Tuesday, July 27, 2010


When being a Mommy is not so fun, I need to take a minute and remind myself about what's important...

How her smiles warm my heart...

How much fun he is...

And how much I miss him, and love them all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Is it Just Me?

I used to laugh at moms who said they'd go to the bathroom for some peace and quiet. I thought, "Geez, couldn't you find a better place than that?" or "You need to escape from your kids? Umm...didn't you want to have children?!" Of course, now I understand. It's hard to have peace and quiet with the constant monologuing and "Mine, mine, mine!" going on. Let alone some time to myself. So, yes, I go to the bathroom and read a little bit longer than necessary, just because I need a little break sometimes. But it seems like this is when the little ones decide to do some interior decorating downstairs. So today, while reading C.S Lewis' "The Magician's Nephew," I hear Duncan's voice calling from the bottom of the stairs. "Mommy!" I reply, "I'll be down in a minute." I suppose I should have been suspicious, because it was quiet downstairs. When the children are quiet, something is wrong.


"Hold oooon!"

"Miranda's making a mess!"

Ahh. There it is. Miranda's into something, and Duncan is tattling. He seems to enjoy getting his little sister in trouble. He needs to learn that she does a pretty good job of that on her own! I went downstairs, unsure of what to expect. Miranda's messes can sometimes be described as epic.

"Miranda made a mess in the kitchen!" says Duncan. He sounds way too excited.

I walked into the kitchen. Miranda was standing in a chair at the kitchen table. She'd gotten the chocolate syrup out of the fridge, poured a bit in the bowl, and a lot on the table and chair. She was scooping the syrup up with her hands and shoveling it into her mouth. Her face was covered in chocolate. Her hair had brown ends, and her arms were covered up to her elbows! I imagine had I gotten there a minute earlier, I probably would have heard her say, "Nummy nummy!"

And yet another cleanup ensued. Does anyone else have these epic messes from their kids, or is it just me?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

One of my few bell peppers. Waiting for it to turn red...

I have several Roma tomatoes and finally made some salsa fresca tonight. Yum!

Black eyed Susan as pretty as ever. Someone at a plant trade told me this is probably Rudbeckia hirta, and not R. fulgida. It has fuzzy leaves. It's spready for me. And another of my love/hate plants. Love it right now!

Knockout Rose, "Sunny" is starting to put on a mini show again. I moved them from Evan's Garden after the flood. They seem to be happier in their sunny, drier spot. "Sunny" also has a pleasant scent.

Million Bells (Calibrachoa) is considered an annual, but can overwinter in my area (zone 7b/8 depending on which map you follow.) Unfortunately, one of the three Million Bells I purchased this spring has succumbed to the hot, dry weather.

Melampodium has a terrible name. But it is a beautiful and tough annual. I'd read some really positive comments on a gardening forum about Melampodium...it's tough, drought tolerant, and blooms like crazy. I had a few small ones last year that didn't do so great, but this year is a different story. After looking a little peaky at first, they have done very well. They looked peaky because of an early hot spell before they were watered in. But they've tolerated hotter, drier spells since.

One of the few Daylilies still hanging on. The others are starting to look a little rangy. Browning foliage. I'll do a little cleanup to get them purty again soon.

This is Rudbeckia fulgida "Early Bird Gold." I know I've raved about this plant already. But it's like the Energizer Bunny of Black Eyed Susans! Just blooming like crazy. The R. fulgida, unlike the R. hirta discussed earlier, has smooth leaves. It also seems like a spreader, but so far, easily maintained. Love it!

Echinacea purpurea, "Kim's Mop Head" is still blooming like crazy. I haven't pruned it or pinched back any spent blooms. I may do that to see if I will get some new flowers later. It worked last year.

The old fashioned favorite, Purple Coneflower. There's not much to say besides, "It's just beautiful!"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Shutterbug is at It Again!

Duncan enjoys photography. He takes pictures of the every day things one doesn't generally notice. At least, not as the subject of artwork. The ceiling, for example. I never thought the ceiling worthy of my attention, except to provide shelter. Not Duncan. He grabs the camera, and before I know it, he's taken over a hundred photos! And not all of them are his thumb! This grouping of recent photos tells a story.

We find Miranda (with funky effects) coming from the kitchen.

Hmmm...she seems to be in a hurry to get out of here. Perhaps we should go investigate.

Here we are in the kitchen. There's the fridge (with funky effects. He's such a pro!)

Wait! What?! There's bread on the floor?! (with funky effects) Who could have...? grumble...grumble

Look, even Kermit is mad!

And, Mommy cleans up the mess.

Less of a story and more of a tattle tale!

Colorful Visitor

I was excited to see a beautiful little Goldfinch in the garden recently. I rushed to get the camera, and then cursed my shaky hand. I finally had to stabilize the camera on something steady, and got a few decent pics.

He flew over to the Cutleaf Coneflower for a snack. The Goldfinches are the main reason I keep that plant. Another of my love/hate relationships. It's tall and lanky (I suppose I could prune it for size, eh?), and it gets pathetically wilty in the heat around here. But the flowers! The flowers are stunning! And, apparently, tasty. To birds, at least.

