Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pavers and Sweet Alyssum

Sweet alyssum is another one of my favorite plants. I must remember it from my childhood or something, because it is one of those plants that I just have to plant every spring. I buy a flat of it in PA, and I use it between the pavers of my front walk, and in random nooks and crannies around the garden.

Some years it does better than others. It doesn't really do well in hot weather, so it kind of fades in summer, but it always comes back in the fall. I think most people think of the white sweet alyssum, but I am partial to the purple and lavender mixes that are available now. I always buy packets of seeds, too, and sprinkle them all around the garden.  And I have been trying for years to get various creeping thymes to grow in between the pavers, and finally some seem to be taking hold...

These pavers are a never-ending annoyance for me, trying to get things to grow in between them, and to keep the weeds out. That was the plan with the thymes--they would grow and spread in between and I wouldn't have to fuss over them every year. So we are getting there. But in the meantime,  I have a little routine when I am on the phone, I go out the front door and weed the pavers!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Books On My Nightstand

The Beginner's Goodbye, by Anne Tyler. A new book by one of my favorite authors, although I have heard mixed reviews. I can't imagine disliking anything she writes, though!

All Mortal Flesh, by Julia Spencer-Fleming. Fifth in the mystery series about Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Allstyne in upstate New York. Where is this relationship going to go? I have to keep reading these just to find out!

How It All Began, by Penelope Lively. I read Moon Tiger earlier this year, and wasn't crazy about it,  but will give this one a try based on the reviews.

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach. Another book that got great reviews when it came out last year. Walt just finished it and thought it was one of the best books he's read in a long time, so I am reading it now.

A Day at the Beach, by Helen Schulman. A couple in Manhattan leaves for the Hamptons on the morning of September 11.

Long Life, by Mary Oliver. A book of essays and poems by poet Mary Oliver, recommended to me by my friend JoAnn.

The Sense of An Ending, by Julian Barnes. My book group picked this for June--I have liked several of his other books and have heard good things about this one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sunday Drive

On Sunday, Walt and I decided to take a drive to Frederick and on the way we stopped in Lucketts at one of my favorite antiquey/flea places.  I was looking for a birdbath and I found one! They were loaded with great stuff, lots of cool outdoorsy stuff, and there were a lot of people looking. Wouldn't this pretty green shelf look great with some plants lined up on it?

And you know I could hardly resist the giant tin "E." Those are marble tiles behind it, for $4/piece.

I would love a bench like this for underneath my pine trees. But moving that one concrete birdbath almost did us in...

And maybe a horse head for your wall or fence? This is horse country after all.

They had tons of these olive baskets. Olive baskets? Who knew.

And I looooved this trough (I guess that's what it was). Wouldn't the birds love that!

I liked this old blue wheel, but it was pretty pricey.

We had lunch in Frederick and walked around town for awhile, browsing through a few shops, then headed home. We drove all back roads, through Buckeystown.  It was a hot, hot weekend, but nice to be out of the house for awhile.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Garden On Memorial Day Morning

I thought I would post a few pictures of the garden this morning, so you can see how sensational the larkspur is this year.  It has been blooming for over a week now, and is still going strong. It looks good every year, but it seems especially dramatic this year.

And a view of my pots on the deck...

And my garden at dusk last night. I was trying out the camera in different lights.  It almost looks like a painting to me.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden Pretties

I think I need this fountain of meditating frogs in my garden. Aren't they cute? It has been raining a lot this week, which makes me very happy, but that means I haven't been outside much and haven't been taking many pictures. Also, I am working 5 days this week, which greatly cuts into my gardening time.

But I did go to Merrifield last week to look for that chartreuse Euphorbia, and took a few pictures, including that cute fountain above. And their hosta collection is amazing. I did purchase just one teeny tiny more hosta. I just can't resist a blue hosta, and this is a small one, although I don't know where I am going to put it.

Hostas at Merrifield
New hosta 'Love Pat'

And I've decided I need a birdbath. I like the cement ones like this, but they sure are pricey. Maybe I need to look at some antique places for an old one...

