Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garten Update, Late June

New irresistible hydrangeas, sold to me by the enterprising teen at the supermarket:

Icelandic poppies in bloom!

I actually bought two of these. One is thriving the other, not so much. It's like a before and after picture. Except I didn't include the before, only the after.

Vegetable garden slowly going out of control:

Particularly the tomato portion:

First purple pepper!

Serranos taking off:

My new, unknown shrub from my sister-in-law's mother:

And some developing window boxes with E's fabulous shutters:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The House of C and E and U and S and A

Tonight the US Mens Soccer team will be going up against our long-time rivals, Mexico, in the Gold Cup Final. And the House of C and E are flying the Colors to support our Boys in Blue. And if you look closely (and use your imagination) you should see two flags in the first photo:

Let's go USA!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mistaken Identity

It seems we have an interloper. Whether it's my fault or a breach of security, I'm not yet sure.

I posted this guy recently as a Super Marzano:

Super Marzanos are like the Romas you see at the supermarket – longer, more oblong in shape, and fleshier. This specimen doesn't fit that description, but it was early days, what did I know – perhaps he'd stretch and grow into himself, who could say?

And then the tomatoes on the other Super Marzano plant started coming in:



Well, whatever – both plants are getting tomatoes, so there's nothing to complain about. But the question becomes, what do I have? Since the greenhouse where I bought these allowed you to literally pull plants out of containers and make-you-own four-packs, I may have picked up someone else's discarded combo platter, and it could be anything. Time will tell.

In other news, first bell pepper!

Brilliant and glorious. When mature, it will be dark purple. I love vegetables of unexpected shapes and colors – it's like the Island of Misfit Toys, but tastier, and with less singing.

And finally, I am coming to you live from the patio, under the green ash, at our bistro set:

Well, actually one of two identical bistro sets because they were so. darn. affordable. (Ikea stalks our dreams and wallets.) And then there's a third one on the front porch, but that is metal and red and a story for another day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Signs of Produce!

It begins ...

Serrano peppers:

Super Marzano tomato:

Sunsugar tomatoes:

And one black raspberry:



My neighbors have assured me that the front-most patch of our property has always been more of a wildflower, flee-flowing space than a carefully manicured Italian garden. However, the weeds seem to knew an amateur is at the helm this year, and have seized the opportunity to assert their authority, turning casual and free-flowing space into mini jungle scene. There have been no negotiations – war has been declared.

Part of the issue is that I have been loathe to tear out plants I couldn't readily identify because perhaps they were "something" and I'd regret it later. I took to emailing my mom photos and engaging her in a lively flashcard round of "Weed or Not Weed?" A passing neighbor with two small-but-determined dogs helped me out further this morning, identifying a few more culprits, and tossing out this piece of wisdom as her yapping friends dragged her away: "By definition, a weed is any plant which is where you don't want it to be." Nothing I love like a new mantra, and this one is it.

So I am now pulling with extreme prejudice. I am determined to turn the whole blessed thing into a mass of daylilies and call it a landscape. Wish me luck. All's fair in love, war, and weeding.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just a Day Short

Shortly after posting the realized we had bought extra hardware to mount the shutters. My bad. So I was able to mount the other two shutters tonight as well. We're really digging the black shutters. We're hoping to get the rest finished in another week:

Day Late, Dollar Short

So, today is Tuesday and not Monday like I had hoped to have the freshly painted shutters back outside. And there are only two shutters instead of four. For the record, I did have all four shutters painted and ready to go yesterday (Monday). But time and tide did not wait for me. And to an insult to injury, when I tried to hang all four shutters today, I discovered I only had mounting hardware for two. Alternative title for this post: "Best Laid Plans..."
Other two shutters to follow soon!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Shutter to Think - Speed Test

I took down two more sets of shutters (top floor, two windows on the right side). Today's Friday. I hope to have them painted and back up by Monday. Start your engines...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shutter to Think - Update

I finished putting up the shutters for the garage windows. We really like how the black color looks:

Now onto the upstairs windows!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Can Stop Anytime I Want To

While I tend to attribute a lot of my gardening love to my dad, in truth, my mom is equally responsible. For many of the past few years, we have made pilgrimages to our favorite greenhouses in Lancaster County. Being an apartment dweller, I would come home with a plant or two, while Mom would slowly fill her cart, all the while asking me to stop her but not really meaning it.

It the next few weeks after these trips, I would inevitability hear of  "just one more" plant she had found for the garden. I would sigh and tease here and she would just laugh.

I am my mother's daughter.

This is what I went to get Saturday – a purple raspberry bush, mostly out of sheer novelty and raspberry love.

While there, I also found a lupine, another favorite:

And then I went to a different green house to find a pot for the porch for these ...

... which I had bought at a stand near my mother's on Memorial Day, and found these:

Daylilies, everblooming, for a dollar each, just marked down. I love daylilies and inherited a bunch from the previous owners. They seem to do well at the extremely sunny patch in front of the property, so I'm hoping these will fill in the big sunbaked spaces left by my weed-pulling binges.

I also received these from my mom – a fireworks plant on the left, and perennial huechera on the right.

Finally, I have discovered that it is possible to buy plants on eBay, so I have three Chinese lantern plants on the way. I blame my parents.

Best. Realtor. Ever.

Our real estate agent, Kathy, was absolutely superb during the whole house search and buying process. She patiently set up all our requests to see houses, answered any and all of our myriad of questions about the house buying process, and was a staunch advocate for us during any dealings. In our book, she's the best realtor out there.

And tonight she proved that she's exceptional in other areas as well. Friend and neighbor. Look what she brought us:

That's homemade manicotti, salad (with two kinds of dressing), bread, a bottle of wine, and the pièce de résistance (as if the homemade manicotti hadn't already blown us away): homemade strawberry pie (made with strawberries from one of the local farms) with vanilla ice cream and whip cream. She had us at hello.

Thank you, Kathy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

The first newly painted shutter is up! I meant to install its twin, but I realized there are a few spots I have to touch up first. I hope to install it in the next day or so.

In the meantime, our house is going to look


The roses in the back of the house are in bloom. At the base of the trellis, the Moonflower is starting to make its way up the chimney:

Equations of Mow-tion 1: r = aƟ

I figure if I have to mow a lawn, I might as well make it interesting. And who says you have to mow in straight lines?