Thursday, September 27, 2007

Maple and Birches

The trees are changing.
Birches to Maples.
I hope a few Birches will stay around
a while longer, a couple of years or more.
I think they can stick it out.
They might feel intimidated by youth
being planted around them.
The new ones are colorful;
brilliant, sure - but will never compare,
or provide
the inspiration of the Birch with their shining white armor
lining the streets.

A.Y. Jackson, Maple and Birches

A Northwood Maple will stand in front of 1421 40-60 feet feet tall.
Acer Rubrum, only male leaves turn red, females flame orange.
That's the way they change.

It will look really nice to have two, framing the house.
I imagine the house's porch painted in lighter tones, cream white with beige, cranberry accents with ocean gray blue. Hardware in black. Very sharp. Framed with Maples on either side of the walkway, imagining what that would look like - makes me feel very positive.

Thoughts and prayers tonight for Lisa.

Who's to say
What's impossible
Well they forgot
This world keeps spinning
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
But in some ways they remain the same
And as my mind begins to spread its wings
There's no stoppin' curiosity

I wanna turn the whole thing upside down
I'll find the things they say just can't be found
I'll share this love I find with everyone
We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's song
I don't want this feeling to go away

Who's to say
I can't do everything
Well I can try
And as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren't always just what they seem

This world keeps spinning and there's no time to waste
Will it all keep spinning and spinning round and round and

Upside down
Who's to say whats impossible and can't be found
I don't want this feeling to go away

Please Don't go away
is this how it's supposed to be

Jack Johnson

Monday, September 24, 2007


It's beginning to look a lot like Autumn. I'll blink and tomorrow and it'll be over, but before it is a new tree will be growing in front of 1421.
Two now, apparently the west-neighbors are on board to have twins planted - to frame the house. Grin.

Maple, Morden Sunrise at sunset September 24, 2007

  • I decided today that if I were ever to animate leaves blowing about on a blustery day I would put them to the music of The Black Widow Blues by Buckshot LeFonque. Perhaps my camera and I can put something together when the little Maple out front sheds 2007.
  • I butchered a pumpkin last night, baked him too - next I'll be the candlestick maker and jack-o-lantern another!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lovely Lavender

Lavender and strawberries, lavender lemonade, lavender and white wine, lavender ice cream. Also known for it's calming, therapeutic effects and analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, insecticide, and sedative properties...Lavender is more than lovely.

The English variety - Lavendula angustifolia (also known as L. officinalis, L. Vera and L. spica) is what I have planted between the roses on the west side. Last night, after harvesting the pumpkins and removing the tremedous vines, the lavender I planted in the Spring was revealed - with blooms noless! Lovely.

There are other cultivars such as Hidcote (dark purple), Jean Davis (pink), Nana Alba (white), and Lavandin which is a cross between lavender and spike ( Lavandula latifolia ) can only be grown from cuttings.

Lavender thrives in full sun and prefers sandy, sweet soil with good drainage. In soil that has had a generous amount of compost or manure, lavender will bloom perfusely.

The essential oils are at their peak just when the flower starts to open up.

Dear Great Pumpkin,

We harvested eight funky looking pumpkins last night. They're all medium-small in size, but good in color. Misshapen because I didn't adjust or level their positions as they grew, allowing them to roam freely across the yard.

From the family of plants called cucurbits, pumpkins are closely related to squash, gourds, melons, and cucumbers.
They can be planted from seed in the field from the last week of May to the middle of June, or like mine - earlier, in the greenhouse and brought home as small plants. :)

Germinating in 7 to 10 days, they then send up their first seed leaves; next, the true leaves will appear. As the leaves develop, and the vines spread, an extensive root network develops in the top 12 inches of soil. These shallow roots can be found as branching offshoots all along the vine. They gather most of the food, moisture, and air for the plant's growth, in addition to a strong tap root, which can grow as deep as 2 to 3 feet. Twirling tendrils develop along the vines to anchor the plant, which always entertain me.

Yellow blossoms appear after the first three weeks of growth. Male blossoms, which produce pollen, come first, followed by female blossoms about a week later. Female blossoms are easy to spot, because they have tiny pumpkin at their base. Blossoms live for only half a day, and will not open in cold, rainy weather. When both male and female blossoms appear on the vine, pollination occurs. The fruit at the base of the female blossom develops into a pumpkin. :)

Pumpkins require a lot of water to develop

(I've heard many interesting pumpkin-watering stories this summer *grin*), taking 90-120 days (depending on the variety) and are ready to harvest in October, when orange). Sure, it's September - but these pumpkins were ready to be harvested.

Next year: a few varieties (large for fun, medium likes these, and some small ornamental gourds)...and more water, lots of water..perhaps a rain-barrel-drain...hmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Thank you

I would like to thank the rain for arriving at such an optimal time.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Labor days, indeed

My Claw and I have been busy.

