Monday, March 18, 2013

A Lot of Activity in the Garden.........

I have been enjoying different types of activity in the garden lately. The clean-up has progressed nicely. But, no matter how many hours is spent on it, there is always more to do! Taking some time just to sit and enjoy what I see has been a treat. One day last week I had a neat surprise ...........

........when I walked up on this Iris.  It's been five or six years since I got a start of these Florida blue Irises from a neighbor. The plants have lived all that time without one bloom until this one - a reward worth the patience of waiting. I see no signs of other blooms, however.

The newly potted plants are looking colorful and nice. I am thinking of these as temporary, though, as I have a hard time keeping zinnias and gerber daisys for any length of time.

The hollyhock in the pot to the right may not have a chance to bloom. I fear the heat will set in and ruin its chances. When nice big plants are being sold at the farmers market for a dollar a piece, you can treat them as you would cut flowers - temporary.

These will burn up as soon as we start having high temperatures day after day.


This red geranium has performed quite well for several years. Recently and after this picture was made, something made lace out of the leaves. It's just full of holes.

This guy (funny how I never think of any squirrels as "she") has really been trying my patience! And, he knows it too. Look at him looking at me! He has kept the bird feeder bouncing!  He can't get any seeds but not for the lack of trying. He has managed to get up to the hummingbird feeder, too - spilling out the sugar water. Then, I had an invasion of bees on it. I brought it in hoping they will move on to a new and plentiful location elsewhere. I hated to do that to the bird(s) that were feeding regularly. 

Because this potted plant didn't get frozen back this winter, it is now huge. The small plant in the ground is an elderberry that I transplanted from nearby woods. I am hoping this will be the year it takes a growth spurt and will multiply.

A large aster bloom with a bee. I am really disappointed that I don't have a full bed of these by now.

A pot of ground orchids have been blooming steadily for a long time. Not one of my favorite flowers but I appreciate its effort.

The butterflies seem plentiful this season. All but the monarchs. I read that their count is way down. Something is causing them to disappear.

I haven't had any luck getting any recent pictures of the mature butterflies.

So far, the Carolina wrens have not put a nest in the begonia planter this year.  It could happen still since March just begins the nesting season. The plant came back nicely after nearly dying when I stopped watering it last spring so as not to disturb the birds.

This is the same area, looking from the opposite direction, from my dining room window. So, you see where I spend a lot of my time, working and playing and getting exercise, with the things of nature.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gnome Hang-out and Toad Abode.....

.......As promised in a recent post, this is a close up look at a cute little area in my garden - one that makes me smile when I see it.

This is Parton, named after Dolly because I found him a few years ago at Dollywood. Parton was obviously not made to stay outside because a short time after he had been in my garden his colors faded nearly out of sight. He became nothing but dingy white! So, he went in the garage and because he is owned by a big procrastinator, there he stayed for the next few years, until lately.

I finally gave him some new colors and doesn't he look fit, all spruced up and enjoying his place near the other gnomes and the toads.  He got a new patio while he was waiting in the garage. The Mosaic  was a fun project on another day - a group of four of us got together and each made one of these. They all looked so very different from each other. I am definitely the plain one among my friends! This is the perfect place for mine.

Some nice colored sea-glass also brightens up the hang-out.

These words are barely dry - I painted them this morning. This was on here before and also totally disappeared. Our hot summer sun is brutal! I need to get a can of sealer to spray this stuff. Maybe it would last a little longer. 



Now, here is my treasure of the week. I don't remember ever seeing this phrase before and I LOVE it!!!  As Christians, we have a steadfast hope that DOES grace every dawn that rises.  And, this hope is not just wishful thinking, it is a surety, given by our Savior.

Yesterday, while looking through a discount store of used things with my great friend Jean, I spotted this and soon knew exactly where it would serve its purpose. It is heavy and I am not sure what it is made of but, I sure hope it will hold up in the weather. It has not been broken, the "cracks" are part of the design. I plan to be reminded of the blessed hope we have in the Savior, every time I walk by and see it.  It will also remind me of my fun day with a special friend. There are MANY things in my yard that makes me think of Jean. Over the years, she has gifted me with so many garden items!

On up the incline is one more gnome peeping through the crocosmia

And, down here on the edge of their patio is one more.
He has the look of innocence on his face so he is called, Purity.

One more look at Parton, who always has a twinkle in his eyes. Wouldn't he make you smile, too?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crystal Totem...........

........I have been wanting to make one of these ever since I saw the first one!  Recently, while in Goodwill I saw three glass pieces that I thought would work well together and it was a great start for my eight-piece yard totem.

I was amazed at how well everything fit together once I started building yesterday. 

You can see here that I put it near where I already have the three glass mushrooms which sprang up in my yard awhile back. They recently moved from their first location to here. 

This, a dowel stick and the glassware is all that is needed.  This is the glue I used but, if you are sensitive to chemicals you may want to find a different water proof adhesive.  This one has  VERY strong-smelling vapors.  I have used it for years with no adverse affect but if I were needing to use it often or for long periods of time, I would try to find something different.  

You can see the dowel that I found among my supplies to anchor the totem and to keep it from falling over.  The bottom piece could be buried in the ground far enough to keep it from falling but, you need to plan that piece with that in mind as all or most of it would not be showing. My bottom piece is a tall jar that I already had on hand. Make sure it is turned upside down when gluing to the second piece. 

This second piece is one of three little bowls that I got at Goodwill. I used two of them. The round vase and the next bowl are the other pieces from goodwill.  I tried the bowl and vase on for size in the store. That is one of the important things to remember as you choose the glass. There needs to be enough contact to be able to secure them with the adhesive. I found it best to glue the pieces into three sections and let them set and then glue the sections together. Just make sure of your whole design before gluing anything.

Above the upside down bowl is a short, fat vase that I already had.  Another thing to try to do is to arrange the pieces in a way so they will not catch water. That usually means they will be upside down or completely sealed by the next piece.

At the top is a bud vase with a little piece from my mise-en-place at the very top. Mise-en-place? Prounced Meez ahn plahs. A set of small bowls used to gather ingredients in before baking/cooking. Back to the subject - the smallest piece from my set fit perfectly on top of the vase bottom and gives the totem a nice rounded finish.

I love the style that I could form with what I had to work with and could barely wait to put it in place outside!  In fact, I should have waited longer. I moved mine, thinking the adhesive was set but it wasn't so after I carefully moved it outside and had it standing, I anchored it overnight with two heavy pots and then put an old towel on top of  them to soften the blow in case this thing decided to lay down during the night.

I was so excited to look out early this morning and see it still standing, and was amused to see a neighbor man standing on the sidewalk looking at it! If you are a more colorful personality than I am, you can, of course, use colored glass pieces or a mixture of both.  I prefer the elegant look of the clear. By the way, this one is 25" tall.  Now, here's hoping a big limb or something else doesn't fall from the sky and smash it! And I sure hope the squirrels or something bigger won't knock it around. If I can ever get a  picture of a bird sitting on top of it you will be the first to see!