April 26, 2011

The Rain…Falls Mainly in May


We’ve had about 3 weeks of wet weather around here.  The plants (and weeds) are loving it, and we’re loving it because it’s keeping our newly-spread mulch matted to the ground when the wind blows.  But despite the soggy ground, I think it’s time for a little spring garden tour of the backyard plants!  (No big picture shots yet – the big picture isn’t pretty yet!)

Pink phlox

Plants are thriving left and right.  A division of a pink phlox last fall was a dubious contender for survival….but it’s alive (above)!  The lilies that got munched into nothingness last year are also cheerfully growing into neat little clumps so far this spring. 

Red border liliesAutumn joy sedum

Divisions borrowed from my mom’s garden late last summer are also doing great – some Autumn Joy sedum (the one in the photo is protected from basketballs by an obelisk) a HUGE lily that looks like something tropical, and some monarda (“Bee Balm”) are doing fabulous.  The Karl Foersters are doing great, too.

Casualties of transplanting and/or winter include those couple of sedum I mentioned and a poor salvia.  We’re also not sure how our bamboo fared through the winter, as it’s still very yellow.  There are a few green culms (stems) in the center of each clump, though, so we’ll give it a few more months before rendering a verdict.

Bubba the Rhubarb

Bubba the Rhubarb is going nuts, and other star performers are some ice plants, a Betony woundwort, and the lambs ears, which seems to be really enjoying the extreme makeover it got earlier this spring. 

The ice plants are doing well….except for being stepped on by a large-footed teenager in recent days.  Mud is very telling, isn’t it?  Have I mentioned we’re in a perpetual struggle to keep the neighbor kids from hopping the fence to retrieve errant balls?  Last year a football clobbered a coneflower.  Early this spring, Bubba caught a basketball.  I guess now we’re now into the “not careful enough to avoid stepping/landing on the plants” phase and it’s the ice plants’ turn to be smashed.  (Yes, the parents are aware of the problem.)

Smashed ice plants


Sweet Autumn clematis

We got the two new clematis in the ground as well as the new lilac (which looks a little lonely in his spot right now), so those will be fun to watch this summer.  Clematis like hot heads and cool feet, so I put some large rocks at their base to keep their roots cooler.


A big, fat, FAIL turned out to be the new trellis I made for our large clematis (a Jackmanii, I believe).  There are so many large rocks under our topsoil, and that plant’s root system is so large, that not only could we not get the trellis down deep enough in the ground to be sturdy, but I also couldn’t dig far enough to clear the rocks out without seriously damaging the roots.  So now we have our very own leaning Tower of Pisa. 

The next dry, warm day will see me out there taking the fencing off the T-posts and attaching it directly to the deck railing.  “Jack” is growing so fast, I don’t even want to completely remove the trellis at this point – so I’ll have to finagle with the posts/fencing in their current spot.

ARCH-enemy weed

My arch-nemesis-unidentified-weed is also starting to show its ugly face.  I’ve been pulling/spraying these things since we moved in, and they only seem to be growing in number!  Well, while planting the new, big Karl Foersters I ran into the roots of a couple of these weeds (for the first time).  HOLEY BUCKETS!  No wonder I couldn’t get rid of them!  The roots go at least 12 inches down, and they are THICK and seem to be interconnected.  Pulling is not the answer.  Double-strength Round Up is the only solution I can think of. 

On a happier note – the linden tree looks to be 100% alive this spring!  (not sure about the maple yet…) and in a few weeks I’ll have a couple new (free) perennials from a plant swap to add to the garden as well.  The pots haven’t come out of the garage yet either (we’ve been busy!), but they’ll get potting mix this year instead of garden soil, so I’m looking forward to much healthier container plants.


As for the veggie bed – well, it speaks for itself.  In fact, it’s practically wailing for attention.  As soon as the ground dries out for a few days, I’ll be able to till it and get some tomatoes in the ground (safely inside wall-o-waters).  I emptied the compost bin into this raised bed last fall, but the compost was only partially done, so the whole bed needs tilling and raking.  I think our uninvited neighbors the Kitty McPoopersons have also been having a grand time in there, so I suppose their ‘nuggets’ need to be tilled under as well.

This summer, my goal is to fill in more bare spots with a few new perennials, divide any others I can, put some annuals into the bare spots, and get some mulch down.  I’m also seriously considering a few more lilacs along the fence, but we’ll see.  Perhaps I need something like a climbing rose instead Winking smile

April 25, 2011

A Little Surprise

Hello blog buddies! 

