Where is everyone? If you aren't gardening what are you doing?

mrtulinJuly 1, 2009

My goodness, this forum is quiet! Is it because no one is able to garden? That we're so dispirited we can't even talk about or think about our gardens?

Here's what I'm doing: fiddling around with a fountain that came without an ILLUSTRATED guide. Forget about written instructions, I need a picture.

Looking at the hillside that is 100% celandine and garlic mustard. I am unable to muster up the energy to go sit in the weeds and pull, pull pull another 1,000 plants. There's poison ivy too.

Unwilling to go work in the mud anymore because I don't want to do anymore wash. I can't even dry the clothes outdoors.

Thinking about some divisions that need to be watered with rooting hormone. Who needs to run water from a tap in this weather? I'll go find some containers with rainwater and mosquito larvae.

Looking at the seven empty quart boxes that held strawberries. In my very modest effort to eat locally, I've bypassed dollar a box berries from California. At 6.50 a box, you do the math. That's a lot of money for strawberries! (worth it though. who needs meat when you'v got strawberries?)

Watching my bees multiply. If one hive started with a package of a few thousand, there's twice that now.

Remembering the mockingbird who has sung me to sleep for several evenings. Male mockingbirds, I learned, will sing all night for a mate if they haven't found one by now. I noticed the chickadee's "hi sweetie" in its song yesterday, as well as the redwinged blackbirds' squeaky door cackle.

Well, I'm a little cheered up, and a little chilly as well.

Please, share with us all some things you've been doing or thinking while gardening or not gardening in the rain.

Hey, you lurkers- come out of hiding and introduce yourselves!


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whitegarden(Z5 MA)

I'm here. I have been working on the new front garden, but with today's pouring rain, I am now internet shopping. Shouldn't, but I am. Thank goodness my garden is meant to be admired from the kitchen window, so sitting there keeps me happy.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:59AM
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I generally find myself taking the "watched pot never boils" approach these days.

I sit by the window waiting for it to stop raining. When it does, I scurry around my yard like a field mouse trying to make the most of whatever time I have before it starts raining again. Then I scurry back inside and sit, waiting, until the next storm passes by.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:31AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Marie, sounds like you've been feeling a lot like I have been lately - kind of a dispirited apathy. My garden is such a mess this year that it's kind of overwhelming. In between the rain, I walk around and just look at things, making a mental note of what needs to be done but not doing anything about it! Plants are bug-eaten, plants are puny from no sun, some plants are doing well but the blooms are imitating wet tissues. Weeds everywhere. Sigh.

My apathy is also fueled by still dealing with whatever mystery illness I have that we've been trying to diagnose for over three years. No energy to begin with, and all this rain and all the chores piling up does not help at all!

I have been filling what little spare time I have with some genealogy work. It's been on the back burner for a long time now. I finally broke down and paid for a subscription to an on-line genealogy site, but could only afford the monthly subscription (more per month but it's pay-as-you-go, as opposed to a large lump sum). Anyway, trying to cram in as much research as possible into as little time as possible so I can cancel the subscription as soon as possible, lol!

Gee, you'd think with all this rain I'd get some housework done, lol. I certainly have plenty indoors to be done, but it doesn't seem to be getting done, lol!


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 3:08PM
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Alice Johannen

Funny, idabean, I was wondering the same thing: Where are all the gardeners? I lurk, mostly, but I'm so surprised that the regulars have been so quiet. So anyway, I'm like the rest, I think, and can barely get out to accomplish anything. (It's thundering as I type!) My solution was to hire a local high-school new graduate -- friend of the family -- who can't find a job and is looking to make money. I have him weeding and mucking around where I don't care to muck and dig and pull and such. I don't care how much it's costing me (well I do, but you know). It is SO NICE to have someone else pull all the violets for a change.

This past weekend I was sans hubby and kids, so I went and spent my mother's day garden center gift cards and bought several things -- a hydrangea, 2 roses, 2 hostas, 2 day lilies, and a couple more things, all on sale -- had a planting bonanza. It felt good and theoretically it all looks nice, or it WILL when the sun comes out. :-)

Stay dry, all.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 3:52PM
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treeskate(6a Hartford CT)

I am trying not to whine :) I just came off my traditional 2 week vacation which had rain 95% of the time. So I washed the windows, storm windows and screens of the 14 windows in my 2 story little house. Just couldn't get motivated to do much else. When weather permitted I did weed in my 'enclosed' garden, put in my stone dragon, and then continued to cut the wetland sedges down to their bases - too tough and big for a weedwacker (that I got last year and still can't get to run correctly...but that's another story.) Also had 3 different doctor appointments as I address head and hands issues.

