Miscellaneous

Nature's Mysteries!

High 55 F
Low  44 F

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No matter how we plan, sometimes nature takes its' own course and we are left wondering  what meandering path the steps took from beginning to end.  The walk in the field and woods this week left me curious as to how the egg arrived at this destination in the middle of the field nestled against this fern.   What snatched it from the nearby neighbor's barn and how long ago did it meet its' demise?Dsc_0031
I also noticed this gall nestled in a bed of leaves along the path.  Nature makes perfect circles.Dsc_0010   Does anyone else have any of these little birdhouses made of thatch?  This one is hanging in the Rhododendron and is already occupied by a house wren.  She has packed the entrance so tightly that it is a wonder she can climb in but I have seen her do it. Dsc_0020 The moss is sending up short stalks which are really very thin and threadlike, Much goes unnoticed without the aid of a macro lens and a bit of close up manipulation. Dsc_0020_2 Would you  have realized just how red the base of these Moss_sporesdsc_0018_2 thread like stalks could be?  There is nature's circle once again in the form of a raindrop hanging on this filament. 


Ice follies!

High 49 F
Low  43 F

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The temperature dipped dramatically a couple of nights ago.  I have been hearing people ask for basil, tomatoes and peppers at the garden centers and have cringed at the thought of putting them in the ground while spring is still so unsettled.  The above picture tells the tale.  I made it out to the back field just after the sun and it is interesting to note the frost pattern on the grassDsc_0095 following the shade, clinging to it andDsc_0093 not wanting to give up the crystals.  The violets in the field hadDsc_0096_2 a sugar coating as did the bee balm Dsc_0087 in the garden.  The bleeding hearts have such succulent stems it is hard to believe that they can recover from the cold but this oneDsc_0089 is pretty much back to normal.  On another note, I am excited about the last pair of garden gloves I will ever have to buy.  Dsc_0104 These are from Smith & Hawken and the sign said 'Guaranteed For Life'.  Well, they were not cheap but were on sale and that was a challenge that I just could not pass up.  Even my favorite gloves rarely last more than a season.  I did ask the sales person about the guarantee and they said that they would replace or refund these gloves.  Let's just see how long they last.  Any bets?


Spaths and speakers!

High 25 F
Low  14 F

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Flower shows can help with the winter blues.  I am always on the lookout for forced plants which are a bit unusual and at smaller shows they can be in short supply!   The Arisaemas  or Jack in the Pulpits qualify, for me, as an interesting group. Dsc_0010 The native Jack in the Pulpit favors boggy situations but these exotic, Asian species actually require excellent drainage.   Dsc_0011 They are varied in appearance and always interesting.  This particular display was an upland woodland with lots of moss, ferns and rocks.Dsc_0013   It was a beautiful display, subtle, serene and soothing.  The crabapples and the azaleas are always a welcome sight but there is little unusual about those plants. Dsc_0042 Delphiniums are wonderful.  These were interplanted with foxgloves.  Curious.   I did find one really intriguing planting.  What would possess a designer to plant stocks like this?  Does anyone else find this curious? Dsc_0020 I guess we will have to chalk it up to 'Artistic license.  On another note, the speakers at flower shows are often well worth the ticket price.  There were many wonderful speakers at the Rhode Island show but one that I have long wanted to hear was Barbara Damrosch of Four Season Farm fame.  Barbara gave an excellent talk on her ornamental vegetable garden accompanied by a wonderful group of slides. Dsc_0002 She has written The Garden Primer and her husband is the author of my favorite vegetable gardening book, Four Season Harvest.  The Garden Primer has been updated but  I have not yet acquired the new version.  I would highly recommend both of these books for the garden book lover's library.


Dog's best friends!

