Flowers everywhere

Happy Monday!

The sun is shining, the humidity is moderate, and the flowers are blooming. I’ve weeded, moved a dozen plants or so, trimmed some lilacs and boxwoods, and I didn’t have to water because it rained yesterday.

The Azaleas are almost done, the Peonies are doing great, and the Knockout roses are just starting.

I wanted to plant carrots again this year for the Mounted Patrol horses, and I ran across a post by the Laidback Gardener that had instructions on how to pre-sprout the carrot seeds. I gave it a try, and it worked! The only thing I did differently was to use a spray bottle instead of pouring the hot water over the seeds which kept them from being washed off the paper towel. Once they sprouted, I planted them in two grow bags as well as in between my tomato plants. They are up and growing.

Did you know Pollinator Week is June 17-23?

Well, it is, so tomorrow I’m working at our new MG butterfly garden which is still holding its own since three groundhogs were relocated. I left two plants uncovered, and if they are still standing tomorrow, I’ll take the covers off everything.

Last Saturday, I finished the insect hotel my husband and I put together for the pollinator garden from scrap wood from the recycling center. Repurpose, reuse, recycle – it’s a good thing.

It’s an eclectic all natural piece that includes a stump and four branches that I pulled off the trash pile. My husband drilled a variety of holes varying from 3/8 – 5/8″ in the branches, I added some bamboo and pine cones. We had an old piece of tin that we put on as a roof with a flair and voilà solitary bees can now find a resting spot.

If you have ever thought about creating your own insect hotel, here’s a good link for further information.

Remember when I was bemoaning the loss of the WordPress spellchecker, and a wonderful blogging friend suggested Grammarly? I installed it, and I loved it. It was perfect. Well, almost perfect until I started having major computer issues of all types last week. After hours of researching and trying everything I could come up with, I took myself off to the home-town computer store where they ran diagnostics and couldn’t find anything wrong with the computer. After more problems and more research, I decided to disable Grammarly and see if there was any difference. The good news was the computer was working at its former speed with no errors or locking me out of programs, the bad news was I lost my spell and grammar check again. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to do a little more proofreading.

Now, I’m off to start a small sewing project. The projects that look small usually end up taking the most time.

I also think I need to whip up some sugar cookies. Which first – sugar cookies or sewing? Sugar cookies win out every time. 🙂

Happy mid June to all of you.

Here’s a bouquet of flowers from me to you, and I’m hoping life is treating you well.

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One note

I’ve been singing one note lately – gardening. 😎

Dwarf Korean Lilac at its peak.

I won’t put you to sleep by detailing what I’ve been doing. Let’s just say I’ve been catching up on weeding, pruning, planting containers, and, of course, moving plants around because that’s what gardeners do.

I’ve also taken some time to just sit and enjoy being outside in the beautiful weather we’ve been having. Windows are open, and the fragrance of the lilacs finishing up their season is unbelievable.

Shade garden, poppy and iris, clematis, outdoor potting table (Yes, I have two potting tables, inside and out. Doesn’t everyone?), container planting, side garden

If you remember, the MGs are fighting rodents at a new native pollinator garden which we found out is a family of groundhogs. One garden tender is a resident, and he has set a trap. So far, he’s relocated two members of the family, and we’re hoping to relocate the entire group so the garden has an opportunity to prosper.

I worked out there on Saturday and found that the majority of the plants are recovering except for the lupines and butterfly weed. But, did the tomato cages with plastic fencing, chicken wire cloches, and dollar store waste cans all pinned to the ground with landscape pins work? Yes, they did. 🙂

I also went on a gardening tour last week to a fellow MG’s home. She has a native lakeside woodland garden that is jaw-dropping beautiful. The most spectacular feature is a pond they created where a previous owner had dumped gardening waste into a depression in the ground. They added a liner, circulating pump, lined it with rocks, and planted it with native ferns and flowers. It is spectacular, and even though I took a ton of photos, I couldn’t really capture its beauty.

Woodland water feature, Lady’s Slippers, and Popcorn Doublefile Viburnum. Yes, I’m searching for this Viburnum to buy for myself because it is gorgeous.

Whatever you are doing this second week of June, I hope it includes some time outside doing whatever makes you happy. 78°F with moderate humidity make me a happy woman even with the darn black flies.  😎

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Gardening Hack

The life of a gardener is not all pretty flowers and vegetable plants overflowing with produce.

There are the plants themselves, soil, bugs, critters, weather – you get the idea. There are challenges.

I mentioned previously that our MG group had planted a new ‘native’ plant butterfly garden, and we sent in for Monarch Waystation status.

