Sunday, July 31, 2011

Not All Roses

While many plants refused to grow in our cool wet July weather weather, the roses didn't seem to mind. I was surprised that even the foliage looks pretty this year; no black spot or mildew.

The shady path is magnificent. I love, love, love these white astilbe and plan to plant more on the opposite side of the path to balance the view of the path from the deck.

Most of the hydrangeas are lacking blooms and it was actually 'touch and go' as to whether or not some of them survived the winter. But these two guardians of the gate are as lavish in bloom as ever. The climbing one smells SO good on a sunny day.

Of course my fern garden is flourishing in this cool July. I visited Lakewold Gardens, south of Tacoma and got some good ideas for adding to this area; possibly a moss covered rock or log.

Planting these Orienpet lilies in the pots at the top of the rockery steps was a capital idea. When there is a slight breeze I can smell their spicy, green apple scent from our deck. Just in case you think my gardens are all pretty and weed free, I had to post pictures of one of my 'work in progress' areas;

This is Bishop's Weed, also known as Goutweed. It is in a border that is not readily visible from our deck. I did like the way it lightened this corner of the lot but it has overreached it's boundaries and is now an unwelcome guest. Go here to read an amusing and honest gardener give her opinion of Bishop's Weed.

This is some recently recovered area and I will watch it like a hawk for the return of the Bishop's Weed. I know this will be an uphill battle.

As For the Vegetables....

Nothing is as lush or abundant as it should be. At this time last year the beans were up to the deck. This year they are no more than a foot tall. Of course I had to start them twice as the first batch were cleanly nipped off by slugs or snails.

Itsy bitsy pumpkins; good thing I do not need them to make Jack o' Lanterns!

The chard was better than usual; sweet and slow to bolt.

Even in the vegetable world, blossoms are captivating.

A fair amount of tomatoes on each of my 4 bushes, but the million dollar question is: "Will they ripen?"

Peppers do best in pots for me. I started them from seed in April and in spite of the cool weather, I feel rewarded. I am not sure just how hot or what type this is; banana peppers, maybe? I bought a packet of mixed seed.

Now these plump peppers are an Italian heirloom pepper given to me by my neighbor and friend, Erin. I will save the seeds and plant more next spring. Aren't they cute? they bring to mind a childhood memory; when I was a kid our family would sometimes go to a supper club for dinner. The one I remember best is Shaffer Park Supper Club in Crivitz, WI. Our family of seven would be camping for a week or more at Sandstone Campground, a family place for employees of Wisc. Public Service and it was a VERY big deal to shower, dress up, and take the boat down the Peshtigo River, or go by car, to Shaffers for a chicken dinner. Taking the boat was definitely more unique and exciting. Waiting for that chicken dinner could be L-O-N-G, especially if you were a kid. The relish tray and bread sticks (Grissini; but what did I know then?!) needed replenishing at least once. Now let me get back to those peppers. On the relish tray were these wonderfully juicy and salty and not too spicy peppers. They looked exactly like the ones growing on my pepper plants. Maybe it is time for me to dust off my canning jars.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


My birthday, July 2nd is halfway to the new year. Yes, 182.5 days before Jan.1 and 182.5 days after. It always reminds me that I can choose to look at life with a half empty or half full philosophy and half full is what I strive for. This July 2nd was lovely and warm with blue skies and a breeze. I took no pictures in Paulsbo where I sat on the patio of Paulsbohemian Coffee shop in a funky wooden deck chair and read my book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When I wasn't absorbed in the mystery I could look up and see sailboats skimming across the water and hear the cling clang of the ropes against the masts of the boats in the marina below the coffee shop. Chris hung his paintings inside the shop. I think I had the better end of the deal; a book in hand and sunshine on my knees. Then on we went to Port Townsend and I resisted taking yet more photos of the Victorian houses., I had done that enough on my last visit in 2009. But I did go on the gallery walk in town. The blue skies turned to gray and the pleasant breeze became a chilly wind in the late afternoon. July 3rd the gray skies were back and I was glad I had my jacket when we walked through Chetzemoka Park. The poem at the end of this post was on a sign in the park. The last stanza of the poem is my favorite. It explains the reason why the Gunnera that I am standing in front of is so immense. You almost expect a dinosaur to come galumphing from behind the leaves!

This is a trellis that supports about 4 different colors of climbing roses.

This section of the landscaping was a gift from Vancouver, BC, Canada.

A lot of rain makes for ENORMOUS leaves on this Gunnera.

Gazebos as big as this always make me think of the Sound of Music.

Wonderful views!

Mary Lou Sanelli

July Morning, Chetzemoka Park

I like to sit in the swing, the one closest to the sandbox
where toddlers play, their mothers sitting on the rim
chatting up preschools, the latest movie at The Rose.
As morning strolls toward noon, one will brush the sand
off her child and the others will follow suit.
I love the oneness I feel with this park,
though, today, a woman walks by and throws me
a glance that shoots a blunt arrow into my calm.
It is appropriate to say I am cut
from her life but that’s another small-town poem

If I have a day without duties, I like to lie on my back
looking up at a maze of clouds that give shape
to a puffy clan of faces I try to name.
One looks like my Uncle Pete
the morning after a poker game.
This is when I find myself
overcome by happiness, when an afternoon
stretches out before me empty as sky. When rocking
in a wooden swing and watching the crows
is more than enough work for one day.
By the gazebo, a friend mows the lawn
and waves to me because when I think of it
we’ve known each other a decade now
plus a few years.

This park, beach-bound and camouflaged
in cedar wraps me in its arms and laughs.
In this state of mind I resist all I know
of fall, winter, persistent parts of spring.
When sunless skies define what is real, I remind myself,
when you live in a luxury of water. Of rivers, rain,
lakes and sea. Where, if a city park could speak
it would say, Girl, rain is the very reason
I am as ravishing as this.