Monday, July 19, 2010

Ooo...preeety flowers

I figured it was high time for another tour of the garden so you can see where we are now that it is mid-summer. Feel free to go back and see the progress we have made since we first planted and since the last time we checked in a couple of months ago. Believe me...with a baby around it certainly would be very easy to just ignore the 'grounds' of our home...but that has been made impossible by my husband who (bless his heart) is a perennial do-er, you know, the kind of guy those dumb 'go out and get something done' commercials for Home Depot are for, and my Mother-in-Law, who came to visit for a week and took it upon herself to plant some annuals and mulch 2/3 of our garden making it look all beautiful thereby totally inspiring us to continue and finish mulching the last 1/3 that she would have done if we had given her more time and stopped saddling her with grandmother duties. Phew.

So...without further ado...a tour of our garden.

This little Rhododendron lives outside our front fact this photo is taken from the front porch looking a bit to the left of the main walk to our house. We relocated Rhody from the back yard last year when we re-did the lawn back there. She's doing ok, but we might need to put her back where she can get more sun. Not sure on that one. Really...she's my husband's responsibility since (gasp) I don't really care about her.

Turning to the right, you see the path that leads around to the side of our house. We are forever thankful for the person three owners back who installed this gorgeous path and garden. When we first moved in, the place had been neglected for years and was totally husband wanted to tear it all out and put in lawn! But I convinced him to have a nursery come and clean it out a bit and wait a year or so before tearing anything out and boy are we glad we did.

Looking back up the path to the front of the house:

The garden area in the center has really taken off. Most of the items in this middle ground we have planted ourselves...but these cone flowers have always been there. They attract butterflies; though to be honest, I haven't really seen a lot of butterflies around.

We planted some Silvermound as ground cover a few years ago with the intent to split them and replant every few years...but they need more sun than they get. Half of the garden is shaded by the cherry tree, so we may move things around to have a more shade type ground cover closer to the tree and save all the Silvermound for the full sun areas.

These gorgeous flowers are called Garden Phlox...and they are beautiful. They started blooming very soon after the Day Lilies faded, bringing some beautiful color into the garden. One of our goals in planting was to have color all throughout the summer, and I think we have succeeded in doing that.

I have to admit, I am a little disappointed in the Speedwell...they are supposed to get between two and three feet and have tall purple and pink shafts that attract butterflies...but ours are only about a foot high and the shafts themselves are only about 6 inches and, as previously mentioned, I have yet to see any butterflies. Oh well...maybe next year...

At the lower end of the middle garden is a separate area that we have designated our herb garden. Many of these were planted around the whole space, but we have relocated them all here. There is a GORGEOUS sage plant as well as chives, oregano, rosemary, thyme and lavender. We also have a mini-field of mint up closer to the path around the house but we try and keep them sequestered so they don't take everything over!
The Peonies that were so gorgeous in June have all lost their floral lustre, but continue to add beautiful, full foliage to the side wall of the house.

These Lilies are HUGE. We have to split this plant, but I need to do some major space planning before we do that, so it might be until next spring before we get to it. In the meantime, they have totally taken over our Hydrangea plant!

Here's one of the Petunia plants my MIL gifted us with:

You can see how big those Lilies are in this well as a glimpse of the sexy gardener :)

Over in the other part of our yard the Basil is growing beautifully...

I am going to take out the peas since we harvested them and I don't see anymore growing and getting rid of the pea fence will give me better access... our HONKING HUGE TOMATO PLANTS!!

I can't even get over how big they are...and they are just getting bigger and bigger and bigger...since taking these pictures the ones in front are now all over the grass! We need to get more stakes and tie them back before they hurt themselves!

mmmmm....what the heck am I going to do with all the tomatoes!

See...WAY back in there, there are some big ole' tomatoes!

Also way back in there is what they refer to as Dog Vomit Slime Mold. I know. Gross. Apparently it is actually a fungus that is a delicacy in Mexico. I don't care. It's gross and I hate it. It grows near wooded things (like mulch and trees) when there is too much moisture. And once the spores are there, they are always there. Ew. We didn't mulch this area, but I think there was mulch in the compost we used. Bleh. Thankfully it is harmless and won't eat our plants.
Oh yeah...and more proof of the too-much-moisture. A lone mushroom.

