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

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wet & Wordless Spring Sunday

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Almost a Home Run

A week or so after we decided to clear decades of debris over on the north side of the property. it's all done. The good news is we have a weed-free, level piece of property that is graded away from the house, seeded and ready to sprout green shoots of grass. The bad news, as I discovered when I put the sprinklers on, is that the whole side needs an improved watering system. We have a break in the main line that's probably been split all summer; we just didn't see it because it was hidden under all the holly, juniper, weed mess that was there before and the one sprinkler on that zone is knackered - more water pores out of the bottom than the head. That goes for the next head down too. Thanks to the extra-long hose we purchased earlier in the season I can water the entire area from the other side of the gate, but that's just temporary until super-sprinkler guys can run me a new line with some cute pop-up heads. Superb landscaper tells me to wait until spring and have them do it when we do the turn-on but that was before I realised we were watering big holes in his newly created lawn. (As he reads this blog, he's probably learning about it, just. about. now!). Anyway, let's recap:

Monday August 31st - at the start of the day: a stumpy, McGrumpy, mess of tangled roots

mid-day: tons of topsoil, a bobcat, a roller and a lot of manpower

5 PM: looking over the fence after the prep-work is done.
It's amazing how much better this is. Firstly you can appreciate the house even more - it's not closed in by the shrubby border. Secondly, the property looks so much bigger, which in a sense it is - we've increased the space by about an eighth of an acre. Lastly, I can skip down the path with the dogs and not be attacked by prickly, allergy-producing bushes, and that's a huge bonus. Also, the fence guys will be able to get in to repair/re-fence the area, the borders have been laid out and the landscaper is lobbying for a pergola to go in the north-east corner...
Now I can either wait for Spring to begin planting or go see what is available in the half-price section of the nursery. Which do you think I'll do?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thinking positive

The upside of all the rain and humidity: moss on moss

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

-morphic musing

Is that where snails come from?

If anthropomorphic is attributing human qualities to the non-human, what is ascribing animal-like attributes to a plant?

Sunday, May 04, 2008


An exceptionally mild winter meant all the herbs made it through, including those in pots. Bonus, fresh oregano and chives in early May!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Shoot

Just to prove we're not exclusively modern, we're off to the city to look at Parmigianino’s Antea before it goes home to the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples.
I'll leave you with a few shots from the yard

vinca flower

pachysandra flower


Not as stunning as Antea but it's the best I've got.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A tall coffee and a new trowel

Here's an interesting thing I discovered this morning, well interesting may be going a bit far but noteworthy anyway. Do you know how much coffee is in Starbucks "tall" size? I didn't until today. Possibly I don't drink enough of the stuff to ever judge but we ran out of Jacqmotte Mocha, the house blend of choice here at The Cool House (which friends and family bring from Belgium by the suitcase full) and the only other blends we like are Starbucks Italian and French Roasts.

So I jumped into the Jeep, which still has the hard top on because the place we normally store it is full of stuff for the powder room redo - moan, whinge, whine - and set forth for Starbucks. With my large bag o' beans I got a free tall coffee, actually half a tall coffee because if it's too full I might spill it and coffee is hot, you know, and I took it home because driving while drinking hot liquids is a skill I have yet to master. And then of course I forgot about it.

As the weather dudes promised temperatures in the high 70s I'd already decided to dedicate this morning to moving a whole load more hostas, to make an effort to finish the transplanting before it got too warm and not touch the towel again for the rest of the week. I put out all my tools, cut through the first hosta, put the trowel underneath and....snap. The handle broke off leaving me with a choice of grabbing the serving spoon from the kitchen (and when I say serving spoon, it isn't a typo; for some reason we only have one, as anyone who has been here for dinner can testify) and excavating holes with that or driving back to town to buy a new trowel.

By the time I'd bought the trowel and finished the transplanting I was really thirsty and I remembered the free coffee, which by now was stone cold. But that's what microwaves are for, no? So I emptied the tall coffee into my mug and the thing overflowed. Half a "tall" coffee is more than my mug can handle. Yep, perhaps not the most interesting post so here are some hosta shots:

Hostas transplanted today

Patriot Hostas transplanted fall 2007

Hostas transplanted fall 2006

I'm hoping this morning's efforts will soon be as rewarded as last fall's.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Host a Hostas

Just because I split a gazillion of these back in the fall doesn't mean I can't transplant a similar number again this Spring, does it? I'm trying to split only the ones I didn't touch last August and September, those I've molested in previous years are fair game.
The aim is to get as much of the ground left bare by my ivy-removing escapades planted with hostas before they get too big to be split. They are currently growing 3" a day, so there isn't much time left....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Saturday Magnolias

It really is spectacular in the yard today, all yellow, white, pale pink and purple with a backdrop of bright green from the unfolding leaves. In between chores (more of that tomorrow) I had time to shoot some more magnolias.

