Wednesday, June 26

Making a Little Bed by the Shed

When you look at our little shed all you see is the mildew creeping up the side and a few ratty tools and decorations.  Blah.

There used to be a little flower bed on the north side of the shed, but I forgot to water it during the long, hot Richmond summers.  Wonder if the soil is still rich after all these years; probably full of tree roots.
Still a little improved soil left from a few years ago when I added topsoil and compost.  Looks pretty clay-ish after you dig down a few inches, though.

Good thing we have mountains of rotted leaves out near the woods.  If I can avoid startling the copperheads who like to lay their eggs deep in the nice, warm leaves I'll have some good amendments for the soil.
These whittled-down hostas were formerly on the north side of the house, where bunnies and deer love to graze at night.  Tonight the critters will be wondering where their treats have gone.

Mix up the soil and the leaf compost, add the hostas and water and wait for them to thrive in the north-facing, shaded bed by the shed.
If you look closely you'll see fencing stretched over the top and side of the bed.  You don't really think I trust the deer to keep away, do you?

Saturday, June 22

All Kinds of Garden Gifts from Friends

Begonias and Ferns

So many friends gave me plants this past month.  Thx to Mark for the lush begonias, they look so pretty from a distance due to their striking colors.

The underside of the begonias is a lovely, deep rust color
My "therapeutic" outdoor work station
About five years ago my good buddy, Joe Paxson, designed this traveling garden work bench for me to use at schools with students who have difficulty bending down to the ground.  "I have to be able to take it apart real easy," I told him.  "The kids have to be able to get right up under it with their wheelchairs," I said. 

Of course, he made it exactly right.

A very fine mechanic friend made me this portable raised garden bench
Over the summer it'll be a great growing spot for two varieties of ferns, another plant present from Mark Y.  You can see Joe's precise measurements on the sides of the bench.

The garden improvements are attracting a lot of notice from the neighbors.

Thursday, June 20

Tupperware on Display, Finally

With the exception of the popsicle molds and maybe the green jello mold, all of this lovely Tupperware was given to me by friends or purchased at thrift stores.  It's about half of my "collection."  The remainder is used on an almost daily basis.  Still, it's too much for one person to possess.  "If you love something, let it go free..."

What's especially adorable?  The "How to hold a T'ware party" books from Brenda Smith, the avocado dill pickle holder, the yellow and orange no-tip sippy cups and the pre-Bento lunch boxes with their removable carrying straps.  My prize find--the canned ham keeper, with lift-out tray.

Thanks to Betsy for giving me the white shelves last Saturday.  They're a perfect backdrop for highlighting the pastel and fall-ish colors of T'ware.

Wednesday, June 19

Dragonfly Class for Beginners

For a very inexpensive yearly membership fee I get to go to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden  Lewis Ginter as often as I wish, which includes many free classes.  Today I took my first class on dragonflies in the garden.

"Butterfly Barbara" was our instructor for a 90 minute session indoors and a 30 minute dragonfly sighting trip outside.  You may think that 90 minutes is too much time to sit and discuss facts and photos about dragonflies, but the time "flew" by.  Barbara was an excellent instructor--lots of good info and a little zany, to boot:
Since it was a cloudy, cool-ish morning we were instructed not to get our hopes up about seeing any dragonflies, but the bog area in the garden treated us to about six different sightings.  Look hard!

Blue Dasher???

Dragonfly to the right of the little orange butterfly
One of the great perks about the garden membership is their reciprocal program with hundreds of other gardens.  When I travel back to the midwest I can get into the Chicago Botanic Garden for free.

Tuesday, June 18

Reclaiming the Garden--Day One

Although I've done a tiny bit more on the garden than usual this past spring, it's still a weedy mess.  Today was spent on "Before" photos and reclaiming the area closest to the side door we use all the time:

Tons of weeds mixed in with the baby Cleome (spider) plants which are returning for the 5th year.  Since it's been drizzling the last 24 hours it was super easy to pull out the nasty weeds.


Weeds pretty much gone.  The chartreuse succulent ground cover was a breeze to transplant to the lower corner and will do well in the shallow ground covering a concrete area.  Plus, it won't compete with the cleome, which will be about 3' high in mid-summer.
Finishing touch--Filling the birdfeeders:
One with nyjer seed and one with sunflower seed.  Viewing these is a straight shot from the kitchen window.  Having cleaned them with vinegar and water a couple of weeks ago they were ready to get to work.  Can you see the white grease slathered on the post?  A little extra something to moisturize the squirrels' grabby paws... 

Sure, it's kinda late to offer seed but I think the birds will forgive me.