December 19, 2010

Take A Tip From Lucky

Feeling frazzled? Take a tip from my friend, Lucky. Grab your favorite toy, hold it in your mouth and roll around on your back in the snow. This method is guaranteed to release your body of the holiday tension that builds up during the month December.

Whether you're celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday or as a time for family to come together or both, I wish all of you many happy and warm moments. It's always a pleasure to visit your blogs and see what's growing in your part of the world. You're terrific people, as well as great gardeners.

December 3, 2010

Time Travel In My Garden

I didn’t get to do a lot of blogging back in the summer, so please join me as I travel back in time to visit my garden.

Euphorbia marginata, or Snow-On-The-Mountain, was looking pretty in August. They are showy plants that brighten up any area of the garden. Euphorbia marginata is native to the Midwest and regarded as a pest in some areas because of its tendency to spread.

Blooming starts in mid-summer and lasts two to three months. Each female flower becomes a pod containing one seed which “pops” open and flings the seed several feet. I’ve had these plants for a few years now and only have two or three plants come back each spring, so being invasive has not been a problem for me.

Warning: All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. Handling the plant can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction, especially when touching the white milky sap substance. Be careful to keep it away from your eyes. I’ve not experienced any problem with it and only recently became aware of the warning.

Every spring I plant one pot of Dragon Wing Begonias and then when August arrives, I'm left to wonder why I didn't plant a dozen containers because they are so pretty, bloom continuously and tolerate heat and drought.

The Black-Eyed Susan's make me happier than almost any other flower I grow. Cheerful is the best word to describe them.

This picture of P & C was taken in August, just a few days before school started. They were talking about Justin Bieber while enjoying an end of the summer Popsicle. Those are sad-looking New Guinea Impatiens in the pots. As the temperatures cooled in September, they picked up speed and put on a colorful show.

November 23, 2010

Please Pass The Turkey

Wild turkeys are native to most of Wisconsin and very abundant in our neighborhood. I put some of my turkey photos from the last few months into a Smilebox slideshow. It's my way of wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. As Erma Bombeck used to say, "Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence."
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November 16, 2010

Delicious Autumn!

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."  -  George Eliot

When I was younger and would see the leaves change color, I'd try to remember exactly how photosynthesis worked. As the years passed, I stopped trying to figure it out and decided to just let the fall colors surprise and delight me.

October 5
The fall color in my neighborhood is bright and brilliant.

October 11
Our front yard.
The color is fading and
the leaves are falling.
The bushes and plants have all been
pruned or cut down and have
begun their long winter rest.

October 15
Meadowbrook Park.
A thicket of orange and yellow Sumac.
The photo was taken at night while walking
 wooded trails lit only by jack o lanterns and luminaries.

October 23
It's getting harder to find pretty color,
but tan's not a bad color when it comes
in the form of these showy grasses.
We have four clumps of them,
two on each side of the driveway.
Not sure of the name.......
Maiden Grass, Eulalia, Chinese Silver Grass?

October 30
I've no idea the name of this ornamental tree,
but to be this pretty in late October is amazing.
The pink makes it look like spring.
It's in a neighbor's yard.

November 11
This small building has made
other appearances on my blog.
No matter the season, it catches
my eye as I drive by it.

In case you wanted a better look at what's
in the second story window, here it is.

November 11
And now we're down to this.
One solitary red apple.

November 12, 2010

Holding Hands

Sharing life for better or worse
Their hands,
worn of work and care,
have earned a living
have cooked
have wiped a feverish brow
have waved goodbye
have guided
have held on
have let go,
rest now in the comfort
of each other.

Author - Richard Sidy

To read the complete poem, go to Life's Lessons.

This is a photo of my mother holding my dad's hand in hers. It was taken during a Veteran's Program at the nursing home where my dad now lives. I don't know exactly what the future holds for them, but yesterday was a good day.

November 2, 2010

Kong - The Sunflower

The story of Kong started in April,
with seeds from the Jung Seed Co.

The seeds found their way into these
plastic cups filled with potting soil
where they grew until May, along
with pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers,
zinnias and nasturtiums.

May offered warmth and sunshine.
The two strongest little Kongs
moved outside where they shared
space with the newly planted rhubarb.

The time came when a decision had to be made.
Only one plant could stay.
I wasn't disappointed with my choice
because by July, Kong was five feet tall.

Kong grew to ten feet tall,
the leaves were getting huge
and a flower head was now visible
above the top leaves.

On the morning of August 30, I was
greeted with this flower.

I was now officially in love with Kong
and two weeks later was pleased to
 find all these flowers. The main stalk stayed strong,
but the stem on the first flower was drooping.

