A guest blogger today – Tony Palumbo writes below…!

Just got back from a 16 mile bike ride and Rebecca and Eliza are off to Maine West for All State auditions. Was thinking I could run out and play a few holes, or at least hit some balls at the range. Would be nice to play a round with Dominic, but he is still asleep and based on past experience; he will be there for a few more hours. Even he was awake Mother Nature has decided today would not be a good day to play golf.  The skies grew dark and the wind picked up, I grabbed Rebecca’s camera and tried to capture a lightning strike. Quickly realized there is one more reason I play golf, I have a much better chance of making par than I do of capturing a lightning strike. Oh well as long as I am out here I can take pictures of the garden for Rebecca.

This is a very cool project and I know how much pleasure she gets out of her garden and this project. Maybe she will use the pictures and maybe she won’t. Yep, they’re here! My thought process was to try and capture the garden before, during and after the storm. Only problem is I play golf, I do not garden and I do not take pictures! Throwing all caution to the wind (it was very windy and getting darker by the minute) I began to point and shoot. Thought this might also be the best idea because I couldn’t tell a pansy from an iris unless Rebecca labeled them!  Made it through the first two stages by taking photos before and during the storm (have to move quickly or hide where I could, last thing I wanted to do was ruin the camera! That would not have been pretty; honey I helped out with the blog today but you will need a new camera).

That’s my story; the rest is up to Rebecca to see if the photos are of any value. She will have to mark the photos and proof read this blog (if I was a gambling man, the odds would be 1-5 that commas and punctuation will have to be added)!   Nope, I’m letting this be all your style! Must admit it was fun helping out while trying to contribute something of value for this project, maybe I will do it again maybe I won’t, what still remains true, I am way more comfortable on the golf course!

Hope you enjoyed our guest writer today!

Catmint falling everywhere, blooms fading and stems getting messy, hairy and wild. Chives getting taller, scraggly and blooms blowing past their prime. Salvia blooms drying out, stems collapsing and spreading on the ground. Time for haircuts!

Sunday I read the funnies, had wheat toast with lemon curd and tea, threw on my gardening shoes and climbed into the garage attic. Yes, I do spend alot of time in the garage attic. The long tomato stakes were up there, and that’s exactly what I needed to make my rabbit fence happen. Also grabbed the other soaker hose.

I laid all the panels out on the ground, with corners touching, just as they would be standing up. They had to be precise as the stakes needed to be placed correctly so there are no gaps for the Damn Rabbits to take advantage of when it’s assembled. The stakes were sited at the intersection of these corners.

Dominic unfurled the soaker hose so it wouldn’t curl up when we laid it in the garden. It was certainly hot enough to make anything lay straight very quickly.

Using a hammer (because Dominic couldn’t find the mallet – it’s been on the garage floor for literally months and now that it’s put away, no one knows where it is – sighhhhhh…), I pounded the first stake in about 18″deep. I then marked another stake and used that as a guide, so they would all be about the same height in the ground.

And then I had an out-of-body experience. The Invisible Neighbor behind us came out of her backdoor, shouted hello and then came to the bottom of her yard to have a visit. It was so intensely hot and sticky that I thought for a moment I had fainted and was hallucinating. We have lived here 10 years and she has never so much as waved to me before and I could literally count on one hand the times I have seen her in the yard. Tony later said he’s met her once, years ago. She was perfectly chatty, friendly and personable, telling me she was really amazed at the veggie garden and how I’ve managed to avoid the rabbits. She has two trees. That’s all. Just lawn and two trees. Not even a shrub around the foundation. She asked my advice on landscaping under the corner tree. I could hear the Twilight Zone theme playing. She then said it was just too hot (and it really was) and went back into her house. I had to take a break, have some lemonade and consider how I’ve never met this neighbor before and how it was at the filthiest possible moment in my life. (okay, maybe when I spilled the rotting compost tea all down my front I was a little worse. That smelled like vomit.) Sweat shorts, dirty T-shirt, no makeup, hair sweaty, gritty and totally smashed under my straw sun hat, and I probably smelled. One look (and whiff) of me and I’m sure her decision to never garden was solidified.

