Monday, July 30, 2007

End of July.

7-30-07 VERMONT: I finished the work on the new BBP, except for some planting, and I’m waiting for the sale to start at Brown’s Nursery on August 1. I finished pulling out all the turf, regrading, doing rock border, mulching, moving the fence posts and moving hostas to the new site. The hostas all came from places in the garden where they were being overgrown by taller or more vigorous stuff. As you can imagine, they don’t look great now, but wait until next year. I did plant some creeping thyme along the border and in the walkway gaps and some common thyme, Thymus vulgaris, near the cotoneaster.

We got 0.35 inches of rain a couple days ago.

New blooms: red yarrow, black hollyhock, soapwort.

Water Lily.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sultry Summer.

7-26-07 VERMONT: Yesterday I took down the littlest elm, which had clearly died, presumably from the attack of the killer moles who ate the roots. The adjacent elm still looks tired but will, hopefully, survive. I also pruned the honeysuckle, again, mowed grass by the north chimney, watered the veggies, watered the new plantings and I can’t remember what else.

The weather has been great. Warm with a nice breeze, the definition of sultry, but we’ll need rain in a few days.

We had a dinner party last night. Judy was on her game, every course was perfect, even the salmon that I managed not to burn. We had four couples: Hannons, Adlers, Hileys and Gundys, all classmates from long, long ago. The weather and bugs were so accommodating we stayed outside all evening. We got ten people around the picnic table with a couple extra chairs. There were a lot of empty wine bottles.

New Blooms: more phlox, lingularia, Joe Pye weed, milkweed, shasta daisy, monkshood, more sedum.

Asiatic Lily.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Camp Visiting Weekend.

7-23-07 VERMONT: Things have been busy. We had a home invasion, I mean visit, from Alison’s and Valerie’s families for camp weekend. Lily and Lucy finished their sessions and were collected by their parents, but Maggie is doing the whole summer. We saw the big show at Hive. A redo of The Ugly Duckling. Not too bad. Simultaneous with all that was the opening day of Deathly Hallows which we were all reading.

Today I got back to work on BBP and finished the grass removal, regrading, rock border and re-placement of the stone fence posts. It is difficult to get the grass out of the border with least damage to the flowers. We had 1.9 inches of rain last week which gets us up to date and had the pond full for a day of so.

New Blooms: potentilla, more day lily, asiatic lily, helenium, black-eyed susan, more hostas and hollyhocks.

Delphiniums with good color.

Two Tone Day Lily, maybe this is my favorite.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Bed.

7-17-07 VERMONT: I’ve decided the grass out front by the Bed Below Pines [BBP] is a scruffy mess. The bed inhabitants keep trying to escape and invade the grass area. I‘ve thrown in with the bed friends and started pulling out all the grass yesterday. I rescued about six hostas from oblivion under the honeysuckle trees and replanted them in the newly de-grassed area, added a few pavers to the walkway and moved the rock border of BBP forward to the edge of the walkway.

Today I pulled ten burning bush volunteers out from under that same stand of honeysuckle and moved them to the south end of the yard at the wall bordering the woods. Then I pruned the Mohican viburnum that the robins had appropriated for their nest now that the chicks have all left. They grow up so fast nowadays. Then I rescued a hosta from underneath that viburnum and some others, five in total, and extended the new BBP.

New blooms: pale yellow day lily—these might be my favorite day lilies.

Here it is, finally. It took three days to get this one picture up.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Birthday Girl.

7-15-07 VERMONT: Happy Birthday, Judy. We did dinner at the Canoe Club last night to celebrate the occasion.

This morning we got another 0.7 inches of rain which saved me the trouble of watering today. More chores.

New blooms: nepeta, more hosta.

Day Lilies.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Canoe Day.

7-13-07 VERMONT: We had a faux storm today, thunder and lightening, gusty winds, flickering lights, but no rain. I have been doing lots of small chores and errands, too much trouble to list them all. Yesterday Judy and I took the canoe out on the Ompompanousic and Connecticut Rivers. We saw a few ducks and red-wing blackbirds. We were more pleased to see them than they were to see us. I tried using a kayak paddle instead of canoe paddle. It is much more efficient, but water gets in the canoe. Judy prefers the regular paddle.

New blooms: hydrangea, have I mentioned astilbe? They have been out for a while, bee balm, bind weed, filipendula.

She doesn't look canoe-ish.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quick Update.

7-12-07 VERMONT: Rain: before I left for NJ, there was 0.35 inches in the gauge. When I got back yesterday, there was 0.55 inches and this am 0.6 inches. The pond is almost full, the grass is greening up again and we’re all caught up.

New blooms: delphinium, hosta.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

NJ gets Heat Stroke, Jury Dismissed.

