Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering My Mother

Last August I wrote about my mom in, Georgia on My Mind. Never could I imagine that 2014 would be the year that my mother would leave me to be with the Lord. My mother was like no other mother I have met. I have always had shelter, a clean home, meals prepared with love, and a mother that loved her children and passed on to them the morals and values she was raised with. She was the voice of wisdom, encouragement, and hope. I never wanted for anything growing up although our family was not wealthy but working class parents. She always encouraged us to do our best and when we became parents she was a wonderful grandmother. She encouraged each of her 3 children to pursue their dream. 

When I went to see her yesterday at the family home for the last time I couldn't believe my mother had left and didn't tell me. I somehow thought I would know. At this time I can't see myself ever going back to her home in Georgia although I know one or more of her children will have to go. It would be bittersweet to visit my aunt and uncle who live on the same street and not know my mother is not in her home to greet me.

When I got out of bed this morning after taking many phone calls all night from family that could not sleep either, the first thing I saw was a male cardinal in my flower pot. How beautiful. I don't know if life will be as joyous for me or gardening. I looked at the container on my mom's porch I planted. The flowers are beautiful. In her yard the roses are in bloom and the plants she planted are beautiful and in bloom. I watered plants in her kitchen window and will soon bring them to my home and pray they live. I love you mom and I miss you. I never expected you to go so soon.

Betty Burrell February 25, 1943-May 25, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What to do With a Shade Flower Bed?

The view from the window. I get disturbed every time I look at this bed compared to the perennial bed out front. Is there anything to plant besides hosta, heuchera, and fern? I can't chop down the trees because they don't belong to me. I know there are many shade plants but there are so many more beautiful flowering perennials for the sun. From reading I find many like moist shade and I ran into this problem with the astible. They do fine this time of year but when it heats up and gets humid they're gone. I love brunnera Jack Frost especially the blue flowers in the spring but it also likes moist shade, so does the ligularia (the rocket). Neither one are inexpensive if you buy it from a good online nursery. Never have seen it in a garden center. 

Perennial geranium may be possible but I don't want that as ground cover. I hear so much about trillium but I hate to kill something I payed too much money for.  My history for plant survival isn't great. There's also pulmonaria and helleborus, lamium, bergenia, and primula which also likes moisture. I haven't read the requirements for the other 4 yet. I'm sure there are a multitude of plants for dry shade but they don't make me excited except for the rocket and it may take years to build a clump of it and fill out a space, if it lives. Will I go out every day in the summer to water, no... What ever the plant, it has to be able to survive mainly on rain water. That's tough but realist for me. 

Don't want the whole yard to be hosta although I love them and there are so many varieties and colors.  I'd like the bed to be full like out front and have varying heights of plants and some color from blooms. Blooms that stagger throughout the season would be nice. I will have to continue my research before fall. Hopefully I can plant during the summer so they have time to be established since the perennials I planted last fall didn't survive. Do you have any suggestions?

Started to clean up the yard last Saturday but not finished. Trash bag still in the yard until then.

You can see how big the fern is from above. A few of these in the flower bed would take over the bed. That's an option and I love ferns but I want more planted than ferns.
Still have to put the hydrangea in the corner. I have to find the ceramic container in the packed shed.

Waiting to be planted but still looking okay. Broccoli that should have been planted long ago, Swiss chard, blueberry, sage, chives, and some annuals left in a flat. Cucumbers and one tomato were planted.

The Window Boxes and Other Ramblings

Today temperatures are in the 70's with light rain today and tomorrow. It's supposed to be clear after that through Memorial Day. Preparing the house and yard has kept me busy. I'm tired today after coming home. My list for today included putting together a wicker chair for my porch. I take it apart in the fall so firewood can be stacked in it's spot. The disadvantages of a small house and a smaller porch. The ceiling fan in my living room was taken apart over the weekend to clean and see if balancing the blades correctly would help the fan start. It stopped working last spring but I can still hear the motor running and since I have a window air conditioner it wasn't a priority but I miss the breeze from the fan when it's not warm enough for air conditioning. If I don't get it working that will be another thing added to my list of what has to be done in the house. Of course nothing was done and the sofa and my bed won out.

