Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Weekend!

The Crocus

The golden crocus reaches up
To catch a sunbeam in her cup.
by Walter Crane

And if you'll pardon my short reflection,
Golden's alright, but I like a collection!

On Tuesday afternoon, a beautiful day, I raked most of the leaf-mulch away from the blooming crocus and green growing "tips." On Wednesday afternoon, a cold, overcast day, I raked and return the leaf-mulch back over the plants. Today, on Thursday afternoon, a beautiful, sunny cool day, I again exposed the blooming plants (including both golden and bright purple mini-iris) and lightened the load on the green growing "tips." Great aerobic exercise, if nothing else! ha.

The gardens are "on their own" over the weekend. We'll see what happens on Monday. ;-)

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

spring... Spring... SPRING!!

Our daughter, her 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter arrived at our house last night. I'll be posting on "The Grandkids" soon. Anyway, daughter and son left this a.m. to visit friends in Illinois for a couple of days and little Angel was left in my care (!). ;-)

While she napped, and because it was in the mid-50's this afternoon, I ran around with a mini rake and pulled off the top layer of mulch from the flower beds - leaves from last Fall. Ohmygoodness! Look at what I found! ;-)

The photo on left shows a faint glimmer of green growth. Notice a couple of tiny, early crocus! :-) I know I have the names somewhere, but... at this point it time, I haven't recorded them.

Next, notice the cute little iris.
There are several others growing and blooming. This, also, was a Fall planting that I haven't yet recorded.

On the right is a bergenia beginning to sprout. :-)

Notice next, a few more odds and ends that I found while walking around the various beds.
A cranesbill geranium that I transplanted last fall... and lost my marker. Hopefully, I can find the variety in a past order slip. Then, there's a Green Spice Heuchera and, on the left, an Autumn fern and, on the right, an Korean Rock fern, side by side. Pretty cute. :-)

Isn't it wonderful to be walking around the yard, pulling off a little mulch, and discovering so many green, growing "goodies?" ;-)

Remember the quote and narration I took from Listening to Nature by Joseph Cornell. While perhaps not everything is appropriate to my postings, I thought this was very nice advice.

"Simplicity in all things is the
secret of the
wilderness and one of its most
valuable lessons. It is
what we leave behind that is
important. I think the
matter of simplicity goes further
than just food,
equipment, and unnecessary
gadgets; it goes into
the matter of thoughts and
objectives as well.
When in the wilds, we must not
carry our problems
with us or the joy is lost."
by Sigurd Olson

"Mark Twain was once asked if he wouldn't like to go off on holiday. He replied, "I'd be glad to, if only I didn't have to take that fella, Mark Twain, with me." Like Mark Twain, we often take "that fella" along with us when we go outdoors for recreation. Our problems, worries, and other mental baggage usually tag along with us. Being so preoccupied with our internal world keeps us from feeling our unity with the natural world.

When you go out into nature, leave your everyday plans and concerns behind. Freeing yourself in this way will allow you to experience nature's cleansing and rejuvenating power."

I need to work on that a bit! :-)
Have a great day!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

Easter SundayMay you enjoy a blessed Easter.

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to teach second grade Sunday School. We will read the various events that lead to Jesus' victory over death... and what that means to each of us. After we read the stories, I wonder if they will be able to tell me the significance of the items I put into a paper bag, such as: a palm branch cutting (from my overwintered palm - wish I could remember its name!) to remind us of last Sunday, grapes and a muffin (we get to eat them), a piece of a miniature rose cane, a soldier mask, a nail, a small cross, a small piece of white cloth, a rock, and a gift bag with an empty egg.

Next week we'll create our versions of pysanky eggs. :-)

This is ALSO
a Green Thumb Sunday post
Join today

These photos were taken this evening without a flash.
This is my Amaryllis bulb that did so well outdoors last Summer.
So well, in fact, that it had a "baby!" :-)
Can you tell there are 4 blossoms on this stalk?
And can you believe that each blossom is over 7" tall?
I could admit to being easily impressed!

