Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Garden on the Last Day of May

I am finally getting some color--mostly purple, yellow and orange.  Today I will just show you a few views from different parts of the yard.

You can see all three arbors from this view:

From the front yard under the apple tree:

Looking back into the woods where I allow the disobedient orange poppies and wild phlox to spread with abandon.

The little rusty wheel garden will soon be ablaze with bright orange poppies blooming in front.

Some areas near me had frost last night. I am thankful that we did not. It is in the mid 50's right now. Not so good for my tropical planters, but GREAT sleeping weather!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is this Hospitable?

Our blogs are our virtual homes.  I think when I am invited to someone's home, I should be treated in a hospitable manner, don't you?

I recently went to a blog and this ad popped up...
This is a new low for me.  When an ad pops up that even covers the blog post, that's just too much.  I shook my head in disbelief, hit the print screen and X'd out.  I do not even remember what blog this was.  I doubt it is anyone who visits here, because my followers would never treat a guest in such a poor manner.  This blog owner cares only about how much profit she/he can make from these obnoxious advertisers!
I am finding blogs less interesting to read. There are way too many bloggers out there waiting to be discovered. They blog only  to make a profit and it's a huge turnoff.  Reading blogs is getting to be just like reading magazines--the ads outweigh the content.  That is whey I let almost all of my magazine subscriptions expire.  Now I am almost at that point with blogs.  It's just not fun being used as a "hit" for their advertising aspirations.

Off my soapbox and back to gardening...

DH was shocked when he noticed how big this Burning Bush was.

It is in flower right now. The flowers are nearly invisible against the golden green foliage.

There is not much of else of interest right now. I did notice that the hyacinth beans broke through the ground  yesterday.

To the right of this arbor is where I planted the packs of amaranthus seeds that I showed you in this post.
It has been over two weeks and so far nothing has come up!  If nothing breaks ground this week, I will have to plant something different there.

One of these days, I really should put the chairs around that white table. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Iris Begin to Bloom

We got home today and found that it was raining. We were so happy!  It was  a light gentle rain. From my bedroom window, I noticed some yellow iris in bloom. I decided I needed a pic, so I dodged raindrops to get some pictures of the three different iris' that opened since I left Friday.

This is an old pinky-purple with a yellow beard.  I have no idea what the name is, but I like it.

 You can see that I also have a lot of chives and purple spring phlox in bloom.

I am trying to get the spring phlox to bloom in only the wild garden areas.  I pull most of it out in the more tame gardens. That stuff will take over very quickly if left to seed.

I have tons of this common purple iris, but only these few have opened.
 I was thrilled to see these yellow iris.  I knew I used to have some yellow, but they have not bloomed for the past few years, so I thought I lost them.

I hope it continues to rain for a few days as we really need it.  With a little rain, new flowers will be blooming every few days.  We both have to work tomorrow, so while rain will put a damper on the local Memorial Day festivities, it won't really bother us at all.  I guess that's the positive about having to work on holidays. We have no plans that the weather can ruin. :)  I hope if you are off tomorrow, you have better weather.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Work Planters & Quilt Decor

It took me less than 30 minutes to plant 4 containers at work.  I planted them all the same:
What you cannot see are the cannas, dahlias and calla lilies I brought from home. They are under the soil toward the back.  These containers are stuffed to the brim! I did not even realize that the petunias I bought were one of the Proven Winners called 'Bubblegum'.  I have seen 'Bubblegum' on many of your blogs, so I know it's a great choice. I am now very excited to see what happens when the big 'thrillers' shoot up.  I have no  idea what color dahlia I planted. I am hoping it is a purple 'Rembrandt'.  I will keep you posted with pics as the new plants emerge. You will be amazed at how much more I have planted in these containers!

When I was off last week, I finally put the binding on my pink star quilt.  I put this on with the sewing machine and I am pretty content with how it turned out.

My next quilt to finish will be this double star quilt:
I love this one, but I had no reason to finish it because it did not match anything in my home.  Now I think it looks wonderful with my new sofa.  It will be perfect to snuggle up with this winter.  I plan to hand quilt this one, so I had better get busy as it will take quite some time.

With the warmer weather, I am embracing my pastel floral living room.  The burgundy slip covers have been removed and the pink star quilt that I just put the binding on has found its summer home.

