Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thoroughly Modern Mona

Mona (alias Mona Lisa) made her debut this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. CT. The gallery, where she will reside for the next couple of days, was not open when I parked the car. Mona sat in the front passenger seat, waiting as I walked to the hardware store and back. When I returned, two fellows were peeking in the car windows at her. (Making eyes at Mona, I thought!) They seemed full of admiration; seemingly having a great time.

As I approached, they acknowledged my presence. I acknowledged theirs. They asked if I had created Mona. I replied, "Yes." That's about it. Mona had certainly made her presence known.

So we went into the gallery, when it opened . . . Mona and I. We found a little space in which she could settle comfortably. I filled out the forms and paid a small stipend. And now I'm home.

Of course, I hadn't been prepared to be witty about her name. Just "Mona Lisa" was all I wrote. However, she's much more... she's quite "moderne," don't you think? Shouldn't I change her name to "Thoroughly Modern Mona?" That seems to suit her much better!

As far as gardening goes, I don't expect to see her mukking around in the mud. I would assume she's a bystander. However, I'm sure she'll want to be seated in the shade. Probably with Gladys. (And I, least of all, won't begrudge her that.)

An "aside"


Our fox was waiting for me as I drove in the "drive" this morning. I guess he wanted me to see that he was okay, after all. (I'm sorry my camera wasn't still around my neck. I may even have gotten a picture of him!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Garden Ladies

The year after we moved here, I decided we needed a "Garden Lady." Actually, I created two of them. One to carry flowers (a scarecrow???) in the raised bed garden...

This one just retired. She's earned her keep. She tended the raised beds, through rain and shine, for three years. I can't imagine the effort it took to carry hanging baskets during the entire summer! Guess I'll keep her indoors for awhile. I will miss her.

Gardener Gladys "meets and greets!" She tells me I need a guest book. She'd be a natural.

Wouldn't you like to sit right down beside her? She pats the bench for me, every time I walk by. Gardeners appreciate company. I guess that's why I have to sit beside her once in awhile.

I'm not sure which one of us is the shadier gardener.

Monday, May 28, 2007

So...Was it the Neighborhood Fox?

There has been a fox in the neighborhood for a long time. If it's the same one, I saw it across the road, a little way down the hill and in a driveway, sunning itself with a family of kits, about a year ago. Very cute. Once this winter, it passed in front of my window as I sat before this computer looking outdoors. Recently I saw it at the edge of the road, unmoving, staring into the ditch as I drove by. One neighbor reports seeing it play with a toy terrier, another tells of its eating their dog's food on their front porch (last week), and yet another sees it often on the road. You feel kind of "friendly" with an animal like that.

A few weeks ago, some of us heard some strange "barking?" at night. Internet searches turned up similar sounds... it was our fox, we decided. However this last night/early morning... before dawn, I was awakened by a constant "bark - cry." It lasted well over an hour or two. Off and on. Sometimes getting weaker, it seemed. Sometimes sounding tired. I dozed for a bit and was awakened again. It became lighter outdoors... (sunrise was 5:39 A.M.) and it was still making a constant "noise." My husband, who's been sick the past few days, moved to the couch(!)... and by 6:15, I was moved to get dressed and see if I could figure out where the fox was and what was happening.

I picked up my camera and my cell phone (for security? for help?). Rather than wade through the backyard to the ravine, I walked through a neighbor's front yard. It sounded like it was Right Behind their fence (in the same ravine). I chickened out and called another neighbor (looking for someone brave to accompany this trip). By then it was 6:30. I'm afraid I made more noise, greeting him, than I should have. As we walked along their side yard, it yelped and moved noisily away. This yard is fenced, so we went inside their yard. We stood at the back, looking and listening. Finally we again heard the sound... but now, it was pretty far away. There was nothing more to do but go home.

I thought I'd write about this early morning "adventure." I opened my basement window before I began. I can hear more of the normal morning sounds... twittering, tweeting, chirping... and just now, a faint bark...

Hope the little guy hadn't found himself in a trap. Hope he finds better help than I offered. Hope he's okay.

Thanks for the support, neighbor. I can say that, now that I'm back, safe indoors. Guess there's only so much "shade" I appreciate.

I'm only, at best, a Shady Gardener.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Gardeners Need Support, too.

Yesterday I planted a peony. I'd felt the need for one all Spring. I just didn't know where to plant it.

After having worked with a particular 4-feet-in-diameter bed in the raised bed garden, by removing its walls and s
oil, re-seating the walls, working and replacing the soil, scraping the walkway pebbles around the exterior (for support) etc., the bed was ready for its new resident.

Her name is Sarah Bernhardt.
I think she's supposed to be a Stately Matron. I hope she's happy with her new environment. Will she bloom this year??

Everybody received a special dose of support yesterday... in the form of a good, 3/4" rainfall.

