Vintage Settings of Silver

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)

I have always loved that verse. It taught me that my choice of words and how I deliver the words I speak matters. If carefully crafted, our communication becomes a thing of beauty. Well chosen words have the power to lift people up, bring comfort and encouragement, and remind the hearer that they are loved and special. When I hear myself being critical, or my words come out snippy, I need to take myself back to the biblical principles of communication and ask God to reset my attitude and help me communicate in a gracious manner – help me frame my words in Christ-like beauty.

Something I did this week reminded me of that verse. Let me share it with you, my friends.

I spent the better part of a day giving my little 3-season porch a good end of summer cleaning — everything from the dirt on the floor to the cobwebs on the ceiling got a bit of long overdue attention. My hubby even got involved by dealing with some big Rubbermaid bins filled with treasures he had brought home from his beloved aunt’s home. Wayne carried the bins to the garage, where he took a bit of time to sort through the contents–loads of fascinating treasures in there. Each bin was chock-full of memorabilia related to the pet shop Aunt Vera owned in her younger days. This memorabilia has fueled a passion in Wayne’s heart to blog about this very special aunt’s life. We love to visit with sweet Vera and listen to her reminisces and testimonies of God’s faithfulness throughout her life. Many difficult things have happened to her in the past, but Vera’s words are always beautiful and forgiving, apples of gold in settings of silver.

While hubby worked in the garage, I worked up a sweat on the porch. I cleaned windows, vacuumed the rug, mopped the floor, dusted and tidied. As I diligently worked, I kept picking up the same small box and moving it here to dust, and there to vacuum, then back again. The simple cardboard box with its flaps turned inward was filled with various tarnished silver pieces my thoughtful daughter had purchased for me at our local thrift store. She knew I liked to create little succulent arrangements in them, so snagged a few sugar and creamers, a baby cup, a compote (or candy dish), and a teapot. I’ve had it on my to-do list to create those arrangements all summer, so decided it was finally time to stop moving the box around and just get to it.

I harvested a few hen and chicks from my front flower beds, and immediately thought of the lovely lady named Carleigh who had given them to me. I love having plants in my garden rooted in friendship.

Next, I plunged my gloved fingertips into the soil and pulled up a little plug of a beautiful chartreuse Angelina stonecrop.

I took my garden’s little offerings to the garage where I had already filled my silver vessels with a mixture of soil and sand. I pushed the roots of my tiny plants into the soil, sprinkled a little pea gravel around them, and gave each a little drizzle of water.

A vintage silver pedestaled compote serves up succulent beauty
No need to polish the silver – the tarnish gives off an antique, faded glory vibe.
A few of my succulents in settings of silver.

Now we wait. They’re beautiful already, but when they start pushing out growth, they’ll be gorgeous.


That’s my little #SixOnSaturday thing! Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a favorite flower, a beautiful tree or bush, a perplexing garden dilema, your amazing success (or pitiful failure) at growing food…anything garden-related thing at all. You’re invited to join in on the fun and give us a peek at what’s goin’ on in your little corner of the world.

Oh! Almost forgot! Here’s my number six. Just for fun.

A succulent’s setting need not be silver…a little child’s outgrown watering can will do just fine. All six of my grandchildren carried this little watering can around at one time or another. Sweet memories.

Rain, rain, go away

It’s Saturday and time for my little Six on Saturday garden tour.

I’m almost embarassed by the title I chose for my blog today, as I know full well that there are areas of my country which desperately need the rain. I can only offer my prayers as some battle the devastation of brush fires. I wish I could send the rainclouds in their direction. It has been raining since Sunday – at times very heavy rain, now just a mist.

There was a tiny reprieve from rain this afternoon, so I went out snapped a few photos of my somewhat soggy plants before the rain started up again. As I stepped out of my front door, this beautiful zinnia was the first to greet my senses. The pot of zinnias has grown scraggly and leggy, but the rain refreshed things enough that if I just show you the tops you’ll be none the wiser as to true neglect of watering.

