Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Time Out -

I'll return here soon.
 Life has been, and continues to be, very busy.
All is good though.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Chilly morning in April -

 ........but the sun is shining and there is so much to be thankful for.

A busy day ahead once it warms up. Last night was the second night in a row with close to freezing temperatures - so unexpected this late in April and following that mini heatwave we experienced recently.  I pulled the new pots of hydrangeas awaiting planting, the hanging Boston ferns etc. onto the front porch and covered all with sheets - couldn't do anything with the large growing shrubs so they were left to fend off the chill best they could.  
A quick walk around this morning and all looks saved rather than frost-bitten thankfully. The garden is full of life with many squirrels, Chippy the chipmunk is stuffing his cheeks, Northern flicker showing his long tongue at the suet cake, a  sparrow rests on the snowball bush, and an ever-sweet Mourning dove is enjoying a sunny morning drink. The Spanish bluebells are fading but still standing sturdy and proud. The new plants have been moved out into the sunshine..........tomorrow heavy rain is expected so no watering needed today. Most of my seeds are planted - lots of vining Moonflowers and Morning glories in pots, along with summertime cooking herbs. I may be moving them to the porch tonight so they won't be drowned tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Neighborhood Changes -


It's doubtful one of our favorite local bar/restaurants will return after closing due to COVID right after Christmas 2020. Although a chain, Mia Francesca Trattoria never had that feeling. We started eating there when it first opened in 2011 in a pleasing space on the lobby level of a brand new Renaissance Hotel. We knew many of the staff well. The location is just minutes from the house in the area called Midtown. Just a basic two level shopping mall named North Hills when we moved here in 1977, it has morphed into a small 'town' of its own, north of the downtown city. Not just high end retail shops, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hotels, gyms, movie theatre etc., but elegant multi-story apartment buildings, a posh senior living complex. . . . . and mini skyscraper office buildings - the newest of which will reach 35 floors!  Around these buildings more land is being acquired so quickly we can't keep up with the landscape changes and ongoing construction. 
Houses built here on prior farmland in the 1960's to 1980's (when IBM moved so many people from the north to work in their huge facility) are disappearing fast.  Small ranches, split levels, and cottages of that era, are selling like hotcakes for high prices, then being razed and huge homes in the $1-3 million dollar range popping up almost overnight it seems. It's definitely a seller's market, with houses usually selling, some with bidding wars, as soon as a sign goes up. Our neighborhood is a 'hot spot' for real estate listings. Phone calls, cards stuck on the mailbox, letters in the mail, are daily happenings here, all stating a version of. . . . . . . . . .WE WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE! 

We will not be enticed easily!  We have a figure which seems somewhat obscene compared to what we purchased the property for new in 1986!  If someone truly wants it and agrees to pay that amount we could perhaps be persuaded to sell. Where would we go?  At this late stage in life it would be hard to make that decision. Right now it looks like we will stay. . . . . . certainly after doing all this gardening lately!!!

MIDTOWN - Raleigh, North Carolina - Spring 2021

'Home Sweet Home'

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

John Howard Payne (1791-1852)

Here at the 'homestead' we planted all these marked trees 
 along with dozens of shrubs and perennials.
The tiny trees each started out in one gallon pots many years
 ago - and I think we'd truly have a hard time moving
and leaving them behind!

Monday, April 19, 2021

My 'Garden Boy' --------

Yesterday was not a day of rest by any means. . . . . . we, and hired help, 
worked together in the garden. In fact we worked outside the entire weekend, 
and included a trip to buy landscape items including wall building stones, 
netting to keep the dastardly squirrels off my newly sown seeds, potting
 soil. . . . . . and of course I managed to sneak in some plants - two pots
 of beautiful Shasta daisies for the now more elegant back bed along
 the fence.

No pool so no 'Pool Boy' required around here!!!
But here you can meet my 'Garden Boy', good 'ole Bob.

He gave up the business suits and polished shoes (other than when the
 occasional wedding or funeral comes along) with retirement, many years
 ago, and now pulls on those old faded jeans and worn out running shoes
 and becomes a version of a Master Gardener!
Thank you Bob for digging holes, trimming branches, mowing grass, 
blowing leaves and on occasion, like yesterday, clambering flat out under
 the Japanese maple to pull out those pesky weeds such as pokeberry
 and Boston ivy.

