The Eternal Optimism of Spring

Azalea-bud-header

Spring! Despite the fact that I live in a climate that really has only two discernible seasons, I love Spring! My love overcomes the adversity of the blizzard of pollen that coats every surface including your teeth if you open your mouth at the wrong time. How can you not love the blooms of spring?

Iris-front-pollen

Spring is that golden time in the garden where nothing has really gone wrong yet. You labor, and your labor is rewarded by restored order and new life.

Flowering-bush-front

I am committed-I repeat-committed (!) that this will not be a repeat of last year (or what I like to call “The Year of the Fungus”).

Kentucky-Pole-Bean

We shall overcome! We shall overcome the beetles, slugs, black spot, powdery mildew, blight, fire ants, birds, squirrels, moles, and dogs! We shall overcome and we won’t spend a thousand dollars doing it. We will be thrifty and the garden will be lush and organic.

potatoes-flower

And after we accomplish these things, we’ll actually go outside and enjoy it …instead of retreating to the realm of air conditioning and tv.

Ahhh, the eternal optimism of Spring… ūüėČ

Stuff and Nonsense…

Jen-and-MinThese two make me want to start singing “Sisters” from White Christmas….I’m going to do it, “Sisters! Sisters! ¬†There were never such devoted sisters….” ¬†Minerva on the left is¬†definitely¬†Rosemary Clooney. ¬†I love the was she’s staring down her schnoz at Vera Allen, I mean Jennie Weasley.

Buff-and-CatThese two just want some more grass clippings. ¬†You’ll note Buffy has saved a tiny piece for later.

Ash-climbing-TreeA tree blew down during a storm last week.  It was dead and we were actually pricing having it taken down when thunder storms eliminated the issue for us.  Blessedly, the storm was traveling in a rare southerly direction, thereby preserving the fence you see behind it.

Kids-on-TreeThat’s not the only miracle either-you’ll note that not one, but two of my children are playing outside. ¬†Playing! Outside!

Ashton-Garterstitch-scarfI tried to coax this one to model my Keyhole scarf-he was not pleased. ¬†Looking back with the clarity of hindsight, I’ve had better ideas.

Flowering-weedYou see that? ¬†That’s a weed. ¬†The picture is pretty, but the weed is not. ¬†It has stickers in addition to the little flowers and it is vining through my dwarf azaleas in a way that is not ok. ¬†Weeds, we have lots of them…

Budding-Live-OakWe also have lots of these. ¬†At the moment this picture was taken, this sweet little Live Oak Seed pod was still attached. ¬†I don’t think any of them are attached anymore and they’re covering every square inch of the place with their polleny presence. ¬†I don’t think “polleny” is a word, but I’m going to pretend it is.

And just when you think you can’t stand the pollen any more-not even one more minute…

Purple-Iris-BudYou remember…that pollen, it has a purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer-ing…

It’s been an incredibly busy week. ¬†We are a household in chaos. ¬†Drama camp, Sewing camp, Vacation Bible School, two full time jobs….it’s depleted all of us. ¬†The children are fussy, the parents are fussy, the uncut grass is tall, the laundry is piled in a chair, and takeout reigns supreme.

But this morning, I had a few minutes…

 

To look around…to enjoy things that are beautiful today…in this moment…

The morning glories have overtaken my favorite birdhouse. I love the messy¬†opulence¬†of it…

The illusion of the trailing vines spilling onto the ground…as opposed to their herculean effort of reaching toward the sun.

Zinnias so bright and beautiful that I had to capture them, just for a moment.

And bring them inside with a little Lantana

and Lemon Balm….heady stuff!

Just a few minutes of peace and purpose, tucked in at the end of a flurry of summering.

 

 

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

It’s been a month of highs and lows at my little hacienda. Ta da! Our first egg!

Finally! In all it’s tiny perfection.

We still haven’t¬†ferreted¬†out which of the Hogwart’s four is our layer. ¬†I plan to stalk the henhouse this weekend. ¬†I think it’s Jenny Weasley.

I know I should love them all the same, but Jenny’s my “bff” chicken. ¬†She’s the only one who lets me pet her. ¬†Either that or she’s scared of me and she’s dropping in fear…nah, I’m sticking with the first version where she loves me and lets me pet her.

