Friday, April 27, 2012

Stone Planter Makeover

I mentioned the other day that we have been doing a lot of the spring gardening over the last week. Plants are slowly moving out of the greenhouse and into the gardens. .seeds are being sown. .being watered. .and germinating. .garden centers have been visited and plants purchased and potted. .and earlier this week. .my sweetie helped me mulch the Johnson grass out of the garden.
Even though it isn't yet May. .I feel so behind on the tasks to do, since our last freeze was nearly 2 months ago now!! It just SEEMS like it should be the end of May instead of the end of April. 
The task at hand in today's post. .was more of a "don't know how to fix it" problem. .
with a solution inspired from our recent antiquing trip!
Back in 2010, we put in a new limestone raised bed. .
and see how this project really started!!

If you have read my blog for very long. .you know that I have a love affair with blue foliage. .namely spruces. .and now junipers. so immediately I found this dwarf globe spruce to add here.
I added some periennial plants to fill in. .
One weekend, and a few dollars later. .
and voila. .
project complete!
It looked immature. .but nice. .that summer.
Enter. .drought of 2011. .
and nearly 60 days of heat exceeding 100 degrees. .
with many of those exceeding 110!
Blue spruces DON'T love heat. .
or drought. .
or people who don't have enough time in their day to coddle them in such climates. .
And, THIS is how they show their true feelings!!
And sad. .but mainly UGLY!!
BUT. .because of my other addiction. .
plants. .
I can't resist a walk through the garden department in ANY store that has one. .
which led me to my inspiration plant at Lowes 2 weekends ago!!
It goes against my blue shrub scheme. .
but has a gorgeous chartruese foliage with golden tips.
I was SOLD when I read arid dry on the plant tag underneath the moisture requirements. .
SIGN       ME         UP
And home it came.
This little arborvite is a Golden Globe variety which will get about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. I bought a couple of red dianthus (Fire Star). .a yummy smelling plant that will show up year after year (with blue grass-like foliage, mind you). At our local nursery (on the way to last week's golf meet). .I found some coreopsis and blanket flower. .both good, hardy drought tolerant plants. .some red (redhead) and yellow (trusty rusty) coleus plants and red and yellow snapdragons. It seems that most of my snapdragons either overwinter or reseed themselves easily. .so I am hoping that everything in this bed will be permanent, except for the coleus. .which I can easily take cuttings of to use next year.
So. .we'll start again in 2012. .and hope for better luck with the growth and development of this bed!!
In other flowering news. .I have been working on this sunny, hot zone this year too. The orange honeysuckle is in full bloom, and seemingly has attracted a hummer. .I saw it on the fly earlier this week. .now, if I could just find a few minutes to sit quietly and watch for it!! They are so fast!! I've moved several herbs to this bed. The tall plant to the left of the photo is actually a flat leaf parsley. We don't use that much in cooking, though maybe I will learn. I really planted it for the swallowtail butterflies to feed on. I am surprised at how big this one has gotten.  I have about 12 seedlings in the greenhouse yet to plant. .I will have to find a spot bigger than what I thought I needed to accommodate them. This week I also added some chive starts and purple basil that I seeded this winter. My old herb garden is on the east side of the house. .and on the north side of the steps going up. .I have finally deemed it too shady for the herbs. .hopefully, I will like them among the flower beds! That seems to be the rage right now!
A fuchsia, planted in an antique wire egg basket (another treasure from the flea market. .I got a great steal on that because I also got an antique oil can for Jeremy's shop!) These blooms caught my eye at Lowes. .and so it will be another experiment around here as to whether I can get it to live or not! They are in the shade of the honeysuckle vine on the deck. It's too windy around here to get anything to grow nicely in hanging baskets!! 
The roses are in full bloom this week. .and the peonies are starting as well. The soft strip inferno garden is incredible. .and I am waiting on the 2 colors of penstemon to burst into bloom this week before showing photos of that. We have a quieter weekend planned. .Tristan FINALLY gets his foot surgery done. .and the other boys will be at the races. .hoping to get some of the new blooms posted this weekend. .
SO. .
don't forget to stop back by and smell our roses!!
Enjoy your weekend!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Succulent Garden Project

