Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

So, it's been 10 days since I last blogged. Ugh! You know, this 'real life' thing is quite annoying. I've had several things I wanted to post to the blog but just haven't had the time to actually do it. So, get ready for a glut of information coming your way!

The weather this past week has been total crap - until today, anyway. It was rainy, muggy, and just downright uncomfortable. Finally, the bad weather broke and today was absolutely gorgeous. Sunny, dry and a cool 72 degrees with a slight breeze. As our state motto says, The Way Life Should Be.

So, I guess I'll start with the local bird news. As I've mentioned before, we have yearly Barn Swallow tenants in our birdhouses and this year was no exception. Last week I even got a peek at the babies.

Do you have any food?
For several days we heard their soft peeping non-stop while we were outdoors and then two days ago I noticed it was quiet. The babies have grown up and the Swallows moved on as they always do once the young ones are big enough to fly. I don't know where they go but I'm glad they find our chipped and fading boxes a nice place to raise a family.

The past two years I've started spotting these beautiful, bright yellow birds. Today I saw them twice perching in the vegetable garden. I noticed they kept flying down into the garden but when I checked nothing seemed out of place. I'm hoping they're eating nasty, harmful bugs. Even if they're not, they're lovely additions to the surroundings.

Yellow Couple
Fuzzy Birds - they wouldn't let me get close enough for a good picture
The flowers are doing well for the most part. Well, that is, if you don't count the Petunias. Two out of three pots look like this:

Yeah, these used to be Petunias
At least the expensive Petunias are still living.

But price doesn't always mean anything. Here in Maine we have a chain of stores called Marden's. They're basically a surplus store - when other stores go out of business or have slightly damaged goods, Marden's buys it up and sells it at a reduced price. You can find some really nifty things there. They even sell plants and while we were there a couple of weeks ago my husband found a bag of five Astilbe bulbs for five dollars. Heck, at one dollar a piece I figured it was worth it even if all but one failed. Well, I had it backwards. One was a dud but the other four are doing great. Hell, one of them even has flower buds already!

Astilbe Group
This isn't a great picture, I know. They're a little hard to make out. This is an area in our back yard that, until this year, was the dumping place of yard debris. It's in a dark corner that no one can see from the front. It was finally cleared of everything this year and left this big patch of dirt. I have plans for a shade garden here and this is where I chose to plant the Astilbe. They've taken to it very well. I hope to get it fixed up before Fall but if I can't it'll be a project for next Spring.

The Astilbe aren't the only 'cheap' flowers doing well. Last year I planted several plants I got on the cheap. Last year they all did nothing - barely grew at all and didn't even bud. This year, two of those 'cheapies' are doing great.

Day Lily Greetings
I have these Day Lilies planted on both sides of the steps and they're a very cheerful greeting for us and any visitors. Last year I got two sprigs of grass out of them. This year, they're blooming like gangbusters and don't look to be letting up anytime soon.

Another plant that only grew about an inch last year was my Clematis vine. Currently, it's over a foot long and yesterday I saw flower buds!

Chewed, but still doing well
They look like they might be white, which won't make my day (white flowers are hard to see against our white house) but at least there are flowers.

And speaking of white flowers, I think my favorite blossom this year is from my Iceberg Rose bush I purchased this year.

Isn't that absolutely gorgeous? It lasted quite a while, too and there are many more buds forming.

More white beauties on the way
My Sunbright Roses also bloomed this year, but it looks as if I'm getting two buds and that's it. There's signs of possible buds but I'm not sure they're going to happen. Oh well, the two blooms I got were very pretty and a beautiful shade of yellow.

Lovely Bud

Yellow Sunburst
The 'easy' flowers are doing well, too. By 'easy' I mean the flowers that were here before me and that I don't have to do anything to at all for them to do well.

The Tall Phlox has been ahead of schedule all year and the buds and flowers have already shown up.

Phlox Buds

Phlox Flowers - say that five times fast

The Magenta flowers are always first. In a few weeks the white will come in and make the side of the garage quite lovely.

Finally, in the flower department, the Black-Eyed Susans have made their debut. These are one of my favorite wildflowers and I'm glad that they dot our large field with bright yellow cheerfulness.

Susans among the Clover
"So, what about that vegetable garden?" you ask. "Are you not showing it to us because it's overrun with weeds and looks just awful." A year ago I would have had to say yes, but not this year. I've done much better with weeding. It helps that we're not experiencing the deluge of rain that we got last year.

However, the unfinished pathways needed my attention so last weekend my big project was to clean out the remaining weeds and finish mulching in the pathways.

Meet the Enemy - Weeds on the border
Weedy Paths

It took most of the day, but I pulled all the weeds and made a much neater, and wider, path around the garden.

Two-Tone Walkway
Yeah, the mulch color didn't match but it already looks better now that we've had some rain.

And that was my week. How was yours? Busy?


  1. I love the roses, especially the white one. I try and try but just can't get them to work. Super jealous! What is the name of the Phlox? Love that color - only have 'David' and always want to add more.

  2. you know...this might just be a bad year for Petunia. I have never in my years had such bad performance out of mine. It seems each type of flower takes a year to disappoint us gardeners who love them so much. Last year it was pansy...the year before dusty you are not petunias are U-G-L-Y this year.
    love your blog!

  3. Tootsie - thanks! That makes me feel better. Especially now that my more expensive Petunias are starting to go, too. :(