Wire clothes hangers (WIRE HANGERS?!) were the perfect weight and flexibility, so Dominic cut those into the correct lengths. The panels were stood upright and we wired them one by one to the stakes. This is a great method, as by removing just 4 wire hooks, the panel is gone and you can easily access the garden.

Before the panels were completely attached, I took the soaker hose and threaded it through the garden, pulled open a hole in the chicken wire, stuck the threads thru, attached a hose coupling and then squeezed the hole closed. Now, I can attach the rain barrel or faucet to the hose and just let it rip.

After the panels were assembled, I trimmed back all the catmint, salvia and

chives and pulled weeds.

Tony came home from golf when I was laying on the hammock, still one of the great unwashed.

Building Rabbit Fences

May 30, 2010

This morning, it is bath day. Sparrows, robins, finches, wrens and more are vying for room in the waterfall basin, or splashing in the upper shallow part of the pond. It’s a mess of water, feathers and scrapping. There is this image of birds like the Disney movies, cheerful and chirping and just happy to be alive. In reality, they fight constantly, dive bombing each other, screeching and complaining. And always worried about getting a better position, for water, for seed, in a tree, than their counterparts. A great deal of drama goes on in the avian world!

Yesterday, I was headed to the lumber yard to buy my 1 x 2’s to assemble fence frames around the veggie garden. Eliza agreed to come along, if we could stop at Target, because she needed just a few things. Seeing as I like hanging out with the girl, I agreed. We stopped at Target first and “a few things” turned into a summer wardrobe (doesn’t this child already have clothes? because I remember buying them!) and two pairs of shoes.

The gentleman at Home Depot watched in pity as I tried to figure out how 8′ pieces could be cut most efficiently to fill a 12’9″ space. I’m so good at this at work – figuring spatial relationships on paper – but total crap at it in real life. He smiled gently and said “I can figure that out.” I then tripped over a forklift. Glad Eliza was there to laugh with. He asked me if I wanted the scrap and I said yes, figuring there may be a need for 30″ pieces for something at sometime. God, am I my dad, or what?

I asked Tony to get the tools I needed to assemble the frames, as I did not have the mental stamina to go into the tool room and look at the disorganization that has run amuck. He said it wasn’t as bad as it could be, but brought everything up for me anyway. The boards were laid out in a square on the patio and I began stapling the chicken wire to the short piece first. I placed a chair on that slat as it kept rolling up. I realized that using the wire as a guide to 90 degree angles was not working out, but managed to get everything stapled to all four sides. Then I laid slats down on top of the bottom slats, making a sandwich of slat, wire and slat. Nailed them together. As this one was my “learner”, everything else went much faster and by 9:00 pm, I had all six panels created. I was very grateful for my decision to say yes to keeping the scrap, as my careful calculations did not take into consideration 2 panels for each long side, so I wound up short 8 pieces. And wow – there were 8 pieces of scrap. And lo and behold, I was getting low on chicken wire, so with the shorter sides (30″ vs 34″) I was able to turn the wire on its side and stretch it to fit the smaller panels. Sometimes, things are just so serendipitous, aren’t they?

I was just in time with these panels, because I was dragging the first one over to the garden, a baby rabbit bounced away. He then hid in my neighbor’s lily-of-the-valley, but I kept an eye on him. My salad greens and green beans are growing like mad and I want to be the one who eats them. Peas are sprouting, radishes are just hysterical in their growth and the zucchini gets bigger each day. The brussel sprouts don’t seem to be doing much, but I understand the roots are settling and growing.

Today, I will place stakes in the garden and attach the panels to the stakes with wire. Everything needs a very good long soak, as we’ve been a few days without rain. It’s comforting to water when you’re not rushed off your feet. It’s a good time to think and just be at peace with yourself and the world.

