Sunday, July 05, 2015

Festive, But Cold, Fourth.

7-5-15 VERMONT: Judy and I did the Fourth at Middlebrook restaurant. They had a barbecue and fireworks and an open bar. Anna and Erin, our weekend guests, joined us. It was a cold Fourth and we all had on sweaters and jackets. There was light rain during the afternoon that started while we were at the Norwich Farmer’s Market.

Back on Wednesday we gave a small dinner party to meet and greet new neighbors, Sherry and Dave, both recently retired from TCU. They have never been here for a Vermont winter. Donna and Bruce and Jane and Ken joined us to provide a quorum.

Today was a mail order day, close to perfection, actually in the eighties in the afternoon. I was back outside doing pruning and shaping. One small spirea is almost all dead probably from lack of sunlight. I did another pond treatment.

I finished the installation of the fence charger with four strands of wire around the three rail fence. The corn is at one inch, the second planting, usually corn should be knee high on the Fourth. The first seeds from the Memorial Day planting disappeared. The tomatoes look OK.

New blooms: astilbe, dianthus, milkweed, black-eyed susan, filipendula.

Astilbe at pond side have been open for about a week.

Dianthus flowers are about the size of a dime. The plant is happy in dry thin soil on top of ledges.

Companions for the Fourth, Anna and Erin, at Middlebrook barbecue and fireworks.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Red and Blue.

Finally a couple decent pix of the Indigo Bunting.

That white thing in his beak is a sunflower seed he's shelling.

We saw two foxes this morning while coming home from the market.

One of them posed for us.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Is It Time to start the Ark?

7-1-15 VERMONT: Rain, rain, rain, rain. Yesterday started as sunny, after days of cold, cloudy, rainy weather, but by mid-afternoon the rain began again and has continued to mid-day today, which is another overcast day in the low sixties. Actually the whole year has been cold with a lot of precip.

I started installing a solar powered electric fence for the veggie garden. Of course, if it doesn’t warm up, there won’t be veggies to guard. The corn seeds won’t germinate in the cold, and tomatoes flowers won’t set fruit with cold nights, but there’s always next year, or next month is it gets warmer.

Anyway, I extended the black plastic mulch in the veggie beds to reach about a foot or so outside the new fence to prevent weed intrusion, put insulators on the posts for the electric wires. The solar fence charger needs four days of full sun to charge its battery for night time use, but now that doesn’t seem likely happen for weeks. I need to install grounding rods and wire it up.

I also did a bit more planting, adding another blanket flower, Gaillardia ‘Arizona Apricot’, to the pond side, a Phlox paniculata ‘Red Magic’ to the bed by the new French doors, and six monkshood, Aconitum naptellus, to the shaded bed on the terrace to replace ferns that had taken over that spot. I pulled the ferns first. I also planted three more Primula by the pond. They were a gift from neighbor Melissa, whose garden is magnificent.

New blooms: hosta.

Looks like a sparrow, but I think it's a female house finch. Anyone?

A slightly better pic of the Indigo Bunting.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rainy Day.

6-28-15 VERMONT: It has been raining all day as well as dark and cold. Yesterday was nice and I did some perennial planting.

I put a hollyhock, Alcea rosea ‘Summer Carnival’, in the upper new wall bed, two Maltese cross, Lychnis chalcedonica, and a Bradbury’s Monarda in the bed below the deck, and three each by the pond of lupin, Lupinus ‘Dwarf Minarette’, and Gaillardia ‘Arizona Red Shades’.

Today I hid inside and took pix of the birds, busy at the feeders, through the window. The picture of the indigo bunting is obviously terrible, but he remains elusive.

Bally and Maizie on a warmer and sunnier day.

Goldfinch, cleverly concealing all his black and white markings.

Indigo Bunting through the window, screen and rain. Sorry.

Song sparrow, immature, anyone?

Evening grosbeak and immature male.

Chipping sparrow.

Song sparrow again.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Return to VT

6-26-15 VERMONT: Our couple of days in NJ was a whirl of activity. Wednesday night we were in NYC for a dinner with Ina and Marcel. We visited Ina’s apartment and caught a great sunset over the Hudson River. Before that we had dinner with Lonnie and Bette on Bette’s birthday, I brought the prosecco. Before that we had dinner with Lynn and Bill to meet their new pooch, Bella, who looks like a winner. Before that was our dinner with Lucy before she went back to Brooklyn, and she is now off to Japan for her ‘Experiment’ summer. I even got a little done in the yard during the days.

Our trip back to VT was another one with delays—summer traffic and construction. There was more than two inches of rain here in the few days we were gone, the boat was full and got dumped. The pond is over full and draining. Today I added another bag of barley straw pellets to the pond to control algae and added more of the pond dye. The blue dye darkens the surface to retard algae growth by reducing the amount of sun light that reaches the bottom of the pond. The pellets decompose on the bottom releasing small amounts of peroxide, which kills algae.

I also caged the tomatoes and planted new corn seeds, seeds that are supposed to have ripe ears within 65 days. The original seeds, planted on Memorial Day, vanished, probably eaten by crows or deer or just rotted.

I don’t think that I mentioned before, but we have a local Indigo Bunting this year. I added a Nyger seed feeder to keep him and the missus interested, if it does that. We have seen him several times, but he is a nervous feeder and is quite camera shy, so there are no pix as yet. All the other finches are big Nyger seed fans as it turns out.

New blooms: summer sweet, red spirea, red peony, daylily, yarrow, valerian, campanula, white clover, feverfew, baptisia, salvia, money plant, stonecrop sedum.

Campanula with nice color.

First Vermont daylily just a couple days after the first one in NJ. By mid-summer the Vermont flora has caught up with NJ plants, and the late season flowers come out before NJ equivalents to avoid the earlier frost.

Feverfew with a gray spider, can you find it?

Goat's Beard tolerates a lot of shade.

Lucy teaching Chemistry. Whose number is that?

Sunset from Ina's apartment building with the Hudson and then NJ.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NJ Stay.

6-23-15 SHORT HILLS: It was an awful trip down on Sunday with multiple traffic jams. Lucy went home to Brooklyn via Midtown Direct on Monday morning. I got lots of Fathers Day calls Sunday night. It is hotter and much more humid in NJ than VT. It rained Sunday night and the next morning there was 4 inches in the rain gauge—that’s a lot of rain for one week.

Frank’s Tree was here to do pruning work. The ash trees are threatened by an insect that clogs up their vascular system. We will feed them in the Fall, which delays the progress of the disease.

New blooms: southern magnolia, beautyberry, tutsan, winterberry holly, rosebay rhododendron, daylily, hydrangea.

Hydrangea with bumble bee.

Southern magnolia.

Tutsan, Hypericum androsaemum, very similar to H. perforatum, St. John's wort.

Rosebay rhododendron.

Hydrangea, blue tint.

hydrangea, red tint, just getting started.

Daylily, the ones in VT will only be a few days later.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

New Primrose.

6-21-15 VERMONT: Yesterday was perfect. I planted seven new primroses, Primula japonica, along the bank of the pond near the ones from last year and transferred the lady’s slipper, that was languishing in a dark corner, to the same spot. The ones from last year are spreading.

Dan gave a talk about book publishing at his reunion that was very well attended—a lot of New Boston Road folks came. The talk was funny, informal and personal. The audience loved it.

Dan and Alison, Lucy, Judy and I are on the road today. We go back for a week of sultry NJ.

A couple more orchids. Have you seen any of these in your garden?