Friday, August 12, 2011

Veni, Vidi, Vici

They came, they saw, they conquered were wonderful guests!

Yesterday went off without a hitch; all of the guests found our house and the timing was almost perfect, with only a little overlap.  We had the place in pretty good shape and the weather was very cooperative, too. Mom came down in the morning and deadheaded some daylilies for me while I ran around pulling sneaky weeds and cleaned the house and did a little baking.  

It sure is something how time gets away from you, isn't it?  I put a pan of brownies in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.  Then I noticed the pan fountain was running a little low on water, so I went out to find a hose and hooked it up and started filling the basin, but just as a watched pot never boils, the fountain wasn't filling fast enough.   I saw some weeds by the fountain, so I went off in search of a weed pail.  Then I got involved with weeding by the barn (where I had put the weed pails---it's that GADS tendency of mine, rearing it's ugly head again) when I remembered the fountain (which was by now running over) so I ran to turn off the water and stash the hose out of the way when I remembered, Brownies! and made a mad dash to the house and saw with a sinking heart the timer on the microwave flashing 'End End End'.  But I took heart in the fact the smoke alarm wasn't screaming at me, and all was well.  The brownies were a little crunchy, but still edible.  (I can attest to their edibleness, sadly.)
All pictures today are Random......I had a dead camera battery and these were all taken last night after the company left.  Oooops.
Carl surprised me ever so much by coming home from work at noon.  I heard his loud car a quarter mile away (a 1989 Oldsmobile whose muffler fell off a year ago--he's got a new muffler in the backseat that he bought eleven months ago but hasn't had the time or inclination to put on yet)  I was so very glad he was home.  He said he went to work early, and early, for Carl is indeed very early, since he normally gets up at 5AM to be to work at 6AM.  "I knew you needed help and I wanted to be here, too, so I started work at 5 and took a half-day vacation."  Sad that his 'vacation' consists of running around in circles with weed pails, but we're in this together and I love him for his devotion to the home team.  He'll get around to fixing the muffler one of these days, it's not as loud as most of the motorcycles that roar past here, or even some of the fancy trucks that drive by, either.  As long as you keep your foot out of the carburetor, it's quiet.  Sort of.

The first people to arrive were from 'Up North' a mystical, magical place that is somewhere in Wisconsin.  People talk about it all the time, 'We're headed Up North this weekend.' 

I've lived here all my life and was never really sure where the line is that separates Up North from the rest of The Skeeter State, so I just did an internet search and found a site called Up North Wisconsin, so now I know.  Turns out we don't live all that far from Up North, it starts just a county away.  I guess we live in Not Up North.  But anyway, back to the story:

The Up North people were very pleasant, one lady had been here before and brought along her husband and another couple.  We had a very nice time walking through and chatting with them.  While we were out in the gardens, Joel came home from work and then David, and our friend Briana was here visiting for the afternoon, too, so we had a lot of cars in and out.  We were just coming out of the Formal Garden and headed for the Quarry when Toni from Texas arrived with her mother and two of her sisters.  Toni is the only one of her family to live in Texas, the rest live in Wisconsin, but quite a distance from us.   Toni's blog is fantastic and if we ever get to Texas someday, we want to visit her gorgeous garden.  Here's a link: Signature Gardens

The lady I was walking with said, "Now, who's that?" and I explained about how Toni and I 'met' through the Land of Garden Blogs and how Toni had just toured Larry and Sarah's wonderful garden this morning.  Here's the link to Larry's garden which is about an hour drive from us:

"Is it always like this around here?" my garden visitor asked.  "It looks like you have people here all the time!?"

No, not all the time, but she's right, for the past two weeks things have been jumping around here more than 'normal' (whatever normal is for us, lol).

Carl finished the tour with our first guests and I went to greet Toni and her family.  Oh, my, such friendly and beautiful ladies they were!  And once again I was struck by the realization that though we had never met in person, it felt like greeting old friends.  The blogging community is truly close-knit, even though we are separated by great distances.  I have to admit that most times I know more about what's going on with my blog friends than I do with my neighbors.  I wish I could have taken pictures of their visit, but the battery on my camera had died and didn't recharge until after everyone was gone.  Oh, well.  
We had a great time strolling along and looking at plants and rocks.  When Tufa Girl (Cindy and Shawn) were here last week, Cindy was saying how amazing it was that so many of the plants they grow in Texas are also growing up here in Wisconsin, and Toni said the same thing.  Hard to believe,'s 104+ degrees in Texas and the same plants survive in -20+ here in Wisconsin.  And the same goes for the rocks.  They have rocks in Texas, too.  Oh, it's a Small World!  
Coneflowers, for example, thrive in both climates.  This is 'Virgin' echinacea.