The hydrangeas are blooming, the asiatic lilies are glorious and the coneflowers are starting to unfurl. The clematis in by the porch is finished, but the one on the backyard arbor is just getting buds. The fall clematis has taken the new trellis by storm and needs to be pinned back  with plant tape, as it is reaching out instead of back and looks like Medusa on a bad hair day. The delphinium is blooming, a pale blue that reminds me of bridesmaids’ dresses back in the 70’s. The scabiosa is unfurling and the foxgloves are magnificent. If only I could get these to reseed successfully. I have sprouts everywhere in the spring, but they never come to fruition.

The yellow “buttercups” are about to bloom. This is another “heritage” plant for me. Back in the 70’s, when we moved to Country Club Hills, our neighbor was gardening with what we called weeds. Karen was so ahead of her time. On her daily travels, if she saw a native flower she found attractive, she stopped, dug it out of the side of the road or out of the prairie, and planted it in her garden. Of course, nurtured by better soil and waterings, they exploded in color and texture. It was a shock to my mom, who was married to a row of alyssum backed by a row of petunias, backed by a row of dusty miller. But then my mom saw the benefits of these flowers that didn’t need a lot of care or constant watering, and Karen gave her a cluster of these yellow wildflowers that love sun and still thrive in shade. Those buttercups took over the back garden in Country Club Hills, then came to me in  Chicago Heights. Back to my mom in Manteno, and back to me here in Tinley. They have also been distributed to friends here, making Karen another immortal. Even beyond her perennials, Karen has always been one of my favorite people, who looks at every glass as completely full, can make lemonade out of rotten lemons and sees life thru a unique, quirky perspective that makes everyone around her feel joyful and loved.

The lilies are blooming – four more today – slashes of blood red in the garden. I expect that by Friday, the whole bush will be ablaze. These don’t last long, but they make a fabulous show for a short while, kind of like those fireworks.

The daylilies are starting, a swelling this morning that bloomed this afternoon. The coneflower continue to open, the clematis climbs like a monkey and the scabiosa is taunting me every day. The chives have already gone into overtime and I expect to see those black rattling seeds very soon. Those need a trim already too. The incredibly hot humid weather, like jungle conditions, has given everything in the garden a boost.

The blue hosta in the shade bed has taken to the transplant wholeheartedly (thank goodness) and is getting bigger each day. The bed under the pin oak continues to fill in. The daffodils are splaying all over that bed, so I tied up a few this evening. If I do a few a day, it doesn’t seem so onerous. That is a trick I learned from Martha Stewart (a woman for whom I have absolutely no respect. The rumor has always been that’s she a bitchy diva, but I thought many of her garden tips and recipes were good. Then a dear friend invited me to the NAWBO luncheon where she was speaking. Wow. Bitchy divas should be insulted at being put in the same category as Martha Stewart. The woman is arrogant, rude and completely full of herself.).

How to Bundle Daffodils – Grasp a clump, take out two long leaves, bend the clump in half and then use the leaves to tie the clump into a bundle. You can also use raffia, or if they’re really floppy, you can take that clump and just tie them in a knot. Keeps your garden clean and keeps the leaves on the plant to feed itself for next year. Works with tulips too.

No water in the rain barrels and no rain expected until tomorrow night, so I hooked up the hose and watered the veggies and the impatiens. The beans are all emerging, the zucchini is coming up. It’s so amazing how one day there is literally no sign of anything and the next, there is a whole row of green leaves. The way things grow so quickly on the one hand – and so slowly on the other, like trees – just thrills me. What a cool world we live in.

Laid in the hammock after dinner (you’ll find this is a common theme) and closed my eyes. Opened them again as I was showered with little brown pellets from the honey locust above me. That happened over and over, until the sun went down and the bugs started biting. Had to brush off quite a few when I finally stood up.

Earlier today, I talked to my neighbor Greg today about his veggie garden. We stood on his driveway, then quickly moved into the shade as it was so intensely hot. Even then, I had sweat coming around my sunglasses. Yipes. He’s got an upside down planter with strawberries. He also showed me how he built the fence panels around his veggies. Looks simple, so that will be a project for this weekend. All those tender little exposed greens in that garden make me a wreck, milorganite or not. He asked me about my upside down planter, as his house directly faces mine and he loves to sit out front in the summer. When I painted the porch four different colors, I did it for me and to put a smile on his face too. I am aware that the condition of my house can affect his mood, as he has to look at it all year round.

