I Tried To Be Good….But I did Lie to You…

There are actually 41 Poppies  – –

I got the carefully watched and left undisturbed wild poppy area weeded today.

(to the internal tune of Count Dracula, from Sesame Street, chanting,

“1, I count One Poppy! 2, I count… “

And then heard him exclaim,

“WTH!?! You said the highest I had to count to was 12!  You want 41 now?  We must count winks then….”)

After clearing out the tall native grass, I counted each existing plant and the picture doesn’t capture all of them, BUT, I have more wild poppies than I previously thought or reported to you:

Remember when that area looked like this?:

Picture of Wild Poppies
Before – Over 20 wild poppies this year – once I carefully clip all the grass away, I may just discover more!

Now, it Looks Like –

Picture of Weeded Wild Poppy Area
After- Hope I didn’t weed native grasses so much that I deprived Poppies of support and late spring snow protection!

Finally, another spot soon to be finished…

The above picture is of an area located right in between the iris/rhubarb bed:

To the west
To the west

and the soapweed/tulip/daylilly area…

Picture of tulips
To the East

After 3 years of having a slowly diminishing pile of sand/fine gravel mix,

(delivered by my generous neighbor for the long ago scrapped first plan of what to do right next to the house….)

I’ve decided to level it out over the entire area (over the shorn heads of native grass and layers of newspaper) nestled between the two finished areas, re-arrange the rocks to encase the entire area, top off with quite a few inches of dirt/compost mix and the new home for Amaranth and Wild Poppies will be complete.

Funny how this all came about so well without me planning it on purpose-

I was surprised to discover the length of the two existing areas, cleaned and neatened yards and months apart, actually line up almost perfectly, so the rock border to enclose everything won’t look like I was tipsy when I laid it out..  🙂

I do Confess to Having an Uneasy Conscience…

…over clearing out that area of native grass – not sure exactly what kind of grass it is, but it’s hardy, has deep roots that are aerating the soil, grows fairly tall, in amongst other plants, but doesn’t seem bent on strangling its’ neighbors –

If it could be happy only reaching three or four inches in full height, I would leave it alone and cherish the ground cover that requires no mowing.

The future will tell if Mother Nature is pleased with my weeding efforts or not.

**********

Yes, I did mislead you about how many poppies there were  – but not on purpose –

If you sue me for leading you astray in my amateur-half-arsed gardening attempts – have fun with that –

You can’t get blood from a turnip, but if all goes well, you can safely ask for your ‘jury awarded compensation’ to be paid in turnips, over the next 50 years….

🙂

Spring has Sprung

After somehow managing to build and launch 4 websites in 7 weeks, one of which was the biggest site I’ve ever done – I’m happily diving back into my gardening and writing plans.

Since you most likely thought I was dead, given my long silence, I shall not further shock your system by making you read a 10,000 word essay on what I’ve been doing since last we met – – rather, I’ll share my 1,000 words at a time with some pics:

Remember the Rain of the Century we got last August?

August 3rd - Rain, Rain and some more Rain
August 3rd – Rain, Rain and some more Rain

The lovely rain meant the weed that turns into tumbleweeds grew like crazy and our area has been inundated with a gazillion of these sticky, spiny, trashy wayfarers.

I’ve hauled off two truckloads to the town heap, as I’m not certain I’m an advanced enough composter to ensure heat enough to kill the seeds –

The ditch, full of water last August, still holds some tumbleweeds even after gallant efforts by me and the boy – we nearly had them all out two days ago, but alas, a few more blew back in –

I swear, we had them down to about a handful left to clean up just 2 days ago!
I swear, we had them down to about a handful left to clean up just 2 days ago!

Remember the purple water-sucking-hog plant from last spring?

It raised it’s beautiful head again this year and has been positively identified as Wild Purple Tansy Mustard. But this year, I’ve won, at least so far.

