Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Today is Looking Rosey!

Want to know what my day was like? It was a typical busy day running at break-neck speed. After a fitful night's sleep, I drank coffee and filled two 7-day pill containers. Mark bathed the dog and I ran the blow dryer. Mark and I went to my 83 year old father's car lot for me to bid with dad on an online car auction. Daddy doesn't do computers. After volleying with some other dealers, the van we most wanted to purchase was ours for the full final two minutes until 4 seconds before closing, when some slime ball, whose name shows up as a*****e (really, you can spell asshole with his name) slipped in under the wire and took it from us without a second to spare. Usually very calm, I felt my face turn red as I wished for the good old days where you could actually see the vehicles in living color and the other bidders are polite enough to realize when one truly wants a vehicle and respects the "going, going, gone" at auction. After watching the two vehicles we were interested in slip through our fingertips, sigh, I ran an errand to the tag agency downtown, then back to the car lot to drop off a customer's new tag before heading home.

Mark and I stopped  to pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy, then finally back home. I unloaded the dishwasher and Mark put the shelves back into the clean smoker grill. I cleaned out the fridge, lots of containers of mystery leftovers, fuzzy strawberries, dried out blueberries, and moldy cheese hit the disposal. Finally, we had a late lunch of viable leftovers. Next, I followed Mark to the mechanic to drop off our SUV for new rear brakes. Back home again, we started a weeks' worth of laundry and vacuumed the house.

Just prior to dusk seems to be the magic planting time, and the roses I bought a few weeks ago are finally in the ground! I cannot wait until we have fragrant blooms to pick! Click on each to go to a link for photos and descriptions.
Climbing Blaze climbing rose
Chicago Peace hybrid tea rose
Perfume Delight hybrid tea rose
Golden Showers climbing rose

Mark also planted two of four azaleas before it got too dark to dig more holes.  I watered roses while Mark dug, then we cooked dinner and cleaned up. As soon as this is posted to my blog, I will go pack for an overnight trip to Tampa tomorrow where I have a job Wednesday and Thursday making photo mugs at the student union of a community college.

It was a normal, busy day for me.  I have friends that complain that I never return their calls. Imagine that!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back Yard Is a Blank Slate

Click on picture for larger view.
Our backyard is a blank slate. There are many very large, gorgeous trees with a 150 foot canopy that casts a grass-killing shadow over the property. Mark raked a winter's worth of fallen leaves and pine straw, filling a big trash can and TWENTY-TWO big black trash bags. He sprayed weeds - the only green in the yard, and trimmed back the only two plants in the backyard: a palmetto and a giant invasive philodendron (hate them!).

This weekend we participated in the neighborhood garage sale, cooked a smoker full of chicken legs (60) and went to a family reunion. Afterward, we went to visit my parents. On Sunday we went to church, visited an uncle's grave, had lunch with family, and went to my parents' house again. Somewhere in there, we watered all the new plants in the front yard and then Mark and I found time to start planting. Here is a list of the items we planted:
  • 3 Christmas poinsettias (2 from mom, one was mine)
  • 2 hip-high Japanese plum trees - outside each bedroom window to block light and traffic noise (mom)
  • a nice hydrangea bush (from mom's yard)
  • a skinny Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow plant that will one day be a nice, full, flowering bush (mom)
Plants we have collected but haven't planted yet:
  • 4 big azaleas - 2 pink, 2 white
  • 3 or 4 climbing roses for the back fence
  • a trumpet plant that I rooted from a cutting daddy gave me
  • a foot-tall baby dogwood, potted by momma's friend Lucille Long, now deceased
  • a couple of dozen orange blooming amaryllis bulbs (mom only wanted red ones)
  • some hibiscus cuttings I rooted from my front yard plants
  • grass seed, fertilizer, and bug killer - all to be spread eventually
Planting the rest of the items listed will be a challenge. Our neighborhood was built on what used to be a swamp. Plants and trees didn't have to go deep for water, so the surface is coated with a billion trillion roots. We cannot just pick a spot and dig a hole. Mark has to use the limb loppers with every hole he starts. It's a big fight to dig a little hole...The amaryllis will be a big pain!

We think spreading pine straw (they sell bales at Lowes) will be nicer to walk on and more cost efficient than mulch. Our idea is to make big curvy beds. I'd like to also add bunches of pretty, shade loving, mounding impatient flowers and maybe some other flowers (white periwinkles?) or an assortment of wild flower seeds or squash to fill in the empty spaces. Next year, the yard will look lovely.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's Been A Year

I want the boxwood hedge moved and transplanted with azaleas.
We sold the Apopka house and downsized into our Jacksonville home on April 2, 2013.  We had big plans to tear out the garden tub in the small master bathroom and put in a shower. We wanted to have wood like laminate flooring put down.  Those two things haven't happened yet, but we did get both bathroom ceiling fluorescent bar lights removed and pretty sconce-like lights put over the mirror in each bathroom. Mark replaced the weak exhaust fans with nice lighted ones. This sounds like an easy fix, but it included tearing into the ceiling and having to lengthen electrical wire (requiring a certified electrician for safety). Mark also hired a handyman and they worked together to raise the drop ceiling in the master bath/shower to 7' high. It's better than having to stoop, but imagine taking a shower with only 6" clearance!  I guess he's used to it. They also added a can light to the shower ceiling so we don't have to bathe in the dark.

It was a long cold winter and now that the sun has returned, we (meaning Mark) have been working on the front yard and put in azaleas, gardenias, impatients, amaryllis, grass plugs, and two citrus saplings.  It looks better, but it doesn't look like much this year.  Just wait until next year when the plants are mature!
Grass plugs should fill in quickly.  We need more!
First day amaryllis bulbs planted, a bit droopy.
The whole yard, front and back, is covered in a road map of thick tree roots and it's hard to dig even the smallest of holes to plunk a plant into the ground.  This place used to be a swamp and roots didn't have to go deep to get water.  I have more flowering plants to put in the back yard. Mark raked and raked inches deep leaves and exposed a bunch of weeds that need murdering.  After that, we (meaning Mark) plan to take large portions of the yard, especially around the edges of the fence, to be mulched with pine straw and climbing roses against the back fence, hydrangea in a low wet corner, and a variety of other pretty azaleas and stuff here and there.  We (Mark) will then spread grass seed in the unmulched areas, as the back is pretty shady and St. Augustine grass dies back there.  I hope the plants we bought will survive the mottled light. Oh, and we were gifted a fire pit and I want to put that in the yard, rocks or sand beneath it and chairs circled around.  Next fall is going to be wonderful!
Front garden, a week later, blooming amaryllis!