We also expressed mutual disgust for his neighbor, a relatively new couple who apparently didn’t get the memo that this cul-de-sac is well tended. Grass goes uncut for weeks and god forbid they trim more than twice a season. I shudder every time I pull out of my driveway and see that mess. I am now Greg, on the other side of the street. I understand not being interested in flowers and shrubs and a fancy garden. But can’t you at least cut the damn grass and trim the weeds?

Ironically, our mower is still in the shop and I’m starting to have to slough through the backyard to get to the veggies. At least it’s not the front. And I know that if the front gets too bad and starts looking really nasty, Greg will come cut it.

May 24th and in the 90’s today. So hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. I think Mythbusters tried that once and busted it. If we have another day like today, I might give it a go myself. Dominic would get a kick out of it.

Went into the garden in the evening after dinner, to water and make sure my veggies aren’t dying. That goofy upside down tomato is giving me grief. It looks like it’s dried out, but I think it might actually be overwatered. If this doesn’t pick up soon, I’m swearing this off and going back to regular old in the ground tomatoes next year.

You know those cartoons where eyes pop out and mouths go agape? Well, that was me this evening when I looked at the hydrangeas. They were completely wilted and drooping and looked like nothing could ever save them. I watered and watered and watered and nothing happened. Because of the pine needles, when I water, it seems like Christmas up there now. I watered the alyssum and the zinnia and tried not to look at the hydrangeas. If you encourage that kind of behavior with attention, they’ll never straighten up. The ground under the spigot on the house where I get that hose (we have three spigots – how convenient is that?) is planted with mint and when I walk in and walk out, I can smell the crushed leaves. Fresh and clean and wholesome.

I went into the back yard and opened the spigot on the rain barrel to water the veggie garden. The lack of water pressure makes that stream look like someone with a prostrate problem, but I placed the hose strategically around the plants and came back again and again while I watered the backyard, with real pressure from a real hose. I had opened up the spigot on the other rain barrel earlier today and now discovered that all 50 gallons (yes, 50 gallons) are gone. So I guess the soaker hose with the slashes in it is working.

While watering the veggie garden for EVER, I thinned the radishes and see that the salad greens are sprouting, looks like there are beans coming in. No peas yet, and the beans I planted with Dan didn’t survive the transplanting. (Sunday I was at Rubino’s and managed to snag the LAST packet of the purple french beans. Danny will never know it’s not the ones we planted – although that kid is so smart, he’ll probably figure it out). Wondering where the zucchini is. Maybe the family dug those up. I cook it with onions and broccoli so they get another jolt of healthy vegetable but I’m the only one that likes it,  so I wouldn’t put it past them. I checked that rain barrel and yep, all that water is gone too. Makes sense as the grass all around the bed was sodden. No packed soil in that garden! Tomorrow will be interesting, as I’ll have to carry watering cans full. The spigot in the garage is broken and Dominic will have to get put on that repair job asap.

The foxglove, both the native prairie plant and the cultivar, are budding and blooming. Within days, we should get a show of white and pink that is beyond belief. When we went to the Grand Canyon two years ago, we came home to a sea of nodding white bells. It was just breathtaking. It was dark when we got home, but Tony and I stood outside and soaked it in, the flowers just luminescent in the night. Foxglove seeds like crazy and I do let them have their way in the garden.

Our lawn mower sounded strange when Tony tried to start it again after emptying the bag on Saturday. He and Dominic got a new air filter, new spark plug, changed the oil and generally gave it a great tune up. It then refused to start altogether. The backyard and a patch down the side and into the front is still long and rapidly going to seed. I looked up lawn mower repair and found a guy, Russ who does this right out of his house. I brought it over there this evening and he noticed immediately that the primer bulb is broken. How the hey did we miss that? He’s going to look it all over and get back to us in a few days. I hope I won’t be needing a sickle by that time.

