Posts Tagged ‘peonies’


I felt like I needed to shout that.

1. It has been unseasonably cold here. And wet, but that is normal.

2. The nice days we did have happened when I was in Nevada.

3. My garden should have had the decency to wait for me to get home but the weeds and flowers just kept on growing. In some cases, the weeds outpaced the flowers by several feet.

Case in point. My prayer garden.

You can see a smattering of blue forget-me-nots and pink bleeding hearts. It was a jungle.

The first thing I did this weekend was I bought two rolls of bamboo screen from Home Depot. For less than $48, I now have privacy in my prayer garden! I don’t have to worry about the neighbors coming out to work in their garden at the same time I am enjoying mine (except I will still be able to hear them).

I don’t know why I did not think of this sooner. Ever since the big tree fell and smashed the chain link, I have had to deal with the renters next door. Nice enough people, but she tends to like to garden in her bikini. I should be thankful she doesn’t garden in the nude: she’s around 55-65 years old age, 5’10” and weighs about 100 pounds. Not an obscene visual just a highly unnecessary one.

Now I don’t have to look. And on the flip side, she doesn’t have to look at me.

I wear clothes when I garden.

Thought I should point that out.

I digress.

I was up at 7:30 on Saturday, raring to go. I knew it would get warm and I wanted to get as much done in that little section of yard as possible before the sun was too high in the sky. I hauled all my tools, a large bottle of water, my knee pads and a wide-brimmed hat out with me. I even broke out a pair of jean cut-offs that are too obscene to wear in public but are perfect for a hot day in the garden.

I was done in by noon. I’d managed to clear out exactly one-fourth of the mess. It was disheartening.

I started in again when the sun sank low enough for the garden to be in the shade, around 6:30pm. By 8, I had slightly over one-third of the garden done. I’d filled the curb-side yard debris bin and had a couple piles of weeds building in the garden. I’d love to compost them and I probably will put some of them into the compost bin – but no seeds or woody stalks.

That’s what else I did on Saturday! I purchased a compost pile turner. Years ago when I bought my compost bin from the county, I thought I wouldn’t need the turner so I did not buy one. And I have regretted it ever since. I haven’t been able to use the compost bin to its fullest potential because I couldn’t turn the compost! Well, that’s all fixed now: the county offered the turners again and I happened to see the flyer and have $15 to spare at the same time. More on composting later – I have to re-situate the bin and sort through the weeds to toss into it so it will be a blog post in the future.

I went to bed early last night (OK, not real early: I stayed up to watch some episodes of “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet’s website. My friend, Jodi, suggested I watch them. I’m glad she did! But more on Bigfoot later.)

Harvey and I slept like dogs (well, he is a dog) until 8:30 this morning. Round two began by 9AM. I was very thankful that I thought to soak the ground last night before I gave up entirely on weeding: this sudden dry and warm spell dried up the ground and weeding would have been next-to-impossible in dry soil today. As it was, the ground stayed damp enough and I cleared the final 2/3’s of the garden by 1:00. Today was cooler and cloudier or I’d have never made it that long.

You can see the ground!

You can see one stack of weeds to be composted sitting against the shed.

I can even find my pathway!

There’s still so much to do but I beat back the 3.5′ weeds in the worst-hit section of my yard and that makes me feel wonderful.

I also edged another flower bed and cleared out the grass from around my raspberry and from under my ceanothus (California Lilac).

Yes, I have the chair there for a reason: think dogs. Two Big Dogs.

Isn’t it pretty?

The chicken wire – not so much. That’s another project for this summer: get some lattice and cover up the space under the ramp to keep Harvey out. And kill the grass under there.

I’d like to kill the entire lawn.

I didn’t just work all weekend. I sat back and enjoyed my garden, too.

Bumblebees in the rhododendrons.

A plethora of peonies. I love my peonies.

Tomorrow is predicted to drop back down into the low seventies. The low seventies are warmer than it has been in months. If I feel up to it and the rain holds off, I have two-and-a half flower beds in the back yard that need my attention and all the bushes in the front yard.

But even if I don’t get to them, I am content that I got this one garden taken care of!

I feel GOOD (and SORE).

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We had a brief interlude of sunshine on Saturday, so I did a bit of gardening – and a bit of flower picking. My theory is this: why have flowers in your garden if you can’t pick them? I try to garden with that theory in mind, and it is one of the reasons I fell in love with this house when we were house-sitting: the peonies. Peonies make fantastic cut-flowers. I had no idea what color peonies I was getting, only that I was getting a yard full of established peonies.