High 38 F
Low  22 F

Post by Tucker

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One of my best friends was away all week and finally came home Friday evening!  I have many good friends but Layanee and I spend a great deal of time together since she often works at home.  Since she is a bit tired from work and travel, I thought I would do a bit of a post on life in my world.  I have a good lifeDsc_0004 (except for the cat)!  In the top picture I am reclining on my favorite kitchen rug, the chicken rug, where I always wait patiently to pounce on any cooking disasters, crumbs, or  dropped  food.  I like to help out in the kitchen and this is a good spot!  I know my friend, Lytton, from Canada likes music but I like it quiet and have no favorite songs.  I do have some favorite places in addition to my kitchen rug.  Dsc_0003 I like the coziness of my kennel and will often climb in for a quick snooze. Dsc_0005 I also like the rug by the front door.  I can 'stand guard', so to speak, while grabbing a nap in the sun.    Dsc_0022 There is nothing better than a walk in the woods Dsc_0008 or the field except, perhaps, playing catch or frisbee. Dsc_0022 I am pretty good at catching a frisbee on the fly if my friends throw it right.  I do like to pose for pictures in the garden.  This helps show the scale of the garden and I am always willing to help my friend.  My favorite thing in the world is swimming.  I wish I could swim every day but in the winter all is frozen and I have to wait until spring.  When the water thaws in the fishpond and the days are warm I sometimes sneak a little plunge into the water. Dsc_0018 Layanee usually never has the camera in hand as I am extremely subtle about this.  I am in and out before she knows what happened! This is the one time she caught me!  It really doesn't hurt anything although I do come out with a bit of a fragrance!  The best swimming is in the pool which is supposed to be for humans...right! Dsc_0015 I swim much more than they do and consider it my duty.  I can do laps for hours and if there is an object in the pool I am right on it. Sometimes I dress up for special occasions such as the Fourth of July or Dsc_0009 ChristmasDsc_0043 but, the best part of my life is spending time with my friends,Tucker_and_layanee Layanee and The Equipment ManagerThe_equipment_manager and I really loveDsc_0164 Emily, Ben, and Jessica although they just visit now.  I did spend a week with Ben and Jessica this winter and really liked their wood stove.  It was warm and cozy at their house but, there is no place like home!Tucker_relaxing It is quiet and serene, especially in the summer.


Name this Object!

High 36 F
Low 25 F

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Guess what this is?
Let's play that game again.  I just have to find a name for it.  How about 'Can you name this object'!  I was at the gift shop of Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boyleston, MA yesterday.  This little shop has some really unique items.  Items that I don't see in many or any other shops.  The buyer has an eye for the unusual so I always have to check out what is new on the scene so to speak.  There are great books and wonderful CD's with one playing in the background as you shop.  The CD's are of the nature variety with perhaps running water or wind and some are musical with a pastoral flavor such as the one entitled 'Tuscany'.  Very soothing.  Anyway, I digress.  In the window alcove I found the above. Not just the one above which looks like this Dsc_0016 and this other sea green mobile Dsc_0005 but these others also.  Here we have the mobile wind chimes in  two types of greenDsc_0020

Dsc_0007 and then this oneDsc_0021 with the oranges. These wind chimes have the tinkling sounds of glass.   Primary colors are pretty Dsc_0014 also but the ones shaped like iris Dsc_0010 or lotus are works of art.Dsc_0006   In addition, there are a few other types such as this one with the glass beadDsc_0012 in the center and theseDsc_0018 others in the sea foam green. Dsc_0019 I found these on line here so if you really like them you can buy them at their site.  What do you all think of these?   As you may be able to tell, I love them.  I didn't buy one but I like them.


Weather Station

High 22 F
Low 9 F

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It is always good to start a post with a bit of color.  Not necessary, but good.  Here is the entry bouquet!  There is nothing like fresh flowers to stave off the dreariness of winter.  This bouquet has alstromeria, carnations and mums.

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Before the snow came we had a mild weekend.  It seems longer than two weekends ago but nevertheless, with temperatures this morning at a chilly nine degrees it is no wonder that it seems like months instead of just a couple of weeks.  The Equipment Manager gave me a new weather station for Christmas for more accurate recordings of temperatures, wind and rainfall.  I think it will even take my temperature but that probe looks a little evil!  Just kidding. I remember my father used to record the high and low temperatures every day.  I remember thinking "What a waste of time".  He was a methodical, disciplined man.  I don't see myself that way but age gives one a new perspective and what seems to take too much time when we are younger takes on greater importance with the accumulation of years.  Anyway, since the weather station necessitated an actual installation, the EM took over.  It came with lots of parts,Dsc_0011 mostly plastic, which seems the way of the world these days.  The main unit has little cups which rotate to measure wind and a container which measures rain.Dsc_0024   Here he is putting things together before mounting the unit on a post in the garden.  We may move this from this post as the gardening season arrives but, for now, here it is. Dsc_0036 Not too pretty but the temperature is more accurate out here away from the house.  The best part is the monitor which sits on the top of the computer desk just an arm's reach away for checking the min/max temperature for the day! Dsc_0034 I doubt if I will add anymore information on a regular basis to the blog entry but rainfall could be interesting and if the  wind speed exceeds hurricane force, you will all know about it! The option is there, at least.  Since this blog serves as a record for the gardening year, it seems logical to record the temperatures and any other weather related incidents.  I like the new weather station.  It seems to be a connection to the past, both the past weather and that long ago memory of Dad writing the temperature down in his journal!  Do you think I inherited this need to record data?      