Coneflower is starting to bloom, a single red lily is now open and the crazy allium heads get plumper every day. The catmint already needs a hair cut. I’ll use all that brush to mulch the veggie garden, giving the Damn Rabbits a double dose of yuck – the milorganite and the catmint that they hate. I will need to get a few bags of mulch anyway – the soil is not holding the moisture like I want it to.

Found my plant tape after all and used it to tie the errant clematis to the trellis. Also used it to bundle the pink peonies, as they were also causing the hydrangeas grief, laying all over them.

Laid in the hammock and thought about how there are many things about spring that bother me. My children turn another year older, and then quickly, they finish school for another year and are ready to move on. I am not so much. The pace of time is so fast and it gets faster all the time. I worry about not appreciating the everyday, about not holding my kids, not talking to them enough, not teaching them enough. They are so grown. Yesterday I was feeling particularly punky and hugged Eliza. She knew where this was going and immediately said, “Mom, we never had any fun, you never played with us and no, we did not do enough as a family and I’m so angry that we never went to any museums.” Then she laid on the bed and laughed and laughed and laughed. She is truly a horrid child.

Griffey saw me on the hammock, barked and whined and then hopped his little bow-legged self over. He laid with me, and we relaxed together until that black and white cat came streaming through the neighbor’s backyard.

Checked on the hydrangeas and they looked great, upright, healthy and happy. Drama queens.

Fairies and Moose

May 23, 2010

Today was an early day in the garden. It started on the chilly side, but very humid and then dried out and warmed up beautifully.

The soaker hose needed to be laid in the shade bed, so it was into the garage attic in search of the rest of the “summer stuff.” Along the way, I found my flower fairy statue, 3 more rabbit statues, a frog and a paver that says “Gardening Means You Believe In Tomorrow.” This paver means more to me than just flowers and blooms. I got it when Dominic was having health problems and for me, it was also a way of affirming my belief that he would recover and his tomorrows would be bright and sunny again. It used to make me cry, because I sometimes I wasn’t that strong. Now, it makes me smile because I see his tomorrows ever brighter, every day.

I also found the moose, that he painted a few years ago, in a burst of artistic expression. Eliza and I had planned on painting in a la Marilyn Moose-roe, but her schedule was too hectic and he “adopted” it. It is a bright splash of blue and red and white and orange amidst the green.

I spread the three bags of pine needles that Mark gave me and filtered out literally dozens of pine cones that we’ll throw in the fire pit this summer, to hear them crackle and pop. For now, they are filling the bed on the side of the pond where I usually plant impatiens, but would like to put perennial dianthus. That area regularly gets trodden by small children who want to throw rocks in the pond (which is encouraged – the rock throwing, not the trodding) and dianthus would hold up and spring back a lot better. The pine needles make the beds look squishy and they should make the hydrangeas interesting colors.

The soaker hose was put into place and then I smacked my head because  1) I should have laid it before I planted the impatiens and 2) it should have been pierced it before being laid. I went back in and poked a hole with my trusty fiskars every inch or so – what a pain in the arse that was. However, now it actually works, with little streams of water coming out to soak the impatiens. Last year, we installed the rain barrels and I bought soaker hose, thinking I just turn it on and it oozes out. Well, because there is virtually no pressure from a rain barrel, the water just sat in the hose and never oozed. SIGH. Hey, I was an art major, not an engineer. This year, with the modification, it will work!

The allium is fast turning into the green satellites that stay all year long, the coneflower is budding out and the radishes have sprouted! They must taste nasty as the Damn Rabbits have not nibbled yet, while they did attack my liatris in the butterfly bed. Of course, they have been doused with milorganite so that might have something to do with the Damn Rabbits’ reluctance. I found an old clothes drying rack in the closet last week and realized it would make a perfect pea support. The old tomato poles are perfect supports and the clothes rack goes right in the middle. Tony did not get my text about buying plant tape when he was at Ace buying a new spark plug for the lawn mower, so it’s not secured as yet.