With all the activities around our house. .there hasn't been much time for gardening, let alone blogging.
I mentioned last week, that Missy and I found some fun things on our antiquing trip. .and I was finally able to work on my project late last week.
One of the vendors at the flea market was selling little succulent plants. .all different kinds. Some were really unusual. .to us anyway.
Succulents..for you non-gardening folk. .
are plants that are easily sustained with little water. .
They also love heat. .
Think Desert Plants
The guy had his succulents all fixed up in different antique vessels. .creating small and interesting tabletop gardens. As our inner wheels started turning. .Miss and I started selecting the ones we liked.
On my list for the day, was to find two small succulents to put in the terra cotta pots with wire cages that you see above. But. .with all the choices. .I COULDN'T stop at JUST two plants!! When I got home that night, I looked around and found that I had THREE antique angel food cake pans. .one from my grandma. .one from J's grandma. .and one that came in a box of stuff I won at an auction. .
Perfect vessel for a tabletop succulent garden!
Watch and see!!
Thursday night was the first chance available to work some creativity.
I put a little cypress mulch at the bottom of all of the containers. .to take up space and create some drainage area.
Then I arranged my new jewels on top of the mulch. .changing their placement around the pan until I was satisfied. Finally. .I added pea gravel around the little plants. .not adding any more soil. .just rock.
Of course, I ended up with a few more plants than I could fit in my containers. .so I scavenged for a few more. The above succulent was too big for my tube pan. .but it looks really cool in this little white gravy bowl in my kitchen window. And the 4 year old plants he had for sale looked REALLY cool. .like little trees!! My plant is 2 years old.
The wire planter turned out good too!! I moved my shamrock out of the north kitchen window and put this there. You might notice (I didn't until the other day) that the back plant in the left pot has a bud on the top of it. I think it is some type of living stone. .like the ones I planted outside. It will have a peach bloom on it very soon. .like in the next couple days!
Finally. .My favorite arrangement. .
was the one in the tube pan!!
Aren't they the coolest little guys EVER??
Now, once a week, I'll give the plants each a little drink. .and they should just do great!!
Plants weren't the only things I came away with. .
I found this adorable little red kitchen cart at the antique mall to bring home. .and it turns out. .it was JUST the place for my little succulent gardens!
Now is a great time to try making one for yourself. .
All the nurseries and plant sellers have different and cool succulents ready to go at this time of the year.
Let your imagination run
and enjoy
Have a great week!
Be blessed. .
and stop back

Monday, April 23, 2012

Our First Prom!

Last week was the first week of CRAZY busi-ness of the end of year school activities around this place!! 
Grant's end of the year music program at school Tuesday night. .
End of the year picnic for Devin and Cami's AWANA club on Wednesday night. .
Grant's track meet on Thursday evening. .
Tristan's golf meet on Friday. .
And the big PROM Saturday night.  
The freshman class were servers at the Moonlight Barn Dance themed prom.
I got a phone call at lunch time Saturday asking if I would be around that evening. .
Without thinking. .
I said yes (just joking. .I would have said yes even if I HAD been thinking)
And found myself taking the place of a sick mom who was supposed to help at the dinner.
My job. .I thought. .
was to show up, hang out, 
motivate the freshmen to do their work, 
and scrape a few dishes! Easy peasy.
The other mom and I ran crazy trying to keep drink pitchers full, find all the odds and ends that the upperclassmen thought they needed (salt shakers, straws, sugar packets and so on). Scraping plates proved to be a task to see how well we could work under the pressure of a line of kids handing us stacks of nasty plates to scrape and stack. .I felt like the old Lucille Ball episode where she was sorting chocolates on the conveyor belt. .and just started popping them into her mouth because it was faster than putting them in the boxes!! I don't do nasty very well on my hands!! I joked that I have a potentially "dirty" day job. .but at least I get gloves there!!
So, since I had to be there anyway. .I grabbed my camera and got a few behind the scenes shots. .This was the freshman class, except for one girl. .after they were done serving. They were pretty anxious to get out of there so they could get their finery on for the big dance. 
Tristan went to Grandma Pat's to get ready. She knew a lot more about tuxes than I did. .though I probably would have figured it out sooner or later. .Tristan advised me to watch closely, so I would know how to do it next time. .Stabbed in the heart!! 
His friend Colton took his things and dressed there too. .so I did get to practice what I learned about tuxes. .I worked on Colton, while Grandma made Tristan over. 
And, there you have 'em. .Fancied up and ready to meet their girls!! 
Laura and Tristan were a thing in the 7th grade for a LOOOOONG time. .and have been best buddies since then. .We were glad that they went together. And they had a good time!
Laura asked Tristan NOT to cut his hair until after prom. .which is about to kill his parents!! Yikes. .Thankfully, one of the gifts he won at the afterprom party was a FREE haircut. .Woo Hoo!! 
Laura and her dad were in a roll-over accident last summer. .and her dad. .a good friend of Jeremy's was killed on impact. Jeremy has always had a soft spot for Laura. .so when Cami and Dev both declined a picture with the pretty girl. .Jeremy was off the couch like a lightening bolt (well. .close) to get his picture taken. .Sniff!! 
Sounds like they had a great time at the dance and after prom party. .
And AFTER the after-prom party. .6 of them came out to our house to watch a movie. .instead of sleep. .I know!! RIDICULOUS!! But it is what it is!! They ate some MORE. .but then they were quiet. .and I was thankful. .cause I was so excited for them to come home. .that I couldn't sleep either!! Jeremy, Devin and Cami slept in his enclosed racing trailer so they wouldn't have to listen to their giggles in the night!!
When I surfaced Sunday morning, Colton and Coby had already gone home. .Tristan was sacked out on the floor. .and the girls were all snuggled into the couches!! What I hadn't bargained for though, was the fact that Cami. .having went to bed on time. .would be up and ready for the girls to play with her. .so keeping her and Devin quiet for 2 hours was a TASK!

