Idyll # 396 - Chirp!

saucydog(z5MA)August 25, 2008

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

by John Keats

THE POETRY of earth is never dead:

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,

And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run

From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;

That is the GrasshoppersÂhe takes the lead

In summer luxury,Âhe has never done

With his delights; for when tired out with fun

He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.

The poetry of earth is ceasing never:

On a lone winter evening, when the frost

Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills

The CricketÂs song, in warmth increasing ever,

And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,

The GrasshopperÂs among some grassy hills.

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

[Sorry, I meant to post that last post here but it's on the end of the last thread too...oh well]

Saucy....very cute poem!

Happy Birthday Veronicastrum!

V....loved that Canadian sunset photo! That container from Ball Seed gardens well I just love everything about it. Anyone know what the names of the plants are? I think I know the Euphorbia is 'Tasmanian Tiger' and the Elephant Ears but can't identify anything else. I take it your perfect creatures don't use your furniture or your legs as a scratching post or wake you up in the morning by digging their claws into your head? [g] Thanks for the vacuum recommendations. I hadn't heard of either of those brands. I still have to do a Consumer Reports search.

Michelle...impressive bargain on that Hellebore. Cute idea with the mailbox. I have wanted one in the veggie garden to store hand tools in.

Denise....will we see any more of Mitch's photos? We saw Batman Begins in IMAX and loved it. I am not planning to see Dark Knight, only because I haven't liked the Batman series until Batman Begins and I want to quit while I'm ahead. [g]

Deanne and Sue....those are some amazing banana trees!

I forgot to say, I saw an Agave over the weekend that was $100.00! I was shocked they were so expensive. It wasn't that big. They were 50% off but the stems were slightly damaged.

No alarm clocks necessary here. We wish. [g]

Martie....happy to hear you are heading back to work and that you are feeling well enough to.

Eden...that Bella has a wonderful bedroom. Sophie is very cute and I see tons of books and Curious George is a One lucky little girl!

Michelle...Kenzie on the monkey bench....what a cute photo op. :-) So when do we see photos of the front yard project? Like the sounds of the pillars. Thank you for the offer of Hibiscus Seed...I think I would be getting ahead of myself to start planning starting seed. Seeing lots of non gardening projects in the near future. I think I have to put that one on hold.

Woody...I've never seen a 'real' cat that looked like that! LOL

Gardenbug....there are a lot of great books on how to reduce high blood pressure. I was starting to get it and changed my diet and it is back down to normal. Wish I could remember the book title...I will try to find it if you are interested, but I think there are lots of alternative medicine books on the topic. The naturopath I have seen has also helped my husband lower his cholesterol for the first time in years, and his primary care doc was impressed. We pay the Naturopath out of pocket, so we don't wait for permission from the Primary Care Doc.

Anita your GS is adorable! Tequila is very cute! How old is she/he? What a Hosta Haul..! I love the name Zippity Do Dah!

Brenda...Frozen dinners is a great idea too! We wouldn't have had time to accomplish that but on the plans for the next visit. Meatloaf is DH's fav.

Sue...what a great composition for a photo...I love that row of Adirondack chairs looking out to the water. How do you find these 'cottage' rentals? [g] If I had one wish for where I would want to live it would be on the water...ahhh! Yes, money would be the obstacle for sure.

Kathy nice photo of the the pretty clouds in that second photo.

That's as good a catch up as I can muster. [g] Hello to all I have missed...Marian, Monique, Cindy, Jerri, Saucy, Mary, Wendy....and still wondering where Cynthia and Ei are?

Have to go move the sprinkler. First time using it in over a month...not bad. :-)


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 12:58PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy Birthday, Deanne, belatedly!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:17PM
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Happy Birthday V!


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:20PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I was sure I posted this already but it never showed up....

(I have no idea what the name of that rose is - it belongs to a neighbour and they don't know its name either. It looks like a David Austen of some sort. It's very beautiful....)

Saucy - I really like that 'The poetry of earth is never dead' line - that really 'speaks' to me...

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:20PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy Birthday, V!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:20PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Way OFF topic....

DSIL and I laughed a lot about this!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:35PM
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Eden, your breynia photo was a "no-brainer" as a choice for an exquisite birthday card. What a stunning pot that was. I doubt if I pass that plant up again.

PM, Dark Knight has the same director as Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan. Go! I didn't much care for the movie series either before these two. I'll see if I can hunt up some concert photos.

Mary, the chartreuse four o'clocks, are the seeds up for a trade of some sort? Love your gardens and your perspective on the passage of time via VBS.

I nearly started idyll 396 with the title "The Last Days of Pompeii." Saucy's is much more cheerful. For sure, the grasshopper is never done with his delights in MY garden...

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:40PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

LOLOL, Marie, my sentiments exactly. Can you say, "Film at 11"?

PM, I found my cottage at the site below.

OK, meeting at 2, gotta run.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 2:01PM
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    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 2:50PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good afternoon all,

Well Ive got a few minutes before having to go and shower to get ready to go out to the Arlo Guthrie concert tonight so I thought Id nip in here for a bit.

Mary, lovely garden pics for birthday greetings. Thanks! I was thinking of you today as I was watering my pink brug. Look what you started! This pink was my first brug and it came from your plant. How neat is that?

And a beautiful peacock from PM. Thanks!

Chelone, the cement pieces were two pedestals and a plinth, not pots this time
Here is one of the pedestals, I love the classic lines of this one. The B. Escargot is starting to come back a bit after the deluges and hail.

And check out this very neat seedling from my Sedum Purple Emperor. Yes this sedum really does have those lemon yellow flowers unlike the peachy ones on the parent plant. Im really hoping this plant survives the winter as it is so unusual and pretty.

Michelle, love that flower arrangement with the candle. So pretty!

Denise, I feel your pain with having to reformat the hard drive. Like you, I thought you couldnt pick up anything deadly unless you downloaded stuff but as you said that apparently is not the case anymore. ~~ Yes indeed, I know about the costs of telephoto lenses. The Canon 500 Im saving for is $5,800! And its a killer bird lens. Ive been saving my pennies for a couple years now and still havent reached my goal but hopefully sometime in the next year Ill be able to spring for it.

OK I guess Id better hit the shower. Ill be so glad when I can get on line upstairs again. Doug is still working on loading my software and now is trying to figure out why the network card isnt working. Always something isnt it?


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 5:37PM
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I looked out this morning and noticed there are a lot of tall yellow plants blooming in my back garden. Patrinia, Silphium perfoliatum, Helianthus lemon queen, inula, ligularias and even an annual Thunbergia alata growing on an arch. Must be the color of late August? It was almost chilly here today, mid 70s and forecast to get down to 53F tonight.

Michelle, what a nice day you have planned for you and Kenzie. You reminded me that I have one of those stepping stone kits to do with Bella. We have a little playskool mailbox on the deck that's Bella's and she loves it when she finds mail. She keeps her sunglasses in it too. She always likes to look at any mailorder catalogs I get, gardening ones included. We've been cutting out people, food, furniture, plants etc. from them and playing paper dolls recently. They all live between the pages of a big dictionary when we put them away.

PM, we had 8 kittens back in 97. Two litters from the same feral mother that we finally captured about a week before the second litter was born. They were so entertaining. We used to sit and watch their antics for hours. I go through a vacuum in a year or two due to all of the cat fur. Over the years we've converted to wood floors with replaceable area rugs, leather furniture or pieces with washable coverings, no fabric window treatments etc. We also have a screen door between the kitchen and livingroom. I don't want cats climbing all over my kitchen. You live and learn what works best and is easiest to keep clean in a multiple cat house. Glad you had a good weekend visiting your son. You commented on Bella's room. That's supposed to be my 'office' but she's pretty much taken it over. The monkey is one my mom made for her.

Saucy, I smile everytime I read the 'Chirp' title :)

Denise (I think it was you that asked), planned projects for fall around here include some garden redesign and the beginning stages of painting the kitchen. I never did get my pergola built this summer. Where did the time go?

Just a quick post from me. I'm in housecleaning mode today since Bella's not here.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 5:55PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 7:20PM
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Happy Birthday V. !!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 8:18PM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Happy Birthday V!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 9:01PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That is a good recommendation for Dark Knight Denise...I will have to go...DH would enjoy it too.

Thanks Sue...that is a great link for the rentals!

Deanne...I am in love with that Sedum Purple Emperor seedling. What a pretty effect with the yellow blooms. So what did you do, find a seedling nearby the original or did you collect seed and sow them?

I have not had to reformat a drive ever, thankfully, but sometimes it is the only way. Next computer, get an Apple! :-) At least for the time being, they are definitely less work and tech support is excellent.

Eden...8 my my...what a houseful! lol It must have been fun. Before I was married, we had three baby persians at one time with a dog and they would keep us awake half the night racing up and down the stairs, then they would climb the draperies up to the top of the window then leap on you while you were sleeping. Funny what cats think are entertaining. [g] Our DS is renting and the whole apartment is carpeted, but at our house we have hardwood and area rugs due to DH's allergies. I have never heard of a screen door between a kitchen and dining room. What a unique solution for a problem I would have to solve too. Great idea.

Everyone's plants are looking great. :-)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 10:04PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 10:30PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good evening, and many thanks for all the lovely birthday greetings. I will admit that I had the threads loaded on my computer at the office and would peek in throughout the day to enjoy all the photos.

It's been a fairly quiet birthday here. DH is out of town once again, so we are planning a dinner out in Lake Geneva over the weekend. In the meantime, I spent the evening doing exciting activities such as unloading groceries, carrying out the garbage and packing up the recycling. Oh, the glamour...

Not much chirping going on here tonight. It's in the mid 60's and getting cooler. I may pull up the comforter tonight.

I've been holding out on Deanne. I haven't told her that I wandered into coleus heaven a couple of weeks ago. Check this out:

This was at the Ball Seed trial gardens. Each pot had a different coleus variety, and each was very clearly labeled. It was quite fun to compare the mature specimens in that way.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 10:58PM
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Oh for Pete's sake! another birthday? :)

I just love the way the deep color on the leaves mimics the water:

And I really want one/two of these old-fashioned late summer confections for my yard:

Hope it was a fine day for you, V..

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 5:47AM
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I looked at the clock at it was 4:15, looked again and it was 5:15!but there is nothing I have to hurry to work for, so I'm not frantic. It was chilly last night, a two cat night here on the Compound, after a rather warm and muggy day.

We polished off the last of the big pile of wood rounds yesterday morning. The area under the filon roof is now officially full of split and stacked firewood. We are now up to 5 cord and have a few minor piles of wood to clean up here and there on the property. We worked until 1:30, the helpmeet went to the grocery store and I headed out to the shrub border area next to the road.

I am surprised I can even move this morning, frankly. I kept plunking along, pulling weeds, using the fork to loosen the ground to make it easier. I removed 4 gardenway carts full of them. I unearthed several rather large rocks and innumberable smaller ones. I mowed the crapgrass area that will be lawn and bagged the clippings. I worked until 6PM when I was summoned indoors for supper. And I have some pictures! (but no time this morning to post them).

But now I really do have get to work. I want to get the deck enclosure I've been working on one day closer to completion.

Ta ta!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 5:58AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Good morning - despite Chelone's "good grief" remark, it is lovely to have 2 birthdays so close - we get to see such fun plants and pics, regardless of whose garden they are in!!

The heat has finally broken here -- we have wonderful breezes this a.m. and only a high of 80 -- yeeha. It's been terribly dry still and more hose slinging was necessary last weekend - leaves are dropping all over now. I think we're to finally get some rain tomorrow for the next few days, so optimistically I re-wound (sp?) the hose (yes, Im a sloppy housekeeper outside and inside; and no, the bed doesnt get made daily; I dont like to think of my failings there.....).

Chelone -- love that hibiscus - I bought 2 of them - I think it's Blue Satin is the cultivar - I've been much taken since I saw the one last year in Inta's yard trimmed to a nice tree and we saw the ones this year -- the 2 small ones I have (one yet to be planted, living in an urn) are giving some much needed color to my space right now.

Actually, there's not a plant shot here I dont love, LOL -- it's easy to enable us addicts.

Anita - I love those photos you posted - your garden is lovely right now, and the DGS & Tequila shot (no pun intended) was endearing.

I finally got to look at Sue's vacation photos last nite and am envious -- I too was born to live or retire by the sea -- am just not sure how to make that happen - I have been much taken by the NE Coast (having been a Jersey shore girl when young and spent most summers there); I took my DD annually to Chincoteague in VA for many years until she was a teenager and it got "boring" according to her. But I admit the commutes of 3 to 5 hours or more to get to a beach in this area have dulled any enthusiasm for a regular routine like that.

Just some simple chairs on the beach and a view like the one Sue showed us -- boy, that would be food for the soul!

I thought later I should have rustled up an agave shot for V, but that goes to show how my mind isnt functioning very well these days -- too much sucking of brain tissue by the vampires at the office, LOL...

My (former) MIL is celebrating her 90th birthday at the end of this week -- I've been wracking the poor brain that's left to think of something suitable to send her -- unfortunately only just got told of a last minute party they're having at her church for her in VT - but the thought of driving up and back in 24 hrs on a holiday weekend is more than I can contemplate -- and she probably wouldnt remember longer than 24 hours - isnt that terrible but I made a commitment for a furniture delivery on Saturday too..... She's a very special lady though and I will be really sorry to miss the event. We've stayed pretty close over the years, which has been great. She's pretty spry and active but has had some dementia issues for about 8 years now, but her daughter ensures that she stays active and involved - which is why she moved to VT about that time.

Deanne - love your birthday present -- as long as it's not "cement shoes" for presents, I think Doug should give you lots of cement -- no more critters or wind knocking things off - and best yet, it can stay outside all year around to provide hardscape!

Well, Im just rambling - I better get more caffeine to jump start this engine.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 9:06AM
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Chilly good morning but quite welcome after a summer of waking up to cloudy warmth.

That's quite the pic, V., and being somewhat of a coleusphobe I immediately noticed that they are in direct sun? Or does the large tree provide some shade?

Get out the Bengay for Chelone! It sounds like you made quite a dent in your shrub border. Feels good, though, doesn't it? Really looking forward to seeing the pics, and am hoping there's a useful purpose for the rocks.

Today I'll be hoisting dead wave petunias out of pots and replacing them with Marigolds out of the raised bed. The first summer to fall plant adjustment. Also will take my DB's (visiting from Ohio and it's SO Good to see him) kind offer to dig/replant some larger things that need moving. We were laughing that this day could've been 40 years ago at my Grandmother's. Good feeling!

Not much else. Will be savoring every minute of today in anticipation of being in the office all day tomorrow. Starting to get notes and business cell VM's from folks with welcome-back greetings. I'm looking forward to work! At least for the first day. LOL


    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 9:12AM
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    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:38PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Afternoon all,

WE are having a gorgeous, cool, breezy, sunny day here with high temp so far only reaching 68 degrees. There is a real autumn feel to the air today. For some reason Ive completely run out of steam for working in the gardens the last week or so. I think its just getting to the point where I feel that its all going to get frosted in a month, more or less so maybe its time to let it all go? Maybe I just need a week off! LOL

Cindy, thanks for the belated Bday card. So pretty! Where did you take that photo? Was that from Wave Hill?

Sue that Gartenmeister of yours is gorgeous and youre right, it looks terrific with that canna.

PM that seedling is growing where it sowed itself. I didnt collect seed or plant it. Just one of those flukes. I actually almost weeded it out a time or two and now Im really glad I didnt.

V!!!! Wow!!!! I wish Id been able to see that display at the Ball gardens. Lucky you! Did you have a favorite variety there?

Cindy, great to hear from you and Im so glad you are getting some relief from the heat. ~~ Did I ever tell you that I actually lived on Chincoteague Island for two years when I was growing up? From 1962 to 1964. It was shortly after that storm that caused the bad flooding on the island. The house we lived in had water stains on the stucco walls on the first floor mid way up the walls. Funny the things one remembers.

