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New Plants!

Gloating over Plants on a Sunny Morn


Whose plants these are I know I bought

Our homes are in the country here;

They all will see me planting now

To watch my yard fill up with blooms.


My noisy dogs don’t think it queer

To see me outside, oh so near

Between the woods and sunny yard.

The brightest morning yet this year.


They bark to see the cat run by

To say my space – our space – get gone!

The only other sound’s the call

Of chirping birds and passing cars.


The beds are empty, dark and dull,

But I have flowers bright to plant,

And holes to dig before I sleep,

And holes to dig before I sleep.

With apologies to Robert Frost and many, many thanks to the Spring Plant Sale at the South Carolina Botanical Garden. I should also like to point out that not all of the flowers are for me!

Puppy Break!

Last weekend was cold and rainy, I took a break from gardening tasks and had a double feature of puppies

First, my god-dog Willow who has quadrupled in size in the short 7 weeks she has been with Tom and AnnaS. She is a mini-goldendoodle multigen cross who is supposed to grow to 30-40 pound size. This was a biggie: Willow’s first playdate with my pups after finishing all of her shots. She wasn’t too sure about playing with my 2 but did work up to an aborted feint or two by the time she left. When I keep her while her parents travel, I am sure the dogs will have enough time to work out their play signals.

willow march 2014

Visit 2 e

This is Frisco – who I refer to as a micro-goldendoodle. He comes in just under 10 pounds, and was supposed to have been in the 30-40 pound range. He had quite an unsettling experience before we left. Five deer crossed the property and Frisco took off after them into the woods. With his long and very fuzzy coat, he quickly became entangled in a briar patch to the point he was immobilized. Lynne had to go into the briar patch to bring him out . We literally had to cut the briars off of him; he couldn’t even straighten up, poor thing.

He is shown here with one of my long-term fosters, Nala.  She actually outweighed him. All that fur does make him look much bigger than he is.

frisco and nala

The highlight of my puppy tour: LynneP’s 2 six week old goldendoodle multigens Scarlette and Ruby. They are both female and should in time give a great start to LynneP’s mini goldendoodle line. Someone could make a fortune designing a stasis box, so you could keep them forever at this cute stage.


PS: five flats of 4 inch pots started today, more hellebores, Rudbeckia and the alleged creeping phlox – which is actually a wildflower I think.

Week 2 of the Spring Gardening Frenzy

We are having nights with frost, but some warm 70s kind of days that make me believe that spring WILL come.

Last week’s post was delayed, for lack of  pictures. My phone died: it did not seem to care for the swimming lessons it was offered in either the wash or rinse cycle. The new phone has been to the house three times – according to the slips FedEx has left – but has stayed on the truck. The last notice was taped directly on top of the previous notice I had signed in black ink as instructed. I still have no phone but hope to catch up with the new one next week.  It is currently residing about an hour away in Greenville and I refuse to drive that far. I borrowed DonnaW’s camera.

I have processed most of a truckload of branches into suitably sized lengths, taking care that each end is near a node, scraping off the outer surface at the bottom to get to the nice, green cambium layer, dipping the bottom end in rooting compound, placing each into a dibbled hole in my new sand growing bed, or in a water filled jar in my south facing kitchen window. Through this entire process, one has to remember which end is up. This is a challenging task sometimes; unknowns are tossed. It certainly feels like hundreds worth of cuttings, but is probably really only dozens and dozens worth.

Since the labor to pot up each of these bizillion segments is going to be significant, I am trying a sand bed for rooting for the first time. The sand was leftover from  DonnaW’s dome construction; I am praying it has no nasty contents that would be harsh on tender new growth. I scrounged the landscape timbers from previous use as bed edging and had a roll of nursery-grade landscape fabric just waiting for use. A quick trip to Lowes yielded some slender strips of woods that I intend to tack the row covers onto, to provide some wind and frost protection.

New Sand Bed

New sand bed for propagation


The sand bed is currently 16 foot long, of which 14 feet are in use. I will have add more space to finish up the last of the truckload of cuttings. I am becoming a Hydrangea Queen, if this year’s grow as well as the previous ones did.

My house is a disaster. It has been way too cold to work outside this winter, so I work indoors. I use the kitchen and DR to prepare cuttings and to pot up small plants that will fit in a 4 inch pot. These Hellebores/Lenten Roses, and Montauk daisies are in my bedroom, as the windows face south and west. I am using outdoor-rated light rope to provide bottom heat  and hopefully fake the little buggers into believing that it is spring and to grow, Grow, GROW. Waiting for transfer to 4 inch pots are Autumn Joy sedum, Green and Gold, more Hellebores and something that looks like creeping phlox to me. I hope it is, I have several slopes I would love to cover and so not have to mow.

