Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Welcome to July…

It’s July.  Where is the summer going and why is it going so fast?  I need a way to slow things down, isn’t it supposed to be the lazy days of summer???

The rain took out my milkweed jungle, rather the torrents of rain and wind that came with some severe storms did.  I tried to prop it back up, but it just didn’t work.  Now it looks messy and the sweet smell has drifted away.


The bee balm continues to bloom and attract lots of hummingbirds, the pink bee balm has had bees and butterflies on it.  Out of the mess the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod have appeared and will hopefully get a chance to bloom without being eaten by the deer.  They are eating things fast this year, I spray it rains, they eat. 

Case in point.  I noticed that my yellow daylily and my Cherokee daylily were close to blooming so I sprayed them.


Today when I went to see if they were blooming or not…


That’s what I found, it’s so frustrating.  I’ve got to get the rest of my plants moved this fall.

So far they haven’t reached my daylily called Joan, if they do at least I got to see it bloom!


Oddly enough they are eating my bonset this year, I wouldn’t think they’d like that it has very fuzzy leaves but..


It is usually a good five feet tall by now.  Sad, I guess it will have to be moved as well.  I’m thinking that a lot of the stuff at the front of the driveway and at the porch is going to end up at the deck bed and the deck bed stuff is going to end up in the shade beds.  That deck area is about the only place that gets enough sun to support all these plants.  Well, the former bee garden gets sun too, but that may end up as something totally different in the coming years.

I went out to do some weeding the other day, taking Tucker and Cooper with me and was trying to decide where to start.  I settled on the deck bed, thinking that I really need to keep after the jewel weed.  So I kneeled down and


decided on another location after almost grabbing this lovely visitor!  At least five feet long, it wasn’t too bothered by my presence, just kept laying there, but I suspect had I grabbed it or stepped on it that would have been a different story!

There are so many insects which you know is fine by me as long as they aren’t munching on me! What I have seen a lot of this year are these lovely garden spiders.


I haven’t looked up what kind they are exactly but they are all over.  Being the kind of person that doesn’t want to wreck their homes I weed around them and do my best not to mess up their webs.  They are really very lovely!

The damselflies are back, I’ve not gotten a good picture but I’ve got dragonflies galore too!



Nature just never ceases to amaze and delight me, except the deer, they just really frustrate me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A vanilla scented jungle..


Complete with wild animals that lounge in tree tops…

Walk out my front door into the humid air and the aroma of vanilla wafts all around you.  It surrounds you, it makes you think of some wonderfully tropical place.


The source of the heavenly scent an unruly patch of milkweed, just plain old milkweed. 


Mixed in with the milkweed are two types of bee balm and this little unruly patch is playing host to so many bumblebees, butterflies and other pollinators that I wouldn’t dream of changing one plant of it!  Thankfully, I don’t live anywhere with an HOA!

The gardens are a weed filled mess, the humidity has just been brutal and having Tucker has made it pretty much impossible to go outside and pull weeds.  He has a tendency to eat, well, anything he can get in his mouth.

The area behind the pond looks so cool and inviting, oh what I wouldn’t give if all the fenced in area was free and clear with paths to meander on, which only a few weeds to pull here and there.


I see this and I see so much potential for it to fill in and be beautiful, but maybe you have to be a gardener to have that vision.



The bed along the deck is bursting with hosta on one end, jewel weed in the middle and daylilies on the other end.


This is another spot that I see so much potential, SO much work, but so much potential.


Forego, please, looking at the massive weed patch in the background and focus on the ferns.  After living with these for a while now, we’ve decided that we don’t like them there.  We love the idea of some plantings but not those ferns, something lower, maybe something with color, just not the ferns.

I guess what I need most is cooler temperatures and time, lots and lots of time!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cooper’s Big News, Tucker is getting big!

The BIG news this week, Cooper turned 2!!! 


I am happy to say that he is still a big puppy head and that turning 2 years old did not seem to phase him.  As you can see, he was quite excited about his birthday cake and tried to convince me to let him eat it all in one bite!  That did not happen.

The heat and humidity have been brutal for the last couple of weeks.  It’s kept us inside for the most part which is okay, since Tucker isn’t quite ready for full on running with Cooper yet; which is what happens when they both go out back together!

Tucker is growing so fast!


I swear some days I can hear him getting bigger.  He started puppy kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and did a puppy play date on Saturday.  Tucker is NOT like Cooper at all.  While he doesn’t mind other dogs and isn’t fearful of them, he’s not the maniac about playing that Cooper is. He is apparently far more casual about the whole thing and can take it or leave it.  Randy has been taking him solo, our niece did go the two Sundays she was here; it was “cool” she said.  I enjoy my Sunday evenings of down time, Tucker and Cooper together are a full time job!  So that time with Cooper, even if he is frustrated that Tucker went for a ride without him, is nice.


