Sunday, May 22, 2011

In the name of progress...

This morning I found myself, once again, awake on a weekend morning way earlier than necessary.  I just don't get it.  I even stayed up later than normal!  I'm sure tomorrow morning I'll be more than ready to turn over and sleep through the alarm - but that'll just too dang bad!  I've never been an early riser (much to my mother's dismay), perhaps its this "middle age" thing I've always heard so much about; who knows?  I've also found myself longing for an afternoon nap after lunch lately and that's REALLY not like me.  Could be the aforementioned "MA"... but I could have also been abducted by aliens.  Sure, one may be more plausible than the other - but I'd rather you keep that opinion to yourself.  So, rather than stay in bed and try to fall back to sleep, I opted for enjoying the early start to my day.  All was quiet on the home front, even the cicadas were fast asleep.  

Today we cleared a tree and a few stray branches in an area where we plan to have a new storage building placed.  I believe that I am more excited about the building than my husband.  Somehow that didn't come out exactly right, but you know what I meant to say.  I'm telling you... sleep is a must!  Anyway, it could be that he's still in shock over the  price - but I'm all a twitter about it!  I'm all about organization and everything having a place!  He's that way to an extent... but his desire to have things "handy" and at arms length usually outweigh his need to be overly tidy.  I held firm on the necessary size of the building to keep him from buying something too small in an effort to keep the price to a minimum.  There's simply no point in buying something that will be filled to capacity within 3 hours of being delivered/set up. 

Sadly, though we tried to maneuver around it, we eventually trampled a nearby Trillium.  We've danced around this thing for a while now remembering not to mow or trim too closely... then with one fluid movement of the ladder today... WHACK!  It was a goner!  "Our apologies splendid lady" - what else can we say?  She was probably on her deathbed working out a deal with the nearby poison ivy to get even with us when we least expect it! 

We managed to only sever the tree and limbs intended, plus the one Trillium - so we'll call that a successful day.  Any time we fire up that chainsaw, and especially when we incorporate the use of a ladder simultaneously, it's always a gamble!  So... we ended the day much like it began, with 16 fingers, 4 thumbs, 20 toes and four eyes in perfect working condition... BANNER DAY, my friends! BANNER DAY!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Rapture... but it was heavenly!

Beautiful day!  Once again, man's prediction of the rapture was not accurate.  Just as well, I hadn't packed a thing!  Just in case I wasn't going to be called up, I decided that I might as well spend the morning cleaning the pool; a task that I never seem to mind.  I mean, really, how could someone complain about having to clean a pool?  It's like complaining about having to eat chocolate... you're just not gonna hear me whining about either!  I've always loved to swim and ice cold water isn't enough to keep me out of the pool - my husband; however, is still weeks away from getting in the pool.  I told him that he's the only person I know who can do the "Polar Bear Plunge" in July instead of January. :)

Along with cleaning the pool I managed to do a little composing, a little weeding, and a little fertilizing today while my husband mowed the lawn.  The impatiens have at least tripled in size and the knock out roses are growing rapidly and blooming beautifully.  We do need to find something that would bloom at this time so that we can keep the garden continually interesting.  We feel extremely blessed to have a place that we enjoy so much.   We feel for those who think of yard work as a chore rather than a gift from God. 

We've not seen much activity from our nesting Bluebirds lately which has us more than a little concerned.  After not seeing either of the parents for a few days, I peeked into the birdhouse with a flashlight and a dental mirror and saw at least 3, maybe 4, beautiful blue eggs in the nest.  Only one sighting early this morning of the male bluebird, but no visit from the female.  Basically, both parents haven't been minding the nest over the past few days.  We hope that things are still okay... but fear that this clutch may be their first and will not hatch.

Oh, and the party I mentioned yesterday?  The yard fogger seemed to draw even more mosquitoes to the area and did nothing to slow them down.  I'd never seen so much swatting and slapping!  Still, we hung in there like real troopers to make the party successful.  It's what you do for friends!