Close ups!

High 32.0 F
Low  17 F

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Buckets of alstromeria
When I was a kid there was a show on TV which had an interesting segment.  A picture would be shown and it would be a tight  closeup of some common object such as the edge of a coin or a piece of paper clip and the contestant would have to guess from the closeup what the object was.  I always found that fascinating as the whole of something can be so very different from the parts.  While I did miss bloom day this year, at least on the blog, I had to go into a wholesale flower market-I know you are feeling bad for me-to visit a customer.  In the summer when I visit the market I rush in and rush out but at this time of year, starved for the color of life, I stopped to literally, smell the roses.  They don't smell anymore!  But, this is what I found.Dsc_0032_4_2   Can you imagine what this is?  I love the stardusting on this which is unnoticible from this distance.  It is, of course, a phalaenopsis orchid. Dsc_0032_2 The seller did not have a cultivar name but it is striking isn't it?  With the beauty and fragrance of the lily, pollen often escapes our attention until it attaches Dsc_0026_2 itself to the nice, white blouse which you happen to be wearing that particular day. Dsc_0026 The architecture of a flower is often seenDsc_0024 before the deepness of the color as in the case of this eryngium.  Dsc_0024_2 Such a steely blue! Which did you notice first, the shape or the color? This is a flower I am unfamiliar with.  At first glance it is a nice filler but     Dsc_0023 the subtleties of the center of a flower can only fully be appreciated up close and personal!  Does anyone know what flower this is?  Dsc_0023_2 Tropical cut flowers are or seem to be so cold and structural such as this proteaDsc_0022 but in looking at it in a close up view it almost appears to have feathers doesn't it? Dsc_0022_2 Lastly, we all know that horticulture  is all about sex. Plants are very sexy! Georgia O'Keefe saw this much more clearly than most. Dsc_0028_2   To see the world through a large aperture is a gift but learning to focus in on the details is a talent which I am trying to develop.


Frosting!

High 30 F
Low 28.6 F

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How quickly the landscape can change!  Last week we had one day  which was almost sixty degrees and today, morning brought a frosting coated garden.  Not  a heck of a lot of snow, about five inches, but thick, heavy and wet which stuck to everything bending the branches of many treesDsc_0007 and shrubsDsc_0029 to the ground. The wire fence around the pool is usually unobtrusive and invisible but with this snow it becomes a geometric design of nature.Dsc_0028

Dsc_0011 Tucker loved it and you can see him in front of the field with this look of contentment.Dsc_0022
Click to enlarge!
  It made me laugh when I saw the picture!  Here you can see the trees along the drive coated on the northeast sides of the trunks!Dsc_0046 The  winter garden has structure only because of the stones which the EM put into place.Dsc_0021   The shrubs are too small to make much of an impact yet although, up close, the red twig dogwood is shining brightly. Dsc_0018   The hops on the porch are carrying a heavy snow load Dsc_0005 and it is hard to believe that the garden, which looks like this right now, Dsc_0008 looked like thisDsc_0013 in July. I'm dreaming of summer but appreciating the differences each season brings! 


Green Dreams!

High  50.2 F
Low   30.4 F

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Click to enlarge
A very quick post with a couple of pictures!  I am not immune to the eye candy of amaryllis.  This one was a bargain at $5.00 and while one bud dried, this one is gorgeous.  Is there anything that can compare with nature's paintbrush?
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One other shot of a rose scented geranium leaf.  True and clear green!
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This is what my dreams are made of!  How about yours?