Where the Wild Things Are

It’s almost back-to-school time for me. I know I haven’t posted much anything about the Garden of Envy this summer, but trust me, it’s still there. It’s got flowers and bugs and other pests that both sting and bite, I mean surprise and delight.

There are my new friends, who come by to visit with I least expect them. This guy landed on my knee to chat about I don’t know what. He was darling but not very articulate: 170904 bees knees

I also have a regular meet and greet with a red squirrel whose picture I do not have due to an irrational fear of squirrels that developed suddenly when I was 5 and I was bitten by one. (I feel the same way about jellyfish thanks to an unfortunate run-in that same year, but I am less likely to run into one of those in my woodland garden.)

Anyhoo, here are some other new friends that live with me but do not pay rent. I’d call them squatters, but I’m not sure they even understand about mortgages and deeds and property law.


And even if you don’t get to meet them in person, the wild things let you know that they’re nearby.

170904 feathered friends

Though I love my little animal friends, it is the flowers and plants that give the garden life. The last two years out in the woodland have been about building the garden. This included lots of digging, planting, mulching, scratching unidentifiable rashes, and crying about the heat and the mosquitoes. I persevered, and the rewards I reaped this year were many.


And, as it turns out, I’ve got a veritable vineyard of wild grapes back there, as well as several blueberry trees that I had never met before.


After carving some walking paths into the brush, I found some white birch trees that make an excellent tea, and a bunch of blackberry bramble for tea and for snacking.

I also found a nest of bald-faced wasps and a bee hive, both of which I have left alone. I’ve grown wiser in my years as a budding gardener. This summer, for me, was about sitting and relaxing. Maybe next year I’ll get back to work.

Happy Anniversary, Garden of Envy!

It’s been a year since I celebrated Father’s Day by going off by myself and enjoying a local garden tour.

BLOG GT roses at Jackie Marro's I want them

I saw things that filled me with envy: strawberry patches, flower beds, climbing roses, sun-dappled frog ponds. I wanted them all, and I’m pleased to say that following a year of dirty, itchy, back-breaking work, I now have them, but they come with a price.

The strawberry patch has brought with it a game of drama and suspense. The strawberries are delicious—when I’m allowed to eat them. The chipmunks swoop in and grab them just before I decide they’re ripe enough to pick. So far owl decoys have not worked. I’m thinking of installing a motion sensor security alarm.

160619_strawberry pink                     160619_strawberry red


160619_coneflowers2I love the flower beds. Love them. But they’re new, so they’re not yet yielding anything I’m willing to cut. In fact, I wonder if they’ll ever yield anything I’ll be willing to cut. I planted those seeds, watered them, nurtured them, talked to them (yes, I do this constantly; do with that information what you will) and I can’t imaging going at them with a scissors. So much for fresh cut flowers in the house. You can only see them if you go down the hill in my back yard and sit among them on the bench next to this little fairy.

160619_fairy      160619_honeysuckle

Oh, and the climbing roses. I wanted them so much. I’m so happy to finally have them. 160619_roseskyHere’s the thing though, they attract caterpillars. Caterpillars turn me into a barbarian.

Never before have I gone after a species with such violence. I step on them indiscriminately. I squeeze them with my bare hands. None are spared. I’ll take my life in my hands and climb to the top rung of the ladder to squish one single caterpillar. One. No leaf is worth sacrificing, and no caterpillar will be left behind. I look in the mirror after a killing spree and think, “Who am I?”

16MaygardendayfrogThe frog ponds are the best.

They started out as vernal pools. They were always there, filling up in the spring and emptying in the fall; I just never paid them much attention. Now that I’ve cleared paths around them and created places to sit, I see that they are frog ponds. Frog ponds!

The music is majestic. Come sundown in my back yard, you’ll hear the birds, crickets, and frogs all singing together. It’s gorgeous, and worth every thorn, poison ivy rash, and muscle sprain.

I’ve spent a year creating the Garden of Envy. Now it’s time to sit and enjoy it.

The Smiles Returning to their Faces

My last post was a bit whiny and featured a promise to move more, to be more healthy and such.