Friday, May 20, 2011


It's been a tough week at work and some really chilly temperatures here, so gardening kind of fell to the wayside for a bit.  Today it was sunny and warm so the yard is calling to us once again. 

The mosquitoes are horrible here tonight!  There were so many swarming around me that I couldn't even do any yard work this evening for flailing around like a human windmill in the back yard, tangling myself in the wispy wisteria vines that I was attempting to tame.  I sprayed some repellent on my arms, which were the only part of me that was exposed and still they tried to attack through my pants and shirt.  Highly aggressive little boogers!  My husband and I sat out by the pool for a bit and they were landing on my pant legs and tennis shoes; while completely ignoring his exposed legs which were less than one foot away.  Must be fat suckers instead of blood suckers!  He's even on a low-dose aspirin a day regimen and still they preferred the challenge of drilling through my clothing.

Tomorrow at 5 p.m. our neighbors are having an outdoor party.  I sure hope they use a yard fogger or something to ward off these pests, otherwise party-goers must attend at their own risk.  "Come on over, grab a burger, your favorite beverage and the disease of your choice:  Malaria, Encephalitis, West Nile or Yellow Fever. Seriously, they've worked very hard the last couple of days making sure everything is perfect for their guests and I'd hate for the mosquitoes to put a damper on the festivities.

Enjoy your weekend... get out there and get some dirt under your nails! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

♫♪ We're Mulching in the Rain ♫♪

It seems that every year we pick one of the hottest days to mulch - but not this year!  Today was a perfect day for mulching the flowerbeds and tidying up the yard.  We rose to sunshine this morning, but just as we pulled the truck around and dug our shovel into the mulch it began to rain.  Not a storm, just a beautiful rain showering down.  About half way through that flowerbed it was coming down so hard we decided to cover the mulch and take a break.  It wasn't but a few minutes before the rain had passed and we were back to work.  We mulched the Azalea bed, around the five Crape Myrtles in the side yard, the two wisteria vines, one butterfly bush and then the mondo mulching task; the bed that runs the length of the sidewalk with the Boxwood, Wandering Jew, and single Royal Crape Myrtle. It was well worth it.  It just finishes everything off so nicely. 

For once, we didn't nearly succumb to the heat.  As a matter of fact the temperatures are in the high 60s here today.  One day its in the 90s, the next it's in the 60s.  Dress cool... carry a sweater! :)  We couldn't have asked for a nicer day.  A light sprinkle of rain every once in a while, a light breeze - just when you needed it, and enough sun to warm you when you got a little chilled.

We staked the tomato plants and did a little trimming on the Wisteria vines, adding them to the compost bin.  You'll never guess what else I fed the compost today...

A four-leaf clover (its second one so far this season) and 650 (yes, I counted them) cicada shells.  Is that gross, or what? All of them from the Burning Bushes at the corner of the house.  The cicadas are buzzing so loudly that you can even hear them from inside the house with the doors and windows completely shut.  

All-in-all, they're not too bad.  I'll take a few weeks of them over those pesky Aphids that I can't seem to rid our yard of any day! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Got Worms?"

Happy Friday 13th!  I've been awake far too long today so my rambling may be more "rambly" than usual... bear with me. 

I recently decided to try my hand at composting.  Right off the bat I broke the first rule of composting when I "purchased" a trash can rather than use something I already had.  I had my reasons.  I didn't really know how well this would work, whether or not we would have enough waste to make this process work... and I was concerned about the poison ivy that grows vigorously in our yard winding it's way into the compost pile.  Lord knows that I don't want to be up to my elbows in compost in a few months only to find that it was laced with poison ivy oils.  

I drilled holes, for air flow, and found a location far away enough from the door to not be a pain, yet close enough to not be a smelly nuisance.  I could hardly wait to get started!