A beautiful orange zinnia just outside my front door

A squirrel apparently thought the garden needed a sunflower planted in an adjacent flowerbed which is nestled up to my front porch. It’s only about 4′ tall and just as cute as can be.

Just underneath the sunflower and next to a few marigolds, I have a little group of gazania planted. Rabbits had given it a crewcut earlier in the summer, but it has recovered and is just gorgeous. I understand that gazania is also called ‘Treasure Flower’ in some parts of the country. I can see why.

Gazania

A little later in the afternoon I decided I needed another break, so ventured outside once again. Still misting a bit, but pleasant enough to go barefoot and work for just a bit. I donned my gardening apron, grabbed my garden stool and an empty bin, then sidled up to a spent and mildewed peony and started cutting it back. It felt good to accomplish a task on my very long list.

I’ve got a little stand of Chelone (turtlehead) ‘Hot Lips’ growing in my front yard. It’s an amazing pink, and I had so hoped it would be prettier this year, but I must be doing something wrong. Does it need to be fed? Thinned? In a shadier spot? I don’t know, but I noticed a hummingbird in this photo which doesn’t seem to care that the flowers aren’t perfect.

See the little hummer in the photo on the left?

A couple of years ago we had a neighbor who left a couple hundred dollars worth of plants in the driveway, just languishing unattended in their pots all summer. One day in late summer we were chatting and I made a polite inquiry about the plants. She told me to take them and that if I could do anything with them, she’d be so happy. Apparently she was going through a divorce and just didn’t get around to planting them. Most of it was pitched into the compost bin, but I planted a sedum which looked to be only “mostly dead” (a nod to ‘Princess Bride’). Well, sedum ‘Maestro’ now flourishes in my sunny front flowerbed and is one of the most popular bee magnets that I have. I’ve even been able to take a division off of it to plant near the mailbox.

Sedum ‘Maestro’ and its happy buzz of bees

As I headed back indoors after my little garden photo shoot, I was momentarily waylaid by this sweet miniature rose in one of the pots on my front porch. Beautiful!

My hubby is peering out of our kitchen window and just exclaimed, “Whoa! There’s a bright light in the sky!” We haven’t seen much of that bright light in the past week, so I think I’ll go outside and slosh around in the sunshine.

Thanks for visiting my soggy, but beautiful, little slice of earth. Have a great weekend, my friends!


That’s my little #SixOnSaturday thing! Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a flower, a beautiful tree, garden friend or pest, your bountiful (or pitiful) harvest…anything at all. You’re invited to join in on the fun and give us a peek at what’s goin’ on in your little corner of the world.

Six on Saturday: Goodbye August

While there’s still beauty to be found if I look hard enough, the garden is definitely winding down.

Honestly, the older I get the faster the calendar pages turn. I feel like I just said “hello” to August and now it’s nearly gone.

It’s been hot and dry lately. So dry that we’ve set out our sprinklers to give the thirsty lawn and gardens a little drink. We get a little tease of rain here and there, but it mostly just skirts around us. The last “almost rain” we got looked like it would be a doozy, but it was just a lot of wind and thunder, with narely a drop of rain. But, that weather front did push our hot weather out and paved the way for cooler, fall-like weather – perfect for cleaning out flowerbeds.

While there’s still beauty to be found if I look hard enough, the garden is definitely winding down. I could run around trying to get snapshots of some of the pretty stuff that’s hanging on for dear life, but thought I’d share a few of this season’s favorite garden helpers.

This gardening stool was on my Amazon giftlist. My daughter and family bought it for me as a Christmas gift. I love its simple design – sturdy and stable. It’s lightweight, yet durable. Depending upon which way you flip it, you can be seated at 9″, 12″ or 15″. Best of all, I can just hose it down to clean it up.