OK time to move a hose and get some work done. Have a great day all!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:56PM
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I came home with one of the two Viburnum seiboldii today, couldn't squeeze both into the transport pod. We will plant when both are here; our version of "one stop shopping".

The selected Viburnum has bright green, puckered leaves (4-5") and is really rather "coarse". The foliage has a rather distinctive smell when bruised, not a pleasant one to my nose, frankly. BUT! the point of the exercise is a plant that will prosper in the present site conditions with minimal "attention" year to year. It must be thick, bushy, get tall and wide, and provide some seasonal interest. The spring flowers are pretty and the fruit is attractive for a reasonably long period of time. Birds will like it. As the "horse-y set" says, "there never was a good hoss in a bad color". I want to see these rugged babies put in the ground and growing. The traffic flow can't be blocked soon enough for me. :/

News on the dog front is hopeful. The woman who spoke sharply to me is a new member of the congregation. She hired one of my good friends to do the landscaping at her home (hahaha). Wendy and I toured her yard last year! Evidently, there have been many complaints about noisy renters at a home across the street... renters are about my age with "rowdy" teenagers, etc., etc., etc.. All this from another neighbor who is very friendly with the "church ladies". I plan to watch for the woman's arrival at the garden and then take Wrecks up with me and call her by name and actually introduce myself, judiciously "dropping names", and steering the conversation to all the things we have in common. ;)

Deanne, I love the plinth. It's clean, simple, and elegant. Precisely the sort of thing that catches my eye and strikes me as useful in a variety of applications (would look smashing with a nicely rendered "faux" marble top as an occasional side table for a party).

Nice to see Cindy resurface, wondered if you'd dried up and gone dormant for a time. I've been wondering about the variety of that Althea in my picture! I want the "blue" ones and I want the old-fashioned kind with nice, big, robust blossums. I have wondered about "Blue Bird"? anyone know anything about it?

PM2, our cats do pretty much as they please. We don't have the energy to "discipline", we redirect natural behaviors (which is the easiest way to train dogs, too). "Scratching" is actually a scent marking activity. Scent glands near the claws leave a "calling card" wherever they "scratch". Which is why declawing (barbarous!) really doesn't work, it simply eliminates the damage by removing the claws (tantamount to removing the end of your finger). The key is to give them several things on which "scratching" is OK! Our cats go outdoors by day and are indoors by night, so they have ample opportunity to "do the scratching thing" outside. They have a scratching post indoors (next to the door) but one of them (Vera) still claws the furniture occasionally. If I really cared that much I'd provide more OK places for her to do her thing. Clearly, I don't. The key to getting them to use a post or surface is to play with them and get them "revved up" enough to exhibit the habit and then direct it to the "right" place. Then praise with their "magic words" and continually encourage the behavior where it's OK. It's really pretty easy. I live in an area where letting your cats outdoors is the norm and the risks associated are within our tolerance. Obviously, that's not the case for every cat owner countrywide, so everyone has to figure out a system that works for them. Our cats don't show much interest in the kitchen. Only Polly shows any interest in jumping on the counters, and that's only to get into the sink where she loves to roll around and chase her tail. ;) I sleep through most noctural racing around, which occurs mostly in the winter when they don't want to go outdoors (cold out there, you know!). This time of year, they are outside until about dark/a bit later and when they come in they're ready to sack out. (Newt is the best looking "tri-pod kitty" I've ever seen, Denise). That's how we deal with Nature's most perfect creations.

Gotta scurry and get the helpmeet to help me roll the Viburnum to its intended site.

I was a little gimpy this morning but it was pretty well gone by 9 AM. No Bengay required, wonder if that speaks to an overall level of fitness/strength... dunno.

I was all set to transfer photos from my camera to the computer, but there seemed to be a "seizure" and then a "freeze". I've put the battery on the charger to see if maybe that's the issue.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 6:39PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Deanne, of course I had a favorite! This is Coleus Purple Oak. The photo doesn't do it justice because I was shooting in full blazing sun, but I love the overall shape, the shape of the leaves and the dusky purple color.

I also liked Coleus Mint Mocha. Liked it so much, there is a piece already rooted here. (Shh - don't tell.)

Martie, yes these pots were in full sun. Since I also was in full sun, I didn't have the presence of mind to ask if they had been growing there all summer or if they had been brought out for the event. I wouldn't be surprised if they had done that.

It was 54 when I got up this morning, and it's headed back to that neighborhood tonight. It felt nice to sleep with the porch door open and the covers pulled all the way up.

Mystic the wonder/wander dog wandered off tonight, so I went out on the front porch and gave a good blast on the whistle. I had not noticed the 500 hundred blackbirds that were on the ground in the front field - they all lifted off when I blew the whistle. Quite the sight!

And Mystic came back and barked at the birds in the driveway.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 9:29PM
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Good evening

Here is one of those Where's Waldo type pictures where those with the sharpest eyes can try and spot me at the ball park.

This might help as it shows what I was wearing - a popular color that day:0)

Annie and David enjoying the fun.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Hola Idylls, enjoying all the b-day cards and resulting commentary on the depicted flora (and occasional fauna) . We are allegedly moving into hot spell here, nothing new for this time of year, but August has been pretty mild so Im not hardened off yet. I was oblivious till yesterday that the Labor Day weekend is upon us, and my plan was to spend that weekend getting the house ready to hit the multiple listing service again. I might decide to postpone that for another couple of weeks since I have not done all (or any in fact) of the little fix-up chores mostly due to my travel schedule the last 2 months.

Tomorrow is my torque test at the dentist , and if all goes well I will be getting my crowns over these gaping holes at last !

Deanne, that Sedum is fabu..I think you need a patentSedum Deannes Yellow or Purple Emperor Fortnums Strain". Im sure every Idyll would need several of them . "Oh yes" we say as we conduct the visitor through the garden "My particular friend Deanne developed this variety. Its extremely sought after, but the Idylls have an exclusive till 2015. I understand the plants go for several hundred dollars on the black market. "

Cindy, how nice that you have maintained a relationship with the ex-MIL- its unfortunate how sometimes breakups result in side-taking that ruin friendships. Bet she would like flowers I guess cuz I would !

Martie- best wishes to you on day one back on the job---take it easy will ya ? That first day might be pretty exhausting. Hope you dont have to drive far.

Cats: double sided tape works pretty well to discourage furniture scratching. Other than that, Doobie and Ted pretty much run this place. Im just here to serve their needs. Gotta move the paperwork so there is enough room to nap on the desk. Gotta have a fuzzy blanket for Ted on the end of the bed , all seasons. Guess its okay if they lay on the Nepeta. Put off reading the sports page until Doobie gets tired of laying on it. And so it goes.

Im sure I picked out Saucy and Chelone in the crowd shot at the BJays game. Evil twins perhaps??

Ill leave you with the attack of the killer asters. They continue to spew forth everywhere

And P.S. Whats up with GW tonight ? Many errors. Hope I can get this posted.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 11:52PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Kathy...I didn't know you could grow asters there. Your garden looks really nice. I love that first photo. I can see Phlox and your B&B Salvia, maybe some verbena bonariensis? Is that Joe Pye Weed? No heat wave here. Pleasant temps and clear skies by day and cool sleeping weather at night. We have started putting the house fan on after supper, but it was a little chilly this morning. Had to break out the hot socks! Good luck with your 'torque test' tomorrow. I want to hear all about it. I still may have to do an implant at some point soon. I bet you can't wait for crowns! As for Doobie and've heard the expression..'wrapped'. :-)

Hey, I found Mary! lol I see a man in the center of the photo with a Celtic's jersey on. Lots of Red Sox shirts. Annie and David having fun watching the Red Sox lose? Now that shouldn't happen! :-)

Chelone...I can commiserate on waiting for shrubs to fill in. We have a neighbor I am trying to block out and two Viburnums and a Cornus that could move a little faster in the filling in department. Don't know where I missed hearing about the woman who spoke sharply to you. I think the Althea is 'Blue Satin' which I have also been eyeing. I think I am out of room though. It needs full sun too which I have in short supply. Very pretty, wonder if it reseeds like crazy? Very interesting info about the reason for the cat scratching. DS has at least four scratching pads at his house and we brought him a new one, so hopefully that will last awhile.

Deanne...I can't imagine why you are out of steam in the garden! [g] Look at the size of that goodness, I was just reviewing the thread photos and I was wondering what that plant was in front to the right of the Brug and I realized it was a Banana and I noticed the fence behind and how much higher the Brug was. That could be a landscape tree it is so big! :-) Soon you will be packing it all up to go in the house so I would say take a week off...take TWO!

Good luck today Martie! Hope DH has the slippers and a cold drink ready when you get home. :-)

Cindy....I don't think I could drive that distance to the beach too often either. I would have to plan my vacations on the water if that were the case. Glad you have some cooler weather, it makes such a difference.

V....Such a display of Coleus...thanks for the photos.

Sue...I was bleary eyed looking over that Vacation Rentals site last night. I am going to spend more time with it today too. Lots of great places to find somewhere to go.

Off to start the sprinkler...


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 6:45AM
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Hasty and nervous good morning. Feel like a little kid going back to school. No driving today, but lots of meeting with coworkers and catching up. Then lots of making appts based on info received. New York will definitely be within a few weeks and rumor has it that a client I've been working on/with for several months is ready to have a firm proposal. Whew!!!!

I know I'll be tired when I get home. The strategy of return to work is three days work, three days off, four days work, two days off given Labor Day weekend. Never accuse me of not planning at least a little bit. LOL

I'm also thinking Rich is breathing an enormous sigh of relief to have me gone. Love is grand but missing each other just a little bit is also a good thing. :-)

Waving and thinking of names for Deanne's plant, too. It could be the book cover!!!


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 6:53AM
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Michelle, my husband brought me home a copy of a magazine (I think it was a BHG publication) about garden structure and I immediately zoomed in on the columns that I've been eyeing over at Little and Lewis' website! Is that what you're working on? I've had those columns in my head every since I wandered over looking for inspiration for leaf castings! I like the ones with water dripping into a pool below (but I'm stuck on water for the moment, LOL)....

Mary, like Kathy, I spotted myself, LOL, but not you! The kids look like they're having a blast....the picture captures the moment beautifully.

GB, Nick and I got a good laugh out of your little youtube tantrum thrower :)

I'm working hard around the place. I had to operate on the chipper/shredder yesterday before chipping/shredding the area I cleaned out before we left for Maine. Part one of my trellis arrived, but to save money, I bought the kit, so I will put assembly on the list of things to do after the kids are in school next week....that way if I need to use expletives, no one but the neighbors will hear it :) The SGoG's are quite patiently watching me work :) I eye them every so often trying to figure out who should go where....and I have taken note that two have beautiful work on their backsides - perhaps they need mirrors on the trellis behind them? I don't know. All I know is that I am enjoying the peace I feel from working on this project. Friday I'm taking a trip to Broken Arrow for some more plant material.

I'm not in a good place this week. I'm feeling a little blue. I've scheduled a hair appointment and will get a new shade of blue on the toenails to see if this helps :) I'm eyeing some volunteer opportunities at Tower Hill, too. Right now I'm off to the gym, where I saw my PT yesterday and she said she was happy to see me back :) Guess I'd better whip my tail in shape so that I can sign up for more sessions.....


ps glad you enjoyed the's an interesting side note:

John Keats and his dear friend Leigh Hunt (there is a poem about him in this Keats collection) discussed the difference between the grasshopper and the cricket and challenged each other to write a sonnet, to be judged by some literary friends. The young Keats won the competition, but he always humbly said that he preferred Hunt's sonnet to his own.

Here's Hunt's sonnet:

Green little vaulter in the sunny grass,

Catching your heart up at the feel of June,

Sole voice that's heard amidst the lazy noon,

When even the bees lag at the summoning brass;

And you, warm little housekeeper, who class

With those who think the candles come too soon,

Loving the fire, and with your tricksome tune,

Nick the glad, silent moments as they pass;

O sweet and tiny cousins, that belong

One to the fields, the other to the hearth,

Both have your sunshine; both, though small, are strong

At your clear hearts; and both seem given to earth

To sing in thoughtful ears this natural song,

In doors and out, summer and winter -- mirth.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:08AM
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Found you, Mary, with Annie sitting next to you!

Kathy, I forgot to say how lovely your garden is! What always strikes me about your garden is that it seems so "New England" to me!

Really time to go now....


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:24AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

I was going to say that Kathy's shots of her garden remind me of David's old one! The colors are reminiscent of that to me -- lovely combos --

Yes, Deanne - that b-day shot was Wave Hill - the bed you liked so much....and now I do recall you mentioned living at Chinco. as a small child -- I suspect that was quite different than "roughing" it in a little summer cottage for 2 weeks annually that I did for so long. It's become somewhat of a tourist spot now, but still retains the rustic charm - they've got a new bridge into town and everything! The fishing industry is pretty much dried up (like a lot of places these days).

Chelone - yep, I am feeling a bit dried up, I suspect there are less kinder descriptions that we could make -- it just seems that the awfice is so intense and draining these days, I have little or no inclination to even look at a computer at nite or weekends -- terrible because these idylls can whip by!.

Re the H. syriacus Blue Bird cultivar - I did some reading and grazing on the 'net (gw and other places) and it appears that Blue Bird is less hardy, more finicky and less floriferous than the newer Blue Satin - at least that seemed to be the verdict; hence, my decision to try the BS - I'll let you know how they over winter. I personally prefer them looking more standard/tree like and hope to keep them to that style - time will tell. The ones we've seen in real life also seem to be in somewhat shadier area and a bit sheltered -- so Im trying that route. I dont think they need full sun, unlike some of the other varieties -- the one we saw at Inta's house by the potting shed was actually quite shady it appeared - probably gets only part sun, but it's the older cultivar obviously. Remember this?

Chelone, that area you've been working on (so hard and diligently) is really starting to look great -- you've got some heavy rock moving going on there - whew! It's starting to look fabulous - I like the look of the big shrubs/trees that you've purchased -- most of the things like that I bought as 2 or 3' size and they're still looking puny (makes for a smaller hole though, LOL).

Deanne - you more than deserve some time off to just enjoy your gardens.

I too am facing that lull -- I really need to think of some re-design and the 3 metal arbors I put up 3 yrs ago were a cheap trial to see how it worked and the clems did on them -- well, as 'bug can attest, some clems can eventually be monsters -- the Betty Corning almost toppled one of them this summer in some bad t-storms and is listing terribly -- Im faced now with trying to decide to purchase some heavy-duty ones (they still have to be metal I think because otherwise they'll be considered a permanent structure and I'll get nasty ltrs from the homeowners association) -- I saw some on another mailorder place and am thinking of hiring someone to set them in cement -- but the mess, and knowing anyone I hire will be sure to smash a shrub or 2 or 3 is making me shudder.... so I continue to vaccilate - should I try to get thru another year or not. I also really need to think about replacing my perimeter fence -- but ha, I've got so many vines & roses on it now they're holding it up just fine.... more shuddering about heavy cut-back I'd need to do to prep that area for replacement.... dither, dither....

Can't see Mary's posts; I'll try to see 'em later.

Martie - good luck at work; yep, be prepared for fatigue but you'll be back in swing of things before you know it.

Saucy - that would be neat to volunteer at TH -- I bet that would cure any doldrums you've got -- it's probably end of summer blues - a little dose of plantword should cure that.

Ok, off to face the day here.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 9:19AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

OK, I'll say it. The gardens depress me this year. Nothing is tip top. It all needs constant weeding, edging, etc. The foliage is spotty and yellow, the sawfly worms are all over the roses. The clematis did their thing and now are parched and dry in spite of the recent rains. Yes, there are plants with nice blooms here and there, but certainly not what I'd hope for after lots of work and even some help. What to do? I asked DH for some more garden help as an early birthday gift, to get things under control. He is of the opinion (as expected) that sure, it is a fine gift, but that on 10 acres, things look fine to him as is and that we are not the types to have hired help. The money for regular help would take away from our chances to travel and see the offspring.