I have to add though that pokeberry is not all bad as despite the berries
being poisonous to humans, but loved by birds, the plant appears to
 have a good side. . . . . .

Today, pokeberry is being researched as a possible treatment for cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, a chemical found in pokeberry juice has been used to successfully treat cancerous tumors in laboratory mice. The chemical is also being tested to determine if it can protect cells from HIV and AIDS.
Georgia Wildlife Resources

Here Bob is actually in our neighbor's yard as it's easier access under the tree
as we have a wall on our side.  

Side yard of our house where, as you can see, these azaleas and
 the acer have encroached over the split rail fence into our neighbor's 
yard. . . . . . .thankfully he doesn't mind one bit.

Our handyman 'solutions' guy and his assistant are a great pair and
after doing such a super job on the deck restoration, we had them
back to build the low wall along the back bed. They dug out the old
fallen over scalloped edging and placed it in back, then built a simple
low wall. Once the daffodil greenery dies back and can be cut off, we
 will add more soil and compost and replant with a couple more
climbing roses, perennials and hang new bird houses.

Hope your week is off to a good start.
Our temps have dropped quite a bit after the recent
 'heatwave', and I'm not minding at all.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Garden visitor -


It's not all about the flowers and the trees.........sometimes joy
 comes from the visiting wildlife.
Yesterday 'Chippy' the chipmunk was back for an early morning
 visit and seemed to enjoy breakfast under the bird feeders.
We only ever see one of these little guys which is much different
 from the dozen or more squirrels who drive us crazy.

Hope spring has sprung where you live.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

All about the greens and a busy week -

Lately, I seem to run out of time to write here, and to comment - forgive me.
It's just amazing how suddenly the garden awakes and there is so much to do 
to keep ahead of overgrowth and weeds. With no rain we've also had to water
as the afternoon temperatures are really hot.
We spend a lot of time outside, then in the afternoons collapse on the porch
 with a cup of tea, then in to make supper. 

Not only a lot of pinks and purples blooming, plenty of green also
Bob is mowing this early morning before it gets too hot - high 82F later!
Note the urn with small conifer in top left - my favorite Carolina wren pair
have a nest in there. The fig tree is almost completely leafed out as
you can also see in that same photo.

There are hundreds of these sprouting oak trees to pull out this year!

Jasmine on the back fence just opening gorgeous yellow blooms.


Trumpet vine in all its glory on the side arbor.

Enjoying some green tea in the Anthropologie super sized cups,
or perhaps they're actually mugs!

Luscious, local, freshly picked strawberries enjoyed this week.
Will pop over to the farm stand for more later today.
A homemade strawberry rhubarb galette comes to mind!

Pollen much less at last! 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday in the Garden -

It's on days like this when all the hard, dirty, tiring work pays off!
Again, I walked early in the garden today to take these photos.
A little more rain during the night worked wonders and much is
Unfortunately the pollen continues and air quality is poor with a gusty
breeze blowing. Not sure whether to head outside and do some garden
 work or just sit here and continue sneezing!
We still have a lot to do regarding hardscaping - a new
low wall across the back bed, re-do the pathways, and perhaps
remove a couple more very old trees, one of which was struck by 
lightning and is damaged. 

As we know. . . . . . ."a garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever."

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Damp and dreamy garden morning -

I was 'walking the bounds' early this morning. . . . . and it was beautiful.
Cooler temperatures, less pollen, and blooming going crazy!
Rain came by way of a very noisy thunderstorm last night, washing
 and watering everything.

This corner in the front garden is quite lush. 
The magnolia blooms almost finished but lovely bright green leaves out now.
The acer looking magnificent after my gentle prune, the knockout rose and
 hydrangea huge already, the daylilies not blooming yet but their foliage
 looks healthy.

The sun is out now. I'm off to gather my pots around me to prepare
 them for summer bulbs and herbs (basil, dill, parsley etc.) and 
perhaps a couple of tomato plants.
Bob has gone to the Farmers' Market to pick up fresh eggs.
This evening we are attending a small wedding at an historic inn -
our first social engagement with friends - masked and distanced, 
and at least we are vaccinated - in over a year! 
It's 'casual' thankfully so won't be hard to dress for!

Kitchen window flowers from the garden for the weekend.

The death of Prince Philip has brought sadness around the world . . . .
but what an amazing long life and marriage to our lovely monarch.
My thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth and the Royal family.

Have a great weekend wherever you are.