In the garden

I’m wiped out. Boo hoo, I know. 😎

The MG plant sale went off on Sunday even though we had several threats of heavy rain. A little over 1,000 individual plants were sold, and we deposited over $4,000 which will go towards our community projects and scholarship program. It is a large event to pull off, but it’s done. 🎇

This week, I’m finishing up some container plantings. I’m guessing you all know this, but just in case I can help one person, I’ll repeat myself.

Proven Winner charges more for their plants, but in this case it is worth it. If the plant has ‘super‘ in its name that means you won’t have to deadhead it. For instance, ‘Supertunia’ can perform all summer but you won’t have to check for dead blossoms once. I’m frugal, but I know a time saver when I see one.

Love lilacs but don’t have room for a gangly lilac tree? How about a Dwarf Korean Lilac?

I have several and love them. They are great medium-sized bushes that you can keep trimmed but still enjoy some lovely small, fragrant lilac blooms. Mine are just budding.

I love my truck. Have I told you before that I love my truck?😀 I drive over, pick up a load of mulch, back up to the bed, and shovel or pull it off. I unloaded two loads before noon one day last week. Oh, how that saves time and my back.

We are lucky because we live about 2 miles from a local company that sells loam, compost and mulch. Pretty convenient. This year before that compost is dumped in my truck, I’m going to ask about where it came from and whether it was heated. NH is following VT in dealing with the invasive snake worm. Several of our MGs are trying to combat them, and so far I don’t have them. They eat all the nutrients out of the soil – not a good thing.

Are you seeing any lawn damage from sodium chloride being applied to the highways during the winter? We live off a state highway and have more damage each year. The only solution is to apply gypsum to balance it out or reseed each year. I know they don’t want our opinion, but I would certainly appreciate them using something else.

Now, if you are tired of gardening and are over 60, do yourself a favor and check out Dan Anton’s No Facilities post from yesterday. It’s one you are sure to enjoy.

Plans for Memorial Day?

You’ll find me staying off the major highways, remembering our veterans, and working on an indoor DIY project. Happy long weekend, and keep  your umbrella handy if you’re visiting NH. 🇺🇸

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Spring has sprung

I know I complained about spring taking its own sweet time about getting here, but she has surely arrived. I can tell by the blisters on my hand, the soreness in my back, a never-ending list of outside chores, 52 bags of leaves, and beautiful buds and blooms.

Make sure to note those two red tulips because they are the only two I have. Why the chipmunks and squirrels missed those two I don’t know.

After raking and bagging that many leaves, my thoughts have turned to a leaf blower that also vacuums and mulches. Has anyone bought one of these? Do they work?

It’s a good thing I finished that painting project before I started on the outdoor list. As part of that, I wanted to try having some of my photos from South Carolina printed onto canvas. So, I ordered two 11×14 prints and three 8×10 prints. I’m pretty happy with the results.

Besides work at home, I’ve also been really busy getting ready for the MG plant sale. These plants will be loaded into my truck on Saturday and hopefully sold on Sunday. The plants that don’t sell are used in some of our projects, donated to town beautification projects, and given to a neighboring town for their library plant sale.

Once they are out of the yard, I can get my stock tank beds ready for veggies and fruits. I’m longing for fresh lettuce and that first tomato sandwich.

Is gardening keeping you busy as we hit the middle of May or are you planning a Memorial Day getaway?













Posted in New England | Tagged , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Thursday Doors

The Amtrak Downeaster travels between Massachusetts and Maine

Depending upon the day of the week there are either five or seven trains running in both directions.

I like knowing I live in a town with a train station. I even like hearing the distant whistle.

I was at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, last Monday and was taking a break with friends at The Dairy Bar which is housed in the restored train depot when I heard the whistle. I was able to grab these shots as people headed for the platform.

This Saturday, May 12, is National Train Day. How do I know that? Well, our good friend, Dan, over at No Facilities really likes trains, and he made sure to let us know.

I haven’t ridden on a train in a couple of years. I think I’m due to at least think about a trip because there is something about standing on the siding and hearing the conductor shout all aboard.

Where would I like to go on a train – Maine. I’d ask a Dover and South Carolina friend to join me because she is always up for a fun adventure.

There are three Maine bloggers I’d love to have lunch with – Denise at Fernwood Nursery, Laurie at Notes from the Hinterland, and Brenda at Old Dogs New Truck. Then we’d head farther north to visit two South Carolina friends at the Maine and Nova Scotia border. Perfect train trip – guaranteed to result in a lot of smiles, laughter, and great conversation.

When’s the last time you rode on a train?

Our head train conductor for Thursday Doors is Norm Frampton. Check out doors from around the globe on his Thursday Doors for May 10, 2018.


Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 66 Comments

Dirty nails

I have dirty nails which means it’s definitely gardening season here in New England. 🙂

The Bleeding Hearts are starting to bloom, the other perennials are popping up, and three blisters later, I had raked 23 bags and two pickup loads of leaves.

Speaking of perennials, I also bought a new perennial for myself – Golden Varigated Sweet Iris. I had heard about it originally from Kerry Mendez when she was speaking about plants with flashy foliage and then saw it at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. So, when I visited my local nursery last week, it just jumped into my cart. I love looking out the window and seeing the flash of color amongst the green of the other leaves.

On Saturday at the Ask A MG table, we had great conversations with people about various gardening topics including soil testing, growing fruits, pruning, transplanting, growing zones, annuals versus perennials, and thwarting chipmunks. Over 200 residents showed up to sweep, rake, prune, and spread mulch around several park areas downtown.

