Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Weather Predictions

Yesterday's newspaper had an article on the Farmer's Almanac predicting a long, wet winter for us. Shoot, I've been predicting that since late July when my Ruby Spider daylilly bloomed a full 2 weeks earlier than previous years! I also began noticing that the goldenrod bloomed about 2 weeks earlier than normal and I recently remarked to hubby that I thought the tops of the spruce trees were dying because they were all brown. Upon further inspection with the binoculars, I saw that they were actually loaded with cones! To me, these things can only mean a long, cold and probably wet winter with lots of snow up here in the north woods. Hubby, (Mr. Meteorologist) thinks I'm nuts, but the prospect of an early winter suits us just fine! We are quite prepared, having stacked 4+ cords of wood earlier in the summer and cut plenty of softwood, just in case. In fact, last night, we had our first "fun fire" in the woodstove as the temps dropped into the mid 40's and we felt the need to just take the chill off the air.

Now that we have the new garage, the Jeep will be inside, while the truck with the snow plow will be prepositioned every night in anticipation of any unforecast snow.

Bring it on!

Oh, and by the way, much like a fisherman who on occasion, tends to stretch the truth about the size of the fish he caught, I think I may have exaggerated a wee bit about the size of my Joe Pye weed. I think, rather than 9 feet tall, it's a bit more like 7 feet, but quite stunning, nonetheless.

The picture shows, hubby (about 6 ft tall) standing next to the Joe Pye weed yesterday.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Whilst wandering through the garden yesterday, I couldn't help but remember how it looked in early 2004 when it was just brand new. We had finished the fence in 2003 and I had begun digging the perennial beds around the inside perimeter, which is actually our septic leach field! Since our property is heavily wooded and has lots of granite ledge, there is precious little land on which to garden and the leach field was full of rocky sand. However, with the addition of lots of composted manure, topsoil and sweat equity, we have managed to eke out a fairly decent bit of color. Our only restriction is that we cannot plant any trees or woody shrubs on the leach field since their roots would eventually burrow into septic system. Annuals and perennials, having shallow root systems seem to be ok.

We also have a small veggie garden in back, but that's a blog for another day.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


One of my favorite late summer flowers is Cosmos. The soft, seashell colors of pink, fuchsia, lavender and white, surrounded by ferny, grass green foliage add billowy movement to the garden. When most of the garden is glowing in the bright, garish yellow of rudbeckia, goldenrod and heliopsis, the cool colors of the cosmos are serenity to the eyes.

The hollyhocks are on their last blooms now and I'm hoping they will reseed prolifically for next year.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Joe Pye Weed

I bought this plant last year and it only reached about 4 feet tall. This year, however, it's about 9 feet tall and is a beautiful, architectural piece in the middle of the garden planting bed. It broke dormancy quite late in the spring, but once it got going there was no stopping it - it is HUGE! The bees love the blooms, and if I recall correctly, they seem to last a long time. I also have another Chocolate Eupatorium, which has lovely white blossoms, but blooms later than this one.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Late August Garden

I really enjoy my late August - early September garden. This is the time I can actually sit out amongst my flowers and enjoy them without being "Deeted" to death. In other words "NO BUGS"! The new generation of hummingbirds are flitting about, sometimes dive bombing me if I get too close to their favorite red bee balm. They usually stick around til about the middle of September and then, suddenly, one day they head for the warmer climes of Mexico and the Caribbean. They return most punctually on nearly the same day every year in early May.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


The fields and meadows are full of this beautiful, golden hued plant. It's a bittersweet sight to behold, knowing full well that it is a harbinger of the autumn to come.

I look forward to autumn every year with some trepidation. On the one hand, I hate to see the gardening year come to an end, but on the other hand, I look forward to the other activities I have set aside due to the all consuming nature of my garden. I will enjoy our days of hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing on the beautiful, crisp days of late autumn and early winter. On those days that the cold wind keeps us indoors, fleece and a warm, glowing fire in the woodstove keep us toasty while we enjoy our hobbies of painting, reading and my knitting and crochet projects.I still have many indoor gardening chores during the winter months as I bring lots of annual plants in to overwinter downstairs in what I call my winter garden. The geraniums and other annuals get to looking pretty ragged by the time it's warm enough to set them out again, but with a little TLC, it doesn't take them long to spring back to their former beauty. Life is good, no matter what the season!

