Challenges and Triumphs

The rail pots have been a disappointment. We used old dirt and nothing is growing like it should, despite watering, pruning, and fertilizing. We were hoping by this time, end of July, that everything would be spilling over both sides and a foot tall. At least it does offer a little color.
AND, I ate my first home-grown tomato today, July 24, from our first ever tomato plant. It was just as good as I imagined it would be the day I planted it. And there are LOTS more where those came from.

Waiting on tomatoes...

We have an abundance of tomatoes on the first tomato plant I've ever grown! Apparently, because of all the rain we've had this spring and summer, the tomatoes are slow to ripen, but I can't wait until they do! Meanwhile, I'm thinking of trying some fried green tomatoes.



The lilies are on their last gasp, but the hibiscus are taking their place, and the roses are producing new blooms daily. It's such a pretty time of year, even though it's too hot to be outside until evening.


Happy 4th! God Bless America!

It rained the weekend of the 4th, but Saturday was perfect weather and we sat on our front steps and watched a glorious display all around us, thanks to our neighbors to the north, south, east, and west!

Backyard views

The roses are doing well, as is the little barberry bush my dad gave us from his overrun. My tomato plant is halfway up the trellis and has 10 lovely green tomatoes on it. I'm so excited and wonder why I didn't plant a tomato every summer of my life!

The day lilies have loved my attention (deadheading to prolong their blooming season...it works!) We're now pretty much in the maintenance phase for this summer.
Sadly, the apple tree has been struck by some sort of bug or worm this year. It has apples, but they don't look good. We may have to spray next year, much as we'd rather not.

The entryway garden is finished!

Before we left on vacation mid-June, we were able to get the entryway finished, including taking out the sad Japanese maple that didn't survive. We found a Profusion Crabapple on sale at Home Depot, and they replaced our tree for free. Still, we feel a little discouraged that we just haven't been able to get a Japanese maple to thrive at either of our homes! Still, we're very happy with how the entry garden came out—for very little money (thanks to free mulch, and using flowerpots we already had).

We're happy that all the plants we transplanted (that were growing in the entry garden when we moved in) are thriving in their new spots. The Japanese magnolia (tulip tree) is our favorite transplant because moving it revealed the brickwork on the porch, and in its new spot, it hides the utilities on the side of the house, as well as the neighbor's trash can. (You can see the magnolia—a bit shorter for our pruning—at the left corner of the house in the last photo below.) 





Welcome Mat

We bought a new welcome mat yesterday. A little "funkier" than what I would normally choose, but like I told my husband, I felt like this mat reflected what's inside our house better than the others I considered. And I love it! So bright and cheery and picks up the colors of the front door and the flowers. No regrets.

Cosmos

I've fallen hard for Cosmos! These are the cheeriest flowers and they just don't stop blooming! I love the color combination we bought, too...white and shades of pink from pale to magenta! We planted some Cosmos seeds—a beautiful orange variety that some complete strangers gave us after we admired them in their yard last year! We think they're coming up, but no blooms yet. Time will tell... 



In honor of all those who gave their lives. Our deepest thanks.


Checkmate

 Recent rains (and a judicious trim) have the checkerboard patio looking great. The sedum we planted in the row near the house is slowly filling in too. Next year, though, we'll know better than letting the autumn leaves lie on the patio and lawn all winter. The grass there really suffered and has taken a while to recover.

Rain, rain, and more rain

 May 24 and it has rained and rained and rained some more. We've never seen the creek so full or the back yard so soggy! Not complaining. It's wonderful to have all the moisture, but we'd be happy to send some of it to California and other climes that need it worse than we do.

A Kansas Thunderstorm

There is no sweeter music than a Kansas thunderstorm...as long as it's not accompanied by hail or tornadoes, of course! We had one of those gentle rain/low-rumbling distant thunder storms today, May 9, and I captured it on this video:
video
Only yesterday I was out on the deck working. Makes a lovely office when there's no rain.



A big pile of dirt

May 8, and we're still working on the front entry, trying to get all the rocks out of the dirt, and dig the bed down to a reasonable depth so water can drain and the mulch won't float away. It seems to be one of those things that has to get worse before it can get better. But we're getting there. If we hold the camera in the right place, you'd never even know the spot wasn't finished.
 The goal is to get this flower cart parked in the entry garden on the mulch so it won't have to be moved when we mow.
 Look how wonderfully the Japanese Magnolia has adapted to its new home! We are so thrilled about that, and can see that it will be a great spot for it—creating a screen that will hide the utilities on the side of the house...and our view of the neighbors' trash can.
 The front porch pots are doing well and provide a colorful welcome to visitors.

Flowers!

Mid-April and finally we feel like we can get our flowers in the pots without too much danger of frost. Things are greening up so beautifully, and we're loving having windows open, birds singing, geese squawking, and life all joy!
We always go back to our small town when they have their flat sale. Stone Creek Nursery, Hesston, KS is the best!


The first pots of summer

I am SOOO eager to get the rest of the flowerpots planted, but it's a little early, even for Kansas. Even though it was 84 degrees yesterday and 75 today, we have cooler weather on the way and I'll likely need to bring these pots inside at night for a few days. Typical, fickle spring in Kansas.

April Fool?

No, it's not snow, but it sure looked like it. Our ornamental pear tree tried to play an April Fool's joke on us and scattered tiny petals all over the yard. They gathered in the paths of the checkerboard patio and looked for all the world like frost or snow. But we knew better once the thermometer hit 84 degrees!