A morning stroll is good for the soul! ~ MP50

A Summer Morning in the Garden

   From this gardener's perspective, summer mornings in the garden are magical and productive. From a human's perspective, a stroll is good for the soul!
    There truly is nothing better than grabbing that mug of tea or coffee and venturing out into the often dewy grass of morning. Slowly meander around your 'finished' beds, your beds-in-progress and take a deep breath and a deep listen. The birds are wonderfully chatty this time of day; the air smells wonderful. The soft sun has not had its chance to de-saturate a single flower petal and the bugs, aside from a morning-loving bumble bee, have not yet made their presence known. Although still too chilly for butterflies, you may happen across a luna moth resting on a plant from the prior evening & what a treat to behold! Although I never want to stop my stroll, I know that this is also my favorite time of day to do some gardening chores. Rarely too hot, the bugs still asleep, I can effectively get into my beds and stake, deadhead & weed. The parents of my resident House Wren family at the corner of my cottage garden make their presence known, loudly. If the babies hear me they chirp their feed-me chirps and the parents remind me to meander to the other side. I pick up my watering cans and check all my containers and new transplants and pour them all a drink. Last bit of morning fun amongst my flowers is to cut a few stems here & there for a small arrangement to brighten the rest of my day.
   At some point the vegetable/herb garden will need picking and this is the best time for me (again no gnats or mosquitoes). While I have a head of (caffeine-induced?) steam I can have my pesto made and even a few loaves of zucchini bread baked before noon. Come August it gets really busy in the kitchen with so many wonderful varieties of peppers & tomatoes & beans. Right now I am enjoying the kitchen lull & simply revel in how quickly the plants are growing.
   I work a handful of days per week so I am grateful for those perfect glad-I-have-the-day-off mornings. As a gardener I appreciate a rainy morning more than most, but when I know that sun is going to shine, well those are my favorite summer mornings. Happy Summer Solstice to you all!

When Your Garden Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade!

   It's another planting/growing season and again your perennials, peripherals, chachkis aren't all that you expected or remembered from last season. (or now you remember & say I should have thinned or moved that plant last year) Well it's a new season and lemonade we shall make with the sour lemons scattered about.
   My favorite 'lemonade' project this year is a concrete bird bath from my parent's old house that I brought home once my Mom moved. Now I understand why she had a plastic lid resting on top to hold water. The concrete top, although in decent shape, drained water quickly. Light bulb! I would make a succulent planter out of it and chose one of her favorites, portculaca.
They are very happy in their well-draining home & starting to flourish. I did this with my own garage sale find too that was cracking at the side. Looks beautiful. (and to think I was ready to toss it last season! Check out the link from my previous blog on the watering can dripper idea below as seen in the pic.
   You also may be dismayed by how metal surfaces on hanging baskets & sheppard's hooks have lost their shimmer. Clear coat glossy spray paint to the rescue, and it looks like new! You don't always have to choose a color ~ although fun, the clear coat does the job. Lightweight planters also do well with a new color to suit your patio or plant scheme this year. Again see my blog link for more instructions.
   Privacy in your yard is important. Sometimes out of control, sheds or buildings are built over our fences and we are left with an eyesore. Lemonade for this problem have been quick to grow Leyland Cypress evergreen trees. They create a full, fast, tall (up to 45 ft.) privacy wall if needed. (and they make wonderful decorating holiday greens)
    Plants have taken over? It's usually the early bloomers you notice first. Do what I do & let them bloom then move or tear out. Some varieties you can share!
    I was looking for zinnias this spring and they seemed to be later in the garden centers than usual. I even wanted a certain striped variety I haven't seen in awhile. So I went to Lowe's and found very sad, sour 'lemons' that needed love on their clearance rack. From what I could tell they were striped but they needed love. The garden center person sold me three 9-packs for a dollar a piece. So home I went to save what I could of my favorite annual and I am happy to say that 15 have survived and I couldn't be happier with this lemonade!
    So when all the work is 'done' you can kick back enjoy the fruits of your labor. Enjoy an actual lemonade with some of that mint that went whoosh this spring, while appreciating your vision, flexibility and your dynamic garden. Cheers!