These two play hard and they crash hard, and those ‘crashes’ are about the only free time I get to do my normal household stuff.  As long as Cooper remains in the same room with Tucker it’s all good, but let Cooper get up to see what I’m doing and Tucker says hey, don’t forget me!  Tucker is also very, very good about letting you know he needs to go out.  The only downside is that since they play so hard, they drink more water, which means more trips outside.  I counted the other day it was like 18 times before Randy got home.  I’m so proud of Tucker though, I’d rather take him out 180 times (well not really!) than clean up puppy piles inside.


Cooper is amazingly tolerant of Tucker’s insanity.  There are occasionally some ‘discussions’ over toys or bones because one of them always wants what the other one has.  Typically it’s Tucker giving Cooper a lot of lip because he wants what Cooper has.  If I can ever get a video of that, I’ll be sure to share!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hounds & Hosta..

I can’t believe that it is almost June.  Things are growing so fast and I’m not just talking about the plants either!  When we brought Tucker home he was only 15 pounds, at last check in he was almost 23 pounds!


It is amazing how fast they grow and it makes life a little challenging when he isn’t keen on going down the porch steps to go out, my arms are getting some serious workouts.  We introduced him to his crate and it’s going remarkably well.  Except…

May 18 2015 (3)

Ally is pretty sure that she is supposed to be in there!  It’s funny when she goes in because he will stand outside and bark at her, he will not set a foot in there at all.  Today we had him outside with us while we were doing yard work and he decided he’d had enough.  Randy said he walked around the house and up onto the porch.  He opened the door and he said Tucker went right to his crate and flopped down.  He stayed in there for about an hour and a half sleeping while we kept working.  It’s the first time we’ve ever had a puppy that liked his crate!

Cooper loves Tucker, I’ll admit I’m a little jealous!

May 19 2015 (6)

He is so good with him and except for the occasional need to tell Cooper easy, they play so well together.  I look forward to Tucker being a little bigger and being able to run and play a little harder with Cooper.

May 18 2015 (5)

They do a lot of mouth play which to some would seem scary, but it’s just a dog thing.  Dakota and Zoe did the same thing when they were puppies together.  Caught in the act though the look they gave me was priceless..

May 18 2015 (1)

May 21 2015 (3)

The house is scattered with dog toys and is pretty much a disaster zone, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!  Seeing them play together, having them both cuddled next to me on the sofa is just the best thing in the world.  Plus they are so stinking cute you can’t help but smile! <3

Needless to say the outside chores have fallen to the wayside.  So spending some time outside this weekend was pretty nice.  I got a lot of jewel weed pulled out of the bed at the deck.  What I love though is looking down and seeing hosta, real honest to goodness hosta, with leaves!


That one in the right corner is huge, I’m talking giant and it’s so cool to see!  I didn’t even know I had a hosta that big!


We spread the mulch that was left in the driveway today, some made it to this bed but I’ll need more to finish it off.  Randy decided he wanted to plant something in this bed.


I’ve had this Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood for several years, growing in this pot.  I couldn’t plant it because the deer ate it to nothing but sticks.  So I kept it on the deck where they couldn’t get to it.  Now that the fence is in place it’s time for it to find a home and he chose the spot between the two decks.  It doesn’t get much more than 8’ tall and the spread is minimal, so this will be a great spot for it. 

May 24 2015 (2)

Sweet dreams…

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cause everybody needs a friend..

It’s been a week since we brought home our newest edition.  As first weeks go, it was a pretty good one.  Our biggest dilemma was what to name our new edition because we’d thought it was going to be a girl, turns out the one that picked us was a boy.

Meet Tucker.

May 2 2015 (3) 

This very serious looking little man is a blue Great Dane and as of today he’s all of 9 weeks old.

We weren’t too sure how Cooper was going to be with his new sibling, at first he was a maniac and so excited we couldn’t trust to leave Tucker on the floor.  After a day or so, maybe Cooper realized he was going to stay he started to calm down and after a few more they started to play nicely together.Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (55)

They both enjoy chewing on the various antlers but of course there is one that they both always seem to want.

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (51)

Tucker likes sleeping on Cooper.  Cooper is not so sure about that.

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (43)

Watching them with their mouthy dog play is both entertaining and nerve-racking.  Cooper’s mouth is as big as Tuckers entire head.  Tucker also really loves grabbing Cooper’s lip!

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (70)

The best thing so far though as been watching tug of war become part of their play time!  The very first time, Cooper pretty much tossed Tucker across the living room and it was a little surprising for all involved.  After that though, Cooper has been so gentle and basically just lets Tucker tug and tug to his hearts content. 