I tend to make things harder than they have to be sometimes because I take things so literal.  I couldn't seem to get past some of the composting terminology.  You read everywhere to layer it in.  "A layer of greens (nitrogen)... a layer of browns (carbon)... a layer of greens (nitrogen)... a layer of browns (carbon).  Keep it moist.... turn it... and tah-dah!  Compost!"  Well, that part sounded pretty easy until I started to over-think the process.  "The more you turn/stir your compost the faster it breaks down."  What?  Now I'm all caught up in trying to figure out how to stir/turn the pile and somehow maintain the "layers".   Duh!  Okay, after stressing over it for a few days it finally made sense.  What's important is not that they are in "layers"... but that there is more of a fairly equal measure of one verses the other.  Then just mix the heck out of them to make sure they are getting proper air flow, keep them moist and let them work their magic!  

I found that if I turned the can carefully end over end (on its top so that it was standing on its head and then flipped it upright) a couple times that it was nicely mixed and on its way to becoming healthy compost.  Yeah!  So far, it seems to be working.

Today at lunch I was telling a friend about my new interest in composting.  She said that she saves coffee grounds for a guy at work who composts.  Then her face lights up and she says... right in the middle of the restaurant... "Do you have worms?"  I laughed and said, "No, I don't".  She said that her coworker is always asking her if she needs any worms... and since she doesn't compost or garden... she always politely declines.  But now I'm thrilled that she is going to ask him to share some worms with me!  Life just keeps on getting better and better! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Garden Gift Swap

Today we had a garden themed gift swap at a meeting I attended at work.  I have to tell you that I was so fond of the gift I took that I was tempted to steal it back; but I just couldn't take it away from the lady who had stolen it from the first lady who had picked it.  I wanted it, pretty badly, but I managed not to give in.  The prettiest thing in it was the Zinnias, which were orange with a deep purple ring in the center.  Those two colors worked beautifully together.  I'd love to see it once the plant gets settled, fills in a little and is in full bloom.  It was exciting to see all the different gifts.  There was a lovely miniature rose - but again I liked the lady who had it more than I needed it. 

It was fun to see all the different gift ideas that everyone had come up with.  I ended up with a pair of gardening gloves, a ceramic flowerpot and a matching ceramic watering can.  Very cute!  There was also a beautiful, deep crimson, Mandevilla in a hanging pot that was simply gorgeous.  I'm just not good at these type games because I can never bring myself to steal anyone's gift from them.  If it were up to me the game would be rather boring.  One of the gardening purchases I made several years ago that has proved itself darn near a necessity is a collapsible trash bin (tote) with handles for easy transporting.  I drag that thing from one end of the yard to the other filling it with clippings and weeds.  When I'm done with it, I collapse it and hang it on the wall out of the way.  It's nearly time for another one.  It makes my newest project extra easy - composting! It would make a rather boring gift - but I find it one of my most valuable garden tools and a great value at around $10 -12.  Sure would love to know what tools other folks think they can't live without.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pool Party

My husband and I had a pool installed a few years ago.  Even before we had ever mentioned anything about a pool, one evening my husband innocently asked me... "If you could plant anything, anywhere in the back yard, where would you put it?"  Without hesitation I said, "out by the pool".  He looked at me quisically and, as if he had misunderstood, said... "Where?"  I repeated, "Out by the pool."  He sat there for a few seconds looking at me as if I was speaking another language.  I explained, "you asked me if I could plant anything, anywhere in the back yard where it would be.  I figured if this was a fantasy question I'd go all out.  So, by the pool is my final answer."  I swear to you, within a month we were anxiously awaiting the completion of our pool.  It has not been a disappointment. 

Each  year I am in the water as soon as possible, while he prefers to wait until the water temperature is almost like bath water.  Even if you're not getting in the pool - it just adds to the relaxing feel of the back yard.  This year, we have found another good use for the pool.  It is a form of Cicada birth control!  Yep, those boogers can't swim a lick!  So, we're just doing our part to cut down on the Cicada population for 2024.  No need to thank us!  It's the least we could do. 

The water is up to 81 today and very refreshing after our afternoon walk.  Cicadas or not, I'm diving in!

A couple visitors who do enjoy our pool...

