Wednesday, March 25, 2015


 Famous last words in the beauty saloon...This is the smaller of two maples in our yard and it really did need the least amount of work...only $150 worth this year. I'm trying to have shade but not so much, especially since it is the one closest to the veggie garden.
This guy, on the other hand, I had blogged about earlier in the year, needed lots of broken branch and mistletoe removal and some thinning on the east side where it hangs over our house ($750 worth). This is the finished product...we all need a nice new style in the spring! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Every year I observe an early spring ritual....the purchase of garden magazines that pop up at the check out counter at the local Fred Meyer. These magazines usually have the same themes: cottage, country, small gardens. The covers offer the lush, overblown style that makes me desperate for spring to get started in earnest here in the Rogue Valley. Meanwhile I can drool over pages of hideously flowered gardens in full bloom while my garden is barely leafing out.
Is this just a form of trowel torture? Yes! Do I really aspire to this form of lushness? Not really. So why do I fall for these slick page wonders with over the top gardens? Good question!
My rationale goes like this: "If I just get one or two ideas from this magazine, the $9.99 that I paid will be worth it. And besides, I can look at the photos during the commercial breaks of Dancing With the Stars..."
Speaking of lush and overblown, these magazines would have you believe that your vines must practically grow over your roof and encroach on your front entry, your perennials beds should be at least 20' deep,  your bedding plants should escape their borders to obscure your garden paths and your potted plant collection should number in the hundreds...oh, and your patio should be kitted out with Oriental carpets, objects d' arte and expensive upholstered furniture.
Meanwhile I'm waiting for my pressure washer to be fixed at Hubbard's Hardware (they promised it 2 weeks ago), watching my maple trees drop millions of little "butterfly" winged seeds to pile up in the gutters and witnessing the "slugsational attack" on my tulip leaves.
Yes, it's good to have a little escape into a slick paged, lush Fantasyland to keep from going mad!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


 We've added a new arbor to the garden. This one "anchors" the greenhouse into the garden scheme. It all started when I saw a photo of a potting shed with an attached trellis, lush vines sort of obscuring the lines of the building. Of course we couldn't attached anything our little plastic had to be free standing. I wanted something for clematis and possibly a rose to climb...the idea being to blend the plastic greenhouse into the garden flora. Good idea, no?
 I dug 2 postholes...the first on the right side was easy digging but I ran into a black plastic pipe about 8" down on the left side. Turned out it was the telephone company line (we discovered this after my under-gardener sniped one end of the pipe..."Oh look, there are wires coming out of it...oh drat, oh sh..t!). The next day, an appointment with the Century Link man, a much enlarged hole and some splicing cannisters and some paperwork declaring the line "abandoned," I had to move my posthole inboard about 1 foot, still allowing the greenhouse door to open fully.  I did plant the clematis and rose and painted it "boxwood" green with Miller Storm, my garden paint of choice. 
So I thought, (still not over my "bright ideas" phase), I'd paint the other arbor. Of course it has 2 clematis and a New Dawn rose fully grown on hard could it be? Several puncture wounds later, I managed to get paint on most of it and most of me.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015


 I've been doing one of my favorite things (or not)....digging post holes for yet another arbor in the garden. This is expanding clay soil on my trusty almost 40 year old garden spade. This spade is an inch shorter than when I bought it in 1987. NO kidding and I don't know how that happened! Anyway, to dig in the famous expanding clay soil of the Rogue Valley, you not only need a shovel...ya need a putty knife. It goes like this: Dig, then scrape it off into the wheelbarrow; dig, then scrape; repeat until you have a posthole, preferably 6" x 6" x 14" deep, all the while singing "Stuck on you." The good thing about our clay there a good thing? Oh yeah, it's rich, so rich in minerals that if you could garden in it you wouldn't have to use fertilizer. But of course, you can't garden in it. No matter how much compost, compost, compost, add, you'll never really get it past the pulverized marble stage. That's why I have raised beds. 
Here is some March cheer...this geranium loves the heat...the greenhouse can get up to 100 degrees on a 70 degree day, so I've had to deploy my shadecloth over the roof about a month earlier than usual. This plant just burst forth with blooms. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


 Every few years, I want a new accent colour in my garden...One year it was dark blue, then spring yellow-green (chartreuse) and this year I wanted more of a turquoise blue. I don't know why this just seems like my eye hones in on a certain color and I have to have it. Luckily for me, my under-gardener was in a spray paint mood, as I ended up finding 16 items for him to paint (not all in lagoon...!) They'll ride up with wear...or as we say in the garden world, they'll look better once we have plants around them and they are spaced out in the garden. The thing will probably be about 2 years before I can find clay pots in "lagoon." It's just this spring that I'm seeing lots of stuff in the yellow-green color I had to have in 2013. Go figure.   
We also refreshed some of 2013's green since it shows up so well against the dark slatted chain link fence I love to hate and it still goes nicely with the Goldchild ivy that I'm desperately growing all over the fence to hide it.  


I've had a couple of garden carts in my 40 plus year garden "career." But over time, they've fallen apart or proved to be less than handy. I had resorted to using our contractor wheelbarrow which defines unhandy and cumbersome. In fact, it has fallen on me or taken me over with it. The last time that happened, I left it lay, marched inside, got up the Gardener's Supply website and ordered this! I guess you could say I'd had it! $199 seemed better than a trip to the emergency room with cracked ribs. So in a short time (considering it came from snow bound Burlington, Vermont) and with the assembly help of my under-gardener, I can present this proper cart to you. Viola! as we say up here at Angel Crest Manor. (That's gardener speak for Voila!) It is wide, so I do have to be careful about the spoke hubs on the wheels. All the better not to be ramming about in the garden anyway!