Archive for the ‘Garden Notes’ Category

The sun is here… but where is Spring?

Friday, April 12th, 2024

Pots at the Ready

Today marks the third Friday in a row that the Garden Girls have sadly said, “Not yet!” to my query about doing some spring flower planting.  “The ground is still frosty in the morning,” they said.  “Maybe next week.”

Hanging Baskets All In A Row

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas and I have no doubt that the seeds and bulbs feel exactly the same way.  But,  I also know they’re wanting to snuggle down into a bed of warm, inviting soil wouldn’t like their new roots crying out and curling up with cold toes.  So, in the hope that next week will be “All Systems Go,” the Garden Girls readied the geranium pots on the porch for the baby plants waiting in a nearby greenhouse, and refurbished the soil amd  fuchsias in the hanging baskets.  Fingers crossed that they wintered over successfully in the garage tucked near the protective custody of the winterized canon.

I don’t remember a spring that I’ve felt so impatient to GET GOING!  And yet… I just finished laying a fire for the Friday Nighters.  Sunny it is but definitely cold around the edges!  And, truth to tell, I was glad the Garden Girls agreed about the temperature.  I sometimes wonder if it’s just my age creaking up on me…  Not this time, apparently.

Deer and Daffodils Everywhere You Look!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2024

In the southwest corner of our garden.

The sun shines betwixt and between scattered showers.  The peepers are peeping out in the bogs and the geese and ducks are honking and quacking as they fly overhead.  And just in case you doubted the season, daffodils are everywhere.  And so are the deer.

The other day as I was driving from Nahcotta to Oysterville,  I pulled over as five (count ’em! five!) lovely doe people crossed the road in front of me.  They moved in their usual leisurely fashion and the only forewarning I had that there would be a third and then a fourth and a fifth was that the first didn’t wait for the second one and that second one wasn’t a young’un.  They were all grownup lady deer, ambling slowly, oh so slowly, across the road.

Too, more than once I’ve had to stop as I went up Wiegardt’s Hill headed for Ocean Park.   Fortunately, everyone coming and going has slowed and then waited, too There is no “Deer Crossing” sign, but the locals know.  And… while we wait (usually for only one or two in that spot) we can enjoy the bright daffodils that the Ocean Park Village Club and Tom Downer have planted along the walking path on the north side of the road.

Deer Sign on the Camellia

So far, I have seen plenty of deer sign and nibbled camellia leaves in my garden… but no deer people.  They must know when I’m otherwise occupied.  I do love to see them, but I don’t love the havoc they leave behind!  And, will I have any roses at all this summer?  I’m thinking that there are other delicious morsels coming out in the woods around town about now — but I don’t know how to convince our visitors to choose those over our garden plantings.

Thank goodness, though, that they aren’t interested in rhododendrons or poppies or peonies or daffodils or… as far as I know — nasturtiums or lilies.  At least, they leave some of my favorites alone.  More or less.

Can you hear it? The garden is calling!

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

February 20, 2024

Here it is, just a few days past the mid-point of February — often a time when we might expect a snow flurry or even some icy weather.  But, instead, it was a mild 52º outside with no wind at all — not even a zephyr!  No wonder I could actually hear the garden calling me!

I took a little walk-about, wondering if it was time yet to set up a mowing schedule (I decided not) and cursed myself for not braving the stormy weather the last few weeks to spray the camellias with deer repellant.  While I have been hunkering, the deer people have been munching.  The camellia leaves are definitely looking tatty and I have no doubt that those garden visitors have been scoping out the York Roses, as well — never mind that they are still without leaves or blooms.

I went right to work with my magic spray bottle with lots of apologies to the primroses and hydrangeas (as well as the camellias and roses) for my neglectful ways and with promises to do better in the days ahead.   Actually, the primroses look pretty good and both of the camellias are starting to blossom beautifully.  I’m so curious about that.  The last few years they began blooming in December and now they are back “on schedule” with the first blossoms coming shortly before my birthday.  Go figure.

