Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Bride Wore White.

5-31-09 DENVER, COLORADO-AIRPORT: The wedding was sweet, in a pastoral setting, in a sandstone canyon, riverside, outdoor music venue in Lyons, CO. It was quite informal and thoroughly pleasant. This morning we visited the Pearl St. mall again with the Koreys. Judy befriended an oddly colored dog. The trip to the airport was uneventful. Our flight is said to be on time.

Wedding Venue, river and sandstone.

Sunset at the wedding.

Judy Makes a New Friend.

Boulder is at the base of the first range on the left.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Boulder, Colorado.

5-30-09 BOULDER, COLORADO: We got here yesterday in time for the rehearsal dinner. It was held in the garden of the Alumni Center of Colorado U. The city is pleasant and clean with a lot of sandstone construction. The sandstone hills loom up west of the town. It is a typical western city with broad streets and sidewalks and few tall buildings. The look is open and spacious, rather like an assemblage of strip malls.

The Pearl St. pedestrian mall is loaded with street music and caf├ęs and runs for several blocks. The CU campus is very green and treed and also spacious.

Just west of town is Boulder Canyon carved out of a granite pluton. We discovered the canyon and its hiking trails and spent the afternoon there.

Boulder Canyon granites.

Uplifted, tilted sandstone foothills named for Flatirons.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jersey Jungle.

5-29-09 SHORT HILLS: Three days of cold, rain, mist and fog have everything looking green, drippy and droopy. The New Jersey jungle. We are off to Colorado for a wedding. Boulder is supposed to be hot and sunny, we'll see.

New blooms: tulip tree, lilac, purple rhododendron, laurel, English holly, privet, tree peony.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thetford Marathon.

5-26-09 VERMONT: It’s been another marathon, every day working dawn to dusk, well 10 AM to dusk, I do have to read email.

The 24th-I finished the veggie garden by putting up the electric fence around the beds and setting up the tomato supports. The electric fence has three wires, the top two keep the horse visitors out of the corn and the bottom one keeps out the wascally varmints. Then I fertilized all the garden shrubs and flowers for the May application, the last one of the year. Fertilizing later in the summer promotes late season growth which doesn’t have time to harden before the frost. I pruned the honey suckle that had grown over the entry steps and a couple other trees that were similarly intruding on the walk ways, and, as the sun set, repaired the sliding door on the small barn.

The 25th-I purchased at Brown’s Nursery and planted lots of perennials. In the new patio bed under the apple tree—two hosta, ‘Sum & Substance’, two Digitalis hybrida, foxglove, ‘Camelot Rose’, and one Digitalis purpurea, 'Foxy’, and four hellebores—Helleborus x hybridus, mellow yellow mix and brushstrokes mix and Helleborus orientalis ‘Ivory Prince’. I planted two clematis at the north end of the deck—‘Ville de Lyon’ and ‘Galore’, in the bed below the deck four phlox—two Phlox paniculata, ‘Lizzy’, and two ‘Blue Paradise’. I planted a delphinium, ‘Magic Fountains’ in the bed at the base of the north terrace lower wall. I planted two Veronica chamaedrys, ‘Baby Blue Eyes’, in the rock garden, two Brunnera macrophylla, alkanets next to the Mohican viburnums and one Shasta daisy, Leucanthemum ‘Alaska’ in the upper wall bed. I transplanted another overgrown meadow rue to the front bed under the dining room where little has survived. After some weeding and trimming, setting up the row boat mooring and the electric fence charger, I cleared vegetation away from the fence wire until dark. If wet vegetation, from rain, touches the electric fence wire, it saps the energy and causes short circuits. It was a long day.

The 26th-I scattered the barley straw pellets on the pond, 30 pounds, which is supposed to decompose slowly releasing small amount of peroxide. The peroxide clears algae from the pond but doesn’t harm anything else. That’s the story line anyway.

The town road grader arrived to do our road, and I took the opportunity to dig out the culvert. It was partly filled with sand and gravel from run-off and snow plowing.

In the afternoon I did the veggies planting. I planted tomato seedlings: six Early Girl, 53 days, four Grape, 60 days, four Husky Red, 70 days, and four Sun Gold, 57 days. So, the feasting should start on July 18. To go with the tomatoes, I planted, three rosemary, four sweet basil, four dill. The thyme and oregano over wintered. The corn and pumpkins I started from seed. After the veggie planting, I cleaned up weeding and pruning debris and pronounced everything done that had to be done right now.

Short Hills tomorrow and Boulder, CO for the weekend wedding of Maggie and Matt.

New blooms: celandine, lily-of-the-valley, orange azalea, may apple.

