Friday, September 23, 2011

Fertilizer Friday: Last One for Summer 2011

How hard it is to believe summer is over already.  Every time I look at the calendar I'm amazed another week has sped by and the days are getting shorter by leaps and bounds, too.  We haven't had a killing frost yet, so my trusty annuals are still doing their best to keep on keepin' on.  I ran around with the camera last night just before sunset, so some of these pictures are darker and gloomier than usual, but I guess that's in keeping with the change of seasons.  Sunset is a whole lot earlier now.
'Inca' marigold and 'Double Profusion Cherry' zinnia
'Bubblegum' Petunia in both the planter and the ground
Did I mention I love this petunia before? I still do!
Though the sedum is giving everything a run for their money in this little bed by the bridge, the wax begonias are still competing for attention, too.
'Limelight' hydrangea is turning to delicate shades of pink. 
Gloomy skies make the colors so much more muted, but the evergreens show off their diversity from a distance.
The little pot of impatiens I started from seed is still faring very well up on the Nail Planter stand.  I might just bring the entire pot in for winter. 
I started way more hyacinth beans 'Dolichos Lablab' than I had trellis room for, so these spares were once again planted on the Pachyberm hillside.  Never had to wait this long for profuse flowering though.  
The view from the Gazebo...the hose is running to the mortar mixer by the Stone House project, so I didn't feel like moving it.  Something about the end of summer makes me lazier than usual.  
I am always happy with the 'Indian Summer' rudbeckias, this is my second crop this summer and they're very welcome so late in the season.
Marigolds, love 'em or hate 'em, will always do their best along with the black-eyed susan vine.  I love 'em. 
 The 'Autumn Joy' sedums are starting to turn much darker now and some of the miscanthus seed heads are turning silver already.

'Skylands' oriental spruce is supposed to be yellow, so he fits right in with the season.

The Pachyberm is still carpeted in colors.  All too soon it will be white.
A very young Japanese white pine (parviflora glauca) has grown quite a bit on the berm, too...I hope I gave it enough room to develop. 
This is a miniature rose (don't know the name) and the flower is less than an inch across.  Miniatures appear to be the only roses I can grow well.  Isn't it odd they are tougher than their larger cousins?  Yeah, I should have used a tripod, too, to steady my hand in the dark, but then I'd have to go find it. 
The posture I had to assume to get these pictures less than four inches off the ground was, shall we say, less than flattering?  (I was looking around to make sure Carl wasn't lurking around with another camera capturing my posterior for posterity.)
Speaking of Lurkers!  I almost walked right into this guy's trap.  I felt the webbage (is that a word?) on my face and used the camera's flash to illuminate the situation.  I'm glad I did.   Back away from the Arachnid.
My life is fraught with peril.
Just for kicks, I took a few more pictures with a flash.  (And to make sure there were no more creepy crawlies in my path.)
The black, shiny thing at the bottom of the picture startled me too, no, it's not a seal!  It's a black granite rock.  This picture is full of illusions, at first I thought the cloud bank was a distant mountain range.  (Sorry, the nearest mountains are about a million miles away from here.) Hey, I can dream, can't I?  Besides, the spider made me really jumpy. 

Up Next: Stone House Update 

This entire week (except for Thursday) was a wash for the Stone House project.  Carl got home from work and we'd start cutting stone when suddenly the sun would go behind a cloud and sheets of rain would come out of nowhere, soaking everything.  We'd put everything away, and then the sun would come out.  We'd go back out to work and it would rain again; short little five minute showers, but wet is wet.  Just like the old farm adage, 'you have to make hay while the sun shines', well,  the same goes for mortaring stone. It wasn't worth the hassle, so I canned tomatoes instead.  Hey, I'm up to 25 quarts of juice for the season so far, and there's still a lot of green 'maters out there on the vines.

Finally, last night we were able to spend almost four hours on the project which started out with another Staff Meeting again.  Topic of discussion:  How high should the round window be?  Carl told me to go stand outside the building and look through the door frame and tell him at what height the round window looked the best.'m not sure. 

This height?
Sheesh, I felt like I was at the optometrist when they flip those goofy lenses in front of your eye, "Is this better........or this one?  This one.....or this one?  Ok, now how about this one?"

So, what did I do when Carl asked me which height looked better?  I panicked, that's what I did.  I don't know which way looks better and then he goes and complicates my uncertainty by saying, "It's not like it's going to be set in stone, you don't have to be so worried about it....oh, wait, yes, it is going to be set in stone!" 