Next year Tristan's class will be in charge of the after-prom party. .
I'm not sure I will be ready for that!!
Another busy week around here with lots of event going on. .
BUT. .I got lots of gardening done today. .and a little bit over the weekend. .so I am pretty excited to show you what's happening!!
Check back by soon!
Have a GREAT week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Par for the Course

So today was a new adventure for this mom!!
My first GOLF meet.  
Tristan has been out for golf. .mainly because it was a sport that he could participate in with his gimpy foot (which, by the way. .gets fixed next Friday)
It was a meet close to home. .so I left everyone at home and ran over to watch.
This photo depicts what I love the MOST about southwest Kansas. .
Look at the gorgeous sky. .full of marshmallow clouds. .and the wide open spaces. .
and I do mean WIDE OPEN!! And an added bonus. .all the green grass!!
The last time I was on a golf course was 20 years ago when I ran cross country in high school. I forgot how wide open and nature-y golf courses are.When I got to the meet, Tristan walked up to me like he didn't know me. .handed me this piece of paper. .and said "you can't talk to me." And walked off. I unfolded the paper. .it said Welcome Parents and Spectators. .Here are the rules of conduct.
Hmm. .it really did say that I couldn't talk to him. .and that I had to walk 30 yards behind the players. I was glad I hadn't brought Cami. 
I've never really watched golf on TV or in real life. .but when they miss a shot (I've seen it in the movies) and all the spectators go Awwww. .It's really just a natural phenomenon. .it just comes out of your mouth before you know it's out! Case in point. .I was watching this kid from another school hit the ball. .He whacked it with all his might.. and it promptly hit the tree to the side of him with a loud "thump" and bounced backwards. I said OH so loudly, he turned and looked at me. .to which I had to apologize. .it just slipped out before I could squeeze my lips together.  Maybe next time I can do better to stifle myself.
I also realized that there is a lot of skill involved to this game. This particular hole started out at the bottom of the hill. .And Tristan finally picked up his ball (which didn't clear the top and landed in an area that wasn't easy to get out of) and took a score of 10 hits. They also spent a lot of time hitting balls INTO the wind (it was pretty breezy today) which takes some of the distance out of their drives.  This was the best photo I had of Tristan hitting. .in which you could see his whole club. .instead of just part of it.
While he didn't place today. .he earned 5th place in a meet last week. .and really seems to like the sport. My sister and I always went golfing with my maternal grandparents in the summer when we were little. They thought that we had potential to be great golfers. .Neither of us went on to play in high school, or even as a hobby. .so I know they would have been super proud of Tristan's efforts. .and pleased that they passed down a love of the sport! 
Tomorrow is prom around here. .and we've worked on some of those gardening projects. .so check back soon so you can keep up!!
Have a wonderful weekend!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Today. .

water iris shared with me last spring by my aunt and uncle..blooming TODAY.
Today. .
I am thankful. .
Just because!
Is this a picture of peace?
The yellow roses still wet with the moisture we were blessed with last evening.
My body is healthy. .
My home was kept safe. .
My family is well.
These new lives were discovered yesterday evening. .and were a thrill for everyone at our house
And despite the losses we have experienced. .
new life abounds. .
when we choose to look.
Delicious Lily of the Valley blooms shared by my friend GonSS
Psalm 63:5-7 encourages me today. .
5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. 
 6 I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. 
7 Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
Food for the soul. .and the body!
Purple basil and the volunteer purple petunia
Sometimes joy is a choice. .
And sometimes being joyful isn't easy. .
. .But it IS possible. .
Soft colors inferno strip is starting to sizzle
You just have to look for joy in the RIGHT places. .
and TRUE joy will never come until you look. .
For the things of this world are not certain. .
closer up of Salvia-Cardonna and Jupiter's Beard
People disappoint. .
Jobs may come and go. .
Homes standing at the present, may disappear into the clouds in a breath. .
Health fails. .
Earthly wealth is ALWAYS self-limited. .
Drumstick allium. .a new flower for me. .Lovin' it.
But the joy of the Lord. .
Lasts forever!!