I think I probably use this little “Corona CT3740 eGrip Hoe/Cultivator” nearly every day during gardening season. It’s a great weed cultivator, hole digger, clod-breaker, furrow digger, can’t-do-without gardening hand tool. Hubby ordered it for me from Amazon, where you can purchase it for less than $12.

This repurposed mailbox helps me stay focused on gardening tasks in the backyard. With a fresh coat of paint and a just for fun bit of artsy embellishment (it was originally used as a prop for a skit), it houses a few handtools and a pair of gardening gloves. No more running to the garage, then being distracted by something else along my scatter-brained way.

Oh, and let me introduce you to the hardest working garden helper I have – my husband of 44 years, Wayne. Along with a never ending list of household projects, he’s been busy this summer ticking things off my garden to-do list, including replacing and leveling flagstones on my garden path.

Today’s project finds him busy cleaning a summer’s worth of cottonwood fluff and other plant debris and critter mess from our air-conditioning unit. Projects, to name just a few, have included rebuilding two of our raised garden beds, building birdhouses for me to paint, emptying and moving a compost bin, digging plants from here and moving them to there, and doing his level best to be a blessing to his wife. Seriously, what would I do without him?

Okay, room for one more “pretty” as my garden bids August adieu.

Pretty garden partners – Sedum ‘Maestro’ and good ol’ fashioned Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

There are my six, my gardening friends. Many thanks to The Propagator for hosting this weekly garden show ‘n tell.

Six on Saturday: Bees & Birdhouses

It’s the blue-skied, breezy sort of day that lures you outside to just sit a spell and enjoy summer’s final days. I’m sitting in a comfy chair on my backyard deck, enjoying the sights and sounds around me while I sip on a cup of coffee from a favorite mug and spend a little time reading my Bible.

In addition to all the usual weed pulling, deadheading, and watering, we’ve kept pretty busy this week. My hubby has been busy building birdhouses for our yard. He’s been using the lumber salvaged from our former deck in his creations. The birds don’t really care one little tweet if their new homes are decorated, but I have been enjoying getting a little artsy with painting and embellishing them. I’ve got a spot all picked out for the latest creation…a nice spot between two trees in the backyard. I’ll post a pic once it’s in place.

The latest creation needs to find a spot in our yard. The little brass bit around the entry is salvaged from a kitchen faucet we recently upgraded.

Yesterday my hubby and I went to a new eye doctor to have long overdue eye exams. Of course, COVID-19 precautions meant they are being extra careful, so we parked in a shady spot and checked-in for our appointments via phone from our car, then were instructed to wait in our car until someone came out to the car to ask the screening questions.

Waiting in the car for your eye appointment isn’t so bad. Especially if your waiting room looks like this…

Hubby’s eyes had only a minimal change since his appointment four years ago. I had been noticing changes in my distance vision since my last appointment three years ago. Things weren’t quite as crisp and sharp as they used to be. Sure enough, my eyesight had indeed changed significantly, so now I wait for new lenses for my glasses.

The sweet chair garden by my 3-season porch is filling in nicely with a little stand of phlox. You might recall that a few of my granddaughters painted this chair for me last summer. (You can read a little about this chair here too.)

Bees are happy I decided to plant a few zinnia seeds in two of our raised beds this year. I enjoy cutting the zinnias and love creating little bouquets to take to my friends at BeeHive Assisted Living and Memory Care.

I hope you enjoyed the mini six photo tour of my garden this week. Most Saturdays during gardening season I join up with blogging gardeners around the world for a virtual garden tour. Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a flower, a tree or bush, a favorite gardening tool recommendation, a gardening dilema, a cool bug or critter…anything at all. Our little show ‘n tell is hosted by The Propagator, who shares what’s going on in his amazing garden, then invites others to share as well. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just click on The Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore. I know he’d love to have you join in on the fun too.

Hello August!

One highlight of my Saturdays is joining up with blogging gardeners from all around the world for a virtual garden tour. This group called Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore. Without further ado, here are my six (okay, I know it’s Monday, but a couple of grandgirls were here visiting and grandkids trump gardening and blogging).

