Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chasing Myself

The ten days since my last post have been busy, and yet I find it difficult to list any grand accomplishments of my own.
Jim launched himself into a late spring cleaning out doors, using the power washer and a long handled brush to scrub down the siding of both houses and his workshop.  A few summers of muggy heat and patches of greenish mold accumulate especially on the shady side of a building. He used a ladder, managed to soak numerous shirts and his shoes, coming indoors for a break squelching and dripping. 

Poppies, 'Lauren's Grape.'

With the scrubbing finished, Jim roared about with the lawn mower, tractor and bush-hog to cut the pastures and the verges of the lane.  He obligingly ran the weed-whacker over a tangle of mugwort which made it slightly easier for me to continue the herculean task of forking the noxious stuff out of the perennial strips. 
While Jim labored with power tools and machinery, I divided my time between gardening and doing much needed sorting and tidying in the house. 
When it has seemed that I could do no more I have collapsed into a rocking chair on the porch, mug of tea or a glass of icy lemonade at hand, and enjoyed the company of the hummingbirds who zoom and dart on a near collision course with each other.

Clary sage in bud.
 The front door was needing a touch-up coat of paint.  I found the can of dark red paint and offered to take on that task. Jim, unstoppable, did the job while I was making lunch--and went on to paint the side door from the porch into the Amish 'washroom' which has become our garage and back entry. 
[Amish houses are built with many exterior doors--Jim thinks it may be for cross-ventilation.]
We have remarked that all the exterior doors on the lower house needed paint--the former owners painted them in an odd shade of muddy pink--a most unusual color for an Amish house.
Consulted as to an appropriate color I chose a mossy green.

Clary sage in exotic bloom.

Hours of labor involved in grubbing up mugwort--a 5-gallon bucket filled several times with stringy roots and such stalks as grew too close to salvageable plants for lopping with the weed whacker.
I set in three starts of asclepias incarnata [a relative of milkweed much loved by butterflies] and two achillia which I hope may be self-sown starts of the variety 'Moonshine'--should it prove to be the common white wildling at least it may hold its own with the mugwort.

Two veronicas, purchased more than a month ago at a local nursery, went into the space left when two monardas vanished over the winter. 
Willis, as usual, has been a constant companion while I labored in the garden.
Sadly, I must report that he has been digging in my freshly turned earth--not for the expected purpose of creating a latrine, but seemingly in a frenzy of flinging dirt about--just because he can!

The surviving monarda [bee balm]

Autumn clematis 'Sweet Summer Love'

Last year this clematis scrambled along the board fence but didn't produce flowers.
I was delighted to note the dainty buds.

This is not a showy clematis, the blossoms being small and delicate, but I am pleased to have it extending the clematis season. 
Heavy rain last night left the flowers a bit bedraggled.

Along the roadsides the ubiquitous orange daylilies are already in bloom.
Mine, planted in the shallow coarse soil below the concrete landing, are all in bud.
These are a double-flowered 'sport' transplanted from the roadside near our first Kentucky home.

Achillea  raised last year from seed--a welcome change from the native variety in muddy white.

Lysimachia clethroides/white gooseneck loosestrife.

This is also flourishing in the gritty soil of the landing patch.
This was shared by a friend who also brought me spiderwort. 
This is a plant which may grow wild in the edges of a pasture, but also available as a nursery plant.

The name of the plant escaped me for awhile this evening. 
I couldn't recall the proper spelling of 'lysimachia' and finally in frustration googled 'white gooseneck.'  My brain is stuffed with odd bits of information--too often the bit needed is elusive!

I lost one of the miniature roses to late frost in spite of swaddling them in covers.
So exasperating--all three wintered against the outside wall of the washroom, but broke dormancy in the first days of March--the false spring that immediately regressed into freezing temperatures.

'Hawkeye Belle' in full bloom before the rain--and one day before I discovered the vanguard of the Japanese beetle arrivals.

Nellie, who thinks he is invisible.

There were five cucumbers ready in the lower veg garden [Jim ate one before I thought to record the moment.]

Today the first blueberries from the local berry farm!

Willis, appearing most innocent.

So, two weeks of being very busy, trying in vain to keep up with Jim.  The results of his labors are very visible: buildings gleaming in clean whiteness, weeds subdued, grass cut, pastures mowed.

I seem to have gone in circles--here a little, then on to another small area tidied; mounds of wet or muddy clothes laundered, errands done, meals prepared.

I've struggled with Windows 10 on the laptop, not getting down to the typing of notes for the current genealogy project.  Time that might have been spent to read online, post a blog, type a comment, has been wasted in attempts to work around this newer system and fine tune the laptop to my preferences.  The 'address book' for my email program has gone missing, not transferring in the download . I've been able only to use a 'reply to sender' mode. 
The laptop has been parked on my desk, an awkward height for prolonged use of the keyboard. 
A light-bulb moment on Sunday when I thought to plug in the regular keyboard on its comfortable pull-out tray--why-ever didn't I think of that earlier?
I've been notified that my big PC has been revived and is ready for pick-up at the electronics shop in town.  Perhaps there will be time tomorrow to retrieve it.

