Friday, September 2, 2011

September Already?

August is over and I miss it already.  Seems like yesterday.  Well, ok, it was two days ago, but you know what I mean. Hard to believe September is here and it's Fertilizer Friday again.

Hey, we finished the Spruced Up Bed last night.  We ended up limbing up the spruces a lot more than we first planned to, but I think it's for the best. 

This picture was taken on Thursday morning and you can see the branches are still on the blue spruce on the left side of the Something Else bed.  But not for long.  Once Carl got home from work, we debated and kicked the ideas around (and a few rocks) and thought, oh, what the heck, let's lop 'em off.  I couldn't mow under the trees and there was always a fringe of long grass there which meant poor old me had to go get the gas trimmer and I don't need more work. (Yes, I know, it's walking work which all adds to the Pedometer Miles, but still!) 

The trees looked OK on the outside looking in, but on the inside looking out, it was another story:
Ah, nothing like the lovely view of dead branches and brown needles to lift the spirits.  Come to think of it, there's a lot of things in life just the same, isn't it?  Someone's life looks great on the outside, but the inside is a whole 'nother story. ( Ok, enough philosophy, sorry for the detour.)

Out came the chainsaw and loppers and ladders and my Felco and I were up in the treetops trimming off the dead branchlets (is that a word?) that were hanging down looking messy.  I could spend another two weeks out there going from tree to tree just trimming, but for now, I'm calling it quits.  Enough!

Kinda hard to tell, but see how thin those branches backlit by the sky look?  Well, that's all that's left after I trimmed off all the twiglets (inventing another word) that were dead.  It's not the greatest look, but it's better than it was.  

We were really worried that the Formal Garden would be perfectly visible from the road, but it's not.  Below is what it looked like before we took off the bottom limbs.
And there it is, above; all limbed up.  Which allows me to mow under the trees.
I didn't say it was EASY to mow under them, but if I limbo just right, I can make it without losing my head.
As I mowed off into the sunset, Joel was busily burning yet ANOTHER load of limbs.  Every summer is like this around here, but we used to make a pile of brush out in the Back Eight and then have a tremendous bonfire once or twice a year.  I got tired of calling the Fire Department to let them know we were burning stuff so they didn't have to come out, so the New Rule around here is Burn the Brush the Day You Cut It Down, and that works a whole lot better.  We sure have been having a lot of campfires this summer, lol. 
It's going to take some time for this garden area to feel 'right' if you know what I mean......I think we'll probably end up hauling a few more rocks in there eventually and maybe a split-rail fence (if some more rails turn up at the landfill, ha)  and I really like a suggestion I'd gotten from Granny Lyn to put some benches in there or something.
There's a kind of nice view back to the Formal Garden of the dome from the trees.  Another idea was to maybe put up a hammock since the trees are only 12' apart.  That might be fun, ya think?  Just lie in the hammock looking up at the dead twigs overhead........ok, well, maybe not.  Ha.
Usually Patient Carl is starting to lose his patience with this project.  I have to keep my Head Landscaper happy and it's time to call it quits with this project.  I try to keep his spirits up by pointing out we're done hauling rocks out of the Formal Bed, anyway.  Carl countered with, "Yeah, ok, we're done with that part, but I still have a stone wall to finish down there AND the stone ruin/house/whatchacallit building."  

Did I ever mention that sometimes we don't resemble a Happy Couple?  Yes, surprise, surprise, sometimes we resemble a Crabby Couple, especially when the mosquitoes won't quit biting and the humidity is high and we're both tired and cranky.  But we get over it, we have to, there's too much work to do around here!  Our biggest problem is we both love what we're doing but we don't want to make more work, either.  I STILL say this bed won't be a big deal to take care of, but my better half is not of the same opinion.  Let's hope I'm right.  Hey, I gave up on my idea of a low stone wall just coming off the Something Else bed and rising up to an arch with a little door in it making this a Secret Garden.  I did give up on that idea (for now..).  So Carl should be happy! 

I know it looks kind of severe right now, but we'll think of something eventually.  Maybe hostas will grow in here, if even in a few places, and that would help soften the landscaping.  For right now, we're going with the County Park Look.   
So, this is Fertilizer Friday and let's see if there's anything blooming in the rest of the yard, ok?

There's a chicken or two poking around in the River Bed.

'Limelight' hydrangea is really looking good over by the barn.

On Thursday morning, I took more pictures of Ernie....oh, he was looking good then!