Forget putting flowering plants in!! Am seeing deer tracks inside my special garden. Bunnies are around but don't see quite a many as the explosion of last year. All my many different shrubs are doing great and are flowering as usual. Some of the pink and deep rose little flowers show brighter in the overcast skies.

Am hiring my neighbor's 15 yr old (after they come back from vacation) for yard work....mainly weeding, and if ground ever dries enough and I can get a truck load of mulch, will have him spread the mulch. I just hope we don't go into a heat wave as then the weeds will grow so big I won't be able to see anything else!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 4:40PM
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I'm trying to be grateful that I don't have to haul hoses and watering cans around! The astilbes and hydrangeas that I put in last summer and the summer before, and which promptly got scorched due to less watering than they needed, are looking good this year! But this weather is definitely getting old.

My husband always wanted a Buddha statue for the garden, so we ordered a concrete one made by Massarelli. It's almost 3' tall and about 240 pounds! The retailer loaded it into our car but it took my husband and two neighbors to take it out. Then it sat in the driveway for several days while we tried to figure out what to do, since its eventual home was in our backyard up several levels from the driveway. Finally we called a moving company that specializes in small local moves or furniture rearranging. They made a good profit on this job, two guys just lifted the statue and carried it up, it took all of 3 minutes--my husband called and said "weight lifting pays off!" Still worth it, though, to save us a possible back injury. It looks nice, in front of some red-twigged dogwoods and across from a bench. I've put polished stones at its feet to hide the concrete blocks it's setting on. Since it's a "laughing Hoi Toi," even the rain doesn't bother him!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 4:53PM
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This rain seems to be universal, even 100 miles south of NE. . .while the perennials appear to be thriving, their flowers are a soggy mess. . .armies of
slugs are turning hostas into lacework. . .never seen so many worms in the garden!. . .weeds, weeds and more weeds, plus the lawnmower died, the new
"old" push mower can't handle the tall (and soggy) grass, so my neighbors
assume I'm going "au natural", as in meadow (NOT!). . .I've actually gotten out
to see a few gardens (on the Open Days program), frequently under an umbrella. . .after three gardens in Litchfield County, CT last weekend, I headed up to Vermont to visit a friend, where it - "Guess what?" - rained
almost continuously. . .we even attended an outdoor concert of the Vermont
Symphony Orchestra, in the rain!. . .yesterday, I picked six quarts of strawberries,
in the rain. . .today, I started cleaning up the mess blown down
by last night's howling thunderstorm - until it started to rain. . .



    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:46PM
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fgirl21(z6 - MA)

What am I doing.......

-between downpours I'm assessing the amount of moss and fungus growing everywhere

-between downpours I'm lamenting how much I'm feeding the slugs this year and pratically stomping my feet in anger that I can't do a darned thing about it (until it decides to stop raining for more than 24 hours)

-wondering if I'll get tomatoes this year

-baking an awful lot (what else is there to do on a gray, cold rainy day when you're stuck inside?)

-working on garden art projects that I had set aside for completion in December/January/February

-wishing the Cat in the Hat would come visit with his moss covered two handled gredunza!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:22AM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

A confession: we put in a drip irrigation system from Lee Valley for our front beds this year. So I assume we are single-handedly responsible for this weather. Really sorry, guys! (On the bright side, none of YOU have to put in a drip irrigation system now ... so technically, I think you owe me one ;)

When I am not engaged in making sacrifices to the sun god, I count mold spores. And slugs. Both require a level of computation that I have not had to employ since high school calculus.

I agree with Carl ... "sigh"!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 4:52PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Such a damp and cool month of June! Despite what the calendar says, summer has yet to arrive. This year it seems we had more June-like weather in April, and April-like weather in June!! The weeds and slugs are out of control, some perennials have grown to gargantuan proportions, while others are afflicted with strange fungus and insect attacks.

