Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Couldn't Resist

So the other day I was reading Gardening While Intoxicated posting on Garden Rant and found that Elizabeth, who is a serious gardener, sheepishly admitting to owning a Pink Flamingo. Apparently it’s not her idea to have it in her garden, but she’s been overruled. So when I, a frivolous gardener, stopped at a garage sale Saturday morning and spotted this garish pink metal one that lights up at night, I knew it would be perfect for my back porch.

There really isn’t anything else to say about this, is there?

Except see how brightly it glows at dusk?

Also see how expensive it was? Could I resist this at $4.00? No. Well, maybe I should have!

At Home > Home Accents > Tabletop Accents & Figurines
Seaside Treasures® Animated FlamingoPrice: $69.99, Sale Price: $48.99

Monday, July 23, 2007

Book club

My Summer in a Garden, by Charles Dudley Warner, the June/July gardener's book club selection, shown on my unmade (of course) bed, where it resided for the months of June and July.

I indicated to Carol that I found this book to be a snoozer. And it was - in a good way. The flowery prose of the late 19th century inevitably makes our 21st century text-messaging, keyword-searching brains rebel. But once into the flow of the tale of a summer in Charles’ garden, the rhythm was easy to pick up, the long (and longer) paragraphs easier for the eye to scan. I felt right at home in that garden, and the comfortable, inexorable cycle of gardening is what lulled me to sleep each night as I read this book.

Didn’t it seem like a curmudgeonly old gent wrote this? He hated children, his neighbor’s cow that often wallowed in his garden (imagine that!), cats and chickens, and he belittled his wife. In fact, Warren was only 41 years old when he wrote this, which gives credence to my theory that people used to behave (and look) much older than they actually were. 60 may be the new 40 now, but back then a 40-year-old could easily pass for a 60-year-old codger. But since most of the book was written tongue-in-cheek, the reader has to assume that this book was meant to be read then as we’d read Dave Barry now.

I guess my favorite part of this book was Charles’ hatred of “pusley”, “a fat ground-clinging, spreading, greasy thing” which I can only assume is purslane. It’s nice to know some things never change, while others did. His antiquated views on certain topics are merely something to wonder at now, but a fact of life in his day. And his way with a phrase is what kept me engrossed and occasionally laughing out loud, such as “the cucumbers cumber the ground – great yellow, over-ripe objects” which put me in mind of May Dreams’ squash, as did Charles’ raptures over his new hoe. There were lots of other great passages but I couldn’t highlight them since I got this book from the library and they probably wouldn’t appreciate it. I don’t want to go back and re-read the whole darn book to find them again, amusing as it was. I’ll just finish this with Charles Dudley Warren’s observation that “a garden is an awful responsibility.” But he found a most amusing way to deal with it.

Here's my own summer-in-my-garden latest photo, the Rose of Sharon, which decided to bloom just in time for my daughter's visit.

It has an abundance of pretty little flowers, in pink of course. I have friends who've recently planted the blue ones, but I haven't seen any pictures of theirs yet and of course their plants are still quite small.

Not like this behemoth that would like to reach the height of the now-defunct basketball hoop. My neighbor's house in the background is higher on the hill than I am, and you can just see the roof of my garage on the right to get an idea of the height. I've had to trim this bush to the ground several times over the years because heavy snows tend to smash it flat and then the limbs grow all twisted instead of springing back into shape.

While I was waiting for my daughter to get off the plane, I took this shot of the greeting area at DIA. Nice fountain under the "circus-tent" roof, and a long line of variegated something-or-others all lined up in their pots. Charles Dudley Warner would be amazed.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Bev in Colorado tagged me for a meme - 8 random things about me. But first here's a picture of my 6-year-old granddaughter touring the garden today. She found a paper parasol on the porch and decided it would be perfect for a stroll.

Now for the meme:

· There isn’t a day that I don’t eat chocolate.

· I’ve been going to the same dentist since I was 18 years old. I’m now 60.

· I love music but it makes me sad – I rarely listen to it.

