Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Favorites


Evan's Garden

When I planned Evan's memorial garden, I wanted to include things that had interesting common names. I considered it a children's garden and wanted plants with names that might interest a child and plants with fun flowers. I decided to do what I call a "Bank of Hydrangeas." I thought, "Who doesn't love those big pom pom blooms?" I chose to go with two natives: Hydrangea aborescens "Annabelle" and a dwarf Hydrangea quercifolia "Sikes Dwarf Oakleaf." Also in the picture are an unknown white Astilbe, and Christmas Fern.


Unknown Passalong in the Woodland Garden

I got this unknown little perennial from a plant trade. I wish I knew what it was!


Osmunda cinnamomea "Cinnamon Fern"
Cinnamon Fern is a native with striking foliage and cool cinnamon stick like fronds.


Chamaelirium luteum "Fairy Wand"

Fairy Wand is also a native, and has a neat little wand shaped bloom. I received this, the Cinnamon Fern, and many other wonderful natives from a Garden Web friend in memory of Evan.


Polygonatum multiflorum "Solomon's Seal"

My Solomon's Seal is in my little Woodland Garden. I'm happy to report that I have a couple babies this year!


Unknown Clematis

Here's another appearance of the Clematis that has produced some lovely, enormous flowers this year.


Clematis Dud with scrawny petals

I swear this Clematis used to have better petals. What is going on?


Passalong Iris

Another shot of my trade Iris.


Rose

Another trade plant. I don't actually remember putting this little gem in my box at the trade. It just magically appeared, and I've often wondered if someone else accidentally put it in the wrong box. The spoon with the identification said what it might be.... Unfortunately, I don't remember the name. It seems like it was French. Sigh.

A Severe Case of the Sillies

Do you ever feel like you're just totally losing it?



Yeah, me too.



Everybody else is pretty crazy, too.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Think He's Starting to Like Her


Duncan and Miranda

Passalongs and Unknowns


Unknown Clematis

A wonderful thing about being into gardening is meeting other gardeners. I joined GardenWeb several years ago. I've posted many questions about a wide variety of topics. I mostly hang out on my state forum. The people are always so helpful and encouraging (that's not true of some of the other forums!)


Unknown Iris

I decided to come out of my shell, and attend a plant trade a few years back. I dug up numerous goodies, and had a blast. We had pre-trades, the "free for all," and of course, lunch. The people were even nicer in person than online. The Iris pictured is from one of my GardenWeb buddies. I should ask her if she knows the name. My mother in law noticed it in bud recently, and said, "Is that the weird color Iris?" Gee, I thought the color was fantastic.


Clematis Dud

I purchased both of the Clematis pictured from a big box store. The blooms on the purple one have never looked so huge. I'm not sure what's going on with the one in the lower photo. I moved both plants last year. I had previously had them in my butterfly garden winding up a butterfly bush. Well, that's what they were supposed to do. They didn't really get enough sun there, and never produced many blooms. Now they're both on a trellis as a focal point in my pseudo-formal herb garden. The pink Clematis has just produced what looks like just the stamen and no petals. What could be wrong? It used to flower before I put it in its current spot. Any ideas?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wah!


Dahlia "Evan Matthew"

Last year I planted a garden in memory of my son, Evan. I also decided to purchase plants with the cultivar names of my children, Evan and Duncan. I purchased the "Evan Matthew" Dahlia, and "Evan Saul" Coneflower. I also purchased "Duncan's Smiling Eyes" Iris. As new growth starting to break the surface of the soil, I looked forward with anticipation to having another knockout summer full of Dahlia blooms. As one by one my dahlias started to come up, I noticed Evan Matthew was taking his time. Yesterday I finally got out there with a shovel and gingerly tried to see what was going on. I dug up the tuber, and it was just mush. I could have cried. I wanted to say, "I had such big plans for you." But instead I printed out an order form for J & C Dahlias, and I plan on re-ordering Evan Matthew. I'm also ordering a Pam Howden dahlia. Gotta get my own name in the garden, after all. I may place the dahlias in a different spot. I will be doing some research to find out if I can make that one spot more conducive to planting.

