The sun will come up eventually

The sun is shining. Start the band because this is worth celebrating. Plus, we have two days forecasted for this week without rain.

Plants are still stunted from the rain, but they are showing signs of growth.

My Christmas Fern is starting to pop up. I always find ferns absolutely amazing as they unfurl.

Last week, I harvested compost – beautiful, rich, compost. Woot woot! I’ve tried every type of composter on the market as well as the ones you make out of pallets. I usually get a bucket here or there or some nice leaf mold but that is it.

But this system works. It’s an old rain barrel we had that my husband mounted on a stand which accomplished two things. It can be turned easily, and a wheel barrow can be pushed right underneath it when it is time to empty to.

As I was going through the compost to see if there were any things I needed to pull out, there were two – about six or eight white coffee filters and one handful of hard plant stalks. I was surprised at the filters.

On Saturday, I worked an Ask A Master Gardener table with another MG at our local county conservation plant sale. What a fun event.

I talked with a lot of people about a wide range of gardening topics. What was the number one topic? Apple trees. Right behind that topic was growing small fruits like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, followed up by what to do about deer and the damage they cause.

What did I buy, because you know I bought something, right?  I bought some Jersey Knight asparagus plants and one Hellebore (Lenten Rose). Who could resist that face.

While it rained, I finished my sunflower wall hanging. It is a panel which is easy to work with, and you can just put a back on it, free motion quilt it, or do some straight quilting.

I’m not a great free motion quilter, but I can do lines pretty well so that’s what I did. I outlined the various items like the flowers, leaves, hives plus regular straight lines around the various borders.

With the sun shining, I’m headed out this morning to get the asparagus planted, a little more cleanup done, and moving a hydrangea.

There’s one positive about never throwing away plants – when you’re looking for one you just check the border area, and you might just find one like this hydrangea. 🙂

Hope you are seeing normal May temps and sunshine so you can enjoy your work week, gardening chores, or just enjoy the plants as they burst forth and the lawns turn green.

If you have a gardening question, ask away because there are lots of good gardeners who stop by here and one of us just might have your answer. 🙂

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Rain+cold=More Rain and Snow

We’re averaging one day a week without rain. It’s so cold and rainy my perennials are barely breaking through, and the daffodils are still about 4″ tall. The only blooms I have are these lovely bloodroot – small, short lived, but lovely. If you are not familiar with bloodroot, here’s a link to explain a history that dates back to the Native Americans.

Today is forecasted to be the good day for this week. Right now, it is only 37°F so if it doesn’t warm up I’ll be wearing a winter gardening coat. There’s also wet snow coming in tonight, two days before May 1.

I’m hoping to put up that now fixed missing fence panel, empty my compost bin and spread it on the raspberries and blackberries, fertilize the blueberries, and get out the furniture and potting table. Everyone needs their patio furniture set up before it snows. 🙂

While it rained, I painted a couple of antique chairs. One was my mother’s sewing chair. After painting it and upholstering the seat, I have her quilt I made last year displayed on it. The other chair is a wooden high chair that has been passed down at least four generations in my family. There are certain things that are special, bring a smile and good memories. That’s what these two little chairs are for me.

I also made a new sewing machine cover with some cute bee fabric and have been doing some quilting on a sunflower wall hanging to go with it. As soon as I’m finished I’ll share.

And, the rest of my time has been spent on the upcoming Master Gardener plant sale and a new Monarch Waystation we’re putting in at a native plant garden. A pollinator garden is fairy easy, but sourcing only native plants is a challenge so it’s taken a long time. We’d also like to add a large insect hotel and a free little library. If anyone has done either of these, let me know what worked for you.

Have a good week, and may the sun shine bright and no white stuff fall from the sky where you are. ☀️

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Earth Day

Can you believe it – Earth Day is 49 years old. It won’t be long before AARP starts sending their mailings. 🙂

I remember back in the early days, I felt compelled to do something green on that day and then forgot about it. I do think we are more aware now about the need to take care of the earth each and every day.

The theme this year is save the species. I don’t have any experience saving exotic species, but I do work hard towards keeping the pollinators healthy because in case you haven’t thought about it – no pollinators, no food, no people. Now, if those bees just realized I was one of the good guys and didn’t sting me every chance they get. 🙂

I also do what I can when it comes to recycling, reusing, repurposing, and not worrying that I have weeds in the grass. The bees like the dandelions, and I could eat them if I wanted.

There’s a t-shirt floating around on social media – there is no planet b. Simple but true.

On a normal day, I’d probably complain that I had to reach back into my photos from South Carolina for spring blooms because my daffodils are no more than 4″ tall and there is absolutely nothing blooming here.

But, since my friend, Linda, from northern Maine posted photos of ice dams taller than the average human, I’ll forgo the minor complaint and just wish you all a great Earth Day!

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Thursday Doors

On my last day in South Carolina, three friends and I boarded a pontoon boat with Captain Rommy and headed out into the fog to tour Sandy Island which is a prehistoric sand dune covering around 9,000 acres.

Sandy Island is in between the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers on the east and west, Bull Creek on the north, and Thoroughfare Creek on the south.