This summer my list is extensive and includes a new roof, doors, a window, repair on the gas heater, cement work on the sidewalk and basement, exterior painting, some wood on the porch needs to be replaced, the hazards of wood, it deteriorates over the years, and possibly some plumbing work. Houses are expensive to maintain and old houses more so to me. I will have a greater piece of mind this winter if most of this is done, especially the roof. 

The list also includes things such as touching up the paint in the house, reupholstering my love seat in the living room, cleaning out 2 bedrooms and taking items to good will and organizing the rooms so one can be used for storage and the other a guest bedroom and everything room. Everything as in moving the seed starting station and the treadmill there. I've always wanted a room just for prayer, that would be nice. 

It would be a joy to start doing some things that I "used" to have time for like sewing, crocheting, needlepoint, and other crafts, and as always looking at the house and making it look the way I would like. I would love a farm table in my dining room and window seats under 2 window. Of course I am a bargain hunter so it will be greatly discounted especially the table. I have an idea for the window seats. Not built in but some that I have seen that can be sat on and open for storage. They're inexpensive. 

In many ways I haven't changed from the little girl I once was and I still love doll houses and have 2 that I was supposed to have been working on for years. One came from the antique store and the other from a flea market. Painting them and filling each room is going to be fun. When I get to it. Hopefully this won't be when I retire if I'm blessed to live that long and be healthy.

It always feels like I'm preparing for the next season, holiday, or event. When is there rest or does one have to just be? My views of life seem magnified with age. Things I didn't see when younger are so obvious now. That's a good thing. It is true that wisdom does come with age. As it is often said, wouldn't it be great if I knew when I was younger, what I know now? LIFE WOULD BE SO DIFFERENT. This post is supposed to be about the window boxes but as I stated when I started this blog, I also like to share my thoughts and other things. Consider these type of posts, those other things. I also like to write. I know I can improve my grammar. June will be 1 year of garden blogging and I must admit, I've enjoyed it. Even if only one other person reads it besides myself. I enjoy looking back at what was happening with the garden, successes and failures.

I planned to take all the soil out of both boxes and line it with plastic with small holes pierced to help keep all the water from draining out like it did last summer. The soil was so dry I don't know how anything lived. The holes were predrilled but there could have been less holes. The ivy didn't make it till spring although I thought it was perennial. I don't know if it was our winter weather or what. I ended up not lining the boxes but I did put the dwarf shrubs in plastic with some holes so that if moisture was a problem this would at least help them since they are now the foundation for the boxes. It might also help control their growth. Hopefully the plastic doesn't kill them. I don't want to have to completely replace everything every year and I can have something evergreen year round.

If I never plant another thing in them but the shrubs, they will look good when I look up at this from the street. I have a small house but have made a lot of work for myself with planters,  window boxes, flower beds, the front porch, inside the house, and the back yard. The flowers and plants are beautiful, and I love to look at all of it but it's work. Of course I can choose to never plant another thing but not yet. Life will tell me when to "down size" my repertoire.

Shade window box. Planted 6 coleus, 6 impatiens, 3 dwarf shrubs, 2 sweet potato vines, 1 asparagus fern, and 1 ivy.

The green box on the left is for ants. Can you imagine that ants can find soil up this high?

The window box in the sun. Planted 1 dwarf shrub, 2 geraniums, 2 ivy leaf geraniums, 2 spider plants, 2 sweet potato vines, 3 ivy, and 1 asparagus fern. It's a common fern that does well but don't know if it does well in sun. I hope, or it will be dead.

There is still room. I have some petunias in the yard I may put it.

The ivy should be in the front but everything couldn't fit there. I will rearrange it later.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Out Front-Sunday

It's been cool yesterday and today. Cool enough outside for a light jacket and inside a warm fire. A good way to burn the last bit of wood from last fall. The warmth feels good. The temperature inside at night was cold enough to shut the bedroom window but no, I just consider it free air conditioning. My sore throat for the past couple of day told me other wise. There were 2 perennials to be planted out front. There's little space but I actually found 3 spots. Two for the perennials and 1 for some annual salvia.

