Monday, May 25, 2015

Hounds & Hosta..

I can’t believe that it is almost June.  Things are growing so fast and I’m not just talking about the plants either!  When we brought Tucker home he was only 15 pounds, at last check in he was almost 23 pounds!


It is amazing how fast they grow and it makes life a little challenging when he isn’t keen on going down the porch steps to go out, my arms are getting some serious workouts.  We introduced him to his crate and it’s going remarkably well.  Except…

May 18 2015 (3)

Ally is pretty sure that she is supposed to be in there!  It’s funny when she goes in because he will stand outside and bark at her, he will not set a foot in there at all.  Today we had him outside with us while we were doing yard work and he decided he’d had enough.  Randy said he walked around the house and up onto the porch.  He opened the door and he said Tucker went right to his crate and flopped down.  He stayed in there for about an hour and a half sleeping while we kept working.  It’s the first time we’ve ever had a puppy that liked his crate!

Cooper loves Tucker, I’ll admit I’m a little jealous!

May 19 2015 (6)

He is so good with him and except for the occasional need to tell Cooper easy, they play so well together.  I look forward to Tucker being a little bigger and being able to run and play a little harder with Cooper.

May 18 2015 (5)

They do a lot of mouth play which to some would seem scary, but it’s just a dog thing.  Dakota and Zoe did the same thing when they were puppies together.  Caught in the act though the look they gave me was priceless..

May 18 2015 (1)

May 21 2015 (3)

The house is scattered with dog toys and is pretty much a disaster zone, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!  Seeing them play together, having them both cuddled next to me on the sofa is just the best thing in the world.  Plus they are so stinking cute you can’t help but smile! <3

Needless to say the outside chores have fallen to the wayside.  So spending some time outside this weekend was pretty nice.  I got a lot of jewel weed pulled out of the bed at the deck.  What I love though is looking down and seeing hosta, real honest to goodness hosta, with leaves!


That one in the right corner is huge, I’m talking giant and it’s so cool to see!  I didn’t even know I had a hosta that big!


We spread the mulch that was left in the driveway today, some made it to this bed but I’ll need more to finish it off.  Randy decided he wanted to plant something in this bed.


I’ve had this Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood for several years, growing in this pot.  I couldn’t plant it because the deer ate it to nothing but sticks.  So I kept it on the deck where they couldn’t get to it.  Now that the fence is in place it’s time for it to find a home and he chose the spot between the two decks.  It doesn’t get much more than 8’ tall and the spread is minimal, so this will be a great spot for it. 

May 24 2015 (2)

Sweet dreams…

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cause everybody needs a friend..

It’s been a week since we brought home our newest edition.  As first weeks go, it was a pretty good one.  Our biggest dilemma was what to name our new edition because we’d thought it was going to be a girl, turns out the one that picked us was a boy.

Meet Tucker.

May 2 2015 (3) 

This very serious looking little man is a blue Great Dane and as of today he’s all of 9 weeks old.

We weren’t too sure how Cooper was going to be with his new sibling, at first he was a maniac and so excited we couldn’t trust to leave Tucker on the floor.  After a day or so, maybe Cooper realized he was going to stay he started to calm down and after a few more they started to play nicely together.Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (55)

They both enjoy chewing on the various antlers but of course there is one that they both always seem to want.

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (51)

Tucker likes sleeping on Cooper.  Cooper is not so sure about that.

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (43)

Watching them with their mouthy dog play is both entertaining and nerve-racking.  Cooper’s mouth is as big as Tuckers entire head.  Tucker also really loves grabbing Cooper’s lip!

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (70)

The best thing so far though as been watching tug of war become part of their play time!  The very first time, Cooper pretty much tossed Tucker across the living room and it was a little surprising for all involved.  After that though, Cooper has been so gentle and basically just lets Tucker tug and tug to his hearts content. 

