Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Potential Is Everywhere...

...and I want to play.

Indigodragonfly's "Also, I can kill you with my brain"
It's too soon to plant annuals. It's too soon to plant annuals. It's too soon...

Do I need more embroidery floss? No, I do not. Did I buy this pack yesterday? Yes, I did.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nature Does It Better

I took a walk at lunch today, and there was beauty everywhere. I can't resist the call of the blooming things, even if those blooming things are trying to kill me. I'm living in the land of itchy eyes and Benedryl. 

I was walking in a shady area and found this at the base of a tree. No matter how much landscaping I do in my life, nature is always going to do it better.

Happy spring.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Room to Grow

I took the master gardening course in 2010. One of the things I learned is that you should try to think of your yard in terms of rooms. You have a vegetable garden room, which is separate from the outdoor living room, which may or may not be separate from the outdoor kitchen (in our case, the "kitchen" is just a gas grill on the patio). Separate and hidden from all of this is the utility room. In my case, the utility room has the garden hose, rain barrel, air conditioner, and compost bin.

I also learned that landscaping is personal, and there is no right or wrong. Someone might hate the idea of a yard full of concrete baskets or garden gnomes, but you can't really say it's wrong, not in the same way you can say that it's wrong to spray your azalea with Round-Up to help it grow.

So now our utility room looks like this:

The streaky nature of this photo isn't artfully-captured sunlight; it's a streak on the lens. 
We can pretend it's on purpose if you'd like.

We hired someone (Capehart Landscape and Design, in case someone in Indy is looking for someone) to rototill the area, put in the bluestone path, and spread a bunch of mushroom compost.* I didn't let them plant, because that's the fun part.

We bought a Red Dragon Threadleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Red Dragon'), which will only get to 5' height and spread. Andrew and I have wanted a Japanese maple for a long time, but I never knew where to put it. I was so excited that I talked to it before I planted it, telling it how beautiful it was. I'm hoping the neighbors didn't hear.

I bought a ton of perennials at the IMA Perennial Premiere** and planted them last night. I still have room for lots of groundcover as well as some steppables between the stones.

This morning, I was contemplating that I feel good leaving lots of space between the plants. It's okay that the bed isn't done. It's more than okay--it's good to leave the plants alone and let them grow. They need time to spread and show me how big they're going to get, whether they like where they are located, and if they can get along with their neighbors. If I stuffed the beds full of plants, there would be no room for growth, no chance to make the space better, and I'd run the very real risk of hurting what I've planted.

All of that got me thinking: If room to grow is a sign of a healthy space, then maybe my incompleteness, my flaws and failings, are also signs of health. I tend to be very hard on myself, expecting myself to be perfect and well on the way to spiritual enlightenment. It is good to try to improve and make myself better, but I need to remember that space and room for improvement are not only omnipresent and therefore unavoidable, but also good.

My current state, right where I am with no qualifications, is beautiful. I have room to grow, and I'm at the exact place I need to be.

So say we all.

*Andrew was slightly horrified by the smell, while I just thought it smelled like Grandfather's farm. Apparently mushroom compost smells an awful lot like cow manure. I found it oddly comforting.

**I can tell you what they are, but does anyone care? I have no idea. I'm going to assume you don't. You can tell me if I'm wrong.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

This is why I keep buying hellebores despite the fact that I repeatedly kill them.

Ivory Prince

Metallic Blue Lady

The top one has survived two years. The bottom one was just planted last spring. I'm not saying the danger has passed, but I'm hopeful my bad luck with hellebores has ended.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Beauty of Growing Things

In a bit of a funk today, so I took a few minutes to take some pictures of some great things happening on the grounds of my work.

This seems like an azalea. It's a really spindly, almost tree shape. Glorious flowers.

You can never go wrong with daffodils. Never, ever.

The ginger is a favorite of mine. I love the shape of the leaves.

Weeping trees are gorgeous for a second before the petals fall, 
but wow--that second is something glorious to behold.

Happy spring, everyone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Geek Socks of Sanity

 The Geek Socks are done!

Geek Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Felici, Blackberry Jam colorway (discontinued)

These are really simple. When the color changes, regardless of where in the round that happens, you begin two rounds of slipped stitches. Then you knit in stockinette until the color changes the next time.

I did the bottom of the foot in plain stockinette so I wouldn't have to step on floats. 

It uses an afterthought heel, which is worth the trouble because it preserves the stripes. I was determined to be able to knit these while at Andrew's parents' house for Easter, so I did the heel before finishing the foot so I'd be set for easy knitting. Also, this helps me justify having more than one set of needles in the same size!

I really like this pattern. My love for self-striping yarn is immense, and this is a great stitch pattern to have in the library for this sort of yarn. This pattern also convinced me that afterthought heels are worth the hassle. It really makes the stripes look nicer.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Now I Remember

Saturday was a nice, quiet day, and I decided to take advantage of it. I went back to the sewing machine, sitting idle since last July when I sewed the first block for the gray quilt.

Here's the first block:

I sewed the second block, then laid it on top of the first.

They were completely different sizes.

I had sewn the seams using the wrong line on the foot as the guide. Every seam on the second block was too wide.

The real kicker? I've done this before.

Maybe I shouldn't allow quite so much time to pass without using my sewing machine...