Sigh... It isn't going to get any easier as the years pass either. There are major heavy jobs like tree pruning, caging against rodents, etc I have added bark chips to the paths in the vegetable garden to make things easier...and that has failed. The weeds there are horrendous and time consuming to eliminate. I removed some currant bushes and ailing fruit trees last year and that does make things easier, but they were one of the big attractions to this property in the first place. I LOVE fruit and growing it!

I don't expect solutions from any of you, just ears. I guess facing reality is tough. I had hoped the move to more shrubs would mean less work, but it just isn't enough less. I'm too much of a perfectionist I guess. The wild country look has not meant freedom for me, rather more weeding and edging! I'll no doubt return to this theme over time.

I love watching photos of new gardens, of people starting out or starting Saucy's new statuary garden, Chelone's major road barrier project, Michelle's front garden and Secret Garden...but starting something new is probably NOT in the cards for me except maybe in a retirement home.

End of pensive talk.

I spotted Mary..but it was a hunt. On the same theme, something to keep you amused for a couple of minutes or less.
Can you find them?
> >
> > Can you find the B (there are 2B's)!
> > Once you've found the B
> > Find the 1
> > Once you found the 1....
> >
> Find the 6
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999699999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> 9999999999999999999999999999999999
> >
> Once you've found the 6...
> > Find the N (it's hard!!)
> > Once you've found the N...
> >
> Find the Q...


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 10:37AM
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Hello everyone

GB - I had fun with your visual puzzles. Just this week I got a book from the library called "Broccoli for the Brain" and it had all sorts of wickedly difficult puzzles including some similar to the ones above. Perfect for long car rides or any sort of waiting. Our book group is coming over tomorrow for our annual BBQ where we vote on books for the upcoming year. I'll let you know what we decide upon.

I'm sorry to hear your garden is more a source of worry than joy at the moment. I imagine having grand children in your life completely changes priorities with regards to where time, energy and finances are directed. I hope that perhaps some extra help and cooler weather will return some of your lovely garden's pleasures. Here is a little picture that might bring a smile and remind you of Reed. Perhaps it could be titled - Baby Steps.

Thinking about saving time here is something definitly going on my birthday list. For only $9.95 these micro-fibre slippers will clean the floor as you walk about. My sort of housework LOL!

Cindy and Deanne - hope you both feel lifted from your garden lulls too.

Martie - hope all goes well on your return to work. Don't get too tired!

Kathy - your gardens are stunning! Love all the purple in there. Fingers crossed that you get good news at the dentist.

Saucy - that is a beautiful sonnet and one I had not read before. Thanks for sharing. When does school start back?

Woody - I meant to thank you for your offer to look after Clousseau. Unfortunately he gets terribly car sick so the journey up would be misery for all. It is a shame as I know he would have fun with you and we would love to see you and Randy and Misty again. I'll let you know next time we head up your way amf perhaps we could stop by. Like you, we enjoy pet sitting for friends and in fact at the moment are looking after one horse, two goats,a rabbit and a cat. Fortunately not all here at the house. None of us are horsey people but we are managing so far.

PM - we've been having cool nights and chilly mornings which I love as it makes for great sleeping. The feeling that summer is almost done is less than a happy thought.

Today I gardened for my one gardening client for 5 hours in the AM. I divided a lot of my perennials to beef up the new front border and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will not get too hot this weekend for them to settle in. I then mulched with a fresh delivery of leaf mold. My garden lady gets back from a trip at the weekend and I hope she will like what she finds. Hopefully I can finish the mulching by then. For now my back is way too achy to do any more today.

Instead I'm treating myself to a little Idyll time before attacking the sink in the renovated powder room. I have a new pedestal sink to install and it's driving me crazy. Yesterday I went to HD three times to purchase the plumbing supplies I thought I needed and each time got soemthing just a little wrong. I hate plumbing:0( I now have everything I need but the thought of drilling into the new wainscoting is daunting. Nothing for it but to simply give it a go.

Till later!


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 1:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gardenbug, I have been having that same type of growing season. I have always had as my underlying aim, to grow plants that are as far as possible low maintenance and I've thought I was doing pretty well, but while I was focusing on choosing the best plant material, I was creating too many beds to care for, no matter what is growing in them. Some of what I thought were great plans, just didn't develop the way I thought and suddenly this spring, I looked around and felt like I wanted to rip things out and do it over and I didn't have the energy or time to. Discouraging and overwhelming. I thought I would have already arrived at the point where maintenance was manageable and I enjoyed the way the gardens looked. I am also hard to please and am not happy unless things are neat and the foliage is pretty close to perfect and there is something blooming all the time, etc. etc.

Well...that was how I felt in the spring, but I am feeling better because of a number of things....

1. Everyone in my household has made comments about how nice the garden looks [now that DH has been weeding for a month and laid down new mulch (g)]. I realized that what bothers me, doesn't bother everyone else. They are happy with flowers and green grass and no weeds and if the combinations or the design is not spectacular, they haven't noticed. :-) At least half of my entire reason to garden was to give the family the experience of a wonderful garden, so that does make me happy.

2. The law of averages means that even if I tried really hard, I couldn't make everything in the garden look awful. LOL There has to be some measure of luck in my favor. Right now it is my Shade Border, that has been very little care and with all the rain this year, is filling in, in a way that pleases me. The Hydrangea have put on a nice show this year, 'Annabelle' that I bought two years ago as an afterthought as a tiny $11. plant is the star this year. Pleases me every time my eye lands on it.

3. The weed fabric that we laid down in the vegetable bed has actually worked out pretty well. Not perfect, some weeds still sprout in the mulch and a few come up from below, but compared to last year, the weeding is a LOT less.

4. The small alleyway between the house and garage is barely 5ft wide by about 20 ft long. It was a mess of weeds with Sensitive fern a carpet there and maple seedlings having the run of it. We pulled the whole thing out, I planted clumpers and laid down weed fabric with mulch down the middle and it has been a pleasure every day since the spring. We had one day of having to pull out a lot of weeds among the plants, but the rest has been negligible. Again, the weed fabric, as the path to walk on, not around the plants, has saved work. I hope it will fill in so weeds are not a problem and choosing mostly clumpers, may keep down the need to divide. We'll see. But this area encouraged me. It was one area that needed very little attention and looked great, so there was hope. :-)

5. I have resisted the urge to rip up any more grass and make more beds every spring. :-) I am glad I have because really running a mower over the grass the size of ours, is a lot easier.

6. I know I can't get it the way I want it tomorrow and I concentrate on one or two areas per season to continue to bring them to a more manageable state. Which is really just another way of saying...'There's always next year.'

G'bug, you have a very large property and to expect to handle it all on your own, and garden it intensively is a lot. Is there a way that you could choose a portion of the garden to garden intensively and grow exactly what you enjoy but on a small small scale, like a 'jewel box garden' and then attempt to convert some of the rest into something more low maintenance? Weed fabric for the worst weedy areas, metal barriers or a concrete strip for edging, or groundcovers installed very close together that wouldn't allow weeds to come up?

Is there a chance you could put some of the most intensively gardened areas on a sprinkler system with a timer to make it more automatic?

I don't know what to tell you about your roses, I just ripped out the three I just installed last year.

You could have a garden party where all your friends come with their sleeves rolled up and you reward them in some way?

You could turn your property into an arboretum and all the money for hired help and plant material and supplies might be a write off? You could have tours or volunteers. :-)

Where there is a will there is a way. :-) You have a long gardening life ahead of you. Look at Cloris Leachman, she is going to be on 'Dancing with the Stars' this year and she is 82 years old!!


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 1:53PM
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' eyes are crossed, but I did the puzzles. Still couldn't find the second B, but everything else is found. Hope your garden doldrums go away soon, I feel like that every August, but this year, for some odd reason, the doldrums escaped me. But I totally understand them. Your pictures always impress me so much, that I can't fathom your gardens looking anything less than perfect. Ten acres, though, is a tremendous amount of work...and I can't see doing it all without hired help. But totally understand your hubby's view on having to set priorities. I enjoyed reading about your moving history...are you Canadian by birth? Were you a teacher? Sorry if asked before...I missed it. Liked the tantrum video, too. I've seen my own kids act like that...almost.

chelone...way to go on making headway in the wet garden area. It's looking great. I did some reading on that viburnum...does it get fall color or not? Looks great with the berries, though. Looking forward to hear how the progress with church lady pans out. If anyone can charm a negative person, it will be you. You have a way with words.

V...Where in Lake Geneva do you stay? I was there a few years ago, but can't remember if it was the Cove or Interlaken. I want to try something new, and will probably go away for birthday weekend soon. The big 5-0 Loving the pictures of the coleus. Glad you got a start from one.

Martie...How was your day at work? They must be thrilled to have you back. Sounds like a good visit was had with DB.

PM2...Most pet owners I know have the Dyson vacuum. It's great for carpets, not so great on wood floors, though. I have been using Kenmore canisters for years. Started out, though, with a refurbished Electrolux. More expensive to replace, so went with the Kenmore. Glad you had a good visit with DS. He's taking on a lot with all those kittens. Good for him. Tequila is 4 1/2 months old, but the vet is thinking she's younger. My DD got her at a pet that euthanizes (sp) unsold puppies, so we did save her, but I would have felt better going to a shelter. I got a lot of feedback about puppy mills after telling people where we got her from. Never having a pet, I was pretty clueless, but I've been educated since then. So, we aren't perfectly clear on her birthdate. The paper says 4/11, but the vet says she looks too young.

Cindy...LOL on the 'Tequila shot" pun. Cute. And the cement're quite the comic.

Eden...Bella and Sophie look adorable reading together. Love the room she's in. I thought it was hers, too, but read it's your office she's taken over. Grandkids can do that, ya know! How big is your inula? Do you have a pic of it in your gardens? It's one I want to try, but no nothing about it's needs or size.

Michelle...Love Kenzie on the monkey bench. A keeper for sure...and the pic of the funny mirror. Having a mailbox in her garden is great, especially the thrill of finding a letter in it. How precious.

Denise...Newt is so cute. She looks variegated up against the background of the variegated plant.

Mary...found you right away at the ball park. Great photos of your children. Looks like you all had fun. Loving the pics of your gardens, too.

Saucy...LOL'd at your "What's on the corner in Winslow, AZ."
Sounds like you're making progress in the Goddess garden, and I like how you said you're finding peace working on it. The mirror idea sounds like it will work. Very clever way to show all sides of the statues.

Deanne...I've enjoyed all your photos. Just when I think I know your gardens, you spring another one on me. LOL. Just stunning. Love the sedum seedling, too. Beautiful colors. Hope it comes back.'re like the dog whisperer. The photos with the cookies are so cute.

Weather is great here. But I do hope the call for rain tomorrow is true. We could use it. I've finished the majority of the mulching, but still more to go. Endless chore it is. Gotta get ready for work.

Have a great evening everyone.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 2:21PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Marie, You gave me renewed hope for my ability to see and comprehend. I got all of the letters in less than 30 seconds!

I haven't a great lot of color in my tard, other than the containers, but I sure have the green !

Two of the front yard:

And two of the back :

Belated happy birthday to Deanne and V !

Here is a pic of my coleus seedling that sprouted in a cactus pot. I looked for one like it in a bookmarked coleus site, and saw some similar, but not really like it.

I hope to carry it over winter, and propagate it.

What do you think, Deanne? Have you seen a duplicate?


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 3:22PM
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V, I have that purple oak coleus and it is a good one.

Marie, I suspect your slump has more to do with missing the grandkids than the state of the garden? Just remember the garden is there to enjoy. Don't let it stress you out. Frost will come and it will all be erased too soon. I say no matter how bad the state of the late summer garden it's better than cold, snow and ice. And there's always a fresh start in spring!

Things aren't going well for my mom. She's in the hospital going on the second week and just getting worse. I hate that she's there alone except for my dad visiting her but they're 240 miles away and I'm have to be here with Bella most of the time, one of my sisters has to work and the other's going through her own chemo. My mom fell last night when no one would come and help her to the bathroom. She's so drugged up now for pain that it's hard to understand her on the phone and we all just want to be there. I know some of you have gone through this and understand it's so hard. Having Bella to care for and play with helps me so much but my mom's constantly on my mind.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:05PM
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Eden - I am so very sorry to hear about your Mom. You must feel torn in two not being there. I wish there were more I could offer but can only let you know I'm sending many good thoughts for your Mom, sister and everyone in your family. ((((((((((Eden))))))))


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:31PM
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Yes, Eden, you're in my thoughts, too.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:38PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

So sorry Eden...such an awful predicament. I am sure you have all been racking your brain trying to come up with a solution. Too bad you couldn't get there for a long weekend visit. Our son is about that distance away and it was almost a four hour drive each way, so we left early on a Friday morning and my DH took the day off. Gas is so expensive now too, but thankfully our van is pretty good on gas, I think we get about 24 miles to the gallon, so it wasn't too bad. We didn't get a long visit, but it helped a lot.

I'm very sorry to hear she is doing so poorly, things can change so suddenly, it takes you by surprise sometimes. Hoping anything that can make things easier for all of you will present itself. Also wishing there were something we could offer....


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:53PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Eden - that's such a hard situation... I've been there on both sides so to speak. When my mother was going through her final weeks, like your sister I was going through my own medical problems so I was too sick to go there - and Mom felt bad because she was too sick to come here! And I had a bad fall in the hospital (ended up with a nice black eye!) when I tried to get to the bathroom on my own after no one responded to my repeated use of the call button. Serious, prolonged medical issues are as traumatic for the family as for the patient I think! I don't think there's any way to get through it but grit your teeth, keep going, and distract yourself as best you can with pleasant things like Bella - and the garden. My sympathy to all of you...

gb - I envy you all your space but know that I couldn't cope with it! If I had all that space to deal with I think I would realistically have to focus on a couple of manageable sized areas near the house and let most of the rest go wild. Since you grow mainly group 3 clematis, if you stopped caging them for the winter, wouldn't a lot of them still come back even if the rabbits got to them? A lot of burning bushes around here were badly rabbit eaten last winter. I was surprised that all of them survived and you now can't even tell that they had been stripped to white wood by the time spring arrived. I'm sure it would be hard to 'let go' but maybe you should consider trying a little 'survival of the fittest'in the outlying areas of the garden... :-) ?

I found all the letters in gb's brain teasers - but not as fast as Marian! The Q one was the hardest for me...

Anita - I'm certainly not a 'dog wisperer' but I do whole-heartedly like dogs and they seem to respond to that. I expect 'civilized' behavior from them but also let them just be dogs - which means allowing them some freedom to be sassy and impudent at times :-)

Mary - I wondered if the long drive would not be to Clousseau's liking.... Misty has started, in the last couple of years, to get very antsy if we're on the highway. She likes car rides as long as we avoid the highway. A friend regulaly takes their two Goldens on 9 hour drives to their cottage in northern Quebec! I guess, like people, some dogs are more comfortable than others going for long drives. I'm not a fan of long drives for me! The next time you make a long drive that passes by here, let me know and we can arrange a stopover :-)

The pink hibiscus in the driveway border keeps pumping out the blooms - it makes me smile every time I pass by! It obviously is very happy with the damper summer we've had this year. But I think part of it is just that it is older and mature in size since the three year old reedling one is much, much smaller (the seedling's also in a much drier spot which is not helping any...) The big one is 7 years old I think and looks very nice with its Pink Beauty potentilla companions:

Compare that to this seedling one that is in it's third summer:

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 8:32PM
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Eden, what a frustrating position to be in. Thank you for keeping us updated. Hoping your mom rallies but most of all that she's comfortable...and the d*mned hospital staff responds timely to her needs!

'bug, I wouldn't presume to offer any advice but wanted you to know I fully comprehend your disappointment when such a labor of love as your garden fails to live up to expectations, for whatever reasons. Gardens are so intricately woven with so many personal issues and need constant reevaluation from so many complex points of view, painful as it is sometimes to do. I think amongst the idylls we may have constructed the perfect garden...if only we could time-share! We all have a bit of what we're after -- some want more warmth, others more winter chill ;), more space, less shade, more sun, more rural. Too bad all the bits couldn't be joined together!