Green darner dragonflies and bees visited often. 

As a reward for reading to the end of the story,
please help yourself to a Johnsonville bratwurst.
For my vegetarian and vegan friends, I promise
to have something for you next time.

October 15, 2010

Some Days Are Tough

Some days are tough and other days are just about perfect, like the one that Phillip and his friend recently enjoyed at Meuer Farm. The photos are compliments of my lovely daughter-in-love.

That's a bottle of homemade root beer in Phillip's hand,
not a bottle of Miller High Life, in case you're wondering:)

It's always nice when a boy's dad
joins in the fun.

When your mom steps outside of her comfort
zone to shoot corn cobs with you, then
you know it's been a good day.

Hope you are all having a happy autumn.
Life is slowly getting back to normal around here.

August 26, 2010

The Place I Want To Get Back To

The Place I Want To Get Back To

is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let’s see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

- By Mary Oliver from Thirst -

This white-tailed deer stepped out of the woods early one morning while I was visiting my Secret Garden. We stared at each for a minute and then she raised her tail showing me the white underside and ran back into the trees. The white underside of the mother's tail helps her fawns follow her.

My family and I have been on a medical merry-go-round with my father for the last month making it impossible for me to spend any time in the world of blogging and I've had no time in the garden. You all know what happens to a garden when it's not watered, fertilized, deadheaded, pruned, talked to and loved on a regular basis. It's not pretty.

This post has been in draft form since July. This morning I decided to go ahead and publish it. I hope the month of August has been good to you and your gardens.

July 27, 2010

My Secret Garden

My Secret Garden is four miles from my house. It’s the place where I relocate all the chipmunks that fall prey to my Havahart Live Animal Trap. It’s a lovely spot that includes a thick forest, an open meadow and a refreshing pond.

With camera in hand, I always take a walk after releasing the chippies and have fallen in love with this peaceful landscape. A large field of Common Milkweed grows there. The plants are about 48” high and bloom in June and July. Monarchs are especially fond of the nectar and their larvae eat the leaves. Milkweed is also a source of nectar for hummingbirds and many other butterfly species.

I literally see dozens and dozens of Monarchs fluttering from one milkweed to another, but never get close enough for a good photo. But….I did catch this one drinking nectar from some red clover.

The flowers growing there are as pretty as the ones blooming in my garden at home.

I see a lot of dragonflies and because they have excellent eyesight, I was surprised to get so close to this Widow Skimmer. Dragonflies are the fastest insects in the world, reaching speeds of between 19-38 mph.

White-tailed deer are often meandering around when I arrive, especially if it’s early in the morning. I’ll be posting about deer at a later date. For now, I’ll leave you with this deer footprint, which to my eye makes a heart-shaped track.

The novel, The Secret Garden, was published in 1911. Even back then, Frances Hodgson Burnett understood the healing power found in all living things.

July 21, 2010

Beautiful, Exotic and Easy to Grow

Jean from Dig Grow Compost had a recent post titled, The Lilies of Buffalo. She has recently returned from Buffalo, NY, where garden bloggers from all over the country met up and toured the city and many of its beautiful gardens. Visit her blog. You'll be in for a treat.

Last September I bought a few Asiatic Lilies from a local greenhouse. They were deeply discounted and couldn't be passed up. I didn't get them in the ground until October and didn't hold out much hope for their winter survival.

Now I'm not saying that any of my lilies compare to the ones in Jean's post, but they have surprised and delighted me. These 'Sunny Sulawes' bloomed just two days ago and I can't stop looking at them.

These yellow and purple lilies were in a container labeled Purple Asiatic Pot Lily. I was thrilled to see the colors that bloomed.

'Tiny Nanny' white lilies. Different than the white lilies in the first photo. The leaves on these are narrower and the flowers are smaller. After these bloomed, something came along and ate the foliage down to the ground.

 Stella d'Oros are growing all over our yard. They are definitely the golden stars of the garden. A very dependable re-bloomer when provided with adequate moisture and deadheaded. I wouldn't be without them.

These Ed Murray daylilies don't show up well from a distance and the camera never does them justice, but up close they are amazingly beautiful, especially when the sun shines on them. They bloom after the Stellas.

In this part of the country, we are lucky to have Baltimore Orioles nesting in our tall trees and visiting our various Oriole feeders, or in this case the hummingbird feeder. I think this is a 1st year Oriole although it could be a female. It was raining outside, but that didn't keep him/her from the sweet nectar.

Slowly but surely
I'll make my way
to your blog.

I go out of my way
to read every word
and study every photo.

And as you know
I luv to leave comments.
Sometimes I'm too wordy
but I can't help it.

See you soon.