Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day barbecue 2009

At the firepit in the afternoon. I cooked my bratwurst on the little smokey joe barbecue, and Mom did the same with her hot dogs. Everyone else put theirs on a stick and held it in the fire.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Wisteria buds on May 9, 2009.

On May 16, 2009.

And in full bloom on May 19, 2009.

And they smell sweet, too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Animal companion

Of course, I had company while working out on the deck. Here is my faithful friend hindered by having his leash and chain wrapped around the table.

Here is he is in the same situation again. His facial expression says, "I have immense affection, but somewhat limited intelligence. Rescue me." He actually made it quite clear that he was eager to get back in the house. Being chained out on the deck is not as much fun as going for a walk, when we go from one interesting tree/shrub/telephone pole/etc. to another so he can carefully smell and then pee on each one. Just sitting on the deck is less fun, although he does prefer it to being left alone in the house.

But I think his philosophy is that if you're going to sit, sit on something soft and cushy.

Now this is more like it.

Forgot one

Two weeks ago when I bought a lot of plants at Hi Hoe Nursery they were giving away free samples of this plant. They said it was a shade plant so here it is.

It's called "saxafraga," which makes me think of saxophones and Fraggle Rock. My sister-in-law is the only person I know who watched Fraggle Rock. She loves it still to this day. I was never interested in Fraggle Rock, but I did love the Muppet Show, and my sister-in-law has given me three seasons of the Muppet Show over the last three Christmases. Now that was a great show.

Speaking of the Muppets, I recently memorized Kermit's song "The Rainbow Connection." It's a good one to know.

Looking around

The lower deck, looking to the right. This is the shady side. Here is where the hanging plants are. The down side of the hanging plants is when I move around the deck for some other reason, I tend to bump my head into these planters. It doesn't hurt my head so much, but it sends the planters swinging wildly.

The lower deck looking to the left. This is the sunny side.

The sunny side of the lower deck viewed from the upper deck.

On the upper deck, some geraniums I have planted for my parents' enjoyment. These two I planted a while back. Today I added two white bacopas to trail out of it. The bacopa that's between the geraniums suffered from the long wait in the little pot, so I cut off all the shriveled leaves, and I'm hoping it makes a comeback.

Today I planted another geranium with two more bacopas and added the pot to the upstairs. So when Mom and Dad come out on their deck, or look out their family room windows, they can see some flowers, too.

The name "bacopa" made me start thinking of and even singing portions of the old Barry Manilow hit "Copa Cabana." I've never liked that song much. It's hokey, and the words don't fit into the melody. However, it's floating around in my brain.

Hanging plants

Today I finally hung up my hanging plants. I had been keeping them more sheltered under the upper deck because all danger of frost had not passed. My dad once told me that you're not safe from frost until after Mother's Day. Mother's Day was pretty early in May this year, the 8th, but now it's even a week later.

Above is one of the two pots I made of some larger fuchsia starts. I can't remember the name of the variety now. These ones have done fine since I planted them.

The above fuchsia is called "Lisa." These starts were smaller than the other. I made two pots of them, and then about half of them died. I needed to buy some more (they were $1 each at the Barkley Village Haggen on my way home from work). I made myself remember the name by singing this old country song: "I'm not Lisa. My name is Julie. Lisa left you long ago." Etc. So today I replaced the dead ones, and they all look great, even though smaller than the other fuchsias.

I was afraid more of the Lisa fuchsias would die, so I bought too many. I had these two left over, so I put them in this barrel where last year I had a calla lily, some pink and green variegated-leaf plants, and, originally, some lobelia. The lobelia died, so I did not have any trailing plants in this pot. Perhaps these two fuchsias will trail over the edge. If I see one, I will buy another calla lily. The one last year was gorgeous.

These begonias are so beautiful that it's worth having two similar pictures. Red begonias with white lobelia in two pots at the end of the deck. Looking great.

Some new plants finally planted

A couple weeks ago I bought a lot of plants but didn't get them planted. They've been waiting ever since. Last weekend, I had to focus on the indoors because I was expecting company for Mother's Day. Fortunately for the new plants, the cool, rainy weather kept them from drying out and cooking in their little pots. Today I finally planted quite a few of them, but I still have a few more to go.

My dad and I pushed two of these barrels around so that the empty one would be in the middle, by the wall instead of under a window. I added the trellis I bought a couple weeks ago at True Value Hardware in the Fairway shopping center, and then I planted this honeysuckle that I got at Hi Hoe Nursery. My dad told me that honeysuckle will attract hummingbirds. I had previously thought of growing a climbing plant in front of this wall, so getting honeysuckle seemed like a great idea. There are no blooms yet, but I think I saw at least one cluster of buds.