A reflective moment
by me

A gradual unveiling,

unswerving determination in
slowly releasing,

Ultimately stating,
completely elating
and sating
a deep-seated

Unlimited desire for
beautiful perfection,
awesome amazement,

Wholly fulfilling.

Happy Amaryllis Day.
Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I've been Tagged

I've been tagged by The Dellits. Once tagged, you are to write a post listing ten weird, random facts or habits about yourself. Then you find 5 people to tag. Not only do you list them at the end of the post, you have to tell why you chose them. Next, you must leave a "You've been tagged" comment on their blog. They'll come back to read the details. Once these good people have posted their list, they must remember to let you know. One good thing - they can't tag you (or me) back! ;-)

Fact One - I carry a metal tape measure in my purse. You never know when it might come in handy.

Fact Two - I also carry the tube of touch-up paint for my car in my purse. The last time I had a tube, I left in in the glove box of the car. It exploded. Rather than put it in a "safe place" (where everything goes when I lose things), I'll carry it in my purse.

Fact Three - I do pysanky. I have created these eggs nearly every year since I learned how (perhaps 25 years ago with my sister, Barb). These examples are "eggs I kept." Traditionally, pysanky are given away.
I've given one or two away each Easter. I've not been able to do pysanky these past few years, however I hope to make one or two for friends yet this week!

Fact Four - I used to be very good at doing macrame (I'm sure I still could be). I even created my wedding dress using macrame knots and crochet string. It's actually one of the most insane things I've ever done! (A sign of the times, however... early 1970's).

On the left, a friend helps me maneuver into the dress.
My sisters are on the right.

On the left is the top front of the wedding dress macrame. The photo on the right is of a neck piece that never was finished (originally intended for the bridesmaids).

The little tied strings on the right show how each string was held and knotted separately.
Can you visualize a dress form wearing the million little strings, each with a knot on the end?

Fact Five - Due to the fact that I grew up running around the farm barefoot practically all the time, the soles of my feet were like shoe leather. That changed after marriage. ;-)

Fact Six - I loved giving birth.

Fact Seven - I sleep with ear plugs (no explanation, here).

Fact Eight - If I start a picture puzzle, I cannot rest until it's done.

Fact Nine - I wish I lived closer to my parents and family. (But that would mean several people would have to move...)

Fact Ten - I love to drive.

Are those weird enough?

I'm going to tag these people: Deb at Garden Author because she seems to be ready for unique challenges (!), Gail from Clay and Limestone because I think she's fun to visit, Elizabeth Joy at Wildflower Morning because she's innovative and very kind, Kate at Kate Smudges in Earth, Paint and Life because she's so thoughtful, and Forest Zoo at The Young Naturalist because he might like this assignment! :-) Actually, it's kind of an interesting way to get to know people better. Hope you don't mind being tagged. Take your time... I did.

P.S. I've just added cinj to this list. She's in the midst of "dual (duel)ing gardens!" Dueling for her attention, that is. :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Have You Ever Grown an Azalea Indoors?

I just have to share these photos. My Walking Buddie, Susie, and I try to get a in good walk once-a-week. After last week's walk, on her farm, we returned to her home and enjoyed a cup of something yummy (hot Ovaltine) and a girl scout cookie. ;-)

Anyway, I was awestricken by the beautiful flower on her kitchen counter! Isn't this gorgeous?

I would love to try this!

Seven years ago, this coming March 29, Susie's father died. She brought this azalea home. She's re-potted it only once. In the summer, Susie sets it outdoors and brings it indoors in late Fall. They have a sunny south window in their second-floor bedroom. It's nice and cool up there and it obviously thrives with this treatment.

It blooms every March. What a wonderfully beautiful memorial. :-)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

About That Fencing...

I believe it was last Fall, Mr. McGregor's Daughter mentioned she was needing new fencing for her yard and was gathering ideas.

I mentioned that our local County Conservation Board had been approached by a design artist who wanted to pursue detracting attention from the chain link fence on a pedestrian bridge on one of our trails. This bridge has a very long span over a large creek.

You can see by the photos that Corten steel was added to the bridge and the abutments in shapes that suggest the surrounding trees. Corten steel is very thin and weathers immediately to the rusty color you can see here. Its advantage is that it does not "bleed" onto the surrounding structures (in this case, the bridge).

