Every day I pull up the weather and scan the radar for a hint of green. A sign, any sign of some rain in the forecast. Nope, not today. Even the rare thunderstorms in the area have bypassed our patch of dust. So every day I go out and and fill up my watering can and try to keep my few potted veggies alive. I’ve given up on most everything else.

The grass is so crunchy you can’t walk on it barefoot for fear of puncturing your skin. The daylilies barely bloomed and I don’t think the hydrangea will at all. The black-eyed-susans actually look depressed! Despite being desert plants the hens-and-chicks are limp and the stonecrop are shriveling. Even the tall maples that get their water from deep underground are wilted and the leaves are already yellowing. We won’t have much pretty fall foliage here this year.

I planted an expensive Japanese Maple right before the drought started. Ugh. It’s still alive but hasn’t grown at all. I can only hope I’ve watered it enough to establish good roots before winter. The jury is definitely still out on my poor brown Magnolia too. I had transplanted forsythia, from the backyard to the front, but they are now dessicated twigs. I’ll probably have to plant new ones all over again next spring, darn it!

In all of June we had only two inches of rain, and in July, barely one. At least four each would have been normal.

We’ll see what August brings, more of the same 90+ degree days or a just little bit of relief? Sheesh. This is New Hampshire, if I wanted it this hot and dry I would live in Nevada or Arizona!

ps. And just because I’m one of those people that always has to look on the darn bright side of everything, here are two silver linings: there are almost no mosquitoes when normally we are inundated, and I don’t have to mow the freaking lawn.

other people’s gardens

It’s a beautiful day today, the sun is shining and a light breeze is blowing. When we went down the road wait for the bus it was about 50 degrees. A perfect day for a long walk. As soon as I got Josh off to school I headed up the hill.

I took a slightly new route this time and I walked for just over an hour. My pedometer tells me I went 1.4 miles but Google maps says the route is 2.8 miles. Hmmm. I think I’ll believe Google this time thanks! I’m assuming since I was walking fast I was taking longer strides than what I set my pedometer for!

When I walk through neighborhoods I catch myself being a bit of a peeping tom. A typical nosy neighbor who can’t keep her eyes to herself. But it’s not people I’m looking at. (In fact the fewer people I see while I walk the happier I am.) It’s their plants, their trees, their landscape design that I’m checking out. Or lack thereof.

While I truck along I take it all in. Perfectly set rock gardens with phlox and alysum, mulched beds overflowing with gerberas and tulips, and shady spots filled with bleeding hearts and hostas. I love the big flowering trees, huge lilacs, and sweet weeping cherries. I wish I had space for all of them.

I have a soft spot for cute little japanese maples with delicate spidery red leaves. I had one at my old house and I loved it. I want one here but I haven’t figured out the perfect spot yet, and they’re expensive.

I glance a bit jealously at sunny yards, mine is so much shade. I envy the ease in which they can choose plants, everything is harder to grow on my lot and I have to carefully research what will survive here. But then I remember August and how my lawn will stay cool and green, if a bit mossy, while theirs will dry up in the heat. Maybe those people walk by my home and envy my towering pines and maples, even though they make my soil turn acid.

I keep going and I wonder at the houses with the neglected plants, weeds choking out the flowers, and overgrown bushes and dead limbs crowding my sight. Do the owners forget about it all out of hardship or just apathy? As I walk on by my brain can’t help but plan out their space. A rhododendron would be perfect here, a little trimming of the forsythia there, some grass seed to fill out the lawn.

Eventually I make it back to my own driveway. My critial eye takes in the stretch of land I work so hard on. I judge it harshly, but I remember how much worse looked when we first saw it a few years ago. I look at my thriving stonecrop and lilies and bee balm and I know I did that. I love the new butterfly bush and azaleas that I bought on mother’s day.

Other people’s gardens fascinate me, but I love my own little bit of earth.

the tulip

For some reason, I get lots of tulip greenery popping up in my garden each year, but only one ever blooms.

It’s always gorgeous.

I just wonder what’s wrong with the rest of them.

Are they intimidated?

what I did yesterday

I got my hands dirty!

And I loved every minute of it.


I had one of those great weekends where I lived my life instead of being stuck on the computer.

Friday night I spent hours at my friend Nicole’s making these for a bake sale on Saturday:

Really freaking cute but a really big pain to make! They are Bakerella’s cake pops and they were of course, a huge hit at the bake sale. (Dang, we should have charged more!) I think we did pretty well for our first try at these. The funniest part was when someone saw them and recognized them from her site!

