The Cool House: azalea
Showing posts with label azalea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label azalea. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2012

April to April

The last twelve months have flown by, hardly time to post to the blog what with all the twitter twaddle and facebook folies to constantly update. I knew this would happen, I'm basically lazy so if I can say it in 140 characters or less that's the option I'll take, thank you very much. But on the warmest day of a warm April that succeeded the hottest March ever, preceded by a no-Winter that meant no snow and no photos of 2" icicles hanging from the garage roof (and therefore no threat of decapitation when dragging the trash cans down the drive), I've had time to reflect on the past year. 
Firstly, that Spring-like Winter has meant everything in the garden is blooming a good three weeks ahead of normal. This was last April 16 - in past Aprils we've still been salting the back drive this time of year.

The same view today, the forsythia is over, the hostas are up and the azaleas out. It's also 87F and not raining so big bonus, there!

I even pruned the forsythia the was obscuring the pink azalea but not without a minor oops moment.

What was the tenet about bringing the outdoors in... or making lemonade out of lemons?

The early blossoming Spring holds true for the magnolias, too.

Last year May 5.

This year April 8

Secondly the house is looking more put together, even if all the major renovations finished way back in 2010. A lot has to do with the new placement of art and the way we are using the space. The eat-in section of the kitchen is a spot where we spend a lot of time now we are free to laptop/iphone/tablet roam with wifi, often it seems we don't even bother visiting our offices, we just sit at the breakfast table and do our respective things. Sometimes, though I clear up and it's quite serene

Thirdly, I am still nuts. On one of the hottest August days last summer I swapped the rugs in the den and dining room. On my own because The Guy flatly refused to indulge my crazy one more time.

The orange rug headed back to the den

and the cream rug was dragged into the great room. It felt so good I bought it a couple of new cushions in a mid-century inspired pattern in the sale at Crate&Barrel. It's so much lighter in there that I'm sitting there typing. The newly fixed sliding doors are open and I'm listening to what sounds like a duck in the yard. I'm expecting the fox will appear again tonight. April to April... plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What a difference a year makes

April 29th 2010 - after a cold and snowy winter we've had a warm and rainy couple of months, which means the azaleas are blooming a couple of weeks eariler than last year, the hostas are up and Polly the dog is spending all day outside.

April 27th 2009 - although we had a warm weekend this time last year, the Spring was so cold only the cherry tree was in bloom. This is the same path but shot from the opposite direction, looks so sparse, doesn't it?

We did lose a couple of plants this year (although everything I planted last fall seems to have made it with the exception of the lavender - it still smells good, though!) so I bought a couple of big yellow double-flowered Kerria and this beautiful crimson rhododendron - Skookum.

The Kerria is reputed to be nigh on impossible to kill. I tried my darndest to test this theory by driving them home in the car with the top down in a brisk breeze. Despite the trail of yellow petals I left throughout the village and the confetti carpet in the car they seem to be thriving...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spruce'd Up

New growth on the blue spruce on the north drive. (And yes, that is another azalea to the left in the photo in the link!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Azalea Round-Up

I don't promise that this is the last time I will mention the word azalea, or post a pic, but they are looking so phenomenal I put together this composite. They are all different plants and because these were in the yard when we bought The Cool House I have absolutely no idea of the names.

It must be the combination of a mild winter this year on Long Island and a long, cool, rainy Spring that made the blossoms so abundant and so long-lasting. We've had a few real rainstorms and a lot of the plants have taken a beating in the past week but some of the pink and the white azaleas are still at their best, and the rhododendrons are just breaking out. If only we could get a few days of temperatures in the low 70s it would be perfect.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Red azalea

Deep red azalea behind the pool

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Azalea photos

The azaleas are at their best so I went out and shot 112 photos. This is the only one worth posting........

Friday, March 07, 2008

Casulty of winter?

Checking the yard yesterday I made an upsetting discovery. One of the pretty azaleas had snapped of at the base and was lying on the ground. What made it worse is that the leaves were just starting to uncurl, a sure sign of the approaching spring.I'm not sure if it succumbed to a overload of wet snow from the previous week's downfall, a falling tree branch knocked it off or a cat jumped off the fence and landed on it.

This would be the cat most likely to do the damage. Look at the way he is eyeing the azalea. And, sob, look at how beautifully it blossomed last year.

There is nothing left but the stump, so I picked up the branch and buried the broken off part in a pot outside the back door. I don't expect it to magically blossom but at least it doesn't look so forlorn.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Azalea Blossom

This solitary blossom emerged on the purple azalea on the southern border. An azalea blossom in November is a real bonus, look at the autumn colour on the leaves surrounding it. Pretty.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Power washing chore sparks kitchen design idea

concentrated power washing
Originally uploaded by modernemama
It's that hot, humid time of year when the algae grows like crazy and the beautiful slate patio looks like a mossy lawn.
Steven got the power washer working properly for the first time this year and boy did that green gunge fly off. Unfortunately so did a lot of mortar, too. *Sigh*. You know, it would be really nice to do a job and not cause another little problem by doing that job. Just once.
So next week we plan to spend the holiday weekend power washing the front path, the back patio, the brick path and pool area. Then we'll take that big bag of mortar we have left over from the barbeque project and re-grout the slabs in place.
Just maintenance, not exciting but it has to be done. The benefit is we can see how gorgeous the stone really is. Which led me to a little thought: When we renovate the kitchen, should we put slate like this on the floor to bring the outside in?