You can also see that strips of Corten steel were added to the fronts of the top and bottom parallel lateral fence rails as well as in front of the upright posts.

If you know someone that cuts metal, something similar might be done in a person's yard.
I have not researched the cost of this steel. If it's too costly, a substitute might be found to create a similar statement. I'd begin by suggesting tree branches that would be tied to the base of each post and branched out and secured to various points of the top fencing. Or cut wood. Or... ?
Isn't this quite the enhancement? You hardly noticed the chain link at all!

In fact, spray painting the fencing dark brown or green might make it seem to disappear even more. Just a thought.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Thanks to Elizabeth Joy!

What a wonderful surprise was waiting in my mailbox this afternoon! I opened the door to a full box. A manila envelope contained the Wildflower note cards that I was so fortunate to be awarded. You can see a picture of five of the six cards below.

Because I was on my way downtown this afternoon, when I picked up my mail, I didn't open it until I reached the house of an ailing friend. She's ailing. I'm not. I happily shared one of my cards. She picked the card depicting an orange lily.

These are all photographs of flowers taken in Washington and Oregon states during memorable trips taken by EJ's family. What a wonderful surprise. I am humbled by your generosity, Elizabeth Joy. Thank you so much.

Now I'll have to decide if I want to part with any more of them! ha. ;-)

Wow! You May Have Just Enough Time!

I just found out about this site. If you'd love to try winning a beautifully distinctive handmade quilt, check out this site! It's the Old Red Barn Co.

The contest closes at 7:00 EST today (March 17, 2008). At least head over to her site and look around. I love her music choices.

Definitely not shady. ;-)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

Green Thumbs Untie!

I know. It looks like a typo.
I was going to entitle this "Green Thumbs Unite!"
But, we've already done that! :-)

So, I thought "Untie" might be more interesting.

How about:

Untie those old garden shoelaces and dust off those dirty, old garden shoes.
Untie and (if you haven't already done so) wash those dirty gloves from last Fall.
Untie the key from the garden shed.
the garden tools from their various Winter resting places.
Untie the twine from around the garage garden hose, stretch it out and put it back in its normal resting place.
Untie the reusable yard waste bag and get it ready for its re-use!
Untie unnecessary upcoming time constraints.
Untie and loosen those tight threads of anticipation,
and Let the First Attempts Begin!
(Any more untie ideas out there?) :-)

This is the center of the flower bed in front of the house.
The big bird feeder with the saucer sled is mounted to a pipe that stands in the tree stump in this photo.
Notice about an inch or so of seed debris and bird doo-doo.
I've been eyeing this bed for the past week.
I know there are little bulbs under there, somewhere.
I also know that I put about 2 inches of mulch (oak leaves) over this entire bed last Fall.

Soooo, although it's plenty early... I did some raking today.
Yes, this is a snow shovel and a tiny plastic rake for under bushes.
They made a good pair.

I was right! Look what I found!
Crocuses and...? We'll see.

Doesn't it look so much better?

Boy that wet stuff is heavy!
I could hardy drag the bag to the driveway (about 5 feet). ;-)
If we have a cold forecast, I'll have to head out here with a tarp.
Otherwise, let 'em bloom! :-)

Definitely Not a Shady Subject!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Okay, I Cheated Last Night

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day
(I almost typed "Gloom Day!) ;-)

I admit it. I created the lovely post below late last night.
And to what did we awake this morning?


A blanket of white,
fell through the night.

Not unusual, this sight,
Was I ready? Not quite!

It continues to fall,
But that is not all...

(Blue Jays that have been scarce lately)

A return of the bird(s)
Is the pleasurable word!

The bewildered (?) robin below

(I know a fellow's gotta eat. But, this is a cowbird!)
Oh, well.A good note is that it's not terribly cold,
And it's not going to last long.

That's what is REALLY going on around here, today.
Just a little shady.