Those chicks are so cute you could just eat’em! But no I did not. Not one single bite. Josh’s face lit up when he bit into one though, so I know they were good.

After our very successful bake sale, I had to brave that special kind of he!! known as Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon since I had put off the trip all week. I survived, but barely. What was I thinking?! You can bet I needed a nap after that!

Today we all spent most of the day outside enjoying the beautiful weather. It was 55 and sunny. Perfect for yardwork. I raked for hours, uncovering all sorts of lovely green things popping up. Including these little cuties:

One of my hens had chicks! Hee hee, you really have to go read the old post to get this. These are one of my favorite plants – partly because they are really hard to kill. Just so you know the size – those chicks no bigger than my thumb. They look larger here than they really are.

We also just had a bit of fun outside, Josh riding his bike and DH and I shooting some hoops in the driveway. Josh has been practicing his “chimney climb” and he begged me to take this photo and put it on my blog – yes, he knows I have a blog but he doesn’t really get that other people see it!

Frankly, I was pretty impressed not just that he could do it, but how long he could hold it! I’m very certain I couldn’t do that. Maybe by this time next year though. Heh.

So what did you all do this weekend? I hope you had nice weather to enjoy too!

tree frog

I did a little yard work on Sunday, cleaning up the dead tomato and cucumber plants, and putting all my gardening tools and pots away in the shed. I cursed the trees as I watched tons of leaves rain down in the few hours I was outside. Fall is my favorite time of year, and this is when you’ll find me outside most often.

The best part of the day was finding a couple of visitors – no – not the dead chipmunk George left for me. We have a lot of little frogs around, and two made an appearance as I moved their hiding places. I insisted we get a picture of one, because his gray and black markings were so cool.

Wanna see him close up?

What a cute little bugger. I’m pretty sure this on is a gray tree frog – see his sticky toes?

I love frogs and toads. When we first moved here we didn’t have any because the previous owner’s dogs had killed them all. (George completely ignores them.) We’ve watched the population grow over the last 2 years, and now we have a good healthy mix of them. I think it’s part of reason we didn’t have quite as many mosquitoes this summer as last year.

My frogs are definitely wanted visitors.

We also have some unwanted visitors – mice love our shed. Last year we made the mistake of leaving a bag of grass seed in there, and unbeknownst to us, it kept them will fed all winter long. (We don’t go in the shed in the winter, it’s only used for storing summer stuff.) We, meaning DH, cleaned out the scattered seed and the mice nests, but we’d like them to stay away. I thought about putting some moth balls in there but I’m not sure it would work. I don’t want to put traps or poison out. Going back in the spring to a bunch of decaying carcasses isn’t my idea of a good time! Any ideas how to just keep them out?

it’s kinda like, hot out

I’ve been planting tomatoes and cucumbers this morning. I bought them last week but never got a chance to put them in the ground. Unfortunately, it’s 93 degrees out right now and it’s supposed to be in the 90’s and upper 80’s all week. I was afraid if I didn’t get them planted they would burn up!

The nursery that I love, love, love had them on sale for $2 for a flat of 6! That’s just crazy talk! So now I have twelve (!) tomato plants and six cucumbers. If you’re as plant dorky as I and you’re wondering what varieties I got, I have Better Boy, which is very standard, and Arkansas Traveler, which is a pink heirloom type and I can’t wait to try it. Yum! I always love to buy heirloom tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market so I thought I might as well grow some myself.

I’m testing each of the plants in large containers on my front porch, and the rest went into the backyard. I don’t have the best property for a backyard garden, (way too many shade trees), so I’ve been wanting to try out container gardening. If you’ve done it and have any tips – let me know!

trees blooming everywhere

Over the last two weeks most of my trees have come into bloom and I been taking a few pictures. Sundays are always a good day for gardening (or like today, just plain ole yard work) and of course that always make me want to talk about gardening!

The first picture is my little mystery. It’s a very pretty little tree on the edge of the woods that looks like a scrub tree for much of the year, but for about a week it looks like this. It blooms at the same time as my flowering cherry but I don’t think it is one because the leaves don’t have serrated edges. Does anyone know what it might be?

Next up is my very traditional hot pink rhododendron. It just love it.

Okay, now here is my (formerly) least favorite bush on my property. It’s so big it might as well be a tree. Last year it was in poor shape and I thought about whacking it back to ground level and seeing if it would regenerate. At the time, I really didn’t care if it did or not. Somehow white flowers seem a little pointless. I like pinks and purples and yellows, but white? Meh. Well, I’ve changed my mind and I’m really happy I didn’t mess with it, because, just look at this white azalea:

Imagine, it’s five feet tall, and five feet wide, and completely full of flowers. Gorgeous! It’s doing much better than my poor little pink azalea in the backyard that has neither flowered or leafed out. That one might be in for the whacking instead. And no I’m not going to show you a picture of the poor thing!