My sweet grandgirls – I mentioned last week that I was away from home visiting family. On one of the days (the hottest day) I took my granddaughters to nearby Illiniwek Forest Preserve and did a little impromptu photo shoot. What a lovely place.

Such a sweet time with my three lovely grandgirls

Phlox Cleanup Experiment – If you read my last gardening post, Tending the July Garden, you might recall that before I left on that trip I had tried a homemade concoction for cleaning powdery mildew off my garden phlox.

Powdery Mildew Concoction:
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Liquid Soap (I used organic Seventh Generation)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Gallon Water

I also promised I would let you know how it worked.

In this photo you can see the before and after. Pretty dramatic. Not perfect, but I was pretty impressed.

Well… here’s how it looks a week later.

I’m pretty bummed. I think I’m on the right track though. The concoction works well, but I may have been a bit too aggressive in my cleaning and managed to bruise the leaves. I will back off on the liquid soap the next time, as I think it probably disturbs the protective coating of the leaves…maybe just a couple drops. I also think it will work better if I use it when I first notice powdery mildew.

‘Tie Dye’ – On a happier and more beautiful note, my hibiscus ‘Tie Dye’ is still busy producing stunning flowers in my front yard. (And Japanese beetles are still trying their hardest to devour them.) I showed you a closeup last week, but here’s a step back to show you it in scale relative to my front porch.

Daylily season is (sadly) coming to an end, but some of my late bloomers are still putting on a pretty good show. My husband and I enjoy this little deckside patch of daylilies while we enjoy our evening meal.

Annual Regret – It’s this time of year when I lament not having planted more flowers which would provide color through the fall months. I do have zinnia, petunias, cosmos, hydrangea, and a few other late summer bloomers trying to keep the show going. Joe Pye Weed and a native aster are also doing their thing right now keeping the bees buzzing and butterflies happily flitting about.

‘Mighty Chestnut’ is one of my late blooming daylilies which provides a punch of late summer magnificence. It’s a heavy bloomer – so many scapes and SO many flowers. When it is finished blooming, I hope I will remember to take a division or two from it and get it going elsewhere.

Let me end this week’s six photo tour with this thought:

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it is our garden that is really nurturing us.”

Jenny Uglow

Tending the July Garden

The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never tended a garden. 
- Ray D. Everson

I’m away from home for a few days and envisioning weeds taking over my garden as I type and Japanese beetles treating my beautiful flowers as a sumptuous buffet.

Lily ‘Stargazer’

But time with my family trumps gardening. The garden can wait.

Right now my garden is awash in a rainbow of color. The peak of daylily season in my garden will inevitably begin to wane in the next week or two.

TOPGUNS ‘Mandarin M’elange’

A supporting actress has made its dramatic entrance in this week’s garden show: the beautiful balloon flower. The photo below captures several stages of its fascinating growth. First is the tight little pentagon-shaped bud. Then, almost overnight it seems to ‘inflate’ looking much like a balloon. As its petals unfurl, the blue-violet color begins to emerge and deepen. Then comes what I call the ‘fairy ballgown stage’ when the petals flare slightly open. Once fully open, the flower transforms into a sweetly upturned bell.

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower)

Rose mallow (hibiscus) ‘Tie Dye’ is loaded with buds this year and should provide a punch of lovely pink until autumn. Though planted by the house, these beauties garner attention from passersby. It’s a bit of a challenge keeping Japanese beetles from munching on them, but I am keeping ahead of them so far.

Rose mallow (hibiscus) ‘Tie Dye’

Last week I mentioned my problem with powdery mildew and asked for your advice. One reader suggested washing with baking soda and water, so I mixed up this concoction and gave it a whirl on my favorite phlox, ‘Glamour Girl.’
Mix together:
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Liquid Soap (I used organic Seventh Generation)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Gallon Water

Here’s a before and after – pretty dramatic cleanup, I would say. We’ll see if it works. I will give an update in a future post.