Woody, those are seriously cheerful photos. And, Kathy, the moody blues your garden erupted in are gorgeous. Marian, that green is balm to the eyes!


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 9:06PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Eden....big hugs to you. In my experience it was hard to be far...and hard to be near as well! So hug your Bella and enjoy your nearby daughters and son. I spoke frequently to staff and doctors by phone. It wasn't always calming, but at least I felt connected.(My Mom was unable to speak on the phone.)

And Eden, you are right. The garden certainly holds a different significance these days. I do love plants and growth...real miracles they are! But children are supremely important in a new way now. I am trying to get a better emotional grasp on the ex-wife situation as well. I hate all the negatives. I'm sure I would be horrid in DD's shoes, but really, they put so much thought into each decision. Sure they spit fire...but not at her or in front of DGS. Sarah has signed up for a music class with Reed which should be fun! Skyler was thrilled by the photo book the instant he returned from Disney at 2:30AM! I'm sure there will be issues centered around schooling, but in the meantime it is fun to hear about Reed's first time running (yesterday) and how much he was missed by big brother.

Thanks for all the comforting words and suggestions on the garden.... and the fine photos too. (Baby Steps is so sweet! Thanks Mary!)I spent a good part of today with the hose. Reseeded a bit, weeded some more, took a huge wagon load of crud to a distant area. DH worked on the central vac...and failed. We went to watch the girls play soccer on the nearby field after dinner. A gorgeous pink and grey sky too.

Oh, and Woody, I never cage my group 3 clematis for the reasons you mentioned. It is shrubs and trees that take a terrible beating. I can't grow burning bush at all, eaten down into the roots here!

After a good sleep, I should be set to take off in the garden once more tomorrow...with a new attitude.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Finally got Bella to bed. She kept wanting more stories tonight. I had gotten her a coloring book about Rapunzel a couple of days ago. Bella's hair is just about to her waist now and today she asked me to call her Rapunzel. So I hunted up our old Grimm's Fairytales and that was one of the stories we read tonight. I'd almost forgotten how it went.

Mary, I picked you out right away in the Waldo picture. Great picture of Annie and David by the way. Aside from being such great looking kids they always look so kind and happy to me. You've done a good job with them! I'll be looking forward to seeing your book club list too. I haven't been sleeping the best and instead of lying awake worrying I've been doing a lot of night reading and haven't been too successful in finding great choices in books lately.

Saucy, the blue nail polish sounds like a mood elevator:) Can't wait to see the trellis up and I like the idea of mirrors. I have a few in my garden too. Lewis and Little have a great book about their gardens that I love!

Cindy, great picture of blue satin. I've overwintered it here for two years now I think. No reseeding yet and I love anythig that's the color blue. I have a white one that was a seedling of my neighbors that I'm trying to decide where to put too. Hope the awfice calms down for you. Brad pounded some steel rods into the ground and then put the hollow trellis legs over them to anchor. They haven't tipped over yet.

Martie, hope to hear that the first day back was a good experience and hope you didn't overdo.

Anita, I started the inula from seed a few years ago after seeing it in one of Piet Oudolf's books. It is a cool plant with really large leaves, especially toward the base and I think mines about 8 ft. high.

Marian, it's much greener at your place than here. I don't recognize that coleus. It's a pretty one though!

PM, what we've been doing is trying to each get up to see my mom for a couple of days at a time when we can. I'd love to be able to sit with her every day though. I feel like I'm missing out on precious moments.

Woody, you always give me such great insight and advice. The things you've said to me have helped me so much throughout my mom's illness. Thank you.

And thank you all for just being there and letting me tell you what's going on over and over. I know it's not fun to read so much bad news from me. You've all been so supportive and I really appreciate that more than you know.

Off to watch some mindless tv until Megan gets here to fetch Bella.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 10:01PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Last night I got a lot accomplished after work. Tonight I feel like I've been run over by a truck. Perhaps I burned myself out when I went to bed, listening to the end of an exciting Cubs game with one ear and Hillary's speech with the other ear.

So how can you spot a true Cubs fan? They're the ones who look at the baseball standings every single day to be sure that their team is still in first place, even thought the Cubs have the best record in baseball.

Eden, I'm sorry to hear that your Mom is not doing well, and that you all are in such a tough spot right now. Know that we are all thinking of you and sending you good thoughts.

Anita, I live less than a half-hour from Lake Geneva, so we're just going for dinner and not spending the night. If you want to spoil yourself for your special birthday, try the Geneva Inn. We did stay there for our 25th anniversary and it was quite lovely. The restaurant is really nice too.

I'm off to bed now. I hope a little extra sleep is all that I need.


ps - I found the letters in 'bug's teasers very quickly, but I've always had a good eye for spotting typos (um, at least in someone else's work)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 10:13PM
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(((Eden,))), the path you are walking is certainly a hard one, I wish you peace and strength. So glad that the circle of life has given you your lovely Bella to help ease your way.

Torque test today was a success- I am cleared for the crowns. The process took about a half hour; I got multiple shots of Novocain (or whatever it is they use these days) on both sides, and incisions were made to expose the implants, a wrench like tool (think Vise Grips) was used to test the integrity of the posts. I managed to drink coffee post-dentist without dribbling it down my shirt, very proud of that as there was only a small portion of my mouth that actually was in working order.

Marian, nice to see you, and how parklike your property seems ! So green and lush.

PM, Not only can I grow Asters, but I actively pull them up frequently, because there are cultivars that are aggressive hereI planted them so long ago that I dont even know what they are anymore. I think that plant you thought was V. bonariensis is in fact another aster.

Dont be blue Saucy !!! The Godesses will shine upon you , and the bees will give you inspiration You found yourself on Marys ballgame pic ! Chelone is on the opposite side about two rows up from the bottom left corner, too bad you couldnt get seats together , but I bet you met in the bar b-4 the game ! Who are those guys you two are sitting with ? And the Little and Lewis Garden will be on the agenda for sure in any future IU PNW journey.

Workday went well Martie ?

Cindy, its always so difficult to choose climbing structures, and I always seem to underestimate the strength of the vine. I think the key is in how they are anchored to the ground, but maybe you dont need anything and permanent as cement if the are deep enough. Im a big fan of rebar myself.

I like that pink Hibiscus Woody, its such a nice soft color and so floriferous too.

bug, in spite of your frustration, you have shared with us so many beautiful photos , and certainly I can see how overwhelming such a large property can seem. As usual PM has made thoughtful suggestions , (PM is so logical isnt she ?) and I urge you to step outside and see the beauty around you, and to squint at the weeds, squint at the imperfections-they can be blurry if you do !

Thats all for me tonight, and waving to all unmentioned

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 10:43PM
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((Eden)) I cant imagine how hard it is to be so far and feel so helpless. My thoughts and prayers are with your mom and dad and your entire family.

Two days and 3 nights of Kenzie and Im pooped. My son came over last night and we grilled some steaks. Kenzie made sure she showed him her garden. We had lots of fun while she was here. We played a lot in the garden, she picked vegetables, we had fun with sidewalk chalk, she "helped" grandpa, we rode the "4 leeler" to the pond to catch frogs (fortunately they were too fast for us) and rode through the "forest" She got such a kick out of her mail. We also made a stepping stone with her handprint and the date. I also showed her some of the recent photos on the Idylls which she enjoys a lot. She especially liked Deannes yellow brug.

Marian, your property is so wonderfully green for August. Its also very park like.

PM2, I enjoyed your musings about your garden and its progress.

bug, sorry you are feeling so blue about your garden. Ive learned to look for the joyful things in the garden and have given up on perfection. I do find that mulch helps a lot with keeping the moisture in and the weeds down. We get the free stuff from the city but since my gardens are fairly thick, it isnt all that noticable except in the newer areas. I actually water my gardens very little. I havent watered anything other than the vegetable garden this summer until just this week. It has been quite some time since weve had rain so I thought Id give them a drink.

It took me only a matter of seconds to buzz through the puzzles. My DH claims I am very good at spotting things. Its a joke around here because he cant see things that are right under his nose. I found Mary quite quickly too. The kids Waldo books were a big hit around here.

Saucy, Ive not been to the Little and Lewis website but its quite interesting.

Kathy, your garden is looking fabulous dahling!

Anita, when is the big 5-0? If you have to have a birthday it sure is fun to get all the gorgeous Idyll gardens shots to go with it.

I know Ive missed much to comment on but Im going to make it an early evening. I was up late, up early and had a big day at work.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 11:10PM
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I was too pooped to compose anthing last night and this morning I read that you, Eden, are worried, busy, and far away from your Mom when you most wish to be with her. And I do understand the wrenching worry that can be all-consuming at times. I think it wise to give Bella many hugs and possibly give Bud a good kick (two?), as well. I wholeheartedly agree with Woody that illness in the family and the grind of hospitalizations can be as tough on the family, too. Hang tough.

(And I can feel the old resentment toward "medical professionals" bubbling to the surface yet again; I don't think I'll ever have my faith in nursing staff revived ever again after my experience with Mum; I truly hope your family fares better).

I have to catch up on reading this morning. Haircut this afternoon and I really need one. Feeling shaggy and sort of sloppy... nothing the cut and some quality time with my toenails won't cure, though!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 5:16AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well hard to believe Id like a day of rain but there it is. Ive had to put a sprinkler out the last couple days and its a bit of a pain having to water everything again and not just the pots. I got spoiled this summer with our mega rainfall. Its hard to believe how fast things dry out in these sunny breezy days weve been having. I noticed an interesting thing, the Mountain Ash tree that I was ready to remove the last couple years has looked great this year and held its leaves this entire summer - until this week when things dried out. So must be linked to rainfall.

Mary I found you in the pics great shots Love the photo of David and Annie. It looks like you were having a great time. ~~~ Love those slippers! Knowing me Id forget they were on and zip out to the garden for something LOL.

Anita, thanks Im really liking that seedling too.

Great looking seedling Marian. Ive not seen anything else like it.

Eden, Im so very sorry to hear about your mom. It must be so stressful to be so far away from her right now. ~~ I loved that Bella wanted the Rapunzel story. I wonder how long she will let her hair grow? ~~ PS Id love a cutting from that Purple Oak coleus? I love it and have never seen it around here.

Bug, I agree with Eden, just look forward to a good hard frost and the anticipation of the fresh start in the spring instead of dwelling on all the imperfections. (probably no one else would notice them but you so just dont look!) I do know exactly what you are talking about but on a much smaller scale. The borders do start looking really tattered and worn this time of the year and unless one is willing to devote every waking moment to clean up this time of the year there is no way to keep things spruced up. I cant imagine dealing with a property the size of yours. It must be overwhelming at times. I also like Woodys advice about trying a little survival of the fittest in the outlying areas of the gardens.

Woody, that Hibiscus of yours is a star! What a beauty!!!! And that potentilla is perfect with it. It made me smile when I read that it made you smile! Isnt that great? Your
hibiscus is making me smile this far away and Ive never seen it in person. LOL

Cindy, it sad that the industry on Chincoteague has shifted from fishing to tourism. I can remember these HUGE piles of oyster shells right near the drawbridge onto the island and our rented house on the bay had oyster beds that came with the property. An interesting place to live.

Kathy, love your garden shots. It feels so zone fivish. LOL ~~ Good news about being ready for your crowns! Ill bet you cant wait to have that behind you.

Michelle, it sounds like you had a great visit with Kenzie. How fun that she likes the brugs. So, would you like a cutting of the yellow brug?

OK Ive got a busy day here with getting the pots watered and then my friend is coming over and we will be painting today. Im still working on my September class project and havent made much progress yet but am hoping with company in the studio it will keep my bum in my painting chairLOL

LOl about everyone wanting pieces of that seedling. I've got to get it through the winter first. I wonder, has anyone ever done stem cuttings of this kind of sedum? I should try that.

Have a great day all

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 5:59AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning... :-)

More comfortable sleeping weather last night. reports it is 57 degrees and clear. I was just looking at the 10 day forecast and if it is to be believed, we are evidently heading into a perfect weather pattern. High 70s during the day, High 50s at night, mostly sunny every day and no rain to speak of. We just finished the sprinkler cycle in the garden, one of the few times we have had to all summer.

Anita....nice to see you. :-) Thanks for that information on the vacuum. I had wondered what people's experience was with the Dyson, since the reviews on it are excellent but they cost so much. Nice to know Kenmore is an option. Yes, DS has taken on a lot with the kittens and we were initially concerned it was too much, but having seen how happy he is with them and how responsible he is trying to be to them, we are thinking it may work out fine. Your Tequila is so adorable, I would have a hard time not taking her home, if I saw her in a pet store. In our area, I can't remember the last time I saw a pet store. We used to have one at the Mall but it's been gone for a long time. So, you've never had a pet? Wow....well, I hope that you have an enjoyable first experience with Tequila. Your daughter must be thrilled.

Marian...I agree, it looks like a park there, it is so green! That last photo with the foliage all framing a circle, it looks like a window looking into the park. Nice shot. What would be great would be a shot with a blanket laid out for a picnic and you and Nolan and kitties on it, right in the middle of that circle. :-)

Woody...your hibiscus is a delight! Thanks so much for sharing photos of the difference in the three year old seedling and the seven yr old bush. Such a difference. My expectations for my own Hibiscus are different now. Mine are all less than three years old. glad you are all able to get out to see her some and completely understand wanting to be there every day. Such a strain not to be able to do what you instinctively want to. I just started a book that I may have mentioned once...I can't put my finger on it this minute, but I will come back when I can get the title.

Gardenbug...I meant to clarify that in my mind you certainly know more about gardening than I do, and you may have already considered most of my suggestions, but I throw out what I have to offer anyway, just in case, there is even one thing that someone hadn't thought of. I find that I often will know things but forget them in the moment and need to be reminded and just assume everyone else is the same. I hope you knew those last two suggestions were far fetched, [g] but I always like to think of the most far fetched ideas just to get myself thinking outside the box a little. I may not have said so, but I thought it went without saying, that your garden is amazing and I seem to remember in the spring before the weeds got out of hand, you were very happy with it. :-) Eden made a good point, that children/grandchildren priorities are influencing how you feel about the garden.

I had two more ideas... :-) For the weeds in the vegetable garden, where you just laid the mulch that failed. We have had a lot of rain this year and I have seen weeds coming up through mulch that have not done that before. It may work out different next year. When a large area of weeds get away from me, sometimes instead of pulling them, I run the mower over them set low and layer cardboard over them and just a very light layer of mulch and that has done the trick. I don't know why that seems easier to me than pulling them, but it does. lol The other thought that came to me was 'cover cropping'. I have seen people grow a cover crop in the paths of the vegetable garden that can be mowed instead of mulches. Also under fruit trees as a living mulch.

Glad to hear Skyler is back from Disney and enjoyed your photo book. What a summer that boy is having! Reed running already, wow, Sarah will have her hands full now. :-)

V....I didn't know you were a baseball fan. :-) The Chicago Cubbies, huh? Glad you are enjoying them.

Kathy...I am surprised at your description of this Torque test. I guess I just wasn't thinking how they would have to do it. Congratulations! You have had a lot of patience to go through this whole procedure. Crowns finally, how exciting!

Oh, and thank you for suggesting that I can be logical. There are times when discussions with my kids leave me wondering why my logic is lost on them and if I have any at all. [g]

Michelle....your 'Kenzie days' sound wonderful. :-) She must just love going to see the grandparents. Time for another photo update of her garden? What are you harvesting in the vegetable garden? We are down to string beans only and they are getting too big, time to pick again.

Deanne...I did take a cutting of my Purple Emperor this season and it rooted fine, as easy as sedums usually are. I think you have a new cultivar there, Deanne! 'Deanne's Sunshine' or 'Glowing Deanne' lol.

Doctor's visit today and then hopefully some garden time.

Oh...what are everyone's Labor Day plans?


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 6:56AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Eden...the name of the book I am reading is 'The Lost Garden' by Helen Humphreys. It's only 163 pages. Here is the blurb from the back cover...

