Entries to Win Afghan

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Sunday, June 30, 2024

Jean's Garden

  Another vendor event in the books!

I stayed overnight at Jean's house, which is always fun. But, once again, I did not take pictures of Jean's chickens, ducks (she still has Jack whom we all watched grow from a day-old duckling on Facebook), and the goose. Maybe next year! But I did get more pics of what's blooming in her flower garden. Well, yes, I did, but it was at 6:30 in the morning, and apparently I was a little shaky on some of them. This is one of the blanket flowers. Really a nice color.

Here's a longer shot of the garden. Since it's on a moderate hillside, it displays very nicely. We only had time for a fast tour because we had to get back to town for the second day of the Arts Festival.
flower garden

This is one of the day liles. I like the colors, but the flower form is somewhat flattened, and I'm not sure I'm crazy about that.
day lily

These looked really nice, but I guess I was fuzzy. It's one of the garden mallows. I used to have some of these long ago, but they bit the dust.
garden mallow

Finally, this is my canopy mate for the event. Dr. Carol Monson whose book is entitled Ageing Optimally. I had some good opportunities to visit with other other authors, which included getting to know one of them much better than I had previously. An author/promoter, Diana Penn, visited to get updated on all her old and new favorite authors, there was much sharing and commiserating and congratulating on authorly topics. A good weekend.

I leave for NY on Tuesday morning, and I have about two days worth of things to do tomorrw to get ready. But I think I have to pretty much let myself rest this evening. I'll leap into action in the morning.

See Jean's Garden in 2021

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Scenes from Authors' Alley

 The day started at 5 am. Not my best time of day. And after all the lugging of stuff, talking with people and whatever, I am pretty much beat.

We had 13 canopies and 23 authors in Author Alley at the Muskegon Lakeshore Art Festival. We did not have any rain. The wind tried to get a bit frisky, but then it calmed down again. No complaints about the weather.

Jean has really capitalized on the "chicken" thing. Today, she had Laya. You can see that the kids are fascinated. Lots of adults are too. Laya is in Kay-Kay's book (the first chicken book which Jean is holding), but Laya is writing her own book that will be available soon.
woman holding a chicken and a book

UFO? Nope, there was a lady down on the corner making bubbles. This wasn't even the biggest one, but it's the only one I got a picture of.

Our booths are right across from Hackley Park. I always think it's interesting to see what gets planted in urban flower beds. Stela d'Oro lilies, impatiens, and a hydrangea. It would be hard to get more standard than that. But it looks good.
urban flower bed

I'm going to try to do a little bit of editing before I crash, but I'm pretty much done. I'm spending the night with Jean, and then we do it again tomorrow.

See Bring Your Chicken to Work Day

Friday, June 28, 2024

Tiny Tears Says 'Too Many Sky Tears'

 I'm just about ready for the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon. I have to leave at 6:30 in the morning. Not my best time of day, but...

Meanwhile, more rain. It's hard to believe. My 'Tiny Tears' hosta border decided to bloom like crazy this year, but it's gotten so wetted by the continual rain that it doesn't look as nice as it might. Still, not bad. Remember, these are only about 6" tall.
tiny tears hosta

I have to show you the white globe bellflower one more time. I'ts pretty much in full bloom right now, and it's never been so happy. In fact, the white ones haven't bloomed at all for several years.
white globe bellflower

I didn't show you this picture. This is the purple globe bellflower in full bloom two weeks ago. It's pretty much done now. It seemed to absolutely glow every afternoon.
purple globe bellflower

I managed to get ready for the weekend AND reach my formatting goal on the book. I want to print a paper copy for the final edit. I still have to do the printing this evening, but the files are ready. For a while there, I thought I'd never get to this point!

See Tiny Tears

Thursday, June 27, 2024

A Random Visitor

  This is not my favorite visitor, but I guess it's better than the red squirrels. This is a fox squirrel. S/he has been running across the deck rail all month. No good pictures. The only advantage to a fox squirrel is it's not trying to get into the house like the red squirrels did.

Lousy picture, but I am trying to stay focused on work today, not pictures
fox squirrel

I am having to go through the campsites list yet again and change some format because I need to cut down the total number of pages. Just full-out panic mode now. Back to work. Tomorrow, I have to get ready for the Muskegon Lakeshore Art Fair on the weekend. I'll have some time for the book, but not all day. I am not at the goal I was shooting for.

Hey, I just discovered the sky is really pretty right now, so that's quality!

See Just Hangin' Out

Wednesday, June 26, 2024


 The sunrise was like a wildfire. This looks more like a sunset at my house, framed on the left with the pines. But I assure you, I woke up early, and there was this outside! (besides, the sun hasn't gone down yet today, so it couldn't be today's sunset anyway)
red sunrise

And I can't resist showing you the 'Wildfire' sedum again. This is definitely in the running for my favorite plant purchase of the year. I need to get more of the geranium pulled away from nearby because the height of the geranium is preventing it from showing off as nicely. I cropped the photo so you can't see how it is being overshadowed.