Before and After

Well, that’s my little garden tour for this Saturday. If you’d like to tour a few more gardens, check out Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. Just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read; then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find links to a variety of gardens to explore. Have fun!

Daylilies like it hot

It’s going to be downright toasty today with temps expected to reach 90 degrees – factor in the humidity and we will have a “feels like” temperature of 102. Definitely not my idea of ideal gardening weather. I think it will be a wonderful day to chill out indoors and catch up on laundry and a bit of housework, finish reading a great book (that’s due to be returned to the library), work on a sewing project and (of course) write about gardening.

It’s a perfect day to post my blogging contribution to Six on Saturday: six things in the garden on a Saturday. The “six” can be anything – a flower, a success or failure, a weed you’re hoping the worldwide community of gardeners recognizes (and knows what to do to get rid of it), a project you’re working on, a gardening book you recommend, anything at all. Join in!

My six this week will focus a bit on daylilies (again), as that’s what’s in full swing in my garden. I thought I’d show off a few of the beautiful oranges and reds.

My garden is a riot of color, but does tend to lean toward yellows, pinks and purples. I have added oranges and reds over the past few seasons to heat things up a bit. Here’s a little collage of some of my favorites this week.

I never turn down an offer of help in my garden. This week’s help was exceptionally great. First, my wonderful hubby devised a way to feature a birdhouse my grandson painted for our garden last week. Charlie seems to have inherited the artsy gene, evidenced by the sweet autumnal birch trees he chose to paint on all four sides. Hubby sunk a post near our crabapple tree, added a sturdy scrolly hanger, then later topped the post with a solar lit cap (sorry, I don’t have a photo with the light on it). Perfect!

Grandson Charlie (age 12) wowed me with this amazing birdhouse

Over the past several summers, my grandgirls have helped me paint discarded chairs to serve as artsy flower rings and decor in my flowerbeds. My friend Anne Marie recently gifted me with two old chairs which once belonged to her grandmother. Yesterday, my granddaughter Noelle spent time helping me prep one of those chairs for painting. We have a color picked out (and it’s not purple this time!), but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what it is.

What color do you think it will be?

I didn’t get a photo of Noelle’s daddy (our son Matt) helping me with an especially weedy flowerbed. He pulled in an hour or two what would have taken me several days to accomplish. I am most grateful! One thing he uncovered was this bit of Phlox paniculata ‘Glamour Girl’ which apparently needed more air space and less moisture, judging by its heavy coating of mildew. So, I need a bit of advice from you, my gardening friends. Is there some way I can salvage this otherwise beautiful plant? (please offer your advice in the comments section below)

Phlox paniculata ‘Glamour Girl’ is looking pretty sad!

I have a few red daylilies strutting their stuff this week. For the past few summers, I have been dividing some of my red Stella D’Oro daylilies and planting them here and there in the borders of my garden. Next year I plan to add some purple Stellas. I love the Stellas because they are generally loaded with blooms from early summer through killing frost. Other than cutting back the spent scapes to encourage more scapes and blossoms, it’s such an easy plant with lots of pluses.

I have three other red daylilies that I especially like. One is a very deep burgundy red, teetering on black in certain lighting. The other two are more of a cardinal red. I have been dividing and transplanting bits of these plants for a few years now and am happy with the splashes of red in the riotous palette of color that comprises my mid-summer garden.

Well, that my six (okay, I know I cheated by adding the collages). One highlight of my Saturdays is joining up with blogging gardeners from all around the world for a virtual garden tour. This group called Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore.

Six on Saturday: Daylily Magic

It’s been a busy week in the garden – lots of weeding, tree and bush trimming, moving a few plants around, and snapping photos. Lots of photos. How do I choose just six for this week’s installment of ‘Six on Saturday’? Well, I guess I’ll start with an updated photo of one of my (new this summer) purple garden chairs.