"A young woman gardener named Gwen Davis flees from the burning city [London] for the Devon countryside. She has volunteered for the Land Army and is to be in charge of a group of young girls who will be trained to plant food crops on an old country estate where the gardens have fallen into ruin. Also on the estate, waiting to be posted, is a regiment of Canadian soldiers. For three months, the young women and men will form attachments, living in a temporary rural escape. No one will be more changed by the stay than Gwen. She will inspire the girls to restore the estate gardens, fall in love with a soldier, find her first deep friendship, and bring a lost garden, created for a great love, back to life."

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:02AM
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Survived Day One and Day Two looms with many good prospects. Not used to sitting all day, though, and took several walks around the building. The property is beautifully landscaped and it's really cool to WALAT at work!

(((Eden))). I have no experience to compare, but am guessing your Mom would want you with Bella if she could give you the honest choice. You're "with her" more than you know, if not in person. Shame on the staff. I'm still thinking that you, Chelone, 'bug and I could start one heck of a business sticking up for people with illness.

'bug: Girl's soccer is a semi-tonic for everything, yes? Your feeling glum is certainly understandable given the amount of property and plantings you've worked so hard to achieve. Of late I've found that working on 5'squares in the garden and getting just that one spot "perfect" has diminished my sense of abandoning them to recuperate. A step at a time?

Cindy: Your awfice sounds like a bees nest. Hang in there!

Saucy: Many folks I know and honor are beginning to really feel the effects of the shortened days and cooler weather. Do you have room to start some cuttings under lights and pretend it's Spring? I'm moving several lights out of the basement and into my office for the winter for that very reason. Rich isn't too happy about it, but it's cheaper than a therapist during the winter blues.

Mary - I got everything, except you in the crowd. Have you heard from your new "son" from Harlem? Love the veggie folks. Congrats on your gardener work! I can't imagine you doing anything she wouldn't love.

Deanne - The thought of your gardens looking at all tattered causes a chuckle. Try doing a base leaf cutting of the sedum, like you would a Rex begonia?

PM2 - Is your son in New York State? We're half-way, you know :-)

So here we have Sue with a Z7/8 garden and Kathy with a Z5. Did you guys switch coasts while we weren't looking?

Bopping off to do some Probate work for my DB, including a donation to his Hospital for a cutting garden to be established next year. My other DB and I spent a lovely half hour in the potager, cleaning it out and remembering a lot. My third DB is renovating my Mom's garden so we all still have it in us. My sister's black thumb is not mentioned in pleasant company. LOL

Enjoy the sun while it lasts!


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:08AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA survived! :-)

Yes, our son is in New York state and you may be half the distance, but not by how the 'crow flies'. [g] I will have to check that out more though. I was noticing that Gardenbug is only eight more hours past him. For a minute I thought it would be less, but I always do that when I look at a map..'but it's only a couple of inches further'

I add to your suggestion of an advocacy business...great idea. DH's mother just had a fall with round the clock aides with her. Luckily it was not a break, but the aide on duty has had issues before, so a decision was made to let her go. We were lucky that it wasn't more serious.

A step at a time...reminds me of a cute rhyme someone told me once that stuck with me. 'Yard by yard it's hard, but inch by inch it's a cinch.' :-)

Also for Saucy...there are some great full spectrum light fixtures now, that are specifically aimed at people who are sensitive to the lower light levels of fall/winter. I bought one at Target. It looks like a desk lamp and has a longer fluorescent type bulb that is full spectrum. I know they have commercial lights that are more what a doctor would prescribe too.

Martie...sister's black thumb..[g]

Nice to hear you sounding so chipper.

Okay...really going this time.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:30AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

PM2, I only realized it is a long weekend about an hour ago! So I must think about that a bit before I reply! DD's family, minus Skyler, will be camping up north at a favorite spot. The holiday includes their second anniversary as well. (Well, almost...on Sept 3rd.) Their marriage has been such a good thing for all in spite of the inherent difficulties of former partners.

I also want to say PM2 that I always enjoy your outlook on family/people and things. So I was happy with ALL suggestions for bending my mind around the present garden situation. We'll see what evolves over the next few weeks. I thank everyone for putting up with me.

Deanne, I've never had a problem starting sedum. Sarah had a broken stem that she rooted while I was visiting. They are very quick to show roots in water. I even just stick a stem in the ground and VOILA! On another note, this was the first year that I cut back Sedum Autumn Joy in June. I chopped off a big chunk that I mailed Sarah, then cut back the rest to about 5-6 inches. It wasn't beautiful for a few weeks, but now it is so perfect that I know I'll have to do this every year in the future. It's all about remembering to do it at the right time. Maybe I should mark next year's calender NOW!

Chelone, I am there with you on "the old resentment". I try very hard to recall the good medical experiences from the past, but it is a bit like counting the good teachers from my few AND out of so many! There is something about being too overworked to be able to shine, but there is also that ability to make a difference (in both professions) sometimes without even realizing it. Doing an adequate job of anything is not good enough for me I'm afraid. (I guess that's part of my garden problem too...)

Marian's acreage is so beautiful and green. I love the natural aspect of things, though I know that too involves effort. And yes Michelle, I do think we need a photographic update of Kenzie's gardens. How that would have made a difference to me if I'd had a parent/grandparent to share garden wonder with! That will forever be a bond! I need to think about your suggestions on mulching too. I've got to find a source of good mulch. Past experiences haven't been good and mostly involved introducing weeds rather than prevention.

I have breakfast to prepare and errands to run. I'll likely be back later today. Wishing everyone a super day.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:40AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Good morning!

We are just in the most fabulous cycle of late summer weather right now-warm, dry days and cool nights.

Eden, please know I'm thinking about you. Cancer is such a horrible, insidious non discriminating disease. You're doing the best you can for mom and your family. Be proud of that.

OK, I could go on about managing the challenges of maintaining a complex garden when your priorities shift even slightly. It sounds like many of us are experiencing it to some degree. The only solution I can come up with is to downsize but even that takes planning and time.

Speaking of time, it's time to get back to work.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 8:32AM
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What on earth? Is GW's background a different "pea soup" color for everyone? Did Deanne's trojan roll through cyberspace to visit me?

I can say one thing for myself, and it's when I see a problem with myself, I look for solutions. Some things I've tried have been complete failures, but at least I keep trying. Presently I am back in the gym, back to taking vitamins regularly, and making sure I spend quality time in the garden and sunshine. I don't think that it's any secret that the past couple of years have been rough (though other's struggles seem far worse) and I just wish I could shake the last of "it". I get pretty messed up in my head and considered taking another hiatus from Idyll because I wasn't sure I could play nice....but once again, you guys come through as the real (not cyber, lol) people that you are......

So, I'll quit being all mushy and keep pushing through.....

Michelle, now you've really piqued my curiosity over the columns, so don't forget to photo them while you're taking all the other requested photos!

Chelone, my hairdresser moved my appt. to next week - could she hear the distress in my voice? LOL....what shade will you be sporting on your lower digits?

Kathy, congrats on the torque test!

Yes! Sue and Kathy have swapped zones!

I'm calling about a grindstone to place in the middle of my circular patio today - 40 bucks! Wonder if he'll take $25 since it's been in the paper for weeks?

Eden, I need a refresher, too! Is Rumplestiltskin in there somewhere spinning straw into gold, or different fairy tale all together ? I'll have to google....

Marian, green is hard to come by this time of year! I'll bet your fall color will be spectacular! I think New England will have quite the show, too.

Count me in on the not much watering crowd. One thing I do love about N.E. is the summers....and I like them cool and sunny (I hate it when people complain that they didn't have any summer at all.....not once did I need a parka to get to my car this July!)....if plants can't survive in my gardens, well, they don't get to live here, the pots on the deck......this is the first year I managed to water them all the way to September and I only lost one to lack of water and it was a fluke! It wasn't under the sprinkler for the vaca week.

Now I'm just rambling, so I'm gonna put on the gym shoes and go whip my butt into shape, literally, since today is lower body lifting :)


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 8:46AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

My, My everyone has come out to chat -- it was a busy nite!

I can only echo everyone else by now, Eden -- it's a tough tough spot and no good answers are there....It's too bad you couldnt figure someone out to care for Bella for a few days so you could go visit your Mom - I suspect a visit would help you; but as we know best ideas dont always work out. It's great to have Bella close to give her lots of hugs and read to her, isnt it? Somehow it re-affirms our joy in living.

Eden, thanks so much for the idea re the arbors -- I have in fact tied them to rebar that I placed afterwards in the ground, but the idea of placing the rebar inside is something that never occurred to me! Geeze, it's great to hear people's ideas here -- sometimes I worry about "whining" too much about a problem but you all take it in stride and come up with solutions... Which is why it's perfectly okay to chat here when one has bad news or thoughts... and talking about plants is always a great diversion - even if we're depressed about the look of our own gardens I find.

Saucy - what a steal -- $40 for a grindstone? of course getting it to your house is probably the challenge -- I have often wanted to have one somewhere in my garden but the shipping is prohibitive and I dont have the manpower to heave it around either. I consider them to be wonderful classic type elements of a garden and it would go great w/ your goddesses!

Like Chelone and 'bug, I confess I am terribly resentful and distressed about the quality of nursing care for chronically ill people; the horrible experiences my DM went thru linger and have colored my views about the future - there are indeed fine people in that profession, but they seem to be few and far between - at least in urban areas..... but one has to work with what exists and try not to be totally overwhelmed in frustration - something I often failed at.

Well somewhow, I missed Michelle's comments about columns in her garden and at lunch Im going to have to go back and try to figure out what myster is happening by golly -- columns, cant get more classical than that with those!! We definitely need photos.

We're having a gentle rain here -- hopefully it will help some things along to perk them back up (including myself) - Im looking forward to a long weekend and arranged to take Tuesday off as well -- right now a rainy day in bed sounds pretty terrific. I bet it sounds great to you too, V -- altho your belated birthday celebration will be nice too.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 9:21AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Just a fly-by post here... to say if anyone is looking for a low-fat chocolate recipe, you've got to try the one linked below! I just made them and they are very good! I actually used some unsweetened chocolate that Randy had brought home from work and upped the sugar a tiny bit in the recipe. Read the reviews by other cooks - they're right; you'd never know there was dates in them unless someone told you. I just made the original recipe and it made only 6 small cupcakes. In the cooks' comments, a lot of people had doubled or tripled the recipe.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 11:09AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Did I really typed that? Signed "'big"? Truer words could not have been typed. Freud hits the computer age, oh my!

OK, caught up here in my reading. Now for those errands.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 11:48AM
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A drive by too. Just wanting to send (((((((((((((Eden)))))))))). No words left that haven't been said, but good thoughts are being sent out to your mom, and all of you caring for and about her. You're in a tough spot, not being able to be with her. So pour all of your energy into little precious will find a sense of peace in those tiny arms.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 12:07PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Jesh... I'm behind again. I did see Eden's news. Prayers and good thoughts for you and your family.

Interesting news article, be careful what you say and think! LOL

"We build on behavioral priming research, which finds that cues or stimuli in the environment, such as the things we see, can activate related concepts in our mind that carry over to influence behavior, even outside our awareness. In a classic study, for example, participants exposed to elderly related words ended up walking more slowly leaving the experiment. The idea is that the words activated the elderly stereotype, which includes walking slowly, and such thoughts influenced behavior. "

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 12:49PM
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Now dont get ideas about my columns being very grand, they are just made of large tumbled pavers. Ill try to get pictures tonight.

I made some fresh salsa last night that Im eating for lunch now. I dont remember what kind of peppers I planted, but wow they are hot!!!

Cindy, dont be afraid of concrete. Just buy a bag of Quickcrete, mix in a wheelbarrow with a hoe until the consistency of peanut butter. If I can do it you can too. For my latest arbor we actually put the rebar in concrete footings and slipped the hollow legs of the arbor over it similar to what Eden probably did.

Saucy, a grindstone is a very cool find. My imitation in the Secret Garden is a concrete well lid.

Martie, Im sure youre glad to back in the swing of things.

I will have to put up some pictures of Kenzie enjoying her garden. I did take a few ;o)

PM2, we are harvesting tomatos, green beans, kohlrabi, carrots, onions and peppers. Im glad you mentioned using cardboard under mulch as that is something I do a lot as well. Kenzies garden has a lot of it this year as it was a very weedy area before. I also will rake some mulch aside and lay down cardboard and then replace the mulch.

Deanne, Id do a cutting of your sedum if I were you. They root easily and fast. Ive taken many cuttings from Matrona and Vera Jameson. Id love a brug cutting. I have a couple of things to send to you after I get back from vacation. How neat that you lived on an island. What kind of work did your dad do?

bug, I would have loved to have a garden mentor as well. When my kids were little they each had a small plot that we would sow with mixed annual seeds which were fun because you never knew what you were going to get. DS was quite into vegetable gardening through his high school years.

Back to work


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 1:57PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Since I really worked through lunch I can take a midafternoon idyll, right?

Jerri's quote reminded me of something I did inadvertently at a trade show last week. I was talking to a younger woman who had bangs that fell over her eyes. A section of her hair was directly over her pupil and somehow managed to make her eye look deformed - I couldn't look her in the eyes as I was talking to her. Without realzing what I was doing, I reached up and brushed my own hair away from my eyes, even though there was NO hair in my eyes. Sure enough, she immediately copied my gesture and her eyes were "normal" again. I had this little twinge of guilt that I had manipulated her behavior, but I also was glad that I could look at her again!

I've been avoiding the garden frustration discussion, but I have had a few myself this year. More specifically, I've been frustrated with my DH in regards to the garden. I've come to realize he has no patience. I can't tell you how many times in June he complained that the Petunias were smaller than last year. Well, yes, the June 08 petunias were pretty dinky compared to the September 07 petunias! If you look at them now, they're doing much better than last year.

He found a couple of butterfly weed seedlings in the lawn and wanted to transplant them. When we dug one, the tap root only went straight for about three inches and then took a ninety degree angle to the side. As a result, we only got a small part of the root. The plant looked sickly for a couple of weeks, and he moaned and groaned about it every night. Of course, the plant now looks just wonderful.

He also seems to have decided that no plant should ever die. I like to try things, experiment a bit and learn from the results, but the fun goes out of that when you are criticized for every failure.

OK, that's off my chest. Guess I should get back to work.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 4:33PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Where did the day go? I just woke up from a two hour nap after getting home from my doctor's appointment. I see everyone's been busy chatting today. How is it that I think I have read every post and then I see someone refer to something I missed? I must be skimming a little.

Cindy, I missed Michelle's columns too and something else, but I can't find it

Where has Ms 'big' gone to? [g] I didn't have a garden mentor either and never knew any of my grandparents. Having been almost the baby of the baby in my Mother's family, and of my Dad who was also almost the baby, all four grandparents had passed before I was a toddler. The only known gardeners in my mother's family were two maiden aunts of hers, who lived into their nineties and had great gardens.

So who had a garden mentor and who had relationships with grandparents growing up? hit the nail on the head, a shift in priorities plays havoc on the least in that particular season. And that is just what I arrived at in the spring, even downsizing takes too much time! glad you have decided not to take a break from Idylls. I would miss you. :-) Good decision to start back to the gym, etc. I think we all understand what a struggle to get yourself to do what you need to do can be sometimes. Good job!

Michelle, you have some vegetable garden going this year. I have been a slacker. We are buying tomatoes this year for the first time in years. Peppers only do so so for me because I really only get about 6-7hrs of sun. I do love the cardboard idea too. Once I even used solid plastic left over from when the kids had an ice rink to solarize an area that I couldn't get rid of a weed. I left the plastic there for a year and it worked really well.

V....of course, with experimenting you expect a certain amount of failure. As a matter of fact, when I experiment with cuttings or seeds, I am always thrilled to get any successes at Someone else's expectations that are unrealistic are no fun when they put them on you. I think it is very hard to influence someone who is negative away from their negativity. They seem attached to it like a security blanket. Not that I am never negative, but in general I try not to be stuck there. I used to just let people's negativity roll over me, but I found that was influencing me too much, so now I actively combat it whenever I have the energy too.