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

Here we are. It's March 15 already. Unbelievable, yet true. ;-)

Speaking of unbelievable, only two days ago there was an inkling of a tulip or two pushing their way through the soil. They happen to be in one of the 1 & 1/2 beds that aren't deep under oak leaf mulch. The rest of them will remain there, as the ground is still cold and the threat of "winter weather" is still a reality.

But, hold still while I show you what I found today!
Oh, my... is that a ... tiny crocus?
He's not very big, is he? About the size of your thumb?

Yes, I wanted to get closer to the flower, but it looks like
I may have been focusing on the fact that there are
two more little sprouts down there!

Remember those little tulip tips? They've grown a bit taller today. :-)

Here's a grape hyacinth I planted last fall.

My sister's flowering crabapple tree...

...with one little daffodil sprouting through the mulch.
I planted several here and in other places last Fall.

Even though Spring isn't officially here,
and our weather isn't very reliably "Spring-worthy" for awhile,
it's Awfully Nice to see a few signs
of an upcoming much-anticipated season!

P.S. A friend of mine and I took a very "Spring-y" walk this morning on one of our local trails. This is a former railroad bed, converted into a bicycle/hiking trail. You can see a wetland marsh on once side. We crossed two bridges, one of which spans an under-construction, 4-lane highway bypass and the other spans Cedar Creek.
While I won't be sharing the rest of the photo-walk at this time, I wanted to share a little video that, I hope, captured some of the sounds of Spring. Enjoy! :-)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blotanical is quite the site!

My very first blog post is dated May 21, 2007.

I began a blog because I love to "play" on the computer. I began a gardening blog because I love to garden.
The photo below shows a portion of the raised-bed garden that I didn't get to work in until June 2007. Notice, I'm still raking! :-)
The rhubarb looks great all Spring because it's had plenty of sunshine. About mid-June is when it starts to get lanky and it really declines!

I opted to quit teaching school in the public elementary school setting 1 1/2 years ago. The thought of becoming a school teacher was a dream come true. I'd been "teaching" since I was in kindergarten! I remember bringing my friends' pictures out, laying them on the floor in rows, and "reading" to them. I'd had some wonderfully inspiring elementary teachers and just knew I that I would be one someday.

That "someday" took a round-about route, but upon achieving that goal, I was as excited and grateful as could be. My only interest in being in a classroom was... being in the classroom with a passel of students and inspiring them to learn! All about the world around them, as well as helping each "to be the best second-grader they could be!" I loved it and I have the happiest memories!

Perhaps I'm the student, now!

I've wanted to try Polemonium for a long time.
Hope he comes back this Spring!

Once the computer-era began to take root in the schools, I was hooked. I absolutely loved them for the versatility they offered. I also very much enjoyed making our classroom web pages. I used the web pages as classroom diaries, complete with photos and narrative about whatever subjects and activities in which we were currently involved.

Naturally, when I quit teaching, I looked for a way to continue this computer-web-page interest!

My husband and I moved to this home 5 years ago last October. We are now approaching our 5th Spring here. I absolutely love the fact that I've been given a completely new gardening challenge --- that of gardening with a lot of shade! That means I'm in the midst of learning about plants I never knew existed prior to our move. :-) And That's Wonderful! I also enjoy creating and designing the beds and future pathways.

And I seem to get lots of advice! ;-)
Okay! I must admit that this blog is really just a diary, as I suspect many are. I believe the first time I stumbled upon another "gardening blog" was through a Google search on a particular subject... probably the identity of a bug, fungi, plant, etc. ;-) Then I noticed the names of other blogs on a sidebar. That, folks, is how it began. I began to explore, and read, and explore some more.

YOU have it easier! Blotanical is where Gardeners that share about their gardening activities, etc. ("Blog") are gathering. Gardeners are as diverse as the number of plants in the universe and their blogs are, too. Click on the Blotanical link and have fun poking around. There are labeled tabs, one of which is "help" that give you very easy instructions for locating blogs you may be interested in reading.

Don't worry about becoming overwhelmed. Just expect to be! ;-) You also must know that you don't have to "race." Take your time, visit for a short time and as often as you can. Enjoy yourself and leave a note on people's blogs to let them know 1) you were there, and 2) you enjoyed their post of the day.

This is definitely not a shady subject! :-)