Along with my love for cut flowers goes my love for unique vases. I have some mundane vases that were given to me with cut flowers from florist shops or as gifts from someone, but my most unusual vases, I bought. At yard sales, estate sales, or from a passing bum. Yes, a passing bum, as in homeless person. But I’ll get to that.

Before I picked flowers, I puttered around weeding. I discovered that one of the aroids (jack-in-the-pulpit) plants that I presumed Murphy had dug up and eaten last fall was actually growing. I hurried out and purchased a garden fence to try to keep the dog out of my prayer garden and to (perhaps) ensure the survival of said aroid (and any others that may still surprise me and grow). I fenced off Don’s bonsai corner (the dog likes to eat his trees, too), my prayer garden, and the corners of my peony island (where the dog likes to lift his leg). The dog didn’t bother the trees or the peony bed, but he promptly jumped the fence around the prayer garden. I’m considering electric fence now… (haha – I’ll probably just run a couple strands of wire over the height of the pretty garden fence until he decides he can’t jump that high and leaves the garden alone. But an electric fence is tempting!)

If I pick flowers, then I have to take photos of them, right?

This is one of my mundane vases, but I chose this picture for the first one because of the giant rhododendron in the background. Yes, that’s my pink rhodie, and as much as I dislike the color pink, I love that rhodie. So do the bumblebees. I wonder how they see the rhodie with their ultra-violet vision?

Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration…

All the flowers I picked. The irises were my mother’s. When she died, my dad decided he didn’t like irises (well, he never did like the irises, so they were planted in the gravel next to the garage) and he sent me the tubers. The peonies come in so many colors, and I picked the coral bells, the fringe cups, a bit of fern, pansies, columbine, the magenta rhodie, and a few of the flowers in my yard that I have no idea what they are.

This vase is an ugly gold-colored urn on its own. I paid $1.00 for it at a yard sale (it was the only item we purchased at that yard sale) and the people seemed relieved to let it go. But add a few flowers and it makes a striking vase.

This vase doesn’t photograph too well. It is a delicate glass vase with etchings around it, not very large but perfect for the more delicate garden blooms. I bought it at the same time as I bought the following vase:

This one is also nice for smaller bouquets or single-flower bouquets (that’s the magenta rhodoendron). I love the shade of milky-blue. Both vases were in a box of stuff that I bought for $1.00. I also picked up a whole set of Corning ware casseroles and bowls – still in their boxes! – at that yard sale. With the lids, I might add, since so often it is the lid that gets lost or broken.

I still consider this vase my best buy ever. I was at Pioneer Courthouse Square for a concert when this homeless man stumbled into my girlfriend. He tried to sell her this pitcher for $5.00. She said no, and started to send him on his way. But I asked him where he got the vase. He said it was his (I’m sure he was lying). I paid him the $5.00. I’ve never trusted the pitcher for drinking from because of the glaze, but it certainly makes a striking vase, especially when the yellow tree peonies are combined with the magenta, red, and pinks of the other peonies in my yard.

Same vase, different view.

I have a couple other vases I did not fill – an ugly old brown pitcher that looks best when I fill it with Shasta daisies come mid-summer.

This one was a gift from a neighbor my children referred to as “the crazy lady” behind her back. She left it on my door step one May Day when the kids were very little and I was touched by her gesture.

This is a tiny pink bud vase that I like for violets and chickweed. On the bottom it is marked with some initials (MTA01 or perhaps TTA01) and 101/17 (the latter is clearly visible). I paid $.05 for the pink bud vase at an estate sale. It has several small chips on the rim & base.

While I’m on the subject of vases, I have possession of my oldest daughter’s prize vase:

It is a Hull vase, marked G-2-R on the bottom and someday we’ll remember to take it to Antiques Roadshow. Arwen inherited it from my mother, via my dad. We were sitting around Dad’s house, going through the different china and glassware while the younger generation sat around playing cards. Arwen happened to walk by when we unloaded this vase, and she fell in love with it. My dad gave it to her on the spot. Pretty cool.

After I picked all the flowers I was going to pick yesterday, the rain moved in and the weekend turned into a typical Memorial Day weekend in the Willamette Valley. I decided to blog about the garden rather than try to work in it any more.

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