Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Herb Garden

I have never shown you my herb garden. I like to have just a few fresh herbs to use for cooking. I love to go outside my door and cut fresh herbs the moment I need them. Even 5-star restaurants can't get them any more fresh than that!

So this is my little herb garden:

Just two kinds of parsley and basil on the potting bench. The orange container has red pompom dahlias and is just there because it fits the color scheme. There is also a large container of chives and a rosemary planter on the left side of the potting bench. I forgot to get a pic of that.

It's just enough herbs to make me feel like a "foodie" when I go out and cut them just moments before the dish is served. I have to admit it's not all that often that I do that. In fact, I just got home after working all day and then spending two hours having my hair highlighted.

I am writing this post as DH is out buying Big Macs for dinner!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A mini-Marathon Baking Session & an Interesting Work Day

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I was baking.

My mother-in-law just got home from a hospital stay and I wanted to take her some goodies.

I made blueberry muffins, banana bread and chocolate cookies.

I had it all boxed up and out the door before 8:00 a.m. Most of it was still warm when DH delivered it to her.

I've had these cute little boxes for quite a while. We did a food show at work and the vendors gave them to me when they left. Rather than pack up everything, they usually just give it to us --full cases of stuff! It's a unique fringe benefit.

I made up labels way back when, then put the labels and the boxes together in plastic bags and promptly forgot about them...for a few years! LOL. I am glad I found them because they make nice boxes for giveaways...the recipient does not have to worry about returning anything.

My MIL called right after she got them and was thrilled to death. So all the baking at 4:00 a.m. was worth it!

Most of you know I work in a hotel. I do a bit of everything - sales, human resources, administrative tasks--it's a small-town-major brand hotel - we all do whatever we have to do to keep everything rolling along.

Today was pretty interesting day for me. I was MOD (Manger-on-Duty; I am every weekday morning) so I was there about 6:45 a.m. to unlock everything and get the day rolling. I did some admin. reports from 7 - 7:30 A.M, then I did payroll. After payroll, I did callbacks from my phone messages and I made two group room blocks (Sales duties). Then an ex-employee called and wanted her job back (Human Resource duties). I am not the person who makes that decision, but she thought I was.

At 11:00 a.m. I met with two ladies to go over the final details for their 60th class reunion (Banquet Sales duties). Wow, 60 years! Those ladies looked great. They must have been close to 80 years old. Are people looking better these days or am I just getting old and thinking they are?

Just as I was finishing up with the class reunion ladies, a big rainstorm began. OMG, it was raining so hard that the poor ladies could not even walk out to their cars. I got them a cup of coffee and had them sit down in the lobby to wait until it was safe to walk outside.

Just then (about 11:30 a.m.) the power went out. Oh, no! We had a service club luncheon to serve at noon. . . what a bad time to lose power! A power outage is not a good thing at a many things need to be reset (gas ovens, computers, elevator, etc. etc.) Thank goodness our maintenance department handles all that, because I would not have the vaguest idea what to do.

Luckily our chefs are on the ball and had all the food for the buffet cooked and waiting in the warming ovens. The banquet setup man was quick to get candles for all the tables. We put two on each table and six down the buffet line. It was still too dark for people to see what they were eating, so I got a flashlight and stood there as everyone went through the line and lit up every bowl of food as they walked down the buffet line and explained what each dish was--there were nine different dishes for me to illuminate.

All that before 12:30 P.M.! My job is rarely boring! It sure beats being a window washer on a skyscraper-have you noticed how many rescues they have made lately for window washers?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Black-eyed Stella, Azure Allium & Hairy Allium

Last night we were rewarded for all of our outside work (DH had his own grass-planting project)with these tasty T-Bones.

We grilled extra so it could be sliced and used for a salad Tuesday night (nail day--I have to plan ahead because I can't do anything for two hours while the color cures--hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

The new daylily blooming is Black-eyed Stella.

062510 black-e3yed stella daylily planted2001 (Medium)

I like this one, though the eye is far from black—more like light brown. It's all coming together in this area and I could not be more pleased...well, that's not true...I would be more pleased if crocosmia 'chopsticks' had not disappeared. I am very saddened that it seems to have died out despite the mild winter we had.

Here I am standing behind these daylilies, looking toward the rockwall.

062510 arbor both sides2 (Medium) This is looking toward the house. The black-eyed Stellas are at the beginning of the path.062510 path toward house (Medium)

This is Azure allium. I planted a few bulbs last fall. It's a nice true blue color, though quite tiny.

062410 allium azure (Large)
See how small it is?

Remember the Hairy Allium from last year?

hairy allium 062410 (Large)

I am happy to report that it came back again. It's a strange flower, isn't it?

hairy allium cu 062410 (Large)
It's also tiny, but I have them both right at the edge of the path so I can enjoy them as I walk along.

