Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I "Mint" To Have Only One Slice!

Spring is flying by, and every day brings another little milestone.  Our ducks are back!

The trees, too, are filled with the sounds of songbirds.  We have an abundance of bluebirds, towhees, cardinals, phoebes, finches, and many others.  My favorite bird song is one that I hear all day long...that of the Eastern Towhee:

Thankfully, we haven't had as many deer sightings.  We still see them a few times a week, but nothing like the fall, when they willfully and maliciously decimated my garden.

Suddenly, all the trees around us have filled out...even our Japanese Maples.

My little hibernating houseplants that I cut back mid-winter have started showing new growth.

We're enjoying the last flush of azalea flowering...

...even Bosewichte!

New discoveries, like a clematis vine that did not flower the first year we lived here...

...and the first iris of spring.

Todd finished most of the leaf removal...

...and Borga has been soaking up the sun on the newly-uncovered lawn.

I've been toiling away at my little flower bed.  It probably took me close to a week, an hour or two at a time, to clear away the weeds.  It took me another week to dig up the space with my hand spade.  It was terribly difficult, because each spadeful brought up something like this:

The runners/root system of the weeds.  I despaired at ever getting them all up, but I put in two hours a day until they were finally cleared, at least to a depth of six inches.  I'll have to RoundUp any new shoots.  Meanwhile, I was able to get my seeds planted.  This year I went with my favorite "Indiana Annuals" mix:  tall spiky purple salvia mixed with pink coneflowers...feathery-leaved cosmos...cheerful zinnias...and a front bed of mixed marigolds.

It will be a battle with the established weeds, clay soil, iffy sunlight coverage, and possible drought conditions.  If these guys won't grow, nothing will!

In the past few weeks, I've made a nearly-forgotten layer cake...

..a batch of baked chocolate goodies I call "D'oh-nuts" for their resemblance to the sprinkles-covered doughnuts always seen on The Simpsons:

...and a multi-level ice cream cake...

...for my special birthday boy.

I "mint" to have just one slice, but I'm afraid we demolished over half the cake between the two of us in just one day.  It was delivered to Todd's office the next day for "safekeeping"!

Hope you're having a good week!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

E-"vase"-ive Maneuvers

Last year, I carefully cultivated a huge patch of weeds.  The rest of the property had been so intentionally landscaped that I couldn't believe that the one really sunny area, edged in irises and bordered by shasta daisies and lantana, wouldn't be utilized.  I waited and watched while the 8' x 4' bed filled out with lovely green variegated seedlings.  They grew and grew, and by fall had become a hideously rangy, drooping mess.  There was no mistaking it:  these were weeds.   They returned with the first warm weather, filling in the tidy arc beyond the lawn.

They filled in so nicely and had such beautiful leaves that I had to ask myself:  were they REALLY weeds?

I just had to remind myself of their appearance last fall.  No doubt about it:  these were weeds.

It took me several days to weed the area, because the weeds, true to character, had a vast underground runner root system, which means that I will still need to plow it up and get every last bit or they'll sprout again.  I don't mind working there, though, because I like seeing all of the little scurrying things.

Little pillbugs, running for cover.

Little flying things, woken up from their naps.


...and millipedes.

Even a little frog!

I love being outside in spring.  Last fall I planted six or seven peony bushes, and they're all coming up.

Sedum is starting to fill in the blank space around the rocks.

The air is filled with the buzzing of little wings. 

Bees love our flowers...

...and so do butterflies.

Our clematis vines are all starting to bloom.

I love their little clenched centers.

This .50 Goodwill vase is perfect for them.

 Of course, I have many...



...other vases in use.  I love the sheer variety of azaleas here, from tiny and pink...

...to sprawling and fuchsia.

It's nice to be outside amid the flowers, looking out over the water.

We've started eating our meals out on the sun porch again, just so we can catch the sun in the morning and listen to the tree frogs at night.  Bosewichte (our cat) heartily concurs with our decision.

Hope you have a great week! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The View From My Window

Todd and I recently returned from two back-to-back trips.  I'm always a bit anxious about traveling in the spring, because I just hate to miss early spring growth.  If you're a gardener, I'm sure you understand.  For example, our snowdrops reached their prime two weeks ago.

The redbuds came and went...

Same with our forsythia.

Thankfully, we're back just in time for the true glory of a Southern spring.  The dogwood blossoms that were just starting to unfurl a week ago...

...are now in full bloom.


The tentative hostas...

...are now up and running.  That's a hydrangea in the background...we're hoping to keep the deer out with these tomato cages!

Ferns are spiking up their new growth.

Last year I scattered muscari bulbs all around the front yard, and we've caught the tail end of their flowering.

They make the perfect miniature bouquets.

I'll never get tired of them!

Trees are flowering everywhere.  This is the view from the street in front of our house:

I couldn't bear to miss our mass flowering of purple irises, and thankfully they aren't ready to flower for another two weeks.

A few camellia trees are still blooming...

And oh, we missed a week of it, but it's still AZALEA TIME around here!  Gratuitous azalea shots:

These delicate light pink ones are my favorite.

The view from every window in the house shows color and more color.  The view from the greenhouse window in the kitchen is my favorite:

I like the back dining room window view, too:

We've had friends and family visit in the summer and fall, but I highly encourage them to consider the spring.  It's just amazing!

I hope you've got some color wherever you live.  Have a great week!