One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Archive for the ‘tulips’ Category


“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth…and no culture comparable to that of the garden…but though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”

With those words of Thomas Jefferson and a chipmunks eye view of a garden bed in Eastham, I began this silly garden blog SEVEN years ago this weekend.   Seven years.   Yeesh.  I think it’s funny that I chose the Jefferson quote – I did it because I’d just turned forty and honestly, I think I feel younger now than I did back then.

So much has changed in seven years, not the least of which is our climate – back then it was daffodils just coming into bloom.  This year, the daffs are almost all faded and it’s the lilacs blooming weeks ahead of the old schedule.

Before starting, I’d read a blog or two before(the first, of course, was Joe‘s, who had started one year to the day earlier than my first post – happy Eighth to you, Joe!!!) and I thought it was a pretty cool idea.    Previously, I’d been keeping a website at GeoCities, now long lost (but does anything on the Internet ever really go away) to us, called Emily’s Online Dog House, which featured some of my early digital photography and presented as a comfortable way for people to know my beautiful, but-not-often-safe-to-meet-in-person dog, Emily Grace.

I remember a television news piece about blogging was what finally inspired me to check out Blogspot and finally get going.   I’d just begun working at restoring some long-abandoned gardens at the place where we rented and I wanted to share that experience with far-flung family and friends and at first, my “blogging” was just about mutely sharing photos.   But in time, I started to find my voice and discovered I had a few things to say about the gardening process…and eventually, the blog and the blog community I  found, helped me hear that voice of mine more clearly, and wow, what a can of worms that opened.  :)

Over the years, as my world and I have evolved and changed, so has the blog.   I don’t post as often these days, partly because my gardening habits have changed:   lots of my gardening happens in containers these days and plenty of what I used to consider “disposable” cash to fuel my gardening addiction now goes into my gas tank.    I also find  that I can share photos with more immediacy through Facebook (if we’re Friends there, you’ll already know that) these days…but I try to come and blog when I think I have something to say.

Anniversaries are silly things – doesn’t Life move  quickly enough without us ticking off the minutes, hours years?   But they also give us a reason to stop and take stock, to review the past, to make note of the changes and to start scheming about the days ahead.  Dwelling in the past is rarely healthy, but a glance back for perspective can be kind of exciting.

On this seventh “blog-o-versary”, I thank all of you who stop by to see a few photos or listen to me ramble.   I have good intentions, as always, about blogging more and I hope you’ll keep coming by now and then to see how I’m doing with that.

But meanwhile, what are you doing inside?  It’s a beautiful day – get out there and see some of it for yourself!!!


Between Umbrellas

A mourning dove has been singing and cooing on the railing of our deck most mornings this week.   But its windy here last night and this morning and our dove is nowhere to be seen (or heard).   Wind’s not a new thing here on the Cape and this isn’t a particular big deal by our wind standards, but it keeps one mindful of the severe weather events plaguing so many this week.

Last evening after work was overcast and breezy, but warm.   Also damp, from the irregular spatterings of rain we’ve been getting here the last twenty-four hours.   Not the right kind of weather for actually doing much out there, but the tulips are coming along as we begin our transition from April to May and sometimes its nice to just walk around and look (and take a few photos).   Still, it wasn’t long before I was back inside, enjoying the way one purple hyacinth can perfume an entire apartment with its sweet fragrance.

My heart is with those who’ve been so awfully impacted by the deadly storms in the south, and also with those who are battling/fleeing flooding in the north.   My prayers and best wishes go with you all.  May some of Spring’s more peaceful moments find you soon.

April Showers

Those April showers have been doing their work.   As they have kept our focus indoors, turned toward other, dryer pursuits, all the outside world has been greening up and growing, to the point where attention must be paid.   I’d finally made a serious start at raking away the winter debris and doing a bit of spring weeding, when I planted the pansies a while back…but more rain, and then a week’s unexpected dog sitting took me away from my evening garden activities, as my ToDo lists lengthened.

I was disappointed when my plans to see my family fell through this weekend, but then also – I confess – excited at the prospect of having both days of a weekend available to me for the purposes of working in the yard.  There’s certainly more than a weekend’s worth of stuff to do this time of year, after all…and it’s so much fun.    Saturday’s forecast was less than thrilling, with heavy rain forecast to start around noontime (but having been away, there was/is a certain amount of housework to attend, too).  The Catsby was kind enough to let me sleep in a little, but I was still outside by 8:30, where I made the roses by the driveway my first priority.
The rosehips and dead branch tips of last season were waiting to be removed, whilst new foliage was unfurling everywhere else on the three bushes along the driveway fence.  I’m sure there are those gardeners who might try to Should on me…you know, “that sort of thing should be done at the end of the season“…but these roses are pretty prolific.  If I’m not mistaken, these guys bloomed until just before the snow came, so really, this is a fine time to do it…and look how nicely shaped the bushes are now to start the season.

Saturday morning was never delightful, exactly, except that I got to spend time in the garden.   There was a drizzly mist in the air and the dampness made it sort of chilly.  I will say my rain slicker was a great protection against the roses, who are often trying to distract me from my pruning mission by pawing and grabbing at me and my clothes.   I must remember to wear it for future pruning sessions.

Next on the list were the lilacs.   Now here I will cop to having been too busy/lazy last season.    Because lilacs bloom on old wood, the best time to prune them is right after they have finished blooming in May.  This means that our three bushes are already thick with the buds which will be scenting our air in just a few weeks and I had to work a little more carefully.   And anyway, the rain arrived and – after another wander around the yard to see what else is going on – I was inside for the day.

Those white violets beneath the catawba are in full swing now.   Not far away, I discovered a whole bunch of tulips rising from the ground and setting buds.   Until recently, I’d completely forgotten that I’d added more of them last fall.   A nice surprise that brought me over for a closer look at a particular flower bed.   There I found my baby lupine plant.    It’s still only two years old and yet to flower:  I hope this Spring will show us what color it holds inside.

The rest of Saturday was meant for other things, and the freshly pruned roses got a good rain bath.   Sunday started cloudy, allowing a bit of a snuggly lie-in beneath the Catsby, but then turned all lovely and golden pretty early on.   Since there was some question in the forecast about when the rain might return (it is still April, after all), I got up and out pretty quickly.

One of the lilacs – it turned out – I had actually done a bit of pruning to last summer, but there were two others in need of some serious attention.    One had actually suffered a bit of winter damage from the fall of a large maple branch, so a little re-shaping was required.   But before long, the lilacs were in good shape and I was turning my attention to the four or five hydrangeas in the yard, pruning off last year’s dried flower heads and shaping the branches which are bursting with fresh leaf buds.

Oh, the sun was bright and warm yesterday –  I was a little surprised around noontime when I started shedding layers to cool down.   One the hydrangeas were done, I was on to pulling/raking assorted debris out of the rest of the gardens.

I recently found some more old bricks – and during the rainy part of Saturday discovered another ample supply of them elsewhere – so I’ve also started edging the rest of the gardens around the house with them, which should reduce the creep of the grass back into the garden (and maybe reduce the need for so much weeding) while making them look a little more tidy and fabulous.

Raking the lawn is an on-going project, what with all the thatch built up from last year’s drought, but the progress yesterday was good.   I finished my efforts for the afternoon with some lawn mowing, having recently had the blades on my reel mower adjusted.

All in all, it was a good weekend of yard work.  I enjoyed spending so much time outside and found that Sunday’s efforts brought a little color to my pasty winter complexion, just as the tulips and daffodils are doing the same for the landscape.

Wishing you sunny days!