Crime Wave?

Well, glad I keep a close eye on my accounts, as I found an unknown charge on my credit card for $525. I have called to take care of it, but unfortunately the current number has now been cancelled and I will get a new card soon. I am in Virginia and the card will be sent to my billing address in South Carolina. I have a debit card, so I can get home okay, but it is frustrating. I really liked that card number – yes I am a number geek, my degree was math – it was almost palindromic, so I easily memorized it years ago. I doubt that I will be so lucky again. The woman who took my call was very nice, and sympathetic, about it. I have not been using the card much the past 2 months, but who can guess what might have been hacked to get the number. I suppose it might have been Target, as I have shopped in a store but not online with the card. This was odd, the purchase location was a law enforcement supplies place – and the woman who helped me said it was non-durable goods. We couldn’t figure what it could be. Last time I had to switch cards was about ten years ago, so that’s not too bad, and they will credit my account after I fill out the form they are sending me. Worse things could have happened, but I hate being a victim.

Back Early and Safe

What a day! I had planned to spend today priming and painting the second bedroom on Roanoke. I came in to Roanoke knowing rainy weather was on the way for Monday, and I was staying aware. The forecast changed to snow, 2 to 4 inches, and I still thought that would be okay. I was out to McD’s for breakfast and wi-fi and watched the big wet flakes coming down, not too bad. By noon it was starting to stick to the road and still saying 2 to 4 more inches, plus continuing into Tuesday, with a large band coming across TN. I decided to leave early and head straight south, figuring they usually keep Rt 220 cleared and I’d be out of the snow fairly soon. Unfortunately I had just started a load of laundry and had to wait for that, besides pack the car. It was really bad when I finally left, slipping down my narrow driveway between the concrete walls – no scraping, though. The main roads were not cleared, but I figured I’d be okay – it got worse, was not even plowed on rt 220, and someone got stuck and blocked traffic for a while, then I almost got stuck in the same spot as I tried to get momentum going up the hill. Wished I’d had the 4×4. It took nearly 2 hours to drive 60 miles out of the snow and icy rain, but after that, I had no problems. I am very glad to be back in warmer Seneca.

near Tanglewood Mall

along Franklin Rd near Tanglewood Mall

on rt220 just so of Tanglewood

on Rt 220 just past Tanglewood

half an hour later and still in Roanoke Co

Still in Roanoke County on Rt 220. Everyone is staying in one set of tracks.

fifty miles and over an hour later

Finally out of freezing stuff near Martinsville. Quite a difference a short distance south.

Two More Inspections Passed

We passed inspection of both electrical and plumbing rough-ins. The crew has been busy with drywall on the bedroom ceiling and walls. Earlier this week they worked on the seams of the drywall on the shell.

The bathroom window is installed and I got a good surprise – I’d forgotten I ordered it with frosted glass on the bottom sash. I won’t have to tack up a sheet until I get a blind for it, frosted glass will be enough for a little while. I figure a blind will help with blocking heat, keeping it inside in winter and outside in summer, plus it will absorb sound echoes in a room with little furnishings like a bathroom.

frosted window

frosted window

More rain Friday and Saturday, then expect it again on Monday and Tuesday. I am so glad the crew has plenty to do inside now. It will soon be time for painting. I plan to use a neutral wall color and accent with blue. I like a couple of gray shades, may put a lighter shade in the bath and medium in the main dome. With white and black cabinets and furniture, that should pull it together. It won’t be as saturated as I like, but it will look very good. We’ve explored a tile store and have dreams of gorgeous (and very expensive) tile baths and back splashes. My kitchen is small enough that it might get a fancy tile. The bath will probably only get a stripe of the glass tiles. My floors throughout will remain concrete, but it will be painted with epoxy paint and have the paint chips for a spot of color. If this holds up well in garages, I figure it should do very well inside a house.

I have a special item, a small spot beside the bathroom is the back of a triangular space behind the kitchen stove and dishwasher, and it will be a broom closet. Below it are wiring and pipes, but it is tall, so handles will fit in all right. A little niche will be more convenient than digging into the coat closet, and it will have a door to hide it.

Broom Closet

Broom closet next to electrical panel

Waiting for Spring

A note from the resident gardener here. In the sparse days of balmy weather this February, I have been working outside. A few weeks ago I had the posts put in to make rustic cedar fences on either side of the driveway entry. The cedar had been saved from trees on site that needed limbing […]