Time to add sweet potato vine. The tag didn't say if it was Caroline or Marguerite. Since I plant them every year I should know by now. Butterflies or moths have been laying eggs already. Something has eaten two of my coleus seedling leaves completely off. I thought it was too early for that. While planting the impatiens for some color I didn't notice any worms or droppings yet but they are there or it could be a grasshopper? I still have caladium to plant in here, some more impatiens and a darker sweet potato vine. Everything will squeeze in. Last Summer the planter  didn't have much color from flowers and I enjoy the color and blooms. Foliage is nice too.

Still showing out as you can see. I dread their demise but will see them again in the fall.

The colors are beautiful.
The flower bed is surviving even without tulip blooms. I think this is one of the prettier years for the bed. I added the salvia which now gives me 2 perennial types. I have catmint but I don't know if it's in the same family.

She is a taller lambs ear than the other variety I have. Coreopsis starting to bloom. They are high maintenance and take time to deadhead and remove all of the stems that have bloomed. This has to be done if you want to be rewarded with more blooms.

The blue grandaflora thunbergia vine on the trellis has done nothing yet.

Poppy starting to bloom.

The shasta daisy sat on my porch for way too long. Hopefully it will perk.

Still haven't pulled the vinca. It certainly can take over.

I have 2 plants that I don't remember planting. I dug up a peony in the fall. One looks like a peony seedling and the other looks like the shasta daisy I planted in the fall an thought was dead. I'm excited to see what develops. 


Saturday, May 17, 2014

In The Yard-Saturday

Unexpectedly I went in the yard this afternoon. After shopping all morning and not arriving back home until after 2:00, gardening wasn't in the plan. It was until I stayed out all morning. Next weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and since it's my time to barbecue I had to get started some where. I still have flowers to plant, especially the window boxes. I have neglected them so far and hopefully the geraniums I bought will still be alive by the time they get to the box that receives sun. The other box is shaded by the tree and will have impatiens and coleus.

These pictures were taken at 6:00 pm. Look at the sky. Longer days and more day light. That's one of the best parts of  Summer.
Yes, I broke down and bought it. Aren't they beautiful. Maybe not too exciting to those who already have them. I had one years ago as a Mother's Day gift. It didn't do well in the ground in my yard and eventually died. Lets see how it does in a pot. My mother also gave me one last year from her yard in Georgia. Her hydrangea are also blue. It died. My sister's neighbor gave me a baby one last  summer that also died. I hope this is not telling me something. I decided this Summer I need to start adding more perennial shrubs and less annuals that require replanting every year. I will never stop buying annuals but I need more foundation plants. I hope it lives. My next planned purchase when I find one in a color that I like, a rose for another container. I would be upset if this dies over the winter like many of the container shrubs I had last winter.
The unknown bulbs were alliums. I know it looked like an allium before it bloomed but I don't remember planting more. What happened to the bulbs I planted from Georgia? Summer has not arrived. Maybe they were summer bulbs.
The black planter under the hydrangea is supposed to be under the other black planter by the fence but I would have to dig up the rose bush which I haven't been able to pry from the ground I want the container in this spot. Some iris were dug up and will be moved. They have never bloomed yet. My sister gave them to me two years ago and they are still very small. Maybe when pots are discounted in November I can find a smaller black one or eventually dig up the rose and move it. The hydrangea will go in the corner near the cedar planter on top of a smaller blue ceramic planter. Making use of what I have.

Bleeding Heart still blooming. The fern is trying to take over the planter.

Two years ago this peony had hundreds... of blooms. I counted 4 today. It will receive a topping of manure this fall. When I used it before, I was rewarded.

Garlic looking wild.
I hope everyone does better with their veggies. This is the second time I've bought cucumbers. The last ones died before planting.  Got to water them or they will meet the same fate before planting. Going to make an effort tomorrow to plant the vegetables. 
Seeds sown last summer. They didn't come up until this year. I don't even know what they are.
You know pansies have to be shown.

The impatiens are doing good.

The white clematis died during the winter. Room for another one.  
Tomorrow the tulip heads have to be topped off and I need to clean up the foliage so it looks neater. Also the vegetables are waiting to be planted. The table has to be put back together and chairs taken from the basement. Sometime next week. The more that can be done ahead of time the better. It's amazing the amount of preparation required for a family dinner. I enjoy entertaining. The prep, not so much.