Posts Tagged ‘Garden’

A little sun, some grass seed and a cover of straw and look what we have created! Or rather, the earth has given forth and I am once again amazed at just what goodness the world can wrought.

Oh, I know growing grass is a little thing.

But that is what this story is about – the green green grass growing in our front garden!

And sometimes pictures speak louder than words.


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Best Butterfly

Beating the Heat

A whole week of heat, rain, and more heat.  But Bill and I managed to stay cool between storms with afternoon swims in the backyard pool.

Power Plays

One quiet, sunny afternoon, there came a giant bolt of lightning.  I know it was giant because the house shook, there was no thunder, and all the lights went out.

Our first line of  defense is always  to Call the Neighbors for there is comfort in numbers.  But no one else had a problem.  We were alone and powerless and we called the power company.

“I’m sure they will not come  out right away for one little old house in the country,” I said to Bill.  “We may be like this for weeks!”  

That was my Pessimist Gene talking as well as thinking, “No lights, no air conditioning in  90 degree heat, no flushing, no washing, no cooking and miserable sleeping.”

The power company fella came out within the hour, replaced a blown fuse and we were “back in business”.

Dead Pump Revival

Our pool pump stopped pumping.  This time Bill was the one  bemoaning our fate, for the cost of a new pool pump is very high.

But the electric company came  right out and replaced a switch.  And Voila!  The pump is going strong again.

New Hummer Space Station Works!


20160729_155012My brother and his darling wife sent a “just for love” gift !  It is a new humming bird feeder that looks like a space station.

This odd Hummer Center has been waiting for the little darlings for weeks with no action.  I was about to give up but subliminal messages must have worked. The tiny birds are finally  arriving and so excited they don’t even care if I am out there in their midst.

Soft Free Fall

Don’t ask me how  but I fell flat on my back in the garage this week.  I simply felt my body drifting backwards, down, down and down, like when you let yourself sink into a comfy sofa.   It was a soft landing on a hard wood stoop with no sprains, strains, bruises or blood.  And I am “up and at ’em” as my Mom used to say.  All I can figure is I must have missed that step.

Beauty Comes for a Visit

Finally, I have a flower bed of zinnias that should have  been thinned  out early on.  The flowers are arriving  in a thick patch, but they look slightly weak.

Not too weak for the most gorgeous butterfly to land on and enjoy however.  And her visits make my day.

This all reminds me of a Bing Crosby song:  “You’ve Got to Accentuate the Positive” written by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between…”








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This photo by Michael Larkin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  It's a Beauty!

This photo by Michael Larkin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a Beauty! http://plantman56.blogspot.com/2014/08/gardening-is-like-therapy-and-you-get.html

It was this time of year when I met  four friends for a special project.  Like the witches in Macbeth, we knew we would be toiling over mysterious brews.  But, instead of bones, blood and magical herbs, we worked with cement, feathers and sand. We didn’t chant to create spells either (well, maybe silently) but were intent upon creating Hypertufa planters for our gardens, patios, walkways and front steps.



I Made This One With My Own Two Hands!

I had no idea that “tufa” is actually a volcanic rock.  It was used in England in the 1800’s to make troughs for feeding livestock.  But smart gardeners of the times began to use the troughs for garden planters.  And lo’ they were beautiful, so they learned to make clever imitations called Hypertufa.


HYPER-tufa (Fake Tufa) is still sought after today and can be very expensive ready made.  You can buy it in good garden centers or you can make it yourself with a mix of cement, peat moss, sand and a few other things.  The end result is an artificial rough textured, aged looking stone in almost any shape from any mold.

Do you want to try making your own Hypertufa?  Doing it with friends is fun and is much like making mud pies, so be sure to wear old clothes and rubber gloves!  And doing it in a garage or shed is good too.  You do not want to try this inside and it is certainly not a kitchen project.

The recipe below worked for us, but of course there are no guarantees. 


