Month: May 2017

IT IS TIME….

This week found me outside everyday.  We had one of those weeks of weather that makes a gardener go crazy.  We call it Minnesota beautiful.  That means sunny, no wind, a high of 70° and no humidity.  It was perfect for everything…work and leisure.  I have learned over the years that I generally need two to three trips to the nursery.  Each time I fill my car to the brim and promise myself I will get everything that I buy planted that same day.  Over a two day period, I planted a little over 150 plants.  Check out my car…full to the brim, including the passenger’s seat. 

Each year I create a plan to determine what color scheme I am going to work with for both bedding plants and containers.  I have some standards that I always use, but will change the accent plants from year to year.  I like to repeat the same color family and plants around the whole yard and in the containers to unify the different areas.  Before heading off to the nursery, I will check out their website to view what they are stocking and make a list so I don’t get distracted by all the great things I see when I make my trip to get the plants.  I try to mix interesting foliage plants that do not flower with the plants that do so the contrast makes both stand out.  This all sounds very much like the same process we all go through when planning a quilting project…right?

When I start planting, I place all of the plants around the yard and in the pots to see how the plan is coming together.  It gives me the opportunity to change combinations before digging.  I use a little fertilizer (Osmocote)  to give the plants a jump start.  Our season is short so it is best to use all the tools available to help the plants thrive.  I will post pictures of this pot and this garden spot to show you the progress throughout the summer.  Everything always looks so skimpy when planted and then glorious at the end of the summer and different every week in between.

I find myself doing a walk through the gardens almost everyday.  I try to make the most of the season and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  It is also a good way to keep up on things “going rogue” before they get too out of hand and doing a little bit at a time makes tending the garden more manageable. 

Now that I have most of the planting done here at home, I have a few pots at the cabin that I will plant this weekend.  I do try to keep the gardening and yard maintenance to a minimum there.  After all, that is suppose to be more about relaxing.  The kitchen duties keep me busy enough.

This is the week that my five ornamental apple trees have fully blossomed out.  I also have lilac hedges on both sides of our property that extend 20-40 feet.  Obviously the fragrance outside right now is pretty glorious.  This is a very short lived period of wonderfulness.  Next week when the rain comes, the blossoms drop pretty rapidly.  However, for the moment, our whole town and countryside is a feast for the eyes. 

I painted a small water color of the apple blossoms for Ella’s room.  Her room is the one I can add all my small pastel pictures and crafts to and they seem right at home. 

Since Sunday was Mother’s Day, I  decided to make my mother’s favorite bar recipe, Mounds Bars, to take to the cabin.  She made these often for many of the weekends at the lake during my childhood. It seemed fitting to have them this year as a tiny reminder of the countless hours she spent over my lifetime making things special.  And it was a nice way to talk about her and all she did for a  little while. She loved the cabin.

If you like chocolate and coconut, you will love this treat.

MOUNDS BARS

Spring Spruce Up

Each season always brings a renewed effort to spruce up the house and garden.  It is always fun to change things up a bit without major investments.  The first thing I turn to is moving my accessories from room to room and changing up the combination of items.   This exercise always makes things look fresh again and each time I do it I think I have found the right combination. But soon, it will change again.  The space above my china cupboard in my dining room is always the first place I start and is the most fun to do.  I know have shared  this view a number of times, but items are a new combination.

I have been dabbling a bit painting with acrylics and this past month did two new paintings for spots in my house that needed a change of pace.  This of course means the other items in those locations got moved elsewhere, starting an avalanche of new picture placement about the house.  The trick always is to make the same nail placement in the walls work.  It can be quite the puzzle, but when I figure it out, everything looks new and fresh again.  Here are the two new paintings I have added.

In my last post, I shared my idea of using embroidery floss and the trusty zig zag stitch to create a fun pillow.  I enjoyed the process and end result so much that  I made another pillow. This time I used a scrap of decorator weight beige gingham check for the base and again  stitched on a grid using embroidery floss.  I changed up the thickness of the floss by using a different quantity of floss strands…sometimes just 6 strands and sometimes 12 and some in-between.   I experimented on a scrap of fabric and whatever I tried seem to work.  the last two pictures show the final result.  And guess what….I still have a lot of floss leftover.

At the beginning of this last week, we had a brief encounter with cold rain and even a few snowflakes.  Even for Minnesota, this is not a fun surprise on a Monday morning on May 1st.  On May 5th, it was 75°, which is pretty much perfect as far as I am concerned.  I spent the whole day in the garden.  All the perennials are up and are at the perfect state for splitting and moving.  This is much like the same process I just went through in the house, moving things I have from room to room to refresh without getting new things.  Now this dose not mean I won’t be heading off next week to purchase the annuals for my pots, but dividing plants is so good for the individual plants and when I do it now, they don’t skip a beat and “free” plants are always fun for a gardener.  This is the time of the year when the garden looks so tidy and all the plants are at their best even if they are not blooming…no high winds, hail, drought or bug infestation has yet happened.  It is also the time of year that gardeners are hopeful it will be a good year and we over buy and over plant, setting us up for a lot of maintenance for the rest of the summer.  And the cycle goes on year after year.  I know some of you might be curious about the plants pictured.  They are all appropriate for zone 4.

Lemon Drop Spirea with Rosy Return Daylillies, Lady’s Mantle, Montana Hosta (one plant has now become ten plants), Lamb’s Ear from my friend  Marilyn, Variegate Daylilly (one plant has now been split into seven plants), Sprite Astilbe, Mugo Pine with lots of new growth, and Climbing Hydrangea (slow growing but now taking off).

We are opening the cabin this weekend which kicks off the summer in a traditional manner that we have been doing since I was a preschooler.  Lots of memories at that place and now that we have grandchildren, more are being made.  Things change very little out there, which I guess is the charm.