Sunday, September 30, 2007

rainy weekend

Rainy weekend here. We were so dry most of the summer, that it's hard to complain about it! I did get in a couple hours yesterday morning hauling things into the shed. I think it's going to be a really nice size - the lofts are holding a ton of stuff. We stopped Friday night on our way to dinner to look at stain colors. I have a color in my head, so, of course, that makes the job twice as difficult! I think we will try and get it stained this fall yet - but windows, window boxes and stencils will probably wait until next spring. (Maybe I can spend some time this winter working on my stenciling skills!) I managed to free up some shelf space in the basement by hauling all my clay pots and other garden things to the shed - so maybe this afternoon I'll work at organizing the basement. Does that sound like fun, or what?! Maybe I'll watch a DVD instead!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Autumn apples

Don't apples make you think "autumn" in a big way? Our friends' daughter has 2 Haralson apple trees in her yard. They have apples, apples, and more apples this year. So they were nice enough to bring me a grocery bag full. I'm guessing when I get through these, I can probably get more! They've been making apple pies and putting them in the freezer - oh, to have a nice big freezer!

As you can see, I have a lovely marble rolling pin that would be perfect for making pie crust - but so far I've resisted the temptation. We found the rolling pin and the marble lazy susan at estate sales last summer. Maybe a nice slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream would be a perfect treat this weekend. (ooooh - and how about caramel apples? Or apple crisp? All sorts of yummy apple treats come to mind!)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

tulips bulbs

Last week, I went out and bought my tulip bulbs. I can't plant them until mid to late October, but at least I found a lot of the ones I wanted by shopping early.

In April 2006, we went to the Netherlands for 4 wonderful days, and spent 2 of them at the Keukenhof Gardens. What a paradise for anyone who loves spring flowers. I bought many, many bulbs for myself, and my neighbor had me pick out some for her. Several that I bought her were so pretty, I wanted them in my own garden! So, here's what I found:

Apricot Beauty is one I bought for my neighbor - beautiful. I saw Prinses (princess?) Irene on Zoey's blog (Perennial Passion) this year and they were very pretty. I think these will be a very nice combination.

These two I just thought were very pretty - not sure if they'll be planted together, but I think they'd be pretty together.

Elegant Lady was one I picked up for my neighbor - very tall and very pastel. Abigail I just thought looked cool in the package pic.

These two I saw at the Keukenhof - they were gorgeous. I bought Monte Carlo for my neighbor, and they bloomed a really long time.

And some of you may remember my love affair last spring with Carnaval de Nice - this is a fantastic late tulip. I decided I needed more!!!
I won't really have fun digging all these holes, but I'm quite sure I'll enjoy all of them next spring.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

thanks for the great ideas!

Thanks to everyone for your nice comments about my shed!! I appreciate all of the great ideas you shared. I don't know if we'll start decorating this fall or wait until spring - but I think it's going to look cool when we finally have it done! I am so excited about having that storage space - and I know I could easily fill 2 or 3 of them!! But, for now, I am thrilled to have one.

Kobie and Tess were playing King of the Hill in it today - one of them would stand inside the shed with a leaf or stick, the other would grab the prize, and then they'd chase each other round and round the shed. After several trips around, one of them would jump inside the door - and then the whole thing would start over again. I swear, they play just like human kids! The really cool part is now I have a really fun dirt race track going around my new shed - it's exactly what I was hoping for - lol!

"Knockout" - the rose I had in one of the half barrel planters. I put it in the raised garden by the patio a couple weeks ago. It's doing great - new buds and beautiful blooms. It's in the same garden as "Hawkeye Belle" - I hope they look good together and provide some fun color.

Autumn has come to our yard! This maple tree is our neighbor's - it sits between his garage and our driveway. Everyone coming down the street sees it - and everyone comments on how beautiful it is.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

we got us a shed!

It's here!!! Chris came this morning at 6:30. He and Mark unloaded the wall frames, and at 7 am, he fired up his compressor and started building. He took an hour lunch break, and at 2 pm, I had a shed.

