Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Almost Fell Over When I Read This

When I got home from work today my latest issue of Backyard Living was sitting on my computer chair. DH puts all my mail there because he knows that is the first place I go to when I come home.
I had to look twice when I saw this article on sedums:

Those tiny white flowers looked hauntingly familiar.

I quickly scanned the print to see if it really could be what I thought it was....
I nearly screamed out was indeed 'coral carpet'!
Backyard Living needs to send a reporter over to my garden to photograph me all red-faced and nearly falling over from exhaustion as I dig this stuff out in my now two-year attempt to eradicate it from my garden.

Sensational ground cover- I guess that is true --as long as you want ALL THE GROUND YOU HAVE to be covered.

At least this article makes me feel a bit better about being seduced by this plant. I pity the author of this article when the lynch mobs come looking for her once they find out what this plant is really like!

Well, I must get back to my pedicure. Yesterday I had my nails done and now I need to get matching toes. I do it myself to save money, but the fatter I get, the harder it is to reach those toes! :)

I use the magazines to shield the carpet from the red polish. Then I just bend over right from my computer chair and polish them. That way I can blog while I do it. I told you before that I am a master of multi-taking! :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Few Different Canna Leaves

Tropicanna 'Black' is almost ready to present its first bold, bodacious, beautiful red flower.
'Black' is the tallest of the three Tropicannas.

I love how sculptural this bud looks with the huge black leaves.

Here's another Tropicanna - Tropicanna 'Gold' - which looks totally different. So far this one does not have a bud. That's just another leaf coming out in the center.

Here is the original 'Tropicanna' with its pretty striped leaf. No bloom on this one yet either.

This beauty is 'Picasso'. I love the bold stripes in this leaf. That's a bud almost ready to burst forth with its orange/yellow splotched flower. With 'Picasso' you never know just what the flower will look like as the splotches are always a bit different. I am discovering that any flower named for an artist is a flower I will love. They seem to be different and more artistic, like their namesakes.

This leaf is Canna 'Wyoming'. I just bought it this year. The leaf is not all that impressive. I hope the flower is more interesting.

Here is a much tinier bud. It's special because I believe it will be my first bloom from the zinnia seeds that Dianne, from Dianne Rambling On, sent to me. Does it look like one of your purple ones, Dianne?

Something is dining on this hosta in a container on the deck.

I can't find any bugs, so they must be nocturnal.

On my stroll through the Woodland area last night, I admired the tenaciousness of these little hens and chicks.

Through snow, thunderstorms, even hail, they sit quietly clinging to this old piece of driftwood, never giving me any trouble at all. Every once in a while I pick a pine needle off them. Gardening doesn't get much easier than this little display.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Butterfly Bush, or should I say Lack of Butterfly Bush

My butterfly bush did not endure the harsh winter very well. It's not dead, but as of yesterday, it looks like this:

A couple of scrawny one & a half foot stalks. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember that this bush gets very large - over 7 feet tall and usually overhangs the deck. I used to love coming home and going out to take butterfly pictures while sitting on the deck.

It does not look like I will be having any blooms this year.

Yesterday I was walking up from the basement through the garage and saw a Monarch through the window. I put my laundry away and then went to see if it was still there. It was still happily sipping the drumstick allium nectar.

I didn't get a great picture, but, hey, we beggars can't be choosy!

I have been in the bad habit of doing no garden chores when I get home from work. My gardens are too big to be tended to only one day each weekend. So today I came home and immediately went out with my trusty shovel and wheelbarrow and spent 1.25 hours digging out more sedum coral carpet.

Years ago I planted it with ajuga because I thought it was a nice combo. The ajuga bloomed in the spring and the sedum in July. At the time I didn't know just how aggressive the sedum was.

Last year I thought I had removed it from this area. Ha! It was back this year with a vengeance. All the little white flowers are sedum. I decided the only way to remove it was to remove the ajuga right along with it. So today I dug it all out of this little area.

I also removed this silver snow-in-summer which is intertwined with the phlox.
After 1.25 hours I had two wheelbarrow loads removed and one load of top soil added back in.

It needs more top soil, but I was too pooped to haul more. I threw some of the nicer ajuga into a bucket of water and left it under the shade of a cherry tree until I get time to replant it.

The wheelbarrow and shovel were left there also because I have many more loads to haul out. I feel pretty good that I at least accomplished something after work today.

Just look at that green grass at the end of July! Unheard of in my yard. I hope it rains tonight.