Sadly, not much gardening going on here anyway the past 3 months - the tendonitis and muscular tension in my wrists, elbows and forearms kept me on the sidelines. They are on the mend (slowly) and I can finally plant a few seedlings and do a little weeding. Ironically, with the weather the past month, it feels like I haven't missed all that much. The weather has often matched my gloomy mood in quite an uncanny fashion...

The happiest happening this Spring? I've had a pair of Bluebirds claim my yard as their territory, and they have been nesting in the dead pine snags in the backyard. They just completed their 2nd brood, which I think fledged on Tuesday, and hopefully they're finding plenty of food to feed their fledglings. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 6:27PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

The summer chauffeuring has begun. DD has spent the last week at a piano day camp run by the local community college. It's about a half an hour away, so it turns out to be two hours of my day spent driving back and forth. Then there are the evening sports clinics she goes to, and I generally watch.

Fruit season has also started here. So far I've frozen a few big yogurt containers of strawberries, and canned a few jars of sour cherries. Blueberries are supposedly ripe, so it would be good to freeze some of them. Never go around to blueberries last year, which was bad.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 6:31PM
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Fortunately last sat's weather was great since a neighbor threw a pig roast with a wonderful bluegrass band. I enjoyed inspecting her new garden esp the whimsies and the birds visiting her feeders. We took our feeders in April 1 due to bears. I weeded in the morning because the pigweed in one veggie patch is way ahead of me. Sunday was drizzly so I wrapped my head in a scarf, turned the compost and weeded some more. Plants from swap at Annie's are still alive but not planted. (was away for a week) We're headed to Maine and Camden's House and Garden tour on July 16. Discussed with DH cleaning out a shady spot next to a tiny brook. Stood on location of future porch. Ogled newly cleared spot on north side of rickety old barn. DH had cleaned out years of debris and weeds. Good thick stand of ferns along the barn but plenty of room for other things. Need to research. Have to weed new area between garage and barn, part shade garden. DH built steps down steep slope and top half is terraced with stone, planted ... and needs weeding. Yellow climbing nasturtiums are beginning to think about climbing part of an old apple picking ladder tacked to the barn. DH did not know value of antique ladder before he cut it in half. Top half is in a sunnier location next to the door waiting for scarlet runner bean to climb. Almost there. White and pink impatiens in old wash tub next to granite step and rhody beginning to look good. A terra cotta planter needs to be planted. An assortment of potted plants, mostly scented geraniums are still by the kitchen porch so DH could water them (ha!) while I was away. Plucked 3 stems of variegated ivy to put in small green bottles in kitchen window over the sink. Put tomato cages on and swore that next year I would put them on SOONER. Harvested some lettuce, sugar snap peas and giant mustard. DH did not care for mustard greens stir fry but I thought it was yummy. Nobody cared for last night's yellow split pea and mustard green soup so I'll have it for lunch today and the next day and ... Harvested garlic scapes in mid-June. Made wonderful hummus. Thrilled to see volunteer pot marigolds/calendula blooming in the tomato patch. DH helped me build a bean teepee for yard long beans. Planted beans. Flunked rustic weaving. Next year need longer branches and need to use while still supple. Trying to decide if I should prune the bush planted last summer. It has about 5 branches that around getting much taller than all the others. Admired planter containing flowering lemon thyme and lemon verbena. Made note to self that I need to start taking some pictures. Surveyed holding bed from 2007 frantic move. Trying to keep a good record of what's in bloom, what color, when for future landscaping around future porch. Picked mint for spiced zucchini couscous. Looking forward to having our own zucchini.
DIL brought over a gorgeous concrete leaf bird bath she made from a huge rhubarb leaf. Her aunt taught her. It still needs to be water-sealed and needs a place of honor in the garden. I missed her Wed night get together to make more bird baths with squash leaves.
Despite the rain, a big huge feeling of contentment fills my chest when I spend a few moments in the garden or just looking from the porch. But time is passing so quickly. Massive renovations to first floor of house are completed. DH is taking care of heavy outdoor work. We have plenty of sun but not a lilac or rose planted yet.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:48AM
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I've been googling "what eats slugs?" over and over and praying for toads to appear. And wasting lots of beer.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:16PM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

Not a good solution for the numbers we have, but do you guys all know that if you sprinkle table salt on a slug, it will dissolve before your eyes in a few seconds? (Of course, then you have a blob of melted slug but the rain will wash it off...) I'm doing that with the humongous ones hanging out on my patio.