Foam Flower and another shade tolerant flower-

Bane Berry, this one gets bright red stems and white berries with one black dot on the end. The berries look like doll's eyes and are said to be poisonous.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

OMG, You wouldn't believe how busy!

5-24-09 VERMONT: Sorry about the dearth of posts, dear reader, but OMG have I been busy. This morning it’s raining so I get time off to diarize. [Anybody think that’s a word?] I’ll just tell the story from the beginning.

The 19th-I finished adding a few pavers to the new patio and planted thyme between pavers where gaps had been left for planting and added a clematis to the north side of the deck next to the patio. Gus the dog ate the clematis, but I hope it will re-grow.

The new plantings: eight thymes, seven different species: Thymus vulgaris ‘Clear Gold’, T. praecox ‘Roseum’ and ‘Coccineus’, T. praecox articus ‘Elfin’, T. pseudolanuginosus [woolly], T. pulegioides ‘Archers Gold’, and two T.serpyllum ‘Roseus’. One Roman chamomile, Chamermelum nobile and one clematis x ‘Ville de Lyon’.

The 20th-I put out more peony supports, cleaned up more dead branches on the lawn, transplanted two meadow rue that were crowding a peony. Then I wanted to start preparing the veggie beds, but the string trimmer, needed to cut down the high grass around the veggie beds, had a cracked fuel line. I discovered that when I put gas in the tank and watched it pour out the bottom. I went out, bought six inches of new fuel line, a spark plug and an air filter, came back, repaired the engine, and it started right up. When I put it in gear, it repeatedly stalled. I looked underneath to discover that the drive belt was broken. End of day.

The 21st-Josh Swift, our neighbor and new lawn man, was here in the morning at the same time as the TV antenna guys were here to install more new antennas for digital, air reception. The TV antennas are out in the woods, I needed to trim new growth away from them. When they had all finished, I went back to work on the string trimmer. I struggled getting the drive belt exposed and removed. I changed some storm doors to screens, turned on the outside water, put out some hoses, and since I needed it, Dan & Whits had the right sized drive belt.

The 22nd-Brian Dade and I hiked up Mt. Ascutney to see the rocks, and the views. We went up the Brownsville Trail, had lunch on the tower, and came down the Weathersfield Trail.

Mt. Ascutney, Crystal Springs where the syenite meets the schist.

The 23rd-Meanwhile, back at the trimmer, I got the drive belt replaced and reassembled the trimmer, on the second try, and it worked. I trimmed around the veggie beds, around the roses, and around the barns. After that orgy of trimming, I stared on the veggie bed prep.

I uncovered the beds by unstapling the black plastic mulch and peeling it back off the beds. Then I pulled up the weeds and dead roots from last summer’s crops. I checked the pH—it was neutral—perfect. I fertilized, filled holes with new dirt, raked it all smooth, positioned the soakers, got the hoses out and connected them to the barn water and the soakers, recovered the beds with the plastic mulch and watered.

That plastic mulching adds work to this preparation, but it keeps weed growth down, warms the soil in the spring for earlier planting, retards evaporation in the summer and provides a cleaner surface for veggies that lie on the ground.

New blooms: Mohican viburnum, wild ginger, purple lamium, lilac, forsythia, bane berry, indian cucumber, dandelion, jill-over-the-ground, honeysuckle, epimedium, sweet woodruff, buttercup.

Blue wave of Forget-Me-Not.

Apple Tree at peak.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Frost Warnings.

5-18-09 VERMONT: I had a easy trip up Sunday. Judy comes up tomorrow. Today I bought fertilizer, barley straw pellets for algae in the pond, aluminum sulfate to acidify acidophiles, lime for alkalinophiles, if there is such a word. I also bought tomatoes, herbs, thyme for the new patio, a clematis and a some odds and ends. Scott has finished the patio, but seeing it done, I think it needs a few more pavers to soften the edges.

Today was cool and windy which kept the black flies at bay. There are frost warnings for tonight and it's already down to the low forties.

In bloom: apple trees, snowball viburnum, moosewood, azalea, bleeding hearts, forget-me-not, jack-in-the-pulpit, mertensia, viola, wild strawberry, foam flower, pulmonaria, yellow lamium, trillium, primrose, spurge, creeping phlox, hellebore, vinca, pachysandra, alkanet.

Early gardens, everything is pending.

Cushion spurge will brighten up any spot.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Topiary Rant.

