Sunday, September 29, 2013

Teenage Head Vase with Limelight Hydrangea and Aqua Teapot Dahlia Bouquets

We had great weather for working outside this weekend.

I cut down some deck flowers to make this dahlia bouquet in a vintage aqua tea pot for my living room.

On the opposite side of the room, I cut one perfect 'Limelight' hydrangea to put in my vintage teenage head vase.
I think that hydrangeas are the perfect flower for head vases---and so easy--just snip off one flower and you are done!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Beginning of a New Border

The 15 trees are now gone

and we are beginning to redo the first big border in the front of the house where the apple tree once stood.  DH removed all the old plants and  hauled 15 wheelbarrows of new top soil to this area.  We bought a lot of shrubs and decided on this layout:
Tomorrow while I am work, he will plant them. On the side you see here, I am using the same shrubs that I have in front of the house--Ninebark and mophead false cypress--I love the form and the bright green/yellow color of the false cypress.  To the side on your right, near the perennial gardens, I have two 'Limelight' hydrangeas.  I have a third 'Limelight' on the left side.  On the backside facing the road,  we are going to plant burning bushes.  That whole side will be flaming red each fall.  My plan is to have a border requiring very little maintenance.  While the shrubs are so small,  I will fill in between with waves of Sedum 'Autumn Joy'.  This will carry over the masses of pink I have in front of the house.

So that's my plan..................always subject to change. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Only Six Trees Left to Remove

The tree company called DH on Friday morning and said they  had a cancellation....would he like them to start at 8:00 am on Friday?   Of course, he did.  I came home from work to these scenes:

Big heavy truck on my front lawn...........
It's amazing that the white pads they put down for the truck to drive on, actually worked and there was no lawn damage.

I saw a pile of tree branches, but by the time I got home, they had already hauled away two truckloads of debris, so it did not look bad.

This is all that was left of the apple tree:

It seems that apple tree trunks are a  popular commodity ... neighbors came down asking if they could have the trunks...of course, nobody offered to cut the tree down in exchange for the wood, but if we were paying to have it cut down, suddenly everyone wanted it! :)  I guess it's used for adding flavor when BBQing.  We gave it to whomever was the first person to ask...

At the end of the work day, there was only six trees left to cut down.  They will come back on Monday to finish.

Right now I am feeling ambivalent....there is so much work we will have to do next year...Removing the apple tree has totally changed that border....the path that led to a bench is now in the wrong place...etc. etc. etc.  Where I used to have shade, I now have full sun... We need to bring in new top soil....etc. etc. etc.  It's overwhelming! 

Rather than think about all the work I will soon have, I went out on the deck and cut down most of the Trebbiano dahlias that were blooming so I could bring them inside to enjoy over the weekend.  I made this quick centerpiece for my dining room table:

My next project is to change the dining room chair covers to something more autumn-ish...maybe tomorrow..............

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Going, Going....Soon to be Gone!

The tree company called today and they have us scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week.  I can't tell you how thrilled I will be when all of these trees are gone and all of the stumps are ground out.  I may even take a vacation day to savor the experience.
These two are in the front yard.

All of these are in my main perennial garden areas.

There are two more on the right side that you can't see here.  We will be removing the arbor and a lot of the remaining flowers this weekend so they don't get damaged. 

My large Tropicana containers at work finally started to flower a few weeks ago:
I have also allowed the coleus to bloom (during the summer I keep the blooms pinched off). We have had a couple mornings of frost, but so far these tender tropicals have survived.  The overhang protects them a bit.
DH sold one of my favorite flower containers last week.  It turns out the old Tonka truck is worth about $50 to our local vintage shop buyer.  He was thrilled with the condition of this 1960's toy (very difficult to find them with the white rails):
I was happy to get rid of it, too.  We are trying to downsize our basement possessions.

Hope you have all been well and are enjoying the cooler weather--although today is supposed to be in the 80's here.  Two nights ago it was in the low 30's--today the 80's.  We never know from week to week what we will get!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Impulse Purchase Put to Use

I just know some of you are wondering what the heck I did with that metal thing with the bird on top. Remember I showed this to you a few days ago?
Well, I found a spot to hang it in the kitchen and I clipped a few magazine pages to it for future meal inspiration.  It looked like a mess--ripped out magazine clippings hung on the wall--was not even cute.  . . sorry, did not a pic of that.

When I got up Sunday morning inspiration of another kind struck.  I went to the basement and brought up a box of my red-handled vintage kitchen utensils. I wired them to the cage.
Ta da!  I like this  much better!

DH does not need any meal inspiration. He's doing pretty good on his own.  He made square burgers to fit on the grilled bread...genius!