But now......well, not so good:

We had a thunderstorm of Epic Proportions come to visit this morning and well, Ernie didn't like the bath of 1 1/2" of rain and 65 mph+ winds too very much.  I'll keep you posted on how the Supertunia Bubblegum petunias bounce back (or not) from the hammering.  We're supposed to get a few more storms yet today, too.
Willie the Willow hung on through this storm again.  If there's ever a tree we worry about, it's Willie.  He flings a few limbs around the lawn now and again, but still keeps on standing--- so far.  You can just see Ernie peeking around Willie's trunk on the right side there.  I bet Ernie gets nervous when Willie's branches are flapping all over the place since he's really close.  I know I would!
I bet Ernie wishes he was nice and close to the house like the impatiens are.

Of course I still have rudbeckias all over the garden.  I took these pictures Thursday night, haven't been out back to see how they look now.

No flowers in the Woodland Bed, except for the hostas I forgot to deadhead.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Labor Day weekend! 

 We'll be laboring on with the Next Project:

At least, that's the Plan.

Now, head on over to Tootsie's and see what's blooming.  Happy Labor Day, everyone!


Sandy said...

And a very happy Labor Day to you Karen!
take the weekend off and rest. You deserve it!

Sue said...

You really got a lot accomplished. I know my projects would move along at a much better clip if I could work with hubby, but we sorta get "at odds" when he helps me with stuff. I end up just doing it myself, which takes FOREVER. I don't know how you guys do it.
Happy Labor Day. Enjoy the day!

Sue said...




Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

I love seeing the "Lawnmower Limbo!" We can relate to those fancy moves. And, there is something bonding about working in a garden together...creating, nurturing, and sharing frustrations along with weather miseries.

Coming for a visit to your blog is so informative and inspiring, every single time!


HolleyGarden said...

I am loving your new area! It looks so cool, restful, and peaceful. I know it's a lot of work right now, but hopefully it will be those things for you when you finish! Everything always looks so pretty and happy in your garden. Have a great weekend!

El Gaucho said...

Don't lean TOOOO much on the lawnmower. The last thing you need is some sort of lawnmower mishap. Methinks your doctor wouldn't be very understanding if you tried to explain how you got hurt from falling off the mower.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any tricks for keeping Carl happy and hauling? I am head mower at my house, but it only takes minutes. I could not possibly do all that you do is a days time and you post so many long and humor filled posts. I could never do that either. Pictures yes, words no.

Randy Emmitt said...


Carl is the man, he looks like he just tackled the world in that photo. Sad news in our garden, the rain barrels have more water than our pond, expect it to dry up in the coming days.

Barbara Rosenzweig said...

I don't know how you do all of the gardening projects AND stained glass, too! I can only imagine how difficult it must be to create shadows in glass - easier with paint, I would think!

Anonymous said...

I would love to come and visit your garden It is so beautiful, and the work you have done in the past couple of weeks is amazing. What ever you decide on for the inside of the spruced up bed it will be fantastic and worth waiting for.

Tufa Girl said...

Shawn said your new area looked really nice. I said if you were going to call it the county park area - you should put some picnic tables in and charge admission. The new area has a soft calm to it. Perhaps a hammock.

One said...

I must say you have a very impressive garden. Everything about it is just so beautiful and so big too.

Karen said...

Sandy, I'm sitting on my large behinder at the moment cuz it's raining outside. So much for getting a lot accomplished, ha!

Sue, believe me, we are not always Prince Charming and Snow White, heh heh. And our projects (the stone house) sometimes move forward like molasses in January. They don't.

Sue, my secret to container gardening is to use a soilless potting mix and really big containers with good drainage. At planting time, I throw in a bit of slow-release fertilizer granules, but they will only last for part of the season. Potted plants are heavy feeders and of course, whenever you water them, the water runs straight through the pot, leaching out the fertilizer.

I fertilize them once a week with full strength granulated fertilizer mixed in a rain barrel. I prefer to use rain water (if there is any) but if not, I use well water. I fill up a 50 gallon drum and usually try to let it stand overnight to warm up a little before use. Then each of the big pots gets one 2 gallon watering can of water a piece every day, sometimes twice a day, depending on how hot it is out. Mine don't always look wonderful, but some years I get lucky!

Karen said...

Lana, the more we work together, the better we get along, well, most of the time. Some days are just difficult, and that is when being flexible helps, just like lawnmower limbo, bend or lose your head.

Thank you Holley, wait til you hear the tales of the Round House...this will be an epic saga, I can see it already.

El Gaucho, no fears there, I'm firmly planted in that seat, but I'll heed the warning since I dislike doctors. A lot.

Karen said...

Donna, my tricks for keeping Carl happy and hauling?...well, none that are g-rated. (Just kidding!) He gets frustrated at times because we have so much to do, and I don't blame him, he's working full-time and I'm not, which also explains how I have the time to weed, write and come up with more Awful Ideas for us to implement.