The purple chair’s seat is filling in nicely with this show-stopper of a daylily (I’m pretty sure it’s ‘Elegant Candy’).

My granddaughter spent time with me last week helping me with a great deal of weeding. It was the push that I needed to continue making progress. Yesterday was spent weeding (a 55g bin filled to overflowing) and trimming overgrown bushes. My gardening muscles ached when I went to bed, but I slept well.

I have a hard time answering the question, “So, what’s your favorite color flower?” It pretty much depends on what is blooming at the time, but I know that I do love to plant splashes of yellow throughout my gardens. I’m really loving this little stand of yellow daylilies happily thriving under the dappled shade provided by our locust tree.

This deep fuchsia pink daylily and blue-green hosta combo nearly took my breath away with its beauty.

But I’ve been adding some hot colors to the garden in the past few years. This orange daylily ‘Tuscawilla Tigress’ is a new favorite.

Then again, there’s this coral beauty (forgot the name).

Ooooh! But, then there are so many charming pink daylilies too!

I go by the blogger name of ‘Barefoot Lily Lady’ and I think you can guess why. I find it fun to participate with gardeners from all around the world who invite people to virtual tours of their gardens every Saturday. The group is called Six on Saturday and is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly, six photos at a time show ‘n tell. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just click on the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore.

July Gardening – Time for Daylilies to Shine

It has been sheer joy to be in my garden during the beautiful month of June. It has been a few years since I’ve had this much time to play in the dirt. There’s plenty left to do, but they are looking more cared for than they have in a long time.

Momma moved to heaven in May, so being able to tend to the minutiae of my flowerbeds without the extra responsibility of caregiving has been cathartic and heart healing. As I pull weeds with my mom’s favorite garden tool, I think of how much my mom loved to weed gardens. When I don her gardening hat, I see myself looking a little bit more like the remarkable woman my mom was. Flowers that I transplanted from her garden are now blooming in mine and my heart is reminded of her once again. It is so very comforting and beneficial.

Momma in her gardening hat – 2018

Now it is July and the month when my garden explodes with daylily wonderfulness. A few of my daylilies are opening, but many more are standing in the wings with bud-laden scapes, ready to burst into glorious blossom. Oftentimes I look at lilies and I think of a passage in scripture (Matthew 6:25-34) which reminds me I am under God’s care and that there is nothing to be anxious about. I especially love this bit:

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Matthew 6:28-29
Stella de Oro ‘Happy Returns’

Yellow is such a happy color. I love to sprinkle it liberally throughout my flowerbeds. Stella de Oro ‘Happy Returns’ daylily is one of my favorites. A front of the border reliable rebloomer, it stands about 12 inches tall and boasts almost a continuous blooming habit from spring until frost, especially if spent flower scapes are cut back. It comes in many colors, but I think yellow is my favorite (although ‘Ruby Red’ runs a very close second).

Second-hand birdhouse with a fresh coat of paint

Hubby and I stopped at a Goodwill store in Wausau in the Rib Mountain area. Best. Goodwill. Ever! We admired how nicely displayed everything in the store was, how clean and tidy, clearly marked social distancing, friendly staff – you name it, this store was doing it right. Wayne found a birdhouse (see above) that he thought I might like to spruce up a bit. We bought it ($2.99), I (re)painted it, and it has found its place in my yard and is already attracting the attention of potential tenants.

Most of my hostas are flowering now. Isn’t this one sweet?

First zinnia to bloom this summer.

We have three small raised beds – about 4’x4′ each. One of the beds is devoted to strawberries, and the other two have typically been for a few veggies. Other than a single tomato plant, I decided that we’d give vegetable gardening a rest this year and plant zinnias. When I got home from a little holiday weekend today, I was happy to see one lovely pink zinnia had opened.

My guy chose me as his wife 44 years ago when we married on July 3, 1976. I’m thankful for Wayne in so many ways, including his support of my barefoot gardening endeavors.