And I finally acknowledged the desire for some n'erhad
before support, the likes of which I've not needed until today. After having hauled those three terribly heavy, cumbersome tarp-loads of wet oak leaves across the front yard, through the backyard and trees to the ravine, I'd been experiencing some painful wrist movement. So... I needed some support today, too.

It happens "to the best of us!" ;-)

I'm not complaining... don't want to be a Sarah Bernhardt. Oh! I hope I didn't just "jinx" my new peony. I wonder which of the two of us might have the most to complain about? Hope it's not Sarah B!

Your Shady Gardener

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It was the Last Haul to the Ravine - until Fall

What a productive day. I raked and (literally) spun my New Balance walkers as I dragged the final three (wet, heavy) tarps of leaves to the ravine. But it looks So much neater now that it's done.

Then I did some more planting in one of the raised beds. I've wanted a jackmanii for a long time. There was one here when we moved in, but it was disturbed and died when we had the front porch rebuilt. So... here we are! It will grow.

Out in the Shady Gardener's sunny spot: You'll spot a few renegade irises. Actually, this bed was completely full of irises 4 1/2 years ago. They had gotten so crowded that there were few blossoms during our first Spring here. So, I took nearly the rest of the summer and dug, and dug, and set 3 big boxes out by the road labeled "FREE." They disappeared! However, after all that digging, the bed was still 3/4 full of iris tubers. ( I did leave one little area of irises... they're not Terrible, you know.)

The next step (almost every other plant succumbs with this technique - even grass and weeds!) was to cover the entire bed with 3 inches of wonderful composted dirt. I planted a few flowers and covered the whole bed with a 2 - 3 inches of cypress mulch.

I figured I had it licked. But I didn't know Irises. By that fall there were many, many wimpy little plants growing everywhere. I couldn't believe it. So, I dug some more. The next Spring, many more struggling irises made their appearance. I have let a few more grow. There are still many more I'll be removing yet this summer. Amazing.

I'm wondering who has more tenacity. The irises... or your Shady Gardener!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Raised Bed Garden

After raking...

and before raking...

I'm so glad I was able to spend the time! (I'll finish tomorrow)

This morning I completed a bed for my new Rosy Lights Azalea and planted it. Someday it will help to camouflage my compost pile! Then I planted a couple of new hostas in the backyard. This Spring is so lush already... it's so thrilling, fulfilling, and inspiring to be outdoors working in the dirt.

Yesterday I found out that the trillium I gave my aunt, from my backyard, was Not a red trillium, as I so inexpertly thought… but a Toad Trillium (author's note: Now I know it's a Trilliam Recurvatum Beck! Still not an expert!). Here are some pics of this morning’s work, as well as of various parts of our yard.

I finished raking (last Fall’s and this Spring’s) oak leaves from around the beds and hauled three large tarps full of leaves to the back ravine. There are just a few more leaves - perhaps a couple of tarp loads - but I'm finished for today. Everything looks pretty good in here for the moment.

I wonder if my neighbor will be looking at my yard someday? I still like to peek at theirs, though! I have several neighbors that love to garden... and they all have inspiring spots!

Monday, May 21, 2007

I forgot to introduce myself!

Sorry about that! I just started writing, with this day behind me, and forgot to tell what this space is all about!

I really love to garden. And after having moved to this home 4 1/2 years ago, I was faced with a whole new gardening experience (and enjoyable challenge!!). I had experienced quite a few years of sunny gardening. I learned a lot and found a lot of favorite plants.

This, however, is a LOT of fun, too. I have a pretty nice (enough to make me happy) area of sun space in the front yard and the whole gamut of shade densities everywhere else. So... look out! You'll be seeing my gardens very soon.


May 21, 2007

This day was wonderful...all the way through.

At 7:00 A.M. I went walking with a friend on her farm. We actually went looking for a pair of indigo buntings that reside there. We found them, but we were unable to get very close.

I really need to listen to different bird songs. Where do you suppose I find such a thing? I Just cannot seem to identify many birds from their songs. And actually locating the bird that is singing is very difficult for me. (Frustrating!)

I made a couple of plant purchases before heading home. A Rosy Lights Azalea will have a new
home in the background of a special garden of raised beds (This garden was already here when we moved in 4 1/2 years ago, tho' it was "grownover" with mint!). I will plant the azalea tomorrow. The forecast is rain by Wednesday. Perfect timing.

Before I could plant my azalea, I had to rid this particular bed of its vinca minor. I shared an overflowing 5 gallon bucket of it with one of my neighbors. (There's still plenty on the downslope. I'll never get completely rid of it, because it does serve a valuable function... and it's beautiful when it flowers each spring!)

I hope to have a little picket fence around this garden area before the summer is over. Other beds in this garden contain purple coneflower, phlox, and several varieties of daylilies.

Okay, so later I enjoyed seeing our local resident pair of Baltimore Orioles drinking from my hummingbird feeder. Talk about beautiful birds!

I also potted a three hanging planters with impatiens for the shady spots (of which I have many). Guess that's enough.

So... is it really greener (or prettier) over there at my neighbor's?

Shady Gardener