Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nice little nap

I rarely nap - kinda frowned on at work, and by the time I get home, there's no time. Today, though, I came home with a migraine. I'd taken some medication for it, but it hadn't reLly kicked in yet, so I lay down for a bit when I got home. Boy, was that the right thing to do! When I got up, not only was the migraine gone but I actually felt rested. (A "migraine nap" usually just chases the migraine without actually being restful.). Here's hoping I'm able to sleep tonight...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Guinness bread

Made a second batch of Guinness bread tonight.  BOY, does the house smell fantastic!  I find I love making soda breads - you get that fantastic baking-bread aroma without the hours a yeast bread requires.

Last time I made a free-form loaf; this time I used a loaf pan.  We'll find out tomorrow at breakfast whether it affects the taste, or merely the shape of the final product.

Spending the weekend in the garden (or trying to)

The Chief and I spent most of the weekend in the yard.  He spent yesterday afternoon making a bit more progress in the shed, while I hit the nursery and came home with a coupla trays of bedding plants and a head full of ideas.

It seems the seed impatiens that have been the mainstay of the bed by the front door are victims of a downy mildew.  Apparently this nasty little bug is airborne and can spread for miles; worse, it can last in the soil for 5 years!  The nursery staffer who told me about it said that's why they wouldn't be carrying seed impatiens.  The good news, however, is that new guinea impatiens isn't bothered by this plague, so we can still have vivid color in our shady spots.  I'm also trying begonias for the first time.

The Chief and I are also trying something else new - roses.  We bought 2 climbers for the north side of the house.  Since a few nearby trees have been trimmed a LOT over the years, between storms and arborists, I think we'll get enough light that they'll do OK. The Chief put in a little arbor on that side of the house a few years ago, so this afternoon we planted on rose on either side.  He let me pick the colors.  The nursery didn't offer a lot of color choices in climbers, but I decided to get 2 different roses.  Valentine's Day promises a profusion of small, vivid-red flowers, while Purple Splash should have larger, very fragrant flowers.  We also have a bracket on the arbor for a hummingbird feeder - with any luck, we'll get more hummingbirds this summer, attracted by the roses.

What else are we growing?  The "impatiens bed" is getting one new guinea impatiens, some begonias, and a low, foliage plant called hypoestes.  It'll be interesting to see how they do.  It may be too sunny for them until the trees leaf out; I hope they don't get sunburned.

The planters for the deck railing are getting a geranium, 2 white cosmos flowers, lobelia, a couple of really lovely coleus varieties (colei?) - finger paint and kiwi fern - some miniature sweet william ("wee willie") and a superbell variety called "lemon slice".  I'm looking forward to seeing how those look once they get established.  I had bought a spreading torinia but decided the planters would be too crowded, so the torinia is now nestled between a couple of azaleas, where it should get enough shade to protect it.

I was delighted to see that one of the 2 peonies we planted last year and which didn't do well at all is coming back this year.  We've got our fingers crossed that it'll actually manage to bloom this year.

Also back for a return engagement:  my oregano (its 3rd summer, so I'm starting to believe it'll be a true perennial), rosemary, spearmint, and parsley.  The spearmint & rosemary spent the winter in planters under the deck, where we secured them before Hurricane Sandy last fall.  The spearmint survived despite a few inches of standing water in the pot - that's some hardy stuff!  The rosemary turned dark reddish when the weather got cold, but it's starting to look a bit greener now and is getting new foliage.

I bought another basil and a thyme plant today.  Those will go into one or two planters; haven't decided yet.  I want to give the basil plenty of room to spread, so maybe I'll put the thyme in the other end of the rectangular planter the rosemary is in.

The windowboxes on the shed will get begonias, a new guinea impatiens, a dahlia and a spreading torinia.  I may let the Chief plant those himself so he can have the fun of playing in the dirt too.

Missing Mom

This is the time of year I used to call Mom most often, with updates on the latest signs of spring in the neighborhood - first the early bulbs, then the bradford pears, forsythia, etc.  And of course telling her about my latest purchases for the garden - which flowers I was planting where, how they were doing.

This year's purchases include the "obligatory" red flowers - a geranium for one of the railing planters and a new guinea impatiens as one of the flowers for the front bed (which is getting an assortment this year).

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Finally playing in the dirt

Yesterday it was finally mild enough that the Chief and I could go out and play in the dirt.  We dug up the patch where I tried to grow squash last year, sifting through the dirt to look for and remove squash borer grubs.  I've got some seeds saved from a butternut squash that I'm trying to start indoors.  If they germinate, they'll go into that patch. Now that I have a better idea of what to look for, I'm hoping the squash borers will leave my plants alone this year.

We also did some cleaning up - raking up leaves, cutting back ivy & vinca, doing a good bit of weeding.  I also planted one little phlox plant in the bed next to the driveway.  I hope the ice plant doesn't crowd it out.

The Chief has some anemone (bulbs? corms?) that he bought a couple of years ago.  We'll finally get those babies into the ground sometime this week and hope they grow.

I've had a pretty high mortality rate among my bulbs.  I don't know if something ate them or they died of thirst, but we plan to buy a big batch this fall and hope they come up next spring.