Came home to find him looking for a way out!

"Paws" our neighbor-cat.

Paws' two favorite watering holes:  Our pool or our birdbath.  Personally, I'd go for the pool - bird feathers tickle my throat! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pleasures of Peonies

This afternoon, once home from a day at the office, I looked out the back door to find that my peonies were in bloom!  Ah, the long awaited blooming of the peony.  Although most peony in the neighborhood bloomed last week, mine has been through the mill over the last few years so I felt blessed to have it bloom at all.  You'll remember, last week, when I posted about the nasty worms that bored holes right through the middle of most of the buds; well, what few weren't bored, bloomed beautifully.

So she's got a little Sevin Dust on her, what lady among us hasn't gotten a bit heavy handed with the powder or blush from time to time?  I could barely contain my excitement as I rushed out the backdoor, down the steps, across the patio and through the gate where I bent double and buried my nose deep in the middle of the brilliant pink mass of petals to breathe in her aroma and...NOTHING!  No scent whatsoever!  How could it be?  I remember so fondly my grandmother's peonies and their perfume that would fill the house when she'd bring in one or two for a vase.  To say that I am bummed is an understatement!

While I am still impressed with her beauty; the peony is a flower with more to offer than just her looks.  As a matter of fact, I'd almost say that her looks are secondary to her fragrance.  Perhaps this is her way of holding back.  Folding her scrawny peony arms in defiance and digging her roots in deeper daring me to move her again.  So yeah, I see you there blooming brightly; for now, with the exception of the wild honeysuckle vine just beyond my reach, you are the only thing blooming in my garden.  You can relax - consider yourself firmly planted and maybe one day you'll not only be beautiful, but also aromatic. 

Here in the midst of my garden I am reminded that sometimes I'm just spoiled rotten and I want it all.  But as bummed as I am over the lack of fragrance from my peony; I have to stop for a moment, step outside of my selfish rant and consider just how she must feel.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cicada Serenade for Mother’s Day

Ladies and Gentlemen, thirteen years since their last performance here in middle Tennessee, I ask you to put your hands together for Brood XIX, known locally as “The Southern Brood”.  This song goes out to all you Mothers out there…
Can you imagine if in our life we only had one goal, one purpose?  Imagine your bucket list consisted of: arrive, eat, sing, mate, lay eggs and die; instead of being pulled in so many directions, as the lives of most mothers of today.  And not only arrive – but to do so in such fashion that your arrival makes the headlines!  Personally, I’d rather just slip in the back door, unnoticed, have a good meal and then skip all those other items on the list.  I knew early on that I’m wound far too tight to be a good mother, so I skipped that role in life.  Although, the idea of keeping the kids underground until they’re 13 has a certain appeal.   That might work!  However, 13 years seems a bit early.  I’m joking!  
Seriously, my gardening hat is off to all of you wonderful mothers, especially those of you who make it seem easy; I know that even the easiest days of motherhood take skill and concentration… and sometimes medication!  My mother always made it fun, always an adventure.  She taught us life through laughter – one of the most valuable lessons of all.  My mother was an only child so she didn’t understand the constant bickering between siblings.  When my older sister and I said unkind words to one another – she made us say it again in our best, drawn out, Southern Belle accent.  It’s hard to sound hateful when you add in all those extra syllables and sugary sweetness!  We’d always end up laughing.  She is a gifted mother and I am blessed to have her as my guiding light.  Thanks for the life and the laughs Mom, keep them coming!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Blur of Blue

Today I was able to snap a couple photos of our nesting Bluebirds.  They are about the cutest things coming and going in our garden!  This is the first year we've had a pair nest in our birdhouse - so you can imagine how thrilled we are over the thought of adding to the bluebird population around here. 

Papa Bluebird seems to be a good husband as he brings a little something extra back for his lovely mate.  He's a smart man... he knows to keep his woman well fed and life will be so much smoother! :)  My husband will back me up on that statement for sure!   My husband saw him chase a squirrel away from the tree the other morning - going after him twice... once to run him away; the other probably just to impress his bride.  