Streaking, Part 2

Here's the link to "the rules" for streaking:

http://atickettokona.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/01/da-rules---janu.html

For the record the people that came up with this are pretty hardcore (I did mention my marathoning SIL.) So, I'm kind of tailoring the streak to my personal situation. I'm not a runner, and my doc doesn't want me to be (I have mild lumbar scoliosis, and supposedly running and scoliosis do not go well together.) What I'm getting out of the streaking thing is a daily exercise effort. I may not get the entire 30 minutes in every day. As long as I do some sort of exercise everyday, I feel like it's a success. A way that I'm able to get in a 15-20 minute workout is to do it while watching TV. We get the kids to bed, turn on The Tube, and I get on the floor, and stretch, do yoga poses, etc. I'm hoping to get in some walking/swimming when I can get into a routine with the kids. I'd also love to do some weight training, but that's probably in the future. So, my suggestion is to get some exercise each day. Before you know it, you'll probably be adding on time and getting more strength. Do what you can.

In more interesting news...
I have discovered a chocolate bar that I really love. I got another shipment from Chocosphere, and in one of my little sampler packs from Dolfin Belgian Chocolate, I found the Chocolate Citron. It's a lemon chocolate square (with candied lemon peel-yum!) It was really really good. I looked to see if it came in bars just now on Chocosphere, but it's not there. I'm going to be very sad if it doesn't exist. See, now I need to go workout, because of my chocolate habit.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hurricane Duncan Hit This Evening, No Injuries



Duncan can't stand clutter on tabletops, so he scatters it on the floor instead.

Out of It

I've been out of action for the last two weeks. I hurt my back when picking up both kids at the same time...40lbs of kid all on the front. My toddler went to his grandma and grandpa's to give me time to heal. It got a little better. Now he's back, and I'm sidelined again. I've been doing some back and ab exercises to strengthen my core muscles and try to recover from pregnancy. It's amazing how much I use my back. Unfortunately, I've been unable to get out and garden. And, of course, the weather has been fantastic. Short on rain, however. But great for being outdoors and planting, digging, mulching, etc. Wah! I have 30 bales of pine straw waiting for me in my driveway. I have three plants to put in the ground, and more I want to purchase. I'm so frustrated at being stuck indoors. I don't just need to get outside. I also need a hug!

Be a Streaker

At the beginning of this year, my exercise-a-holic sister in law became a streaker. No, no, she didn't go running around naked to ring in the New Year (well, I don't think she did!) She agreed on an exercise program to basically exercise for 30 minutes each day till the end of the year. This includes stretching, yoga, walking, running, leg lifts, whatever. It's called Streaking. Now Natalie is hardcore. She doesn't just do 5Ks, she's a marathoner, and she has a hot chick reputation to uphold. When January rolled around, I was big and preggers, and in no mood to agree to do any streaking (yeah, the naked kind, too! Aren't you glad I made that decision!) But now it's spring, and I want to get back in shape. Especially to get my back healthy again. I would also like to be a better example to my kids than sittin' on my can all day. So, I'm officially streaking! I haven't gotten to 30 minutes, yet. I'm around 20. I'm mostly doing back and ab work, to try to strengthen those core muscles. I hope to up my time as I start feeling better. Some of my best buds from high school are streaking with me. Everyone's welcome to join. (Disclaimer: if you have health problems or haven't exercised in a while, ask your doctor first!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Stuff My Bra

It's not what you think. Sure, I probably added a few cotton balls when I was a tweenager, but it's hardly necessary when I'm breastfeeding. The last few nights Miranda has been sleeping for longer periods. While this is usually something to cheer about, it also means no feeding for hours on end. During the day I feed her every 2-3 hours. At night it's a longer stretch at bed time, and then a couple of shorter periods (5 hr, 3, then 2) to get through the night. Last night Miranda slept through the night. We woke her up after 9 hours to nurse. Why wake her up? Because my boobs were literally about to explode. We'd gone four hours longer than we usually go, and both breasts were leaking. I changed shirts, and stuffed a hand towel in my bra to absorb the milk. After a couple hours, I was on to shirt 3, bra 2 and a new towel. More than likely this was just a fluke, and she won't sleep through the night again for a while (although, she has exceeded the magical weight that LaLa claims is the sleep-through-the-night weight.) So, I'm thinking I'll pick up a breast pump to relieve pressure. And maybe pump some milk for bottles to be able to drop her off with the grandparents. A date night does sound good.

Friday, April 18, 2008

We've Got Strawberries!


Still Green, But Not For Long

I purchased four strawberry plants after strawberry season last year. They were pretty scraggly and root bound. I got them from a nursery we call Crazy Eddie's Used Plants. It's a dirt cheap outlet nursery that stocks mostly popular fare, but occasionally some unusual things. I planted the little plants, and then read in a book that most people treat them as annuals. Oh well. I'll see what they do next year, and then decide if I should rip 'em out.