Ok...moving back over to the Hydrangea. Hydrangeas are not full sun plants and ours is in full sun so we HAVE to water it. Sadly, we were away for five days during a huge heat wave and our hydrangea suffered dearly for it. So, now we have a soaker hose and are hoping to at least get the plant through the summer and maybe relocate it where it isn't so bright.

Dead Hydrangea flowers are not on my list of inspiring things to look at.

Lastly, we turned our compost. We have a fun little tool that you pierce into the base of the compost and then as you pull it out, the wings are supposed to open up on the side of the shaft of the tool and you can aerate your compost that way...but so far it doesn't work very well...which is annoying because I wouldn't have bought it if it didn't look so promising. Instead, the best way to turn the compost, is to actually turn it into a new place. Fortunately, our compost is set up where we can easily move it back and forth from one area to another.

So there you go...the latest comings and goings of our garden.

How are your garden spaces holding up this summer?

Friday, July 09, 2010

You can take the bathroom out of the 80's...

Anyone know of any ::booming voice:: Worst-Bathroom-in-America ::cut-booming voice:: contests that might be going on about now? Because while I usually refrain from entering contests like that (knowing in my heart-of-hearts that there are so many people out there with bathrooms worse than mine) I happened to look around while taking my shower this morning and realized maybe we actually could win one of those know...if they were based on how bad your bathroom actually is as opposed to how many family members/co-workers/strangers-on-the-bus you were able to badger into voting for you EVERYDAYTHISWEEKANDNEXTWEEKANDEVENTHEWEEKAFTERTHAT until all the other contestants' posses give up and you win by default.

The problem, or should I say problem(s), in our bathroom can be summed up in a few words. "Pink Nightmare" comes to mind. I can actually tolerate the pink floor,

pink tub,

pink sink,

and...(wait for it)...

pink toilet!!
But what REALLY gets me, is the pink tile ceiling.

Let me say that again.


And no...if the ceiling were tiled in a different color it wouldn't release it from my hatred.

Whoever thought of putting tile on the ceiling in the bathroom is sick and twisted. Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to clean the tiles of a ceiling that is only reachable by ladder? It ain't fun, people! And when they were installing this ceiling, they certainly didn't think of installing an exhaust guess where all that shower steam ends up. ON THE CEILING.

And any moisture that ISN'T gunking up our ceiling, is gathering itself in between the painted wall paper and (what I can only imagine is moldy) plaster walls. Yup...our bathroom apparently had sparkle-tastic wall-paper that a previous owner did us the 'favor' of missing out on by painting over it...with industrial white paint that really is more of the grayish tint bubble gum gets when you have been chewing it for three days. When painted wallpaper gets moist it starts to peel from the walls. But God forbid you tug on any of that wallpaper because I just know that once you do that the entire place will implode on itself in a great shudder of mildew, dust and half-broken pink tiles.

And while we're talking about masochistic bathroom planning, exactly when did putting a big, wood-framed window IN THE SHOWER become the design strategy of choice?

This is the third place I have lived in in Massachusetts and each one of them has had this window 'feature' that requires one to somehow retro-fit the tub with a plastic curtain to keep the water out of the woodwork...a device destined to creeping further and further into the shower like a moist, mildew-y Venus-fly-trap waiting to pounce on any person attempting to bathe themselves.

Rounding out our case for ::booming voice:: Worst-Bathroom-in-America ::cut-booming voice:: is a small, rusty medicine cabinet with cracked glass shelves,

weird, dried-up caulking around old fixtures,

and an extraordinarily poorly placed heat register that prevents us from even considering improving of the layout of the space someday.

We've done the best we can do at this point with this, the one and only full bathroom we have in the house...but due to budget, time and no-other-place-to-shower-in-our-house constraints it's going to have to be what we live with for a long, long time unless we stumble across some sort of bathroom overhaul windfall.

In the meantime, I guess I will have to discipline myself to refrain from pulling at the very tantalizing curls of painted-over, sparkly wall paper that crop up after every shower.

What about you you have any major nightmares in your house that you are resigned to living with?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Happy ONE YEAR, Little G!!!

Today you have lived outside the womb, on this earth, for an entire year.
365 days

a million blinks

ten thousand kisses

52 weeks

three developmental stages

a handful of airplane trips

countless hairs on your head

365 nights

12 months

a lifetime of learning

six teeth

two dimples

all the love in the universe.

Mom and Dad