Karen said...

Randy, oh, yeah, he is The Man and looked happy in that picture because he was putting the final touches on the project. I know the rain woes in the pond only too well. Hope your drought eases soon.

Barbara, the stained glass is strictly a wintertime project, but winter around here is almost eight months, lol, so I have ample time to work on it. And yes, I wish I could get the shading right, how fun it would be to 'cheat' and paint on the highlights I need.

SueB, coming from the land of Gardeners (and I capitalize that word, for your country is known for their excellence in all things gardening) I take this as a great compliment! I would be honored to have you visit!

Cindy, thank Shawn for us! Park benches and picnic tables would look kinda neat in there, wouldn't it? I'm thinking little signs for Smokey the Bear too and a coupla big garbage bins chained to the trees to finish out the County Park motif.

One, thank you!

Zoey said...

Cute chicken by the impatiens.

Poor Ernie. I think he will bounce back. We went out of the town Friday and just got back. We had that same wind and one of my big urns by the garage had blown right over! Those things are really heavy so the winds must have been very strong!

I think you did right by limbing up those trees. I am sure you will come up with something wonderful to soften the look.

Karen said...

Thanks Zoey! Yes, that wind was very strong, but thankfully, short-lived. We were lucky and I'm glad you were, too.

xinex said...

OMG! Your garden is just gorgeous! I would love to have some of those rocks to put at the bottom of our hills to prevent erosion. We trimmed our trees too and if you have a chance, please come by and see my post about that.


Rosemary said...

I love looking thru the pines to the gardens beyond...... Hopefully a warm mild fall so lots of rock wall/ gazebo/ moving can be done.. just think no mosquitos....I so want your energy..Have a great weekend.

ANGEL said...

fascinating pictures. love your hydrangeas. hope ernie and willie
are doing fine. happy labor day to you and your family! enjoy the holiday!

Karen said...

Christine, I had such a good time looking at your adventure in the bucket. Amazing!

Rosemary, thank you, and yes, I hope we can get something done on the stonehouse job before snow flies too. Argh, the mosquitoes are miserable!

Karen said...

Angel, Ernie and Willie are making a great comeback. They are tough ol' guys. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Shyrlene said...

Karen - I love your comment, "It's going to take some time for this garden area to feel 'right'...". That is the best comment and SO true! I swear I spend 50% of my time walking around the gardens - trying to find 'if it feels right'. Once it 'feels right', it "feels" like it's time to make it bigger?!! (or is it just me?!)

Amazing accomplishments in your most recent project. Way to go!! (That picture of you cutting the grass under the evergreens is priceless!!) :D

Shirley @ the Gardening Lifeh said...

Your projects entertain and inspire me, always. Willie the willow is a beautiful specimen! Enjoy what's left of the summer!

Karen said...

Shyrlene, yes, I have the 'Is it right?' question running through my head all the time and that is what leads to the next thing and the next thing, so on and so forth. We gardeners are silly, aren't we?!

Shirley, feels like the End is Near, only 50-something out this morning. All too soon, it will be snowing!

Lona said...

It looks just wonderful Karen. Do not tell Carl but that would be a great spot for a couple of stone benches. LOL! I love the pathway through your Hosta bed. It looks so peaceful. The Rudbeckia is beautiful. I think every garden needs a Weeping Willow. I am a romantic who does not have room for one. LOL! I am sure Ernie will perk back up. I suppose you are ready to dig right in and finish that stone house now.

Tootsie said...

sharing this on my tootsie facebook!
I thank you so much for linking in this week. It is an honor to host Friday's Flaunt and meet new friends and visit the regulars (who are like old friends) who share. I am always excited to tour each post and see the different flowers/ projects and garden art that everyone flaunts. It is a pleasure to tour and see all the gorgeous blooms...and I appreciate each and every link and comment! I hope you will link in again soon!
¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

Karen said...

Hi Lona, you're right, that would be a perfect spot for some stone benches, lol. And you're right about Willie, too, they grow to be BIG trees. Some people say they are too messy, but I'll take a few branches down now and again because Willie is the first tree to leaf out in the spring and the last one to lose them in the fall.

Yes, now it's back to the stone house...wish us luck!

Karen said...

Hi Tootsie, great to hear from you! Thank you so much for hosting.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I enjoyed scrolling down, seeing your beautiful place, and your new project. I hope it turns out how you want it to.

Larry said...

Hey Karen... did you get the frost/freeze? The clouds moved in and we were spared... now if it would only rain! Larry