Last week, I drove over to check the plants and noticed a couple had been snacked on. I came home, searched Pinterest, found some chicken wire in the barn and made some basic wire cloches to helpfully protect those plants. As I was loading the truck, I threw a couple of tomato cages and some green plastic fencing  in as well.

When I got there instead of counting the plants that were eaten I counted the ones that hadn’t been and that number was six. I used all seven cloches, five tomato cages, and every piece of plastic fencing I had.

This garden is in a rural area, and there’s not much we can do except cover each plant or go to the expense and labor of installing a good sized fence. Since, the other ladies threw up their hands in the air with disgust, I’m the one doing it, so hence more cloches.

Back to Pinterest I went and saw a hack where they used wire baskets from the dollar store. I got lucky at my second dollar store and bought twelve for $1 each. Then I picked up more landscape pins, and when it opens tomorrow I’ll be back to see if I can salvage more plants.

Since we have no idea what type of critter we’re dealing with, I am chuckling to myself wondering if when I arrive there will be pieces of green fence, chicken wire, and landscape pins spread all over the place. To be continued. 🙂 Happy Monday!

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P.S.  If you see typos or grammatical errors in my posts or anyone else using WordPress on a laptop, please know WordPress, in their infinite ‘youthful’ wisdom, decided we didn’t need spell and grammar check anymore because most people (insert ‘young people’ here) are posting on their phones where there apparently is an app to check your writing. I love WordPress. I do not love all the changes made to meet just one group of users since I am still a ‘paying’ customer. Snarkiness intentional. 🙂

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Dirty fingernails

and a big smile on my face. 😎 We’ve had several nice days which allowed me to work in my own gardens as well as on two MG projects.

The MGs installed a native plant butterfly garden which was registered as a Monarch Waystation, and I planted the entry containers at the mounted horse patrol barn. Whew, MG projects caught up for a few days.

I’m putting a link here in case you are interested in native plants. It was an involved process to find the right plants and then a source. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the list.)  We ended up establishing a relationship with a brand new nursery and purchasing from them – Bagley Pond Perennials, Warner, NH. Gardening is one thing. Gardening with only native plants is an entirely different challenge.

In my own gardens, I have the tomatoes, lettuce, asparagus, and schwartzbeeren seeds, a Volga German crop, all planted. The blueberries, raspberries and blackberries have been trimmed.

The hummingbird feeder has been attracting some customers which makes me happy. No photos though because they are fast little folks, and I’d have to sit and wait with a telephoto lens which is not something I do well.

I use perennials in some of my bird baths and this year I tried succulents.  They seem to be really popular at the local greenhouses, and I thought I’d try something different.

I haven’t had good luck overwintering succulents in the past. I guess they don’t like being buried under feet of snow for six months. This fall when I take them out, I’m going to try a more sheltered spot for them to spend the winter and see if I have more success.

How do I keep them from drowning in a birdbath when it rains? The pot they are in is sitting on an upside down terra cotta saucer which allows them to sit above the majority of the water.

The lilacs, iris, and bleeding hearts are blooming, but I’ve lost plants like Nepeta, catmint, Knockout roses, and butterfly bushes that have been like ‘iron man’ plants for years. I was reading an interesting blog post from a local landscaper who said we had an early freeze, not much snow cover so the plants kept going through the freeze/thaw process,  excessive deer damage, and a wet spring. As a result, a lot of plants and shrubs were frozen, eaten, or rotted. Who can say ‘hello greenhouse, and here is my credit card.’

Bleeding hearts, lilacs, iris, and Korean lilacs.

A new piece of garden art was added – a rotary hoe wheel. We had picked it up a couple of years ago and kept meaning to ask a friend to weld it, but never got it to him.

Last week, I scrounged in a wood pile at a recycling center to find a stump for another project and ran across a second stump which worked perfectly as a base for the wheel.

I like garden art. Do you?

We have a lot of rain forecasted this week. Thinking positively, the gardens will all get watered, and I’ll  work on inside projects.

Hope you’re having some good weather where you are and enjoying the very last few days of May. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we’re moving into June this week. Happy gardening. 🌺

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Thursday Doors

Yesterday, I went north with a friend to Warner, NH. We were picking up native plants for a Master Gardener project. Warner is a small town with a population around 3,000 and a charming one-block downtown area.

We traveled back roads to get to the nursery, and saw many large farms and ranches. I must admit I didn’t know we had ranches here in NH. I would have grabbed photos of some great wrought iron gates leading to a couple of ranches, but my friend was driving and doesn’t exactly understand or appreciate Thursday Doors. 🙂

The nursery owner and her new business were very interesting, but the real star for me was their barn.

