Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Moment in the Hammock.

7-22-14 VERMONT: The humidity is back, and we almost need rain. I’ve watered the new plantings. It’s been more of the usual chores—weeding, pruning, trimming. I did spend five minutes in the hammock between cartloads of prunings getting dumped.

The days are noticeably shorter now that we’re more than a month away from the June solstice. The plants are still racing to get the job done before the season ends. They all still seem to be ahead of schedule.

Alison and Dan are visiting for the week, and they're impressed with new WiFi.

There is a ton of milkweed in the pasture this year, but none of its leaves look chewed up. I haven’t seen any Monarch butterflies or caterpillars. [Milkweed is the Monarch caterpillars’ meal of choice.]

New blooms: Joe Pye weed, ligularia, boltonia.

Daylily reflections.

Mixed palate.

Cabbage White butterfly on hesperis.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reds and Pinks.

7-18-14 VERMONT: It’s been sunny, cool, dry and breezy. Once again things are drying out. That part of the yard that drains into the pond has been soggy all season and dry enough to get mowed only about twice.

Yesterday the apple trees were pruned by Ben B. He also hauled away all the cuttings. That is now off my to do list.

A few blueberries and a few tomatoes have been ripe enough to eat. The corn is as high as my eye and tassels are starting to show.

New blooms: echinacea, red hybrid daylilies.

Grape juice?


Very red.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fast Times and High Speed.

7-16-14 VERMONT: It’s been a crazy, social whirl for Judy’s birthday. Alan was here, and we went to Canoe Club, his treat, thanks again, Al. The next night, the two of us hit Elixir, and tonight we ate at the Pine Room with Lily. Middlebrook is on the calendar with Ken and Jane in a few days.

There was a bunch of rain, 1.5 inches, yesterday and last night. The new stone work out front worked fine and the rain flowed away from the house toward the road. The basement stayed dry.

ECFiberNet was here yesterday to bring the line from the road to the house, and another tech was here today to bring the fiber optics inside and to the router. We now have high speed Wi-Fi and feel very twenty-first century.

New blooms: pink and maroon hybrid daylilies.

Water Lilys, these are in pink. I think there are three frogs in the picture.


After the rain.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


7-13-14 VERMONT: it’s mid-summer and the pollinators and flowers are hard at work through the long days. Blossoms seem to be ahead of the usual schedule, but that may just be my imagination, or perhaps, the plants know there’s an early winter in the works. We got an afternoon shower today, so far just enough to wet the leaves.

The bed under the dining room windows originally had a lot of hostas growing and doing well in a shady spot. After the house was painted twice, and pre-washed twice, the bed is barren. At first I thought it was the foot traffic from the painters, but replacement plants died so I am guessing that there’s lead in the soil from the scrapping and washing of the old paint. Today I dug some of the soil out and replaced it with new topsoil and planted pachysandra cuttings—we’ll see.

New blooms: potentilla, summer azalea.

Hollyhock, dramatic flower repeated for several weeks.

Pickerel weed is an aquatic with tear-drop shaped leaves and blue/purple flowers.

Another hybrid daylily.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Turkey Sighting.

7-11-14 VERMONT: The rain has stopped for the moment, and we’ve had gorgeous days. I have been at the usual chores, generating cart loads of prunings.

We went to an onsite auction in Orford, NH this morning. We saw a couple beautiful farms on the road, but didn’t bid on anything. On the way home we stopped to let two adult turkeys and a bunch of chicks cross the road. I suppose they wanted to get to the other side.

New blooms: pickerel weed, catmint [forgot to mention before], delphinium, perennial foxglove, bee balm, milkweed, Queen Anne's lace.

Hybrid daylily.

Roses are recovering from the severe winter.

Milkweed with pollinators. We have the pink variety also, but no Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Why did the turkeys cross the road? Note the chicks.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rainy VT.

7-9-14 VERMONT: We just made it here in time for a delicious dinner at Donna and Bruce’s yesterday, Phyllis and Arnie were there also. We had been in NJ for a week, but collected 2.3 inches of rain here, and then another 0.6 last night and a bunch more this afternoon and evening.

Melissa brought us a couple garden surprises today. First there was a yellow lady’s slipper from her collection. I planted it in a mini-fen of peat moss and lime in a wet spot under the eaves. She also gave us some maiden-hair ferns and a clomp of toad lilies, Tricyrtis. They too went into wet, shady spots.

Otherwise there was weeding and dead-heading of peonies.

New blooms: hosta, native daylily, mallow, hydrangea, filipendula, astilbe, hollyhocks, purple rain salvia, Russian sage, yarrow, campanula.

Daylily in Vermont.

Hollyhocks seem early.

Astilbe. This cherry color is one of many vivid or pastel colors.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


7-6-14 SHORT HILLS: Our birdhouse, put up in May, is occupied by wrens, House Wrens, I believe, anyone? All eight of the available condos have twigs sticking out of the entries. This is something a wren couple do to discourage competition for food—putting ‘occupied’ signs on the unoccupied seats. They’re big insect eaters and the songs are pretty, so they are quite welcome.

We saw the Millburn fireworks on the fifth, postponed from the Fourth because of Arthur’s visit, very nice display.

House Wren.

Wren again.

And again.

Bird Condos, all filled with twigs. Apparently a wren couple will put twigs in all the nearby nest sites after building their nest to discourage competition.