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August 2010

July 2010

Keeping up with garden chores

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Amid the drone of the cicadas and the zipping of the dragonflies, the lazy, humid, languid days of July are coming to an end.  The heavy air can keep one out of the garden just a bit too long.  The crabgrass is growing with seemingly frenetic fervor and those walkways have been inundated with a myriad of weeds.  Short of spraying herbicide, the only option is digging out the offenders.  The walkway should be relaid with no cracks or crevices but that is a major project which probably will not get done.  There is a small area by the walkway which has ledge removed for drainage but the ledge is not far from the surface so options other than plants are required.  I have had some stone dust here but it washes out and the weeds are hard to pull.  DSC_0002
This is what the area looked like a couple of weeks ago before I tackled the task of cleanup.  It is the area along the walkway which is pretty much green in this shot.  In my defense, Buffa10 called and I answered.  Tackle it though I did and here is how it looks right now. DSC_0031
  I am pleased with the little Mexican beach buttons which only look better when they get wet.   DSC_0035
They come in a bag and can also be used to mulch your cactus, aloe or agaves in containers.   DSC_0033
Here is a closer picture of the stones which are available at stone yards and garden centers.  DSC_0046
On another note, the cucumbers have been producing prolifically.  I need to make some refrigerator pickles or something, I guess.  These are quite crunchy and tasty.  I think they were English longs.   I hope your garden is producing.  What are you picking these days?

Corn craze

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The vegetable garden is in high production right now with beets, carrots, squash, garlic, swiss chard, peppers and cucumbers all producing.  The beans were planted late and will be ready soon and the tomatoes were planted on time but late for this growing season.  Lots of green tomatoes and some 'sungold' cherry tomatoes but no volume yet.  DSC_0170
The corn smells sweet and the ears are swelling but we had a 'weather incident' here last weekend.   I wasn't home at the time the thunderstorm arrived but a few miles away, the sky darkened, the wind whipped and the rain came down in torrents.  I came home to deep puddles in the drive and the next day's morning walk revealed a curiosity in the corn patch. DSC_0155
  There are ten rows or so of sweet corn planted near the GFFSD or Stonehenge garden. Corn requires a bit of room.  I noticed that the uniform rows did not look quite uniform and as I got closer this damage was revealed to me. DSC_0159
  Cooper and Tucker found it exciting as well and from the other side of the garden, the damage looked quite uniform.  DSC_0160

I looks to me as if a giant came and stomped the corn.  It is quite geometric in shape.   The EM will be quite upset when he returns from his ME trip.  I am hoping the ears will fill out anyway but horizontal corn gardening isn't the optimum arrangement.  I guess I can call it 'topsy turvy' corn.  Who knows what really happened?  Any guesses?  DSC_0163
Here is a gratuitous dog/puppy picture.  Cooper is relentless in his pursuit of Tucker but, so far, Tucker is holding his ground.


Introducing Cooper

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One week ago today, we added a new member to the family.  This is Cooper.  Cooper was born on May 20th at Tonmar Kennels in Pomfret, CT.  He is related to the current Job Supervisor, Tucker, DSC_0016
who is our 12 year old yellow lab.  I tried to prepare Tucker for the arrival of his new pal but the adjustment is moving slowly.  There was the requisite first sniff DSC_0056
and the relationship has progressed to studied tolerance. DSC_0069
 It is a good thing that puppies have a short memory span and Cooper doesn't see Tucker's indifference as rejection.  He keeps trying and I know they will be friends eventually.    We have taken the morning walks to the back field DSC_0014
and Cooper did have his first swim when he fell off the edge of the pool.  DSC_0060
My sister did not hesitate, she jumped right in, clothes, shoes, and all and plucked him out.  DSC_0062
He stays away from the edge now.  Cooper spent the first few nights here in a laundry basket by my bed.  He slept all night with nary a whimper but after four nights he decided he could escape so it was into the crate.  He didn't mind it at all although he doesn't like the crate during the day.  I have kept my travels limited so he will not get frantic.  Having a puppy in the house is quite entertaining and exhausting.  We only sleep five or six hours a night.  LOL  Just like having a human baby.  I have found that an afternoon nap works well and since it has been very hot and humid, it seems like time well spent.  I do have a couple more Buffalo posts.  I saw so many wonderful gardens and  met up with old friends and made new ones that I must share but, for now, nap time. DSC_0059 Do you see a resemblance?