It was not a barn that I’m use to touring. It did not house animals, tools, garden supplies, or any of the items I associate with a barn. It was a family party barn, and they had hosted a wedding there last weekend.

It was a beautiful barn built on the foundation from the original one that had been taken down. But, I’m still trying to reconcile my thoughts about a barn that is not a working structure.

I’m pretty sure I’m showing my age here, so I’ll stop writing and let you picture yourself sitting in the balcony, enjoying a cold beverage, and looking out over 300 acres. Nice.

Happy Thursday, and if you are here in the US, have a safe long weekend and never forget the real purpose behind Memorial Day Weekend. 🇺🇸🇺🇸

Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, May 23, 2019.

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Slow Spring

Sooner or later the sun will come out and stay for a while, but it seems like every day there is maybe an hour when it is not gray, overcast, and in many cases sprinkling. It is warmer, so that’s a plus.

There is also some color popping out in the garden, and I’m appreciating each bloom.

I was grateful for the weather this past weekend. Saturday morning, I worked in the sun at our MG Native Garden and got quite a bit done stripping some sod, moving a rock path, and spreading top soil in preparation for planting a butterfly garden on Thursday.

Yesterday, we had our annual plant sale, and it only sprinkled for about 20 minutes. Thank you, Mother Nature. We started with almost 1,000 plants at 9 a.m., and before noon we were almost sold out. We’ve never sold that many in such a short time. I guess our publicity was better this year. The amount of work required to set up a sale in a parking lot including tents, tables, and transport and arrange that many plants is a big project. I’m glad we only attempt it once a year.

There is an interesting phenomenon happening between this past winter and the unseasonably wet, cold spring. There is a lot of damage to plants and lawns. My hibiscus and three butterfly bushes are dead. The hibiscus I can understand, but normally you can’t kill a butterfly bush even if you want to.

Yesterday, I talked to a couple of people with severe rhododendron damage, numerous folks with large swaths of dead lawn from road salt runoff, plants eaten down to the ground by deer that have never touched them before, and even a couple who said beetles have come out of the ground to devour their blueberry bushes. It’s been a tough year so far for gardening enthusiasts.

Remember those 20+ dogwoods I’ve been nurturing since last year? The roots are growing out of the bottom of the pots, the bark is green, but not one leaf. I couldn’t take them to the sale because they look like dead sticks. Gardening as a hobby is never dull, and you are always provided with an opportunity to learn something new.

I’ve got a couple of plants to get into containers and in the ground this morning because it’s going to rain this afternoon, but after that I’m going to find an indoor project to work on because I’m tired.

Have you had any strange happenings in your outdoor landscape this year that you haven’t seen before? I’m also going to put a couple of links below just in case they might be of help to you.

Have a great week as we approach the unofficial start to the summer – Memorial Day weekend. 🇺🇸 Watch out for tourists. 🙂

Links:

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I believe

There will no spring 2019. Truly. Snow flurries up north tonight and mid 30’s here tomorrow night. Heck, we’re still having to turn the heat on periodically.

There are no containers and hanging baskets full of annuals providing pops of color in the garden. We haven’t enjoyed sitting outside listening to the birds while we grill. I haven’t spent all of my mornings out puttering. Nope – too cold, too windy, too rainy.

The asparagus has been planted, the raspberries and Knock Out Roses have been pruned, but the blueberries and blackberries are still on the to-do-list. There are a lot of dead plants to be removed, but I’m waiting to make sure they don’t make a last-ditch effort to survive, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this many spring weeds waiting to be dug up.

Have you checked annuals at your local greenhouse? A four-inch pot of Proven Winners is $8.95. I about passed out. I’ve started a couple of containers, but I’m using some perennials like tiny boxwoods and bright red coral bells as a base structure and will add some annuals to that.

In an effort to not complain about the weather all the time, I read four books – two from C. J. Box’s Joe Pickett series, a J. D. Robb, and a Linda Fairstein. Now, I’m reading Jonathan Kellerman, and I’m grateful every day for my local library. 📚

I hope all mothers had a nice day yesterday. We were invited to brunch, and it’s always a plus when a daughter and son-in-law are both gourmet cooks because it results in a meal that is worthy of dining in a top restaurant.

My daughter had an interesting plant that I’d never seen before – French Butterfly Lavender. Lovely little thing.

This week, I’ll still be trying to work outside before and after appointments and in between the rain. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we are in the middle of May, and there are still daffodils that haven’t bloomed, and the lilacs are stuck in bud mode.

Here’s wishing each and every one of you a great week and some nice warm sunshine. And, next week, I hope I can tell you we sold out of the 1,000+ plants we have available for next Sunday’s MG plant sale. At least, I haven’t lost my sense of humor, right? 😎

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