Ha, ha, very funny. No changing my mind allowed.

I dashed to the house and dragged Joel, who had just arrived home from work, outside to get his opinion.  Joel did as he was told and stood back a ways and looked at the different heights Carl was modeling with the frame.  The discussion was going nowhere fast; Carl is afraid it will look like a church if we put it too high.  Joel said it would look like a mausoleum if we put it too low.

And they both said, "Well, I don't want to be the one who makes the decision and be blamed if it's not right."

So with that, they both turned to me.  Apparently I'm the one who blames people? Or do they want to be able to blame me?  Entirely too much dad-blamed blaming going on around here. Someone has to take a stand.  So I voted for the middle of the two extremes.  Don't put it too high or too low, go halfway in between.  There.  Problem solved.  Moving on......

We started the next course of stone for the back wall where the round window will be next.  I don't know  how (or if) professional masons would build this building with the stone we have on hand.   And I hope to high heavens one never wanders through our yard and sees this travesty of ours because I know they would be horrified.  The masonry style we are using could roughly be called 'random rubble' and like I said before, it is Wild Rock, all lumpy-bumpy and free-spirited.  None of these rocks want to conform to a uniform size, no sirree, they are all Proud Individuals and resist all attempts to make them flat.

What takes the most time, though, isn't so much the dressing of the stone to the size and shape we want, it's finding the right stone in the first place.  Carl likens it to putting a giant stone jigsaw puzzle together where the pieces could be on as many as 50+ different pallets scattered hither and yon.  And the worst part is, there's not really a perfect stone in the pile, you have to make it fit with a hammer and chisel.   I sometimes bring as many as 10-15 rocks up to fit in a space I'm working on before one of them will work  I'm quite sure real stone masons have a much better eye for the right stone in the right place.  I also quite sure no one is pickier than Carl.  To keep our marriage intact for another year, I simply bring lots and lots of rocks over for him to select from and then do as I'm told to make them fit.  It goes much easier this way instead of arguing over why I think the rock I picked out by myself is good enough.  (Remember, we're both holding rock hammers, we don't want this to get messy.) 

I was looking at a pallet of ashlar the other day at a home site under construction and literally caught myself starting to drool.  (Some women covet expensive designer clothing or high heels, I covet dressed rocks.)  Oh, if we had gorgeous flat, trimmed rock like that we'd have been done a long time ago.

But looking at the random rubble walls at the abandoned Maribel Hotel last weekend, I'd say we're doing as well as can be expected considering what we have to work with.  Their 'random rubble' is way more random and rubble-ier than ours is.  It still amazes me to think those three huge buildings were all built in four months' time, though.  Even with thirty stone masons working, that's a short time span.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Ah, the Haunted Hotel and its Random Rubble construction.
Each course of stone only raises the wall on our creation at most maybe 5" at a time, at the least less than 3", so the work isn't for the person who loves instant gratification.  In theory, the addition of windows should make the job go much faster since there's less stone to cut, but we have to construct straight as possible pillars between each of the windows and that's not going to be easy to figure out either.  But we'll keep plodding on. Speaking of windows, there's two of them now:
Things got a little heated and Carl ducked when I chucked my rock hammer at him, and look what happened!
(No, no, just kidding.  Please don't call the authorities.  Please.  Don't.)
Yes, one of them is 'slightly' broken.  Oooops.  It was windy one day and over it went, hitting a rock on the way down.  We weren't thrilled it happened, but thankfully we have more than enough windows to finish the job, so we use this one as a prop.

So, for now, that's it for my Progress Report as of Thursday, September 22, 2011.

 Now,  go over and see what's blooming in all those beautiful gardens Tootsie is showcasing this week at Fertilizer Friday!


Leovi said...

Lovely, I like them all great photos of beautiful colors. A lovely garden, a paradise.

Indie said...

I love your updates on the Stone House! It's looking beautiful!

I love all your boulders in your yard. They are such great backdrops for the flowers and add so much to the landscape!

Darla said...

So, so much color in your gardens, you must tell me all about the bubblegum petunia! I must, must get some!! You guys are so funny, I think the middle for the window was a wise choice, but of course I'm on your side!

Rosemary said...

When ever the stone ruin gets finished I am sure it will be a delight... loved all your photos especially the night views of the garden...... I love the bubblegum petunia too will be looking for it next spring...... also the hyacinth bean vine... now if I can just find a place for them...

Anonymous said...

That little rose is a stunner! Perfect decision regarding the placing of the window :0)
As for the eight legged monster YUCK! Have a good weekend

Anonymous said...

