Thursday, September 29, 2005

You are all so Kind

I just sat down at the 'puter after cooking and cleaning for the past three hours.

While reading your comments, I had to chuckle over the comments on the houseplants post about how neat and tidy everything looks. I was just berating myself for not keeping up with my cleaning chores - every place I look has dust (especially that entertainment center in the family room), I just finished getting rid of a cobweb near the floor by the curio cabinet, the kitchen desk is piled high with cooking magazines and the floors need scrubbing.

Then I come here and read these sweet comments. It made me feel so much better.

All I can say is I am glad I did not take a macro shot of any of the flat surfaces!

Fall CleanUp

I thought today I would post about how I do my fall cleanup for any new container gardener who may be wondering what should be done. It is important to store your containers as clean as you possibly can to prevent bacteria from causing undue problems next year. I dump everything out, use the hose to spray off all the clinging dirt, then swish them through a solution of bleach and water to kill the germs. It is much easier to do if you have a big container to fill with the water and bleach (I just dump about a cup full of bleach in the big container below.) Sometimes I also put some dish soap in, but not always. A long handled brush (like a toilet brush) works great. I then toss them around the yard in the sun to dry completely before stacking them for winter storage.

This is the ideal way to clean them all--but, let's get serious, it doesn't always happen. I rarely get them all done in one day. More often than not the last few containers do not get the bleach treatment because I am in a hurry to get them done. I just brush the snow off (almost every year some of them get snowed on), spray them out with the hose and that's it. The truth is I have never had any problems with fungus or disease when using the bleachless containers. I always read that one should do it, so I still do -- at least during the initial cleanup.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sedumn Autumn Joy Darkens

The Sedumn Autumn Joy has turned its dark rich color. A lot of my SAJ in the rock wall garden was trampled by falling/dragging tree branches when the tree company removed the pines. It is pretty tough, so I feel confidant it will come back just as strong next year. Notice that these SAJ's are different hues of red/pink. They look different in each garden, depending on the amount of sun.

Houseplants Multiply

Until today, I had very few house plants (two Christmas cactus to be exact).

Now I have nine.

I just could not toss the seven large hanging baskets of wandering jew, so I brought them inside. They were huge, so I cut them way back and placed them on top of various cabinets in the living room and family room. I have five of them in the living room.

I have never had much luck with indoor plants, but these seem very easy to grow with a low light requirement. I just hope they don't start turning brown and dropping leaves all of the floor. If they do, they will be tossed for sure.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Trees Are Gone

I can finally see the big old Maple Tree!

Here is the before picture in case you can't remember how UGLY it was

Miniature Asters

I purchased these miniature asters from Breck's years ago. They probably should have been pinched back a few times to maintain a neat little mound. I will have to remember that for next year. (how many times have we all said that?)

It Sure Isn't Pretty....

The dreaded fall dumping has begun. What a mess! We have not had a frost yet, so things still look decent, but it will happen any day now. I need to get started since I have so much to do and I want it done before it gets too cold outside.
Since I always show you the pictures when things are nice and tidy, I thought I would show you how things look when the real work begins.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Weekend Went By Too Fast

The Murder Mystery weekend was so much fun. It was held in the banquet room of a casino, so there was always something to keep us busy. The mystery dinner was not exactly as I had imagined. We knew from the start who the actors were. The premise was that we were all attending the memorial dinner of a deceased Texas oil tycoon. The reading of the will took place at the dinner.
Here is the room all set for us to enter:

Of course the oil tycoon had a "companion", Dee Dee DeLay (don't you love the play on that last name?)

Dee Dee is, of course, the buxom brunette. Let me tell you, Dee Dee was quite a hit with the gentlemen...especially, Ed, our new Canadian friend, who got not one, but two kisses from Dee Dee. I doubt that he will ever wash his cheek again.

During dinner, someone got killed. Guess who? You got it. Poor sweet DeeDee drank poisoned cough syrup and keeled over right before our eyes.

Other characters were introduced thoroughout the evening--lawyer, detective, very religous step-daughter, crochety old brother.

We had to determine who the murderer was. Each table was a team.Each team was allowed to ask one question of any character they chose to help them make a decision. If your table won, you would each get $100.

We did not win. Darn! I could have used that $100.

The meal was half a baked chicken, rice, mixed veggies, salad and dessert. It was good --not great--just good. LOL.
Note the fresh flower garnish.
Vanilla Lemon Cake
Gazebo in front of the hotel.