Yet again, I must apologize for my rather slow posting these last few weeks.  As I’ve said before, I haven’t really gotten much done around here.  Ok, in six weeks, I haven’t really gotten *anything* done.  Yeesh. 

But this time, I’m going to pull my best  ace excuse out of my sleeve (and no, it’s not “sheer laziness” or even “vacation”….)


I’m pregnant Smile  (Sounds so weird to me…!)

We found out in March that we’re expecting our first baby, and boy (or girl), it’s been kicking my patootie.

I had no idea “morning sickness” (what a misnomer) could last all day.  Or that I would be starving hungry *constantly*….but that nothing would ever sound or look good to eat.  Or that all I would want to do is lie around.

But ANYHOO!  We will officially enter the second trimester tomorrow (whoop!!), and I’ve been feeling much better and more energetic for about two weeks now.

So now the fun begins!  Not only can we catch up on lots of things house-related, but of course, baby fun can start now, too!  We have to figure out where to put the little bundle, where everything else will go, and how to make it all cute and functional, hopefully without spending a ton of dough. Open-mouthed smile  After all, saving dough is my M.O.! (har! har! I crack myself up…)

And we have until November 1st to get’er’done.  That’s right – I’m due on 11/1/11!  Pretty cool I think.  (A Halloween baby would be fun too!)

I am officially the least experienced baby-person EVER (no really….I think I’ve dealt with a single poopy diaper in my life and that was on a toddler), so this could get interesting.

Won’t you waddle along with me?

April 22, 2011

A Spring Break

So I’m just full of excuses lately, aren’t I?  The last 8 days or so was a good one, though.  And Shamu agrees, so there.

Last year, we planned to take a weeklong vacation to Florida that never seemed to get any traction.  Maybe it was because of work….an unwillingness to commit to dates…or the fact that we decided to jump headfirst into the bathroom renovation (ummm…bingo?) but as a result, a vacation was of high priority this year.  April seemed like a good time to avoid the school spring breaks and the hot summer weather in Florida.  Plus, we were both starting to feel burned out at work.

To save some moolah, we arranged to stay with a cousin near Orlando (and his lovely family).  We rented a car for a week and tooled back and forth to Orlando, Cocoa Beach, and the surrounding areas.  We also enjoyed, and marveled at, our “private” pool during the day and the gorgeously landscaped bug-proof enclosure it was in.  I’ve never seen anything like that, and it was so nice!

Other adventures included…

Airboats and alligators:


A trip to a village in the snowy mountains of England…


and one very magical castle inhabited by my homeboy Harry Potter:


Hedwig wouldn’t leave me alone.


(Just kidding!  It was the cutest stuffed-owl-head-turning puppet I’ve ever seen.)


A picture to prove I don’t always look like a dork. (Or do I?)

Sea World (my favorite favorite):


I’m petting an alpaca.  At Sea World.  Very ocean-y, right?  I go for the thrills.


Can you read that?  It says “Soak Zone”….

And here it comes… (good thing I don’t have a nicer camera or I wouldn’t have gotten this shot!)


My other homeboy, Shamu (actually a Shamu lookalike) who inspired my marine biologist aspirations for a good ten years or so:


The fan-flipper-tastic whale and dolphin show was my favorite (a girl *can* have eighteen favorites)…





With a quick wave farewell, we moved right along to…


A classic shot of some pink flamingoes.  The non-plastic variety.  Oh, and me.


I can’t forget my other favorite – feeding the stingrays some seriously delicious (looking) frozen-and-chopped-in-two dead fishies!

Up to my elbows in awesome fishiness:


I dig me some stingrays.


We also had to spend some time at the beach, of course:


And in some kayaks:


Where we met a rather playful dolphin:


And spotted something really exciting…..


Do you see it?  (I am pointing after all…)


Now you see it.  But do you know what it is?


It weighs something like 1500 lbs….

Has a furry snout…

Looks an awful lot like a hippo in person…


And (evidently) prefers to drink from the garden hose:



It’s a MANATEE!  Actually, there are several in these pictures, including a mama and a baby (the snouts you see in a picture above), but they rise and fall in depth, so it’s tough to get good pictures, especially when you are right next to them.  We were a little afraid of having our kayaks tipped when they rose to the surface, so we skirted the group and had fun watching and taking pictures.

What a fabulous vacation!  Native wildlife….tourist traps….the pool….and the ocean. 

What more can one ask for?  (Except maybe a more diligent blogger…)


April 19, 2011

Quick Note

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Actually, I'm not sure where she is......but I can tell you where we've been for the last eight days!

FLORIDA!  On vacation, enjoying Sea World, Universal Studios, the ocean, and the beautiful warm weather!

Gotta run though...more to come later...
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