Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Of Funk and Poppies

I've been in a funk lately. There's no compelling reason for it, which makes it worse because then I feel guilty about being in a funk for no good reason. Ah, the crazy.

Yesterday I hated everyone and everything, to the extent that a very good friend sent me an article, "How to be less annoyed with everyone." When I got home from work and took Dexter for a walk around the yard, I found this:

A poppy in glorious bloom that was simply a fuzzy, alien-like plant the day before. May we all find beauty when we need it most.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cutting Garden

Friends of ours are redoing their deck, which meant they had some composite boards that could be repurposed.

Yes, please.

Said friend was so nice he cut them into 4' lengths and screwed them to cedar posts. 

Andrew and I finished screwing them together and placed them behind our veg garden. Our soil is so horrible that we use raised beds and throw compost around every chance we get.

It was harder than I anticipated because the compost was in the way. I'd moved it in a big pile earlier in the season, and it needed to be shifted to get the beds in and somewhat level. Andrew finished shoveling in the compost because he loves me and is a saint.

I planted a couple tomatoes that I didn't have room for in the veg garden*, four zucchini seeds, some dahlias I'd dug up last year and overwintered in the garage, and a bunch of random flower seeds. I have no idea if any of the flower seeds will sprout. (Some of them were quite old.) It's worth a try though, and I'm deeply enamored with the idea of having a cutting garden. A cutting garden feels very English country home to me, which probably says something about how many British mysteries I read more than anything else. Hopefully I'll have some dahlias, sunflowers, wildflowers, and green zinnias to bright up our house this summer!

*I know better than to go with a fellow gardening enthusiast to the garden center. There was no voice of reason present. We both ended up with too many tomato plants... among other things.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


The sweater is an endless sea of purple stockinette, so let's look at flowers!

This is the columbine I dug up from my Grandfather's yard after he passed away.  It's been exceptionally gorgeous the last two years.

Hello, gorgeous.

Alliums amuse me. They're a member of the onion family, and there are a ton of varieties. (They all pretty much look like this to me. This will horrify someone somewhere, I'm sure.) They have great height.

'Bloomerang' Lilac - It's supposed to bloom again in June. We'll see!

I was thrilled to see the Itoh peony come back. It's surprisingly small, but I remain hopeful it will get bigger.

I love heuchera (coral bells) and can't seem to stop buying dark ones like this. File that under Better than a Crack Habit.

A weird plant, Clematis integrifolia, which doesn't act like a clematis at all. It doesn't vine. I love it. I find I love bell-shaped flowers in general, and it gets extra points for being such a gorgeous color.

These are anemone given to me by a friend. They're aggressive spreaders, but so pretty I really don't mind. I planted them next to daisies from another friend and let the two aggressive plants duke it out. It's a botanical cage fight out there.

Armeria maritima (sea thrift), a cute little clumpy plant with round, pink flowers.

Mazus reptans - it's become much more covered with purple flowers since I took this picture. It's a ground cover and a steppable. A friend (the one who gave me the anemone, actually) and I bought them at the same time. I promptly killed mine. Hers did so well that I was convinced to try again, and I'm really glad I did. It's doing great in the second site.

I moved this 'Delaware Valley White' azalea last year to make room for the Itoh peony and the Bloomerang lilac. It is very pleased with its new location. I'm very pleased an azalea is doing well in my yard. I don't have ideal conditions for it. It would like more acidic soil. I do throw some sulfur on it once a year... or when I think of it.

This may be my very favorite plant. It's Asarum europaeum, or European wild ginger. It's an adorable groundcover that likes shade. This variety has glossy leaves. There's also a Canadian version (green leaves, not glossy) and a Chinese version (bicolored leaves). The flowers are nothing to write home about, but the leaves stay green most of the winter, and it is verdant and shiny and beautifully shaped. I love it so much. I've killed a couple of these, so I was thrilled to see it made it this year. (Mine died back in the winter, which doesn't happen to the one at my work. I admit to coveting the one at work. One day I may show up with a shovel and ill intentions.)

Speaking of glad it didn't die, this is our Red Dragon Threadleaf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Red Dragon'). We've wanted one for years and bought one last year when we had the path built. Looking back at that post, I can see how much fuller the tree looks this year. yay!

Here's one of two hellebores that have survived. I have probably planted five or six of them. This one is 'Metallic Blue Lady' which looks neither metallic nor blue this year. I'm not going to complain. It lives and blooms. That's all I can ask for.

The is Brunnera 'Jack Frost', another nice shade plant (pictured here is obviously part-sun. Oh, well.) The leaves are pretty, and it puts up airy stalks of tiny, blue flowers.

We've had a really wet spring, and I think it's been good for the plants. I just hope we have some rain later this summer when we really need it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Falling Stars Progress

It's going well!

Falling Stars (mine ravelled here),

The colorwork was fiddly but not horrible. I've put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and now it's straight stockinette for years and years. The 9 center stitches will become the steek. I am obviously petrified of them, but I keep reminding myself that a) I have instructions and b) it's going to be approximately four decades before I'm ready to cut anyway. Why worry now?

Note to self: When you put a Thing off, you spend more energy thinking that you should be doing the Thing than you would spend actually doing the Thing. Just do the Thing. This is obviously a difficult lesson.