Archive for June, 2010

Ernie and the garden

ernie at 13 wks.


Ernie my 8 yr old Schnoodle is my constant companion in the garden. Each morning we venture out for an ‘inspection’ and once I’ve decided what I’m gonna be doing he either ‘helps’ or pursues his own interests while I toil.   

His primary interest seems to be sniffing out some delectable something and then proceeding to an ecstatic roll in whatever it happens to be.  But he does keep a keen lookout at where I might be.  He really wants a hand out of some newly sprouted green morsel I might decide (Cave) to let him taste.  So far his favs have been tender shoots of asparagus and  the messy spring snap peas.  I’ve had to fence the asparagus bed and watch him like a hawk around the peas.   

in the 'pie' garden when it was a pool


Right now he is in his glory because of the ripening mulberries on my neighbors’ trees.  They over hang the fence and he can forage to his heart’s content as the wind and the birds scatter berries along the back of our lot. There’s more in store for Ernie as beans sprout and ripen and cherry tomatoes appear like magic to be harvested when I’m not looking.

better start catching up

The flush of new growth is waning and it’s time to either relax or get serious. This last week I kinda relaxed.  Truth to tell I got sick of spreading mulch and stymied by the specter of creating new beds both in the front yard and in the back.  But in the last couple of days I started in on a couple of tasks.    

Right now I want to focus on the Campanula for a minute. The ones in the back bed (C. perisicifolia) are beginning to be thug-like. They have spread willy-nilly and perhaps I have helped them along the way by transplanting them throughout that bed. When I had fewer of them I could deadhead them and have some color on them all summer.  Now it’s just easier to cut them back after they have flopped.   

Campanula 2010


I do have other varieties of camps.  There is C. punctata Cherry Bells.    

cherry bells

CB in a vase


 It grows lower and tends to produce blooms well into July and a bit of August.  It also is really nice in an arrangement.   

Ive got a clump of ‘blue clips’ as well.  They’ve been hidden by a prolific perennial geranium and flop almost immediately upon blooming  I decided this year to transplant it to the side bed.  It appears to have survived the move but boy what a lazy mess.   

'blue clips' after transplant


I got one other variety, C. glommera, at the plant swap.  It’s in the side bed for now.  I hope it takes off’ because t’would be great to have a burst of purple right outside the office window.   

C. glomerata

it’s time for a change

My early spring veggies are succumbing to the warm temps .  

flopping lettuce


The lettuce blend is beginning to flop and the arugula is bolting to bloom. Sooo I ‘m gonna pull them both up. Don’t feel sad because I’ll be able to get all the green leafies I’ll ever want from the local farmer’s market for just $1 per plastic grocery bag.  Besides which, I’ll make some space in the garden for green beans.  I’m hoping to harvest enough to can some ‘Dilly Beans’.  I tasted some of Tara’s at the swap and they were to die for.  

bolting arugula

a legit sail

Yesterday afternoon/evening we went down to the boat and set sail for that long-awaited shakedown.  No drama-just the two of us and Ernie retraining on a late spring evening.  The wind was kicking up to 20 knots as we entered the lake so we just unfurled the headsail.  It unfurled smoothly without a prob.  As time passed the winds diminished and we hoisted the main.  There were some issues with some of the lines but they were easily fixed.

This is not to say that each of us didn’t need retraining on the basics.  It doesn’t  matter the specifics–we worked the kinks out. After 2 hours we called it and headed for shore.  Thus ended another first of the sailing season.

How’re those roses doing?

I’m fairly new to roses. When we first moved into this house we got Ernie as a puppy.  He managed to actually chomp the first 4-5 roses to death.  The only one to survive was a ‘Our Lady of Guadeloupe’. Since then I added  a ‘Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Teasing Georgia’ ( an Austin type). Oh, there is also a white climber I placed near the Wisteria that has been limping along.  

For the last couple of years I’ve also been experimenting with rose cuttings.  So far there are 4 that have rooted and bloomed. The first two I transferred to the main garden.  

yellow 2 year old


  Last year’s 2 cuttings are still in one of the raised beds.  I’ll keep them there until next spring and see if they can move on.  

I’m wondering about the Austin-like rose.  I love each individual rose but they droop so badly.  In order to enjoy their beauty I have turn the rose up into the sun. What’s up with that?  

gorgeous but heavy


Tuscan Sun is really a beaut but for some reason I neglected to cut the roses back last fall and this one is almost 5 ft. tall.  Beautiful but 5 ft.   

Tuscan Sun

Are we old, lame, or EXPERIENCED?

