Friday, April 15, 2016

Cottage Life - and the garden. . . . . . . . .

Life continues to remain hectic around the cottage. 
Daily dramas seem omnipresent.
Worrisome news of health problems from across the pond, and me so far away.
Local news revolves around loved ones, family and friends,
also with health issues, and Monday a serious accident where my
 neighbor's son fell 30' from a ladder whilst working. He's already had
three surgeries, and will require more, to repair his shattered leg and ankle.
 We were all sharing Birthday cake and laughter the previous afternoon,
 even warned him to be careful on his ladders in the windy conditions.
Please send good thoughts to Nelson and his family, all of whom
are very kind to us, their elderly neighbors.

Ladders can be monsters!  I never allow Bob on a ladder now unless I am right 
there to steady it and watch where he steps. I don't know if I would ever be able to
 save him in a fall but at least I'd try - and I don't let him climb very high! 

After the rains of Tuesday, the azalea blooms have seen the last of their
 best days - they were really lovely this year. This weekend I will start pruning
them back and fertilizing - this should always be done shortly after blooming
is over as the plant sets buds for next Spring during the Summer.
I do not prune hard or into shaped balls as some people do, and I never
  give the shrub a 'crewcut' with electric clippers. I like my azaleas loose and
natural looking, just keeping the really long branches clipped and tidy.

Daffodils and tulips are finished - bluebells almost over.
I loved all my Spring flowering bulbs.

Sad news - we lost a sweet Mourning dove this week - this one might just be
 its mate as it shows up alone now, whereas our doves are always in pairs as
 they mate for life, usually seven to ten years.
We saw a large hawk zoom downward past the living room window early
 one evening. Rushing to the back door I then saw it fly off with something
 in its talons. Outside on the ground and deck there were a lot of feathers
 which were definitely from a dove.
Another normal occurrence in nature of course, but always so upsetting 
as we really love our garden birds.

Note my fiery red maple tree!  

This remains colorful for a couple of weeks when it first leafs out, as it
is doing now, then it changes, and all Summer it will remain green.
  Come Autumn it will change again, gradually back to a rusty red before the leaves fall.  
I planted this maple several years ago when it just a tiny, very inexpensive,
sapling, never expecting it to grow so tall and full, becoming a lovely 
addition to the front garden.

We're off to the garden center this morning - long list in hand.
Pine straw mulch, fertilzer, seeds for colorful annuals including morning glories
and moon flowers, and herbs such as basil, parsley and chives. . . . . . 
and several other must haves to keep the garden growing.
Weather is perfect for outside work - dry, sunny and still a lovely 
coolness in the air, and for me the most important thing. . . . . . no darned
 biting mosquitoes YET!
See you later, and you know I'll have more to share from the garden.

What's happening in your April garden?


  1. That is so sad about the beautiful mourning dove. I wonder how long it takes before the one left will look for another mate. Nature can be so cruel. Your home is so pretty. We are just now seeing our spring flowers pop through the ground. Deb

  2. Ladders sure can be scary. Very sad about your neighbor's son. Praying that he will recover in record time. His injuries sound just changing.

    And your poor little mourning dove...

    Love the vibrant tree in your garden. It is stunning!

  3. Luckily not like in yours. I take it back as I guess always something happening. I think the Japanese maple gives more bang for the buck than any other plant. I've known so many people that have fallen from ladders with grave injuries. Myself, I was on a small stepladder just last week in my booth and missed the last step. I went flying backward and thought I was going to go through the wall of my little antique booth. It sounds funny from a small stepladder, but as we age, we are as steady as we once were. Add that to holding up heavy things above your head and it makes for a disaster waiting. Hope you find all beautiful plants for your garden. I've been twice and must admit I was overwhelmed by the abundant choices. Decided to pick out a few at a time.

  4. Your house and landscaping are seriously one of my favorites. Absolutely beautiful.
    I am so sorry to hear about your neighbor. Ladders scare the heck out of me, too. I get very nervous when Brian's up on one and I always "spot" him. I will keep Nelson in my prayers.
    We uncovered our patio furniture yesterday and got it set up, though we still need to power wash it and bring the pillows and cushions out of the garage and clean those, too. Brian works very long shifts now though, so all that will have to wait until one day next week when he has a little time.

  5. Oh my, but we have spent a lot of money this year at the garden nursery. Yesterday we planted a new red bud tree and a tree peony, both just gorgeous. I love your maple so much and just seeing your yard. So sad for the dove. We had a similar hawk story last summer and I was so very sad to see it happen to a flicker. We tried to save the flicker, but it was too late. Jim keeps wanting to climb the ladder and work on the roof. I say hire someone younger to do it. Not sure I have convinced him yet. I just love gardens and springtime so much.

