Sunday, May 23, 2010

This is how the morning began.  We looked at the new rock and yes, just as we suspected last night, we had to move it again.  Carl is very patient with this process, thank goodness, and never minds having to move things around more than once.  When Japanese gardens are built it can take literally days to place even one rock ; of course they are artists/professionals/Zen masters, to which we can only aspire.  But once in awhile we get picky, too, and have to move a rock more than once.

Later in the day, and the rock is moved to the other side, but looking at the picture here, I'm more than inclined to say maybe this isn't right either, but it's OK, we'll let it go.  ;-)  It actually looked much better after we moved all the hostas in foreground out and around, transplanted in a Horstmann's Silberlocke spruce and three more good-sized rocks for good measure.  I wish I had a better picture of the results at sunset, but it was very dark and the focus was fuzzy:
I'll take a better picture tomorrow.  Also of note in the above shot is the mulch, which is old hay.  Dale (our farm's renter) has piled up a small mountain of rotten hay in our Back Eight.  Every year we used to go to the landfill and load up wood chips for mulching the garden which is a labor-intensive endeavor to load by hand and not so fun to trailer home in heavy traffic to and from the site.

So, the other day I was out in the Back Eight dropping off a load of weeds to our mulch pile when I took a gander at the old hay.  It had never dawned on me before that this hay has been lying there (some for over two years) and there are no weeds growing in it yet.  Well, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

So I did an internet search about using rotten hay as mulch and this is what I dug up:  The word "mulch" comes from the old English word "melsc" - meaning rotten hay. 

Well, I have literally tons of 'melsc' in our back yard!  There was a lady by the name of Ruth Stout who was an advocate of mulching with rotten hay and I'm going to have to look up her books online, because it sounds fascinating.  I'm going to give it a try this year.  I don't know why I've never thought of this before, I guess I was too worried about mold and other diseases but I guess the hay makes a wonderful fertilizer, too.   Just to make it look nicer and more uniform, we will top dress the hay with pine needles also from the Back Eight, always remembering to keep the mulch away from the stems or trunks of whatever we are mulching.  If this works, we'll never need to haul mulch again. Apparently, where this idea caught on, farmers were able to charge people for their rotten hay!  That never happened when we were still farming, lol.   I'll keep you posted.

I had another idea this afternoon for the front yard this time.  Carl brought up a limestone 'monolith' (fancy word for an upright rock) from the stone we got last fall and we plunked it down in the front bed.  Then I planted three deep pink shrub roses,  'Knockout Double Pink' around the rock.  We'll see how it works out.  That front bed is something I have changed every year, maybe one of these times I'll hit on a winner.

Today was rather warm, especially in the afternoon, but nothing to what's in store for us this coming week.  I hauled all the annuals out of the greenhouse and onto the driveway on Friday since it was cloudy and misty.   Today I just kept a close eye on them and made sure they were well-watered.  Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the upper 80's and very windy again, so I will have to find a semi-protected site or the little plants will simply give up.  I find hardening off seedlings to be very challenging. 

The morning was taken up with conferring with a few neighbors about the power company easement request.  I am still not sure what to do about this, but will let it go until next week.  Travis and Laura and the girls stopped in for a visit (and to put some trim on for us) which was a lot of fun.  The girls are SO cute!!!

And wouldn't you know it, after work Ann was here again to help us with the mulching.  We worked right up til 9PM and then Ann and I went to DQ for take-out burgers.  I know, sounds like I'm not cooking supper much, but when you work ten to twelve+ hours in the garden every day, by nightfall the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal.  (I do cook the noon meal however, so I'm not a total lazybones.)

I guess I'll end this post with some pictures from what's blooming today.

Fern leaf peony

Every time I see this ladyslipper in bloom, I think of Carl's Grandpa 'Hoo hoo'  from whom we obtained the plant over 25 years ago.
Though I hate dandelions, the seed heads are really exquisite close up aren't they?

This iris is also another pleasant reminder of my late Aunt Dorothy, my father's sister, who was a fantastic flower gardener.  Aunt Dorothy gave me this iris over 20 years ago and it is treasured.
Many of the following iris were gifts to me from an internet acquaintance from California. 
Well, it's just about 1AM on Sunday morning, so I guess it's time to call it a day.  We'll see how tomorrow goes.  

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