I have no idea what the temperature is, but it was hot out there! I came in red-faced and ready for a long shower. It's been over 45 minutes and I am still red in the face. If I should ever disappear for a few weeks with no post, you can be sure that the sedum coral carpet finally did me in!

Remember my new garden shoes in early June?
Here they are today with my garden gloves right after I finished the above.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rembrandt Dahlias & Flame Flower

I ordered Rembrandt dahlias from Breck's. I had never seen them before, but they sounded interesting. They are beginning to bloom. I planted one inside the same container as my Persian Shield that I save each year. It's way down in the left corner.

Here is a close up:
The tubers were "assorted", so I had no idea what color I stuck in this container until it bloomed.

How lucky could I get? The one I picked is perfect for the Persian Shield container. It's a very light purple.
I also have a darker purple blooming:

Both are nice --perhaps a little ho-hum--, but my favorite so far is this one:

Now that is what I call "artistic", worthy of the Rembrandt name. The big splotches of color remind me of my 'Picasso' canna that will be blooming soon. I think they will be great together.

This one has no splotches or stripes at all. It's just plain red, so I think it is not a Rembrandt.

That's OK, though, because I like it a lot.
All six of the Rembrandts are not yet blooming, but I already consider them a success.

Unlike the 'Flame' flower bulb I planted.

At something like $12.99 for one tiny bulb, I expected greatness from this one.

What did I get?

Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Not a thing came up.

Today I dumped the container where I planted the bulb to see if it had rotted.

The bulb was nowhere to be found. It disappeared! I could find no trace of it. Strange. This container was up on the deck and no animal got into it. It just dissolved.

I will write to Breck's and they will refund the price. They are very good about doing that.

Friday night we took off for an overnight trip. On the way back we saw a "Farmer's Market" sign in a little town and stopped in hopes of picking up some fresh veggies. Unfortunately there were no veggies, but I did find some tiny herb plants for .50 each. I bought four of them.

sweet basil, lemon basil, peppermint, & parsley, If you bought some herbs, the lady had an assortment of free plants and you got to pick one. I picked an annual -- Alternanthera 'Burgundy Thread Leaf'.
Common Name: Joseph's Coat
I know nothing about it. Does it flower? Even if it does not, I like the redish foliage.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Plant is Towering Over Me, Boy, Do I Need a New Lampshade, and Let's do Lunch

This plant sure has taken off. The dahlia is over 5 feet tall now.

I still have one pupae on the stick.

Early last month one of them emerged while I was at work. Its split pupal shell was all that remained. This one must be dead. I will let him hang out here through the summer, but it doesn't seem likely that anything is going to happen at this late date.

This lampshade used to have a black sheer fabric covering. I stuck in on this lamp when I rearranged the living room two months ago. I intended to buy a new one, but I keep forgetting to measure it and go out looking for a new one.

It's so disgusting. Look at the bits of black still adhered to it.

I think I may attempt to recover it in some type of fabric. I have never recovered a shade before. It would be a fun new project. It would certainly be more interesting than a plain old cheap shade.

I am excited to have a new project waiting for me this weekend.

If it flops, so what? I was planning to buy a new one anyway.

Anybody want to join me for lunch? I have heard of novel restaurant ideas, but this one is just too much.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I never know what may happen during my Work Day

Yesterday about mid morning a big blue and black bus pulled in. We all did a double take as it passed the front window.

It wasn't a sports team bus, so it could only be one other thing---a celebrity must be coming in to perform at a local festival.

A few minutes later I hear whispering and giggling from a young female restaurant employee. She is all smiles and saying, "It's him! He just pulled a bike out of the bus and he is riding it."

"What?", I ask. "Riding what? Who?"

"J*a*k*e* O*w*e*n!" she is nearly hysterical as she waves her hand in a fanlike fashion across her face. "Oh, my God, he is soooooooooooooooo cute! If he walks into the restaurant, you will have to pick me off the floor!"

So I went out to gawk with the rest of them. All I saw was someone in shorts bent over a bike with a bandanna on his head.

O.K., so I have never heard of J*a*k*e O*w*e*n.

Was I ever young enough to get all giddy over a celebrity? Probably, but I don't remember ever being that way.

About an hour later his bus driver came to the desk. He lost his cell phone charger and wanted to know if we might have one. He and I walked completely around the first floor to find the Executive Housekeeper to see if she had one in lost and found. We chatted about where they had been and where they were headed. Can you believe they are leaving at midnight to head to the next gig. The driver will sleep here all day so he is awake to drive through the night. It doesn't sound all that glamorous to me.

