Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Haven't Got Time for the Pain

I wonder how many gardeners are seen in the chiropractor's office every spring.  In the great north woods, I would imagine it is a lot.  After all, we've spent a good six months away from our shovels, rakes and hoes.  Not to mention wheelbarrows.  I'm no couch potato, but winter is not my season.  I hate being cold, and with the exception of sledding with the kiddos, I don't get out much in the winter.  Sure, I get in my cardio time at the gym, but that's just not the same thing.

One of the most physically challenging parts of gardening, in my opinion, is preparing new planting grounds.  I started removing river rock from a bed around my house yesterday.  If someone has any special trick for removing river rock, I'd love to hear it!  My method consists of raking it into a pile and shoveling with a spade into our old, HEAVY, wheelbarrow.  Oh sure, I could move smaller loads... but I feel invincible when I'm moving that heavy load by myself... like a gardening superhero!  Until the next day.

Now the bed is half emptied of rock, but my back is all done.  And now is prime time to divide and move perennials, which was my plan for filling the bed.  Maybe next weekend... when I plan to do it all over again!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Almost as good...

These stuffed tomatoes were delicious... not as good as they are when the tomatoes are grown fresh from our garden, but a surprisingly sufficient substitute.  I tossed together some bread crumbs, olive oil, diced red pepper, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and some fresh basil and parsley from the pots in my bay window.  MMMM... good stuff!

Just imagine how wonderful they will taste this summer!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Finally working on the foundation garden!

For three years, I've been meaning to replace the foundation planting on the north side of the house.  Five years ago, we moved to my husband's childhood home, and when my mother-in-law hired someone to do some landscaping work, her instructions were that it needed to be no-maintenance.  So we have these evergreen something or other that I've been wanting to replace with a nice foundation garden.  You can see my original posting about this project (from April 2011!) at this link.

Here's where my husband becomes my hero!  As we were raking the abundant leaves from our yard yesterday, he commented about how frustrating it is to rake around these things.  I told him I've been wanting to take those out for years... so that's just what he did!

Now I HAVE to get something else planted here!  I'll have to re-read everyone's advice about what to plant in this zone 3, dry, shady spot!  Suggestions?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I have never seen swans on our lake, until two days ago.  They've been back several times since.  What a treat seeing them!  Of course, I had to look up some information about these beautiful migratory birds.  One of the most interesting facts I learned is that swans mate for life, unless one meets an untimely death, in which case the survivor will generally find another mate. 

I'm finding waterfowl rather romantic these days.  Whenever I see them in the spring, they are usually in a male and female pair.  Sometimes, I get the treat of seeing another male appear and get chased away by the male of the pair, in a "keep your wings away from my gal" kind of a way.  Interestingly, the female often looks bored or disinterested, if there is such a thing among ducks. 

But back to the swans... unfortunately, I'm not sure if these are Trumpeter or Tundra swans.  My picture just wasn't close enough to get a good image of them.  Any thoughts, birders out there?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More Hostas... are we surprised?

What a beautiful day!  Almost 70 degrees... as if it were some cosmic April fool's joke. 

So what did I do with this beautiful day?  Why played in the gardens, of course.  After donning my garden shoes (I know, nasty, right?), I thought that maybe it's time to trade them in for something more durable, maybe even waterproof.  But then again, there is comfort in the familiar.  And why would I want to spend money on new garden shoes when I can spend it on new garden PLANTS!

So after cleaning all the debris and leaves from the perennial beds, I hopped on to the Bluestones Perennials website and put a few more must have hostas in my cart.  Here's what I chose:


Devil's Advocate


Blue Ivory

They were on sale... my common defense.  How many hostas can a girl have?  Turns out, not enough.

On a side note, here's what's peeking up from the earth these days:

Bleeding Heart
Cherry Bells
Virginia Bluebells
Sedum - several varieties
Bee Balm (MMMM... how I missed that smell all winter!)
Perennial Bachelor Button
Daylilies - several varieties
Bishop's Cap
Obedient Plant
Chives (and I made potato salad today JUST so I could have something to add chives to!)
Jacob's Ladder
Perennial mums

There was probably more, but this is the best my memory serves me at almost midnight after a very, very busy day.  This full body exhaustion is just more proof that the 2012 garden season is off to a wonderful, early start!