Thursday, September 30, 2010

Garden Musings & a Peek at my Weekend Wardrobe

My Eucomis (Pineapple Lily) ended up growing quite a bit since I showed it to you.

 The second one is still nothing, but I have read that it may take two years to get a flower, so I am now happier with this purchase than I was in the beginning.

Look at its cute little green hat.

Maybe someday it will look like this gorgeous specimen:
Unfortunately my back yard is not looking very good. I began noticing the big brown spots a few weeks ago.  Last week I mentioned it to DH
 and he said the grass is being killed by grubs. He went out and dug into the brown areas and, sure enough, there were grubs.
He needs to do something about it before the entire back yard grass is dead.

I cut down my favorite red  dahlias that were full of powdery mildew. Then I decided to separate them.
When I stuck the shovel in, I cracked the container. Darn! I like these lightweight resin containers because they are so much easier to haul up and down the deck steps, but they are not worth the $30 price. They break too easily.

This little area at the end of the deck still looks decent.
It is one of the few areas that does.

There is really nothing left to do with the deck containers, but wait until we get a hard frost and then put them all away for the winter. Right now it is too early to put them away because they will continue to grow until the temps are below freezing. I store them in a crawl space that is still very warm. I also think the frost kills critters that may be alive in the topsoil.

I am thinking that it will be about two more weeks before I put them into winter hibernation.

I was shocked earlier in the week when I looked out the kitchen window and saw my biggest arbor looked like it was falling down.  Turns out it's all rotted at the bottom.
I could almost cry just looking at this! I had to put that plastic pot under just to hold it up--so pathetic It's my favorite arbor and the main focal point of the arbor gardens. I hope DH can figure out how to make it last a few more years.

Last January our Exec. Housekeeper at the hotel retired. Today she invited me and our Food & Beverage Director to lunch at her home.
She made us a nice Mexican chicken wrap lunch and then sent us home with this platter of fall candy.
It was great to see her again. I have really missed her. She always kept me informed of everything happening around the hotel- since she left, I know none of the good gossip---and believe me, a LOT happens behind the scenes when you work in a place that has over 200 beds! :) 

I am getting packed for another weekend jaunt. I was doing laundry and picking out clothes before I decided to take a break and post.
I think this will be good to wear to work tomorrow with black pants--It's a bit loud, but I like bold clothing. It will also be a comfy travelling outfit since it resists wrinkles and  I will be leaving right after work. Can you see that creature's face at the top? It's a bracelet!
I've had it for about 25 years. Once in a while it's fun to wear--I have to be in the right mood.

I am in an orange mood--BRIGHT orange!  I love this navy blue and  orange ensemble. I will wear it with jeans--I don't wear jeans very often, but I can't do the dressier black pants that I like with this because it just screams Halloween!
 This one is a bit more toned down--I was thrilled to find this orange and green necklace that is a great match. 
We are going to another musical dinner show, just the two of us--a Bruce Springsteen tribute. I still have to pick out something to wear to that. I have my latest culinary murder mystery in the front seat of the car. I should be able to finish it during the six hours of driving time.

One of these weekends, I need to stay home or I will never get that painting done! Have I ever mentioned that I really hate to paint?

I hope you all have a great weekend. If you have nothing to do, you are all invited to come to my house and paint.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We have not made a Lot of Progress on the Homefront

About the only thing we completed since the contractor left is this little pantry. I love it all white and bright!
It is not even really complete because we want to buy and install a few more wall shelves.

The only time we have to work on the house is on the weekend and we went away this past weekend.  We took my parents and went to see an opera singer show that we have gone to for the past three years.  Life is too short to work all the time!

So the house is still a major mess.   While I was at work today DH primed a couple of the newly drywalled areas (bless his heart).
Now we need to paint the walls.  After work today, I had a haircut appointment. The shop happens to be very close to a Sherwin Williams store, so I went there after the hair cut to look for a green paint.  I left with a handful of samples.
O.K. I took one of every green they had! After getting home I quickly eliminated most of them, then studied the three top contenders.

I think I finally decided on the color for the living room, dining room and hallway...all the same's SW Recycled Glass.