Ok...time for supper...enjoy the evening...waving to all....


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 5:29PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Just in from taking a few photographs and I thought you'd enjoy seein this beauty. check out this white brug!

Thanks to Sue who gave me the cutting a couple years ago.

Be back later for more commentary. I'm down in the studio and need to get upstairs and get some dinner.

Later all

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 6:54PM
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I'm home and newly clipped and neatened up; hair is a good deal shorter on the left side of my part and the back weight line is higher and shorter. I was hoping for an "edgier" clip up around my ears (Beverly Sassoon from the '60s), but it's easy enough to cut more off! ;) Hairdresser is great, she kept fiddling with a longer piece of hair, trying to get it to "behave" and be on the proper side of the part. She said she wanted to cut it, and I replied, "go for it". But it would mean the part wouldn't be as neat... "so what? if cutting it sucks we'll let it grow back out. You cut hair for a living, you know what you want to do for a good cut. Go for it.". She uses "chipping scissors" (think that's what you call 'em) to thin out the hair on the top of my head and I can feel my posture improve with every cut, lol. My 4 week date with her always leaves me feelin' like a million bucks. Anita, your profession leaves me speechless with awe.

I want to speak to garden doldrums. I know a lot about the subject, you guys. It's really hard to watch the season(s) roll by and watch nothing happen in your garden except the increase in tasks that you need to do. And it doesn't matter why things don't get done, the cumulative result is that you wind up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by the toll inability to get out there exacts. I "lost" the best part of 4 seasons caring for Mum. I lost another one to the vaguaries of weather and contractors. So I "get" the frustration thing completely. It was nearly impossible for me to engage the personal clutch after not using it for so long, but the simple act of yanking some weeds in a confined area was really quite liberating. At least I was DOING something. And the simple act of starting in a small area seemed to put the entirety of the project into a more manageable perspective. Personally? I'm using the "micro" lens these days, the truth revealed is far less overwhelming that the "macro". I've broken the necessary work in to bite-size morsels. And I've kept my head down and focussed on the immediate task in front of me. It's WORKED. I'm actually feeling pretty hopeful about my ability to get a shrub border installed, even if the time frame and the size of the shrubs isn't what I'd really prefer. "an inch is a cinch", as PM2 says! Sooo...

I really want to hear about and see progress on the Temple to Four Seasons, Lisa. Your delight in screens and statuary has really gotten me thinking about how to incorporate that sort of thing in my own yard. I, too, have been thinking about using mirrors in the garden since I saw the inventive use of them in Les and Monique's garden. But I worry about birds flying into them here, and I don't have the luxury of a solid fence, either. I've thought repeatedly about those really cool ceramic "tiles" fence we saw in Beverly (?) when we did the Open Days tour. I loved the idea and have been trying to come up with something similar to use vertically along the road to add some interest and height to the space between the newly planted shrubs. Not sure how or what, but know that Eden and Michelle's use of rebar and concrete will figure in the project. :)

As for "bringing people down" by sharing your worries, sadness, frustrations, well... I just don't see it that way, at all. It doesn't bring me down one bit to have people I like share those things. It's no different to me than if you told me those things sitting in my house. Friends are friends and sometimes listening to the unfairness life can mete out is the best way to make it more manageable. It's OK to be sad/frustrated/hurt and say so. (Kum Bah Ya chorus fades in now... ).

I've wanted to comment on much more but wanted to get the above thoughts out while they were still "fresh". Maybe I'll have more energy later on (doubt it) or maybe tomorrow.

But I really want to thank you all for your positive and encouraging comments about the "wasteland" to the east of the bahn. I have more real estate to weed and things to think about. Anita, the Viburnum seiboldii doesn't color up in the fall and that was "minus", but it was counteracted by the size of the mature plants, nice flowers and good-looking fruit, as well as the willingness to tolerate rather moist soil.

Time for dinner, so I'm outta here. Calling me "late for dinner could result in trampling.

(yum-yum, eat 'em up)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:11PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Deanne - those are very impressive brugs! How do you keep the leaves so green and healthy? Mine are turning yellow and dropping off... They did that last summer too - which was part of the reason I was considering just letting the whole plant(s) die off last fall!

PM - My mother and her parents - and indirectly her paternal grandmother - were my garden mentors. We lived with my maternal grandparents until I was about 14. My sister and I helped my mother in the perennial garden her paternal grandmoter had started. We helped my grandfather(who was 80 when I was born but who was actively gardening into his mid-90s when he died...) in the vegetable garden and orchard. My grandmother's favorite things were wild fruits so we helped her pick wild strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries - which she turned into fabulous jams, pies and shortcakes - yum!

Chelone - sounds like a nice haircut. Unlike you, I only go to the hairdresser when my hair gets so messy I can't stand it any longer :-) I go maybe 3-4 time a year.

gb - have you grown white erythronium? If so, what conditions is it growing in? I was thinking of getting some of that and the Auntie Sherry peony with Phoebe's gift but I've tried erythronium before without any luck so was wondering where it would grow best.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:34PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

For New Englanders, Weston Nurseries is having a 33% off sale now. I am looking over their catalog to see if there is anything I want. They do specialize in Azalea/Rhododendron. Do I remember someone here suggesting summer flowering Azaleas to me, when I was complaining of nothing blooming in July? I understand some of them are fragrant, but just starting to check if they actually bloom in July or June. I am considering getting one and would love to hear about anyone's experience with them.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 8:47PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

PM & Chelone, you hit the nail on the head (at least for me) with your "narrow focus" approach. I know that I do so much better when I attack a project in small pieces. I know I can get overwhelmed when I look at the entirety; I often feel I don't know where to start. In fact, when the house really gets out of hand, I tell myself to just put away three things. Anyone can out away three things, right? Often it ends up being more than just three, but the philosophy gets you started.

So I need to go put three things away in my bedroom...


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 8:59PM
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I just came in from dining and shopping with the family. We have a fave fastfood place called Know Fat....they serve good food and most of the side dishes are broccoli, and if you want fries, they're "air" fried :)

....and I was shopping for Plaster of Paris, for I figure if I need some winter projects, I'm always bummed that there are no leaves for the picking, since I like pressed leaves in the concrete. Anyway, I'm going to plaster cast and then use a latex "mask" to make a negative of the image :) Cross your fingers....probably won't try until the kids are in school so that I can work out the kinks before I make them help me assembly line style :)

Chelone, that's precisely what my worry was....can I Idyll without being constantly morose? Apparently I can :)

I'm so sorry that others are feeling blue, too, and that your gardens are not bringing you solace. Personally, this is one of my favorite times of the year because things look "fresher" than they do in the heat of the summer (or the grey of the summer as it may be!). Tonight the kids and I decided we should begin planning our pumpkin carving....this is a big deal for us! One year we brought home 1st prize in the carving contest in Maine! There is so much to look forward to before February shows her ugly head :)

Chelone, I'm afraid it doesn't look like much in the Four Seasons garden, but I promise to take updates as I progress! I want to remember doing this, too, as so far, it looks like I'm on my own :) Nick is pretty busy these days :) Did I say that I'm contemplating laying my own patio? We did one together year before last and I think I have it down pat....

Deanne, gorgeous!

Woody, I came home from Maine to well watered, but yellowed brugs. They need so much fertilizer! The brug forum suggest Epsom salts regularly, too! I'm going to try them in the ground next year if they survive my basement....

I'm headed to bed with columns in my head....I love Little and Lewis, Eden....been a fan since I saw them on Martha at least 10 years ago now!

Talk to you on the morrow!


PS, LOL, I just read this post before submitting...I sound down right manic compared to this morning! Wonder what's up with me?

Anyway, wanted to say to PM: My mom always let us poke seeds in the ground no matter where we lived. I remember planting marigolds with her, too. My grandmother grew cherry tomatoes and had lots of potted plants that she moved in the basement for winter. I remember she had what she called a Jade Tree, and LOL, it was a tree!

I started to garden up here and thought it seemed easy! The soil was dark and friable, not like the red clay that my dad had on the farm (nursery, not livestock or crop)....and plants seemed to be easy. I was bitten. I had a neighbor who would leave perennials she'd divided on my doorstep in a big coffee can that we set up for the task, and I went to GW plants swaps. That's how I got started.

Cindy, I called about the grind stone (no answer) and then noted in the next "ad" that he has a 15" bell for sale for 10 bucks :) LOL....just call me Fred Sanford. What am I gonna do with a giant bell?


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 9:15PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We use a bell for our doorbell Saucy! It gets confused with the nearby schoolhouse recess bell at times, but it does its job when I need DH quickly!

V: Yes I need to do some "Three Things Therapy". Getting started on the horrendous job is stopping me in my tracks. And also knowing that even if I did succeed, I'd have to begin again. I have put in a call for some garden help. Perhaps next week they can start?...

Woody, yes, I love the white erythronium. They took forever to get started and 3-4 years for me. Never enough though! The grow by our iron gate beside the ferns. It's a mighty shady area there. The chipmunks like them too. Grrrr

Saucy, I had leaf imprints in my kitchen tiles at the former house. They were from Brazil and I loved them. There were a few leftovers which I still have, saved somewhere or other. No idea what I'll do with them though.

My French grandfather was a gardener. He was the accountant for an assylum and they lived in the premises. Grandmere strictly did the cooking and Granpere his job as well as the garden. It was impressive to me as an 8 year old and it was huge, enclosed by high brick walls. There was a doorway with a lock and you needed a key to get in. Voles were his big enemy and he used the hose to attempt to drown them. Oh the memories! Every meal involved a trip to the garden for lettuce, beans, gooseberries...all sorts of amazing things in my eyes. He spoke German, I did not. There was a bond there though.

Gentle rain here too Cindy. Good for the plants and I guess it means I can delay my weed attack a bit longer.

That's it for tonight.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 10:12PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

My mind is often like a sieve. I meant to talk about my gardening mentors. My grandmother had a wonderful old fashioned garden. I remember hollyhocks, gaillardia, phlox, feverfew, snapdragons and geraniums. My mom also gardened, and I remember that she let me plant what I wanted in parts of the garden. In fact, one of the first "failed experiments" was when she and I dug up some ferns from the woods of northern Wisconsin where we were vacationing and tried to transplant them in our backyard garden. They died... For the most part my mother wasn't an adventurous gardener but she always liked to keep the yard looking pretty and she always let me help.

My birthday celebration plans have changed slightly. My MIL decided that she should take us out for dinner tomorrow night for our anniversary (30 years last week!) and she decided we should go to Lake Geneva. Doesn't make sense to go back two days later, so we made reservations at a sushi restaurant that's supposed to be really good.

Saucy, buy now and find a place for the bell later. I'm sure once you see it, an idea will ring true.

Deanne, I've been meaning to mention your sedum. That looks like it could be unique. You should take some cuttings on it. As others have mentioned, it should be easy to propagate.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 10:37PM
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Seems I'm always on the bad side of a hair appointment. A couple days ago a neighbor dropped by mid-morning. I'm in Duncan's powder blue T-shirt with the image of Napoleon on a horse by the painter David, which mistakenly ended up in my closet after laundry, and I haven't subdued my hair yet. I've definitely reached the end of summer, what-the-hell phase, appearance wise. Just forgot to tell the neighbors ;) She looked a little stunned. Her mouth formed the words "Must be nice to have so much hair" but nothing could hide the horror in her eyes. Oh, well...better telephone first!

Seems like Saucy feels about winter the way I used to feel about summers. This year I truly enjoyed every sweat-drenched minute. But fall and winter are hands down my favorite. That's a great idea to ease into a cold winter with a plan to wrestle with like the goddesses and the shrub border and Cindy's clemmie support project.

About sharing sad news and misfortune, I'd hope that no idyller ever feels compelled to bear it alone. Exciting to hear about all the projects percolating. I love Michelle's advice to embrace concrete. V, I was sure you were going to report reaching over and brushing the girl's bangs out of her eyes. Happy 30th anniversary!

Deanne, the brugs are flawless. Good job keeping the ravenous beasts fed. Leaves locally always appear chlorotic on brugs, and bug-eaten.

And I can't remember what Rapunzel's problem was either, tho she was definitely locked in a tower. Obviously an evil stepmother involved somehow. G'night, all.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 10:46PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I should be sleeping by now, but gee...what are those photos of Chelone? I just love the inserts, the design, the color, the shine, the texture. So pretty, are they for the garden?


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 10:53PM
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bug, your grandparents garden reminds me of the garden in the book "The Secret Garden" with the brick wall and door with a key.

No garden mentor here. I got bit by the bug when I married DH and moved to this farm that lacked even the standard foundation shrubs. I added a few shrubs and one thing lead to another.

I think I now have the garden doldrums after seeing Deanne s fabulous brugs and containers. LOL Actually, there were several areas tonight that I thought looked pretty darn good. Im going to put a few pictures up on a separate thread.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 11:34PM
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Shucks its almost bedtime, Ive been watching the sports event at Mile High, and so much I would like to comment on..Thank goodness for 3 day weekends. Do I remember and Idyll a couple of years ago that was designed to be started and completed over the 3 days of labor day Weekend ? Think I was a lurker at the time.

V, I am that close to becoming a Cubbies fan for the rest of the season. When you get swept by a sad-sack organization like the Nats you have issues! Do we need to do a mass mailing to your DH explaining that gardens are dynamic, prone to the follies of climate and pests, and require tolerance of imperfections at times ? Just dont show him any pics of Deannes garden.

Saucy. my Brug looks like crapola. Im in zone 9 ! Pout, pout, whine , whine.

Promising a more cohesive post on the morrow.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 11:38PM
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Boy, I'm glad it's Friday. yesterday at work was not so great. It requires a good deal of planning and attention to detail to do what I do and it's easy to look at work and find little things that you wished you'd done differently. I received a double helping of "if it had been me, I'd have done thus and such" yesterday, which usually indicates some sort of turmoil. I couldn't wait to get away, lol. Today will be better though.

Kathy, has Manny continued "being Manny" or has he gotten his hair cut? He's a rig, ain't he? I managed to fall asleep just before the big event last night, and I awakened in time for the "post game wrap up". NPR should bring me up to speed this morning. ;) And that's great news on the torque test, you must be heaving a sigh of relief. Know I would be!

PM2, that fence in the picture above was really cool. They had a formal area defined by those low fences (2 1/2-3'H) and I just loved it. They were ceramic tiles set into a rather ingenious frame and the effect was really charming in a shady area. I would like to do something along those lines, but stained grey to match the house. Have been toying with the idea of using the scroll saw but have yet to come up with anything interesting. One more thing to add my list to fill up my "spare time"...

Will try to comment on garden mentors later today, but for now I have to get to work. (9 hrs. and counting).

Hi Marian (the blanket, picnic, and shots of Nolon partying with the kitties was a good idea).

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 5:32AM
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GB! You could use your leaf impressed tiles as inserts! Chelone, I immediately thought that the cheapest substitution would be cast iron'd have to find a good supply at a cheapo store like Job Lot or The Dollar Store!

There, 2 problems solved and I'm not even out of my pajamas.

Denise, I am always terribly envious over my husband's head of thick hair (good thing it's not biblical times and my names not Delilah, he, he, he)....but I have noticed that he can look a little like Christopher Walken if he doesn't get a trim and use the appropriate hair minimizing products, LOL! I had company while I was in my pajamas yesterday. I had decided to work in the office in my pjs - I'll never learn. Anyway, that long paragraph was to say that big hair wins hands down over stuck-to-your-head flat hair! Your neighbor was probably as envious as I :)

I have often felt the need to go it alone and often find myself very sad and alone. Pure martyrdom on my part. Never works....but I still consider it as an option each time.