Growing Green Things
Growing Green Things – 2013
To Weed or Not To Weed
To Weed or Not To Weed 2013
2014 - Nearly ready to plant - waiting for the snow storm due Sunday night to move through
Nearly ready to plant – waiting for the snow storm due Sunday night to move through
Can't see all of them, but have 6 out of 6 transplanted rhubarb plants coming up - Yay!
Can’t see all of them, but have 6 out of 6 transplanted rhubarb plants coming up – Yay!
Put the tiniest iris division on the east side - see my snazzy new solar filter window coverings?  Hoping for lower cooling bills this summer!
Put the tiniest iris division on the east side – see my snazzy new solar filter window coverings? Hoping for lower cooling bills this summer!

The gifts of Daylillies, Vinca and Bishop’s last August are doing fine as frog’s hair, as are my divided irises and the rhubarb I moved from next to the propane tank into the newly thinned iris bed – alas, the wild roses transplanted from my mom’s garden don’t look so hot, but waiting to see if anything happens in the next few weeks before ripping them out. The late-planted, drought tolerant grass of last fall is somewhat sparse, but already making plans to overseed.

See the jungle around the daylillies?  Waiting to clean that up until the poppies come up, so I don't end up wrecking my wild poppy patch
See the jungle around the daylillies? Waiting to clean that up until the poppies come up, so I don’t end up wrecking my wild poppy patch
Bishop's Weed
Bishop’s Weed
Vinca - I failed to put down thick enough layers of newspaper before planting this area - so some weeding to do - -
Vinca – I failed to put down thick enough layers of newspaper before planting this area – so some weeding to do – –
Roses look bleak - Grass needs some attention- but thanks to my new doctor, I'm a shadow of my former self - 60lbs lost since last summer! Yay!
Roses look bleak – Grass needs some attention- but thanks to my new doctor, I’m a shadow of my former self – 60lbs lost since last summer! Yay!

Remember my ‘shade the west wall with plants’ idea from last summer?  Well, last fall I ordered Jerusalem artichokes and wandered around my place trying to figure out where to plant them – they get tall, are perennial and die back in winter – and finally smacked myself in the forehead and said, “West Side!”   Although I’ve never grown them, I believe they are starting to poke their heads out, because the same looking leaves are poking out in carefully measured spots

I hope these are the Jerusalem Artichokes - if not, a new weed has learned to grow 12 inches apart in tidy rows....
I hope these are the Jerusalem Artichokes – if not, a new weed has learned to grow 12 inches apart in tidy rows….

Of the plants I foolishly purchased on my way to the doctor last fall, only to discover I had pneumonia, not many have made it – or at least don’t look like they have – the Wooly Thyme and Cascading Snow are looking pretty bleak –

WoolyThyme
WoolyThyme
CascadingSnow
CascadingSnow

However, Mystery Plant 1 and 2 are doing awesome – and yes, I will buy a permanent marker and plant ID stakes so I can remember what I’m planting this year:

Some kind of succulent and good for something, else I wouldn't have bought it!
Some kind of succulent and good for something, else I wouldn’t have bought it!
I purchased a couple Appleblossom Yarrow plants - is this one of them?  Heck if I know!
I purchased a couple Appleblossom Yarrow plants – is this one of them? Heck if I know!

While working last weekend, the ladybugs deigned to visit me when I was worn out and wondering, once more, if I’m doing things right and will Mother Nature bless my endeavors?   No pics of them, I was too tired to go get the camera, but while snapping pics this a.m., my friend, the Robin was nice enough to pose:

He always shows up when I need encouragement!
He always shows up when I need encouragement!

And last, but not least, the pretty, native to my place groundcover that blooms with beautiful purple stalks in July – I carefully kept every area of it and it is coming along nicely

Don't know what it is, but it's pretty, likes it here and plays nice with others - a keeper.
Don’t know what it is, but it’s pretty, likes it here and plays nice with others – a keeper.