I had a very productive weekend despite the cold rainy weather. It was really perfect weather to do hard garden labor, though the deck took a beating with the muddy shoes.
I wish the weekend was just beginning!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Out with the Creeping Phlox, In with the Lamb's Ear

I went out Friday night and bought six more Lamb's Ear. You may remember that I bought five earlier this spring. Three of those are planted here:

If you keep walking toward the arbor, you will come to the area I am replanting today.
It's the front of this long border. I stuck the new Lamb's Ear in the creeping phlox last night just to hold the pots upright. The phlox has grown so thick and tangled that I cannot get the grass out, so it's time to redo this area,. The silver should look nice in front of this lavender which is just about to bloom in all it's purpley goodness.

As soon as the rain stopped (about 8:00 am) I went out and began to dig up the creeping phlox. It took less than half an hour to get the first wheelbarrow load.
I am liking it already. That lavender takes center stage once that mat of phlox is gone.

I continued to work on this area for about two hours. I decided to leave some of the creeping phlox because I do love its early spring bloom. I also decided to plant the Lamb's Ear in a drift of three on each side of the lavender. I love repeat patterns in a garden and that is how I planted the first three in the photo at the top of this post.

Since I've added so much of the chartreusy green hostas in other areas of this garden, I decided to plop that same color dead center. I walked around the rockwall garden to see what I could dig up to put on each side of the hosta. I decided that two Bergenia might work. Bergenia has pink blooms at the same time the purple phlox will bloom in the spring. I also added a large Sedum Autumn Joy on each side because I wanted to repeat the big round shape that I have in a number of areas along this garden.

This is what I ended up with:

My first impression is that I love this! It's so much more interesting than having 12+ feet of creeping phlox!

I liked it so much that I dug out a few feet of phlox on the opposite side and replaced it with another huge chartreusey green hosta that used to be on the walking path on the opposite side. It was gettng so big it was obstructing the path, so I replaced it with a smaller hosta.

I still need to put a nice edge on the new area. It started raining again about 11:30 A.M. so I had to stop for now.

I think the lavender really does stand out now.

What do you think of the change?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Off With Their Heads!

I walked around and cut down all the whimpy hosta blooms, like this one. 100_3865_crop (Medium) Certain hostas have nice thick blooms that I leave,100_3970 (Medium) but others have the little skinny messy-looking ones that I chop off. It depends where they are, too—if the whimps happen to be in a spot where nothing else is blooming, they may be spared the Felco guillotine. 100_3973 (Medium) This one was not so fortunate.

When I posted about my Red Carpet Lilies two days ago, I noticed that I really needed a couple more of them on the left side at the entrance of the path.

It always amazes me how the deficiencies just glare at me once I post a carpet lily path 062310 (Large)

So I went outside after work today and moved two Red Carpet Lilies to the entrance to this path.

Ah, Isn’t this so much better? 062410 moved red c lilies3 (Large)

I have so many different garden areas, that it's probably difficult for you to know where each garden is in relation to each other. This picture shows you both of the paths I have been showing you the past few posts...where the orange lily path is in relation to the red lily path. 062410 botyh paths2x (Large)

It is basically the same walking path, separated by a large grass path.

I hope to get a lot of garden work done this weekend -- between the rain storms. I think rain is forecast for both days.

That's OK, I love rain.<>

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Astilbe Deutschland

While writing this post, I got a telephone call from a telemarketer. I am never nice to these people. I usually hang up on them.

But this guy said, “Hi!” with so much enthusiasm I thought he may be an old boyfriend who was thrilled to have finally found my number. At my age an old admirer is not to be taken for granted. I gave him an equally enthusiastic “Hi!”. His next question axed the long lost love theory. “ Are you using a satellite or high-priced cable in your home?”

I kept my enthusiastic voice, and replied “We use high-priced cable and we LOVE it.”

He hung up on me!

LOL. The things that entertain me!

On to the astilbe...I could not remember when I purchased this white astilbe so I got out my garden folder.
1990! Twenty years ago? Where did the years go?

062210 white astilbe path1 (Large)

I have it planted in a few different areas in my garden. I really like it next to this white-edged hosta.astlbe near arbor 062210 (Large) white astilbe allium christopherri (Large)

This one is on the opposite side of the arbor gardens. It’s next to the one surviving Allium Christopherii. Remember I said all the allium had all died in this area? I guess, I lied, there is one left.