Really coming along, Karen. And your garden really shines this time of year. Don't be breathing a word of the white stuff though. It comes too soon as it is.

Becky said...

You have alot more blooming than we do. Love all the beautiful photos. Hopefully sometime next year we can come see all of your lovely flowers. Thanks for sharing.
Becky at Ginger Creme Hollow

My garden haven said...

In any light, your garden is still a breath of fresh air! Your project should be done soon, I see. Everything seems to get done so smoothly, even with all your little problems you encounter. It is just incredible how efficient your work-team is!

HolleyGarden said...

Your blooms are still looking gorgeous. And I love all the evergreens in your garden, too. I bet they make the prettiest picture when it snows. (Sorry to bring up the subject of winter!) Your stone ruin is going to be gorgeous. Maybe you could place two windows low and the back window across from the doorway high - just another option in case you wanted to have to think about it some more! ;)

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Hey Karen...I wish you would quit apologizing for y'all's skills in gardening and stonework!! Just look at what you've accomplished already. It is absolutely gorgeous. And that stone house will be too. If every rock were "perfect," it would have no character. My garden was on a public tour one time, and a comment by one of the visitors was..."The other gardens were nice and we saw some pretty plants, but at your garden we see your heart." That meant the world to me. Y'all are putting your heart into your garden and your little stone house, and it will show and make it even more beautiful than having a "skilled professional" stone mason do the job. I feel for you on the "gutwrenching" over the window placement. Another view is to look at it while sitting in the little house. What is a comfortable height there? Then maybe compare the outside view to the inside view and find the happy medium. Since it will be a stain glass window, it will be like "art" hanging on the wall. So when you're sitting in the little house, what height would you like the art to hang? Just some of my two cents to ponder and add to your I'm sure sleepless nights. Keep up the good (make that EXCELLENT) work :-)

Karen said...

Leovi, thank you very much!

Indie, the rocks are the highlight of our garden, especially in the winter.

Darla, it's 'Bubblegum' Supertunia, a Proven Winner and it's proven itself over and over. I can't start them from seed, but it was worth every penny I paid for the plant. And thanks for being on my side with the window thing!

Rosemary, that petunia is amazing, I hope the plantsmen will be able to come up with new colors with the same vigor. The hyacinth beans were a puzzle this year, normally they would have been in bloom much sooner, but even without a trellis, they scramble across the ground just fine.

Karen said...

Hello SueB, yes, that 8-legged monster was pretty scary. I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Donna, I totally agree, no one needs to hurry the snow for my sake.

Becky, I would love to have you visit, and to also visit your beautiful garden!

Rosie, thank you, but oh, boy, this job is a slow process. I doubt we'll see a roof on it before the snow flies.

Holley, all suggestions are welcome, believe me. The more the merrier. Snow, ugh...but soon, all too soon.

Toni, thank you, I guess we get jaded when we're in the midst of working on the project. It all starts to look like amateurish folly after awhile. I love your idea about deciding where we'd want the 'art' to hang. That is a very valid consideration. We're having another rainy weekend. SIGH. Thank you for keeping our spirits up!

Beth said...

Karen, Love that last photo! Love the hyacinth beans and the evergreens, and I noticed some beautiful colored sweet alyssum still blooming...mine quit, but as it's cooled is just beginning to bloom again. You have the best-est gardens, Karen!
Hugs, Beth

My Garden Diaries said...

Gorgeous just gorgeous! I laughed out loud about the hose because that is sooo the truth! I took some pictures of some of my plantings and sure enough...the red hose is there--too lazy to move it! Anyhow back to the good stuff...your garden is do you have a lot of land!!!

Sue said...

Karen-you're funny! You talk about how dark and gloomy your pictures are going to be and the very first one just knocks my socks off. Beautiful!

Tufa Girl said...

Watching your weather and envious of your rain. Sigh, just not in the cards for us this year it seems. The temps are a bit cooler for the most part only in the 90's - which is 20 degrees cooler than it had been. Funny that a 95 degree day feels pleasant.

Your stone house is amazing. I am at awe of you and Carl's many talents. I still have my fingers crossed for your October 1 party.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Your gardens are so beautiful. Each time I visit I don't think I ever saee the same thing twice. Unending beauty.

I got a giggle over the placement of the window. I think we all go thru that...makes for good laughs at the end.

I so enjoy hearing/watching your progress of the stone house. You two have so much energy and vision.

My hoses are laying all around too ;)

Have a great week ♥