And sedum thrives in Texas heat, too.
 While Toni's family was touring, our third group of guests arrived from near Marinette, which also qualifies as 'Up North' only in a different direction, sort of.......but these three ladies are friends of ours who also belong to the same hosta club, Karen, Cathy and Mary.  We don't see them often enough, though.  Carl once again left our Texas/Wisconsin guests to greet the other ladies while we finished our tour.

We had a very nice visit; my only complaint was it was too short, but Toni's entourage was off to the Green Bay Botanical Garden, and I didn't want to keep them from seeing that beautiful sight!  Toni and her mom and sisters were wonderful guests and I hope someday I will meet them again.  

Our third group of friends were so much fun to visit with, too....and there was an added bonus, they took some plants out of the Formal Garden for me!  I was really happy about that, glad anyone who wants them is taking them because we need them outta there so we can finish the wall.  Ann wants some for her new place, too, so things are looking up.  We might actually finish a project before the end of the year.
More random photos...the sedum is certainly loving this weather, it's crawling all over everything.
So, finally our last visitors of the day left and things quieted down.  There's always a bit of a let-down after such a hectic day, but we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed back out to do a little more gardening.  The mosquitoes were happy to greet us, and became unbearable so we gave up and I took the doggies for a walk at dusk.  I was thinking as I plodded along on the end of the leashes that it was good the garden season ended on a positive many wonderful people we've met.  

Too bad it's over already.  I was a bit sad. 
The garden juniper is also having a fun time growing all over the rocks.  Looks like a lava flow almost. 

'Double Click' Cosmos

But the sedums are starting to turn just the slightest bit pink, and that's a warning....this summer weather isn't going to be here forever. 
That's the biggest problem with gardening in Wisconsin.  We wait a very long time for the warmer weather and put our gardens in with high hopes because at best, we only have a few months of glorious color before it's back to the snow.   With all of the guests we've had again this year, most of them remarked on the annuals.  They're pretty, but why?  Why do I plant them when they won't be back next year?  
 Because I'm nuts.  And because without them, I wouldn't have color right up until frost.   And because they go with rocks so well.  And because they make me look thinner.  (Ok, no, they don't, but what the heck, just checking to see if you're listening.)

So, like I said, I was coming on home with the doggies and felt a bit sad but also more optimistic, it's cooling down and we can get to work on the stone cottage-y thing after we finish the formal garden wall.  We don't have to keep the place pristine any more.  Visitors are always the best incentive to get things done.  You'd be surprised how much the threat of people coming to see the gardens has given us the second and third winds we've needed to work a bit harder.   So, ok, time to get out the tractors and mortar mixer and the knee pads.  Back to work.....we have a few months before the snow flies.  


When I got back in the house, there were two new messages on the answering machine:

"I'm Felicia from Up North and we were wondering if we could come and see your gardens on Monday............." 

"Hello, my name is Cynthia, and we were wondering if we could bring our friends out to see your gardens September 13th..........."

And, I almost forgot, we have a Very Special Bride (our neighbor) coming for her wedding photos on October 1.  

Every path leads to my door.  Well, at least to my rock pile.  And I hope Jack Frost doesn't find the path to my garden until at least the middle of October.  

Build it and they will come.

It ain't over til the Fat Lady sings.  (And nobody wants to hear me sing.)

Now, where are my knee pads?

And don't forget to check out what's going on over at Tootsie's!  I'm linking up to Fertilizer Friday

 Hope you all have a great weekend!


FlowerLady said...

Karen ~ What a delightful post filled with the telling of visits from far and wide and wonderful photos of your fantastic gardens.

Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

Tootsie said...

this is just taking my breath away!!! I can only dream of a haven as wonderful as this...I may be getting to start from scratch here very you never know what I'll decide to do...I do know that all the passionate, talented, wonderful gardeners that link in each week inspire me to want to make a special gorgeous garden to share too!!!
thanks for linking in again...I shared this on the tootsie facebook page...hope you don't mind!!!

Carol said...

A beautiful random tour of your outstanding gardens!!!! I love the way you tell a story and hope to someday visit your gardens as well.

Shyrlene said...

Karen - I am entranced by your gardens! It is so cool that you have had both Tufa Girl and Toni - Signature Gardens, visiting you. I am an avid reader of both blogs.

(I'm playing hooky today (big smile), and have been catching up on the Blogosphere. There sure have been some great posts to read! :)

Junebug said...

Oh Karen, how beautiful. The only thing I can find missing is the little guest house out in the garden that I can move into! I might have to pitch that tent before Carl and you get it constructed. Love, love your garden. Super big hugs today for all your hard work that we get to enjoy!