Friday, June 22, 2007

More demo

This time in the yard. The old built-in barbecue finally expired when Steven was slow grilling a pork butt just before we went to Tennessee (we were craving bbq and couldn't wait).
We could have re-pointed the bricks, got new stainless steel doors made and installed a new barbecue unit, but it would have cost $$$$ more than buying a new gas grill so we went the demolition route.
As we believe in making our kids work for their supper, Verity gave a few whacks of the trusty sledgehammer and this is all that was left.
old bbq
Now all we have to do is choose a new grill.

Monday, June 11, 2007

More ivy

But this time it was the poisonous kind. I must have brushed against it while I was clearing the border. I thought I'd cleared it all away but judging by the red itchy rash on my leg I missed a bit. Luckily we had some Zanfel in the house so it wasn't as irritating as it might have been.
On a more positive note we got the tempered glass for the back door a week early. So now we are up to code and we can see out to the backyard again. This pane is much clearer than the old one, in fact we didn't think the guy had installed it until we touched it. I hope the dogs don't think there's a big hole there and try to jump through!

Monday, May 28, 2007

What could possibly go wrong?

White Rhododendron
Originally uploaded by modernemama
I asked myself at the start of this long weekend. These were the outside chores we had to complete:
1) Get moss off patios and paths
2) Control Carpenter Bees
3) Weed borders
4) Bring out and wash garden furniture
5) Wash windows
And after the purchase of the new washer/dryer we added
6) Paint the laundry room
Not an impossibly long or complicated list, is it?
By the end of yesterday afternoon we were congratulating ourselves, numbers 1-4 had been done and we 'd planted the rest of the pots with flowers and herbs and even added some annuals along the brick path.
We were so ahead of things Steven thought he'd nip to the Mall for a couple of items, get back, wash the windows at the back of the house (he'd already done the others) and then see to the laundry. But before he went he decided to skim the pool.
He'd dressed for the Mall so he was smart, even wearing his new brown loafers. And he was just about finished when...
I didn't see what happened because I'd turned round to talk to the dog but I heard the splash. He'd lost his footing and fallen into the shallow end of the pool, catching his knee on the side on the way in. He emerged dripping, blood pouring from a scraped knuckle but impressively he was still wearing his glasses. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me so you'll have to imagine the scene, but apart from a sore knee, a couple of scrapes and the skinned knuckle he's fine. But he won't be tackling the laundry this week.

Addendum: I almost forgot the irony of the situation. One of the things Steve did yesterday that wasn't even on the list, was to re-lay the brick path where the roots had pushed up a couple of bricks. He did an excellent job, and all to prevent us from tripping and damaging ourselves!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Carpenter bee control

carpenter bee control
Originally uploaded by modernemama
Saturday was spent cleaning up the yard.
Steve devoted the morning to scrubbing the brick patio and the afternoon to powerwashing it. Normally I hit it hard with the powerwasher but as it proved impossible to wield the high pressure hose while balancing on one foot using a cane to avoid falling over, Steven had to take over.
By late afternoon the moss was still clinging to the bricks and a green sheen was in evidence. We've tried a solution of bleach, baking soda, Dawn and hot water but nothing seems to be shifting the green stuff this year. He had to abandon that chore eventually for the more pressing bee control project.
I honestly thought that when we had the house stained and all the bee holes filled that would be the end of our carpenter bee problem. Not so. Every year they come back, find another spot and start drilling. This year they've favoured over the kitchen window and the dining room overhang. Steve got a baker's dozen this time and went off to shower the insecticide away. When he was clearing up for the night he was buzzed by a huge bee that flew into a hole he hadn't noticed, not in the redwood siding but on the underside of the new Marvin window in the boy's bath. Grr.
We'll be back tomorrow, carpenter bee, with spray, wood and paint, so you'd do well to leave now while you get the chance.

Estate rhododendron

Estate rhododendron
Originally uploaded by modernemama
One of the original rhododendrons on the front drive, this purple beauty is Steven's favourite.
Here's a close-up

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday's rhododendron

pinky purple rhododendron
Originally uploaded by modernemama
By the kitchen patio. Steven is scrubbing the algae off the back patio and I'm taking photos. An equitable division of labour I think.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

White Azalea

white azalea
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
The whole of one bed is taken up by this white azalea. It is actually several azaleas that have grown together over the years. Every May, for a week or so, it blossoms like this.