Years ago I had another encounter with a country singer. He was walking in the lobby. I nodded a hello and thought he was no big deal. At the time, I had never heard of him either.

His name was G*a*r*t*h B*r*o*o*k*s.

We've had a few celebs stay with us in the 20+ years that I have been at the hotel.

I also said a word or two to I*v*a*n*a T*r*u*m*p. I was surprised that she came down to the desk drinking coffee out of a Styrofoam cup. Ugh, even I hate to drink out of Styrofoam. I would have thought she'd have called the desk demanding a real coffee cup.

And our biggest claim to fame was when we had the cast of Die Hard 2 staying with us for weeks while they filmed the airport runway scenes for the movie. They were supposed to be filmed in Denver, but, lucky for us, Denver suffered from an unseasonably warm winter that year. They needed an airport with lots of snow. Somehow they found our little airport and the rest, as they say, was history for our little town. B*r*u*c*e W*i*l*l*i*s did not stay with us. They rented an old historic house in town for him.

I will have to find out from the starry-eyed hostess today if J. O.'s show was any good last night. She was going to wait in line at 2pm to get a good seat. The show was not until 6:30 p.m.

Enough of celebs. Let's get back to more important things.

Like this pot of basil, which appears not to be basil at all. It's just a pot full of weeds. I guess there will be no salsa in August at my house.

The deer have made a pretty good meal of this big hosta.
The first one must have done a good job filling him up, because he only ate half of this one.

I would be pretty impressed if someone would develop a deerproof hosta. Now that would be a celebrity worth getting all giddy over!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One of my best junk store buys

This 1950's cabinet has been one of my favorite junk-on-the-verge-of-being-an-antique purchase. If you ever watch old Andy Griffith shows, you will see a very similar cabinet in Bee's kitchen. I am always changing the display.

Since I am one of those rooster people, I really liked this county cupboard display. It went well with the table when I did the chicken settings.

Then I moved it to the living room and changed to this one -- quite a difference with all its frilly pink components.
I love to hang this old French purse filled with ladylike items over the knob.
This is an odd combination of Peach Lustre dishes and fruit shaped salt and pepper shakers, and even my old bronzed baby shoes!
Lots of green with purple accents to go with the old TV trays hanging on the wall.

When I was painting the living room, I decided to change the color of the inside of the china cabinet to white. I think I like the new white color, but I was not very creative and just put a bunch of purple items in it.

I really need to come up with a more creative display.
This old relic deserves better!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bow Tie Required

When I changed my sheets yesterday, I also changed the bed quilt to a more summery one. This one is called, 'Bow Tie Required' because, in the quilting world, those blue things are known as the "bow tie" pattern.

I can't remember when I made this one, but I think it must have been in the 1990's. I am sure I have it recorded some place, but I can't remember where. I also folded four quilts and stuck them under the bed, two more were folded and stored on the closet shelf. I have another 3 or so in plastic bins in the basement, one ready for a binding, and another one ready to sandwich for qulting.

I never get bored with my bedspread because I have so many that I can change them out every month and not repeat for a full year!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

July 2007 - no rain

July 2008 - Plenty of Rain

I was outside working shortly after 6:00 a.m. today because I wanted to get some work done before the rain started. It's a good thing I got out early because at 7:30 a.m. the rain started. I am not complaining one bit.

I have been working all weekend on plant removal. Here are the two areas that I have almost done.

Removing well established perennials is back breaking work.
This is exactly the kind of work that makes me smile when I hear someone say they are planting perennials because annuals are too much work. If you think annuals are too much work, you certainly don't want a perennial garden!

These pictures make me think all the work may be worth it. They are a little blurry because I took them at 6:30 a.m. and it was not quite light enough outside.

Then I start thinking of all the areas like these that still need to be dug out and replanted.

And I have to wonder how long I will be able to keep up these gardens and still work full time.

Now that it's raining, I don't have to think about garden work, but I do have a little inside cleaning that must be done. All I plan to do inside today is scrub the floors.

Last night I used my new oven for the first time and made pork chops in a tomato Vidalia onion sauce. I let the oven do all the work for a couple of hours and then threw in some redskin potatoes for the last 30 minutes.

As always I made enough for three meals. I have no desire to cook on work nights. It was good. But most important is that I know the oven works. I didn't try the convection yet because I wasn't in the mood to attempt something new.

Thank you all for the recent comments. I have read them all, but haven't had time to reply. Hopefully I will have some time today to catch up on my blog reading. If not I will see you all tomorrow morning.
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