Yeah, Kathy, the brugs are getting the sideways eyeball from me, "straighten up or I'll chop you into pieces and sell you on ebay!" LOL! I paid 7 bucks for this hardship :) But the scent....the scent is intoxicating! And the constant promise of just one more bloom! It's like it's dangling chocolate from it's (wimpy) branches :)

But sucesses! I'm in love with my Aloysia(Lemon Verbena - if you need leaves for food/projects, I'd be happy to share) and Cussonia (South African Cabbage Tree) and I'm very concerned at how to overwinter. I am considering calling the greenhouse where I bought them and asking him...if he minds, I'll get a sense over the phone and I won't do it again :)

I'll be casting leaves of the castor bean, my first year with this plant! I've admired it often in other's gardens, but never saw it offered as an annual. I like how Michelle has it paired with EEars. Lots of other leaves to cast, too. I have it in my head that I want to make a mosaic of leaf casts as a frame for a mirror out of concrete. Little and Lewis did this years ago, but I don't see an example on their website.

Well, SunnyD is home from her vacation to Maine (she took 2 weeks!) and she's asked me to walk with her and Small Dog :) The rest of my day is wide open!

Countdown: 4 (including today) days until school starts!


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:53AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Eeek! Labor Day weekend already! What the hell happened to summer?

Fred, Saucy you are too funny. When you start to feel blue this winter just reread your idyll musings from the summer. Should get you chuckling in no time. It certainly works for me.

I had no real garden mentors either. My Swedish great grandparents owned commercial greenhouses in Woburn, MA and actually hybridized florist type chrysanthemums. Apparently they had some beauties and were well known in the florist community. They died before I was born but the greenhouses remained for many years. By the time I was in high school even the grandsons who had taken over the business were retired. At some point in the 80s, the land was sold and is now a cul-de sac of homes sitting right on top of each other. My mom's cousin still lives in the family home that my great grandfather built himself at the turn of the century. My grandfather (their son) used to grow a small vegetable garden and always had bedding annuals around the house in the summer. Unfortunately he died when I was 15 so I never got to know him as an adult. Something tells me he would have really enjoyed my garden.

Happy Anniversary, V! I am reading along and wondering why Kathy would be watching a Denver Broncos game...then it dawned on me. Shows how much I follow politics. Guess I would rather watch a good NFL match up.

I have lots more to say along the garden frustration line but no time left this morning. Lately I've been really struggling with wanting a more complex garden and not wanting to be chained to it all season. I deliberately planted fewer containers and annuals this year because I knew I was going to be going away for a week. But I only intend to go away more in the future so something will have to give.

OK, enjoy the day!


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:58AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

What a beautiful weekend we are going to have. Tonight some friends are coming over for a cocktail party in the garden. No sit-down dinner but hors doeuvres. Im so pleased that the brugs are putting on such a show right now. Im thinking of moving the smallest of them to the patio area so it will be scented with that marvelous perfume. Ill see how much time I have. When I went to put the trash out this AM I had a nasty shock. The driveway garden that I thought was looking pretty wonderful is now a mess of mildew. I swear this appeared overnight. The Heliopsis Lorainne Sunshine is such a mess Im going to just cut it right down to the ground and even the David phlox is covered. Grrrrr.. Take your eyes of something for a minute and pouff its a mess. But on the positive side, the Russian Sage, Verbena bonariensis,, and Anemone robustissima are all blooming at the same time and its a beautiful haze of purple, blue and pink. Its a very airy and pretty combination.

I didnt really have a garden mentor but my Peper always had the best vegetable garden. One of my great-aunts who I didnt know was apparently an OCD gardener like me. My Mom always says Im very much my aunt Coulombe.

V. Thanks much for the input on the sedum seedling. I was hoping to get an opinion from you as you are in the know about whats new out there. Im going to go and take cuttings of it. When they root how would you recommend wintering them over? Im assuming they need a cold spell. Im hoping they bloom yellow again next year and that this isnt just a fluke. It really is a pretty thing. ~~ RE Dhs in gardens. Im eternally grateful that Doug isnt a gardener. It would lead to heated discussions and as it is he just thinks everything I do is pretty but has no opinion on the plantings. Did you show your DH the photos of the 07 Sept petunias vs the 07 June petunias?

LOL about the haircut woes here. I have mine cut once a year whether it needs it or not. Im in awe of all you with the thick gorgeous hair. Ive got horrible, thin, straight, nasty hair so I just tie it back and ignore it.

Woody and Denise, Ive been really paying attention to the color of the brug leaves and the second I see one turning yellow I give it s a shot of liquid feed. I also tried something new this year. I used the Bayer systemic insecticide/fertilizer for roses. Its really kept the bug population down to reasonable levels on them. I find it interesting that even with the fertilizer in that product they STILL need a supplemental liquid feed. As you said, ravenous beasts.

Saucy, do you know why they recommend Epsom Salts for the Brugs? ~~~ I sometimes think that the late summer blues are caused by the shortening day length. We must be down at least an hour or more from the solstice and the days get shorter really fast this time of the year.

Chelone, do you have a longer picture of that fence and how it looks in its landscape? Just beautiful! I love it.

Michelle, Ill get those brug cuttings started for you and we can exchange things after you get back from vacation. ~~ RE time on Chincoteague. My dad worked for MIT and had been on loan to NASA and was working on Wallops Island VA. He worked on the development of tracking radar for the first space shots that originated on Wallops Island.

Cindy, great news about getting some gentle rain.

"Big" whoops, Bug thanks for the info about rooting sedum. I also cut my Autumn Joy in June and they are lovely, perfect mounds ready to bloom.

Martie glad to hear youre doing well getting back to work.

PM lol Glowing Deanne sounds like Ive had too much wine. I burst out laughing when I read that.

Thanks to all who gave me input on rooting the sedum. Im going to give it a go this weekend. Im also going to try leaf cuttings. Lets cross our fingers that it comes back with yellow flowers again next year.

OK, Ive got to get off this computer and get out in the garden.

Have a great day all

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:14AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Fabu fabu Brugs, Deanne -- almost (almost) makes me think of wanting to try them - but I fear they are just too high maintenance for me; I can barely remember to fertilize a container or two during the season!

Kathy - meant to tell you congrats on the next stage of the dentistry renovation -- you are way more stalwart than I think I could be.

Congrts, V, on 30 years of wedded bliss -- it's a major accomplishment in life -- 30 years of a successful relationship with anyone individual!

Re garden mentors, I guess I could count my beloved grandmother & her widowed sister (who lived with her) as early ones - I have distinct and fond memories of their rose garden (Im sure they were all hybrid teas as I recall how they looked), beds of lily of the vally that I adored (my birth month flower too), and a huge lilac tree that I climbed on -- I recall puttering outside many a day w/ them; at their NJ beach house where we g-kids were sent off to spend a month a year, I oddly recall a fondness for portulaca, LOL.... I think those memories stayed w/ me; my MIL was quite the gardener and it was a subject we early on established a common topic - I could visit her and we'd wander her garden - again, a big rose lover; to this day, our roles are reversed - if she visits VA, she comes to see my garden. I have a few things from her yard. Oddly, my mother was not a fan of gardening except for a huge bed of peonies and annual containers she loved to do each summer. I hope at some point to get a few of those peonies to bring to my house, but time will tell on that one.

I do recall my MIL many times bemoaning leaving her garden for trips overseas she took annually w/ her spouse; it used to be a family joke -- but I now totally get it, and sympathsize as only a gardener can -- just the sorts of things we're bemoaning here.

Well, on that note, gotta start the day job -- Happy Friday all... ugh, I guess Im moving again at the ofc - such disorganization....

(Im contemplating ...... "embrace concrete"......)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:09AM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Good Friday morning!

After my usual skim, I have the Kum Bah Ya song duking it out in my head with the theme from Sanford & Son - somehow I think Sanford will win.

Busy week here, the kids are back to school starting yesterday. DS liked his first day of middle school. He spent a long time combing his hair yesterday morning - with an actual comb and not his fingers - will wonders never cease? This kid has a stubborn cowlick which I've given up trying to tame - the AM battles weren't worth it. I was happy last year if he brushed his teeth and washed the maple syrup off his face. Is my baby growing up?

Eden, first and foremost, I am thinking about you, your mother and your family. Good that you have the lovely Bella to make you smile.

As far as sharing on the Idylls, I love it that we share the good along with the bad - that's what life is, really. I know I don't always address each and every post - it is practically impossible - but when any one of you mentions some difficulty you are having, I am nodding along and thinking of you, sending good thoughts your way. In fact, if I get some of my best thinking done in the car, and if I could find a way to Idyll while sitting in traffic, I'd probably be here more often. Sometimes I compose a post in my head on the way to work, but when I get here other things capture my attention and I never get a chance to type it.

Now Saucy, do tell - a brugs that smells like chocolate? Mine smell more flowery to me - the white one smells like a bit like shampoo, but in a good way. I love it when the smell wafts into the house. I grow mine in larger pots than yours, and I use the Osmocote pellets and those moisture crystals. I am still watering them at a rate of several gallons per day, especially the Charles Grimaldi since the roots have filled up the pot. I haven't supplemented the fertilizer yet, but a shot of liquid fert might be in order this weekend. I'd grow them in the ground if I had a nice sunny spot with good soil.

Deanne, your gardens look maHvelous! I LOL about a comment that you made a while back about not looking around at all when you step outside so you could leave your yard and go the the gym - that's how I get to work every morning! No weekday morning gardening for me, otherwise I'll get to work late and dirty.

Re: hair, mine is curly, and the longer it gets the wilder it gets. I have a standing appointment every 6 weeks, and that is the best thing for me. I used to wait and call when it got entirely unruly, and my long-time hairdresser suggested that I pre-book to stay on a schedule.

Well, have to get my day started here I suppose. Waving hi to all! Enjoy the weekend everyone!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:44AM
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Hello everyone

You might have heard the cries of jubilation yesterday as Annie and I (it takes two to lift), after much frustration finished plumbing in the pedestal sink. Yay!! I think she was every bit as pleased as me and now wants me to teach her to use power tools. Girl power!! We got it done exactly an hour before my book group arrived and to say I was scrambling to pull the rest of the house into shape would be an understatement. But I made it. Friends arrived with wonderful food, lots of book ideas and plenty of wine. A most fun evening ensued. (Powder room photos and book list will follow.)

Today is David's birthday. He is playing golf with DH, Annie is baking his cake and he wanted 12 raw oysters and a lobster dinner rather than a sleepover party. Friends are joining us for cake after.

I will be busy this afternoon as I have another gardening job. A bookgroup friend is working on the interior design on a huge (8000 sq ft) new house and asked last night if I could help with the layout of shrub borders. Their pool contractor fancies himself as a horticulturist and purchased the material (sadly I think all the overused boring stuff - Burning Bush, Stella D'Oro etc). I'm meeting with the client this afternoon and will come up with a planting plan. What is neat is there is plenty of opportunity to add more trees/shrubs and I'm hoping to be able to suggest things to make it special and provide year round interest. I think a trip to the Japanese Maple nursery could be in the books. Sue and Deanne want to tag along:0)

While I'm feeling nervous right now it could be a really cool opportunity as there are 2 acres, generous budget and workers to do all the grunt work. I had an email today from my first garden lady who loves the border so I'm a little buoyed up. Just wish you guys were all closer to look at my ideas.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Good morning Idylls Its Friday and tomorrow begins a vacation of 10 days. I need it badly. Working in an office where 2 of the 4 office staff are the owner and his wife and they have a place at the lake makes for a busy summer for me. Just when I like taking time off and not being so busy. The wife is looking at retirement within the next year so things should improve greatly. It sounds like her part-time position will become full time at that point.

I get my hair cut about once a month. I add a little gel in the morning and blow dry. Its pretty easy.

I had been getting up a little after 6:00 each morning and spending about 45 minutes walating in the garden. I try not to do a lot other than walk around, enjoy and discover what the garden has to offer that day. Mornings are so peaceful, cool, calm and quiet. In the evenings I tend to work in it and dont relish the beauty as much. I will do light tasks in the morning such as pick beans or deadhead if I have time. I have to change my schedule and shower and eat first as its just too dark at 6:15.

Saucy, LOL about the Fred Sanford comment. My dad owned a salvage yard that my grandpa started so collecting is in my blood. In fact yesterday I stopped at garage sale and picked up a neat old table white enamel top with red flowers in 2 corners for 5 bucks. Id grab the bell. Take a look at the picture below. I think it was at the Green Bay WI Botanical Garden. After seeing it I knew I wanted a bell in the garden just for fun. We now have the bell on the playhouse, which for such a small bell makes quite a lot of noise. We also have a triangle by our backdoor that my dad made for me and I have hanging on a shepherds hook. I ring this for DH to come to the house for meals. It can be heard from quite a distance. You will have to save the castor bean seeds, they are very easy to grow from seed.

V, congratulations on 30 years. Funny that you just realized that hes impatient LOL

Back to it

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 11:36AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I am pouring over plant lists today and no time to I was not expecting to be making purchases this early but two of my favorite nurseries are having sales and I thought rather then wait for the deeper discounts and not get what I want, I might look now for a couple of things.

I am really wanting a Yellow Magnolia in the worst way and despite not being able to figure out where to put it, [g] I am pretty sure I am getting one this weekend. There are so many varieties now! Has anyone bought one of these yet? Any cautions about why I should take it off my list or good experiences with them?


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:05PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yellow magnolias: So beautiful! Risky in my zone. Some have blooms that turn quite brown as they fade. That's all I know!

Does anyone have experience saving impatiens over the winter? Old ladies I knew used to do this, but I thought "what a waste of time!" Now I have a special plant, called "exotic" which I'm not sure I'll be able to find next year and I'd love to have again. Is it sort of like coleus in that you stick them in water, they grow roots, lose leaves, get soggy, then die? September to May is certainly a long haul... Our nights are getting cooler and down to single digits. I imagine I could lose my plant one day soon.

I've about decided not to save much this winter. The added burden of containers is ridiculous on this huge property. Maybe I'll buy a few thing in the spring and try for 5-6 containers instead of many sorry looking ones. I've really enjoyed my hanging herb basket though...

DGS is back from Disney...with a bang. All the manipulation and horrid eating manners returned too. (DH had prepared DD's favorite Indian meal...but DD ate alone in the kitchen because she couldn't bear the crying, hand waving and other antics. Meanwhile the baby fed himself with a fork and ate twice as much as the 9 year old! His past medical issues really have a hold on his parents, and treating the child like the normal kid he is just isn't an option for DD YET. I suppose she could eat in the kitchen for the rest of her life. Sigh.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:55PM
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Hey 'bug, maybe DGS needs a reality check, a "taste" of what is too common in India... going to bed early with NO dinner! He won't starve before morning and time alone in his room with books might just do him a world of good and give him something to think about. My brother and I are still alive and believe me, it cured the belly-aching about dinner. I know it isn't the present vogue to do things like that, but too many kids have no idea what a luxury "3 hots and cot" really is. ;) There is no reasoning with a spoiled brat, drop the hammer! who's in charge?

I have a yellow Magnolia! it's called "Butterflies" and it's been here for about 3 yrs.. It's actually a funny story. It arrived at the helpmeet's workplace by accident (wasn't on their order) but the helpmeet snapped it right up. We were planning the barn and didn't know where to plant it. It wound up in the vegetable garden interred in one of the raised beds. It FINALLY flowered this year (one blossom, lol) but it has at least doubled in size and now we have to wrestle it out of the bed and put it in its forever site. I'm really looking forward to that exercise, lol (on the docket for the next few weeks). I offer the following considerations: make sure you know how big it will get ("Butterflies" gets big) and be prepared to wait a year/two/three for flowers. I suspect our's is going to take right off and begin flowering next year or soon thereafter.

30 yrs. is a monument to good senses of humor and compromise, V.. I'm happy for you! We have a very dear friend (we call her our daughter) and when she married a few years ago we were stunned that she toasted us right after her parents. She said that we showed her that you marry someone with similar intellectual, pecuniary, and athletic sensibilities. But most of all, that humor and the ability to laugh at yourselves and compromise were what helped ford the inevitable "rough waters". We both wiped tears at that, I don't think anyone has ever paid us a nicer compliment, surely none so meaningful. Party down! gonna pull out "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys", or what?