I'm thankful for the rocking chair on the porch, the hummingbirds, the nasturtiums in their pots, the company of the cats--all there for the moments when I quit going in circles. 


  1. You really got a lot done! What a feeling of accomplishment. funny you mentioned monarda. Mine died out during the hard winter, but it had self-seeded so much, that now I have a multitude of monarda around the dead plant. So maybe you will have some. That Willis guy is sure a performer! Phil/Minnesota

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Phil; I didn't edit my typing before publishing, so starting over.
      Phil; Willis is indeed a 'unit!'
      I'd like to think the monarda will multiply--varieties that I grew in Vermont don't summer well here--they succumb to mildew. This variety is a dwarf form I bought last year at a local nursery.
      This particular garden is one of the more challenging I've tackled, but I"m not quite ready to give it up.

  2. Lovely to catch up on all your news. You have some lovely plantings in your garden and I loved the White Gooseneck Loosestrife. I have a Lysimachia here - a real thug, bought for its maroon leaves and small contrasting yellow flowers and now being eradicated!

    Keith has been out cutting the top of the yard undergrowth with his trusty slasher. He did buy a brush-thwacker a few weeks ago at the car boot sale, but needed to find the right mix for it before using it. I finally tracked it down yesterday.

    I have a Monarda in a tub which I have been steadfastly watering and it has responded well, but too early for flowers yet. I have a few seedlings in the greenhouse of Monarda too, so will pot those on today. As for Cucumbers, mine are seedlings (Telegraph) and v. small plants - Ridge - which I am hoping won't get slugged now we have had rain!

    1. Jennie; I think I had a yellow loosestrife many years ago which did spread very quickly. The white one is fairly graceful and I'm encouraging any plants that can thrive in the gravelly area below the landing.
      I don't attempt to use Jim's power lawn tools--his mower and the weed eater are large, noisy and quite beyond me. J. has a 'slasher'with which he attacks some of the tougher weeds.
      The cucumber that is producing was bought as a 4 pack of started plants. We direct seeded several 'hill's of them to hopefully extend the crop.

  3. Please send some of Jim's energy over here, I'm getting less and less myself.
    Sitting sewing, reading or playing scrabble is more appealing as I get older.

    1. Briony; Jim's accomplishments of the past 10 days put me to shame--I shouldn't pretend I'm trying to keep up!
      Sewing and reading appeal to me, but doing too much of either gives me a kink in the neck--so outdoors I go to creak around the garden on my elderly knees!

  4. Your Jim sounds like my Mac, definitely puts me to shame. I too work in circles.

    1. Janet; Reading your most recent blog post it sounds like your health is becoming stable again--how wonderful if you can enjoy being outside--just let Mac do the work!
      My work methods aren't the most efficient--I tend to bumble from one job to another.

  5. I loved seeing all of your wonderful blooms and reading all about what you and Jim and Willis are up to.

    Enjoy your tea or lemonade in your rocker, counting your blessings? Have you ever had an 'Arnold Palmer'? A combo of iced tea & lemonade. I found out about that a year or two ago and love it. I need to learn how to make a jug for myself to enjoy.

    Have a great Friday and weekend ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I make lemonade the old-fashioned way and often add a teabag to steep in the hot water with which I've dissolved the sugar--had no idea there was a name for that combination. I use less sugar than most instructions suggest--we like tangy rather than too sweet.
      Willis is a great companion in the garden--not sure why he's suddenly decided to 'excavate' so avidly.

  6. Jim is a busy man! I have been busy, but maybe not as busy as Jim!

    1. Michele; A Kentucky summer surely demands some busyness. We know the weather is about to tip into temperatures and humidity that will mean pacing ourselves to the coolest hours of the day.

  7. Reading about your Mugwort battle reminded me of a weed killer that a gardener friend swears by. She uses 30% vinegar, Blue Dawn dish soap and Epsom Salts in a spray device and swears by it. Apparently she bought the 30% vinegar at a garden center but if not available locally I’d wager that you could buy it on Amazon.....they seem to have access to EVERTHING! I’ve only used regular white vinegar and Blue Dawn in a hand spray bottle to kill thistle. She swears that the addition of Epsom salts is key to success. Seems odd as I’ve always added a generous handful of Epsom Salts to the hole when I set out my tomato plants. Ah.......chemistry! Might be worth a try.

    1. Mundi; Like you, I have used Epsom salts when setting out tomato plants--never been sure if it was helpful. I use conventional weed killers very sparingly--perhaps on a clump of poison ivy.
      I see a problem with trying any sort of weedkiller on the mugwort: the sprawling network of roots seems able to survive any punishment inflicted above ground--and some of the weeds have grown in very closely to the 'good' plants.
      I do think the weed-killer 'recipe' might be a good one to remember for other applications. Thank you for sharing it!