Thursday, April 21, 2011

"The fair weather gardener, who will do nothing except when..."

"...the wind and weather and everything else are favorable, is never master of his craft." ~Henry Ellacombe

This quote reminds me of the times during freezing rain in autumn when I'm digging in mud to plant bulbs for spring; of the blistering heat while I dug up sod in order to build our landscape wall, so much sweat dripping from my face that I couldn't see.  And every pedestrian stopping to ask me what I'm doing. Or my hands frozen and chapped while painting the fence in 35 degree weather, the absolute lowest temperature possible. More pedestrians stop to tell me the yard looks nice but they're worried that someone will wreck into my fence. They hope it doesn't happen! But nonetheless, insist they are worried.   ????  

I'm still slowly chipping away at a few blog changes. I've had to take a small break from my intensive Photoshop exploration while we work on refinishing some of our wooden floors, I make a few Easter/Passover gifts, and get the yard ship-shape. And I've been working my ass off at the gym (no snickering) so that adds to the exhaustion and my tendency to fall asleep on the couch. But meanwhile, I have many pictures of projects, past and ongoing, that I can share with you. I mean, c''re bored without me, right?

 I tried to take a few photos of my basement plant room a couple of weeks ago, but apparently they all came out blurry. Except for this one. So you can't see that I have two tables (the one pictured being 8ft long), and some plants stacked on boxes and on the floor. Plants everywhere. Some doing well, some not growing much, and some dead. But I bought a grow light to try and keep my plants alive over the winter. I can't put any houseplants in the main house because the cats will chew them to death and then hurl everywhere.

This arrangement has worked surprisingly well, as long as I remember to water them (the biggest reason my plants die). Particularly since the basement can't be reached from inside the house. Yes, that's right, I must go outside to get into the basement. It sucks especially for laundry, mostly during winter and when it rains. The previous owners took out the stairs to put in a closet on the first floor. I don't want to lose my butler's pantry. So until we build the addition, we must go outside! Oh, and we fenced the yard in last year so I have to go through an extra gate (while carrying laundry basket) and unlock basement door. Oh wait! AND we just had to add a PADLOCK to that gate because the neighbor kids decided a fence wasn't enough to keep them from cutting through the yard (which I caught them in the act of doing). So now I have to have the key for the padlock to unlock and remove it, open the gate, and use a different key to open the basement door.

In crappy weather, this routine does not encourage me to visit the basement. I have enough clothing to last me months. Seriously. And that makes it just that much harder to water the plants. But it has worked out well so far; so much so that a few of those pots on the end have newly planted seeds that will hopefully be bluebells, catnip, and some other flowers for hanging baskets come spring. Why should I buy ten million of them in May when I can grow them myself? Well, that's not a definite. But hey, I'll attempt anything once. My favorite hanging basket plant is million bells (calibrachoa) but you can't buy seeds for them. So I will definitely be buying those baskets in May.

We went to the Phipps Conservatory this past weekend and I love their spring flower show. I probably should be living somewhere like England and have far more money than I do. I love huge gardens with landscape mazes, very clean architectural type areas alongside crazy wildflower ones, and birds, birds, birds. I would love a pond with a small footbridge and colorful fish. A decorative iron bench tucked under a weeping cherry tree. I know, I'm so fanciful. Can I have a greenhouse, too? And of course, this would all be located behind my manor house/castle. With gates that lead to the forest. Or maybe an ocean cliff. Ever read The Secret Garden? THAT sums it up. I'll keep dreaming. Here in this picture, I am demonstrating to Hubby what our backyard should look like.

Little by little, I will turn my yard and home exterior into a landscape dream. With easy maintenance plants of course! These blue hydrangeas were at Phipps and they are my favorite. I love hydrangeas. Really, my favorite flowers are all spring flowers: tulips, daffodils, hydrangeas, etc. My little hydrangea bush that I planted last year seems to be coming alive, albeit slowly. I planted it very late last year and after a bitterly cold winter, I wasn't sure it survived. My hibiscus tree did not. I thought it was the hardy version until I stumbled upon the tag among my potting plants. I will have to purchase a much hardier small tree to occupy the beautiful pot I bought last year.

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