I look forward to a return visit!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Stuff!

Evan's Garden in all of its summer glory! Well, it's mostly nice foliage right now, but there are a few blooms here and there. The Ligularia mentioned previously and now Toad lily (Tricyrtis.) Although, I was unable to get a good picture of the orchid like bloom. I will definitely try again, because it's beautiful!

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend we worked on indoor and outdoor projects. You can probably see in the first picture there's a lot more gravel in that drainage ditch! Justin used up the rest and we'll have to get more, but it's finally looking more like what we want. I also filled in the crevices of the stone patio with sand and pea gravel. I think it looks great!

I finally planted all the native ferns I got at the spring plant trade. I also transplanted my Stokesia over to the other side of the creek. It is going through some shock, but hopefully with some TLC it will be fine.

My new little garden bed! On Friday I put some pine straw down here and there, but there was still a large blank space. The soil was the same color as the pine straw, so instead of feeling some accomplishment from the straw installation, I was discouraged, because everything was BROWN! And, frankly, boring. Justin told me that he wouldn't be hauling any more rock through there, so I could work something in if I wanted. I found all of these plants at the local Lowe's. The 2 gallon daylilies "Daring Deception" were $4! And the 6 inch Heucheras "Miracle" were $2! A bargain. The Dryopteris ludoviciana were not on sale, but having so much good luck with them already, I knew I'd be happy.

The area below the new bed is sloped gently towards the patio area. I decided to place my little dwarf Mondo grasses there. I've had 18 small plants since probably April, so I'm pleased that they are actually still alive! And hopefully now that they're in the ground, they'll do great. I'm hoping that they'll spread together and eventually make a small grassy area.

The patio with the Mondo and new bed in the background.

Another look at the new stuff. (Can you tell I'm excited?!)

I dug up my potatoes recently. We got a nice little haul. Not bad for a first time. I guess we'll probably just eat them up now and not bother with trying to store any, since we didn't get a huge haul.

Onions, garlic, and carrots...oh my! And some Roma tomatoes. I was very pleased with my onions. I will definitely try to cure some for later in the summer/early fall. We had hash brown potatoes with onions last night with veg from the garden. They were really good! Oh...someone needs to share their carrot secrets with me, because I only got a handful of small ones. Tasty, tho.

So, it's been a busy time, but I'm very happy with how things are looking so far. I told Justin yesterday if he ever decides that we should get rid of the weedy grass to the left of our patio/garden are, I'm up for the challenge!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Splish Splash!

The kids are at the Grandparents' house for the 4th of July weekend, so that Justin and I can get some things done around the house. But we're missing our little people and, dare I say it?, the mess that they make.

Puddle jumping is one of Duncan's favorite past times. We have been going through a dry spell here, so he's had to create his own puddles lately.

Miranda is always eager to join in on any mess making.

I did a little work in the garden while I let Duncan play with the hose. I just didn't realize that he was planning a boat trip!

Splish splash, Duncan, it's time for a bath!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Last Week in the Garden

I ventured out a week or so ago in spite of the heat and got some pictures of a few things that are making summer time look good.

This, I believe, is Dryopteris ludoviciana, or Southern Wood Fern. I think it has some other common names, too, like Southern Shield Fern. It sure makes it confusing when trying to find out information on a plant, when looking by common name. It's native to my area, and has done really, really well in a partly sunny spot. In some books it says Southern Shield Fern is evergreen or semi-evergreen. I just planted it this year, so I'll be interested to see what it does come Winter.

I'm so happy with Evan's Garden this year! It's mostly brand new, and I had thought about moving the location and changing themes. But I'm so glad I didn't (or, at least I am until another flood!) I was able to continue the animal theme with some of my new plants. This Ligularia is also known as Leopard Plant. This is my first bloom (and it's still blooming!) I looked at the other plants today, and it looks like I will have more soon! I love the happy yellow flowers! It's pictured with Ostrich Fern (a native!)

Another native plant is Aeschulus parviflora. Also known as Buckeye. I had 4 blooms this year. When this shrub gets to full size 6-10' tall by 8-15' wide, it's going to be spectacular! I'm also interested to see the seed (which looks like a buck eye, hence the name.) We picked them up as kids for good luck.

The orange Crososmia looks amazing. As usual. Also pictured are Echinacea "White Swan" (former resident of Evan's Garden) and Rudbeckia hirta. I've had lots of bee visitors to the Crocosmia.

This is Dahlia "Pam Howden." I'm considering moving her over to my Shrub Island/Family Garden. She doesn't get much sun where she is, due to the stupid Crocosmia. I also have a Daylily "Justin Brent" to move there, if I can find it amongst the...Crocosmia. Sigh.

Duncan and I watched this butterfly go from flower to flower on this Echinacea "Kim's Mophead." Such a lovely little visitor.

And the Coneflowers have been blooming like crazy!

We're working on the backyard project over the 4th of July weekend, so hopefully we'll have some good pictures soon.