Now, what flowering tree post would be complete without a lilac? Certainly not this one!

I love lilacs. I’ve wanted lilacs at every place I’ve ever lived, but never had them until now. Can’t you just smell it??

Hope you’re all having a great Memorial weekend!!

sick of gardening posts? too bad!

I’ve finally taken a photo of my namesake. (Or am I its namesake? Or does it work both ways? I could Google it but I don’t really care.)

Anyway, The catnip is up and looking quite healthy and lovely:

George doesn’t get particularly excited about the catnip until it’s dried. He’s so weird.

Yeah, whatever George, you are too.

I also took new photo of my forsythia which is FINALLY blooming. (I will be sure to back up all of my images this time.)

Isn’t it pretty! It’s just so freaking cheerful!

I couldn’t decide which image I liked best so here’s another view:

Now click on it the image to make it bigger and then look in the upper left corner. Do you see something? That’s the boy’s tree house. (The tree house we have not yet let him go up into yet. I’m paranoid, what can I say, he’s only five, and it’s really high up.)

Back to the photo. I didn’t know when I snapped the picture that the tree house would be visible but now that I see I just like how it gives some secret dimension to it, like an I Spy book or a Bev Doolittle painting. Or am I just weird too? (Don’t answer that!!)

Okay. Here’s a gratuitous pansy shot:

I don’t usually spend much money on annuals, but I was seriously pining for some color in my front yard last week. Spring in New England is tough on a blogger – I look at all these other blogs from all over the country that have had Full! Blooming! Gardens! for weeks now. It’s not freaking fair! So my pansies made me happy. Look at it, don’t you just want to slurp that big refreshing drop of water right off it?! No? Really? hmm, nevermind….

Moving on. Now that we’ve had some nice rain over the last few days I also have a small leaf purple rhododendron in full bloom. I just love this bush tree. Someone knew what they were doing when they picked out this one. It’s about seven feet tall, I can see it out my front picture window, and it’s just gorgeous. The blossoms are so delicate and smell glorious. Thanks previous homeowners!

Before I moved here, I’d never seen a Rhododendron quite like it. It’s not a typical one, that has the larger leaves and big flowers, nor is it quite an azalea with the tiny leaves. It’s weird. Like me George.

hens and chicks!

I have hens and chicks, or at least the hens! I hope to have the chicks late summer or next year.

No, I’m not a farmer, and they’re not animals. They’re plants, and they survived the winter! Yay!

This is a hen:

isn’t it pretty!? The chicks are the offspring they’ll have as they start to spread. If the hens bloom this year, and I hope so, the main plant may die off but the babies will bloom sometime in the next few years. After they’re established I should get some blooms every year. I just planted these last spring, out of my mother’s garden.

It was an experiment in this spot – that’s why I’m excited they survived the winter. I put the hen and chicks along with some stonecrop and 2 kinds of sedum (all succulents) down by the mailbox. If the rest of my property feels like a rainforest, the area near the road feels like a desert. Lots of sun, no shade, and tons of sand from the winter storms have built up to create an inhospitable environment. So I put in desert plants of course! I was afraid they didn’t make it, but on Saturday I raked away a couple inches of leaves from last fall (left there to protect them) and at least an inch or more of new sand from this winter, and there they were! Now I can invest in some more succulents knowing I’m not wasting my money.

I spent a couple hours yesterday transplanting the lilies that were hidden behind the forsythia. Finally! I moved those to the treeline near the road as well. They’ll get the sun they want but shouldn’t get burned up being near the trees. They never bloomed when they were in the back woods – of course they never got any sun – so I have no idea what color they’ll be. I have many different daylilies here, mostly variegated orange/maroon and some yellow. I don’t think I’ve seen a plain orange one yet. I’m very curious and I’ll be sure to post pictures as soon as they bloom. Cause you’re just dying to find out too, right, right? hello?


This is my rock wall:

This is my rock wall sliding down a hill. <sigh>

These are very heavy rocks. I tried to lift one and well, I’m a strong woman, but forget it.

My choices are to convince dh to rebuild it for me, uh huh, or to use what’s there as the base and get more rocks to build up. I think I’m gonna have to go with option 2.

Oh, see the little bit of green in the photo. That’s not moss. That’s the rest of my daylilies! I love them here amongst the rocks!

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