Ladies in the grocery store are even asking him for recipes.  Saturday an 80-something year old lady struck up a conversation in the produce aisle and was amazed that he did all the shopping and even cooked.  She asked him what he was cooking for dinner and then asked for his recipe for cucumbers in sour cream.  He got a big kick out of that.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Working Weekend at Home

I feel so good about all the work we completed this weekend. Our biggest project was removing all the shutters and repainting them.
This took most of the day today as I had to put at least four thin coats of paint on each shutter.  We do this about every five years.  As soon as I finish this post, we will go out and rehang them.

On Saturday I showed DH how to make chicken pot pies. We had to clean  all the veggies, cook them to the al dente stage,  then cook the chicken breasts, cut everything into bite-sized pieces, make a roux, and do all the clean up.  We used puff pastry so we did not have to make pie crust.   We had two for dinner (very tasty!) and froze enough for three meals later this winter.  I don't think he will ever make them on his own...he thinks they require too much work! :)  Imagine what he would think if he had to make the pie crust, too!   He just took over the cooking duties in May--grilling season. He has done a great job of grilling  all summer, but he has no idea how much effort it takes to cook winter meals. 

I am feeling autumn in the air and decided to take this lantern
and turn it into a fall display.  This is what I ended up with Saturday morning:
It was a quick fun project and goes nicely on this table under my sailboat oil painting.

I also did something with this bird cage picture holder that I bought during one of my 5:00 am shopping sprees two weeks ago. When it was delivered Saturday afternoon, I wondered whatever possessed me to buy this--I really have no pictures that I want to put on it....I did not even know where I would hang it!  The picture is misleading as it only came with 4 clothes pins.

As it turned out, I did not even use the clothes pins. I will show you on another post what I ended up doing with it.

I hope you all had a wonderful late summer weekend!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sedum Autumn Joy Turns Pink and Fraternal Twin Coleus

My Sedum Autumn Joy  has reached my favorite pink stage.

Did you notice the denim rag wreath I recently made hanging above the garage planter?

Can you also see the greenish coleus in the planter under the rag wreath?

hmmm... maybe not, so here's a close up:
It's a nice green color with red edges.

Can you believe that green/red-edged coleus is the same plant as this vibrant red one on the opposite side of the garage?

 This side gets a lot more sun than the other side which is just a few feet away.
I really like both colors. I wish I knew the name of this sawtooth-edged beauty, but when I bought it, there was no name tag.  Don't you just hate that?  I know I do!

Update:  Thanks to Eileen, who knew this was 'Henna' coleus.  I must remember this one for next year.  It is the most beautiful coleus I have ever planted.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Grasshopper on Red Dahlia & Butterflyless Buddleia

It has been a few years since I've seen one of these big grasshoppers.

My Buddleia (butterfly bush) began to bloom over a week ago and NO butterflies came around to sip its sweet nectar.  I did have a lot of  bees:

 and hummingbird moths...
but no butterflies!  What's up with that? 

Are you seeing less butterflies this year?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Trebbanio Dahlia and Toad Lily Whiskey Barrel

This year I planted my Trebbanio dahlias in two whiskey barrels on my deck.  These dahlias start out as nearly black and gradually the outer petals turn a ruby red.  I adore them! I also planted Elephant Ears and toad lilies  (Tricyrtis) in the barrels.

Last year I had the Tricyrtis along a walkway in a perennial garden. But toad lilies bloom late--at a time when I rarely walk the perennial paths, so I decided to move them up on the deck when I could enjoy them every day. I think the color goes nicely with the Trebbanio dahlias.

But ,overall, l I find these barrel planters rather blah, so I added a flamingo to one of them.

That's a bit better. :)

See the pot of pink starburst 'Park Princess' dahlias further down the deck?  Over the weekend, I moved the rain lilies that Patti from Osage Bluff sent me in January of 2012 (read the post here) and put them right underneath the dahlias.

I think they make a nice complement down on the ground level.

Today we called a tree service to get a bid on removing 13 more trees from my front yard and perennial gardens.  Whooo hoooo! Can't wait to get rid of more scruffy trees!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Black Varnish Pseuderanthemum--common name: Chocolate Plant

I finally found the name of my mystery plant! 

After a Sunday morning-to-mid-afternoon full of heavy garden work, I was sitting on the deck perusing a small stack of old garden magazines.  I opened a Garden Design mag from 2008 and immediately saw this photo:

I think I made some sort of noise as DH looked over at me to see what was up.  "I knew I would eventually find it!" I exclaimed to his questioning look.
"Find what?"
  "The rubbery black plant in my container!". 
 He still looked puzzled. 
I explained how nobody on my blog knew what this plant was and I have been Googling terms like "black leathery plant" for months trying to find out what it was.  I finally have the answer:

Here it is on my deck (lower left):

Once I had the name, I found some info on the net.  As I suspected it's perennial in warmer climates

I love the color. I doubt if I will find it for sale in my town for years to come.   For those of us who love dark-foliage, it's a pretty unique container plant. As much as I dislike trying to overwinter plants indoors, I am going to give this one a try. 

Wouldn't it would look great planted underneath this canna lily with the dark striped leaves?

I wish I had purchased a few more!
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