Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What is it with January?!?

The Chief's BIL died of his cancer in mid-January and his widow, the Chief's sister, was put on hospice for hers at about the same time. This is 3 years running that we've had loved ones die, nearly all of them from cancer, in January.  And the Chief's mother got her terminal diagnosis in January.  T.S. Eliot was wrong: April isn't the cruelest month; January is, at least for us.

This year's garden

Our neighbor to the south had to take down a big maple that was between our driveways.  We were hoping that would mean more sun on the tomato bed, but it doesn't look like that'll be the case.  Oh well, I put in 5 tomato plants anyway:  2 Sweet 100s, 1 golden (something), a Steakhouse, and another larger variety.  I also planted an onion that had sprouted; we'll see if it actually grows.

No purslane or sunflowers this year; instead, I've got lantana in the pot I used for lantana last year, and 2 other colors of lantana in the majolica planters that had sunflowers last year.  I'm looking forward to LOTS of butterflies and hummingbirds this year! 😊

I'm putting just 4 pots on the front steps this year.  One pair has angelonia, a tall white flower; melampodium, a short yellow one, and a "quartz mix" verbena that I hope will sort of split the difference between the angelonia and melampodium.  The other pair of flower pots has marigolds from last year's seeds.  I was delighted (and relieved) to see that the seeds started sprouting just a few days after planting.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they do.  One thing's for sure; as long as I keep harvesting seeds and am happy with the varieties I've got, I'll never have to buy marigolds again.

The biggest project so far was digging up a considerable section of the front corner of the yard next to the driveway and a smaller corner by the front door and putting in 21 ice plants (3 or 4 different varieties).  Eventually I want to have the whole patch planted with ice plant so it doesn't need mowing, but that's going to take a few years.  Buying enough plants for the whole patch -  as many as 100 bedding plants! - is more than I want to tackle (or spend) in a single year!

I have two pots of citronella, sold as "mosquito plant".  Maybe it'll keep 'em away, maybe not, but if they don't, at least I'll have 2 pretty plants that smell nice.  I also have some herbs.  My established oregano came back even after it got deadheaded last fall, and I also got a tiny seedling of a syrian variety of it from the local listserv.  I'm trying rosemary yet again, in the same spot as last year.  (I'm ever the optimist.)  In addition, I've got 2 curly parsley plants, 2 basil plants, some thyme, and I want to get some mint to replace the spearmint, which didn't come back this year.

The newest garden project was the Chief's idea.  The grill was so badly rusted out that we had to buy a new one.  We hadn't gotten as far as figuring out what to do with the old one when the Chief saw the flat of bedding plants I had set on the shelf of the old grill and decided to turn the old grill into a planter.  He got some sheet metal to reinforce the bottom and cover the rusted-out places that would be below the dirt line, chose purple for the paint, and is leaving it to me to decide what to plant.  Because he wants to leave the grill in a spot n the backyard that gets shade most of the day, I'll probably go with some combination of begonias, impatiens, coleus, maybe some torenia or asparagus fern.

When you're retired...

Oh, the joys of retirement.  The Chief had his one-year post-op checkup today, after which we stopped for a nice, leisurely lunch.  SO nice to be able to do that sort of thing without having to take time off work. 😊