  6. I am so sad about your dove :-(. I miss gardening in this new home, where everything is taken care of for us. We thought it might be a good thing, but we have since decided not so much. We are considering selling and moving back to the Asheville/Hendersonville area of NC. We miss the mountains too.

  7. So many sad news amongst the beauty of spring Mary. I'm sorry about Nelson and do hope he will recover soon. Murray was up a ladder this afternoon out of my sight and he said he fell off it when it slid sideways!! He was staining the shed doors so not up too high but still. Ladders make me nervous and I, like you, am usually there at the base 'just in case' although I am sure I wouldn't be much help. Everything looks so lush and pretty around your cottage. I like the red maple that turns green in summer - an interesting variety. Sorry about the poor dove. Nature can be cruel but it's the way it is. We've been doing yard clean up here but it is still brown and muddy although I see some green grass sprouting in spots. Have a lovely weekend.

  8. Mary, sad to read about your neighbor and also the health issues for your family. Hope good news arrives for you soon. And yes, it's also sad to think of the hawk taking the pretty dove, even though we know to expect it in nature. We have hawks in our area, and I now go out with Sadie when she is in our back yard. Not certain if a hawk would try to take her, but don't want to take the chance. A hawk went after a friend's cat, couldn't carry it off but by then her lungs were punctured.

  9. So sad to hear about the mourning dove. Although I know that happens, when it happens to a bird that's part of the landscape here, it makes me sick to my stomach. Mourning Doves, especially, are such gentle birds and not as fast moving as others. I'm sorry to hear about your neighbor's fall from the ladder. Like you, I won't let Don go up on the ladder unless I'm there to steady it. No way!

  10. Aww, I want to cry for that left behind dove. So sad and yes, part of the nature for sure. I remember decades ago having two of them in our backyard of our apt and loved watching them always together.

    Poor Nelson! Yes, I jsut prayed for him and his family. How awful. I do hope and pray he heels well and his family taken care of in this time.

    When i read that bit about how good they are to their elderly neighbours, I thought, who? Ha, never thought it describes you, even with aches and pains and all. Mary, you and Bob are still very vivacious and able to get around etc. All that healthy eating has paid off...and the gardening no doubt has helped keep you both limber too. But, yes, I quite agree about ladders! Hahaha, I was afraid to go up them as a kid even. I really don'y like heights as it is. no way am I going up anything more than a few steps.

  11. You know, one thing I keep meaning to say too about your blog is jsut how impressed I am with your comments! they aren't jsut quick little 1 liner quips, but meaningful, thoughtful replies. You've done a truly marvelous job building an online community for yourself.

    I totally empathize with you re: news of illness form near and far and such. I too and dealing with such, not he least of which my ageing mother so far and hard to see. My heart goes out to her and my poop sister trying to take care of her! My daughter and her husband have a fair degree of challenges too.

  12. Oh that is such sad news Mary, I'm so sorry.
    I wonder if there is a bird rescue near you, they could have another lone Dove looking for a companion.
    Mary and Bobs cottage looks loved and cared for.
    You've created such a haven for many bird families over the years and I always enjoy reading about 'your' Wrens returning each year to nest and raise their little ones. I imagination the next generation make their homes with you too!
    What more could a little bird want?
    I'm in love with your indoor rooster too Mary, he's a beauty!

  13. Mary I'm sending healing thoughts to Nelson - what a thing to happen.
    Oh dear, I have a phobia about ladders too. My husband fell off a ladder and broke his back, I got a telephone call and arrived just as the ambulance arrived. It was a very worrying time, as he had huge back surgery about three years prior. He has titanium plates and screws holding things together - we were so worried, amazingly the bones healed and the spinal cord was not damaged.
    We were so lucky.

  14. Stunning photo of the red maple leaves against that NC blue sky! And I'm sad to hear about the dove... we had a couple that had been hanging around our house, but I'm afraid I've only seen one recently, too. Hoping the mate will turn up again. xoxo

  15. Very sorry to hear of Nelson's accident. I know of two such serious falls from ladders; one resulted in several broken bones, and the other was quite horrible, as the gentleman involved hit his head in the fall and suffered serious brain trauma. This was 4 years ago, and he lost a good portion of his memory (does not recognize his family). Very, very sad. Hope that your neighbor's son will recover, and I will say a prayer for him. Your garden is quite beautiful, and the last shot of your maple with it's red leaves against the blue of the sky is just glorious!

  16. So sorry to hear about your neighbor's fall. My husband's uncle died due to a head injury suffered when he fell from a ladder. Your garden is certainly a haven.


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