Ken and I finally got ourselves together, gathered up the remaining boat gear, prepared a lunch, leashed Ernie and went down to Shumway prepared to finally,  finaLLY, FINALLY take Watercolors on the all important shakedown cruise.

We got everything on board while noting that the wind was about 5 knots out of the northeast and that there was a moderate surge rocking the boats in the marina. We proceeded to get our stuff on board, stowed and have lunch.  (We get cranky when deprived of sustenance for long stretches of time-say 3 hrs.)

We were both thinking the same thing—- what are the seas like beyond the pier?  Doug and Donna came by and reported the water on the lake seemed  ‘lumpy’ as they drove in from Hilton along the Parkway.  UH OH.  As far as we are concerned the worst case scenario on Lake Ontario is lumpy seas and light winds. It makes for a very roly-poly ride. 

We have been subjected too many times to these conditions without a choice but to soldier on.  Not today.  No matter how anxious we are to get on with it we did not want to set sail.  Sooooo,  We cleaned.  Duh.  This is usually something we set aside for those days on a cruise around the lake when NOTHING else is going on.

So—old, lame or experienced the result is the same—-a day at the dock aboard Watercolors—-next to–The Taj Mahal.

while my back was turned

Brother, sometimes I just cannot believe my own blunders.  The peas are a mess.

When I ordered seeds this spring I thought the caption for the snap peas said the variety I chose were a bush type of pea than do not need to be staked.  So I put in one row of snap peas to climb up the poles and another couple of rows of the new type of ‘bush’ peas. Well as they grew I wondered how come this bush pea still had the tendrils like the pole variety.  But they were just enough different that I thought ‘wait and see’. 

Then I finally reread the package and OF COURSE it says: grows to 2 1/2 ft. and will benefit from staking. So I pulled out some leftover short wire fence and plopped it in the middle of the mess.  Lo and behold, there are enough ripe peas for tonight’s supper.

All this aggravation because each raised bed has 4-6 inches of rock from around the above-ground-pool that I didn’t want to cart away when we built the beds.  The plants do OK with the rocks there but it’s just about impossible to put any stakes into the beds.

Back at Home

Before the rain set in today I got a chance to continue transplanting the flowers I brought home from the swap. Yesterday I put in the deep purple lilac bush along the back fence. (I also transplanted one of the lilacs I got from Jay several years ago in the same area).  I plan to keep the Campanula in front of these bushes where they are and eliminate some of the ones to the north of that area. Here’s what it looks like now.    

Campanula 2010



Yes they flop. But they continue to send up new blossoms til late summer. I’m debating whether it’s worth the money to invest in rings to keep them upright?    

Anywoo—today I put in the feverfew from EJ, the Campanula glomerlata from Brenda, the blackberry lily from Jerry, and the lime colored hyssop. I actually shovel pruned a perennial geranium that was past its prime. I put a piece of the geranium Rosanne behind that hyssop. The hyssop is really tiny seedlings, so there’s time to evaluate the effect.

A day to rest

Looks like its gonna rain all day so I can catch up on this blog and plan how to distribute all that mulch. 

But first about the plant swap last Sunday.  Tara started hosting this swap 7 years ago! She invited the folks she had met via the Upstate New York forum on Gardenweb.  Gardeners come from all over mostly Western New York and have a variety of experience and knowledge about gardening. 

Jerry & Remy discuss


First we swap, then we eat(dish to pass), then those who want to participate in a Yankee Swap of garden themed gifts. This year Tara expected 40 people but the torrential rains kept the attendance down to about 20. Luckily the weather cleared enough to be comfortable and the swap proceeded without a hitch. 

One of the delights of the day is getting to check out Tara’s gardens. She has the magic touch.  Her landscaping is wonderful and the plants seem to thrive in their environment. 


a jammed packed Weekend

I spent Friday with the ladies who lunch. Meanwhile Ken was purchasing a new toy to clean everything we own. He proceeded to attack the back patio with the new power washer.  

The beast


what a difference!


In the garden the Campanula literally burst into bloom.  Hopefully there won’t be a violent windstorm to destroy them immediately.  They must love this sandy soil. They have really proliferated over the years.  

Campanula 2010


Saturday we visited with neighbors and played dominoes in the evening so just had time to make a 3 bean salad and grab a gift at Van Putte’s.  

Sunday was the plant swap at Tara’s.  However it was preceded by an early morning deluge.  We had 2.5 inches of rain overnight and it was 56 degrees with wind driven showers-not an auspicious beginning for a day in the garden talking plants. More on the swap later with photos of Tara’s lovely gardens.