Otherwise, things don’t look too shabby.  The daffodils are beginning to bloom and the rhododendrons are budding — the Jean Maries whispering, “We’ll see you in May! We’ll see you in May!”  And, of course, I answered, “Yes!!”  And sooner than that I’ll be out here a bit more.  Daylight Savings begins in a few weeks and it always seems to give me more time to be outside.  And four weeks from today is the first day of Spring!!   No wonder the garden is calling!


A Visit From The Deer People

Monday, October 9th, 2023

Mama Deer is just out of sight, no doubt waiting patiently…

Somehow, I felt their presence.  I was working in my office — no windows here, only book-lined walls, so it wasn’t a matter of movement catching my eye.  Nor of sound.  Just… a feeling.

I went into the bedroom and had a look out the bay windows to the north.  And there they were, a doe and her young offspring standing statue-still over on the Croquet Court (or what is probably more rightly called the Cannon Grounds these days.)  By the time I had my camera ready, Mama Deer was on the move, by then out of sight beyond the rhododendrons,  but her youngster was still foolin’ around.  “Kids will be kids!” I thought and felt a bit of motherly sympathy for Mama Deer.

Mom Checks Out Her Offspring’s Sore Leg

I rushed to the front door, went to the gate and looked up the street to see if, by then, they had both jumped the fence and were on their way.  But, no sign of them.  So I trotted up the road, past the house and looked into the Canon Grounds from the west side… and there they were!  Mom appeared to be tending to the youngster’s left leg and I wondered if this was the same little one that has been limping around town lately.  (He is definitely a young buck, as revealed by the antler buds visible in the photos I took!)

Scoping Out The Garden Goodies

They spent a while cruising the garden.  I could almost hear Mom telling her youngster about the pears that would appear on the ground after the next big windstorm.  They then ambled by both of the camellia bushes and scoped out the roses and geraniums, as well.  But, they weren’t doing any nibbling right then.  It must have been just a reconnaissance mission.

I’m pretty sure they’ll be back…

Some Days Are Like That!

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

Patricia’s Garden – 2019

Carefully considered, I do believe yesterday had many more pluses than minuses.  As a matter of fact, there was only one negative and, as it turned out, that was mostly a figment  of my imagination.  (Doncha just hate when that happens?)

The morning passed “as usual” — a few household chores, a little catching up with email, and another pass at next week’s column for the paper.  It’s not quite to my liking yet but maybe the lightening gods will visit me today.  Not “lightening” in the sense of a flash of brilliance; more the opposite of serious as in “lighten up!”  I still have a day or two. so I can but hope.

But back to yesterday — I spent the midday hours at my friend Patricia’s house — lunch and a garden tour (but forgot to take pictures, of course!) and a lot of catching up.  I especially loved seeing the latest pictures of her granddaughters and hearing the latest among her many siblings and in-laws — all areas of life that I’m not personally privy to, being as I am, an only child and also the mother of an only, unmarried child.  Thank goodness for good friends who don’t mind my vicarious clapping and cheering or (sometimes) clucking and lamenting.

Judy in her Rodeo Queen Days!

Then off to the Performing Arts Center to Judy Eron’s concert — some familiar songs, some new, and all pure Judy!  My personal favorite was her tribute to Charlie, “her very own fruitcake.”  I couldn’t help wondering how many people in the audience had been lucky enough to actually sample some of Charlie’s fruitcake — his father’s recipe — as Nyel and I had.  I think Nyel actually gave Charlie a sample of his fruitcake — in his case, his mother’s recipe! (Again, I didn’t even think of taking a picture, so entranced was I — but scored today online with one that must have been taken in her “Rodeo Queen” days!)

I drove home in the glow of friendships and laughter and music and decided to start dinner and then get back to my computer.  But… cough, sputter, rusty spurts, silence!  No hot water!  Not in the kitchen!  Not in the downstairs bathroom sinks!  Not in the bar.  I went out to listen for the pump.  Was it running?  Did I have yet another  leak?