Isn't it lovely? This is the side you see if you walk from the patio down toward the lake. The 6 ft wide double doors face the house. Mark put linseed oil on the floor and bottom edges for added protection. When that dries, I can start loading it up!

Here's the inside. You can see the two lofts we had them add. There isn't much headroom in the lofts themselves, but it will be a little added storage space. I don't think I'll have any problem finding something to stick up there. :)

Here's a little better view of one of the lofts. (The black handle is a broom that's on the other side.) Chris said we could stain it right away, but we both have a lot of projects scheduled for this fall, so we may wait until next spring to "decorate."
A few weeks ago, we found some freebie windows on Craig's list. I don't want windows in the shed - I want to make use of all the space for storage - but we're thinking we might attach some windows on the outside of the shed to make it look more friendly. Another idea I have after seeing Kate's project is to stencil the sides. If you haven't checked out Kate's beautiful garage wall, you really should. (Kate Smudges in Earth, Paint and Life - on my sidebar.) When I decide what to do, you all will be the first to know!

This is the view from the lake - it hides the compost bin - hooray!!!! The wagons and baskets will all have a home now. I am smiling from ear to ear.

Monday, September 24, 2007

a bit of this, a bit of that

Last week I was out taking photos of things blooming in the gardens. This little vignette caught my eye. Do you think the squirrels are trying to bribe the fairy? Is it an offering for a mild winter and plenty of food? There were acorns, bits of a walnut, a birch leaf, and a small peach from our neighbor's tree.

Look at the brilliant color on this balloon flower - I love it! There are still a few blooms and little balloon buds - but we are definitely nearing the end.

I had seen a cool rusted sunflower that I thought would be neat in the gardens, but then my neighbor bought one for her garden. So I kept looking and found this fun star.

The bees have been happily buzzing on the sedum. Both of these photos are of "Autumn Joy" but were taken a couple days apart and in different light. If I went out tomorrow, I would probably get another shade of pink. These add such great color to the autumn gardens.
This is a copper sprinkler that we bought on sale. The pattern for the sprinkler made it ornamental rather than useful for watering, but I thought it added a fun touch to the gardens.

My shed guy called about 8:30 tonight. They're coming at 6:30 tomorrow morning to install my new garden/storage shed. So there will hopefully be photos to share on tomorrow's post. I am so excited!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

ornamental grasses

We have just had a really beautiful weekend - warm temps and sunny skies. It was a little on the breezy side, but... Peter (also a Twin Cities blogger) left a comment on my previous post that after this weekend, we might be able to think winter will pass us by. I suppose that won't actually happen, but we can certainly enjoy the days like today that we are given.

I wanted to show you the ornamental grasses. They still aren't turning from green to red, but the seed heads are really pretty. With all the wind we've had the past couple weeks, it's been fun to see the movement in the gardens. All three photos are of miscanthus - sorry, I don't remember the name. (One of my plans for this winter is to dig through files and see if I can come up with names for most of my plants - or even SOME of my plants! So, maybe I can share more information next year.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Carefree Beauty

I must have been very tired last night when I put this post up - I forgot to write anything about my lovely rose!!! Thank you, Barbara, for reminding me! :)

This is "Carefree Beauty." It's one of the first roses I chose to put in my gardens many years ago, and I still adore it. It's lightly scented - heavier on some days than others. It does a nice flush of blooms in June, then sporadically until mid to late August. Then it starts putting on a show and blooms heavily until our first hard freeze. Some years I still have blooms and buds in November.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

roses, roses, roses

Wow, wild weather tonight. Heavy downpours and winds, hail, tornado touchdowns, and flooding streets. Luckily, no damage here.

This is a great time for my roses. They all bloom heavily in June, and then kind of putz their way through July and August. About the middle to end of August, they start putting on another fabulous show. That will continue until our first hard freeze - sometimes into November. I have one rose - "Carefree Beauty" - that blooms its heart out this time of year - and, so, deserves its own post - tomorrow! But I also have some beauties to share with you today.

"J.F. Quadra" - a climber that is just completing its second year in my garden. This is turning out to be a really fun rose - lots of blooms and a really nice dark red color.