I’m also thankful to be part of a group of gardeners from all around the world who can be found walking around their gardens snapping photos to post every Saturday. The group is called Six on Saturday and is hosted by The Propagator, who provides the inspiration and forum for a weekly tour of gardens – six photos at a time. If you’d like to take a peek at the gardens too, just hop on over to the Propagator’s site and give his weekly post a read, then scroll on down to the comments section where you’ll find loads of links to explore. See you next week for another six.

Six on Saturday: It’s a Dirty Job

It’s midnight. Given all the time I’ve spent the past few days in my garden, you’d think I’d be sleeping. This week has found me out in my garden tidying up flowerbeds. The casual passerby probably won’t notice what I accomplished, but I see it in the little things. Buckets and bins full of weeds and garden debris. Dead branches trimmed out of trees and bushes (courtesy of my wonderful husband). Spent peony blossoms removed. Bits of this and that moved here and there. Korean lilac bushes trimmed back by a third. Flowerbeds weeded and mulched. There’s much more to do, but it feels so good to see progress. Without further ado, here are my six:

  1. This week I’m seeing Japanese iris blooming. They always seem to wait until their German bearded iris and Siberian iris cousins are finished blooming before they unfurl their lovely petals. This one is my favorite and it looks adorable next to my painted mailbox (I keep a spare set of garden hand tools in there). The purple is not as vibrant as it was last year, but they are still gorgeous.

2) There’s a cute not-so-little backyard garden center on the edge of a nearby town. The lady pots up divisions of her perennials and sells them for $5 each. I try to visit her each Spring and bring home a new treasure (or two or three). Last year I added this lovely bit on the front edge of a very sunny front yard flowerbed. It has doubled in size, has very interesting and attractive crinkled foliage, and is loaded with flower spikes in the prettiest shade of purple. I think I’d like to add a few more of these to my garden next year (might even be able to divide this one).

Stachys monieri Hummelo –

3) I volunteered some time earlier in the week to tidying up the gardens at BeeHive, the assisted living memory care facility where my mom lived for the last year of her life. I was trimming up a dwarf crabapple tree and found this sweet little robin’s nest with three napping babies.

Snuck a quick photo while Momma Robin was out shopping for breakfast.

4). My clematis vines on my arbor entrance to the backyard are definitely climbing and just might meet up in the middle by summer’s end. The pink clematis on the left is ‘Princess Diana’, a lovely bell-shaped rebloomer. I should have trained it to the trellis earlier, as doing so now might damage some of the blossoms. I’m still not sure what the purple one on the right is called, but it’s a transplant from my mom’s garden in Milwaukee and I’m just happy it’s thriving and blooming at relatively the same time as ‘Princess Diana’.

I’m considering painting the arbor next year. It’s about 15 years old, but still in good shape; however, it seems to be made of 2 different metals, which are aging differently too. As you might have noticed in previous SOS posts, I’ve painted a lot of things purple as garden accents, but am unsure what I’d do with this. Should I leave it more neutral, or give the arbor a punch of color? (Please leave a comment below if you’d like to weigh in and help me decide.)

5) The surprise Asiatic lily bulb (a surprise only because I forgot that I planted it last fall and had NO IDEA what color it was) is now open. Definitely a pretty shade or orange.

6) And what would a garden be without lush greenery? I’m loving how much this hosta bed next to the deck on the north side of my house is filling out this year.

That completes my better late than never “Six on Saturday” post for this week. Here’s my invitation to join with me and gardeners from all around the world who post photos (words optional) of six things in the garden on a Saturday. Let me tip my hat to The Propagator, the creator of Six on Saturday, who provides the forum for gardeners to virtually traipse through one another’s gardens every week. It’s a lovely way to show off our gardens (both the pretty and the yummy), share knowledge, and even glean some advice for how to deal with our garden failures. Have a great week, friends.