Yesterday we took on the back, today the front; I've got the blistered palms to prove it.

After my initial creating of the back beds, I hadn't done much to them (other than let the weeds roam free). I hadn't intended on planting them this season, so really - my work was done. Okay yeah, so - I say that to myself to make me feel better for neglecting it for the whole month of August, but we do what we do to save face: this is mine to my garden, my sad, dry garden.

It's very dry. Something to think about when amending soils. It's also very shallow; I hit hard sediment and shale just a few inches down in some places.

I hope to have a few loads of manure and soil/compost brought in late this fall - I'm looking into the details now, though as I watch my compost heap along the backside of the house thicken I realize I will need some(I mean lots of) soil to cover this for the first snow. The heap has great potential - I've been saving newspapers, add that to the incoming soil/manure, some moisture and a long winter - this heap could become some fine dark soil come springtime. Lasagna gardening at its best.

The back was cleaned yesterday. I removed all the sturdy weeds easily (I think there's something to be said for 'letting it go' - they're easier to pull up when they've got bulk), and enjoyed rolling my arms through the soil to remove all the little ones.
It's true - the therapeutic stimulation that comes from listening to the wind ~ and the church bells ~ feeling clay and sand fall through my fingers gently, one moment later attacking it with five daggers twirling.
It took the day, it felt great, and I felt prepared to do moving today from the time I lay my head down - I woke up ambitiously at 8:21 am, pondered my day in the porch over coffee, and was at it as soon as I heard another lawn mower running within the neighborhood. I never want to be the first. I cut the grass, then carefully cut around the pumpkins with scissors (yes, scissors) - it looks great, worth the effort.
The rest of the day was spent weeding the backyard beds. I feel like I've taken something back. In control again. grin.

Today's heat was a great compliment to the sun: who chose to shine upon me all day today. I'm crispy to prove it but damn do I feel good. I reclaimed the front yard, transplanting the Day Lilies who were so surprisingly co-planted this spring (always meant to be temporary) (I really enojoyed how the bed turned out, and could have left them all as is, but...).
Fairytale went to the back yard in front of the peony near the shed. One of those pretty peach lilies went to the west side, pathway entrance, opposite Strawberry Candy. The deep orange-peach one was moved to the east side, near the blue spruce, for now. The one that didn't bloom went to the back, at the back lane, near the Weigela...*shrug*.

Left in front are Double River Wye, brought over to to the east, near the walkway to the back door. It's tall, and the yellow lilies will look striking against both Mordens, Fireglow and Blush when looking onto the yard.

For the time being I've left Raspberry Parfait where it is, at the corner near the steps. I'll probably move it eastward, south a bit...I want to plant some Rudbeckia around that area, either at the corner in place of RP or beside. I moved the purple Veronica to be along the walkway, in anticipation of the Rudbeckia.
Blue Irises were moved from their direful state in the desert known as Amy's Garden 2007 to the front, divided, planted with pleas to establish and flourish among the coming daffodils.

Once they've passed, the Day Lilies, Double River Wye, Raspberry parfait, and Melon Balls will greet the front entrance. Along the walkway, before the Melon Balls, is the Bergenia Pig Squeak; to the left I transplanted the Lamb's Ear. Oh yes, I did that purposely. Hannah giggled.

I roughly transplanted some forget-me-nots along the border of the new front bed. I grabbed (literally) some Ajuga (it's mint for cryin' out loud) and plugged it in between the Lilies, along the walkways. It'll fill in nicely and onw't mind being walked on, heh.

The second blue spruce shrub was planted in line with the steps, if looking towards the house. Off-center to the west, it'll add that blue-grey balance I'm hoping for - especially once I plant the Lady's Mantle before it, and a dark red peony behind it. I'm still looking for one more significant player for the front - it's stumping me today. It'll be lime in foliage, but what?

It was so dry I had to soak it, spray it, Claw it over and over again while I amended it. What a great result though! Woot! I just need a few things:

  • Lady's Mantle
  • Peony - reddish
  • lime-foliaged shrub-like perennial.
  • Daffodils
  • Things that come along in time... :)
After tidying, sweeping, catching up I feel ready for autumn. Perhaps it's the pumpkins, the only yield of the season (next year: I'll get those grrgrrgrr squirrels!), that have me in the mood for harvest (or that Hannah already has her Halloween costume) but I'm relishing it. I like the back-to-school feel in the air,both at home and at work, and I like seeing the looks on peoples faces as they walk past our house, smiling.
A comment today: you'll be the best dressed house on the block come Halloween! Yes, I thought - we have nine and counting, all claimed by the carver to be carvees. Home grown, I'm pleased.