This is "Quadra" on the "rainbow" trellis Mark made for it this summer. The background still isn't wonderful, but look how tall some of the canes got this summer. I think in another year or two it is going to cover this area of the fence very nicely!

My species rose. I adore this rose. It grows very "wild" and has the most wonderful fragrance. It also has been most elusive in letting me take photos of it - but I thought this one wasn't too bad.

"Country Dancer" - aren't these buds just too sweet?? Last year, the first year in the garden, this rose bloomed like crazy. This year it's been a little more reticent. But I still have high hopes for it in the years to come.

"Fru Dagmar Hastrup" (or "Frau Dagmar Hartopp") is a lovely single rose. Its blooms are so fragile looking - so pretty and dainty. I really like it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

more September blooms

Kind of a quiet, boring day here - we spent most of the day leveling a space for my new garden/storage shed. Hopefully, I'll have photos to share of the new shed within the next week. Tonight we went out for pizza with friends - a very fun evening of catching up.

Here are more photos of this weekend's blooms.

This is by far the best photo I have ever taken of spiderwort. Usually they come out looking very flat. This one is perfect (if I do say so myself!). About a month ago, I cut most of the spiderwort back, and now they are blooming again.

This is the wild coneflower that's been blooming all summer. This is a workhorse!!

The mountain bluet is blooming again also. I love these spidery blue blooms.

I have a snakeroot plant that has been moved many, many times. For the last few years, it hasn't been very happy and hasn't bloomed. So last fall, I moved it to yet another home. When I dug up the plant, it split into 3 plants. They all look healthy, but they are just now sending up these little flower stalks. I think they're the same variety as the ones I showed blooming a couple months ago - big, beautiful flower spikes. I'll give these another year here - hopefully, they'll bloom earlier and better next year. (If not, I do have a couple more places to try :) !)

Here's one of my dark snakeroot - I believe this one is "Brunette." It's just starting to bloom. Again, not terribly impressive. This one may not be getting as much moisture as it wants - it's right next to the river birch clump. Gosh, I hate to move these things all the time.

The physostegia - or obedient plant. This is a fun little plant that should keep increasing in number every year.

Turtlehead. Not a great photo - but look at all those blooms! I love these plants.

I think this is the last veronica in the garden still blooming.

Brown-eyed Susans are still going strong.

A tuberous begonia. These finally started blooming last week - way too long to wait for container plants!! I had some red and some yellow that did quite well this year, but the rest were only so-so. I may decide to not do these next year...

The white "David" phlox is still looking very pretty. Some of the other phlox have blooms, but they're coming to the end.

The Japanese anemone are still looking good.

Another shot - I just love these airy little blooms.

I just took some under-performing begonias out of a hanging planter by the streetside door, and put in these pansies. (And then the temps jumped into the 80's for a couple days - of course!!) I absolutely love this color.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


It was a very rainy day here in the Twin Cities. But I hardly noticed - well, except that my hair was BIG and bordering on frizzy from all the moisture in the air - lol.

Nadine, Susan and I have French lessons on Tuesday morning, but Nadine is leaving next week to visit her family in France for 6 weeks. So we went out to lunch. We went to a very nice little French cafe - good food - beautiful decor - very fun to have social time with my instructor and classmate. It was noisy and difficult to hear each other, so we conversed in English for the most part. (Susan and I breathed a huge sigh of relief on that one!!) (I must start remembering to take my camera with me!)

This past weekend I took photos of everything blooming in the gardens, and today I thought I would show you how the hydrangea are doing.

"All Summer Beauty" - I adore this hydrangea when it starts turning this dark rose color in the fall.
"Annabelle" is mostly lime green right now. I used to hate this color change, but I guess I'm mellowing in my old age, because now I'm quite enjoying it.

"Annabelle" again. It was simply loaded with big blooms this year.

There are a couple newer, still white blooms on Annabelle too.

And some turning brown already.

A bigger view with "Autumn Joy" sedum next to it. And look at that brunnera - it has simply gone crazy this year. This photo is a little weird - our yard was very shady - our neighbor's was very sunny - plus they had their sprinklers turned on - so lots of stuff happening to affect the lighting.