I've formatted for 6 hours today, plus shopping and an hour of volunteer stuff. I'd really like to do one more hour if my eyes will stand it. That way, I'm pretty sure I can finish this round of formatting tomorrow.

See SunSparkler Sedums

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

More Pink

 The Sempervivum arachnoideum is blooming. Most of the Sempervivum have pink daisy-like flowers similar to this. It appears that the "hens and chicks" with yellow flowers are technically in the genus Jovibarba, although some call that a sub-genus of the Sempervivum.

A fun fact is that there are only three species of Jovibarba, and I seem to have two of them! That can be a topic for another day.
sempervivum arachnoideum blooming

The other pink right now is the Seven Sisters rose I hate. Since I only like it one week a year, at least it deigned to bloom while I am home. The rest of the time I have to just keep cutting it back while wearing heavy gloves, and watching for random thorns in everything near it.

On the other hand, I am going to miss seeing several flowers I really like. But... one can't have full-time garden and travel, both.

I am editing until I can't stand to sit and look at the computer. Making progress, but not fast enough. Still too wet to garden. We had another 1.3 inches of rain last night.

See The Almost Annual Picture of the Rose I Hate

Monday, June 24, 2024

Siskiyou Primrose - The Good, the Amazing, and the Bad

 Remember the pink primrose that I thought was a weed? It continues to be really beautiful. It's almost always covered with those big pink flowers. This is today. Even after all the hard rain we've had in the last 48 hours it still has several blossoms. Also, it's a non-succulent that likes dry sandy soil which is a big plus. (Not that it's seen anything dry in the past week!) This is the good part.
siskiyou primrose

The amazing part is that it spreads faster than some weeds. It's trying to invade several neighboring spaces, and I had already moved some tiny sprigs to another location on June 12, so 12 days ago.
siskiyou primrose

These are already going to bloom!
siskiyou primrose

Now for the bad part. Japanese beetles love the flowers. I don't have a picture, because every time I've found them, I have just killed them without going for the camera. If they become a problem, I may have to take action, although given the aggressivenes of the plant, maybe the beetles aren't bad. However, I like to see whole flowers instead of chewed ones.

In other news. About 2 pm, I realized I was going to have to make a major formatting change in the book. Yikes! It's late in the game to do that. I morphed into book panic mode and I've been glued to my chair since then. I'm now back to where I was at 2 pm. Pretty much a whole extra day of work. It's looking like I won't have this wrapped up before I leave for NY. This is not the end of the world, but I was hoping to not have to work very much while traveling. So much for that.

No gardening. Maybe it was a little wet for that anyway. We had another 0.3 inches of rain last night. That's 8.0 inches this month at my house.

See What a Surprise!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

More Yellow

 We'll do a few comparisons today. I'm starting with the Forbidden Fruit hosta. It was so not yellow last year that I thought it might have been mis-labled. However, it clearly did not get enough time outside. This year, it looks great. I hope it makes a baby soon.
forbidden fruit hosta

Here's what it looked like last year. It was one of my almost free plants. Big difference

forbidden fruit hosta

The next comparison is the sad little non-hardy Sedum mexicanam 'Lemon Coral' I got for almost nothing because it was beat up. As a reminder, here's what it looked like on May 20.

sedum mexicanum lemon coral

One month later, I am loving this. I will bring it inside for the winter, and hopefully manage to keep it alive.
sedum mexicanum lemon coral

It's similar to the Sedum 'Angelina' that Betsy gave me, which is hardy, but the 'Lemon Coral' is more yellow-green, so it's a color I would like to keep. This is the 'Angelina' starting to bloom. You can hardly tell them apart in the pictures, but in real life, the 'Angelina' is a bit more toward golden.
sedum angelina

This is the almost free Corepsis I got last year that was all battered with many broken stems. Looking happy this year!

Edited my brains out, need to keep that up. We had 1.9 inches of rain over 36 hours.

See Color of the Day - Yellow

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Almost Christmas, Almost July

  OK, I'll just get the joke over with first. Cathy and I were going to take a hike this afternoon, but someone upstairs decided to kick over every bucket of water in the house. 1.5" of rain here.