The view from our room:

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Murder Mystery Weekend

I am getting packed tonight to go away for the weekend. Immediately after work tomorrow, we are leaving to head up to Michigan's upper peninsula to go to a Murder Mystery dinner. I have never been to one of these. From what I understand there will be an acting company amongst the dinner guests. We won't know who they are. Sometime during the dinner, someone gets murdered and we all have to solve the crime. Throughout the evening we will get clues from talking to the other guests (there will be about 130 people)and just watching the activity around the room. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun. I will let you know when I return on Sunday.

Today I got a free issue of Garden Gate magazine. I am dying to read it, but I want to save it for tomorrow's trip (it is a 3-hr drive).

Autumnal Equinox

How depressing -- On this date, the night becomes longer than the day! And it just continues to get worse for the next 3 months.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

For Kerry

Who asked to see a close up picture of the crazy quilt I use on my glider on the deck. I made this quilt 27 years ago before my son could crawl. He used to lay on it with his little squeeze toys...oh, the memories....

The Apprentice: Martha Stewart

I am looking forward to watching Martha's new show tonight on NBC at 8:00 pm EST. I hope it is better than her show on TLC. I have seen two episodes so far and have not been thrilled with either. I don't care an iota about her celebrity guests and I don't want to see a new warm, funny Martha. Martha is a bitc* -- we all know it, so don't attempt to give her a fake new personality. She did not get to the top by being warm and funny. I want to see more of the cooking, craft, and tablescape demonstrations that made her what she is. Nobody does a dinner table like Martha! She is the queen of mixing and matching table accessories. I have read every book she ever wrote and I have learned from each one. Please, please don't turn her into another hostess of a dull celebrity-filled talk show.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Country Gardens Magazine

Remember my rant last month when this magazine sent me my renewal rate at $33.97 for two years? Well, as I said then, I did not resubscribe.

Today they sent me a "please come back former subscriber letter". Guess what the new rate is? Only $24.00 for two years. That is about $9 less than it was last month!

I wonder if it will get lower if I wait another month? LOL.

Yummy ---- Or Not?

I have been assigned the task of checking out chocolate fountains to purchase for our hotel. One of our catering competitors has purchased one of these fountains. They have suddenly become all the rage. My own mother went to a wedding last month and she can’t stop talking about how wonderful it was.

I think they look beautiful, but I am concerned that they are terribly unsanitary. All that gooey chocolate sitting there for three hours collecting dust particles, sneeze fragments, dirty fingers dipping the fruit, double-dipping of said fruit—yuck! I don’t think I want to partake (I admit this sort of thing probably bothers me way more than it does most people).

Has anyone had any experience with them?

I snagged this picture from a web site that sells them. They are very expensive - $2,000 - $3,000, depending on the size. (update: I just got their catalog in today's mail. The smallest one - 27" is $3700 and then you still need accessories making it well over 4 grand - Yikes!) They would rent for $400 (not counting the fruit and other dippers). I think that once people realize how unsanitary they are, there won’t be many renters. What do you all think?
Have never shown you this little driveway garden area. I threw marigold seeds in here and they actually bloomed! (Usually I have no luck with seeds.) The milk can did hold pink petunias, but I always forgot to water it, so they were looking pretty ratty and I tossed them Saturday.
Looking through the arbor to the large rockwall garden.

Colchicums Planted

The Colchicums (autumn crocus) in the ground.
Kathy, are they the ones you thought they would be?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Asters Everywhere!

They are almost in full bloom now.

Fall Clean Up Has Begun

Saturday morning I cleaned out almost everything from the small rockwall garden area. It feels good to have one area completely done.

Today I attempted to dig out a number of the pink mallow plants that are growing in a very tiny strip between the sidewalk and the garage. They are just too big and unruly for that area, flopping over and brushing against people as they walk on the sidewalk. It is not easy to get rid of pink mallow. If the plant has any age to it, the tap root is very long and well-rooted and is nearly impossible to remove completely. I dug out about six plants as best I could. I will have to wait until next year to see if I did, in fact, get rid of them.

Pine Trees

These are four of the pines that will be going. Can you see the big maple in the back?

Four will also be going from the clump on the other side.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Successful Saturday Morning

I spent four hours of pretty hard labor outside. DH did the grocery shopping leaving me free to do two loads of laundry, wash outdoor furniture, plant the autumn crocus, and cut down the garden near the tree removal area. DH almost always does the grocery shopping, although the past four weeks or so, he has wanted me to go with him (a habit I must break him of real soon! LOL). I feel like I accomplished a lot - even got the cornucopia arrangements done.

