Today is my first day as a fully vaccinated person. We were planning to have our also-vaccinated friends over to hang out on the deck and celebrate but unfortunately, they had to cancel. So, M and I changed clothes and started working on the garden.
M used the weedwhacker to trim all the tall grass along the fence line. As usual, there was much swearing. He composted and mulched the rhododendron bush in the backyard, which is just starting to flower on top. He also hauled out the heavy bag of potting soil, a task I never would've been able to do without a wheelbarrow (something we still don't own because they're pricy and take up a ton of room in the shed).
I grabbed a stiff bush, a bucket of soap and the garden hose and began the laborious process of cleaning off the dirt and grime that has grown on the deck banister. My goal is to do one or two sections a day for the next week. Ha! We'll see how that goes.
This morning's effort was particularly brutal, even though I only managed to complete one section. Not only was the work hard on my body, it was also so very sunny. And hot. And muggy. Seriously, someone just kill me now.
Hooks: The strawberry plant is looking a bit suspect. The soil has been drying out in the full sun which is why I've been watering it every day. Yet the leaves continue to appear brown and brittle. I might have to move it to a shadier spot, damn the plant tag.
I also planted the night sky petunias in two hanging baskets and hung those from the shepherd hooks. There's still two hooks open for geraniums, assuming I can find them or successfully transplant the ones from the basement.
Plants: I pulled out the two smallest banister planters from the shed and filled them with my edible herbs. One has three plants of lavender, thyme and the single stalk of cinnamon basil I was able to resurrect from the chipmunks' carnage (see at left). The other contains basil, oregano, parsley and rosemary (see top image). I placed them in full sun nearest the chairs so I can easily access them while cooking and M and I can enjoy their wonderful scents.
In the two medium white square planters (see in the center), I transplanted and staked the red pepper plants. Then I surrounded them with marigolds as companion plants to keep out the bugs. I'm actually not a fan of marigolds -- they tend to be too sunshine-y and yellow for my taste. However these are fireball marigolds (tagetes patula), which should bloom from early summer to mid-fall. According to Park Seed, the plant's big double blooms should start as a rich shade of red and then mature to orange, bronze and gold.
Weather: Low 67/High 89 degrees (a.k.a. so fucking hot that by the time I finished I was utterly dehydrated and shaking), fair skies, 48% humidity, 3 mph wind, 24% chance of rain. UV index 6 of 10. Barometric pressure 30.09 falling. Moon phase: Waxing gibbous.
I went plant shopping today. I still plan to grow a ton of flowers from seed, flowers that will hopefully bloom later this summer. But the full flower moon -- and the last likely date for frost at night -- is next week and I just didn't want to wait.
What can I say? I'm weak.
Purchased: So many plants and I wrote a blog post about it here. But to recap, I picked up:
* red peppers
* shasta daisies
* babies breath
* night sky petunias
* white geraniums
Alas, I couldn't find any good looking red geraniums nor any chocolate mint. Boo!
Water: Once I returned home, M and I unloaded all of my new treasures from the car and put them on the back deck. Then I watered everything that looked/felt dry.
Weather: Low 64/High 86 degrees, fair, 35% humidity, 3 mph wind, 0% chance of rain. UV index 6 of 10. Barometric pressure 30.364 falling. Moon phase: Waxing gibbous.
Two years ago, I purchased a hammock for Marcus as a gift. I think he used it once the first summer and maybe once more last year. So I was surprised when he pulled it out this year and invited me to take a sway. I was more than happy to accommodate his request. Once we'd managed to climb on without incident, I closed my eyes and reveled in the sounds of nature, the cool breeze and my love beside me.
Hopefully we'll do it again soon.
Water: Watered mint, strawberries, tulips and peonies in backyard. Watered the urns in the front. Also picked up a moisture tester to help me decide if/when to water the plants. We'll see if it works (at the moment, I'm dubious).
I also put together a small water feature. It's a wide brown bowl, filled with glass rocks, water and topped with a solar-powered fountain. It's jerry-rigged as hell, but it cost me very little money, doesn't require a plumber to install and is easy to clean.
Weather: Low 51/High 76 degrees, partly cloudy, 26% humidity, 3 mph wind, 15% chance of rain. UV Index 8 of 10. Barometric pressure 30.24 falling. Moon phase: Waxing crescent.
Hooks: I set up the shepherd hooks in the backyard and transplanted the strawberries into a hanging basket. Also staked a large bronze whirligig near the hooks; it will (hopefully!) serve as both lawn decor and a deterrent for the creatures that tunnel under our yard. It's over five feet tall and the spinner is shaped like a dahlia.
Plants: Replanted the mint into medium sized brown planters and placed on the deck at the base of the stairs. Also learned from "Gardeners' World" how to take cuttings and start new mint plants. In about a week, I'll give this a try.
Pruning: M and I joined forces -- a rare occurrence since he hates the process of gardening -- to prune the bush by the mailbox and mulch the ground around it. I pointed out the dead trees/weeds from the center isle and he pulled them out. He broke down the detritus while I held open the compost bag. When we were done, the front yard looked tidy and lovely.
Water: Watered mint, strawberries, tulips and peonies in backyard. Watered the urns in the front. Also gave the dying chocolate mint a good dunk. We'll see if it helps resurrect 'em.
Weather: Low 52/High 77 degrees, partly cloudy, 16% humidity, 8 mph wind, 2% chance of rain. UV Index 7 of 10. Barometric pressure 30.17 falling. Moon phase: Waxing crescent
For the first time in more than a year, I went shopping in person rather than online. Due to the coronavirus pandemic -- and my desire to not contract the virus and die -- I've been avoiding crowds since February 2020. But now that cases are falling and I'm halfway vaccinated (2nd dose tomorrow!), I decided to take a cautious step back into the world.
M had a rare Thursday off from work so after my shift ended, we drove over to the outside gardening center at Lowes. We knew there'd be fewer customers around since it was early in the day and the middle of the week. Plus, the weather was a bit blustery and we sensed that would keep people away too. Thankfully, we were right. After donning double masks, we ventured back into the world of commerce and purchased 8 bags of mulch, a strawberry plant, some spearmint, some chocolate mint and a bunch of flowers.
The whole experience was nerve-wracking, but at least we got what we needed. And, with a great deal of willpower, I did not go crazy and buy every plant that interested me.
Hooks: Can you believe the birds and chipmunks and squirrels ate two entire feeders worth of food in just 24 hours? I guess my feeders have been missed! Time to restock.
Plants: After work today, I went outside and filled the white, ceramic urns I keep in front of our home. Last year, I planted dramatic red geraniums and bleeding hearts. This year, I opted for a softer tone, combining blue moon phlox and white opening act phlox with velvety purple petunias. The whole display looks good, if a bit uneven. Probably should've added a middle plant between the tall and short ones. Ah well, live and learn. Perhaps the petunias will grow a bit and fill that gap.