Pretty Blooms Precede the Berries

I was happily surprised when they started to flower in midsummer. My mom said, "They must be ever-bearing." Cool. They flowered and fruited (is that a verb?) until Fall. This year they have sent out runners, so I have babies all over the place. And they're all in bloom, and starting to bear fruit. I'm very excited. My eldest son, Evan, loved strawberries, and would have been thrilled to be able to pick them out of his own yard. My second son, Duncan, not so much. He gives them what my husband calls the triple dis. He turns up his nose, shakes his head, and pushes them away with his hands. He's sure missing out. Although...that's more for me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Well, That Was Depressing

I decided to go to Old Navy and buy some shorts. I figured I would be a bigger size, seeing as how I just had a baby and all. I just wanted some in between shorts, so I have something that fits right now. I got there and my back was already a little testy. I looked around a bit, picked out a few things in my regular size (do you see where this is going?), and was depressed when they didn't fit. I put them back (trying to ignore the painful twinges in my back), and picked up a couple more pairs of shorts in a size I've never tried. Two or three sizes bigger than my usual. Wah! I could say I'm twice the woman I usually am, if I had a sense of humor about it. I didn't actually try them on, because I felt like if I kept standing, I might collapse. So, I'm home now, with no new shorts. I want some chocolate, but I'm already feeling fat. Did I say "Wah!" already?

The Weather Report

It looks like I may have dodged the frozen bullet last night. Woohoo! Lucky for me, because unlike what I said in my previous post, I covered nothing! My one month old child was really screamy, my back really achey, and it just didn't happen. I've been checking out the weather forcast lows for tonight and tomorrow morning, and it's gone from 31 degrees up to 35. So, maybe we're safe for tonight, too. With any luck this will be the last of the freezing temperatures until Fall for us here in the Southeast.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Oh My Aching Back!

There's nothing that makes me feel like an old lady like a backache. Backaches can be extremely debilitating. I just looked up the word debilitating, and one of the definitions is enfeeble. Doesn't that sound like an old lady word? So, I've been pretty miserable for the last few days. I've actually been picking a kid up (separately, this time!), but it's taking its toll. And forget about working in the garden. I've tried to get back into a flute practice, but that's hard on the back, too. Not to mention Miranda screams the whole time. When am I going to play if she hates my music? So, all the things that give me joy have been taken away with this pain. I know that sounds melodramatic. I can't do the things I enjoy, I can't tote my kids around (although, do I really enjoy carrying them both at the same time? No), practicing is hard, walking hurts. I feel physically sore and emotionally spent. I need a hug. (Gentle, tho.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fussy, Jr.


Duncan and Mommy Spending Quality Time Together

When Justin was growing up, his aunt (from what I hear) called him Fussy Justy. Not because he was all that fussy, but because it rhymed. It annoyed Justin to no end, so his sister made sure she called him Fussy regularly (or is that just now?) Well, unlike un-fussy Justy, Duncan has definitely been fussy. This week has been especially bad. He whines and cries for much of the day, while Miranda screams. It's not been a picnic. He constantly wants me to pick him up. We go to the park. I'll have Miranda in the Baby Bjorn, so that I can play with Duncan. Well, he wants me to carry him all over the park. That's 42 or 43 lbs of kid I'm toting around! So, my back is totally fried. My nerves are fried from all the crying (I've done my fair share, too.) When my sister in law invited us over for a playdate with lots of kids and Mimosas for the moms, I seriously considered it. If Nat were just a little closer, I woulda been there. I took both kids to the doctor the other day-Miranda for her 1 month checkup, and Duncan for what I thought might be an ear infection (runny nose for a week plus, clinginess.) Turned out, Miranda has a slight ear infection, and Duncan's fine. When we were in the waiting room, Miranda started to cry, so Justin carried her around. Duncan looked over and saw HIS Daddy toting around that other kid. He got quiet, and looked down at the floor for a few minutes. When I saw the long face, I went over to play with him. He seemed ok after that. So, he's starting to feel a little left out, I think. I feel awful about it. And I guess the whining/clinging thing is his way of getting attention (albeit negative) from Mommy. Hopefully, we'll all get through this without too much more drama.

Sigh.

Spring Has Sprung!


Azaleas

The Azaleas sure have put on a show this year. Everything looks surprisingly good considering the severity of the drought last year. We've done pretty well on rain this year, so far, but we're still below for the year. And, of course, we haven't made up for last year.


Tryin' to Get an Artsy Azalea Photo

These bushes are at the bottom of our driveway. I cut them back every other year or so by about 6-12". I did this last year, and they came back to even taller than before. So, I'm thinking a little more aggressive pruning this year. Of course, the blooms are really spectacular this year, so maybe less aggressive is the way to go. I guess I'll see how it goes this time.