I made this one to match my sofa and love seat. It was a very detailed star quilt with the tiny center star being an exact replica of the large star around it.  I almost cried after I ruined it by machine quilting it.  I am a terrible machine quilter!  After it sat unused for over a year, I finally came up with idea to add a second backing and add ties to hold it together.  That worked wonderfully to hide the hideous machine quilting on the back.  I am now happy that I can display this one without shame.

I won't be posting for a few days as I will be spending time at a mini family reunion.  I hope you all have a great weekend.  May all our gardens be filled with rain water!  I don't know about you, but we desperately need rain.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lilacs and Limes

My lilacs are just beginning to bloom. I went out last week and cut down all that I had on the bushes that I transplanted from my mom's yard.
Yes, this is all the flowers that I got off the two bushes I planted over 15 years ago!  I would say those bushes have not been all that successful. I am just happy that I did get one bouquet to enjoy for a few days.

You can tell I went back to work on Monday.  I now have no time to garden, photograph, or post.  It always amazes me how much I get done at home when I don't have to spend my most productive hours at my real job.  :)

Today the Big Kahuna (boss) and I went to buy plants so I can do the 4 containers at work.  Truth be told, he came along just to write the check and haul the plants in his vehicle...all he did was complain about how long it was taking.  The lady who works for the plant company used to work at our hotel.  She bluntly told him to be quiet and wait....he has a good sense of humor and just laughed when she said that.  We ran into quite a few locals who found it strange that the Big K was out flower shopping!  I think he was embarrassed!

As I expected, I could find no big thriller plants (cannas).  In fact the selection was pathetic for all plants.   I ended up buying a bunch of the same things I used in my containers--coleus, fireworks fountain grass, etc.  I told the Big K that I would bring some of my own cannas.  

So when I got home today I dumped out my very best  pot of Tropicana's and split it into 5 sections -- 4 for work and one for me.  It did hurt a bit to be giving these away. This bag is in my car waiting to be planted at work tomorrow:

 I also took a dozen of my yellow calla lilies that were in the long wood container that I said was rotting out.   

I just hope they produce now that I have separated them.  I don't mind planting them at work--I wanted to tend to less containers at home anyway.  The only problem is that it will be a few weeks before either the cannas or callas shoot up their magnificent foliage.  It's a lot different designing a container for a retail establishment than it is for my own home. At work I like to have the planters looking good when they are planted.  

Oh well, I guess if he does not like it, he can hire a real container designer who will charge him upwards of $100 for each of the four planters! :)  You can't complain when you get it for free!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It Takes a Big Leap of Faith...

to believe this container will ever look awesome!  

 I have faith and I think it will. It is the container that I plan to put on the front porch right next to my entrance door. At this stage it is too ugly to put out for eveyone to see, so I will hide it until it begins to fill in.

To start this combo, I had to mutilate the beautiful Cordyline plant that I overwintered in my garage.

Most of the leaves were brown and brittle, so I cut them all off,
except for the top few, which still looked good.  It's a good thing I saved this Cordyline, because I can't find any red Cordyline to buy this year. That seems to be the norm for my small town. One  year it's available, the next three years it's not.

I added dark purple fillers—the same ones I put in my whiskey barrel on the deck--salvia & coleus.

I also used two pink perennials from my garden-- Sedum Autumn Joy and Guara to spill over the edge.--two high impact plants at zero cost.

 I know that some of my readers notice EVERYTHING, so I must let you know that in this pic, astute readers may recognize Purple Fountain Grass in the middle. It was there for a day, but then I pulled it back out, so I could use it in one of the deck whiskey barrels.  So at the current time, this container has no fountain grass.

Guara is to the left of the grass and it's the plant inside this milk can:
It gets long airy arms of tiny pink flowers that should shoot up and over the edge of the planter.

 It won’t be long and the “thriller” plants in this pot should cover the bare stalk.  As is always the case with my containers, you can't see any  “thrillers”, because they are under the soil.  Here they are:
What? You don't think these look thrilling?  LOL. As I said it takes a lot of faith...these should be pink 'Park Princess' dahlias. They are a lovely star shape. Here is what I hope I planted:

I also planted another dahlia, which I am hoping is this purple Rembrandt variety.