Cooper & Tucker May 6 2015 (62)

Watching these two as Tucker grows is going to be very entertaining!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Ugly, The Bad & The Good…

..well let’s hope that you’ve learned your lesson this time…
*warning lots of pictures*
We will start with the ugly.  These are the things that should never be done!
It didn’t occur to anyone to put down a tarp for the crush and run or the mulch?  So into the driveway it went, the reason I say this is ugly because now our driveway is full of mulch and crush and run and it will have to be raked with the stone rake on the tractor.  Next in an attempt to clean it up, they blew mulch and GRAVEL into my flower bed, that now I have to rake out! 
Remember this beautiful picture?
Even with the leaves, the woodland poppies and daffodils were pretty.  Well that’s not the case now..
Instead of removing leaves by rake or by hand they chose a jet engine and guess what, it decapitated almost all of my flowers.  Were it not for the two glasses of wine I’ve already had this post would be filled with some very colorful language!
Long before any work was started I spent a few hours cleaning the pine bark path off, by hand.  All the leaves had been removed, but I guess that wasn’t good enough as someone blew all the pine bark away.
And buried the plants in the back with at least some of it…
Here you can see the gravel and the crap piled up around the base of the daffodils, the entire front half of the bed is like that where they blew it in an attempt to clean up the mess of mulch and crush and run.
The bed in the the middle of the driveway didn’t fair much better heavy blowing left a lot of my plants bent over, some will recover this season, many won’t.  The mulch was dumped and buried some plants completely and others partially.  Broken and uprooted flowers fill this bed and the one at the front porch and it breaks my heart.  It will take me days to sort through all of this and I've got to get the mulch away from the crowns of the plants so they don't rot.
Now for the bad..
Two pine trees, one they ignore, one they mulch??
Nit picky?  Maybe.  I don’t like that they dumped small pieces behind the wall or that they stacked small pieces on top of the wall.  Just ask me where I want them instead of leaving me more work!  I asked did they need another pallet of stone, no he said.  Yes! they did so that the top stones would be large ones.  I'd rather have extra left over than this.  I told them they would need to back fill in a few spots, no they said we won’t.  Guess what, yeah it needs to be back filled which means us hauling dirt from the pile..Oh yeah about that pile.


They said there wouldn’t be much dirt and sod, they said we could reuse the sod because they were using a sod cutter. Next they asked where to put the extra dirt.  The back corner I said, but don’t leave a huge pile as Cooper runs back there. Oh no we won’t do that,  I was told that they were going to rake it out but when faced with the task, they asked if they could use our tractor to take care of it.  Seriously??  So now Randy will be cleaning up that mess, the driveway mess.

I had asked for them to remove the pachysandra and been told yes, but then when I brought it up was told that he hadn’t planned on doing that but would mulch I said that makes no sense!  The weeds and the pachysandra need to come out before spreading mulch. (Not that I was jazzed at the idea of them spreading mulch in this bed after the fiasco in the front!)
So and Randy took care of removing the pachysandra in about 10 minutes.
The good…
The beds that were edged, that didn’t have many plants were mulched nicely and look fantastic.  The two maples they planted are great too.
He had a great idea and transplanted a bunch of my ostrich ferns to ensconce the fire pit.  They were so pretty waving in the breeze and I like that it softens the wall and I love the smell of ferns!
Wow, wow, wow!  This area is totally transformed and I love it.  Yes I can still see the heat pumps peeking through those poor azaleas that have been eating to death by the deer but hopefully they will leaf out some more.  I love the border, I love the plantings I just love all of it!  I have hated staring at that wall for years!
This border is wonderful, not happy with a few bits and pieces of it, but overall this turned out great and does what I needed; it makes it easier to mow around, will keep the mulch in and looks nice!

What I’ve learned from all of this is that it can be a landscaper, landscape designer or even a landscape architect.  It doesn’t seem to matter at all who I call, it all ends the same way, me just not being completely happy, especially with mulching.  I get it really I do, no one and I mean no one (except maybe my Mom!) is going to do things the way I do.  I’ve often joked that I learned gardening through osmosis, as my Mom had me in the dirt as far back as I can remember.  I’ve worked at nurseries and I’ve gardened to some extent for at least the last 30 years of my life, so I’ve got a some experience in this world.  If it’s a plain bed that has few plants, a new bed with no plants, or a need for transplants of big plants, you are probably safe. Get into detail mulching, cleaning out of beds and specific garden goals and in all seriousness, you are just better off doing it yourself.  I was so happy to get help to take care of things that I just didn’t have time to take care of.  Now I’ve got less time because I’ve got to fix the things that got messed up by the people I paid to do it right..
Lesson, seriously, learned!