Lonicera heckrottii "Goldflame"

I purchased this Goldflame honeysuckle last year for my mailbox, before Pikes went bellyup. I kept walking past it in the store, and hoping no one else would buy it. I finally went over and put it in my cart. Totally an impulse buy. I had previously dug up my Confederate jessamine from the mailbox trellis, because it's poisonous. I went on a kick last year, where I dug up most of my poisonous plants, because my son kept taking a nosedive into my Hellebores. I wasn't about to get rid of my Daphne, tho.



Stylophorum diphyllum "Celandine Poppy"

Celandine poppy (or woodland poppy) is a knockout native for the woodland garden. I can see those bright yellow blooms all the way up to my house. So many plants fade into the background in a woodland setting. It's great to have one that really shows off. I have read that these re-seed themselves, but I have had no such luck.


Amsonia montana (I think)

My mom purchased this Amsonia for me on the day that I went into preterm labor with my second son. All turned out well for the baby (full term delivery), and the Amsonia seems to be doing well, too. It's also a native. I have it in my Butterfly Garden. It has pretty little true blue star like flowers. It's supposed to be drought tolerant. Last year it died back pretty early, because of the lack of rain and supplemental water. I thought to myself, "Drought tolerant, indeed!" I didn't expect it to return this year, but I was wrong. And pleasantly surprised.


Geranium "Rozanne"

Rozanne Hardy Geraniums have gotten a fair amount of press lately. They have huge purple flowers. I hear they bloom from spring to fall. This is a new addition to the Butterfly Garden, so I'll see how it performs for me. I placed it alongside some other hardy Geraniums. I can definitely understand the Geranium obsession!



Japanese Anemone

This Japanese Anemone is also a new addition. The foliage is similar to that of the Geranium. It's supposed to bloom in the spring. I found out yesterday that it's poisonous. So, I guess I'll just make sure my kids keep away. The Butterfly Garden is on a steep slope, so it's unlikely that they'll be over there anyway.



Geranium macrorrhizum (I think)

Another Geranium. The person at the nursery thought this was Johnson's Blue. Ha! That's what I get for purchasing an unmarked pot. I love the plant, so I'm glad I have it. It's a good size for division, so some lucky person (mom) will get a chunk this year!


Hubby Standing near My Latest Transplanting Project

Over the weekend I decided to thin out some of my common Daylilies that flank part of our creekside. We hope to have them grow down the whole side eventually. I have some extra Irises I thought I might throw in for good measure. Currently, it's pretty much a weedy mess. It will take lots of work to make it...um, work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Heck of an Engineer


Duncan Helps Put Together His New Bed

Duncan loves tools. He plays with toy hammers and mallets, screwdrivers and wrenches. He has a little workbench for his projects. But real projects are a lot more fun. Duncan and Daddy recently put together a cool new bed from Ikea.



It's Thomas!

We got Duncan his new Big Boy Bed so that his Thomas tent/canopy thing could slide right over it. The bed is adjustable-it's a toddler bed, or it extends out to a twin size. Justin thought Duncan would like the smaller size bed as a step up from his crib. It would also allow a little play area behind the bed. And, sure enough, it's a hit.



Our Little Engineer

Justin placed a footstool in the play area portion of the tent. Duncan climbs up, and peeks out the window like Thomas' driver.


Who Knew a Bed Could be Such Fun?

Every day Duncan takes his buddies and Thomas pillows to the play area, and...what else...plays!

Friday, April 4, 2008

I'm Not Complaining...Really, I'm Not

I had planned to post some current pictures of what's coming up in the yard. It's such an exciting time of year. New growth that wasn't there yesterday, suddenly begins to unfurl today. Flowers. Pollen. Gotta love it. I typically have a tough time making sure I get gardening time with two little ones. I've taken the camera out on a few occasions to get a new shot in. But I'm more focused on which way my toddler goes, than how good the picture looks. But today, it's raining, and I just can't get out there. And seeing as how we were in a record drought last year, I'm not complaining about the rain. We need it. I hate it when people look out and say how they'd wish it would stop. I kinda want to do one of those V8 smacks on their heads. We're still in a drought, despite this year's rain. Geesh! I can tell you that my Woodland Poppies Stylophorum diphyllum are blooming. They are a great little native shade perennial with bright yellow flowers, and nice foliage. I don't think they are ephemerals. I also have some hardy Geraniums in bloom, Green and Gold Chrysogonum virginianum (another native!), my Lonicera mailbox vine is on the verge. Seems like there are other things, but it's raining, so I'm not going to go look. And, I'm not complaining. I went to a local nursery today with my parents, and bought a few new goodies. I did hope to get them in the ground before the rain, but that didn't happen. I'll share those with you when I can get out and get pictures of the amazing flowers. I'm also excited because my hubby just got me a new camera. A Canon Powershot S5 IS. It's a step up from our little pocket digital (which also happens to be a Canon Powershot!) I didn't think I would need a pro model, but I do hope for some better images of the garden. And, oh yeah, the kids.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How Appropriate