I'll have to think what else I want to put in the barrel, in front of the honeysuckle. Below is a sage plant, just garden sage, not a fancy variety. Now I have parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, which I always try to have in my herb barrel, just as a tribute to the music of my youth.

The herb barrel. In the middle is tarragon that came back from last year. I would not have planted a new one if it had not. This one was already getting too tall and big, so I cut it way down and back.

In the shade by the pond, I planted some new creeping jenny. It is a more yellow-leafed variety. The plants look good and healthy now; I hope they thrive. Sometimes this spot is so shady that even shade-loving plants struggle to survive.

This barrel has creeping jenny that came back from last year, the more ordinary green-leafed kind. They look a little straggly. I'll have to look for some more to fill it in. In these two barrels I generally plant double impatiens in the middle. I saw impatiens at the nursery two weeks ago, but not double impatiens, which have more petals.

Life on the deck

Today was finally a WARM day.

I bought these pansies I don't know how many weeks ago, and kept them indoors for a while because of the danger of freezing, but they got long and leggy due to lack of sunlight. So I cut them way back and planted them out here in my wooden shoe planter several weeks ago. They sat, all small and cut back for a long time and didn't do much. But finally they are filling out again and I can see blossoms forming. Only one has actually bloomed. But it's so great to see any progress at all.

I pulled these pots out into the middle space of the deck and "grouped" them. The top one is peppermint that came back from last year. Extremely hardy. I cut it back ruthlessly today because it was already getting too big looking. On the left, the French lavender. Hope to see blooms in the warm weather. However even just the leave of this variety are fragrant. And the other pot is a pansy. I had two pansies in it, with the same story as above, except one pansy in this pot went ahead and died before the warm weather came. The other one is filling out and getting ready to bloom now.

Two of these pots are empty, but I "grouped" them all anyway. The largest one is destined to receive heliotrope tomorrow. The smallest one, last year I had a trailing "celebration rose" or some similar name that was quite pretty. Maybe the same this year, I don't know yet. The forward one with a plant is another peppermint, not quite as filled out as the one above, but coming along nicely. It's a different variety of peppermint. And the rear pot is another French lavender.

Here's my contorted filbert all leafed out with the verbena blooming around its base. Pretty red and green. Looking great, huh?

Around the side and behind the house

The word's biggest dandelion right outside my own kitchen window. Special.

Some blueberry blossoms. Our blueberries haven't borne much the past few years, and now I wonder if it's my fault. I used to pour Miracle-Grow on them to "help" them. But I recently saw Gardening with Ciscoe, and Ciscoe says that blueberries belong to the rhododendron and azalea family of plants and likes acidic soil. I probably was changing the soil for the worse.

A fern. It's so pretty we don't like to dig it up, even though it's growing too close to this blueberry plant.

Today I plan finally to transplant the plants I bought two weeks ago.

From my walk

The lilacs are in full bloom.

Here is a neighbor's wisteria, that I've looked at before. This is what the whole plant looks like.

The blooms are not fully out, but they are opening up.

More blooms coming out.

From the front yard

A red azalea at the end of our driveway is in bloom.

Right in front of the house is this Japanese maple bush. The leaves are so delicate.

Then, this kind of fuchsia-colored or purply azalea.

Then a white one that bloomed earlier and is starting to drop its petals. They look pretty, lying on the ground, and the trunk and branches show underneath the foliage.

Here's a view of the three that are in front of the house. We have a pretty bay window in front, and a windmill my dad built next to the door. Some big shells are on the porch, probably from when we lived in Key West, 1967-69.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The afternoon

My mom talking to my brother in Pennsylvania. I know my sister in California called later, too.

Just relaxing.

For dessert, we had peach pie (from Lynden's Dutch Bakery) with ice cream (from Edaleen). It was great. My dog thought that if he actually sat on my dad, my dad might share his dessert with him.

But no such luck.

Flowers and a card

A live azalea wreath.

Front cover of the card: For a wonderful mother with love.

Inside flap:
Sometimes it can take a while before we understand
How much we each depended on our mother's guiding hand,
How tenderly she cared for us and put herself aside,
How even little things we did were such a source of pride,
But the more that we experience and the older that we grow,
The more we can appreciate our moms who loved us so.

Inside: Feeling so thankful, today and always, to have a wonderful mother like you.
Signed: with love from all your children