Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Zone

The USDA has released a new Plant Hardiness Zone Map. I've moved from from Zone 4 (I can't remember if it was A or B) to Zone 5A. While this is even more proof to me of global climate change I can at least look on the bright side of us abusing our planet - I now have more plants to choose from.

*Sigh.* It's not much of a solace, actually.

Thanks to GrafixMuse for the head's up on the new map!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Project and Spring Planning

On some of the blogs I read gardeners are reporting some growth such as Daffodils and the like. Up here in Maine, nothing is going on outside except for coldness, some wind and brown lawns. We haven't even had much snow (yet - I'm sure that will change by at least March) so it's been a rather dull winter.

I do have one winter project. A Christmas gift from my in-laws included one of those Amaryllis bulb kits. So far, it seems to be doing well. There aren't many sunny locations in the heated part of our house (the kitchen has no insulation and very little heat) but I found a place for it.
Amaryllith...I mean, Amaryllis
I can't help but call it Amaryllith in honor of little Opie Cunningham's (Ron Howard) character in The Music Man. :)

As for planning for this year's gardens: I normally do a lot of planning this time of year. But, usually, nothing really feels 'right' for my plans. I hem and haw and wemble and never quite make up my mind on what I really want to do. I end up just throwing plants in when I can pick them up.

Me, when I do my garden planning (Wembley Fraggle)


But this year is different. I've been having difficulty dealing with the death of my dog China but when I came up with this idea a couple of days ago, it made me feel a little better. I'm going to create a Red Dog Garden in her honor. There's an iron dog sculpture I've seen at the stores in the garden section (you've probably seen it, too) that I've always liked. I'm going to pick that up, figure out how to paint it red and build the flower gardens around it. Yes, it's sappy, but it's given me purpose and, as I said, it makes me feel a little better.

I'm going to try to stick to red and pink flowers but won't be too strict with myself about it.

The reason it makes me feel better specifically is because when the weather was nice China's favorite place to be was outside soaking in the sun. She loved it when I worked in the garden because it meant hours upon hours of sunbathing and exploring her beloved field. She would even sometimes stroll up to me, check out what I was doing and then leave me alone again. Except for a few times when she either forgot herself or fell off the steps when she was in a hurry (don't worry - there were only three) she always respected the garden boundaries and never walked or dug in them.

Damn, I miss that dog.

So, let the garden planning begin. I'll have to start doing my research on the best red/pink/magenta (etc.) flowers for my zone. Research - it's usually my favorite part of the planning. ;)

And hey, I never noticed this before. Wild:

Wash and Wembly, two of my favorite goofballs



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Obligatory New Year's Post

NOTE: This is the same article I posted on my personal (non-gardening) blog at http://www.brandimills.com/blog

It’s 2012. I am so glad. To put it bluntly, 2011 sucked rocks.

Sure, it could have been worse – things can always get worse – but 2011 was a low point on the line-chart of my life. Winter lasted several weeks longer than usual, our car developed an oil leak, my vegetable garden was a failure and we still did not lose any substantial weight.

But those were the minor disappointments of last year. I also had to deal with the fact that my department supervisor left, leaving our IT department with three people to manage eight stores. And then, we got three new stores so now there’s three people supporting eleven stores. Despite the fact that the amount of work we now have will remain higher even after things settle down, there was no raise and no substantial bonus to compensate for it.

But worst of all was the loss of China. Even if my gardens had been award-worthy, and even if I had gotten a large raise and year-end bonus the death of our beloved pooch would have made it a terrible year.

We’re still feeling her absence – piercingly so – but we have hopes that this next year will start to look up. We’ll be taking the car into the shop to fix the oil leak and heater in the next week or so and we hope to keep things moving positively from here on out. Unfortunately, no one can control the universe and there’s no telling how it’ll all end up. I’m very nervous about the upcoming elections – the level of intelligence of the American public has been disappointing me since 2000. Add to that the fact that people are already freaking out about the 2012 ‘end of the world’ nonsense and you have the makings of a really bad 12 months.

But as for me, personally, I will do my best to keep things moving forward and in a positive direction. Happy New Year to you all and here’s hoping that we all try to do the same.