Momma Bluebird checking on the kids.
It seems that they are becoming more used to the idea of us being around and pay no attention to us as long as we're not too close to the birdhouse.   
Daddy, probably saying, "quit giggling and go to sleep".
When they were scouting around trying to find the perfect spot to call home my husband and I were going through the process of opening the swimming pool nearby.  We had a long garden hose (that's a "hose pipe" for you other Tennesseans)  draped across the lower part of the fence draining the collected rainwater from the cover we were about to remove.  As they came by for a second look my husband says, in his best Papa Bluebird voice... "Look honey, this place has running water"!  Oh the joy we find in translating the thoughts of our woodland friends for one another!  He used to laugh at me for doing this; but now he's fallen into the habit himself. 

As a matter of fact, the first person to welcome us to the neighborhood the day we moved in was an ancient looking donkey standing in a field on the street that enters our neighborhood.  As we drove by he stood as still as a statue and I said, (in a voice much like Eeyore on Winnie the Pooh)... "Heyyyyyy Y'aaaaaallllll".  Then I looked over at my husband, smiled, shrugged my shoulders and said, "he must be the welcoming committee"! :)    Its a slippery slope, first you're innocently channeling the thoughts of a Bluebird, next thing you know you'll be translating for the donkey down the street. 

Well, gotta fly - my sweet hubby is just about ready to take me to dinner.  Can't let Papa Bluebird show him up! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cobbler Anyone?

The blackberry is currently in bloom; which explains this sudden cold snap here in middle Tennessee.  Our overnight temperatures have taken a downward spiral over the past few evenings dipping as low as 38 degrees.  Our average temperatures in this area for early May are 74 Hi/53 Low; however, most of this week we’ve hovered around 60 Hi/40 Low.  I can’t speak for everyone in the area, but our yard dodged any danger of frost.  By now I’d say that we’ve surely had: Dogwood Winter, Redbud Winter, Locust Winter and now Blackberry Winter so that means that it’s time to look forward to the good old “dog days of summer”.  It seems like we go from fearing the frost to fearing the heat overnight in Tennessee.  The local weather forecast is calling for 90 degree highs by Tuesday of next week (that’s just three days away).  I, for one, am ready to tuck winter away and get on with spring and summer!  Of course, all it takes is one pretty snowfall and I’m done with winter.
The honeysuckle is in bloom and filling the air with that familiar scent that always reminds us of our youth.  While it can be troublesome because of its invasive nature; it’s difficult to find anyone who doesn’t feel a certain kinship to this climbing vine.   
For now, the only other thing that catches my attention in the yard is the blooms of the Tulip Poplar.  Is it just me, or are there some years when the blooms are barely noticeable?  Fortunately, this appears to be another showy year for this tree.  If it didn’t get our attention through the blooms, it surely got it when the gutters overflowed in the recent rains, thanks to the seed pods from the Tulip Poplars, which had collected in such large numbers that they completely clogged the downspouts on the front of the house.  I kid you not when I say that there were enough seeds in the gutters to fill a 5 gallon bucket.  Amazing! 
So, if you haven’t done so already, check those downspouts and break out those t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops… cause summer will be here next week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Pitiful Peony