These smaller magnolias are a double variety

The magnolia tree in full bloom
I also spotted a large magnolia in the back of the yard behind the pool that I hadn't noticed before. Unfortunately the blooms are all at the top of the tree and I couldn't get a decent shot but I know that its big pinky white blossoms are there. At least for a few more days.

Saturday Morning Magnolia

Wouldn't that make a great song title?

The magnolias are in full bloom. This is the small bush with the huge blossoms (the size of my hand) shot with the early morning sun behind the tree

close up of another blossom from the same position

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Still more sedums

Sedum sieboldii
Originally uploaded by modernemama
This is Sedum sieboldii, which I planted in full sun on the rock bed by the bridge. There isn't much soil there, so hopefully it will thrive.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sedum repestre "Angelina"

Sedum repestre "Angelina"
Originally uploaded by modernemama
Sedum Sunday.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sedum "Autumn Joy"

Sedum "Autumn Joy"
Originally uploaded by modernemama
A gratuitous photo of a bee on the sedum.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Late summer border

Late summer border
Originally uploaded by modernemama
The last couple of days of summer have seen the temperatures in the 80s and the sedums are a-buzz with yellow jackets and bees. The border I planted in late 2005 has filled in nicely now and pinks and greys play off the granite wall and slate path beautifully. I'm really pleased how this turned out, especially as I bought all the new plants at the end of the season, and at least 50% off. Not as good as free but every little helps.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Of course this would be the other reason my grand plan for hosta domination in the yard might not work out.
I divided and re-planted fifty-two hostas in the dell on Sunday morning. Five different varieties, no less, from giant yellow and green ones like Hermes and Maya are pinning down here, to a tiny pale green one that could be Lakeside Little Gem.
I don't want it to just be a hosta bed so there's also a couple of heuchera in there and a Japanese climbing hydrangea at the bottom of the weeping Juniper as well as a dwarf pink hydrangea, assorted rhododendrons and azaleas and a couple of different hollies. If the day lilies have taken there will be two large clumps of those, too.
But it's the hostas that are fascinating the kittens at the moment.

Hermes in the hostas

Maya in the hostas

Ah well. at least they aren't scratching up the furniture......

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Screens, doors and hostas

How did I spend my day?
First off I fixed the garage door. Not the one that failed in an ice storm on Valentine's Day this year. The other one. Someone had knocked the sensor off its box, either with the car or while manoeuvring the trash-can out of the garage. We should open the other door to take out the trash but one of us is too lazy and the other too clumsy to do it properly. Anyway, half an hour's playing with the lever, pull knob, buttons and sensor box and the door was fully functioning again.

Great room windows and sliding doors

Then I put back the screen door that the clumsy person knocked off its wheels during the party and even fixed the other one that has been only partially functioning since, oh I don't know, last summer. Pretty good going, huh?
And just because I was already sweaty and and dirty, I thought I might as well transplant another dozen or so hostas. What, you thought I'd finished that job weeks ago? Not quite.

transplanted hostas

The thing about transplanting perennials in the fall is that they will die back quickly now and then I'm left to wonder for the next six to eight months if they have really taken, or whether I just wasted several beautiful September days getting mucky when I could have been down at the beach with a book soaking up the last of summer.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More photos of hostas

Originally uploaded by modernemama
This is the bed right at the rear of the yard that I planted the summer before last. The peonies were hidden under weeds, and the rest of the bed was bare except for some suckers from the original rose bed. I dug up those and replaced them with hostas from other parts of the yard and three large leaved variegated ones I bought on sale that fall.
I actually told someone the other day that this bed was planted when we arrived, I had forgotten doing it until I was sorting through some photos from that summer. Looks like I could think about dividing these hostas again, we've plenty of bare spots where they could go.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Dividing day lilies

Originally uploaded by modernemama
Or how I spent Sunday September 2 Part II.
Digging up, splitting and replanting day lilies. Along the drive, in clumps around the tree stumps in this border, in more clumps by the lawn - next summer there'll be day lilies all over the yard. Yellow ones, orange ones and my favourite burgundy. Then it will all have been worth it.

Newly pruned trees

Newly pruned trees
Originally uploaded by modernemama
Or how I spent Sunday September 2 Part I.
Just a little light pruning to let the sun shine on the lawn and increase our view from the kitchen window (in the far back of the photo) to the road.

Planted split hostas

Planted split hostas
Originally uploaded by modernemama
Or how I spent Saturday September 1 2007.
Split another 10 hostas and replanted 60! Yes 60!!!
Then I weeded. Steven power-washed the brick patio and paths. It's hard to say who was more dirty at the end of the day.
But in the battle with the yard we are definitely winning.