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve moved all sorts of things, including numerous backyard stones, which I’m afraid has angered the garden gnomes or the stone gods or Mother Nature or whoever is in charge of the sun, because it’s been pouring for days.

I think it’s adorable that the cold and rain thinks they’re going to keep me indoors now that the calendar says spring is here, because . . . no.

I’ve been out in the sopping wet digging and shoveling and planting and mulching through it all. No, I will not post a picture of myself. I look ridiculous. I will say this: it’s a good thing I haven’t bothered with a manicure this year, because it wouldn’t stand a chance.

Since March, we’ve built a strawberry patch and an herb garden and two new flower beds. As I mentioned, it’s pouring rain out at the moment, so any pictures I could share of our endeavors would be sad and dreary. Instead, I’ll share these:

B morning glories

These morning glories from last year could be glorious once again, if only the sun would come out.

BLOG garden cherry tomatoes red

Sun-kissed cherry tomatoes from last year. Just add sun.

B rosebud

I don’t care what anyone says, a rose by any other name isn’t as nice without the sun.

Garden sunflower Sept 2015A sunflower brought to you by the power of the sun.

You just wait. The sun is on its way. And when it gets here, there will be more pretty things like these. It seems like years since they’ve been here.

What Do You Mean, Father’s Day is Not for Me?

Well, it’s Father’s Day weekend and Ben has five baseball games, so what better time to go off and enjoy a little “Me” time? It may seem strange (okay, I’ll say it, self-absorbed) for me to indulge in some alone time, but there was a garden tour open house in town this weekend, and when you see the pictures, you’ll understand why I had to do it.

Gargoyles! I want them.

Look, it’s gargoyles! Who would miss a chance to tour someone’s adorably landscaped property where there are actual gargoyles? Get real. No one would. Certainly not me.

BLOG GT fairy house I want it

And there were fairy houses. Fairy houses! As if I could sit still watching 45 innings of baseball knowing that there were fairy houses (fairy houses!) just waiting for me to visit.

Oh, but wait there’s more! There were vignettes. Darling, little, al fresco vignettes, I tell you! Look at them. Aren’t they too much?

BLOG GT blue vignette I want itBLOG GT red chairs in pretty light

And more vignettes, with out(door) charm. (Did you see what I did there?)

BLOG GT out(door) at Alyce Pedder'sBLOG GT out(door) vignette I have to have it

And there were Japanese maples . . .

BLOG GT Japanese maple at Alyce Pedder's

BLOG GT 100 year old rhubarb plant

and 100-year-old rhubarb plants.

Not to mention flowers. There were roses and some other flowers. (I’m new at this, so I don’t know all the plants by their names. Actually, even when I’ve been doing this for a while, I’m pretty sure I still won’t know their names.) And the flowers were arranged in my favorite color combination: yellow and purple, for flowers that is, not for fashion. You should never wear yellow and purple out in public. That won’t look nice. But for some reason, it looks pretty in a garden, wouldn’t you say?

BLOG GT roses at Jackie Marro's I want themBLOG GT purple and yellow is too pretty

BLOG GT wild strawberriesAnd there were were walking trails and vegetable gardens and grape arbors and cute garden gnomes and miles and miles (okay, yards and yards) of wild strawberries.

BLOG GT hospitalityAnd visitors were offered  iced tea with honey (from the bee hives right on the property) and cookies. Delicious hospitality. So, I am terribly sorry (notsorry) that I took a little “Me” time (okay, a lot) when I should have been mothering the kids so Joe could enjoy some Father’s Day free time.  But he got to come with me to one of the properties.

Doesn’t he look like he’s having fun? BLOG GT Joe hanging out with me

And if you’re still not convinced that I did the right thing taking by taking the time to enjoy the garden tour, I leave you with these last two pictures to persuade you. I believe they need no explanation:

Yes, this is Alice in Wonderland in the garden. I just can't even.
Yes, this is Alice in Wonderland in the garden. I just can’t even.
No, you're not imagining things. That is Humpty Dumpty on that wall. Isn't he fantastic?
No, you’re not imagining things. That is Humpty Dumpty on that wall. Isn’t he fantastic?

So, go ahead and judge me, but you know you can’t blame me. A girl has to do what a girl has to do.