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Some folks consider this job tedious and onerous, albeit very necessary if one wants to have a tidy garden. Call me crazy, but I really like deadheading plants! It gives me lots of time to reflect on things that may be on my mind and, while talking to myself and the plants, I can enjoy the company of the finches chirping in the trees overhead and the hummingbirds flitting by close enough to see the brilliant luminescense of their tiny feathers. Life is good in the garden!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Grandpa Ott

I've been quite pleased with the performance of the heirloom "Grandpa Ott" morning glories, despite having had to fertilize them way too much in order to cover the trellis. I'm beginning to get more blooms now, and will look forward to another month or so of beautiful, deep purple blossoms with a lilac center.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Nip in the Air

Yesterday we awoke to lovely azure blue skies and a definite hint of autumn to come with temperatures hovering around 50 degrees. A lively breeze kept daytime temps down around upper 60's to lower 70's - a delightful temperature in which to dig in the garden.

I took the opportunity to redo the planting bed in which the Roma Beans had been and, after amending the soil, tilling and raking, transplanted the kale. Also ripped out the old pea vines and planted mesclun and Romaine lettuce. They should all love this cool weather!

Saturday, August 12, 2006


The Goldfinches seem to gobble up the sunflower seeds so fast that it's difficult for me to get any decent photos of them, but I finally got one that only had a few seeds missing. Wish I could have gotten one with the little bandit frantically feeding. Of course, the finches are so yellow, they would just blend in with the sunflower!

On another note, I tend to pick up bits of driftwood along the shore not really knowing what I plan to do with it, but I put it in the garage til I think of something. Yesterday, I came home from work to find this on the garden fence. Hubby had used my piece of driftwood to fashion a sign for me - what a sweetheart he is!

Friday, August 11, 2006


Some days, it seems that life just overwhelms us. That's when we chuck it all and head for the water and the serenity which we find there. After a leisurely paddle up the coast, we retreat to our favorite island hideaway and spend several hours absorbing the magnificent beauty of nature. We watch loons dive for their dinner and listen to their haunting calls to one another. Eagles soaring overhead are spectacular sights. When sensory overload sets in, we head for home, refreshed and ready for another day - come what may.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Deck Flowers

I tend to gather my deck pots around our fountain and this year they are looking very lush. Last year the morning glories were pathetic, so this year, despite reading that one should not over fertilize them at the expense of flowers, I did just that. They have climbed the trellis very nicely and we are just beginning to get a few blooms. They are "Grandpa Ott's" - a beautiful heirloom variety in deep purple. The rest of the deck plantings are benefiting from the additional feedings, as well.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Invasion Has Begun!

They started off slow and unobtrusive - I could go out into the garden and pick just a few small ones for dinner. Then, we had company over the weekend and I didn't get out to look and pick and here is only the beginning of the zuchini invasion. From the looks of the hordes of small ones on the bushes, we may be eating them sauteed with onions and garlic, braised in tomatoes with green peppers, stuffed with mystery meat, shredded into bread and heaven only knows what else! The big joke in Maine is that July and August are the only months you have to lock your car. If you don't, you may find a huge bag of zuchini in your back seat!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Canna Lilly

The Canna I planted among the Eupatorium is blooming! Every fall, I dig up the rhizomes, throw them into a paper bag and put them in the unheated part of the basement. Along about February, I pot them back up and in June, put them outside. This is the first of the blooms. The other ones are in pots on the deck, but they have yet to show a blossom.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Elephant Ears

Yesterday was the most miserable day I have experienced since leaving Kentucky almost four years ago. It was hot, sticky and just plain nasty weather with temps up in the 90's. What little sea breeze we could feel was warmed by the westerly winds and relief was only to be had by sitting downstairs in the family room with a fan and something cool to drink. It was so hot that I didn't even venture out into the garden! Now *that's* hot!!!

However, the elephant ears on the deck just loved it!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hot, Hot, Hot!

It's going to be almost 90 degrees today with a lot of humidity! Those Southerners just can't seem to keep that stuff to themselves! Oh well, we will manage to keep cool despite not having any gasp! Air Conditioning!!!! Wouldn't have it at any cost anyway since we only have one or two days a year where it "might" be nice. We have all the windows open and a nice sea breeze is coming through the house. I doubt if we will suffer much.

My garden, however, is looking bit ragged as we are somewhat inbetween seasons with the late spring garden gone by and the late summer garden still trying to burst forth.

The bee balm and rudbeckia are holding up nicely to the heat and I'm sure that the copious amounts of rain we've had this year is helping nicely. Our forecast is for possible thunderstorms again this afternoon. Sigh, I guess the daisies and annabelle hydrangeas will never get the chance to stand up tall again.