Spiffy New Faucet

It was well after six-thirty but I called the plumber anyway.  I could at least leave a message.  But on just the second or the third ring, he answered!  Himself!  And I began to cry.  So much for Competent-Widow-Woman-In-Charge-Of-Her-Life…  Patience on his part, an explanation that he’d been here doing a little more work that we’d discussed previously, and following a few simple directions on my part and… all was well.  But doncha just HATE when that happens?

I know Nyel was nearby when I was enjoying Judy’s Fruitcake song.  I hope he was off doing something else when I was blubbering over the phone to my ever-patient plumber.  And I tried mightily to cut myself some slack. One or two plumbing disasters in a summer… maybe acceptable.  But five?  OMG! Please, please!  No more!



One thing I miss about those chickens…

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

Chickens Come Calling – 2016

Yes.  Probably just one. (I definitely wasn’t meant to be a farmer person.) What I miss is that when it gets to be late in the day and I still haven’t written my blog and my mind has gone blank… there were always chicken antics.  Or chicken disasters.  Or chicken arguments.  They were a great source of inspirational (or not) blog material.

Swallow Clean-up Project – 2023

Now…  not so much as a cluck-cluck-cluck to set the computer keys a click-click-clicking. For a few weeks, the barn swallows’ nests on the front and back porches took up a little of the slack.  But, the the front porch trio seem to have fledged and flown without even a by-your-leave.  They were cute while they lasted but they’ve given me a fine mess to clean up — certainly not worth blogging about.  And Mr. and Mrs. on the back porch with their two-story nest have made bird-watching  and bird-blogging impossible.  Clever parents good blog material do not make.

Along The West Fence – July 2023

The garden is coming along but (sh! don’t let the flowers hear me), this year it’s one of those quiet, non-spectacular gardens — not much to really blog about.  Not like Slutvana and Little Red Hen and all the other ladies of the coop.  And certainly not like those cocky, scary roosters.

Do I want another flock?  Just a small one?  Not on your tintype!  I just want to bitch and moan…


This old house takes a family…

Monday, July 10th, 2023

The First Two Sections — A Family Accomplishment!

Along the west side of our house, between the public right-of-way and the fence line, my father planted a row of Jean Marie Rhododendrons.  (Or did Nyel plant them when we first moved in?  I’ll have to look that up…)  In any case, once they became well-established they began to grow like Topsy.  (And if you remember who Topsy was, please let me know.)

Nyel-the-Rhodie-Trimmer, 2020.

For a few years, Nyel would trim them neatly in the late spring and they pretty much stayed under control.  More recently, when he was wheel-chair-bound, he and I tackled them, every spring or summer… usually.  When Marta came for summer visits, she got into the act, as well..  It was definitely a family gardening project and Nyel, being Chief Plant Guy took on the job of Quality Control.  He even made a small standing measuring stick so we could be somewhat consistent.

Today’s helper: My Little Red Wagon!

Last summer (after his death in early June), I honestly don’t remember if we gave the rhodies a thought.  Probably not because by this summer they have been threatening to block our kitchen windows and obliterate the south garden fence.  Enter Charlie and Marta — to the rescue.  Of the four sections, there is one short one — horizontally that is– to the north; two medium-sized ones; and one ominously long one at the south end of the property   The kids and I did a fine job on the short and one of the medium-length ones.  Not half of the total, but a good start.

The Final Section – for tomorrow.

Today I did the second of the medium-lengths.  It took about two hours and I can’t say it looks perfect but… it’ll do.  Tomorrow I’ll tackle the longest section in which the Dorothy Perkins Roses have intertwined themselves.  It may be a scratchy two or three-day job.  Stay tuned.

And where are those “kids” when I need them?  There have been a few interested tourists.  Perhaps I could try my Tom Sawyer routine on them…

All of A Sudden!

