Saturday, March 31, 2012

Miranda's 4!

A few months back Miranda was very interested in surprise parties.  Or just surprises in general.  She'd grab my hand and say, "Come on, Mommy."  We'd go stand by the light switch.  She'd turn it off, and count quietly, "One, two, three...Surprise!!!"  and turn the light on.  I'd have to act all excited.  It was silly and fun. 



We got a new dishwasher on Miranda's birthday earlier this month.  The best part, of course, was the enormous box!


When it came to getting ready to surprise Miranda, the box seemed like the perfect hiding place for the kids.




And especially crazy cousins!



Justin took Miranda for a ride in the car while the rest of us got ready.  When they got back, I whispered, "One, two, three...surprise!"  But instead of a silly, happy little girl, I had a little girl who was clearly freaked out.  Who are these people and why are they yelling at me?!  And she ran up to her room to hide.  Grandma had to coax Miranda back downstairs.


Thankfully, we had cake there to smooth over any ruffled feathers.



Miranda, lingering over her cake.



And then, of course, she got loads of presents.  So, even though the surprise was a complete bust, she did up having fun at her own birthday party.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring has Sprung


I keep thinking I'll look back at the photos of this time last year and compare them to what is blooming this year.  We've had such a mild winter that I hardly think it's fair to call it winter at all.  It seems like more flowers are blooming and trees and plants are leafing out earlier. 

I purchased this Columbine "Swan Pink Yellow" (I think!) from Santa Rosa Gardens last year.  Gorgeous!




Here's the Tiarella I moved a couple of weeks ago.  It's putting a few of those frothy blooms on.  I'm pleased at how well it looks, considering the heat and lack of rain already.  I'm not pleased that I'm already having to consider heat and possible drought conditions.

This isn't a great picture, but this is what is planted at the end of our driveway to welcome us home.  I pruned them last year to a manageable 4 feet or so. 

Closeup of the white Azaleas.  Just stunning.

Dwarf Lorepetalum "Snow Muffin."  These white blooming Lorepetalum shrubs don't grow taller than about 18 inches.  But they do spread horizontally. Mine are a few feet in diameter.  I pruned them back pretty harshly last fall and was rewarded with the best blooms I've ever had!


Another blurry picture.  I suppose I need to get out my fancy camera for closeups.

Lorepetalum "Purple Diamond."  These Lorepetalum grow to 4-5 feet tall and wide.  I prune mine probably to around 4 feet.  "Purple Diamond" keeps more of the purple color leaves throughout the summer rather than fading to green like many other varieties.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

A bit late.  Again.  Well, at least I'm posting at all!  But with the weirdly warm weather, there's a lot going on in the garden! 



I actually took these photos on March 1st, so many of these trees are starting to leaf out.  This is the latest addition to our tree family.  It's a Japanese Magnolia called "Jane."  It's only 5-6 feet tall now, and will eventually go over 12 feet. It lost its leaves in the heat and drought last summer, so I'm glad it has decided to come back. The flowers are lovely and slightly darker than some other Japanese magnolias (also called Tulip Magnolias) around.


A lovely orange throated Daffodil my mom shared with me.  I have several of these that I divided and moved so that they now circle around the bottom of Evan's tree.


Sigh...Camellia!  I can't remember what the common name is, unfortunately.  She's a beauty, though!  I've had this one for a few years, and it's still rather small.  Camellias tend to grow slowly, I believe.  Once they fill in they are spectacular!




Here's a little volunteer Corydalis lutea.  I just dug it up (it was growing on the stairs down to the backyard), and moved it into the butterfly/hummingbird garden.  I love the foliage and the dainty yellow flowers.



I purchased this lime green heuchera last year.  I moved a lot of things around and planted some new stuff in the butterfly garden.  I "installed" a bendy path.  It's not complete, but I love having a project!



I seem to have a lot of these solid white Daffodils.  I don't really feel like one can have too many Daffies. 



I've started some lettuce and sweet peas in the Veggie garden.  Hopefully we'll have more rain and less heat this summer and more success in this garden!



The Royal Star Magnolia.  This is also a Japanese Magnolia.  We planted this tree in 2007 honor of Duncan's birth the previous year.  It's growing nicely and puts on a lovely spring show.

Evan's Birthday Daphne


I planted this Daphne odora "Marginata" on the 1 year anniversary of my son Evan's death.  That was back in November, 2007.  It was a wee, little thing, but I had high hopes.  It's in a fairly shady spot for the summer months, but gets loads of sun in winter.  I wasn't sure how it would perform, honestly.  But, I can say now that I'm pleased!  It's slowly getting bigger and has loads of blooms.  It bloomed this year on Evan's birthday, which is part of the reason why I planted it in his honor.

Yeah, I'm 40


I turned 40 back in January, and I've been so stoked about it that I'm not posting till now.  Yeah...right.  I did get a most excellent cake, however.


That many candles on a birthday cake is scary!


Waiting patiently for the good stuff.  There were no balloons or surprise guests.  Just our little family, and...


CAKE!


It was yummy!


It was hard to beat.



But my pressies were pretty great, too!



A bunch of Jeeves and Wooster books and movies.  Something I've wanted for ages!


And the present that Miranda claimed.  (Psst...it's another book!)