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?

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Flowers.

6-19-15 VERMONT: As we approach the Summer Solstice, who remembers that winter just past, the one with all that snow and intense cold?

It’s been busy, this week was my Dartmouth Reunion, the 55th. A lot of the class is now looking dodderish, stooped, pot-bellied and shuffling. Others of us still look quick and lively. It was a nice few days in spite of the rain.

The rain was welcome in the garden, of course, and I managed to get some stuff done. There was a lot of pruning and trimming with more to come. I gave the pond another pro-biotic treatment. The pond definitely looks better this year than last. There were five turtles in May, but I have not seen more than two this June.

We, Judy, Lucy and I, did two outings since the last post—a visit to the primrose colony in Norwich, or possibly Sharon, on Mitchell Brook. The primrose, white, red and pink, extend for many yards along a meandering brook. The photos don’t do it justice.

The other excursion was to the new Life Science Center on the Dartmouth campus. There is a greenhouse on top of the building with an orchid collection, and cacti and some native plants from this region. The orchids are quite dramatic.

New blooms: water lily, trascantia, lady’s mantle.

Primrose path along Mitchell Brook in Norwich.

More primrose - this might be in Sharon?

Primrose come with butterflies like this White Admiral, I know it's mostly black, I didn't name it.

Pearl Crescent, but could be a Northern Crescent, anyone??

One of several spectacular orchids at the greenhouse on top of the new Life Science Center on the northern edge of the Dartmouth campus.

More orchids...

And another. The greenhouse is open to the public weekdays and offers a self guided tour. It's, duh,  hot and humid.

Monday, June 15, 2015


6-14-15 VERMONT: We’ve been here for a couple days. The gardens are swarming with flowers, but there is a ton of stuff to do. In the veggie bed there is no corn, but the tomatoes are where they should be for this date. Did the corn not germinate? Is it too early to see it? Did something eat the new shoots?

Lucy is with Judy and me, and we did a walk in the Thetford Municipal Forest off Sawyer Mountain Rd. There is a 0.7 mile loop, partly through wetlands, and the pink lady’s slippers are starting to bloom. We saw a grouse on the trail for part of a moment. On the way back we stopped for a look at Old City Falls, which has lots of falling water.

On our first afternoon, I put in the screen doors, filled the feeders, trimmed around the entry steps and did a bunch or other chores. The house was open when we arrived because we have guests whose daughter graduates from Dartmouth today. The daughter is a friend of our granddaughter Anna who graduated in 2013.

In bloom: azalea, Asian lilac, weigela, stephanandra, Wentworth viburnum, roses, spirea-red and white, columbine, forget-me-not, jack-in-the-pulpit, geranium, lamium-pink and purple, bleeding heart, Solomon’s seal, early daylily, celandine, lupin, primrose, foxglove, Jacobs ladder, Rogersia, peony, chive, thyme, basil, speedwell, bindweed, knapweed.
Pasture wildflowers: daisy, buttercup, vetch, bedstraw, red clover, yarrow, Indian paint brush- yellow and red, fleabane, dianthus, raspberry, blackberry, cinquefoil.

Showy Lady's Slipper in the Town Forest.

Daylily, early hybrid when the native daylilies are waking up.

Thyme on the north terrace.

Yellow flag iris and lupin and some white Siberian iris.

Primrose at pond side.

Bearded Iris.

Daisy in the pasture also has a guest. I'm guessing it's an American Copper Butterfly, anyone?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mountain Laurel

6-12-15 SHORT HILLS: I forgot to mention  that Mountain Laurel was in bloom on yesterday's post.

Mt Laurel, our last one. We used to have several. This one is growing in a spot isolated from the locations where all the others grew.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bees and Trees.

6-11-15 SHORT HILLS: I have been a busy bee since we’re back from Los Gatos. Among the chores—more pruning and trimming, I’m still finding dead branches, adjusted and oiled the yard gates, washed the skylights, put up two outdoor thermometers, changed the storm windows to the screens, weeding, took several carloads of prunings and weedings to the town dump and picked up compost there, filled holes, created by the canine friends, with the compost, replaced broken basement-window-well covers, and probably more.

Speaking of bees, I haven't seen any honey bees, but there are lots of bumble bees and other smaller kinds of bees.

We’re caught up on rain, we had more than four inches in about a week. Today is hot, hot, hot.

Julio from Frank’s Tree came to inspect a sick ash tree and determined that it has borers and will prune the dead wood and also prune the Japanese maple that is chocking itself to death with roots that are encircling the trunk. This can happen with stock grown in a container that doesn’t let the roots grow outward. The maple has been here longer than we have, must be sixty years old, and has looked better every year—until now.

These two sick trees are major players in this yard and added to nine other mature trees that we have lost in the past decade to storms or disease are balanced out by the same number of trees I have planted over the years that are now mature.

New blooms: red clematis, red and pink spireas, linden tree, sweet spire, elderberry.

Spirea are in bloom all over the neighborhood, in pinks and reds.

Sweet Spire a small shrub that tolerates shade and damp soil.

Elderberry reminds me of the viburnums, but blooms later.

Another clematis, this one in red. These flowers are not fully open.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Graduate.

6-6-15 LOS GATOS, CA: Judy and I have been here for a few days for Eoin’s graduation from Middle School, which happened yesterday for Eoin and 427 classmates. It was an outdoor ceremony in a town park that started in hot sun and ended in cool shade. It was the first time we saw Eoin in a suit.

We flew into SFO the previous evening, picked up our rental car and drove to Jon and Siobhan’s hillside home in Los Gatos. It’s a beautiful and unusual house with huge views of the South Bay from San José to Palo Alto and the southernmost bridge across the Bay. The house is set in woodlands and adorned with decks.

Today was a sports day with Joey’s soccer game in San José, they won, followed by Eoin’s baseball game in Campbell, they lost. Back at the house we watched European Soccer on the tube and caught the Belmont on the computer. After all the competition, we went for dinner, Chinese, in Palo Alto before Judy and I left for the airport for our redeye to Newark.

Los Gatos is the most cleanest and neatest town I have been in anywhere.

Two cats wanting to get out.

Every graduate, all 400 plus, got a rose with the instructions to give it to someone who was important to their graduation.

Multiple decks in the woods.

Pretty good California sunset.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Fifty Shades of Green.

6-2-15 SHORT HILLS: Well we got the rain—3.2 inches, so far, with more to follow. The sump pump is running every ten minutes or so. The greater area has had some flooding, but not anywhere near us. It’s dark, cool, in the fifties, damp and dank. There’s no wind. A short walk outside in the yard leaves you with wet feet. Tree branches are heavy with rain and hang low over the paths.

New blooms: white clover.

House finches in vivid color, front and back views.

Fifty shades of green. There is nothing visibly in bloom. The privet, center back, is in flower, but not eye-catchingly. I love the greens - blue-green, yellow-green, gray-green, brown-green, dark green, light green. Overhead there is a canopy of ash, oak, walnut, linden and tulip trees shading this area most of the time. It's all dripping wet now, making it look shiny.