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (62)

Watching these two as Tucker grows is going to be very entertaining!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Ugly, The Bad & The Good…

..well let’s hope that you’ve learned your lesson this time…
*warning lots of pictures*
We will start with the ugly.  These are the things that should never be done!
It didn’t occur to anyone to put down a tarp for the crush and run or the mulch?  So into the driveway it went, the reason I say this is ugly because now our driveway is full of mulch and crush and run and it will have to be raked with the stone rake on the tractor.  Next in an attempt to clean it up, they blew mulch and GRAVEL into my flower bed, that now I have to rake out! 
Remember this beautiful picture?
Even with the leaves, the woodland poppies and daffodils were pretty.  Well that’s not the case now..
Instead of removing leaves by rake or by hand they chose a jet engine and guess what, it decapitated almost all of my flowers.  Were it not for the two glasses of wine I’ve already had this post would be filled with some very colorful language!
Long before any work was started I spent a few hours cleaning the pine bark path off, by hand.  All the leaves had been removed, but I guess that wasn’t good enough as someone blew all the pine bark away.
And buried the plants in the back with at least some of it…
Here you can see the gravel and the crap piled up around the base of the daffodils, the entire front half of the bed is like that where they blew it in an attempt to clean up the mess of mulch and crush and run.
The bed in the the middle of the driveway didn’t fair much better heavy blowing left a lot of my plants bent over, some will recover this season, many won’t.  The mulch was dumped and buried some plants completely and others partially.  Broken and uprooted flowers fill this bed and the one at the front porch and it breaks my heart.  It will take me days to sort through all of this and I've got to get the mulch away from the crowns of the plants so they don't rot.
Now for the bad..
Two pine trees, one they ignore, one they mulch??
Nit picky?  Maybe.  I don’t like that they dumped small pieces behind the wall or that they stacked small pieces on top of the wall.  Just ask me where I want them instead of leaving me more work!  I asked did they need another pallet of stone, no he said.  Yes! they did so that the top stones would be large ones.  I'd rather have extra left over than this.  I told them they would need to back fill in a few spots, no they said we won’t.  Guess what, yeah it needs to be back filled which means us hauling dirt from the pile..Oh yeah about that pile.


They said there wouldn’t be much dirt and sod, they said we could reuse the sod because they were using a sod cutter. Next they asked where to put the extra dirt.  The back corner I said, but don’t leave a huge pile as Cooper runs back there. Oh no we won’t do that,  I was told that they were going to rake it out but when faced with the task, they asked if they could use our tractor to take care of it.  Seriously??  So now Randy will be cleaning up that mess, the driveway mess.

I had asked for them to remove the pachysandra and been told yes, but then when I brought it up was told that he hadn’t planned on doing that but would mulch I said that makes no sense!  The weeds and the pachysandra need to come out before spreading mulch. (Not that I was jazzed at the idea of them spreading mulch in this bed after the fiasco in the front!)
So and Randy took care of removing the pachysandra in about 10 minutes.
The good…
The beds that were edged, that didn’t have many plants were mulched nicely and look fantastic.  The two maples they planted are great too.
He had a great idea and transplanted a bunch of my ostrich ferns to ensconce the fire pit.  They were so pretty waving in the breeze and I like that it softens the wall and I love the smell of ferns!
Wow, wow, wow!  This area is totally transformed and I love it.  Yes I can still see the heat pumps peeking through those poor azaleas that have been eating to death by the deer but hopefully they will leaf out some more.  I love the border, I love the plantings I just love all of it!  I have hated staring at that wall for years!
This border is wonderful, not happy with a few bits and pieces of it, but overall this turned out great and does what I needed; it makes it easier to mow around, will keep the mulch in and looks nice!

What I’ve learned from all of this is that it can be a landscaper, landscape designer or even a landscape architect.  It doesn’t seem to matter at all who I call, it all ends the same way, me just not being completely happy, especially with mulching.  I get it really I do, no one and I mean no one (except maybe my Mom!) is going to do things the way I do.  I’ve often joked that I learned gardening through osmosis, as my Mom had me in the dirt as far back as I can remember.  I’ve worked at nurseries and I’ve gardened to some extent for at least the last 30 years of my life, so I’ve got a some experience in this world.  If it’s a plain bed that has few plants, a new bed with no plants, or a need for transplants of big plants, you are probably safe. Get into detail mulching, cleaning out of beds and specific garden goals and in all seriousness, you are just better off doing it yourself.  I was so happy to get help to take care of things that I just didn’t have time to take care of.  Now I’ve got less time because I’ve got to fix the things that got messed up by the people I paid to do it right..
Lesson, seriously, learned!