A few years ago I moved a sun-deprived peony from a shady front flowerbed to a sunny location on the back side of the house.  It seemed truly appreciative of its new home and showed its gratitude by doubling in size and producing three, huge blooms the next year.  For some reason, which currently escapes me, a short time later I gave up that flowerbed for another purpose and the peony was moved to another sunny spot in the back yard where it was later joined by two other sun-starved peonies.   I don’t know if over the past 17 years the tree canopy has grown to shade the flowerbeds which were once considered sunny or if the property’s previous owner was just a rebel when it came to following planting suggestions; but most things don’t seem to be planted in areas where they thrive.  As I learn more about the specific needs of each plant, one-by-one, I’m trying to relocate them to more suitable locations. 
This year the largest of the three (relocated) peonies had 15 buds and I couldn’t wait for it to have its moment in the spotlight; unfortunately, yesterday as I did my evening garden walk-through I found that something had eaten a single, large hole right through the center of several of the buds halting any chance they had of blooming.  It wasn’t long before I had found the culprit.  Not just one, but THREE, 3/4 –inch, green worms (may they rest in peace) feasting on my precious peony.   My first thought was to grab the Sevin Dust and let it rain down over the peony in an effort to save the remaining buds; however, I was stopped in my tracks by the voices of my grandmother and aunt reminding me that a peony can’t bloom unless ants eat the sweet, waxy membrane that surrounds the peony bud.  Well, according to the wise folks at a particular garden forum I like to visit; it's just a wives’ tale and there’s no evidence to support the claim.  Sure, ants like to eat it, because it's sweet, but it isn't "necessary".  So, no disrespect intended to my grandmother and aunt; but those worms have gotta go and unfortunately a few ants will probably be lost in the process.  Don’t fret ladies… I’m sure all that other words of wisdom you shared with me on other things was spot on!  I think of you daily, love you both dearly and miss you more than words can say!
I will mention that my grandmother's peonies are looking fabulous again this year with one bush alone containing 70 blooms!  It's just beautiful!  I wish she was here to enjoy it... or at least to point and laugh at mine.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

♫♪ Rain, rain, go away ♫♪

As I type those four little words on the screen I know it is only a matter of time before I’ll be on here begging readers to join me in performing a traditional rain dance in hopes of conjuring up a summer storm to offer much needed relief to all things green and growing. 
We Nashvillians are, understandably, a bit water-shy after last year’s horrific flood.  Just yesterday, to celebrate how far we have come since last year's disaster, our Mayor and other city dignitaries welcomed fellow Nashvillians into the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center, located just blocks from the Cumberland river.  In fact, last May, when the rains stopped, the symphony hall found herself anchored in a 12-14 foot deep puddle of water; resulting in a 40 million dollar restoration effort to return to her former glory.  As the waters receded, Nashville rose to the challenge of putting its city back together; never imagining that almost exactly one year later we’d be again facing the same possibilities of flooding.  Throughout these rainy days we find ourselves repeatedly checking the radar on websites and television stations in hopes of seeing these storms either fizzle out or move out of our region completely.  It is disheartening.  
Preliminary rainfall numbers indicate 18 cooperative observation sites have broken their all-time record for April rainfall; with one city receiving 13.5 inches.  Some locations shattered their previous records by nearly 4 inches. 
With one of the soggiest Aprils on record, and the looming arrival of the 13-year cicadas, an amateur gardener like me has to wonder what effect all of this will have on the local plant-life.  Not to mention the local night-life!  Yet a few more reasons to be grateful that I’m a happily married woman!  Can you imagine trying to maintain an impressive hairdo in all this humidity?  Add to that the failed attempts at looking irresistible while trying to dodge an incoming frenzy of kamikaze cicada!  I'm no Sylvia Browne, but for some odd reason I see fewer outdoor weddings on the horizon!
A bug or two is acceptable.  A little rain is nice!  Watching the landscape morph from a lack-luster brown into a brilliant green with splashes of vibrant color as plants once in a stage or dormancy spring back to life, seems to even put a little pep in our step! But another 1,000 year flood and a plague of cicadas is an entirely different ballgame!
Thankfully, today the sky cleared and the sun shone brightly once again as our day was drawing to a close.  In honor of this, today I'll post a photo of our garden's newest edition:  "Sunny" - our Knock Out Rose - I will however mention that today, snuggled up at her side were two small mushrooms; thanks to all these damp conditions.   I'm happy to report that the forecast for the week to come is filled with sunshine and only two days with a 20% chance of showers.  Bring it on!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wisteria: to plant, or not to plant

I guess it's too late to ask that question.  In spite of all the advice to the contrary, in April 2008, we planted a couple wisteria vines against the fence that surrounds our pool (on the farthest end from where all the pump and plumbing lines run).  For a few years I had been longing for a wisteria vine but was afraid to take that leap for fear it would become this destructive plant encompassing our property and perhaps, one day, us!  Finally, I decided that it was a gamble that I was willing to take.  I can't say for sure how I will feel about these vines ten years from now; but I can say that this spring - it was worth it!