One hibiscus is emerging and about 2″ tall, while the other shows no signs of life at all. This type of rebellion makes me anxious that I’ve lost a plant, but I seem to remember this plant pulling the same sort of drama last year, but filling in beautifully when the time was right. Diva.

The hosta bed is packed and the little ladder from my grandpa is sited there, with two bunnies nestled on the top step. I think I’ve gone from art into kitsch there, but a little kitsch never hurt anyone, right?

I am of the thought that alot of kitsch will give you a rash.

When I was finished weeding the flagstone path and resetting some of the stones that have shifted and buckled, Tony and I walked the McCarthy path and I drooled over the beautiful purple phlox covering the prairie.

Best part of the day – I laid on the hammock after dinner.

Took a short day in the office and headed to the Loop with Tony to do Bobby’s Bike Hike, and that’s when we had the only nice weather of the day. We cruised to the MCA, Water Tower Place, waved hello to Oprah, saw the original Playboy mansion, stopped in Old Town and then came back down Lake Shore Drive. About 8 minutes before the end of the tour, the skies opened and we got soaked by raindrops that were huge and cold. The little girl in front of me said “this is FUN” and I had to agree.

On the ride home, the sun came out again and by the time we got home, about 6:30, it was perfect conditions for weed pulling. The soil was wet but not packed, and everything came out with just a tug. I noticed the speedwell in the front is in bloom, but the same in the back is just now budding out. The lily buds are turning redder, and I’m watching everyday now for the blooms. The salvia in the front is in full bloom, purple spikes and fragrant leaves. The lavender has started to bud, the jack-in-the-pulpit is positively prolific. The iris continue their show.

I have many things to do tomorrow, when the ground will still be damp – could that be radishes emerging in the veggie bed??

A gorgeous beginning of the blooming of the irises today! There are two open, with several following tomorrow, or even by end of day today. The purple is deep and royal and true, with stripes of black and white towards the center. This year is the year of division for this plant, as when the bloom is finished, I will lift them, rinse them, slice them up and replant them in strategic places around the yard. The pin oak above is about 8 years older than it was when they were planted, so it’s much shadier there now.

I planted the rest of the vegetable seeds yesterday, mesculan mix, beans, zucchini and peas. Laid down milorganite heavily to keep the Damn Rabbits away, but I’m not sure how much hope I hold for that after the salad greens come up. Chicken wire, here we come.

I opened the rain barrel and filled my watering can up many times to water those veggies. That rain barrel is down about a quarter now. Always find myself wishing for Camelot weather  – the rain falls each night and it’s sunny and warm every day. From looking at http://www.weather.com, it seems we might have that today! The sprinkler system will have to be tended to – We lost a spring last year, so our zone 2 refused to shut off. The soaker hose needs to be attached to the other rain barrel and my fairy statue needs to be placed, along with the moose.

The crazy head allium buds are swelling – those are such a blast to have in the garden. There is more jack-in-the-pulpit every day, but some of the strongest plants are hiding under hostas. I’ll have to transplant those to a better spot.

Saturday there is NOTHING to do, nowhere to go, so I’ll be able to play in the mud and then lay in the hammock. I can’t wait.

It changes so quickly. In weeks, or sometimes days, there is a bud, a bloom and then poof! It’s recharging for next year.

The columbine, which was so bright and vibrant just a week ago, is now dropping petals and changing into a seed head that will rattle and then drop tiny black seeds all over the garden. The allium is dropping its starry flowers and leaving behind green stems which really look like something from outer space. The clematis is also finishing its bloom cycle, the purple petals dropping and becoming unexpected splashes of color on the ground. The stigmas are unfurling and turning into those hairy spiders that keep the vine interesting well into the winter.

And now the peonies come, the white one reminding me of Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire, fragrant and blowsy and rather loose in morals. I picture the “person” in this peony as dressed in a white filmy gown, with blonde hair tousled from sleeping in too late. The magenta peonies are just a little more buttoned up but still very sexy and loose, maybe Stella. The grow-through rings were again a failure, as I had to tie up the white ones this morning. Ran out of plant tape, so I’ll have to do the magenta ones tomorrow. (How can I run out of plant tape?) The lily of the valley is starting to die back as well.

