Clearing Up

The new retaining wall on the side of the Cottage made it clear that we still have some work to do.

The pile of wood can be stored in the woodshed.

Charlie had been storing his cut firewood there because we were using the woodshed for the John Deere mower.

Mice had a nest among this wood.

The mower has been moved to the Wee Little House  at the  rear of the yard.  Charlie got busy moving this pile of wood.

A little surprise was hiding under the last two pieces of wood.

When he got near the bottom he said get ready to take a picture.

This snake was about 2 feet long and very beautiful with a bright red tongue.

A picture of a garter snake.

The woodshed has plenty of room for more firewood.

We He encouraged the snake back into the woods with a garden rake.

2 types of variegated caladium.

I had stopped by Home Depot earlier in the day and purchased 6 pots of white-leaf caladium.

Caladium are non-hardy bulbs that can grow is the shade.

I placed them under the tree.

We’re considering azaleas to line the area where the metal posts are positioned.

Sug planted them in the shade under the tall oak tree to give some life and light until we get a better plan for the area.

For the most part this area is hidden from view due to low-hanging foliage.

The caladium should leaf out and cover the space until it freezes here.

What are you sentiments toward snakes?

Invasive — Really?

Since I have moved the outdoor table and grill away from the house I have an empty space.

I’d like to plant a pretty shrub here.
I’m picturing something like this.

This area could needs some interest.

A butterfly bush is just the right color for this space but it’s an invasive species.

I was planning to put a butterfly bush (buddleia) in there until I started to do research.  Apparently in Maryland butterfly bush is considered an invasive plant and not recommended.

This would definitely be too large this close to the house.

One alternative to butterfly bush is ChasteTree (Vitex) which usually grows very large — 10′ to 20′ tall.

Blue Diddley Chaste Tree

But I’ve found a new variety call “Blue Diddley” that only grows 3′ to 6′.

Any experience with this bush?

Rehabbing the Children’s Garden

Back in 2013 Charlie and I created a garden in the woods near the Wee Little House.

The Children’s Garden in 2013.

We called it the “Children’s Garden“.

In 2015 we neatened this area up a bit but it was very needy.

In 2015 it was starting to fill in.

The overgrown Children’s Garden in 2017.

This year it was a mess of wild raspberry brambles, weed trees, and grape vines. The stump that had been in the center of the space had disintegrated.


Since the lady from the Cottage enjoys working in the year, when she realized this had been a cultivated area she was all over it.

Now the shed is visible from the upper part of the yard.

In 3 days the weeds and vines were under control again.

I suggested the periwinkle groundcover under the trees could be mowed. It will come back.

Since this area is visible from the master suite deck I’m really happy with its manicured appearance.

Do you like pulling weeds or painting?

Independence Day Clean-up

Five years ago Charlie and I cleared out the woodland garden by the shed.

The garden to the left of the Wee Little House looked great in 2012.

It was a lovely beginning.

The clutter on the down side of the shed has created an ugly mess.

Unfortunately it has become a jungle once again over the years while we concentrated on the house renovation.

We save some used plastic sheeting and got rid of an equal amount.

On the 4th of July my friend from the Cottage and I started to pull out some of the clutter and debris that had taken over the space.

Old plastic plant pots are taking over the area.

We hung up the 24-foot ladder on the back of the shed and threw out some old, unused plastic pots.

A small portion of this area has been cleared out.

Hopefully we can consistently continue to clear this area and reclaim the yard.

What are you saving that has become a clutter problem?

Blooming Hydrangeas

One month ago I noted the hydrangeas were still growing.

End of May, 2017
End of June, 2017.

Nikko Blue hydrangeas are so welcome for a number of reasons.

A stunning bright blue.
  1.  They look great in the house as a cut flower.

    Hydrangeas almost arrange themselves.
  2. They seem to be bug free.
  3. After the blue fades they becomes burnished burgundy and green.

    The same blue hydrangea as it changes color at the end of summer.
  4. When dried they hold the color they were when cut.
  5. They flourish in the shade.
One day this hedge will fill in and and be a billow of blue.

I’m working on a hydrangea hedge.

What weed is your nemesis?

Il Primo

We’ve taken to naming our sunflowers.

In the morning the sunny face was just peaking through.

At least we’re calling the first to open its flower “Il Primo”.

By evening the flower was totally unfurled.

I was hoping we’d have sunflowers by the 4 of July.

The wall of sunflowers has grown to more than 6-feet tall.

It won’t be long before the whole blooming row is blooming.

Plans for the 4th?

99 Degree Days and a Cool Down

My plans for a dull weekend last weekend all but fell through. The bat hike was all booked up and it was too hot to get involved in any kind of rehab at the house so nothing was accomplished.

Charlie waters the garden when we have dry days in a row.

That was last week.  This week we are in the mid 80s and trying to get back on track.

Sunflowers at the end of May.
Middle of June sunflowers seem to be growing inches per day.

The plants in the vegetable garden, the olive trees, and the sunflowers are not complaining, however, they are pressing up to the sky. In the top sunflower photo the plants were only up to the top of the olive tree pot.  Now they’re taller than the tree.

This is our first year for purple beans which I believe turn green when they’re cooked.

Charlie is harvesting some stunning deep purple string beans.

SunGold tomatoes produce about a dozen per stalk.

Even the SunGold tomatoes are starting to produce little green balls that will soon turn orange and be ready to tempt us.

A handful of sugar snap peas makes a great raw snack.

We’ve been enjoying sugar snap peas by the handful and just tried a couple of the first cucumbers.

What’s in your salad?