More Buffalo

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I so admire those diligent bloggers who have been posting regularly about the Buffa10 Fling last weekend.  I am well behind and it is a challenge to find photos which have not been seen.  It is interesting how many pictures we take that are similar but also interesting that there are pictures of scenes which I just did not see.  So, a big thank you to all for sharing your special views.  I have a confession to make.  While most of our group was outside the History Museum listening to the staff talk about the new garden which was being dedicated that very day, I was hunting down the cake.  I love cake (sad truth) and when I heard one mentioned, I had to take a look.   There were lots of people standing listening to the speeches IMG_2322
and the cake was on a table behind all of them.  I found it. IMG_2321
  It really doesn't look like a cake at all.  Note the pictures on the bottom and the log rounds which mimic those in the garden.  I guess I have to believe that this was a cake as it looked just like the granite lantern in the garden IMG_2325
and sadly I did not get to taste it which was probably a good thing since we headed off to Rue Franklin for a lovely lunch.   IMG_2335
It was then on to Urban Roots, the city garden center. IMG_2349
Always smiling Kylee, from Our Little Acre, tempts fate by climbing up on the bales of mulch for the perfect shot.  IMG_2340
I am sure she got more than one of all the colorful umbrellas in the nursery as the rain was coming down.  This garden center had great plants IMG_2346
and very interesting items to purchase.  This familiar book, Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart has its' own special little creature trying to read its' pages. IMG_2352
Perhaps it is confused and thinks that it is her new book, Wicked Bugs.  There is so much more to share but tonight time has run short.


Buffalo

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There is an energy surrounding Buffalo which is palpable to gardeners in particular.  This city, which has a curious name if one thinks at all about it, is situated in an optimistic location at the eastern edge of Lake Erie and the head of the Niagara River.    It is undergoing a revitalization which comes, in part, from having a positive group of people at the helm.  In 2010 Forbes rated Buffalo as the 10th best place to raise a family.  It is evident in the attitude and the actions of its' inhabitants two of which, Elizabeth and Jim, organized this seamlessly run event. Seventy or so garden bloggers and garden enthusiasts who had the opportunity to attend this year's Garden Bloggers Buffa10 will agree.  IMG_2214
The first full day of garden touring included the Cottage District which must contain the happiest people on earth.  Who could live in this house without smiling every day?  The houses in the cottage district are painted in the colors of the rainbow and much reminiscent of this gardener's past vacations on Martha's Vineyard which has a collection of similarly painted houses in the Campground Compound of Oak Bluffs.  They look like this.  The tiny gardens were inviting, unique, and packed with plants.  Wandering in and out of the side alleys IMG_2226
to the back gardens IMG_2239
and then along the streets could not have been more fun especially in the company of other plant and garden lovers.   There was, for the most part, a gentle rain which was sporadic. Strolling was possible between the drops.  IMG_2248
Attention to detail was the order of the day.  I love the way this house IMG_2261
has its' hose matching the window boxes.  The back yard was just as detailed.  The use of mirrors in the small enclosed spaces gave added depth to some of the gardens and the images captured were impressionistic from the rain.  IMG_2300
Here is Pat, who also blogs from New England, captured in this mirror's watery depths.  There was also a mirror in the very back of this garden which caught many a blogger's eye. IMG_2305
The winding path leading to this back area was narrow but invited further inspection and upon the return route, one was treated to a view of this hydrangea in bud and the bee balm which seems to be a signature Buffa10 plant. IMG_2306
  It grows tall and lush and not a spec of powdery mildew was seen on any in any garden.  The Cottage District was just the first part of our day but what a way to start.  In tribute to today's Flag Day, here is one final image.  IMG_2249

While in Buffalo.....

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I am at the Buffalo Fling enjoying the company of gardeners and gardens and while I am there I am hoping for more beets, swiss chard and squash.  The warm weather is pushing all the vegetables but the soil is now drying out.  Perhaps a thunderstorm is in order while I am away.  Details to follow.

Hot summer days

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You know it is going to be a record breaker when the butterflies are flitting around the garden with you and your cup of coffee.  They appear early if the temperatures are warm and today they were in abundant evidence. Coneflower and butterflies
The back field had a hazy glow early on and the sweet smell of the timothy DSC_0025
and milkweed DSC_0027

almost  made up for the constant attack from the deer flies.  Is there any good purpose for deer flies?  Their discordant drone and aerial acrobatics cause one to flail about in eternal and endless pursuit.DSC_0023  Tucker can only shake his head to keep them at bay and I have resorted to smearing a bit of bug repellent on his nose to keep him from frustration.  The dragonflies are jetting around the field in search of loveDSC_0031Click on picture to enlarge

while the frogs have the option of the cool depths of the fish pond or the warm shelf in the sun. DSC_0020The containers are thriving with the heat.  Just like most things in life, they have two sides DSC_0084
but I am not sure one side is better than the other. DSC_0085
Next year I will put the vigorous sweet potato vine off to the right or the left rather than in the middle where it tries to take over and is always in center stage. Tomorrow the clippers are coming out.  It needs a bit of training.