that area. I would like a fabulous combo to go with them.

We are leaving in a week on vacation. We decided to travel around Michigan. Im quite pumped that Dotti and Tom have graciously agreed to let us tour their garden and have gone much beyond that by inviting us to spend a couple of days with them. Unfortunately Eden will be out of town and I am really bummed about missing her and visiting her garden.


A few more containers. The fuchsias are really getting started. I've had the gartenmeister for several years and it it really tall.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:57PM
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Good morning!

Nice to see our wayward Chelone check in! Glad to hear you're still on the grid and just busy :)

Michelle, I did use the fibers at one time, but I didn't care for how they stick out of the finished piece. I know you can torch them, but that is just another step :) I used the tape because I have been working to make the leaves as thin as possible. Think paper mache. The verdict is really out until I live with the leaf for a while :)

A bit of excitement for me on the gardening front - my Tibouchina grandiflora bloomed! tibouchina
Have a good day all!


    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:51AM
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I'm going to try this again, having lost it yesterday. :(

1.) Michelle has beautiful gardens full of carefully considered combinations that please me greatly. Your front entry project looks sensational and I can't wait to see the door and the storm door you select. I'm sure it will be terrific. I'll bet you really miss the Little Miss when you wander through the Secret Garden.

2.) I see the Grim Reaper has paid to calls to people I like so much and I'm sure the spectre of departure hangs heavy in those homes.

Brenda, I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I don't know how you feel, but I know how much I love my brother and how special memories shared between only we two are. And so it must be with you. I think hurling yourself out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft will be a perfect way to blow off some energy. You know, I STILL laugh when I think of your description of middle aged flesh flapping in the wind as you plummet toward Earth. Lol.

V., the world would be a better place if all people who undertake the responsibility of one of those base creatures carried it through to the bitter end. It's comforting to know our ranks are not as thin as so many news stories imply. I'm sorry Sunrise's condition was not attributable to too many berries. I'll beat Wrecks, "just because".

3.) The Green Man makes a sensational Best Man, Woody! Wow, I really like him... really plucks at the appreciation for all things formal that lies just below my "devil may care" surface. What a thoughtful gift. I went to a wedding on Friday, too. Don't get sick at this time of year, it's too early and too nice outdoors.

4.) Weather calamities have layed waste to Deanne's beloved containers but the recovery was swift and diligent... great save! I had to chuckle at the mental image of you buzzing around fretting and grooming the victims. Good to know all is well once more. :)

I suspect also that there is some serious baby withdrawal happenin' on the Farm (though I have no idea why! ;) ). I smiled at the chubby leg and foot nicely adorned with the bracelet. First thought to cross my mind was, "did we all enter this world with such perfect skin?". What lies ahead for your family is the conclusion of the awful "first year", 'bug. Good friends know how to help, sometimes just listening and reassuring is all that's required. Praise be good friends, huh? (and dogs to beat). I know I will spent some time in reflection on Sep't. 8th., as will every other Idyller... solidarity, baby! Actually, I think I'll put some wine in my IUVI glass and toast Reed's perfect life and all the love that was lavished on him in too short a time.

Woody and Julie will like this one. We have dear friend who has two dogs, aka The Wrecking Crew. She is now a very regular visitor to the Compound and whenever she comes we do some obedience work. And yesterday we worked them pretty hard. We did "down/stays" and then we worked on "polite greetings" in lieu of the full frontal assault that usually occurs. It took a solid 30-40 minutes to get both of her dogs introduced in a quiet, controlled manner, lol. Poor Rex was beside himself; whining/yipping, and fussing. But he was much more controlled than her dogs were. When they'd done what we required we turned them loose to run, rassle, and go into the "pool". Later, while we were preparing dinner and eating we worked on "down/stays", patiently correcting the Commando Creep by putting the Crew back in their original d/s sites. Wrecks has that one nailed... he lies down and chills out while we're eating and working in the kitchen. We have volunteered to take the Wrecking Crew for the entirety of Labor Day weekend and let me assure you there will be some very serious obedience work (and beatings) over those 4 days! Hehehe... bbbwwwaaa!

Charming story of TCS, Julie. Time and beatings is all it takes. :)

I have to quit blabbing and get to my latest JulieJob, hoeing out the screen room under the deck, and some screen washing.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:59AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Hi all,

The temps have gone down but the humidity is beastly out there. The rain was amazing yesterday. A couple times the sky opened up and when it finished up I had two inches of water in a bucket Id left out. A couple places west of here had some road washouts but I think they wound up with five inches of rain in two or three hours.

Woody, hope you feel better soon. ~~ Love that site and the Doug Troll is a hoot!

Kathy, yes indeed Ive really noticed the shortening day length. It seems to change dramatically this time of the year. Its hard to believe that another season is starting to wind down to autumn. ~~ Just love the irisene with the Mariposa Gorgeous combo. What is the fuchsia with it? It looks a little too pink for Gartenmeister

Michelle, What a bummer about your coleus standard! How sad! ~~ I just love your container pics. They are all so lovely!

Saucy, I jut love that tibouchina. Im so glad you posted a pic with your hand to give a sense of the size of that flower. Its huge! What a beauty. ~~ Hope you are feeling better but if youre like me Im still feeling pretty sluggish with this nasty humid weather.

Brenda, how was your jump?

Waving hello to all, have a great day,

A couple pics for the day

The shade garden Im so pleased the hydrangea came back as well as it has. It was smashed to bits in the ice storm last winter. What a hardy plant.

The peach brugmansia has really gotten enormous this summer. Its covered with buds and should be putting on quite a show in another week or so if this weather cools off.

One of my favorite containers this year. Mostly foliage textures. The only flowers in this one are the fuchsia blossoms.

The mailbox garden has really filled in and Im loving that Mariposa in this garden. Its such a great coleus!

The Eupatorium Little Joe is in full bloom right now. What a great perennial!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 12:56PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Just returned from Midland Ontario and will expand later...but wanted to check in. Good readings here!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 4:32PM
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