Here are both arrangements in their new home

One Man's Accomplishment Becomes My Liability

Yesterday the tree company did not show up. He had said he might not be able to make it on Friday, so we were not all that upset. I guess September is a busy month for them. So now they are coming next week.

I decided to get 4 more huge ugly pines cut down. They are directly behind my smaller arbor in the back yard and I have hated them for the past 15 years. They hide a huge old maple tree that I have always wished to have in my extended view. Having them removed is an expensive extravagance, but I have finally decided that I am not getting any younger and NOW is the time to make the splurge.

We have had somewhere in the vicinity of 17 of these pines taken down in the past 5 years. I hope with these 8 going next week, we will be done.

The elderly man who owned this subdivision land, stopped by one day a few years ago when we bought the lot next to us. He proudly told me the story of how he got all these pine trees free after the war (WWII in the 1940's) and planted every one by hand. I just smiled and nodded in agreement at what a great feat it was.

Secretly I was thinking, "So your the man that has cost me thousands of dollars to remove these ugly monstrosities!".

Years ago I wrote in my garden journal that one day I would have a swing under that majestic old maple. Next year I may have.

I was in the basement (my treasure trove of junk. I use the term "junk" in the most loving way) looking for more floral foam and came across my two cornucopias. I think I will make fall arrangements in these today if I can find the time. We have to move the smaller arbor today as well as all the furniture in the woodland area to get ready for the tree compay. I also have a wedding to go to tonight, grocery shopping, and general errands. It will be a busy Saturday.

I included the floral foam in this picture just in case anyone is wondering how you buy it, what it looks like, etc.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A Fall Tablescape

My blog description indicates "tablescaping" as one of my interests. You haven't seen much of that because I simply haven't done much of it since Christmas.

"Tablescaping" to me just means creatively setting a dinner table or arranging a side table.

I especially like to do it in the summer, so I can incorporate my flowers. I collect both dishes and mid-century tablecloths. I have enough of each that I can have a lot of fun playing. I rarely set a table with all the same china, glassware, etc. I like to mix and match (there really is no fun involved in simply setting out an expensive matched set of "good" china, is there?) I really like this table and it is the one I had planned to reproduce tonight. But, alas, I spent all my time in the garden and on the computer, so it did not get done.

The picture you see is from last year. You can tell it is the same time of the year as the centerpiece is made from the same flowers that I have blooming now.

After about a week I replaced the centerpiece with a fresh arrangement of Sedumn Autumn Joy.

Google Has a Blog Search

I was so happy to find this.

I can't remember exactly which blog mentioned it as I was just surfing from Blogger Dashboard's recently updated blogs. It is a search engine that searches only blogs. You can just type in anything that interests you and find blogs that have posted something about that topic.

Albino Tulips? :)

One day in July I found these tulip bulbs in a pile on my deck. I still have not found out who gifted me with these. I had them sitting in my garage (forgot about them). Yesterday I noticed they were ready to bloom! I think I will have to toss them now.

Post updated after a very informative comment

Oh, my! These are not even tulips. Thanks to Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening I have learned the true identity - Colchicums.

Huh? You say, "What are colchicums?".

Well, that is exactly what I said.

I went to Kathy's site and saw many pictures of the 8 varieties she has. She has a wealth of information about them. Then I searched the net to find out how to plant the little treasures and I found this description:

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) is also known as meadow saffron, mysteria, or naked boys. It produces pink to lavender crocus-like flowers in the fall. The flowers arise directly from the corm. There is no foliage present when the plants are in bloom. The dark green leaves (approximately 1 to 2 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long) emerge in the spring, remain until summer, then turn yellow and die to the ground. After which, the flowers magically appear in the fall.

Colchicums should be planted immediately after delivery in August or September. (They often bloom in their shipping container if not planted immediately.) Plant the corms in well- drained soils in full sun to partial shade. Good planting sites include naturalized areas under the filtered shade of large trees and shrubs, in rock gardens, or among low-growing groundcovers such as sedum. For the best visual display, plant colchicums in clumps. The corms should be planted 2 to 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart.

Luckily I have a rock garden (well, actually it is a garden full of big rocks, but let's not get picky!) Tomorrow I shall find a home for them there.

If I had not taken up blogging, I would never have known what these were. Thanks again, Kathy.

Breck's order Arrived

My Persian Blue Allium bulbs from Breck's arrived today. I opened them as soon as I got home from work and went immediately outside and planted them. I shall now be waiting for spring.

I must say that I was not too impressed with these bulbs. Out of 20 bulbs, three were moldy and soft. Did anyone else receive theirs? Dianne?

Me and DH

Double Red Impatiens

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