Romans 15:13
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

God bless and keep you my friends. .
And have a blessed. .
And JOYFUL day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Highlights of the Weekend

Gardening seemed to be the theme of our weekend around here. 
The calm before the storm in our parts occurred on Friday. .when we were able to enjoy the most beautiful day we've seen in a long time!! Blessed sunlight on our backs. .enjoyable temperatures. .bits of yard work here and there. .outside playtime. .and nature highlights. .
Truth be known. .
I SHOULD have been working harder in the yard for a visitor I'll talk about later. .
But I just COULDN'T resist the temptation to stop. .and smell the roses!!
We were SOOOO thrilled to see the arrival of these two. .
They have been working very hard on the green house. That seems to be the favorite of the houses in the last two years. .and maybe they are the same two Eastern Bluebirds that stayed there last summer.
We hope they have neighbors that move in too. .Devin and I made and placed about 8 boxes last spring. More than anything though, we HOPE they raise some babies this summer. You may remember that a few months ago, Cami and I found 4 small bluebird eggs. .unhatched. .in that green house from last summer!!
Saturday morning found me up and at 'em early to hang out at the local Health Fair. .educating people on fat. .It was pretty hard to keep my mind on my job. .since after a year of corresponding by blogs and emails. .I was anticipating a visit from the Gardener on Sherlock Street that day for lunch.
Grant was INCREDULOUS that I had met someone on the Internet. .AND invited her for lunch!
W-H-A-T?? Stranger Danger was his phrase of the week!! And GonSS sweetly reminded us that if anyone should be nervous. .it should be them. .going straight up 2 against 6!
She arrived safely, driven by her wonderful husband. .and we enjoyed lunch, conversation, laughter. .and of COURSE. .a garden tour!! Unfortunately. .the weather was MUCH different Saturday than it had been Friday. .The skies were gray, and constantly changing with the cloud movement. It sprinkled. .and the wind blew like it can only blow in Kansas!! We shouted over it as we inspected plants, weeds, new plans, problem areas, ponds, kids, hubbies, and chickens. And we swapped a LOT of plants! We took a photo in the best place we could find. .on the north side of the house sitting on the raised bed constructed out of limestone. My husband was making fun of me because we were hiding the REALLY dead blue globe spruce with our bodies. .pretending that it wasn't there ;-)
But. .before we finished our lemonade. .the weather started making turns for the worse. .and after a phone call from my FIL telling us that a tornado had been spotted and we were in the direct path. .we continued our party in the basement watching Grant play video games!! Glad he had cleaned his room a few days prior!!
So, when the all clear came out. .the wind was GONE. .and we jumped to take a windless photo by the pond!! SCORE!
Thankfully, they were able to make the two hour trip home with no drama. .and even got 37 miles to the gallon with the strong tail wind they received!!
To check out GonSS , click here, and see what she is up to in her yard!! Tell her I sent ya!
The kids found a baby box turtle while exploring after the rains Saturday afternoon. .and I found a complete turtle habitat in an aquarium had been built by the time I got home Sunday evening!
Sunday found my friend Missy and I up early for a day trip we have been planning for 2 months! We were trying to keep it hush this time!! We planned on doing our annual antiquing day trip in February. .but canceled due to some health issues her MIL was dealing with. .Her MIL. .a good friend of mine too, died that next week. We left it as "For sure in March, we'll plan on it." BUT, Dad died the Friday before our planned Sunday trip. This time it was like "Here's the next date of the flea market. .maybe we'll try to go. .but don't say anything out loud!" We were both nervous the night before as the storms rolled through!!
Sunday morning, after little sleep, we crossed the county line and didn't look back!! We met my mom and aunt in Wichita at the flea market. .enjoyed shopping and then lunch. .and then to the Paramount in west Wichita. .a HUGE antique mall that took us 3 1/2 hours to get through. Both of us came out with some treasures. .and had a great day!! A few of my new treasures are starts to some little gardening related projects. .stay tuned!
The other Sunday highlight. .was meeting another Kansas garden blogger in the parking lot there to make a plant swap!! Gaia gardener was interested in the Maximillin sunflower that I was moving around. .and was willing to take any extra to a gardening program that she is involved in. .and I was more than thrilled to meet her!! In return for the Maximillin sunflower starts. .she brought me a coveted start of Wild Bergamont from her garden for my garden!
The age of technology is a phenomenal thing!! To be able to locate people with the same passion, passion, PASSION of gardening that I have. .and talk shop with someone who understands and commences. .and then meet them. .is a pretty cool deal!! And I look forward to meeting my new gardening friend Sue from Michigan sometime soon too!
Hope everyone is enjoying the signs of new life and spring in their own little parts of the world!