Friday, May 28, 2010

trouble in the hemlocks!

our hemlocks are in trouble!
this spring, i noticed some white, cottony-looking stuff on the branches. 
friends tell me it's a spore that floats in the air and is destroying hemlocks everywhere.
inside the spore is a teeny, tiny bug that feeds off the needles
and eventually kills the tree.
now the needles are turning brown.
 hemlocks are our state tree.
there is a spray and a systemic available,
however, both take time to work
and the spore works faster than the supposed solution.

since we moved here six years ago,
we lost two diseased pin oaks, an ant infested mimosa and a japanese maple.
if our three lovely dogwood get the disease that is out there already,
i truly shall weep and wail!



Thursday, May 27, 2010

fourteen geraniums

Well, I did it! I broke down and bought fourteen, FOURTEEN pink geraniums! Being the cheap-o that I am, I know think geraniums are too expensive to buy this many. It's been years...let me take that back...I don't think I EVER bought that many at one time. And it looks EXACTLY like I thought the stone wall  would look...complete and lovely.
The geraniums are Americana Salmon,
a very lovely color that fits in well with the rest of the gardens.

I remember in my early years of ignorance lack of knowledge, I'd take the plant out of its container, dig a hole, plop it in the ground, only to find by the end of summer it hadn't grown much and when I pulled it out, it was exactly like it was the day I put it in.

It's important to break the root growth pot pattern and gently pry the bottom of the roots apart before planting. This 'breaks' the roots and it will grow out rather than in its container pattern. If the roots are really pot bound, I pull or cut off the bottom to force the roots to grow in another direction. Then you're good to go! :)

Because it's been years since this dirt has seen the light of day, I took a shovelful of dirt out and replaced it with compost, mixing it together in the hole to give these lovelies a good start and watered 'em with rain water out of my rain barrels (a future post). So I'm expecting these beauties to do a high performance job this summer! :)

Oh, by the way, I had company with me... 
...a helper and a future landscaper -
that is, if he takes after his daddy and grandma! :)
B ate grass waited patiently while I finished planting the geraniums.
Then I introduced him to his first gardening tool,
and he looks as pleased as punch!
After that I took him to the sandbox,
where he promptly ate some of it! :)
 Such an easy little man to babysit!



PS. a reminder for my give-away that's open until midnight on Monday, May 31.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Martha's Porch

DIL M decorated her porch in such an inviting way
i'm doing a 'show 'n tell' on my blog...
follow me!

this is what you see coming in on the walkway...
 stepping up on the porch to the left is this...
and to the right.
- reflections -
- shelf happiness -
- be seated -
M designs her own pots with a beautiful combination of plants.

  under the deck in the back
 is another cool spot to enjoy the summer heat...
M designed and laid the brick and concrete
and is there long enough for a mossy floor.

- mirrors and bird houses -
is it any wonder summer is such a lovely season,
where we want to linger and linger
at the sights and scents of it?

i hope you enjoyed this little tour of M's touch!



ps - i have a first-time give-away at my second blog, fleur gardens.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a tea party give-away...

I have mixed feelings about give-aways. While it brings more visitors, more comments and generally more followers - I personally believe it also brings more performance issues. Just sayin' and no offence to anyone who does them...I'm amazed at the generosity of the give-aways! :)

Being raised in a very self-effacing culture, this post is a big step for kinda feels like begging for comments or bragging about a pretty back yard...I'm not sure which! :) I also know this give-away is limited to a certain area instead of the blog world, though I'd be delighted to have folks from the anywhere in the world step into my back yard! However, gardening and teas is my thing, so here it is...

I'm having an evening garden tea for six people as a give-away!
To be one of the six in this giveaway...
- leave a comment on this blog -

That's it!

I will be using the old-fashioned way of taking six numbers out of a pot, using my granddaughters, Serena and Sarah with their mothers to pull the numbers. This give-away will be open until May 31, 2010. 

The tea will be held July 29, 2010 from 7 PM until...
however long you want to linger!

...happy gardening!


Monday, May 24, 2010

week end musings

this is a 'work-in-progress' project with four porch pillars
but i wanted to share this lovely,
 w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l smelling thornless zepherine drouhin rose with you.
 it was transplanted this spring and a clematis is cozying up to it -
they make a wonderful pair.
more on this project later!


saturday evening we celebrated Sarah's fifth birthday,

but forgot my camera...
my grandgirlies are growing up so fast!


- from the pulpit -

'to inspire, to give hope'

- encouragement is an intrinsical part of life
- one needs to be available
- one must have integrity
- be aware of personal limitations
- does not care who gets the credit.

The challenge...
am i willing to bridge the gap for someone who needs it?
am i willing to see their potential or to remember the failure of their past?
which will i choose -
potential or failure?


we had guests from new york we've known for years at church -
we invited them into our home for lunch.
thankfully, i had canned chicken on hand and made chicken corn soup -
and fresh strawberries with butter pecan ice cream...
the company and soup were delicious!
i was blessed!



Friday, May 21, 2010

stone wall - phase two

I love the transformation stone brings into the landscape!
Whether as a wall or burying several rocks three-quarters in the ground to make a statement... adds a new dimension to the overall look.

The first step is to dig into the slope, creating a level area to place the stones.
The level place needs to be wider than the stone itself
to give some wiggle room and the different sizes of the stone.
As it's built, the stone needs to be tipped back ever so slightly toward the bank.
 Back fill with the saved dirt, using an up/down chopping motion to settle the dirt. 
I even used a few concrete pieces -
in fact, I've seen some beautiful walls where the whole wall
was built out of recycled, broken concrete.
As the wall is built, stack the stones on top of each other so that it looks like this...
By laying them like this keeps the wall sturdy.
It's almost like fitting pieces of a puzzle,
and if it doesn't seem to fit one way, try it another way.
But it's very important to back fill as you build.

I did several layers of a four foot section at a time,
and pretty much just amish eyed it from a distance to keep it straight.
Part of the charm of a stone wall is its imperfections.

I filled the top with grass edgings.
To put a nice finish to the wall,
use the larger, flatter pieces of stone for the last layer.
I was lucky to have a stone that has a corner to finish the end of the wall.
If the top stone is sloped too much into the ground,
lift it and push dirt underneath it to raise it up.
Finish it off by mulching!

  The walls 'settle' with time and thunder storms (no kidding!)
and more dirt may need to be added at a latter time.
While stone and walls add a lot to landscaping,
it can be overdone.
I've seen yards with w-a-y too much stone -
round, one-layer stone edging every flower bed,
or too small stones that looks like a conglomeration mish-mash of stone.
Kinda like a dress that has too much lace on it! :)

Amazing transformation!

...happy gardening!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

love, love, love!


lady's mantle and pink peony



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a new look

for several years i've been thinking about laying a dry-stacked stone wall on this bank.
it felt like a huge project but ended up being fairly easy and the actual stonework only took several hours.
i already had the stones from other projects and snitched a few from other places around the yard.
i love the transformation and wonder why i didn't do it before!



planting geraniums here would look lovely against the stone.
however, i'm thinking of letting this space empty
and planting ajuga there in the fall, which i already have.

  a tutorial on a dry-stacked wall is in my gardening blog fleur gardens in two posts.



linking up to Beyond the Picket Fence party.