Mid April 2011 was the maiden blooming year for our wisteria vines.  I had heard that it might take three years before it produced blooms and that wasn't just an old wives took exactly three.  I expected maybe two or three clusters on its first year of blooming; and honestly, that would have tickled me pink, but instead it went all out and really put on a show!  It was almost like watching a fireworks display; only in broad daylight!  The oohs and aahs were deafening!  Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little about the level of oohs and aahs, and sure, they were mostly coming from me; but I have never encountered a more appealing vine!  When you pulled into the driveway its scent met you at the car, opened your door and sweet-talked you into the garden.

 My only complaint was that the two vines were of different variety; but even that didn't constitute grumbling.   Both were magnificent in their own way; one a deep violet (pinkish-purple), more narrow and longer than the other which was a vibrant blue with shorter, wider clusters.  They looked like waterfalls spilling over the top of the wrought-iron fence.  It was absolutely breathtaking! 

The bumblebees seemed to fly in from all corners of the county for a taste of her nectar and a load of pollen.  Like I said, I can't say how we'll feel about these vines in the years to come, but for today, I can say (without reservation) that they hold a place of honor in our garden.  The Wisteria alone was a sight to behold but against the background of the dogwood and redbud trees in bloom the yard had a magical quality about it.

Its now the first week of May and all signs of her blooms have vanished.  She is now lazily basking in the sunlight along the top of the fence waving to us on the occasional breeze or enjoying the occasional shower.  We'll let her rest for now... she's been a busy, busy lady!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

WEED it and REAP

Garden quotes...isn't it funny how much delight we find in the perfectly placed sign or piece of yard art?  Your favorite garden addition might be a brightly colored birdhouse or bench placed right in a cool, shady spot.  Maybe it's a path that winds through the garden to somewhere that is completely out of sight from your current vantage point, or perhaps the fragrance of a particular plant that you smell long before you arrive at the garden's gate. 

One of the non-growing things that I enjoy most in our yard is a small playhouse constructed on our property for the previous home owner's daughter.  It is a great storage place for pool chemicals and other seasonal items; but more than that, it adds a great visual element to the garden.  While I adore it's weathered appearance, there's a part of me that wants to paint it periwinkle blue so that it really stands out.  I can see the look of horror on my husband's face if I ever decide to mention that idea out loud! :)   
A garden, after all, shouldn't be just at your feet.  There should be something at all levels to draw your eyes from one area to the next.  It's all about appealing to the senses: sight, smell, taste, sound and touch.  I can't tell you how many times my husband has commented on some plant only for me to respond with "oh, that has really bitter leaves", or "oh, those are really sweet".  I can tell by the look on his face that he's thinking something far more "grown up" like, "Oh my Lord!  How do you know what it tastes like?  You ate it?  I know you didn't wash it first!! Do you know how many dogs stepped on it... or worse????"  He's right you know.  I didn't wash them.  But it's not like I ate them yesterday, I was a kid!  But to consider yourself a gardener... you've got to give it your all.   You can't be afraid to get your hands dirty, ruin a good pair of shoes, or be awakened in the middle of the night by the occasional itchy rash or bug bite!  It just comes with the territory. 

On another note... I would be remiss if I were to not mention today's historic anniversary.  One year ago today, Nashville experienced one of the worst disasters in its history - the 1,000 year flood.  Gardening, among other things, was far from our minds.  While my family was blessed to live on higher ground, there are many Nashvillians whose lives remain in a state of turmoil this long after the waters have receded.  My heart and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones and those who remain scarred, but not broken by these events.  In some ways we have come so far; but sadly, for many, it must feel as if their lives are still underwater.  May peace and contentment find them soon.