Saucy, I am deeply conventional when it comes to nail polish. I am presently sporting, "Resilient Red" by Sally Hansen. I like nice "bubblegum" pinks, too. I might move into lavenders, but I'd never wear blues... . I'm too fair and would look downright cyanotic! My hair is "workin'" really well today, the sign of a very good haircut. (Right Anita?).

I'm home early today. Another day of not being able to get away fast enough, lol. I'm not sure what's going on but the barrage of criticism has moved from making me feel down to downright pissing me off. Let's hope Tuesday ushers in a sea-turn. :) It will be nice to have a few days of solitude and ass-bustin' work to occupy my mind. Sorry, 'bug, but I'm actually feeling sort of energized by the work ahead of me. For the first time in a long time I'm doing something I really love and aside from the THTTF there is nothing to gnaw at me or require my attention. (except Mum's birthday on the 2nd., but she would have enjoyed the project).

Mum was probably my earliest garden memory. She would let me wear patent leather shoes and dainitly tip-toe over the islands of remaining snow in search of the earliest spring bulbs around the house. It was such fun to find the first crocus poking out of the ground. I remember her on her knees fussing with the Iris and pulling weeds. Dad was into growing vegetables. He LOVED it! and only toward the end of his life did he really begin to embrace the idea of "building soil". Probably my favorite memory of him was the time he declared war on the woodchuck that had ravaged his beans. He set up camp in the bathroom (best view of the gaHden). The .22 was carefully aimed out the window and he was seated on the commode, his beer on the windowsill. "yessuh... sit up pretty, Mr. Chuck-chuck..." BANG! "there you go, you SOB!". LOL. Too funny. Hard to believe I'm the only one left to carry those memories now. :/

I have to start the 2 (count 'em!) days of dishes in the kitchen. But I couldn't wait to come home and see how my far flung friends are today.

Hi Marian!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:33PM
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Deanne, I have NO organization with respect to photographs. But I quickly went back to see if I had any "long shots" of the fence. This is the only other shot I have:

There were 4 sections, laid out symmetrically to either side of the entrance to the "garden". Maybe Wendy, Saucy, or SunnyD has a shot that shows the layout? Anyway, I really liked the repeat of the Chinese theme (it was Chinese Chippendale and clearly in evidence around the property).

I also liked that the plant material was simple. It made the entire garden seem "do-able" to me... I have those things at hand and it was the formally laid out fencing that lent it the formal air. I instantly thought of using the native ferns in place of Hosta (though I have loads of that, too!).

Make sense?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:48PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

From my in box. Thought I'd share:

Gardening in the fall can be a pleasant experience. The weather is crisp, the sun is bright, and now there is time to get those little things done that you have been putting off all season. Here are some tasks that actually may cause you some 'garden grief' if they are forgotten (or not done properly) as part of the rush to do 'something' for the garden in the fall.

We can't always count on the weather to give us sufficiently deep soakings of rain that are used by the plant to protect themselves through the winter. Sometimes people consider cool, windy weather as a replacement to rain. Remember that a good soaking once a week is of benefit to all your woody plants from late September right through to Remembrance Day.
High nitrogen water soluble fertilizers (like Miracle-Gro) are marketed to show you how well they can assist plants to grow. What has to be remembered is that in the fall your plants are actually starting to hunker down for the winter, and really shouldn't be pushed into growing new leaves and shoots at this time. Consider enriching the soil in your beds with organic matter in the fall as a way to improve their growing ability next season.
While dead or diseased branches should be removed at any time that they are seen, in general it is not a good idea to prune your evergreens and shrubs while the weather is still mild in the early fall. When a limb is pruned, your plants will want to push soft growth to replace it. This softer growth is more sensitive to winter injury.
To wrap, or not to wrap ... that is the question! There are a number of plants that are more susceptible to the drying effect of winter winds. These include, but aren't limited to, a number of evergreens like rhododendrons, hollies, euonymus, yews, alberta spruce, cypresses and many upright evergreens. Wrapping them doesn't 'keep them warm', but rather slows this dehydrating effect. The problem is that if the weather becomes mild and sunny in the dead of winter, it's possible that this same protective wrap can actually increase the temperature of the plant foliage, and hasten this moisture loss. The effect of this moisture loss isn't seen until spring (when the wrap is removed) and the plant which at first looks greenish turns rapidly to yellowish brown. In general tree wrapping should wait until the the daytime temperature is consistently below 7 or 8 degrees Celsius (and as soon as the weather is mild again in early spring - late March or so - the wrapping should be removed). Another alternative to winter wrapping is to consider apply a anti-dessicant spray like Wilt-Pruf to the foliage in mid to late October. Derived from pine resin, Wilt-Pruf works much like an anti-perspirant by slowing the rate of moisture loss from foliage and sensitive buds. Other uses include helping to keep your fresh greens, garlands and wreaths fresh at Christmas as well as used to limit moisture loss to newly planted plants in the spring.
With the increase in UV radiation now present in our environment, there is one protective task that is often overlooked. Wrapping the trunks of thin skinned young trees (maple, linden, ornamental pear, and many others) with burlap or a protective tree wrap will help to lessen the ravages of winter sun scald and bark splitting injury. This little task can be done almost anytime in the fall once the leaves start to fall. When the bark starts to develop it's more 'corky' texture it's possible to discontinue this yearly practice.
Mice, voles and other rodents can cause considerable damage through the winter as they feast on plants like crabapples, serviceberry, euonymus, burning bush, mountain ash, roses, junipers and many others. They tend to make nests in areas where leaves collect and are first buried with snow, and often will find the space underneath low growing evergreens more than suitable too. Consider applying animal repellents (like Skoot) to the branches and lower bark, or lay out bait stations with rodent control to limit the damage from these pests.

Chelone, the kid and his food is a very difficult situation that does not just focus on his bratty mealtime behavior, but brings into question his past medical (over-drugged) experiences and how they affect him now. It also involves issues (in my view) of coddling him to excess. In addition, the role of Bonus Mom comes into question. As I say, not easy! Here is her description of dinnertime last night:

Reed is a great eater. Tonight we had Indian food that DH made (butter chicken, spinach stuff, a lentil dish, another chicken dish). Reed loved it. After trying to feed him a couple bites and him getting frustrated, I just plopped the bowl down in front of him and let him go to it with his fork.

He ate like a champ! He probably ate more than I would have fed him...

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, SS was having a fit, staring out the window (his friend was coming over soon), crying, panting, and waving his arms around because it was "too spicy" (ok, one of the chicken dishes had some spice, the other 3 dishes were positively bland). After 20 minutes, Reed had eaten about 2x more than the 9yo. I had enough of the scene, and after I told him to stop making a scene 2x, I just took my plate and finished my dinner in the kitchen so I didn't have to watch. Of course, that meant that SS had a tantrum.

I am still miffed that Reed, at 14 mo., fed himself dinner and the 9yo had to be fed by his dad.

What gives? (If I was the only one there, the 9yo would just have his dinner taken away and get his next meal at breakfast - no deal, no debate, no snack, no discussion. But then, that would probably be considered out of line by DH. However, SS would not pull it on me again - I know that!)

(The meal is one of his favorites by the way!)
My present suggestion is to shift the focus from food to manners, an area that I believe the parents can look at with some semblance of reason, without medical past entering into the picture.
My response:
Please and thank you, peaceful & happy discussions, no gesticulating and whining and tears, no monopolizing the conversation...or leave for your room and see you at breakfast, on time.

Pretend he is an unexpected guest in your home. Maybe even a vegan guest for whom you don't have the right foods. You'd allow a guest to select what he can eat and carry on politely with the others around him. Nothing extra prepared in the kitchen. No screaming and rudeness. Have high expectations for him. Ignore food talk and concentrate on other happy things. See where it leads. Would the guest be invited to return?

Sometimes it is FUN to be a LONG distance Mom! ;)

Lots of other stuff going on...with the Ontario Ombudsman calling us, French Club, Paying for our cat sitter, the list goes on.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:01PM
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I think your advice is right on GB :) Here's how it goes at the Saucy house:

I cook xyz. You may eat anything from xyz that you like, as long as you politely leave enough for everyone (meaning: don't hog all the pasta because you don't like meatballs). If you say YUCK make FACES or any other RUDE gestures about the food served in this house, you will be expected to eat a big spoonful :) Jake found out he likes creamed spinach this way :)

If you go to bed hungry, it is of your own choosing :)

Having said that, I have come to realize that my daughter has a very bland palate and I try to take that into consideration when seasoning....but there are plenty of sauces and red pepper flakes that go into meals around here :)

Make it his choice. Kids make the right one when given a chance :)

Tell Sarah I eat by myself quite often.....I enjoy family time at other times of the day :) The kids always eat together in the kitchen.

I had a blast at Variegated Foliage today!!! I scored a redbud a robinia (contorted, white flowers, name to follow), corydalis "berry exciting", L. Brit Marie get it.....I'll be in later with a more formal list :)

I have Magnolia "Yellow Lantern" and have yet to verify that it is actually yellow, LOL....plan on waiting for blooms apparently! I do enjoy the shape of the tree, itself, though.

I have to work now! Ack! I've got a few things running behind in the office and I want to take tonight to clean up loose ends and do a little dog hair removal :) I want to have a clean slate for planting over the weekend since my 14 yo will be in school next week :) Thanks for the tips, GB! They couldn't have come at a better time :)



(I'll look for a far out photo of that garden, Deanne!)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:23PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

A question ... Is anyone else having the title of the thread staying blue after you have read it, instead of turning pink ? I am having a problem knowing if there is a new post since mine isn't changing.:-(
I don't know if it is the GW site, or my computer ??

And while I am here, I want to send my sympathies to Eden. I am so sorry about your mother, Eden. Being so far apart would be espacially hard. I was very fortunate to live in the same town as my mother when she became so ill. Now I am far removed from all the rest of my kin, and know that eventually I will be getting bad news about one or the other, and too far away to respond.

Excuse me for not keeping up with all the activities. It has become difficult for me to do so, but I do read all.
It makes me happy to see when others are having a good day, and sorry when they are not.

It rather overwhelms me to read of all the business. I do so little any more.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 5:28PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I haven't had that problem Marian. I hope you enjoy a colorful Autumn with your beautiful trees!

Making spareribs for DH tonight, with mashed potatoes. I seldom make such a heavy meal any more, but he's skinny and enjoys this.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 5:51PM
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I'm experiencing the same problem Marian so it must be GW. Just made a lasagna and slid it into the oven. That's dinner along with salad and garlic bread for Bella and I. Bella's kept me busy today but I hope to compose a post before the day is done if my energy holds out :) She's sitting in the 'uncooperative chair' right now...

We have a bell too. Just a small one hanging on the house beside the front door for our doorbell.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:15PM
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I'm nearly 50. I grew up in household where proper manners and etiquette were expected and reinforced at every turn. Adults had "dibs"; you screwed up and an Adult called you on it, you "took notice and smartened up", if you ran home and whined about it you likely got a second dose from Mum or Dad! Sometimes it seemed grossly unfair but in a way it was comforting because there was never a question about what was expected and what the consequences of transgressions would be. I am shocked at how so many children are permitted to behave "nowadays" and the litany of (what I consider to be) "excuses" accorded them.

Whining, hystrionics at the dinner table that continued after ONE warning? "Baseball rules" kicked in; 3 strikes and you're OUT, immediate banishment to the bedroom in the household where I grew up! If I had expected a guest and persisted in the behavior (following the warning) the guest would have been informed of my infraction and the play date had been cancelled because of it. I would have been required to APOLOGIZE to them for their inconvenience, too; quite possibly in person and at the time of the infraction, too! There was never any question about who was in charge. The only one who was "punished" by Skyler's obnoxious behavior was your daughter, 'bug. He behaved dreadfully and "got away with it", there were NO consequences. Times sure have changed and I'm not sure it's been for the better.

There is a "naughty chair" in my home. And there are rules here. I learned that one the hard way, when the bratty kid of a friend persisted in tormenting an elderly cat. It pissed me off and the friend chalked it up to "toddler behavior". WRONG-O! "My house, my rules" and what has really surprised me is how thrilled my friends' kids are to come here, lol. This is a cool and fun place, but if you act like a dink it can be tantamount to any one of Dante's levels of Hell. (bbwwaahhh!).

That goes for visiting Idyllettes, too! ;)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:23PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Marian - I have been having that problem too - I noticed it yesterday at some point... it's very annoying!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:29PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I have reported the color problem to the administration. Hopefully it will be solved soon.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:51PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I'd bet that at least part of Skler's bad behavior is that the novelty of a new brother and a new 'mother' are starting to wear off and the realization that he now has to share his father's attention with these people permanently - and that means less attention for him - has sunk in :-) Reed was undoubtedly - and deservingly - getting praise for eating well while he - Skyler - was getting (deserved) flak. From a insecure, spoiled and jealous 9-year-old's persepective, that probably merited a temper-tantrum! :-) If he had been sent to bed with no supper, he probably would have felt that to be unfair and a reason for resentment of Sarah, Reed and maybe his father too. Sarah certainly has some unenviable tricky waters to negotiate there! I like the 'naughty chair' idea. But I know zilch about raising a kid - and find the whole process scary!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:55PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

No problem with the changing font color here either, but I did notice it one day last week and just thought it was my computer.

I just got in from a bunch of errands that included an hour walk...yaaahooo! Dinner will be fresh, wild caught swordfish and butter and sugar corn from one of the local farmstands. So that I may give proper attention to the corn, I will cook and eat that first then toss the fish on the grill. LOL, there's an order to everything.

Chelone, whenever I make a comment about the deplorable behavior of most kids "nowadays" I'm told I don't know what it's like because I don't have any. Allrighty then...whatever. One of the behaviors I see running rampant these days is interrupting adult conversations. Who here would ever have gotten away with that?

OK, corn is done and it waits for no one.



    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:00PM
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Ok, so I have DS and his friend in my closet recording a vocal track, because of the sound-deadening quality of my wardrobe. Perhaps this is how U2 got their start . Ive been asked if I could be quiet . No problem-got a beer to toast in the 3 day weekend and I can hear faint musical tones drifting down the stairs.

I really think that a key to keeping that garden manageable is weed smothering teniques, installed early spring in my case, and as automated a watering system as possible, at least for those of us on smaller suburban size lots. Cardboard with mulch over it has worked great for me with the weed issue. If I dont have cardboard I use newspaper.

Yay Mary ! Queen of the Powder RoomHow exciting that you are to embark on a design project- I love that whole creation process , which is probably why things get moved around so often here- if you dont have room for a new bed, just re-do an old one !

Got me a mess in the kitchen too Chelone- but turning on the water at the present would disturb the music studio upstairs. What a great fenceand you remind me that I need a haircut, and I really need new glasses, Im starting to turn my head at awkward angles to see what Im looking at. And speaking of hair, I daresay Manny has had a small trim, the dreds look a mite shorter to me.

Hi Wendy ! I would love to have the fragrance of my Brug wafting into the house, if only it had flowers ! The clock is ticking. I conduct daily inspections to no avail.

OK, the recording studio has closed up shop, going to go clean the kitchen..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:21PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Saucy...every time I have brought up this thread, I have read a little of your poem and enjoyed it more and more. I find the Keats version the winner of the two you posted. Interesting story about the two poems. I love that first line.

I'm off to post to the new thread.... :-) pm2

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 3:22AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Sue, interrupting adults? Why we 3 weren't allowed to talk AT ALL at the table! It was a pretty glum household let me tell you....

I'm not sure I agree Woody. Skyler still wants to marry Sarah and keeps suggesting that DSIL split from her to make it possible! I think he was trying to confirm house rules after being away for several weeks. His Dad is one to reason with him (or attempt to) and Sarah simply ACTS, no debate. He understands that. Honestly, I think all the talk and attempts at reason make him more anxious than he already is. The role of a stepmom is a tough one. Yet DSIL must deal constantly with the ex too...and nothing is simple for him. Enough of this talk! This is their anniversary weekend and they are off camping as a threesome. (Skyler is with his Mom. She wanted him for the start of school. Hehehe)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 9:19AM
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