Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How It Looks Here

I spent the afternoon fertilizing everything with Miracle Gro which I know is a no no for some of you but the plants love it.  Then because its that time of year that deer love to find those new green shoots, I gave the tastiest greens a third dose of Liquid Fence in this month.  I find I need to do it often in the early spring because the greens like the hostas and day lilies are growing so fast.  Also I'm training the deer visitors for this year to stay away.  Liquid Fence sends the message that things smell bad in my yard so stick to the woods.

So here are a few shots of how things are looking.  First the hostas in various stages of growth.  You can see the blush of green on the trees.  Won't be long before they're in full leaf.
 See the bird house in the background.  I hung that up today and went in to get something else.  When I returned the chickadee was already checking it out.

 You can see the smudges of liquid fence on the hostas below.

These hostas next to the stone wall of the house are the farthest along.

 Fiddle heads!

 Love the bleeding heart!

 In the vegetable garden the mesclun,
 the tatsoi,
 the snow peas,

 the bok choy,
 one of four broccoli,
 and blueberry blossoms which mean blueberries this year.
 In this bed I planted a second sowing of carrots and snow peas yesterday.
 The spinach bed.
 And I did have frost damage the other day.  It killed off the volunteer pumpkins and tomatoes and damaged this hydrangea.

Finally, the gold fish are alive and well until we have a visit from a great blue heron again.  The visit last spring wiped out most of them except for the ones who knew to hide.  They have multiplied and now are available again to that bird.





Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Update on My Reading

I made a resolution at the beginning of the year to read my way through Agatha Christie's wealth of novels.  I decided to tackle the Miss Marple series first. 

Yesterday evening I started The Murder at the Vicarage which will make the ninth book.  I was at the library yesterday and checked out two others featuring the talents of Miss Marple.  They are quick reads for me so I get two or three when I go to the library.

I wanted to tell you, too about an author whose books I've enjoyed.  I know I've mentioned her before: Kate Morton.  What brings her to mind again is that I finished her very first book The House at Riverton which I'm glad to say I read last.  If I'd read this one first I don't think I would have bothered to find her other books.  Of the three The Forgotten Garden remains one of my all time favorites and I've read it twice!  Her last book The Distant Hours was again quite a feat of story telling with unexpected twists and turns.  Thinking back on it now I recall the unsettling feelings that it left me as I read it.  I'm not saying don't read it.  Just be prepared.  Almost a horror story but nothing supernatural just real life.

That's my update.  What have you been reading that you want to recommend to me?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Tuteur

When redoing the rocks around the clematis bed in the center of the perennial garden I discovered the tag for the clematis and learned that it grows to 12 feet.  The trellis I had for it was no where near that height so I went looking for something else for it to grow on.  I've been wanting to do something with the downed wood I have around the property so when I happened upon this description of a rustic tuteur I knew I had found what I needed.

This afternoon Dan built it for me and I was the carpenter's helper.  I couldn't have done it by myself.  It definitely requires 4 hands. We modified the directions because it was easier to give it stability by putting on the cross pieces below before screwing the tops together.  We used large rubber bands to hold the tops together.  Also I wanted the tuteur to go higher than where we connected it because one of my branches was 13 feet tall.  I thought it looked more interesting with the branches going on in different directions.  I haven't added twine because that's just for looks.  I may still do that.

Once I got it into the garden I discovered we had made it wider at the base than the clematis bed so I had to rebuild that rock wall.
I transplanted some forget me knots into this bed.


 I've placed flat rocks around the clematis to keep its roots cool.  I also helped it to climb by tying the top of the vine to the post.  I hope it makes it to the top this year.
Here it is looking west.  The bed on the left has had the rock walls straightened.  The one on the right is next to do.
 
 Here's how I do this task.  Run a line. Sit on my bench and bend over to move the rocks in place.  Weed the bed while I'm down there.
 Look what's blooming now!



Thursday, March 22, 2012

What has Sprung this Spring?

70º today.  Into the 80ºs tomorrow.  You call this spring? 

I took a walk around to capture what is showing itself in the gardens.  I was pleasantly surprised with some of my finds.  Here's an assortment of what has sprung.
Inside the tomatoes, basil and peppers are doing just fine.



Outside I've been slowly working my way around the perennial beds straightening the rock borders.  I've done three of 8 so far.  Washing screens took up a lot of outside work time this afternoon.
Found sprung: bleeding heart.  Here's one of three I have.

 Some daffodils are spent but other varieties are just coming into their own. 

 I should remember the name of this wild flower but right now the name escapes me.  This was a surprise I found today.

 My one and only rose is leafing out.
 Hostas are in varying stages of new growth.  This one is next to the house so its farther along.
 Another daffodil along the glen.  For some reason ...
 these daffodils turn their faces away from the house.  Well, I guess they like to face the south.
 This daffodil was newly planted last fall and at first I wasn't sure they would even come up.
 They did and this one has a trumpet problem.
 In the vegetable garden I have a decision to make about volunteer pumpkins.  They are coming from a pie pumpkin that daughter, Emily roasted here at Thanksgiving.
 My bed of broccoli.
 Wintered over spinach in the bed where new spinach has germinated.
 Assorted lettuces.
 Snow peas.
 Garlic.
 Pak choi.

 In the front garden the daffodils have started to bloom and
 hydrangea is leafing out.  I didn't trim it back yet this year and may not or if I do not as drastically as in the past.
 More hostas.
 And finally the pond garden.  This is a chore I started last week but didn't finish.  I managed to cut down all but a few cat tails.  I haven't trimmed the water irises or the Siberian irises.  I may have plants to move too if we build a deck to the right side over looking the pond.


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