All of the MG plants have been moved out of the little greenhouse and onto the driveway so they can get sun and rain and not quite so much intense heat.

Yesterday, I was at the UNH Greenhouse to help pot up a couple hundred tomato plants for our sale. I brought about 125 home to take care of until the sale. Do you grow tomatoes? What’s your favorite tomato variety?

I also mowed some grass, spray painted some pots, and  planted up three hanging baskets and three containers. In two of the containers I used perennials – Boxwood, Coral Bells, Creeping Jenny, and European Ginger.

The funniest container I put together was a ‘live’ fire pit planter. I’d seen it somewhere on the net and had to give it a try.

I used three Croton plants which have spiky red, yellow, and green leaves which ‘loosely’ resemble fire flames. I put them in a round saucer-like container, sunk it in the ground, and covered the edges with small pieces of wood. No splitting of wood is needed for my fire pit just regular watering. 🙂

At the end of the day, I had picked up 11,398 steps. I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep.

Happy Tuesday. We’re off to have lunch up at beautiful Alton Bay with friends. What are you up to this May 8th?

Posted in New England | Tagged , , , , , , | 59 Comments

Sunny Wednesday

The thermometer is going to hit 87 in my part of the world today. Let’s remember – a week ago, jackets, hats, and gloves were required. Dare I say that I think we have messed with the environment a little too much.

We’ve been getting rain almost every other day, and the spring flowers have popped up all over including Bloodroot, Daffodils, Pulmonaria, and native Violets.

The painting is done. Several times along the way, I thought maybe it was going to be the end of me. There was the nook in the main bath where I couldn’t turn around and my elbow hit the back wall every time I raised the brush or roller, the two-story wall over the stairs, or the wall behind the washer and dryer. I’m a really good painter, but give me a nice open room versus these small, confined spots where I can barely get my shoulders in.

Now, I’m on to the start of some outside projects. There are more leaves to be raked, grass to be mowed, raspberry supports to be painted, raised beds to be moved, loam and compost brought in. I have lots of gardening opportunities including which shed to buy because I still haven’t made a decision.

We did buy a truck – Nissan Frontier. I love our truck. It drives nice, and best of all I can pile all kinds of gardening related stuff in the bed. We live close to our recycling center, and it is great to just load up and haul branches and leaves over there. I just can’t figure out why we didn’t do it sooner.

I’m still plant sitting for the upcoming May Master Gardener plant sale. Maybe the heat and higher temps will enable the plants to grow because right now, some are struggling. Saturday will find me working the Ask A MG table at our town’s annual spring clean up day. Yeah – it’s finally gardening season. 🙂

So, what are you working on this second day of May?

Posted in Gardening, New England | Tagged , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Thursday Doors

Yesterday, I traveled with fellow Master Gardeners to Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. It rained the entire time, but it couldn’t damper the beauty of this lovely garden.

Tower’s Hill’s history is intertwined with the Worcester County Horticultural Society and dates back to 1840. The year-round garden covers 171 acres and sponsors plant and flower shows, classes, tours, and even a Master Gardener Training Course.

There were original farmhouse doors, openings leading to a striking purple and green gazebo, a handsome stickwork creation, and beautiful conservatories.

It was also quite a thrill to see another of Patrick Dougherty’s stickwork creations. The Wild Rumpus is 50’x30’x30′ and was created in August 2016 using red maple saplings.

There are two conservatories that are currently overflowing with an array of beautiful flowers. Once the weather warms up, these plants are moved outside so special events including weddings can be held in these beautiful buildings.

Outside, there are a variety of spring flowers that catch your attention including this lovely assortment of Hellebores.

If you are in the area, I’d highly recommend a stop at Tower Hill Botanic Garden which is 45 minutes west of Boston.

Beautiful grounds, lovely flowers, great gift shop, and even a delicious lunch = perfect destination.

Like doors? Visit our fearless leader, Norm Frampton, to see this week’s collection of Thursday Doors, April 26, 2018.


Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Almost May

One word – busy. The weather has warmed up at last, and the outdoor list is long. The Master Gardeners projects have started, and I’ve been doing social media and computer work for them like it is a full-time job.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylson, MA. It is suppose to rain all day, but, hey, that never stops a group of Master Gardeners from visiting a garden. 🙂

Speaking of spring, has anyone bought a garden shed that they’re happy with? We’re looking at them for some of my gardening supplies, but there sure are a lot to choose from with varying online costs and opinions.

I’ve been doing some inside painting. I have three different areas going I guess to keep myself from getting bored – kitchen, master bath, and hallway. I’m using the same color paint so it’s not exciting, but it is a little easier to match it up when I stop. If you’ve had to paint a really high ceiling in a stairwell and came up with a good tool, do tell because I’m past the time I could balance a ladder on a step.

Over the weekend, I wrote a guest post for the Landaff Ledger blog from the town where my grandparents lived. Once it was published, there was a suggestion by a reader to submit it to the local historical society. That’s when you feel old – when they want to submit something you’ve written as oral history.

No flower photos because the most I’m seeing are a couple of inches of day lilies coming up.

But, we did enjoy our first seafood of the year since returning from SC – clam strips at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine. We were lucky to get a table because after we sat down there was standing room only.

Here’s hoping spring is in the air where you are, well, except for our Australian friends who are enjoying fall right now. Have you started your spring to-do-list?🌷

Posted in New England | Tagged , , , , , , , | 43 Comments