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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

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Lee Highway

This morning I had an appointment in Staunton, Virginia and took the serene Lee Highway.  It is normally a 45+ minute ride but I like driving through serenity with views of a tranquil rural Virginia.  And on this bright, sunny day it felt like I was driving the only car on the road.

That was until the traffic jam caused by an accident up ahead.  First a 20 minute wait with the engine off and then a forced U-turn to start over on the Interstate.   Arghhh!

Lost – Time 

Being a woman of  iron will and firm determination I got on that hated truck-dominated freeway chewing on my cheek from nervous anxiety and made it to the appointment just in time to find the doors to my destination were locked.  Arghhh!

Found –  Destination

Lost – Nobody There

A strange looking fellow dressed in raggedy clothing came up to my car and said, “Can I help you?”  Putting on a nothing-scares-me demeanor, I said,  ” I have an appointment at this place but noone is there.”

And he said:  “No, you don’t have an appointment.  We are closed.”  Turns out the scruffy fellow was the one I had an appointment with.

It is possible I had the wrong date but not likely.

Nevertheless, after some not-so-polite words with the person I was supposed to have the appointment with, I moved on.

Lost – Time and Temper

I next wanted to find Milmont Greenhouses in Stuarts Draft, VA.  I don’t have a GPS but managed to muddle my way to this bastion of millions of blooming and budding things.

 I was on a search for Cat Mint!

Cat Mint is supposedly critter proof (deer and rabbits hate it).  It is also drought resistant, blooms almost all summer, looks a lot like Lavender, and “if you can’t grow Cat Mint you should stay out of the garden.”

O.K., so I miraculously found the place!

milmont-1

Found – Milmont Greenhouses

But then I couldn’t find the Cat Mint.

Lost – Energy (Staggering Around a Giant Nursery)

Milmont

Cat Mint is listed under Nepeta.  Who knew? 

nepeta_cats_meow_cjw14-23

Nepeta – Cat Mint

After wandering around the greenhouses among crowds of manic gardeners I managed to look on the good side and said to myself, “At least you are getting some Vitamin D3 with all this sunshine!”

Found – A Positive Outlook on Life

And finally there it was – the Nepeta.

Found – Nepeta (or YES – CAT MINT)

But my sunglasses managed to disappear.

Lost – Sunglasses

I thought I lost my cell phone too but it was in the car all along.

Tension does this sometimes – causes you to lose your mind.

Lost – Mind

I did find my cell phone though.  It was tucked in the creases of the passenger seat.

Found – Cell phone

It was a very strange Lost and Found kind of day.

 

 

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I thought it was all over –

the growing season for herbs I mean,

because my sweet Basil plant was beginning to flower.

“This is the end – the last harvest,” I thought, and sadly pinched off every leaf for drying.

“Thank you. You did a great job,” I said, feeling guilty about taking its life.

And in the end it really was the end.  There were two skinny sticks left with no foliage.

I tried pulling the naked sticks out of the pot to discard them roots and all, but they fiercely resisted.

“Oh well, I will put off the final dumping of dirt and stems for later.”

A week later it was later.

And look what I found!

My Basil's Second Life

My Basil’s Second Life

“I’m not finished yet!” said my tough little Basil plant.    “Just look what I can do with no attention, no water, and a mistress ready to chuck me over the rails!”

 

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Receiving flowers from a friend’s garden.

Thank you Amy!

Zinnias from Amy

Entertaining the perfect guest.

Pichu stayed with us for four whole days!

Pichu 2

Finding a pony at Herman’s Produce.

Was he in a parade?

Horse of Hay

 

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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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Pyracantha ViewI like to think my garden is charmed.  Some things actually grow and flourish in spite of harsh sun, drought, flooding rains and winds, all encompassing weeds, and benign neglect.

Our  Pyracantha, alias Firethorn,  is a prime example.

There are actually two of these standing near to each other but one has never bloomed.

I am assuming the boring one is the female (who is no doubt working too hard to be bothered with beauty).

After all, only the male of any species is stunningly adorned, right?

Anyway, the Magnificent Male bush next to its unattractive female companion is sometimes striking for its rusty red berries.  Perhaps that is its only job – to look good.  But in all these years we have never seen such magnificent white blossoms in Spring.

I am convinced this is the male version of plant attraction.

What do you think?

Pretty Pyracantha 1

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Pond Fountain 2

You bird lovers out there probably already knew the answer to the question in yesterday’s post about  Ridgely Historic Gardens. 