Tufa Girl said...

I never really thought too much about annuals - have been taught that perennials are some how better. After seeing your gardens I am looking at gardening in a whole way. I had planted some larkspur and clover here in the loft gardens (before the big deep freeze) and was amazed at compliments I received from the few plants that did make it up to bloom.

I am already looking for seeds to sow (in October if we get any rain) for a winter show. I need to watch your greenhouse closer this year to see how you did all those plants. I don't think your visitors realize you created all those annual babies. I am truly inspired.

Sue said...

Hope you have a peaceful weekend!

Lona said...

Sounds like everyone had a wonderful visit.
I always look forward to your postings and walking through your garden with you. Everything looks so pretty. I love seeing your annuals tucked into your beds and you have such good ledges and rocks to tuck them into. If I ever make it up that far north I will bring my trowel. LOL! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sandy said...

Karen, did you ever think of writing a book about your adventures in the garden... all the stories you tell of visitors are so funny! You would sell to most gardeners and those who love the land.....
Take the weekend off.
You deserve it!

Gatsbys Gardens said...


That would be a great name for your book, Every Path Leads To MY Garden! Am I trying to tell you you either need to write a short/long story or a book.

What a great tribute to a gardener to have people coming from all parts to see the fruits of your family's efforts.


Alison said...

I agree, you really should collect some of your posts and put out a book. You write well and tell some great stories, and your voice is right there in your writing, which can't be faked! And Eileen suggested the perfect title.

I didn't realize annuals make you look slim, why am I wasting so much time on all this walking then? Hehe. I wish you could be here to walk with me too. I also wish I could come and visit your beautiful gardens. But then you might write about me, uh-oh!

Anonymous said...

Wow, first Cindy then Toni and you live near Conrad. That is wonderful you had them visit. I was hoping to meet some fellow bloggers this year by getting back to PA but still have not had the time to get away from work. You garden really is a showplace and it was not that long ago some of it was under water. Amazing how well it recovered, but you did do an incredible amount of work too.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Simply spectacular!!

Donna said...

Karen what incredible gardens and how lush this year. How wonderful to be able to host so many visitors and I can see why so many want to!!

Tina said...

What a lovely garden! LG Tina

Tina said...

What a lovely garden! LG Tina

Darla said...

I don't know how you and Carl do everything you do? And DUH! Everyone needs some annuals!! I cannot believe you are speaking of snow already, hush your mouth girl! I am ready for a cool down around, 99 yesterday. Have a great weekend.

Kristin said...

What an amazing garden! It certaily deserves to be shown. I like annuals in the garden too just to add some extra color.

Millie said...

Wonderful tour of your garden...wish I could see it! I love the annuals too!

The Ebullient Gardener said...

Absolutely stunning gardens! Amazing! They are so beautiful! You should be very proud. The summer sure has flown by, especially since my girls are back in school! Thanks so much for the awesome post, loved it!
Happy Gardening! Mindy

The Ebullient Gardener said...

Absolutely stunning gardens! Amazing! They are so beautiful! You should be very proud. The summer sure has flown by, especially since my girls are back in school! Thanks so much for the awesome post, loved it!
Happy Gardening! Mindy

Diane said...

What gorgeous photos and gardens you have. It must be so lovely when people ask to come and visit your garden, especially to have someone want to take their wedding pictures in them!

Thank you for visiting!


xoxoxo said...

Oh--I have rocks too! How amazing! Wish I had rocks like they grow in wisconsin though!
I do think the annuals make us look slimmer--
If only I could get you to come pollinate my yard! I could really use the help :) You would laugh at my measly .22 acres of which the house sits on at leat half!

Randy Emmitt said...


Good thing you have Carl and I have Meg. I think between us the house would surely burn down. I forget all about cooking or drying iron skillets on the stove way too often. Your tours seemed like a blast. We never deadhead hostas or daylilies though.

Anonymous said...

of all the photos you post of your garden... with all your "guest photographers".... I love how you capture your garden best...
I hope to be able to walk through your garden one day with you...

My garden haven said...

Karen, I just love you! Your posts are wonderful to read, your garden is incredible, and if I get to your part of the world, you are on my wish list. I'd love to visit you and see your garden.

Beth said...

Karen, I love your gardens! Love your posts too. Just the right touch of tongue-in-cheek. Also like how you and Carl and the boys pull together to do great build a windmill....or a quarry. You and your home are just amazing! Glad you are having guests. It is such a fulfilling thing to show off the fruits of your labors. Someday I'll get up your way, I hope!
Hugs, Beth