Stay tuned for the great Strawberry Invasion…

 

While walking downtown…

Why, hello there!   Yes, I’m still alive.   Why would you think I wasn’t?  Really?!?   That long, eh?   No, no, everything has been okay.   The weather finally cooled down enough for me to get in some good working days on my landscaping projects.   I just couldn’t bear the 90-100 degree days and lost most of June and July to hiding out in the house…

Oh yes, my projects are coming along, though by no means complete.  What? Of course I’ve got pictures! – But first, look at how dry and awful it was back in late June –  Hard to tell, but that drainage ditch is nearly 8 feet deep…

June 28th - hot, dry and brown
June 28th – hot, dry and brown

Fast forward to August 3rd and boy, what about that storm?

August 3rd - Rain, Rain and some more Rain
August 3rd – Rain, Rain and some more Rain

Yes, yes, as far as I know, I’m the only one on my block to have a dry cellar and no water damage anywhere – guess all these months of infrastructure paid off, eh? No, I didn’t know about the tornado till several days later – I had worked all morning finishing the grading of the north side of the house and planting the holly.  In fact, I had just finished and was putting my tools away when the deluge started and boy, did I get drenched!

Exhausted and sore muscles cried for a rest and I had to really talk to myself just to get my worn out body off the couch to go check the cellar – which was dry and cozy – little did I know, I probably should have stayed down there awhile longer… Que Sera, Sera, All’s well that ends well.

I’ve been hurriedly weeding, by hand, all areas to be planted with grass.  You’re surprised?   Well, I spent so much time and energy this summer mowing weeds – time that could have been spent on infrastructure.   And the child-unit’s only request for my grande outdoor plan was a grassy area to play fetch with Oakley barefoot on.   After much research, I came across a mix of fescue grasses that have deep roots, short blades and once established, needs little mowing or water.    Nearly killed myself weeding by hand the area to be planted, but after all the rain we got, it seemed easier than juggling my brain loose while holding onto a roto-tiller.  And lo and behold, the grass appeared in 6 days – note the middle area, which has been re-seeded.  Initial micro-irrigation set up failed to water the center as much as it should have…

6 Days after planting
6 Days after planting

What else?  Well, I turned a grand ole 45 years of age mid-month.   A friend gifted me some daylillies, ground elderberry and vinca plants, PLUS came and helped me plant them – can’t beat that deal and wasn’t I just over the moon at having new perennial plants installed.

A gift of daylillies for my birthday
A gift of daylillies for my birthday
Ground Elderberry and Vinca birthday plants
Ground Elderberry and Vinca birthday plants

I also have rescued various plants from the clearance shelves – a good drink of water and some TLC and they seem to like it here.   Blue Prince and Princess Holly, Wintercreeper and Bergamot, as well as some mums that wilted from neglect at the store.

Clearance Blue Prince and Princess Holly and Winter Creeper
Clearance Blue Prince and Princess Holly and Winter Creeper
Bergamot with new home and plenty of water/TLC
Bergamot with new home and plenty of water/TLC

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I must say, I’m desperate both to get projects completed before the snows come and impatient for the snows to start, so I can rest.   And read… And write….

I’ve pushed myself to get so much done in the limited time left to me and have overdone on occasion.   And yet, I feel I must keep at it, until the last possible moment.   Every bit of infrastructure completed this year, is that much less heavy lifting come next spring.

Oh, how I long to putter about the place.   Lovingly planting, weeding and watering.    With no need to haul dirt, tires, concrete blocks or struggle with irrigation piping.    It’s coming together, slowly but surely, if only my body will hold out for just a few more weeks.  I imagine sitting in the shade of my northeastern garden  corner, breathing in the scent of lilacs while reading your blog on the hand-me down Kindle I recently was gifted.

I’m anxious to hear what all you’ve been up to.   Yes, yes, I shall get caught up on your doings just as soon as the cold winds blow.   Until then, know I dream of the day when I can call you and say, “Would you like to come over for tea this afternoon?   The garden is lovely this time of year”