I HAVE lots of toads... AND lots of slugs. Didn't know toads ate slugs?? (I do know that lawn tractors eat toads... :(

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:25PM
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Hello everyone I fell your pain with the weather.I have started to go outside in between the down pours.Last weekend i was so thrilled seeing the sun I take lots of pics of my garden.I just work in light rain doing small projects.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:51PM
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I was away for the last month, far from gardens of any kind. Since getting back a couple of days ago, I've been out in the mud, pulling weeds and assessing the results of a month's neglect on my garden. I'm trying not to notice all the gone-by flowers, and not to dwell on what I missed (like the herbaceous peonies...sob).

My trip included a week in Charleston and a few days in Barbados; I'll take a cool rainy day (or even a cool rainy month!) in New England over the heat of June and July in either of those places, any day.

On Mad Gal's tip, I picked up some local blueberries yesterday, and now I need to figure out what to do to get them safely into the freezer. Just pick over and wash, I assume?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:52AM
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Well I am a home improvement addict. So currently I am working on renovating our 3 season porch. Let me tell you, sanding down wood that is at least 20 years old and has 20 years of neglect while being hidden under an ugly green carpet is back breaking work. I foolishly tried to do this with a hand sander, but after covering about 10 square feet in 4 hours, I decided to rent one of those floor sanders the pros use. That wasn't a breeze, the thing weighs like 150 pounds! But once I finished, please tell me who would cover up a beautiful cedar deck flooring with an ugly stained green outdoor carpet??? After I stain the floor, I still have my work cut out for me, as I'm going to put up a lattice wall instead of railings, repair the ripped parts of the screen windows, and I need to paint the rest of the thing with a fresh coat of paint, and put up some plank ceiling boards. I'm also thinking of putting an elevated perimeter row of planting boxes along the outside edge of the porch, just beneath the lattice wall. God help me!

I still do find some time for gardening though. We (wife and I) replanted our herb and veggie garden, deciding to see if we can revive the poor neglected plants from the clearance table at Lowes. So far, the strawberry, cantaloupe, grape vines, are all doing well, but the cucumber plant is a goner. We also added some sage, lemon balm, parsley, and basil to our thyme, oregano and mint plants.
We also added "red ghost" lily to our stand of stargazers. I've never seen that variety of lily before, and its certainly beautiful. I hope it grows as well as the stargazers.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:04AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

DTD, I usually freeze blueberries and strawberries 'loose'. I put them on something like a platter or a cookie pan, and put that in the freezer for about a day. When the fruit is frozen, I pry it off and put it in the final container. The strawberries still tend to turn into a solid mass, but the blueberries can usually be separated fairly easily.

Hopefully, we'll get out to pick more blueberries this afternoon. The ones we got this weekend are long gone.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:10AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Gee, osiris, if you ever run out of home improvement projects, please come see me! I've got quite a list that will keep you busy for awhile! I hate that kind of stuff. It took me over a month to put two coats of stain on my new basement stairs. The actual staining did not, obviously, take that long. It just took that long to get up the initiative to do it!


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:21AM
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Dee with the house we bought and the neglect from the previous owner I don't think I'll ever run out of projects lol. I've already had to remodel a half bath and replace all treads on the "Stairway of Doom" so that no one ended up with a broken neck!
Our "favorite" feature of the house is the nice water feature we get coming from the 1st floor hallway vent whenever someone takes a bath in the second floor guest bathroom :) Don't think thats a fix I'll be able to do myself hehe. Oh well, we knew what we were getting into..kind of!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:34AM
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DTD - It's best NOT to wash the berries before freezing; you can do that later
after defrosting them and before using them. I freeze them just as Mad Gal
suggests, then once they're frozen, pop them into freezer Zip-Lock bags
(and, yes, suck the air out with a straw ! It really DOES make a difference.)
Frozen blueberries have got to be one of the easiest fruit to "put by". . .and nothing beats blueberry pancakes in January !!!


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 6:06PM
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