Monday, June 28, 2010

Hose caddy

Saturday I bought this hose caddy, so that I can reel the garden hose into it, instead of having it sit in a heap on the deck. I bought one with a cover, so it also provides a place to put a coffee cup.

On top is a piece of petrified wood, for weight to hold the lid down.

Weighed down by beauty

This begonia is falling sideways under its own weight. I feel like I should prune it back to encourage it to grow straighter.

But these blooms are so beautiful I can bring myself to cut them off. The plant will just have to tumble sideways until these blooms fade.

Resting place.

I found a table for this little pot. It's too small to just sit on the ground or on the retaining wall by its lonesome. It needed a small surface to sit on.

Of many colors

I was intrigued to see a yellow flower had come out on this plant, as an earlier blossom was red, or pink. Apparently the same plant can bloom in different colors. That seems an unusual quality to me.

Happiness is a warm puppy

Yesterday, when I was outside sweeping and fussing around on my deck, I left my dog inside, where he could stay warm and dry.

Someday when the the pavement is warm and dry, I'll have him out with me and he can lie on the sun-baked stone. But until then he'll be happier on  the couch.

Too much reading makes you goofy

Tonight I have been reading The Liars' Club, by Mary Karr.

It's too good a book. Ms. Karr is so good at re-creating what it's like to be a little girl in a home with alcoholic, brawling parents, and a mother with mental illness that I find myself feeling sad and anxious, as if I am in the same situation.

In reality, I haven't been a little girl in several decades. And my parents were (and remain) two of the finest people you'd ever want to meet. And they gave me a loving, stable upbringing.

The upside of the book is the resiliency of all the characters. I benefit from having read Mary Karr's third memoir, Lit, before reading The Liars' Club, so I know how things turned out for her in the long run: better than you might expect, although victories not easily achieved; much pain along the way.

But in The Liars' Club you have to admire the bravery of the little girl Mary and her older sister, Lecia, for surviving, for taking care of each other and even of their mother, and for having the will to keep moving on through life.

There's a third memoir, in the middle, called Cherry, that I suppose I'll also read eventually. I may need a little break first.

The title of my post comes from a conversation my mom and I sometimes have. Like me, my mom has always read a lot. Or I should say, I am like my mom in being one who reads a lot. Anyway, she tells me that her mom used to tell her, "You shouldn't read so much. You'll get goofy." I always respond, "Well, Mom . . ." It's one of our favorite jokes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Deck shots

I swept my deck today, which was an all-day job. It was necessary since all the planting I did previously left potting soil scattered all over the place.

Moved the planters and moved them back in new ways.

This three-tiered thing, below, was actually labeled as a cake display or serving device. I guess you could put three round cakes on it, but I put three potted plants.

The rain didn't help me get the work done, but it didn't stop me, either. It was a Washington rain, small drops in the air, not a downpour.

Now I'm tired.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Got 'er done

The last of the plants are planted. I was a little discouraged at lunch time because a light rain was falling, but then it cleared up and the sun came out. I went outside and brought dirt from the dirt pile in a wheelbarrow, then added a couple bags of potting soil. The soil level was still too low, so I drove to Rite-Aid a minute and bought some more potting soil. Got these beauties planted and added the ornament I use in one pot.

Then I wheeled away the wheelbarrow, put the shovel back where I found it, took a big garbage bag full of the little pots all the plants came in, their plastic i.d. tags, empty potting soil bags, and other miscellaneous junk to the garbage can in the garage, and felt the deck was tidied up.

While I was tidying, I stopped by my car and took out a lot of trash and empty water bottles. The car is still very dirty, but at least it's not full of trash.

I also refilled our bird feeders.

Having fed and walked my dog, I'm waiting for my own supper to heat up, and then I'm going to mix a gin and tonic and have a sundowner out on my deck and enjoy looking at the fruits of my hard work.

I still have a ways to go to get the deck where I want it: sweeping it clean, putting together the furniture I've bought, emptying and cleaning the pond, and setting up the mannekin pis, but for today I've put in a good effort.

Two others

I also planted small plants in these two little fleur-de-lis pots. I bought the rectangular pot last year and saw a small square version of it this year. I found the same annual for the rectangular one that I had last year, a succulent flowering plant called portulaca:

My California sister might want to note that portulaca is hardy and grows well in hot, dry conditions. It likes full sun.

Below is a cute little plant, the name of which I can't recall, and I'm too lazy to go outside and pull the tag out of the pot to find out. Anyway it has cute yellow, daisy-like blooms against dark green foliage:

Planting frenzy

Yesterday, Saturday, I made it a goal to get a lot of planting done that I've been trying to accomplish for weeks but unable to do because every weekend kept being rainy. So I sat on the deck (on a folded towel, as the deck was rather cold and damp), surrounded myself with baby plants and the pots to plant them in, and planted away. Here was the scene before me:

I added some of the new potted plants to the groups of pots already on the deck. I try to buy plants that are fragrant. The smaller pots in this picture have the new plants. Perhaps I should have bought larger pots, but I was kind of guessing when I picked up the pots. Anyway, new are a pot of eucalyptus (with round leaves), two wallflowers (the red and yellow flowers), aromatica something-or-other (the purple flowers), and a small succulent, the tag of which I seem to have lost, so I don't know what kind of plant it is:

I think I need to buy some little tables or stands to put some pots on, rather than having them all just sit on the ground in a clump. We need some visual variety. By the way, I had pansies in a lovely pot in on top of the little table in the above picture a couple weeks ago--you can even see it in a recent blog post. Well I was out there with my faithful canine companion, who was tethered with a long leash to a post. He was wandering gently around, dragging that tether when suddenly he saw another dog. He ran to the end of his tether, snapping it tight, dragging it through pots and whatnot, the little table tipped over and the pot of pansies broke. Very annoying.

The table top looks a little dull above. What happened there was I had been using a small brush to brush some green mold off some of the terra cotta pots. My little great nieces visited and found that brush infused with green slime and "painted" the surface of the table with it. I need to clean it off, but I also need a clean brush.

On the left of the below group, the lemon balm is newly planted, and on the right, a lotus vine, which is supposed to get blooms:

The front pot in the below group was newly planted yesterday, which is a plant called Cuban oregano:

The tag for the Cuban oregano adds in parentheses, "ornamental," which I suppose means that as oregano goes, it's not very tasty. I once put just ordinary oregano in my herb barrel, but it tried to take over the whole planter. I had to keep pulling up large amounts of it to keep my other herbs from getting swamped.

Now all I have left to do is the two big barrels in which I put creeping jenny and impatiens, both of which are waiting to go in. They are new, replacement, pots, so I have to haul some dirt in a wheelbarrow to fill the bottom half. I don't see any point in using potting soil for the depths that the plants won't reach. I hope to get that done this afternoon. Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day (at last) while today is a bit overcast, but I'm hoping it doesn't actually rain today.

Rose trellis

Last weekend, I went to the Farmers' Day Parade in Lynden. I attended by visiting a friend on Front Street and watching from her porch. I brought my camera with me, but forgot about it and didn't take any pictures of the parade at all. However, afterwards, walking back to my car, I saw this rose trellis on the side of a house. I don't know who lives there, but the gray wall, white shutters and trellis, green foliage, and red blooms all formed such a pretty scene that I took a picture.