Tag Archives: garden

Gliding into summer…

I love being outside. I am a summer girl. I like decorating the outside too making it a comfortable, beautiful place to be, on the cheap.

I recently posted about several lovely things that have come my way of late, including a free bench style glider. Now, I’m the sort who likes to rearrange items till they’re “right.” This season I started with a red bench in my seasonal screen tent. I had finally needed to knock apart and throw out my preferred bench because it passed the point repairs could keep it going. While the red bench looked cute it really isn’t too comfortable because of the shallowness of the seat. I don’t want to sit rigidly upright like I’m in a church; I want to shift positions and sprawl at whim.

I moved another bench in, a legless one that is intended to be a porch swing (which I sit atop cinder blocks instead) but out it came once the glider arrived. Space-wise it made the most sense to put the glider in the tent, space being not “spacious.” I wanted to share with you my inaugural glider ride and popcorn snack.

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With shredded cheese and Nutritional yeast, yum (seriously)

But of course I must show you the view from inside which is really what it’s all about.

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Panoramic view (sorry, it’s not the clearest)

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Calibrachoa

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Lydia, the One-armed Watering Girl

I’m seeing red (in the garden that is)

From one year to the next you never know what will be the star of the garden. There are so many variables that affect plants. Just because a plant did great last year doesn’t mean it will be great this year. At any rate, in early summer I went to a local first-time event billed as a plant sale and swap, promising lots of annuals, herbs, and vegetable plants. Sadly, it didn’t live up to its billing but someone had dropped off several very nice annual flowers for the swap just before I arrived (I brought a few plants for the swap too). I took a couple, including one I’d never heard of, a Dipladenia.

The tag said it’s a sun lover, drought-tolerant, upright mounding, with nonstop blooms that’s attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. I put it in a hanging pot with good soil and it has indeed bloomed nonstop. I added a purple petunia a little later – I thought the colors worked together. (And that’s the only petunia I planted that either lived or doesn’t look like hell now.) The butterflies do like it but the hummingbirds aren’t that interested and devote most of their time to fighting with each other over the hummingbird feeder anyway. It’s so gorgeous and exotic-looking, it constantly draws my attention.

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Green/White Grass plant (part 2)

The first summer I blogged I posted a photo of this Green/white grass plant. There wouldn’t be any reason to revisit it except that particular post has had somewhat regular views over the last two years. I was confused at first; why would people care about that post? It must come up in searches and that brings people to the blog.

I’ve felt a little guilty about that, thinking if those readers were looking for useful information, they sure weren’t finding any in my post. Granted, it wasn’ t meant to be an informational post full of big Latin words and discussions of soil conditions, but yeesh, I didn’t even say what it was. I’m here to correct that. It’s a Silver Arrrow Grass plant. Grows 5-6′, needs full sun, and gets tall reddish blooms in late summer (which I always forget till I see them).

Here’s also a current photo of this gorgeous plant. Well, two photos. One for “context” and one a little closer. What you won’t see in the photo is dental floss but it’s there. About this time of year the whole plant starts flopping over, perhaps because it doesn’t get as much sun as it wants – I really don’t know –  so I use my go-to garden helper, dental floss, wrapping it around the perimeter once and knotting tightly. (You want to knot it tightly so birds don’t carry the floss away for nest-building. Also I was chastized last year by someone online saying that wildlife could choke on it basically. That sounded far-fetched to me, but I dutifully mention it in case it’s true.)

I love that this beauty basically takes care of itself. No fertilizing, no regularly trimming, just cutting it down in the late Fall when it browns. I remain forever impressed that a giant plant like this can just “disappear” over winter and return again every summer, starting from scratch. It’s like a magic bean!

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My Dorian Gray basil plant

Months ago I planted these Basil seeds. The miniscule plants did almost NOTHING after germinating, flat out zippo. They wouldn’t grow and they wouldn’t die. I’ve never had seeds do that, not like this. (Fortunately for me, since I am mad for the delectable annual, I grew another pot with different seeds so that I did produce a bit of Basil. Whew.) Still, because they were alive and not in the way, I kept the pot, watered it and such ALL summer. Very recently, ONE seedling in the Dorian Gray pot decided to age grow after all. Excellent timing Basil! Now that summer is over.

Oh boy! Pesto any day now.

Oh boy! Pesto any day now.

Short Thought 55 (raccoon)

The other week, not long before dusk, I was sitting outside in the garden relaxing. I’d had the radio on but turned it off just to hear the natural sounds. I don’t know which of us was more surprised when a raccoon appeared suddenly at the bird bath. We stared at each other in one of those dramatic, loaded pauses, each taking a beat to register just what the other was. His reflexes were quicker than mine, as he turned, foregoing the drink he’d come for, and disappeared soundlessly under the hostas.

My summer song (hope the neighbors like it…)

There are certain songs that I associate with periods of my life. I grow attached at some point and almost always remain so. This summer it’s the hard-driving Kongos song, Come With Me Now. I loved it instantly. I have to move when I hear it. Can’t get enough.

The Asian Tiger mosquitoes (bite during the day, repeatedly; carry diseases, love me) are miserable here and have been for over a decade, so for the last several summers, I’ve set up a seasonal screen tent outside. I am only sorry I did not get one sooner. I know now that I literally grieved for the loss of the exquisite pleasure of sitting outdoors in the summer. Just thinking about it, the long years of wistfully looking out from indoors, makes me upset. That’s how much it means to me.

I grow these Black-eyed Susans in the tent with me, right in the soil.

I grow these Black-eyed Susans in the tent with me, right in the soil.

My relaxing pastime is sitting out in the screen tent in a comfy chair, feeling the warm air against my skin, and watching the birds and various flying creatures: butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hummingbirds. Sometimes I read, sometimes type blog posts, and occasionally bring my dinner out. And I like to listen to a small portable radio, as I have since I was a kid. I’m a dial flipper (too much yammering works my nerves), but favor pop, rock, and alternative. It’s a simple thing that makes me happy.

There are neighbors so I generally try to be considerate about noise, but I’m afraid there’s only one way to experience Come With Me Now and that’s with the volume cranked.

Happy, happy, happy

Happy, happy, happy

(Interesting facts about the song and YouTube video.)