My Own Backyard Beauty for Succulents


  • Mold(s):    Can be of anything sturdy enough to support the weight of the mixture (even heavy cardboard).  The bottom should not be larger than the top.
  • Lightweight plastic sheets like dry-cleaning bags, or garbage bags cut open
  • Small lengths of wooden dowel  1/4  inch in diameter
  • Scoop(s) – One and two quart capacity
  • Rubber gloves
  • A Wheelbarrow


  • 10 Quarts Portland Cement
  • 15 Quarts of Vermiculite (or Perlite)
  • 15 Quarts of Peat Moss (sifted to remove twigs)
  • One large handful (about 1 cup) Fibermesh
  • About Three Gallons water

Now What?

–           Measure  the dry stuff and mix it up (with gloved hands) in the wheelbarrow.  Add enough water to make a goo that’s wet enough to work but not drippy (texture of cottage cheese).  Keep adding water to the right consistency. Now, place the mold upside down on a sheet of plastic.  Cover with another piece of plastic and smoothly tuck it under at corners.

–           Starting at the bottom (which used to be the top), press the goo firmly onto the mold.  Make it about  2 inches thick, covering the top (used to be the bottom) last.  Pat to a smooth surface.

–           Now insert dowels into the top (which will become the bottom) to provide drainage holes.  After about 4 hours, wire brush the surface to desired texture.

–          Cover your still upside down planter loosely with plastic, and for a few days, keep the surface wet by lifting the plastic and misting.  In about a week remove the plastic and let the planter sit 4 or 5 more days uncovered.  Then carefully remove it from the mold.  Voila! You now have an Old English Garden Trough or a special garden pot made of Hypertufa.

My friends and I now have various versions in our gardens.  They not only look beautiful, natural, and can be left out all winter, they evoke happy memories of a bewitched party of grown up friends playing in the mud.

*Top photograph  by Michael Larkin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a Beauty! http://plantman56.blogspot.com/2014/08/gardening-is-like-therapy-and-you-get.html






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Plate Size Peony

This is why I love Spring  more than Fall,

at least for now, since ’tis the season.

Which flower is most beautiful of all?

Is the plate sized peony the reason? 

Or is it the purple iris growing tall?

Or the sweet coolness of a summer breeze

wafting in as if to tease?

I walk and think and plan and look.

I love Spring’s promise;

an introduction

that reads better than the book.

Our Iris Bed

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Lungwort Leaves

There is actually a “Polka Dot Plant”, but it’s not the mystery plant in my garden.  Imagine that?

The Mystery Plant has been identified, which only proves that asking your blogging family for answers can  be faster than going to Ask.com or Google Search!

I received three blogger answers, all with the same positive, unflinching confidence.  In other words, they think they know what they are talking about.

Being a true skeptic, however, I went to Google Search and found this:

Lungwort – Pulmonaria Officinalis

YUK!  What an ugly name for such a beautiful, flowering, polka dotted plant – Lungwort.  And I discovered it was named after a lung disease!  No wonder I forgot what it was – the plant I mean.

Anyway, it really does look like my Polka Dot Wonder (I refuse to give up this name) and its characteristics are the same too. Here is the description of Lungwort and some planting instructions.

Ah well –

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” ~William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Lungwort Blooms 2

From Better Homes and Gardens

Lungwort Blooms

Gardening Dictionary


In early spring, the brilliant blue, pink, or white flowers of lungwort bloom despite the coldest chill. The rough basal leaves, spotted or plain, always please and continue to be handsome through the season and into winter. Planted close as a weed-discouraging groundcover, or in borders as edgings or bright accent plants, lungworts are workhorses and retain their good looks. Provide high-humus soil that retains moisture. Although lungwort tolerates dry conditions, be alert for mildew.


Sun,Part Sun,Shade



Plant Type:


Plant Height:

6-12 inches tall, depending on variety

Plant Width:

1.5-2 feet wide, depending on variety

Flower Color:

White, rose, blue violet flowers, depending on variety; variegated leaves, depending on variety

Bloom Time:

Blooms spring and summer, depending on variety

Landscape Uses:

Containers,Beds & Borders,Groundcover

Special Features:

Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fragrant,Winter Interest,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow



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