I taped the tiny little sample all over ... on my new chandelier.......

on the living room sofa and love seat which I wish I could replace, but it's still like brand new, so I am forced to work with it.
next to the beams in the living room.....

this color is more like the real color. The sample on the sofa is not quite the correct color.

against the pantry door and the new floor...........
I hope it won't be too dark in the hallway. I do like it against the white and the floor.

I just hate trying to pick a paint from these tiny samples.

Have any of you used Sherwin Williams Recycled Glass paint? I would LOVE some reviews before I go and buy it. I did google it and found a few rooms that I thought looked very nice.

It's such a big decision!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I was at Home Depot on the Right Day!

I have never been to HD when perennials/bulbs were marked down at end-of-season prices.

Yesterday we had to run there after work to get a bi-fold door handle. Just for kicks I walked through the garden department.

I spotted one shelf with closeout plants. I walked over for a closer inspection----Whoaa--JACKPOT!
The same Manhattan Lilies I just bought (with their spent blooms removed) were now $1.50/pot. I also grabbed some Silver Mound artemesia for the same low price. I bought a total of 10 containers.

As you can see from the pictures, we are having a very rainy day. It's actually been quite miserable all day today. . . a good day to have spent at work.

My contractor finished today. Before he left he did a project that is going to make my life so much easier next year. Look way back by the house....
You can't see anything new, but if I go back behind the shrub and snap a photo, you will be able to see what I am so excited about..............

A new water faucet! Finally I will be able to reach all of my gardens with a hose. Before I had to haul 100 feet of hose from the backyard and it still would only reach about half of the gardens. Maybe next year I can plant and water some of those areas where nothing will grow because I can't get water to the area. I can't wait for next summer!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Burning Bushes for the First Day of Fall

Euonymus alata "Compactus"

I love the Burning Bush. This shrub, which turns a scarlet red and bears little orange balls of fruit

in late autumn, is a highlight of the fall season. It is nearly maintenance free. I do prune back a few of my larger specimens to keep them at the height I want.

The only pest problems I have with this shrub are deer and rabbits who both love to eat the bark during the winter. Look at the damage this shrub had in 2005 when it was severely gnawed on by deer. I thought for sure it would die.

Here it is today:

As you can see, it rebounded quite nicely.

I moved this one in June and right now it is the reddest of them all.

This one back in the shady rockwall garden is just beginning to turn colors.

Here's another one in the front of the house by the road. It is in an area where nothing will grow.

It's alive, but certainly not thriving.

I must have 8 or 10 of these in different areas of my yard. I plan to get a few more for the Arbor gardens. I think one in front of the purple asters would give a nice jolt of color during September.

Some people find this shrub very invasive. For me, it is not. I am happy when I find a few shoots growing near the mother plant that I can dig up and plant elsewhere. How about you? Do you grow it? Love it or hate it?

My Blogger Stats tell me that this post I did about wrapping gifts to match the Christmas tree was my most read post this week. People are already searching for holiday ideas!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blooming Tuesday -- Fall Asters

I have been removing fall asters for the past two years and have just a couple areas of them left in this garden.

Some are over 6 feet tall and some are only half that because I pruned the front ones back in June. I like flowers to start from 3 ft and continue up to 6ft instead of lanky dead stems at the bottom with flowers so high up I can't see them. Aster foliage is unsightly for the first two or three feet so it needs to be hidden.

I have more in the garden directly across.
Some are the same pink color and some are purple

Here is one of the purple flowers way up in front of the garden that escaped my removal efforts.

I noticed it earlier in the season and cut it way back so it's blooming quite short.

These late blooming, daisy-like flowers attract tons of bees, butterflies and moths. I don't want them taking over, but I would not want be totally without some in my fall garden.

This will probably be my last Blooming Tuesday post because I have nothing left to bloom!

Sad on one hand, liberating on the other. The contractor will probably be finished today so I need to get out of the garden and start getting the house back in shape.