5-16-09 SHORT HILLS: Today is overcast and gloomy with rain in the offing. Yesterday I did more pruning and sheared the yews and hollies that grow in front of the livingroom windows. I have decided to pull those shrubs out and plant deciduous shrubs that won’t grow to block the sight lines. I hate the cubes and spheres that one has to make out of foundation plantings to keep plants that want to be trees below window sill height. The natural shape and habitus of the shrubs, and trees, is infinitely more appealing than all those geometric creations. The same goes double for topiaries.

Vermont tomorrow. New blooms: black chokecherry.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Work Day.

5-13-09 SHORT HILLS: Today was gorgeous, perfect for working outside, so I did. I tested and replaced burnt out flood lights. I fertilized shrubs and bulbs, I weeded, attacking wild garlic mustard, an annoying invasive, ugly weed, poison ivy vine, wild grape vine and jewel weed. I cleaned the driveway drains and flushed them out. I fertilized the house plants, now all out on the patio for vacation, and started on a new round of pruning. It doesn’t sound like all that much, but it took all day. The gardeners were here for the first mowing, and the lawn doesn’t actually look too bad.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back in Short Hills.

5-12-09 SHORT HILLS: Spring continues to burgeon forth, to spill over and spew across the landscape. She is bubbling up and erupting from the root zone to the treetops. That’s the news, now for the weather, since the rain finally stopped, it’s been sunny, breezy and cool.

There’s work to do, trimming, weeding, the usual, but I’ve been just watching the leaves open and the grass grow. Yes, we actually have some grass this year.

The house plants are about to get their summer vacation.

New blooms: several viburnums—siebold, double file, tea, nannyberry; and others-carolina allspice, leucothoe, hawthorne, more azalea, first rhododendron, deutzia, solomons seal, wild strawberry.

Double file viburnum. The prominent flower parts are just to attract pollinators, the little flowers in the center do the job of berry making.


Azalea, cousin of the rhododendron. Your assignment: compare and contrast the two flowers.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


5-9-09 BOSTON: We drove up yesterday for my 45th Boston University School of Medicine reunion and to re-visit all our hangouts when we lived here, a victory lap. After check-in at the Westin Copley Place, we walked around Back Bay, saw my first place on Marlborough St. saw Comm. Ave., Mass. Ave., the Eliot Hotel, and all the shops and boutiques on Newbury St. Then we walked east to the Public Gardens and the Commons and back to the hotel on Huntington Ave.

My med school class had about 70 graduates, classes are now twice that size, and ten of us showed for this reunion. The other alums had almost all stayed in eastern Massachusetts and had been in contact with each other over the years. We had not seen any of them since I got my diploma, but picked up where we left off at graduation. It was a very nice dinner. Almost all of us are fully retired, except for a few with part-time jobs. We each gave an impromptu talk about our lives, so far. There were a lot of good stories and interesting twists. Everybody was generally pleased with how things turned out for them.

Today we went to Huntington Ave. building where I lived for the second half of my first year. The Sherry-Biltmore on Mass. Ave. is gone. We looked at the Med School which is now mostly rebuilt, but a few of the primitive, 19th century buildings survive. The school and hospitals are a huge, contiguous complex. The local neighborhood, which was definitely low end then, is now gentrified, cleaned-up and up-scale. Owners have displaced the Southie renters and students. Every brick row house has a well-tended garden. Worcester Square has probably never looked better.

Moving along we went to Brookline where we lived after we married. Again, the street has been upgraded. Were we now looking to rent as we were then, we couldn't afford Garrison Rd. We drove down Beacon St., visited MIT, where Judy worked after graduation, and Harvard Square, drove along the Charles, through the BU campus, and around Beacon Hill. We had dinner at the Palm.

Boston has a great mix of the old and the new.

Worcester Square-thoroughly gentrified.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


5-6-09 SHORT HILLS: It’s been raining and cold every day until today when there was a moment of sun, but more rain is predicted for tonight. We were behind on rain for the year, but are now more than caught up. Everything in the garden seems to be enjoying the rain except me. If it had been warmer there would have been more explosive growth. All I have been doing is staying dry and filling the bird feeders.

New blooms: wood hyacinth, sweet woodruff, lily-of-the-valley, jill-over-the-ground.

Wood Hyacinth.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Another Snowball.

5-2-09 SHORT HILLS: The new plantings and transplants are doing fine, especially after a couple of rainy days. I have mostly been staying dry. The grass is actually coming in pretty well, but the yard is about to go from sunny to shady as all the ash trees are on the verge of leafing out. All the traumatized trees and shrubs from last spring’s storms are doing well this spring.

New blooms: may apple, honeysuckle, burning bush, more azaleas.

Another snowball viburnum, compare with the picture in the last post.