In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Luxembourg American Cemetery

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

IN FLANDERS FIELDS POEM, Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915, during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium, by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

As we celebrate the first long weekend of the summer season here in the US, travel safely and play hard, but please take just a moment to remember why we celebrate Memorial Weekend which is to commemorate all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. 

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I’ve worked with a lot of plants this week. On Sunday, the sun shone bright and the temperature was in the 70’s. More importantly, we had our most successful Master Gardener plant sale ever. With a committee of 12 and a volunteer group of 27, we set up tables, signs and tents and handled over 700 plants during a seven-hour period. It was a lot of hard work, but the proceeds will fund our community projects and our UNH Thomas School of Applied Science scholarship.

This week we have gray skies and plenty of rain again. The grass is green, and the plants are growing. The Dwarf Korean Lilac, Patriot Hosta, Solomon Seal, and Lady’s Mantle are beautiful. I included a photo of my bottle tree from South Carolina. And, yes, I drank every one of those bottles of wine but only to get the blue bottles for the tree. 🙂

The Clematis and Bleeding Hearts are blooming while the Peonies and Blueberries, are budding, and the Spirea is changing colors. I love horses. We owned full size and minis when we lived in the Midwest so I really like this new little piece of garden art.

Under these circumstances, the weeds are also growing like they are on steroids. Besides plain ordinary weeds, I’ve been picking buckets full of sprouting oak and maple seeds from all of the beds.

I have always wanted a small water feature in the garden, but we do not have electrical access to the beds.

So, last week I bought a new bird bath and added a solar bubbler to it. I love it, and for $17  a little water feature with several different heads is a fun addition. Plus, it will be easy to pick up put away for the winter.

It is an Ankway solar bird bath fountain pump. I ran across it by accident, but after reading the reviews it seemed like a good choice. It only works when the sun is shining on it, but that’s usually when I’m outside enjoying the gardens. It might not work for everyone, but it is fine for my needs.

With the coming Memorial Day weekend, that is our clue to head to Bob’s Clam Hut for a lunch of fried clams. We do that every year before tourist season starts and then don’t normally go back until after Labor Day. Already, they had people directing traffic and a waiting list for tables. The license plates in the parking lot looked like a tour of the eastern map.

Ah, summer is headed our way even if I have to wear a fleece this morning. 🙂

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Thursday Doors

We had a beautiful day last week, and I went on a shopping adventure with a dear friend and her lovely daughter. We went to the open house at Tattered Rabbit Farm, Deerfield, NH, to check out their amazing birdhouses which was not only a lot of fun but resulted in some interesting doors.

Beautiful home, handsome doors, and amazing birdhouses. Did I buy one? Of course, who could resist beautiful, unique birdhouses that were literally flying out of their studio. We had to grab quickly, and I sincerely doubt there were any left on the last day. The first one I picked up had a rabbit theme, and I was in love with it. But, on the way to pay, I saw one with unique pieces of telephone hardware. With a hubby who spent his entire business career with Ma Bell, I had to put the cute rabbit one down and grab this one. It just was too perfect especially since it even had hardware on the backside including a door knocker. 🙂

I also have to include photos of two of the cutest flower and veggie beds I have ever seen. Don’t you agree?

Linked to Thursday Doors Leader of the Pack, Norm Frampton. Check out his and all the other interesting Thursday Doors, May 17, 2017.

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DIY Composter

Let’s talk trash for a minute. 🙂 Most of us who garden either make compost or buy it in bags or yards. Compost helps to improve soil structure, increases nutrient content, requires less water, and can assist in warding off plant disease.

I do enjoy putting leaves and kitchen scraps together and winding up with a nice fluffy compost to add to my garden beds when I’m planting. In a previous post, I said we were going to make a composter that would turn to replace our stationary one.

We brought an old rain barrel out of the barn that had been used for five or six years. My husband made a trip to the box store to get some pressure treated wood. If we’re going to go to all the trouble of making something that is easy to turn and empty, I didn’t want to have to paint it. We spent about $32 on a piece of pipe for the center, fittings, and the pressure treated wood.

We left the rain barrel as is. There is a strainer in the top which allows water and air to enter, and we left the faucet on because it could provide a service down the road if I needed to drain off a large amount of water. My husband added additional air holes on the sides and two holes in the bottom for natural drainage.

After looking at the photo, if you are wondering why it is so high off the ground, there was a conscious decision made to elevate it. We can now align a wheelbarrow right underneath it when it is time to empty it. If it is situated closer to the ground, it has to be emptied on a tarp, pulled out, shoveled from the ground to a wheelbarrow or cart, moved, and shoveled again.

It may look odd, but I sure like how it is going to work.

We’ve had rain and more rain with the western part of the state actually receiving 3″ of snow yesterday. But, this week is drying up and heating up. Both good things for a change. Hope your weather is allowing you to enjoy time outside. 🙂

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May gardening

I’ve been outdoors. Trees and bushes are sprouting leaves and flowers, and I can almost hear the perennials growing.

There were numerous days when I worked in the rain drenched to the skin. Rain is really good for transplanting, and if I wait for this weather pattern to change, I think it will be June. 🙂

For the past few years, I’ve used an old indoor workbench as an outdoor potting table. But, in New England, everything that comes out in spring must go back in fall or be covered in feet of snow for several months. After a few years of dragging this bench around, it was literally falling apart.

My husband rebuilt it using as much of the wood as possible and recycling other wood from the barn. We did purchase ten pickets for the back and four casters for the legs which will allow me to move it around much easier.

Once you have the space to pot and divide, you need a place to store them.

A fellow MG had a small, cost-effective greenhouse that she uses for starting plants. She said she’s used it for several years, leaving the frame outdoors but storing the plastic cover in the extreme heat of the summer and the winter months. It required a lot of moving of plants to find a place to anchor it. We purchased heavy-duty anchors from Home Depot so the frame isn’t going anywhere.

Good compost for starting and dividing plants is a real plus but making it can take some time and effort. We have pallet compost bins for leaves, and I’ve had this square black compost bin from Gardeners Supply for a few years. I decided it was time to either move it where it would get more sun or try a new type that you can turn that I saw at a fellow MG’s house last week when we were potting up more plants for the sale.

Have you ever emptied a compost bin that you can’t flip over? I shoveled off the top quarter and moved it to the open compost bins to further decompose.  Throw in an ant colony because the pile was too dry, and you have a job that was not a lot of fun. If you’re a gardener, you love good compost, but I really think I’d like to be able to just flip it over to empty it.

In case you’re wondering if rain is in the forecast for today, the answer would be yes. If you’re wondering if I’ll be out there doing a few jobs, that answer would be yes too. 🙂

The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.    Joel Salatin

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Wordless Wednesday

Grape Hyacinths, Bleeding Hearts, Daffodils, Christmas Fern, Solomon’s Seal, Clematis, Tulip Tree, Peonies.        Daily Forecast – showers and temps as low as 34. Spring?  🙂

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Thursday Doors

I’m going to need a houseboat, if it doesn’t stop raining pretty soon. We haven’t seen the sun in about a week. We’ve gone well past mud season into some type of New England swamp season. The only residents here who are enjoying it are the ducks. 🙂

But, if I need to start looking for a new residence that will float, this would be a good one. It not only has a handsome door but a patio area and room for plants. 🌷

Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors for April 27, 2017. Check it out.

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