Sunday, May 25, 2014

Just Some Photos

The walkway to the sheds, one of which still needs trim. That's my romaine lettuce in the bigger pot.
All work and no play makes for little news. So instead, here are some photos from the garden. There's still so far to go on the yard, but slowly but surely I can see a little progress. Every time I drag home another plant from work, Mason just rolls his eyes. But he knows it will help make our little place in the woods that much better! Have I mentioned I love plants?

Six or seven miniature roses were growing out in the front "lawn" (i.e.: dirt patch) when we moved in. I don't really love them, but I can't throw out a decent plant, so I moved them to a sunnier spot, gave them some good soil and now they seem happy. Until the deer eat their heads off.

Made this trellis out of branches. Not sure how much longer it will hold together.

We made this guy out of some scrap metal a couple of years ago when my mom visited. Wonder what we'll create when she's here visiting next week? That shrub is a Dream Catcher (kolkwitzia?). Nice lime color in part shade.

Yeah, the front beds are a serious work in progress, so don't judge me.
But that Sum and Substance hosta in the rear left? Delicious. (Note the rhododendron on the front porch waiting to be planted tomorrow. I've killed two Home Depot versions so far; hoping No. 3, from the Barn Nursery, is lucky for me.)
From front to back, that's Burgundy Glow ajuga, a teeny-weenie painted fern that's struggling (a bargain buy from work in November), then a mass of hardy geranium (macrorhizzum, my favorite),  a Japanese forest grass (the yellow thing, which still has some growing to go), a blue hosta that's got a ton of growing to go yet, and then the little Bloodgood Japanese maple I planted on the day my dad died. In the far right corner you'll see the Shasta viburnum that my co-worker Craig gave me. Trust me, it's going to be beautiful in a few years! The lawn is looking pretty lush right now; let's see how it survives the summer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It's Visiting Season

Mason was way more thrilled with these visitors than he looks here. Way to snarl, Mas! 
The bright red doors of our Flat Top mountain hovel have flung open to the first guests of 2014! Our first suckers ... I mean, guests ... were Karen Cook, aka The Keeper, aka Mason's ex-wife;  her two close and very sporting friends, Daphne and Paula; and Randy, an old running buddy of Mason's from their rowdy 20s.

This was a historic visit. Karen has opened the door to her Texas home to us many times, and is always the gracious hostess. We were super excited to finally be able to return the hospitality. We made these folks live the Flat Top life: walking Nick twice a day and spending the hours in between doing whatever they wanted -- except for Paula, who kept getting enlisted in the kitchen.

Randy is a garden freak like me, so we had lots of flora to discuss, and he went home with a small collection of goodies, including a dogwood sapling.

And each night was spent by the bonfire, including two good blazes in the new fire ring in the backyard "tiki bar" area, which yes, still has no tiki bar. (We're working on it, people.)

All four of these adventurers made the drive up here from Florida. Smartly, they spent time up here first before spending a few days relaxing on the white sands of Destin, Fla.

Next up to visit? Mom is headed this way in a week or so, and we might also score a drive-by from some Minneapolis friends who are taking a road trip.  We never would have guessed we'd lure so many friends to the wilds of Tennessee. But we're damn happy to see them all!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Derby Day

Love these azaleas. Need to buy many more!
Those who know me well know my family's tradition of celebrating the Kentucky Derby with Mint Juleps and some friendly wagering. Well, tomorrow's the big day. But the race we're running here is all about getting ready for our next round of guests willing to brave Flat Top.

Arriving Sunday are Mason's ex-wife, Karen (he refers to her as "The Keeper"), two of her close friends and Randy, one of Mason's running buddies from his 20s. They'll shack up in our shack, while Mason and I do a little camping in the back yard. Classy, eh?

The azaleas in the yard are just about done blooming, but some of the ones growing down by the creek are still going strong. Tonight I got the ferns hung on the porch, and a few annuals planted here and there for color. We also got a new fire ring dug; this one's in the back yard. Doesn't every house need two firepits?

Columbine, planted from seed.
So we'll be thinking of all you old friends on Saturday. And watch those Mint Juleps; they can sneak up on you! Cheers!

I may regret planting these anemones. ... I hope I can control them.