Let’s try this…again???

you’re insane you realize that?  you are going to bring someone in to do work in your garden after the last time???

There are some jobs that are just too big for me to do alone and while Randy will help when he can, I can’t continue to wait.  I need to get things moving forward so that I can get moving forward at a quicker pace!  So I went looking for someone to do a few jobs around here that I just can’t do alone and that I just can’t wait on anymore.  I met him today, a very nice, young man and I’m hopeful!


Monster job number one.  Build a lovely multicourse field stone wall from one end of the deck to the other side of the sun room.  This requires digging down and putting a nice base of crush and run and then building the wall, like 75’ in length.  When he’s done it will be one nice half circle that will be easy to mow around and that the mulch will stay in.


Job number two another lovely field stone wall running from the deer fence to the back corner of the house.  He’s going to transplant all the azaleas from the front to this area and add a few more plants to hide those heat pumps.  When I’m sitting in the gazebo or by the pond I won’t be looking at that sad spot anymore and no longer will I have to battle the weeds and grass!


See all these lovely ostrich ferns.  He’s going to move them for me, he came up with an idea and Randy liked it.  He said he’d never thought of doing that and that if I’d suggested it, he probably would have said no.  He’s going to take all of these and create a bed around the fire pit, intriguing…

In addition to these 3 tiny little projects, he’s taking on the big boys up front too. He’s going to weed, edge and mulch all of the beds out there.  He’s going to clean up the bed that the azaleas are coming out of and and plant some lovely ornamental Japanese maples in there.  (Low maintenance, I like it.) I told him if this works out, I’ll keep him busy for a very, very long time and I meant it!  I’ve got other large plants that I’d love to move and other ideas I’d love to bring to fruition.  Getting someone here that I can work with and feel comfortable around would be fantastic.

So here. We. Go..  again…

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekend workings..


what you should do is move everything from the front yard to the back

That little voice that gets me into big trouble is at it again. Each time I go out front to do anything I see all the plants that are on these islands that are here and there and I think, you know, I’d really love to get rid of most of these islands…

Friday I worked on moving more hosta to the back, I have since found more that have to be relocated, as well as a few other plants. 


This is how things were shaping up on Friday.  Hosta and ragwort had been placed along my log edging. I can see it in my mind with the hosta growing large and proud gracefully draping over the edge, the ragwort filling in and blooming with it pretty little daisy like flowers….

Sorry, I got day dreamy there for a second, my mom gave me a tray of iris plants and I got those planted on Friday.  I have no idea what color they will be, but I like happy surprises like that.  This area by the pond is starting to fill in very nicely I like seeing plants spreading on their own.


Saturday it was raw, cloudy and it was supposed to rain and so I didn’t go out.  Of course the rain didn’t come till Saturday night, so basically I lost a day and had to attempt to make up for lost time on Sunday.  As soon as it hit 40 I was in my layers and out the door.


The collecting of limbs and logs from inside the fence was priority number one for me.  I’ve been scanning the woods and see plenty that I can go and collect that are outside the fence line. I need a power cart!  When Randy made it outside he went to work on grinding sticks and bringing the chips over to spread along the path. (It might take years to cover the paths, but it isn’t like we are going to run out of sticks) 


I moved the rocks from the path edge to use where I have flowers planted in the woods.  They get bumped with the cart too much to leave them close to where it rolls but in side the planting areas they will be safe.  I’m still contemplating what to do with the leaves.  (Leave them or use my shredder to shred and then re-spread)


In an attempt to follow the plan we had drawn up (at least a little) last year, the path is supposed to fork off and give access to the yard again.  So here is that in the works, I’ve got some scrub shrubs to take down on the right hand side.  I’m however in no rush to take away all the perch and hide places for the birds, since the feeders are right there on the left.  Once I get a couple of evergreens over there, I’ll be more inclined to cut down the weedy stuff.


This is just one of those things that makes me smile.  The deer eat these and leave nothing, so seeing them as real plants and knowing that I might get to see blooms is very encouraging. 

Cooper worked harder than anyone out there today..


                  I think that’s what dog tired looks like….