Now don't forget to head on over to Jean's Blooming Tuesday to see what everybody else has in bloom. I am on my way over there right now. For some reason I woke up at 2:00 AM and can't get back to sleep, so I finally decided to just get up and do this post. It's so wonderful to be able to go garden-hopping at 3:45 AM!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Now You See the Black-eyed Susans, Now You Don't

I took a few pictures from my bedroom window early this morning before I went out to begin my fall clean up. Since I spent a lot of time early this summer removing tons of Black-eyed Susans, I wanted to remove the few that remained up front before they seeded all over the place.

I removed 5 wheelbarrow loads of them plus daylily foliage and some phlox.

Here is the area next to the main arbor after removal. You can see the green foliage up front, but the flowers are all gone.

Here is another view after I removed the Black-eyed Susans from the front of the border. I think it looks so much nicer without them. I like them in the back of this garden, but not so much up front.

Earlier this year I moved a bunch of colchium (sometimes called fall crocus) to this area under the smaller arbor. Their bloom has been quite disappointing. They were much nicer back in the rockwall garden--much larger. . . this year some insect has been eating the flower before it even opened. I will leave them one more year to see if they improve.

I am happy that my Mandevilla vine is still blooming. It has climbed all the way to the center top of this arbor! I really hope I can save it for next year!

I have a few very astute readers (especially you, Dianne! :) ) who may wonder what happened to the black-stemmed Elephant Ears that I had next to this arbor. I removed it today because it was really going downhill because of the cold nights. I cut it way back and put it on the deck where it is shielded from the harsh nighttime temperatures.
I will be storing it in the crawl space this winter, but it is a bit too early to put it there.

Tomorrow I will show you the last bloomers that are just beginning in my garden.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I am Tired of this White Stuff Already

No, I am not talking about snow! Even in Michigan it's too early for that.

Here's clue #1:
This trailer has been parked at the end of my front yard for the past week.
Clue #2:
After work last night we went out to purchase our weekend entertainment.

You guessed it... the contractor finally started replacing windows, doors, drywalling, etc.

Today we had to begin our huge painting project--every room and ceiling in the house will be repainted and DH and I are doing it all. I have decided that all moldings, window casings, etc. will be pure white. I have not yet decided on wall colors.

The hallway floor has been finished and today we are painting the shelves for the tiny pantry we have at the other end of this hall. I primed the shelves early this morning with Kilz and DH painted them while I made dinner.
Of course, all of the food that goes on these shelves is sitting in plastic bins on my kitchen floor.

Next week, they will be replacing all of the doors in that hallway with 9-panel doors, which will be painted pure white. The contractor will be painting the doors, but we will do everything else.

These doors are also being replaced. I am saving these to paint in outrageous colors to use in my garden! What fun I will have with these next year!

The drywall guy has been missing in action since last Monday. I expected to be cleaning drywall dust this weekend, but the guy never came back to finish this wall and the dining room walls. I guess he has been on other projects and Friday he was home with a sore back.
He is supposed to return on Monday.

I hope you are all doing something more fun this weekend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A New Use for my Vintage Metal File Drawers

I have an old piece of junk, vintage metal file drawer that has been sitting empty since floppy disks became obsolete. At one time, it held all my 3.5-inch floppies that stored everything from my recipes to my garden pictures. Now just one of these holds close to 500 of those floppies.

Last night I was cleaning some chives to freeze for the winter. I thought how much I was going to miss going out to the deck to chop off a sprig of fresh herb while cooking dinner.

Then I thought why not bring them inside? I washed them off in the kitchen sink, then wrapped the plastic pot in paper grocery bags and stuck each inside one metal drawer.

I made a label for each, which really brought the old metal to life. Now I have fresh herbs right at my fingertips. Let's hope they take a liking to their new home!

My sister and I just returned from a Harvest dinner at our local VFW. Both my mom and dad were volunteering for the event. We had a nice meal of fresh veggies, pork, beef and homemade pies.

There's dad back in the kitchen hand washing dishes for about 200 people! Yesterday he and Mom spent all day there with the other volunteers preparing the veggies, cooking, etc. Tonight mom was one of the wait staff.

My sister and I are members, too, but we have no time (or desire) to do all that work. We each donated 12 lbs of carrots, & bought a ticket to the dinner. That is more than 80% of the members do!

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