Something like this could work too. I love anything that is a gigantic leaf. I saw this at Meadowlark Gardens.

And don't even get me started on the troughs. Why haven't I made my own? I have been talking about it for years. You make a form out of boxes and then mix concrete mix, perlite, and peat moss. I really love the look of them, especially planted with succulents.

Hopefully we will get some nice weather this weekend and I can get back into the garden. No plans for the holiday, just working (tomorrow) and relaxing and watching some Nats baseball.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Chairs

I finally got my new Adirondack chairs! I saw these on our plant buying weekend in Lancaster County and drove back up there the following week in the truck to get them. I bought them from an Amish family where they make them in their own workshop behind their house. These are the poly wood, made from recycled water bottles and milk cartons, so they are supposed to last forever.  I love them and they are actually quite comfortable, due to the curved back, not a straight back like my old wooden ones. And they were less pricey than the ones I have seen in Northern Virginia.  They look good with my colorful pots and now the deck is looking good!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gillian's Garden

 My friend Gillian has a beautiful yard and garden, so when I was over there the other day I snapped a few photos. I loved her Euphorbia so much I went out and bought 2 plants. I have the purple variety, but I had to have this chartreusey one. Her front garden is pink roses and nepeta, with azaleas behind. Most of her garden is shaded by huge trees, so she has a lot of hostas, ferns, heucheras, hydrangeas, gooseneck loosestrife, azaleas, and other shady plants.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'

Foxglove (Digitalis lutea)
Like the pebble border

Heucheras and Sweet Woodruff

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunny Succulents

Blue Curls Echeveria
I have a lot of succulents. I started out several years ago with just the typical hens and chicks, and every year I have added a few more. I really like the big and dramatic plants and I bought the cool one with pinky swirls pictured above this spring at Home Depot. I really like them, not only for their architectural interest, but because they are drought hardy, and do well in our hot humid summers. Most of these winter over-- I keep them in a bin in the garage and bring them back out in the spring. And it's nice to have a few plants that I don't have to water every single day in the summer.

Pots on the deck
My favorite cabbage pot
Hens and chicks

Paddle Plant Echeveria
 And now my frogs...

And my new bird...

And someday I am going to do a hens and chicks border like this one I saw last fall at Chanticleer Gardens outside of Philadelphia. Love that.

Hens and Chicks Border at Chanticleer

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rainy Monday

Another race, another medal
I woke this morning to the sweet sound of rain and it looks like it's going to be cloudy and rainy all day, good news for the garden.  We had a good weekend, I worked outside some more, cutting back the baptisia, and doing a lot of edging and trimming. Garden looks good!

Walt ran in the USMC Half Marathon in Fredericksburg on Sunday morning and later the Langes came over for Brooks's birthday dinner. We had the first teriyaki pork chops of the season (grilled), along with rice and tomato/basil green beans, and I made homemade strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Yum!

Playing Bananagrams on the deck
Strawberry shortcake

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Fleurs: Larkspur

My garden is so pretty right now I can hardly stand it, and as you can see I can hardly stop taking pictures. I went out last night after the sun went down and everything was just so beautiful. The colors are perfect, the flowers are fresh, and the larkspur! I just love the wild look of them and how they come up in the most random places. I first planted larkspur years ago, by seed, and every year it re-seeds itself and they are more beautiful than ever.  They last a few weeks and then they start to dry up in this heat.  I just take the dried seed pods and sprinkle them all over the garden, and miracle of miracles, they come back the following year.  And the colors are so great,  all pinks, blues, and whites. I wish my garden would look like this all summer, but I have to remind myself to remember Henry Mitchell,  who says that only beautiful flowers (and those that don't last very long) are worth growing. Who wants to look at marigolds day after day?  Such snobbery.

And I especially love how they look on the side of the house. This is an area that I am never happy with, but right now it's looks great with those larkspur mingling with the roses.