There have been numerous books and articles proclaiming the merits of playing Classical music to babies and young children. They say that listening to Mozart will make your baby smarter. I generally play whatever CDs are in the van. Not usually Mozart, but Telemann, Rameau, Gershwin, Vince Guaraldi. We may even play Ralph's World. Unfortunately, Duncan has recently discovered The Driver's Seat and all of it's power. No, he's not driving (just pretending), but he has put a couple of pennies to play in the CD player. So, we've been listening to the radio. I'm one of those people that searches for music. I'm a channel surfer, I guess. It's funny how sometimes the song that I settle on sometimes really suits the occasion. Today, while driving home from Target, I was surfing. Miranda was screaming in the backseat, and lo and behold I stopped on a classic rock station. Ah...Steve Miller Band. The song ended. More crying. And then, the song came on, "B-b-b-baby, you just ain't seen nothin', yet" went the lyrics. Hee hee! That wasn't quite as amusing as the time that Evan and Duncan were both screaming in the backseat, and the lyrics were "I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train." Oh yeah, Ozzy! I have to mention the little girl I saw at Target that started this whole train of thought. She was probably 4 or 5. She was singing the tune of a song. Not a kid's song, not Mozart, but "Smoke on The Water"! Needless to say, I was impressed.

Rock on, kid!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sucka

I was suckered into buying some Edy's Thin Mint (as in Girl Scout cookies) ice cream today. Maybe it was the primal screams (and frat boy farts and burps!) that were coming from my sweet 1 month old daughter. Or perhaps the double barreled green worms sluggin' down my son's upper lip. Or maybe it was just the love of Thin Mint cookies that drove me to make the purchase. I tried it this evening, and was a bit disappointed. I tell you, I can eat a whole tube of those cookies in one sitting. I was bummed that the ice cream was a let down. Although, it's probably a good thing. I wouldn't want to eat the whole carton by myself. So, today was not so great. Crying crying everywhere. Me included. In fact, Miranda is balling her head off now. We've all got colds again. I can't believe she's only one month old and has had two colds. I feel like a terrible mother. I know you're saying something like, "It's that time of year." Well, you may recall that I pulled Duncan out of PMO to avoid getting sick. Well, he's had three colds since I got him out. It's crazy! We're home bound a lot, so it's hard to know where we got it. We're going stir crazy from being inside so much. I'm not complaining about the rain, because we desperately need it, but we need to come up with some rainy day activities before I start pulling hair and gnashing teeth. One thing I finally did do today was order some Truffles from Chocospere. I held my screaming daughter in my lap, and placed an order for chocolate. I'm such a cliche!

Here's to a better tomorrow.

Deja Vous?


White Astilbe unknown variety and Heuchera probably Palace Purple


My parents were kind enough to give me a gift certificate to a favorite local nursery for my birthday. (Gift certificates for plants are always a good gift!) My birthday is in January, so I waited it out until Spring arrived to actually do my shopping. I was also pregnant until March 1, when I delivered a baby girl. Pregnancy can put a damper on gardening. At least, in the end when I can't see my feet, and my sloping yard wreaks havoc on my altered since of balance. So, baby came and I went plant shopping. I've become more interested in fragrant plants in the last year or so. I already had the Daphne odora. I purchased another last fall to mark the death anniversary of my son. I recently purchased some Lavender for the butterfly garden. I mostly bought them for me, not the butterflies! I didn't even do the research to find out if they are butterfly favorites. After looking at these pictures of the butterfly garden from a few years ago, I decided to re-install some favorites.


Aquilegia canadensis Native Columbine

Back then I thought it would be fun to have a woodland garden, and I decided to transplant some goodies from the b-fly garden over to the new location. I moved the Columbine, Astilbe, Spigelia, and Heuchera and hoped to replace them with plants that I thought might do even better. Well, it turns out those plants were very happy there, and have not thrived at all in the woodland garden. So, I chose to try some new versions back in their old spots. I still need to pick up a new Spigelia, a wonderful native perennial with striking red blooms. I spent all of my gift certificate money, so this one will be on me. But these blooms are worth it!


Spigelia marilandica "Indian Pink"