· I worked in a carnation greenhouse when I was a teenager. Nowadays when I order an arrangement of flowers for any occasion, I always specify “no carnations”.

· I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime. I generally have two or three going at once at any given time. I get worried if I don’t always have a supply of books and I tend to stockpile them.

· I can’t find anything in my house unless it’s something I use every day. This is one of the great frustrations of my life. I’ve lived in this house for 30 years and things rearrange themselves when I’m not looking.

· One dark and rainy night about 10 years ago my daughter and I experienced a “raining frogs” phenomenon. Hundreds and hundreds of them hopping across a mile-long stretch of interstate outside Tulsa. We couldn’t avoid them and the highway was slick with squished frogs. We’ve never convinced anyone that this happened.

· I have 317 species of birds on my life list. The thrill of seeing a new bird always stops me in my tracks, but my favorite bird is in my own backyard – the ubiquitous American Robin.

My backyard birding companion - the neighbor's cat - watching himself for a change instead of my birdfeeder.

My daughter is coming for a visit. I need to find the vacuum cleaner, take the Christmas tree out of her room, and do a bit of "light housework". So I won't be posting for the next week or so but I'll be checking in occasionally to keep up with what everyone is doing. Oh, I'm supposed to tag 8 other bloggers to post 8 random things, so this means you!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Then and Now....Shade and Sun

I love Lavatera. This one is in the back yard and I can't remember its name. I call it Pretty Pink Eye (not cunjunctivitis). It's from the mallow family, which also includes Rose of Sharon, hibiscus, and hollyhocks. You know I love hollyhocks.
July 2006. Do you see a giant hollyhock? I don’t either. There is a little wimpy one barely visible in front of the purple liatris. It had been attempting to bloom for a long time in the shade of an overgrown upright juniper.


A month earlier I'd had the juniper taken out. The bare dirt shows how much area it took up. And it was taller than the house.


The hollyhock took full advantage, wouldn't you say?


See the feverfew in July 2006? (the white clump behind the geese). You can’t see the pink lavatera but it’s visible in the second picture above, at the front edge of the bed, seeking one of the few sunny spots the juniper didn't hog.

Look at the lavatera this year. It spread back into the feverfew because….there's sun. (The purple verbena didn't magically appear, I yanked out last year's Yellow Archangel -nasty stuff- and planted Homestead Purple this spring).

It was fun to compare pictures from last year to this year. I also solved a mystery. Every time I look out the living room window I wonder what the funny looking clump of grass is under the giant hollyhock this year. After viewing these photos I see that it's last year's purple Liatris clearly visible in the second photo. Good thing the camera remembers, I sure don't.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Shooting stars and a savage garden

I missed the fireworks tonight but I have my own starburst display in the front yard. The Whirling Butterflies (gaura) are shooting out right and left, reminding me of those cool starburst fireworks that rain down from Fourth of July skies.

The slightest breeze sets the blossoms fluttering on their long, wand-like stems, imitating a cloud of white butterflies flitting across my yard. This guara is called Geyser White.

What do you do with a day off in the middle of the week, with two days of work behind you, and two more to come? A holiday in the middle of the week doesn’t lend itself to serious pursuits like heavy-duty gardening chores. No, much better to fritter the day away, which I did, with this book.

A Savage Garden? How can that be? Finding the answer was a pleasant summer read - a delicious trip through a mysterious 15th century garden (which is much more than it appears to be) in the heart of Tuscany. Complete with a 400 year old mystery, a World War II murder, and a young scholar trying to unravel numerous threads; it was like reading The Da Vinci Code, only without the religion, and with a garden as the main character. I liked it.

Occasionally I got up and wandered around and pulled a weed or two, and petted a neighbor’s cat that prefers my back porch during the day. I was treated to the sight of four fighter jets flying in formation overhead, and later the deep boom of fireworks. I can no longer see them from my back porch as well as I could 30 years ago before the trees got bigger. Just a hint of shooting stars overhead.