Unfortunately I did not mark the container I took the dahlia out of, so it could be anything. If it's purple, it will be perfect. If not, it will at least be a surprise to see what blooms.   Either way this container will look totally different when I show it to you in late July (at least that is what I am hoping!)

If you are looking for the recipe for this container, here is what I think I have planted :
1 Cordyline (saved from last year)
1 Guara (perennial that I save from year to year)
3 Purple Salvia
3 Dark Purple Coleus
2 Pink 'Park Princcess' dahlia (saved for the past umpteen years)
1 Purple Rembrandt dahlia (saved for the past five years)
1 Sedum Autumn Joy (yanked out of my perennial gardens--I have hundreds of these)
4 nasturtium seeds that I stuck around the edge to use a spiller

All I had to buy this year were the 3 salvia and the 3 coleus.  I forgot what they cost, but it was pure pennies in comparison to what one would have to spend if buying all of the plants... truly... maybe $2 total???  Gotta love that!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

DH Does it Again

The deck floor always looks amazing right after he stains it.
He helped me fill the new whiskey barrels with potting mix and then I planted them all in purple.
The white shoot in the back is 'Tropicana'. There are at least five 'Trops' in this one container, so it won't be long before their huge purple/red striped leaves give it the thriller plant it needs.  In late July the huge orange 'Tropicana' flowers will bloom. I planted both of these barrels with the same plants. They can be seen from the sliding glass doors in the family room, so I wanted something that looked good with my new green furniture. :) Yes, I do try to coordinate for my inside/outside summer living.

That is all the planting I did today. For my old age deck gardening, I plan to have just six of these big barrels - 2 flanking each entrance (there is another side to the deck that you cannot see in this pic).

Since I am not yet in my "old age" years, I still have a ton of other planters that we just brought out. See that long one? It must have at least 3 dozen yellow calla lilies in it. The wood is rotting, so I will be removing all of them and integrating them into other containers.

I will be working on these planter combos for the next couple of weeks.  I think the most fun with container gardening is planning the containers and the plant combinations.

I have some new ideas for this year.   After spending slightly over $100 each for my big urns last year, I decided there must be a less expensive way to get my new container fix.  Once again I "shopped" my basement and found three wooden crates that my father-in-law made years ago.  I decided to splash a little paint on them in the same colors as  my other deck furniture.  Cute?  I think so and they cost me nothing but a little time as I already had both of the paint colors.
I plan to fill all three with a pink and red dahlia combo.

As my 80-yr old work friend always says, "What's life without a little fun?"  I hope all of you are having a fun Sunday!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Dumped the Big French Urns & made a 'Sea Savvy" Sled Coffee Table

You may remember that I over wintered the plants in these garage urns.  It has been at least three weeks since I have been putting the urns out and hauling them back inside each night.  A few plants have survived, but not all.  Today I dumped this one to see if there was any life to the Purple Fountain Grass.
Those crumpled plastic containers are filler that I put in the bottom so I don't have to use so much expensive potting soil.  It also helps the drainage.

Anyway, there was no visible life to the grass, so I tossed it out and replanted both urns with some pink-striped 'Fireworks' fountain grass.
I also added Persian Shield, creeping Jenny (instead of sweet potato vine) and some dahlias.   Both urns have Tropicanas in the back, but you can't really see them in these pictures.

These should fill out quickly. They look sparsely planted now, but they are actually filled to the brim and should be HUGE in about a month.

In addition to working on a few containers today, I also did what DH calls "ta ta" work and turned my living room sled coffee table into a "Sea Savvy" table for the summer.    I shopped the basement for shells and even used some of my son's old fishing tackle.
 Here is a close-up. 
Those sea captain heads may be a bit spooky to some of you.  :)  I have had them for over 20 years. I actually was pleasantly surprised to find them as I thought I had given them away.

All in all we had a very busy day. DH stained the deck floor and we made a shopping trip to Wally's World, Home Depot and Ace Hdw.  I was looking for some kale, but could not find a single plant.  Bummer! The kale makes such a great autumn pizazz plant!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Shopped the House for Accessories

After I got all my housework done this morning, I started to think of how to accessorize my entertainment center in the family room so it would look better when the new furniture arrives.