Monday, June 12th, 2023

York Roses

I’m sure it was just yesterday — but maybe the day before —  that I looked out our bedroom window at the tubs of York Roses and there wasn’t a blossom to be seen.  It’s been that kind of a Spring, all the way around.

But today I looked and there they were, almost bursting at their seams or whatever the equivalent of seams are for roses.  AND, I was amazed to find that they are right on schedule.   I looked back in my past blogs and saw that on June 16, 2012 I wrote:
This year the roses are finally back in full force.  They are blossoming like crazy in their tubs, their distinctive red, white, and variegated blossoms brightening our gray June days.  Three cheers and pip pip!

Dorothy Perkins Rosebuds

Apparently, my concern had been our losing battle with the Deer People.  But then I had discovered “Liquid Fence” which smells REALLY bad (but fortunately only for a few minutes to humans and more like two weeks to the deer and rabbit folks) and allows roses and hydrangeas and camelias and geraniums to flourish.

Nyel’s Peony Buds

This year my concern was just the lateness of things.  As in will we have any roses to put up at the cemetery when Charlie and Marta come and we take Nyel’s ashes up to tuck him into his place for eternity.  Traditionally — or at least for my mother and father — we took the Dorothy Perkins roses with us.  But those buds are hardly visible right now.

We  have a couple of weeks yet … and the peonies are still coming on!  Wouldn’t they be perfect?!


The Bane of My Existence

Saturday, June 10th, 2023

A Lot of Lawn!

My new lawn-mowing guru has been coming on Saturday afternoons — not my time of choice, necessarily, but “beggars can’t be choosers” as they say.  He does a good job, is reliable and, so far, I’m quite pleased that I found him.

East Hose

However, he does lead directly to “the bane of my existence” (more accurately the bane of my current existence) which is winding up our hoses to get them out of his way.  We have three of them — two very long (maybe 100 ft or so) and one quite short for the south garden.  They are all a pain in the tush for me.  I am definitely NOT a good hose-winder-upper.

North Hose

I can hear Nyel, loud and clear:  “Leave the hoses to the mower man!” but somehow that makes me feel a little guilty and I also think that hauling on those long hoses is good upper body exercise.  Are they neatly coiled and ready for their next use?  Not even close.  But, they’re out of the way for the nonce.

South Garden – More Lawn!

I looked up “bane of my existence” to see if, indeed, that’s what those hoses are. To say that something or someone is “the bane of my existence” means that the person or thing is a constant irritant or source of misery.  Well… sort of.  But I think the next part of the explanation is more to the point in the matter of my hose problem:  As a cliche, “bane of my existence” has lost its edge to a large degree over the years, and today is most often applied to something that may profoundly annoy us but is certainly bearable.

Yep.  Lost its edge.  And haven’t we all?

Signs and Peonies

Sunday, June 4th, 2023

The First Red Peony

I’m not one for believing in signs and portents…  But maybe, just maybe, there’s a message in our garden’s one red peony.  It’s the only red one.  It’s never bloomed before.  But Nyel was ever hopeful.

He had planted the peonies years ago, babying them along year after year.  Most of the plants didn’t survive and the ones that did all had white buds.  Nyel had hoped for red.  Or at least pink.  Like the ones his grandmother grew back in Idaho.

“They were always in bloom in time to be taken to the cemetery on Decoration Day,” he would tell me.  They were his favorites when he was a kid. And the lilacs, too.

Teresa at the Planter Box said our winters just aren’t cold enough here.  “Put ice cubes around them every morning in winter,” she said, but it seemed too onerous.  Nyel was determined, though, and year by year the plants grew stronger, the stems stood straighter, the buds stayed on the stems long enough to bloom, and Nyel was encouraged — even if they were all white.

Nyel’s Peony

But this year… up came one red peony.  A beauty, too.  Yet, I wanted to scream at it:  “YOU ARE TOO LATE!  NYEL’S NOT HERE ANYMORE!”  But I didn’t.  I chose, instead, to think of this as his “one year anniversary gift” to the garden and me.  Maybe next year there will be two.