So... we came home and pulled out a jigsaw puzzle. It's a Christmas one, and it's going to be very pretty. But it has 1000 pieces, and it's a little harder than it looks. Love the bright colors. We did not get it done. But it's been two months since I worked on a puzzle!
christmas jugsaw puzzle

But the main reason Cathy and I were together is that we went to White Cloud to hear another North Country Trail hiker give a talk. This is Nancy DeJong, and she has hiked all of Michigan, a little piece in every state, and is more or less working on Wisconsin. (She says she doesn't have blue blaze fever... right.)
speaker giving a talk

I've known Nancy for quite a few years because of trail stuff, and it was nice to hear her "take" on hiking the trail. Very fun morning.

As for almost July... well, it is. And I am heading east in July. The book has to be very close to ready to go to the printer in one week. If I have to do a few final tweaks on the road it's OK, but I have to buckle down and really make progress.

Today was a rest and play day to give me enough motivation and guilt to work hard all week.

See Not Easy!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Three White, Two Oops

 Today's featured color is white. OK, don't go technical on me and proclaim that white is not a color. I am using the word according to common usage.

I'll start with the oopsies.

I've had this sedum since 1997, starting with a small pot. Now it's everywhere! But that's OK, because I like it, it's easy to rip out if it gets too agressive, and it is attractive in all its forms. Here are the flowers, which is why it's called white sedum, Sedum album.
sedum album flowers

Look closer, aren't these just adorable?

I've always thought these were Sedum rubrotinctum, 'Pork and Beans,' because they often color up like this, and the leaves are like little round beans.
redish sedum album

But they don't always get red. And I assure you every bit of this plant on my property came from that same little pot.
green sedum album

But, I am prepared to eat my ID of all these years. I did suspect that 'Pork and Beans' was supposed to be a little larger, but stuff here almost always is smaller because the soil has been so bad. But the clincher is that the flowers of this are white, not yellow as they would be if it was rubrotinctum.

Now for oops number two. I bought one of these last week. It's candytuft, (Summer Snowdrift), Iberis amara. I'd always believed these were not hardy. But the tag says "hardy to -40oF." I just double checked. That is indeed what it says. Hmmm.

So I looked it up, and my assumption was correct. Everything I can find about this says it's only hardy to 0o. Bother. I wonder if I mulch it if I can get it to live. I don't want to have a lot of plants that need special treatment in the fall. I already have two I'll have to deal with (one bought on purpose, one other oops). Well, it's pretty, but it's lonely out there. I was thinking long-term and splitting it with the purchase, but that may be a forlorn hope.

Now for the winner. I KNEW I had white globe campanula, Campanula glomerata, probably 'alba.' And my notes say it bloomed after the purple one. Check. It's also shorter, which could be useful. Here's the weird part though. I don't recall that I separated these by color when I planted them. However, all the white ones are about 10 feet away from where the purple ones are. These haven't bloomed for quite a few years, so I'm pretty happy.

It was pretty hot and damp today, but I managed to format and do book stuff for 4 hours. Only managed 45 minutes outside, but it was hot.

And now it's started raining!

See Sorting Out Sedums

Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Unrelenting Genetic Drive to Reproduce

 I'm starting this post with a picture from another year because it's prettier.

globe thistle

These are globe thistles. It's not really a thistle, The genus is Echinops (which means spiny). The leaves look prickly, and the ball-like flower heads look spiny, but all those parts feel soft when you touch them.

Anyway, I used to have a whole row of these in my flower garden when the house was down by the road. They were here when we bought the property in 1971. Despite complete neglect they have refused to die, although they are getting pretty crowded out by grass. Alive is a good thing because I really love them. Here's what the flower heads look like in full bloom.

globe thistle

They aren't blooming yet, but they are in bud. I want to move some of these up to the driveway flower bed that I have been cleaning out. You know that transplanting a plant while it's in bud is the very worst time, right? But there are still quite a few plants, and I decided to move the smallest and see if it would survive. If it even lived, then next year it would blossom.

I moved one plant on June 12. Here's what it looked like on June 17. I was pretty sure by then that it was going to live. Even though it's very droopy, some of the leaves perked up every day, so I knew they were drawing water up from the roots. The recovery never quite made it all the way up the stem, but I watered it heavily at least twice every day.
transplanted globe thistle

Here it is today. The lowest leaves have yellowed and wilted, and it still looks droopy, but can you see the real difference?
transplanted globe thistle

I'll help you out. Even though the upper stem can't recover to be completely vertical, look at what the bud is doing. It's turned upwards to the light and is getting larger. If a plant can be said to have desires, those are to find light and produce seeds. That means to create a flower. Despite some really tough odds, this plant is going to live and reproduce. It is putting all its energy into that flower head. Forget the leaves, just get water and nutrients to the top! Unrelenting.
globe thistle bud

Today was much better, weatherwise. We had 0.6" rain this morning, which cooled things down. It got a bit steamy this afternoon, but never made it to the really high temperatures. It was too wet to do any real gardening.

I edited. Gotta keep at it.

See Spikey Things