I put the follower gadget on this blog. Thank you to the 23 people who followed me, even though there was no gadget! I have no idea how you were able to do that. I went to a couple of the blogs to try to follow back, but saw no 'follower' box to click, so I could not follow. I am sure I will figure it all out as I go. It's amazing how much Blogger has changed since I joined 5+ years ago.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Rainy Afternoon in the Garden

I just went out in the drizzling rain to take these two pictures of my Red Carpet lilies that are now in full carpet lily path 062310 (Large)

red carpet lilies 062310 (Large)

While this side of this garden is full of color, the opposite end is void of anything but green.

062210 no color side (Large)

I may have to work on getting a little more color earlier in the season on this end.

I am trying out posting from Windows Live Writer from my new computer. I tried yesterday and it did not work. I assumed Writer would automatically resize the photos for a blog post, but maybe not. So today I made them smaller myself. I hope it works!

If anyone has any tips for using this new-to-me program, please post it the comments!

Are these pictures appearing to blurry to you? On my home computer they look great, but on another computer they look blurry--must have something to do with the screen resolution.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Upper Michigan I-75 5:20 p.m. on a Friday Night

This is rush hour on I-75 in upper MI, about 25 miles from the Canadian border and about 2.5 hours from our home.

This is why we love to take overnight trips to this area. I-75 in lower MI would be bumper-to-bumper traffic. Here it was just us and a UPS driver heading back to the garage to finish his day's work. I am pretty sure of this because we took the same exit and followed him right to the garage where he turned in.

Since I was gone all weekend I did not do any work in the gardens. I just went out to water the container plants and I shrieked when I saw this:

I left my Felcos sitting outside for over a week! It rained a lot last week and now they are full of rust. ARRRGGGGG....I hope the Brillo pad works on this.

Here is a little peek at my red carpet lilies beginning to bloom. Another day or two and they will be strutting their stuff all along this path.

In the path directly across from this one, I have Orange Pixie lilies. They are the same short size as the Red Carpet lilies.

Here is a close up shot:

I need to get more of these short lilies. I really like them planted at the edge of my paths.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spirea Snowmound, a Special Rock and some Allium Molly

I planted this Spirea Snowmound in 1988--a tiny little gallon container shrub.

Whoa! It's not tiny anymore!
It needs a good pruning. I prune it every year and will do it this year as soon as the blooms fade.

Did anyone notice this aqua painted rock in the big arbor garden?
It was given to DH over 20 years ago by his friend who was painting rocks during his alcohol addiction recovery. At that time it was red and had a nice flower on it and was signed by the now-alcohol-free artist. Over the years the original artwork has faded and I've repainted it a few times. I really like this rock.

I've got a lot of this yellow-flowered Allium Molly blooming right now. Last year I moved a lot of the tiny bulbs to the woodland path area.

I like the delicate flowers. I've been giving Breck's a bit of bad publicity lately, but this is one purchase that has given me way more than I expected. The bulbs just keep multiplying.
I can't even remember how long ago I purchased them.

Pea asked if I would be able to get a refund of the items I purchased this year that were duds. Yes, I will. Breck's is VERY good about that. At this stage of my gardening life, I am more concerned with getting quality products. I HATE TO RETURN ITEMS (like at stores) AND I HATE IT EVEN MORE TO HAVE TO REQUEST REFUNDS FROM ONLINE ORDERS. It takes a lot of effort to write a letter or an email -I have to look up the order number, the item number, etc., etc. -- it's a waste my free time--I expect to get what I ordered and I expect it to be what was advertised. If those two requirements are met, I am happy.

I often mention how I now order all my clothes on line. I've been doing it for a couple of years . I order quite often - more than once a month. I have never returned a single item. I have not loved everything I received, but I've always decided I like it enough to keep it rather than to go through the hassle of returning it.

I am, however, big on principles. So I will probably end up requesting a replacement/refund for the dud items because it is just not right to send dahlia tubers that are dead and Elephant ears that are so tiny it will take years before they even resemble the advertisement.

What would you do?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not Much Happening on the Deck Yet

The deck is not photo worthy yet. Since I did not plant any annuals, there is nothing even remotely ready to bloom. That's the negative side of using tropical plants - it takes at least six weeks before they get moving.

I did move the aqua bird house up here because it kept falling over in the garden. I probably won't leave it here for long.

The Veronica in this whiskey barrel is turning its brilliant blue color.

I hope it continues until these little cannas catch up. I was envisioning huge striped leaves shooting over top the blue spikes.

The pineapple lilies that I planted over two months ago, are just beginning to come up (at least one of them). I am not expecting much from these this year.
Here are the Rembrandt dahlias. As you can see there are two pots with nothing. I am not at all happy with Breck's this year! They sent me a bunch of duds!

Their only chance of redemption is if these dahlias have the most spectacular splotches of color that I have ever seen. They better not be those drab purple white ones I already have.

We have been getting a lot of rain the past week. I like that. The grass was beginning to brown the first week of June, but now it's nice and green again. Thank you Mother Nature.
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