Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Days

Summer has finally taken hold in my world and it feels glorious.  It’s sunshine; leisurely mornings; time to cook; zinnia seedlings; t-shirts, flip flops every day; warmth on my toes; green tomatoes on the vines; quiet in the afternoon; the cool of my home when I step inside out of the sunlit day; the chirp of birds in the morning; the blink of a firefly in the darkening twilight; the feel of a soft quilt on my bed; pots overflowing with flowers; the ease of day with no obligations.  Sometimes I wonder if Summer is so nice because it was so hard-earned.   Then I realize that the thing about Summer is to avoid over-thinking it and just enjoy the glory of it all.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday, June 29: Garden Update

In the last week, we enjoyed plenty of heat and rain, the two ingredients that make my garden most happy.  The plants are coming along quite nicely.  There are several tomatoes.

The latest rows of zinnia seedlings are looking good.

My shady glen project has made the area more welcoming than ever.  

I’ve a few more additions planned for the perennial garden.  Just as I make it a point to sit on the front porch for my morning cup of coffee, I plan to enjoy a daily class of iced tea back here in the afternoon shade.  The best part of a garden at this time of the summer is that each  day’s growth brings me that much closer to warm tomatoes and fresh bouquets.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fairy Garden

I have neither a room full of dolls nor an entire house crammed with stuffed animals and, having barely dodged those fates, I was helpless when the idea of a fairy garden showed up in one of my gardening catalogs.  To say that I became quickly consumed by planning a magical fairy garden of my own is an understatement.

T and JT quietly endured the planning and organizing.  They rolled their eyes as I rambled on about my plans.  If they were concerned about the state of my mental health, they never let on.   So full steam ahead and my fairy garden is on its way.  I cleared weeds and tree branches in spot under old man tree and up against the back deck steps.  The ivy seems like a useful thing for fairies seeking privacy.

I hung the door to a secret fairy wonderland.

Then I settled a cottage here amongst the ivy.  

I planted the terra cotta pot full of pink impatiens.  

I’ve more plans in the works but I’m already quite pleased with this secret treasure in my garden.  It’s nice to have a new project for my garden daydreams.  I know a few toddlers who will find it quite charming to admire and their amusement will remind me, as it always does, to find something magical and thrilling in every day.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Garden Lessons

The best-laid gardening plans - and boy do I make organized gardening plans - sometimes come to naught.  In fact, that’s one of the greatest appeals of gardening in my world.  It’s a lesson in patience and a reminder of all the ways that I am not in charge of the world and must make do with the cards I am dealt.  Case in point: this section of my backyard garden patch.  

I tilled it a few years back and gave a try at planting carrots back here.  There wasn’t much of a harvest.  That fall, I laid out some fertilizer and the following spring I planted zinnias in this patch.  I had some flowers but not as many as I would have liked.  Again, I concluded that the soil was poor.  That fall, I tried a deeper tilling and discovered that the area has fill dirt and layer of concrete just about a foot below the fill.  That’s great soil for growing weeds and grass but no good for carrots or zinnias.  At first, I thought that the patch would simply lay fallow this summer.  

Then I got a new plan.  

I’ve always thought it would be nice to sit out here and admire the garden in the late afternoon shade.  Now I can do just that.  Presenting my backyard garden shady glen.

Next to the chairs is the section of the garden I’ve devoted to perennial plants: hostas, rosebushes, a hydrangea, and a patch of gladiola bulbs.  It awaits a layer of mulch, a task for next week, when I plan to take a few days off.  The rest is my annual garden with tomatoes, cukes, herbs, rows of zinnias, and the annual dahlia bulbs.

It’s a peaceful refuge back here amongst the thick green foliage of my fruit trees and my garden.  I can admire the plants I’ve cultivated.   It’s a comfy spot for enjoying a cold glass of iced tea, reading a good book and enjoying an afternoon doze.  If I play my cards right, I might even see the mama bunny who lives with her babies under the hedge.  It’s summer and there is time enough to watch my flowers grow and my tomatoes ripen.  That’s happy.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Food Friday: Comfort Food

Perhaps its because of my California origins that I find homemade Mexican food to be the best sort of comfort food.  And at the very top of the comfort hierarchy is the corn tortilla.  These were fried into homemade tortilla chips and served with a heaping bowl of guacamole.


Thursday, June 25, 2015


I am due for some time off and intend to take a few days on either side of July 4.  In preparation for what I am treating as my festival of rest and relaxation, I intend to get some tips from Tiger.

I think that he could teach me a thing or two on the art of letting go and enjoying a summer nap.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In Praise of Hostas

My love of hosta plants has been well-documented at this website on many previous occasions.  They first pop forth from the soil when April's days grow longer.  Come June, the row of hostas along my backyard garage is at its verdant peak.

These plants are my seasonal touchstone and I love them more each year that they grace my garden.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Daily Good Cheer

This cheerful green polka-dotted pot of purple impatiens sits on my front porch and makes me smile every day.

That’s happy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 23 Weekly Garden Update

I intended for last week’s garden update to show off the freshly weeded and then mulched garden.  But there was no garden update last week because the week was surprisingly busy, especially considering that I am supposed to be enjoying the relaxation that is summer.  At the start of last week, the garden looked like this:

Last weekend I declared that garden mulching season had arrived.   Before the mulch can be laid, the garden must be weeded one more time, so that was the chore for last week.  The weeding was completed on Wednesday and that afternoon, JT helped me load up the mulch and delivered the bags to the back yard. Then work demands and rain descended.  So the mulch sat on the lawn, forlorn and undistributed.  When I looked at the garden I swore that I could see all the weeds growing back.

I made another run at the weeds on Sunday.  Then I put down the newspapers and mulch that is my idiot-proof method of water-saving weed control.   Now things look ordered and lovely and just the way I like my garden to be.

Tomatoes and dahlias have been caged and now have support for the growing still-to-come.  

There is plenty of room for the new extra-long hose pipe and worn sprinkler to be moved around to water without disturbing the plants.

There is a spot raked and ready for me to plant the last of my zinnia beds.  There will be some abundant cut flower bouquets at my house later this summer.

I unearthed my turtle garden marker, a metal piece picked up at an antique shop in Cape Cod a few years back.

The 2016 garden is a little smaller than in previous years but no less lovely.  Now that the mulch is set down, my daily walk to the garden will be less a reminder of chores to be completed and instead a chance to admire the fruits and flowers of hard work.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Real Life Conversations with T: 2016 Election edition

The backstory:  After a busy week of moving and starting a new job, T was a bit out-of-date on the news so she was startled to see a newspaper with the headline that Donald Trump was running for office.

Me:  He proposes to re-brand America.  It’s really a selfless act on his part to save the nation from itself. 

T:  Fine.  He gets the presidency and we get that he finally does something about his hair.

This might be a pretty good exchange, America.  Don’t rule it out.