On with the happenings.  Behold my beautiful garbage can potato plants

Blessedly, we’ve been getting a little rain over the last few weeks. ¬†This time last year, we had already begun our 100+ degree heat and relentless drought conditions. ¬†So again, I say, the rain is a blessing. ¬†A blessing that pairs with oppressive humidity, which ¬†breeds mold and fungus….

Fungus…aka early blight. So…darn…maddening! The potatoes had done so well! I was so proud. ¬†And yes, I know I talking about them like they’re already dead and gone, but my optimism is strained on this one. ¬†I cleaned away most of the speckled leaves. ¬†I did everything I could figure out to do for them. If we can limp along a little, maybe I can salvage new potatoes?

I’m probably a little more upset about the potatoes than is rational because my favorite climbing rose is struggling with a brutal case of Black Spot, and my cucumbers look to have a virulent case of powdery mildew. ¬†I don’t have a green thumb, I have a spotted fungus thumb! So sad…

This climbing beauty will soon be a nubby, aggressively pruned beauty.

But then, there are a few bright spots that balance the spotty victims in my landscape.

My Zinnias from last summer volunteered this year!  I love them!

They’re such a cheerful companion for the herbs and veggies in my raised beds.

My squash and zucchini threaten to overtake their companions…

And if I could get the slugs and beetles to chill on my Mr. Stripey, he promises some tomato goodness very soon. (I couldn’t bear to pull that Zinnia like it was a weed!)

Note the giant Tomatillo¬†plant in the background of the next shot. ¬†It’s been blossoming relentlessly for months. ¬†The butterflies love it! ¬†Unfortunately, they don’t bother to print on the packaging that Tomatillo¬†plants need to cross pollinate in order to fruit. ¬†I have only one…therefore, it will never fruit.

Really? ¬†Don’t you think that might be good information? ¬†To put on the stick with the growing conditions? ¬†Just saying…

But really, who cares about the weird Tomatillo situation when you turn around and find this.

Miscellany… of the Horticultural Variety

Today, I’m missing my mom because I want to know what this is. So I’m in the market for a surrogate mom. ¬†Can anybody tell me what this is? ¬†They’re in my front garden beds and they’re beautiful and I love them and I want to know what to call them!

Most of the year, they just provide beautiful variegated foliage.  Then in late spring, they put out these beautiful clusters in all shades from lavender to almost white.  Again, I love them.

While on the subject of plants that I love-I LOVE HYDRANGEAS!  My Hydrangeas are so beautiful right now.

They’re fascinating to me. ¬†The¬†litmus paper of the horticultural world. ¬†I’m always amazed at the different shades from yard to yard and plant to plant. ¬†In fact, this year I’m amazed at the variation of shade I’m seeing in one plant.

The pristine clear blue.

The softest lavender.

The blush of dusky pink.

And finally, a¬†cacophony¬†of all the shades available to this beauty’s soft¬†palette. ¬†What’s blooming in your garden today?

My nemesis…

Nemesis…defined as “a formidable and usually victorious rival¬†or opponent”

And she knows this…see the look of shame and apology. ¬†It’s because she loves me. ¬†She doesn’t love me enough, however. ¬†She’s dedicated to foiling my every move. ¬†Our battleground?

Our battleground is any area I attempt to cultivate as a garden bed, be it floral or vegetable, and the accompanying accessories.  The weapon? Her pearly whites. Her chompers. Teeth!

It’s April the 11th. ¬†I’ve been ready to plant for weeks, but no…I’m stalked by this evildoer of a mutt. ¬†Let me recount the casualty list to date: ¬†$300+ dollars worth of drip irrigation, ¬†a waterhose (including the fitting that attached it to the spout), the styrofoam covers off the trampoline, two dessert sage bushes (established), a satellite wire, the inputs to our air conditioning unit, an aloe vera plant and numerous small plastic containers.

This teething rascal is relentless! ¬†But it’s April people and I have no choice! I had to plant! ¬†I’m missing the window of opportunity for Texas! ¬†It will be 100+ degrees in a couple of months. ¬†So I planted

A few tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and I wrapped it all in ragged leftover chicken wire. ¬†And it seems to be working…so far….but I haven’t replaced the drip line yet. ¬†I’m still having to water. ¬†By hand. ¬†Daily. ¬†So, I found this

Which is a wireless fence system purported to accomplish this

My nemesis and I have a date with destiny this weekend.  And my hubbie, a date with drip irrigation!