Summertime ... (posted by Lani)
and the living may be easy, but the gardening? Not so much. It's definitely feeling like summer is getting here, with our temps in the mid to high 80s (although the nights are still relatively cool). You know what temperatures like that do to pansies? Nothing good, I promise you, and in a way that's a good thing; I was able to work out all (ok, not all, but a lot) of my frustration about the loss of the Colorado property with hard physical labor. I got back from Colorado late Wednesday night, and on Thursday Chris and Susan, my super-gardeners, came up and we played in the dirt. (Shameless plug for Chris and Susan: If you're in the Tidewater area of Virginia and need garden help, these are the guys to call.)
Check out the difference a day makes! We ended up not going with the red white and blue color scheme we'd originally talked about, but I love this softer color scheme and even Steve is happy with it. This is just after putting it in, too; just wait til the petunias and dianthus take off.
Also please note that the big nasty straggly spruces are gone from over by the rose bed, hurray! I've got some lavender to put into that bed, and I'm still debating arbor/trellis/fence options for the back of it but I have time on that. And I've got bee balm and dahlias coming up in the bed under the windows, and the daylilies are going nuts in the door and in the round bed at the end of the house, tossing off flower spikes with reckless abandon. When those bloom the house will be totally spectacular.
You can't really tell in these pictures, but Chris pulled out some of the nasty plastic edging along the beds; we'll get the rest out within the next couple of weeks, once I pick up the metal edging I'm going to replace it with. You also can't tell that we installed a soaker-type irrigation system in the beds, and a multi-zone timer system for watering. Naturally hard work like this required careful supervision, and Onyx was happy to oblige: Yes, that's a leash; none of our cats are allowed outdoors unless they're wearing a harness and on a leash. And see all the grass and weeds that were (note: WERE) in that bed?? Oi.
On Friday I continued my epic battle against the blackberry vines in the back yard, and cross your fingers for me, but I appear to be winning. Of course for every big blackberry vine that I kill it seems like 20 little ones pop up, but overall it's MUCH better. I'll have pictures of the back yard after the weekend, if I don't collapse first. Seriously, though, this promises to be a good garden year.
Steve paid me back for all my hard work on Friday; a co-worker of his drove up to Maine on Thursday, and I was surprised with a cooler full of live lobsters! I had to cook them in batches, and the cats were fascinated by a cooler that made funny scrabbling noises. When I was down to the last lonely survivor, I left the cooler open; Hunter and Jasmine beat a hasty retreat, but Onyx has obviously never heard that whole "discretion is the better part of valor" thing. Good thing for him that lobster's claws were banded, because the lobster was MUCH less amused by the situation than Onyx was. So, we gorged on lobster last night (Seriously. I ate TWO WHOLE LOBSTERS all by myself. I should be oinking right about now.), and I still have two parboiled lobsters in the fridge for today; I'm thinking lobster rolls. I'm also remembering when Jim was a little boy, and used to beg me to cook "monster" for dinner. Too bad he couldn't have been here for the feast.
And I'm thinking of you, Annie, and Don and Steve, down in Panama City. Hope the weather there is as beautiful as it is here ... take pictures!