That ghostly hanging thing was a clump of sheep’s wool!Wool for Birds'NestsBest

Songbirds love this well-insulating, all-weather fiber that’s ideal for their nests and there for the pickin’!

Ridgely Gardens is a historic two-acre mountainside property overlooking the town of Clifton Forge in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia.  This week my friend, Norma, and I had a private tour with Donald Roberts, the current owner and gardener!

View from gardenThe Roberts believe gardens are to be shared and welcome visitors, including groups, garden clubs, and folks like Norma and me, who are just curious.

These beautiful gardens were first started in 1902, professionally landscaped in 1932, and now the original detailed plans and blueprints are on display.Aerial of upper pond--2012

Donald Roberts Owner

Donald Roberts – Ridgely Historic Gardens

Mr. Roberts cleared, managed, maintained and stuck closely to the original plans and plantings which included a boxwood maze, a large variety of heirloom plants and extensive Depression era stonework.  Fishponds, fountains, a stone pagoda, a greenhouse, a sunken stone hothouse, and a gardener’s cabin are other features of this remarkable place.

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Uh Oh – it’s Friday!

sneeboer-long-handled-fork-and-mattock

SUPER WOMAN COLLAPSES

I started working with a mattock on a long narrow ex-flower bed now destined to be grass only.

A MATTOCK IS A VERY HEAVY TOOL.  I think huge men use that tool to build railroad tracks.

Anyway, the soil I was attacking was compacted into immovable iron.

And my goal was to fluff up the iron into rich loamy (is loamy a word?) stuff to welcome grass seed.

But after an hour of hefting, heaving, sweating, and finally broadcasting seeds and tamping them down, I staggered into the house and collapsed.

Bill stopped by my inelegantly posed body (complete with ice packs in pertinent places) and said, “Are you o.k.?”

Moan:  “Yes, but      having      chest       pains……….”

“Oh,” he said.  “I’m going to get a haircut.”

RAIN, RAIN –  PLEASE!

SittingLying still with ice packs helped and I started thinking about the poor grass seed dehydrating in all those parched clumps of soil.

Those seeds needed water and fortunately THE FORECAST WAS FOR RAIN.  There was already high humidity, overcast skies and even thunder in the distance.

“I will just sit here a little longer and let the rain do the work.”

And I promptly fell asleep.

No rain.

This is Day 4.   Tomorrow I will resort to the hose!  It is sure to rain after that.

MORE WORK?

I am the secretary of our landowner’s corporation.

All of a sudden there was a lot of busy work to be done re the sale of one of the properties.

Work?!   Me?  Wasn’t working with a mattock enough?

I would rather play on my blog!

 

Startled Young BuckA DEAR ENCOUNTER

On my way out, there was a deer.  I stopped.  He stopped.  We looked. Why is he staying glued to the spot?   I reached for the camera.

Turn on camera.

Wait until things don’t look too fuzzy.

Aim.

No.  Too far away.

Aim again.

O.k. – Shoot Click!

We were frozen.  He still stood perfectly still looking right into my eyes.

How long could this last?

“I’m sorry but I have an appointment,” I explained and slowly moved forward.  And finally the young buck returned to the forest.

Such are the wonders of living in Brigadoon.

GAP TOOTHED WOMAN

I had a tooth enlarged to fill in a gap that harbored leftover morsels of just about anything lodged there.

ENLARGED?

Well, maybe that is not the exact dental terminology.  But what else would you call the insertion of putty or enamel or whatever between two teeth to fill in a gaping void?  It doesn’t show by the way so I am still a ravishing beauty.

The process took an hour, required numbing, cost $200 and left the same gap eagerly awaiting future lodged in morsels.

I have a darling of a dentist though who says to come back.  He wants to try again.

LAUGH UNTIL YOU CRY OR OTHER THINGS

Pete Laughing

Pete Begins the Laughing Fest

And tonight I laughed so hard I cried (and other things).  It was dinner out with friends and one of those times when everything is hilarious.

We were all beyond having a stable quiet evening but were into leaning over, close to falling over, screaming with laughter.

Bill tried to pry open the coke bottle salt shaker and missed seeing all the little pouring holes on top.  That sent us into fits of giggles and guffaws.

Pete ordered brown beans and he got about eight beans in a soupy mixture.  Talk about laughing tears!  I could hardly breathe.

The sign on the door left off pants in the dress code (see previous post “Pants Not Necessary.”)

And what better way to end a week than in laughing to the point of total collapse?

 

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