After the Civil War, several hundred acres in the southern part of the island was purchased by freed slave, Philip Washington.

Mr. Washington was a slave on Pipe Down Plantation on Sandy Island and was involved in an unusual set of circumstances when their owner passed and his wife left the area. Concerned that they would be sold off and separated from family, they got together, considered all the essential attributes of a good master and elected Governor Robert Francis Withers Allston. Their next challenge was to convince Governor Allston to take on the plantation which he had already turned down. Mr. Washington was sent to talk with him, and he came away with a successful resolution.

It is still inhabited today by ancestors of skilled African slaves brought over to work the rice fields of SC plantations including Brookgreen Plantation.

The population of Sandy Island today is approximately 28 people.

School Boat

Residents who work and children who go to school commute by boat.

The northern part of the island is now owned and preserved through The Nature Conservancy.

Brookgreen Gardens runs boat tours that go near the island, but to actually visit the island you need to set up a tour with Tours De Sandy Island.

If you have the chance to meet the very personable Captain Rommy Pyatt, be sure to thank him for his service. He is retired Air Force.

What did we take away from our tour? I think I can say we all came away with a feeling of deep pride in country, family, and background along with a deeper understanding of our country’s southern history.

This tour was another example that our history is not a story but facts that all stacked together bring us to where we are today. Facts that we can learn from and become better citizens, neighbors, and just plain better human beings.

Happy Thursday and a Happy Easter to those who celebrate this weekend!

Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, April 18, 2019.

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April showers

April showers bring May flowers. Well, we can hope. 🙂

I was able to get two truck loads of sticks and leaves to the recycling center. I made a dent in the sticks but only a down payment on removing the leaves. I have one area with a perennial bed and dry creek bed where the leaves collected and were around 10″ deep. I could have used a pitch fork there. I see a couple of more truck loads of leaves in my future.

There was also a need to warm up those 100+/- perennials and 20 white dogwoods that I’m holding for the upcoming plant sale. So, I got some pvc pipes down, made some hoops, grabbed some clear plastic, and used some clips to hold it down.

Of course, now they need some sunshine. It looks like we’ll get some sun on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the rest of the week shows more rain on the forecast.

While it rained, I did some sewing. I  finished a landscape wall hanging for a gardening friend who is moving to Tucson. I made her a little snow scene to take with her. Hope she appreciates the humor.

Other than that, we did our spring cleanup of the garage and moved an armoire out and an  electric fireplace and tv stand in. It looks nice and works great.

So, as we all celebrate tax season being over and spring on the horizon, here’s hoping you have a great week whether you’re having a productive work week, reading a good book, quilting, or working on those spring chores. Happy Monday!

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Spring chores

Do you have a chore list this time of year? I started mine yesterday.

When I was a kid, I played Pick-up Sticks, and every time I’m out there doing this chore, I smile thinking about all those games. I don’t smile at all the bending over required to clear five months of sticks on the ground so I call upon one of my favorite tools.

Today, it is called a reacher or grabber. I have two, and they’re both over twenty years old and are made of wood. They were my Mom’s. I can pick up sticks and branches from a standing position which means no sore back which is a good thing.

Tomorrow, I’ll pull my truck around so I can take them to the recycling center.

If I have time, I’m going to gather a few bags of leaves too. I have one spot near a fence where the leaves are 3′ high and it will require multiple attempts and bags.

I also dug out the 100+ plants for the Master Gardener plant sale so they could get some sun and potentially thaw and start to perk up. The ground was frozen solid about 5″ down.

No beautiful photos available here in my gardens. But, my friend, Sue, and I did go to the UNH Greenhouse Open House. What a wonderful breath of spring.

I love these tall double-decker pots. They used black pvc pipes, but I’m thinking plumbing pipe might be stronger. I’ve never seen snapdragons in a planter, but they definitely add some flair.

This Monday started with the power company having an equipment failure at 5:15 a.m. We just got power back on so I’m just having my first cup of coffee at 8:45 a.m. – that alone could set this entire Monday off kilter. 🙂

Hope you have a GREAT second week of April, and you have both sunshine and power. 🙂


I can’t find my wooden grabbers on line for sale, but I did find a photo.

Posted in Gardening, New England | Tagged , , , , , | 68 Comments

Brown

I’m home, and I’m embracing the color, brown, because that means there’s no snow left. We have some rain in the forecast so green will start to appear. 🙂

A couple of awards go to:

Virginia for the most police out checking for speeders. I was on cruise control at six miles over the limit when another car passed me. His mistake because they had him by the time he went around me.
Pennsylvania, particularly Scranton, for the absolute worst roads. They were like driving on washboards. If you’re planning to drive the 84 to 81 corridor, budget for a realignment.

No trips to Brookgreen Gardens today just getting my truck battery jumped, buying supplies for a leaky toilet, and wondering where an entire fence panel flew off to.

But, Hammock Coast SC asked if they could use this photo for marketing purposes, there’s a MG meeting tomorrow and a plant sale on Friday. I’m smiling already. 🙂 Happy Monday, April 1!

Posted in New England | Tagged , , , , , , , | 44 Comments