7-10-07 SHORT HILLS: Yes, back in the Garden State. I came down yesterday evening for Essex County jury duty today. The trip down was a breeze, but there are no breezes here. When I left the court house for lunch break, the car said the temperature was 101°. My cohort of jurors was called for a trial at 10:30 and sat down in the courtroom for jury selection, but were sent back out in the hall for some procedural matters and told to return at 11:15. After standing around for another 15 minutes, they sent us for lunch at 11:30 with instructions to be back at 1:30. [That’s not how my job worked.] At 1:45, they said go back to the jury room where we all sat and read and phoned home and slept and watched TV until 3:30 when we were dismissed and told no need to return tomorrow.

No new blooms here. The magnolia continues to turn out those immense flowers. I watered the house plants and the new plantings, checked the sprinklers and turned them on, moved a couple of dead branches and cut down part of a lilac with some sort of white fungual growth. Vermont tomorrow.

Southern Magnolia

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Singing in the Rain.

7-8-07 VERMONT: On the fourth, we got 0.4 inches of rain and since then another 0.05 and yesterday 0.25 inches. I precipated, pun intended, yesterday’s rain by watering for two hours in the morning. We are still about two inches behind. The pond is down six inches and the little pond is down several feet and almost dry. The rain we have gotten just soaks in, no runoff to fill the ponds.

We have a new turtle in the pond, a painted turtle maybe six inches long. Yesterday morning a deer was drinking from the pond. We have seen foxes on the road a few times. A cedar waxwing was on the hollyhocks a few days ago and a robin has a nest just outside the kitchen window in a viburnum. She is very wary of us and flies off every time I open the refrigator. Those chicks are in trouble.

New blooms: foxglove, mallow.

Yesterday we had tickets for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. The VSO was in Randolph, a nearby town. The event was a holiday concert that they are giving at several venues around the state, complete with fireworks. Because it was raining most of the afternoon, silly us assumed it would be at the alternate, indoor site. We had the picnic at home, inside, before going to the event assuming the outdoor site would be soaked and unusable. We had folding chairs in the car, but didn’t bring foul weather gear, umbrellas, refreshing beverages, wellingtons or other stuff we might have taken. Who would have an outdoor event in the rain when there was an indoor option, we asked ourselves.

Vermonters are either very hardy or nuts, perhaps both. As you may have guessed it was outside, in the rain. We set up the chairs and found a couple dog blankets in the car, and it wasn’t too bad, a half hour before the start, until the fairly hard rain started, and it cooled off. The VSO was under a huge canopy, we were not. We were near the soundman’s set-up and borrowed a tarp from him when he came to turn his equipment on. He worked, huddled under the tarp covering his gear, mostly just by feel, snaps for him. I said, “If I see my breath, we’re leaving.”

Judy wanted to stick. She saw it as a bonding experience. The concert was fine, light stuff and some show tunes, and started after the dedicatory speeches thanking all the sponsors. By the time the “1812 Overture” finale played, with the fireworks, I knew what Bonaparte’s men felt like on that retreat from Russia. Some folks actually left at the intermission, not us. Fireworks in the fog are interesting, the colors are muted, but the fog acts as a reflecting screen amplifying the color.

Secrets of the Foxglove.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Holiday Cheer for the Garden.

7-4-07 VERMONT: It’s raining, finally. Can you consider rain as fireworks? It’s getting to be about as rare. It’s a delight to behold, inspiring of ooh’s, and you don’t have to wait for dark.

Before the rain, I transplanted, over the last couple days, a number of shade tolerant plants that were being overrun where they were. Several blood root, pulmonaria, maiden-hair fern, goose-neck loosestrife [not the invasive cousin] were moved to the shady parts of the new bed. I have spent a lot of time watering, half the gardens looked limp.

New blooms: hollyhock, daylily, first sedum.



Monday, July 02, 2007

Gardeners Work is Never Done.

7-2-07 VERMONT: I have been a busy bee, or is it beaver, since we’ve been here, three days, I think. I’ll list the stuff I did that I can remember, in no special order. Lots of pruning of over-grown trees and shrubs covering rhododendron, azalea, japanese maple, magnolias, flower beds, weeding in random spurts, lots of watering [it’s very dry here], trimmering [new word] around roses, veggie garden, driveway, mowed mint stand in pasture to cover and smother, planted two new hostas-‘Sum and Substance’, planted a Cotoneaster adpressus var. praecox near the front porch, spread mole repellent, thinned the corn to one stalk per mound, thinned pumpkins, watered the elms, hauled away all the prunings and trimmings, fertilized blueberries, and stuff I forgot.

It has been cool and windy, actually in the forty’s at night. It is nice for working, not hot and the wind clears the bugs, but it is dry, the soil I turned for the plantings was dry as beach sand to one foot depth.

New blooms: money plant, astilbe, more spirea, trascantia, russian sage, salvia, summer snow, summer azalea, phlox, campanula, fever few, summer sweet, bishops weed, rhodo.


Roses on the fence.