At first I had no idea where to begin.  Then I did as I usually do and started walking through the main rooms to see what I could find that was green. I found green boxes, drinking glasses, faux cabbage, and books.  I brought it all in to the family and within a pretty short time, I had this done.
 I also needed burgundy as I am keeping two chairs in that color.  You can see a little piece of the chair in the right corner of the next picture.  In the left corner you can see a tiny piece of a cushion from the new sofa. 
 Now I just need the rest of the furniture to get here. Here is a pic of the area all lit up.  I think it's too busy.  Lately I like just one big piece on each of the shelves.  I will have to tweak a bit over the weekend.
Now I need to find a way to convince DH that this would look great on the walls:
Well, not exactly that....I just want that color. . . muted Dijon mustard.  The fabric for the pillows I ordered has some mustard in it.  I am thinking the sagey green, burgundy and mustard would make a very cozy space.

Updated 4pm:  I just found this pic on my desktop. It is very similar to the sofa I ordered. What grabbed my attention today was the wall color.  Mustard!  This is pretty close to what I was thinking.

Oh, I did not show you the ottoman I ordered. They did not have it in the store, but I found it online and called the store  and they ordered it.  I am ordering everything I want. It's been 19 years since I purchased new furniture, so I feel no guilt...not even a smidge...if these pieces last as long as the previous, they will probably outlive me.

Besides the sofa does not recline, so I think the ottoman will be useful.

Update: It's 3:00 pm and the furniture is now in place.  It seems huge...way larger than it seemed in the store.  Why does  that always happen?  LOL. It all fits fine and I like it. DH should be home any minute and I am hoping he likes it, too.

Even though everything is not done, I will give you a sneak peek. 
I am so happy to have furniture with no bold pattern! 

Years ago when I had DH hang the Thomas Kincaid artwork on each side of the entertainment center, I liked having two on one side and one of the other.  Now it really bugs me. I want both sides equal.  The fourth picture is sitting on the floor below the single pic.  I have been asking DH to rehang that side for at least two years.  He HATES to put holes in walls, so he just ignores me.  I am hoping that he will do it this weekend after I whine for at least a day.  If not, I will get the hammer, measuring tape, ladder, and do it myself.  Earlier today I removed a heating vent from the bathroom, sanded it and painted it a dark grey color. It was a brassy color, but it was beginning to rust. I wonder if  he will notice that when he gets home?  I already screwed it back in place.

 Update: DH just got home. He noticed the bathroom vent right away and he thought I went out and bought a new one. He also likes the furniture, though he ran right outside when I told him they came through the front door with the biggest piece. He wanted to make sure they did not bang up his porch.  I just shake my head...I guess it's true that opposites attract. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chocolate Cream Cheese Filled Cupcakes

A few weeks ago my blog friend, Dianne, sent me a book called Favorite Recipes from Quilters.  Thanks again, Dianne, I have really enjoyed perusing the book when I have a spare moment. Since it was only 29 degrees outside this morning, I decided to stay inside and try an easy recipe from the book.

I did not follow the recipe exactly. I put my cream cheese in the center instead of on top.

 You should be able to read the recipe in the picture above. Don't bake them for 25 minutes--or at least check them at about 18 minutes. I baked mine for 20 and that was about a minute too long for  my oven.

Nontheless, I found them to be quite tasty after I added a dollup of vanilla frosting and a squiggle of chocolate syrup.

About mid-morning, I decided to go to my local Lazyboy furniture store to get something to sit on in the family room. This is what I ended up buying, minus those accent pillows:

It is the exact color I had in my mind.  The chaise is just perfect for a five foot person like me. I will be going back later today with a cushion from the two other chairs in the room, so I can get pillows made to complement. 

I hope DH likes it.  He really does not care at all about furniture, decorating, etc. Still I am having them hold off delivery until tomorrow, just so he has a chance to voice his opinion. I will have him go in and sit on the sofa to make sure it is comfortable for his 6 ft. 3 inch body.

I just remembered that I have not gone outside today and I need to remove the heavy blankets I covered all the containers with last night.  I had better get out there now and do that.  Then I think I will run a few more errands before I need to start dinner.
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