Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More Spring.

5-27-15 SHORT HILLS: We’re back in NJ, and it’s hot and humid summery weather. It’s also dry and we need rain, but all the rain is in Texas.

With all the trees and shrubs in leaf, our yard changes from bright to shady and becomes divided into ‘rooms’ separated by the leaf screens so that the broad vistas are gone and to see the whole yard requires a walk around.

New blooms: English holly, tree peony, arrowwood viburnum, star-of-Bethlehem, clematis, white lamium, gill-over-the-ground, dwarf lilac.


Clematis at the base of the bird house.

Star-of-Bethlehem looks like grass all spring until it flowers.

Tree Peony - that's a flower.

More clematis.

Dwarf lilac. It only gets to be five feet tall. Syringa patula 'Miss Kim'.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Turtles and Veggies.

5-25-15 VERMONT: It’s been very dry here. We need rain. With Clara’s help, I got the veggie garden set up and planted. Soaker hose, plastic mulch are both in place in the new bed. The new fence needed some stabilization work. Clara planted 75 corn hills while I did 12 tomatoes. I ran the soaker hose all night to get it, well, soaked.

More in bloom: forgot to mention on the last post: baneberry, yellow lamium.

New blooms: lily-of-the-valley.


On a hot afternoon, the turtles crawl out and bask on the rocks. They need the heat for their metabolism. Painted turtles have red markings when the shells are mud free.

Second turtles blending in with the rock,

Third and fourth hanging out together. While these four were in view, I saw a fifth turtle swimming.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chores in Vermont.

5-22-15 VERMONT: We arrived yesterday and were greeted by neighbor Steve and a bunch of black flies. We prefer Steve.

Today was very windy, a good thing because it blows the black flies away. I started on a pile of spring jobs that I haven’t had a chance to do. I am walking on the healing, broken leg, doing partial weight bearing with one crutch, but sometimes I forget to use the crutch.

I skimmed the pond, picking up debris from the fall and spring that was floating around on the surface. That friendly wind blew the debris near the side for pickup with a pool skimmer net. Then I gave the pond another ‘probiotic’ treatment and scattered barley straw pellets around the edges of the pond. They attack algae growth. The pond is actually looking clearer this spring. I also filled the bird feeders. Tomorrow I get help from neighbor Clara for setting up the new veggie garden.

Judy and I did errands this morning including a trip to Longacre’s Nursery for herbs and tomatoes and a hanging basket for the pumpkin cart and dried stuff for her indoor arrangements this morning.

In bloom: apple, French lilac, Mohican viburnum, honeysuckle, azalea, white trillium, red trillium, mertensia, bleeding heart, viola, ajuga, purple lamium, dandelion, wild strawberry, golden alexander, forget-me-not, alkanet, epimedium, white geranium, spurge, hellebore, wild ginger, jack-in-the-pulpit, vinca minor, pachysandra.


Spectacular apple tree, almost always does it on Memorial Day.

Bleeding hearts hiding under the apple tree's gnarly trunks.

Just as good from the other side.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rainy Spell.

5-19-15 SHORT HILLS: We have had a lot of fog and rain with temps in the sixties. The rain was much needed. The cooler days didn’t slow the parade of spring blooms.

Val, Maggie and Lucy visited on Sunday, one of them no longer has braces. Another one of them has finished her sophomore year at Hampshire College.

Most of the plants that I was concerned about are OK. The crepe myrtle is alive, but growing anew from its base. None of the upper branches are showing any new leaves. With a healthy root system large enough to support the shrub that it was last year, it should rebound fairly well.

New blooms: wild cherry, red chokeberry, Asian lilac, rhododendron, weigela, lily-of-the-valley, gill-over-the-ground.


A new cluster of white flowers - this one is red chokeberry.

Asian lilac, just as aromatic as the French lilac.

Black wild cherry blooms with tassel-like flower clusters.

Rhododendron. One of almost 30,000 cultivars.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Grab Bag.

5-13-15 SHORT HILLS: The last two days have been cool and windy, very windy. Summer returns by the weekend.

Last night, we saw ‘Skylight’ at the Golden Theatre with Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy. They play former lovers divided by their history, politics, age, cooking, economics and you name it. Both performances were wonderful. The set is her apartment—nice to see an actual set for a change. Neither of us were thrilled with it, but I liked it a bit more than Judy.

Today I had lunch with four college classmates in the city, Alan, Mike, Paul and Roger, who are all still working. I drove in from NJ, the traffic was depressingly horrific, both in and out. Next time, I will use mass transit, hopefully I will be walking without crutches by then.

New blooms: bridalwreath spirea, deutzia, rhododendron, red-twig dogwood, columbine, wild strawberry.

Quiz: The following five pix are of small, white flower clusters. They have all been mentioned as 'New blooms' recently. Can you ID them? The leaves can help with ID. Answers next post, if I remember.


1. Bridalwreath spirea.

2. Red-twig dogwood.

3. Doublefile viburnum.

4. Bridalwreath spirea, reprise.

5. Seibold viburnum.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fox Visit.

5-10-15 SHORT HILLS: The yard is awash in flowers, it’s that time of the year. Today is sultry with a slight breeze and overcast sky.

The big exciting event today was a red fox sighting in the yard. Judy was outside early with the dogs who flushed the fox and chased it across the yard until it disappeared. Fortunately they didn’t get near it.

New blooms: chestnut tree, hawthorn, honeysuckle bush, burning bush, nannyberry viburnum, siebold viburnum, leucothoe, tea viburnum, doublefile viburnum, ajuga, wood hyacinth, may apple.


Chestnut tree flower.

Leucothoe, similar flower to blueberry, andromeda, lily-of-the-valley.

Ajuga, a fast spreading ground cover if it likes the conditions.

Wood hyacinth also comes in white and pink, it's happy in the shade.

Nannyberry viburnum, one of several viburnums in the yard.

Honeysuckle bush, also appears in white.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Azalea Speaks.

5-7-15 SHORT HILLS: Yesterday threatened rain but didn’t deliver. Rain would be good at this point. Today was back in the eighties, and I ran the AC while in the car. We might get into the nineties later this week. The lawn was mowed yesterday for the first time. Spring continues to explode.

New blooms: lilac, Carolina allspice, azalea, flowering currant, Korean spice viburnum.


Azaleas always make a statement.

Flowering currant flowers will turn into a bunch of berries.

Purple lamium.