And now the irises are looking like bird beaks pointing up towards the sun, narrow at the tip and full in the middle, swelling with purple. The red lilies are the same, buds now reaching out of the stems instead of nestling inside. The chives in the front are in full blooms, miniatures of those allium. Love to use the chives in sauce for steaks, and the flowers make such pretty accents in salads. Chives can be cut down and then come back to rebloom. They are also prolific self-seeders, so they show up in unexpected places each spring. Always a happy surprise.

The Joe Pye weed is huge this year, and the foxglove are growing bigger each day, now setting buds. The lamb’s ear on the back of the berm and under the bench has perked up and will survive the transplanting, I’m sure.

These blasts of color and fragrance, over so quickly, hit me this time of year especially. Eliza is finishing her junior year of high school, with only one more year to go. It will be a year of lasts, last fall play, last group interp, last musical, last concerts. My children are like the garden, with phases coming in, giving you a burst of brilliance, and then moving on to the next stage. I know that in life, Dominic and Eliza just passed the daffodils stages and are only at the hyacinth stage, but they will shortly be leaving me behind. Next fall, both of my babies will only have a room here, and not really an everyday home (tangent – I’ll get to clean under their beds, of which I’m a little scared, a little excited.) While I am so nostalgic for the daffodils, I love the hyacinths and also look forward to seeing the peonies, and the lilies and the irises, the fall clematis and all the wonderful experiences that take me through the year and through life. I look forward to seeing them blossom for many years to come.

And I need to water today.

Saturday, we went to the Home Depot in Frankfort to buy dirt for the veggie bed and the empty flower pots. We bought ten 40-lb bags of top soil and 3 cans of Lysol (I can’t find the regular original scent anywhere else and the “scents” make me sick to my stomach). Because I had pulled something in my back (again), Tony loaded them onto the trolley, then into the car, then unloaded them and placed them strategically around the yard.

I filled the empty pots in front, planted a geranium and asparagus fern in the mid-size pot and then sprinkled baby’s breath seeds around the edges. The small pot was filled and then sprinkled with snapdragon seeds. I really show have bought more annuals at Sunrise and I was considering it at Home Depot. However, I am spoiled by Sunrise’s prices. 48 plants for $10, instead of just 24 for $12. If you’re buying a quantity, which I do, it’s worth the trip. And the hot dog is always good.

I also planted the tomato plant in the upside down planter and hung it from the middle hook on the porch. I’ll need to hit World Market for other windchimes or mobiles to hang from the other hooks. It looked very boring on the porch last summer because the stuffed chicken mobile finally disintegrated.

Sunday afternoon, I was able to sneak in about an hour and dumped all the dirt into the veggie garden. I then made a holes the size of egg cartons and dropped in the seedlings Danny and I planted weeks ago, egg carton and all. I planted the brussel sprouts (wondering if Damn Rabbits would like those, or do they, like most, turn their noses up at brussel sprouts? Eliza and I love them roasted with onions and then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese – yum) and the red sweet peppers.  I planted the watermelon seedling (purchased) right in the middle of the bed, then put radishes on the other side. I dosed the whole thing heavily with the milorganite and this morning, see no evidence of Damn Rabbits. I do know I’m playing with fire and need a chickenwire fence around that bed as soon as possible.

I tried moving the tomato plant to the shepherd’s hook, but that definitely did not work. After planting the seedling, adding dirt and then watering, it was much too heavy and bowed that steel rod down to the ground. It went back onto the porch, which required feats of acrobatics and balance that I thought beyond me. I was standing on the 3″ wide railing, hauling up about 60 pounds and having to get a rope over a hook in the ceiling. Was really very stupid – I’m lucky I didn’t fall and break my neck.

It’s raining this morning and I couldn’t have asked for better timing. Everything that was planted this weekend needed a good soaking and it’s getting it today.