|The terrace herb tower|
As I promised yesterday, I have a lot of garden tales to relate. After the storm knocked down my herb tower, which I relate in my Storms and Successes post, I put it up again. Then another storm came along and knocked it right back down! While we were on vacation I took the planter apart and set each one on the ground so the herbs might have a chance to recover. They are coming back, as you can see, though in a rather lopsided fashion. Something is chewing them all up, so I'm going to have to make some more spray. The aphid spray I made with citrus juice and baby shampoo in a previous post (I think maybe the Porch Progress post) really lasted a good long time, despite all our rain. It's finally worn off, though. I think I will go ahead and harvest some of the overgrown herbs and freeze them to get the planter a but more even.
I am trying to get our flagstone terrace to have the feel of a Mediterranean courtyard. Right now it has a fence on two sides and the house and deck rail around most of the other two sides, so I just need to build up a wall of greenery along the remaining edge to give it an enclosed feel. Eventually I would like to replace the herb planter with a solar-powered fountain and add a fireplace or fire bowl. The main trouble we have is the children, who keep carrying the stones off for their games and pretending. The terrace and yard are bordered by great many Greenback Magnolia trees, obviously chosen by a non-native landscaper, as they are way too close together and to the house! These do have a more columnar shape than a standard magnolia and I think they stay a bit smaller, but we went ahead and pruned them into an umbrella shape. My university had a huge lawn planted with gigantic, majestic magnolias. They must have been at least a century old. If they had been left to grow without shaping they would have taken up the entire lawn, but they had been umbrella-pruned for many years, and as a result they were fabulous shade trees you could stretch out under on a blanket to study. I am hoping for the same eventual result here! You can see the brown spots on the fence where we took down the rotten fence planter boxes. My dad made new ones for me and once we powerwash and paint the fence we will hang those.
|One of many piles of debris in our yard|
|Another pile of debris|
|The garden is getting more light with the trees thinned out.|
|Lychee seeds sprouting.|
|Dragonfruit seeds beginning to sprout.|
|The garden produced this bucket of potatoes over the past week.|
We should have some really good compost ready shortly. I got this Ultimate Soil Machine dual tumbler composter with my Amazon points a few months ago and the first drum is full and should be ready soon. The soil here is really good, but I think you can't ever really have too much compost to add!
|My new composter|
I've been very happy with the hydrangeas here. We have several Nikko Blue French mopheads and a couple nice hot pink ones. One shrub is very unusual; it seems to be half Lacecap hydrangea in a dark indigo and half indigo mophead. I have picked several arrangements and they last a really long time. I use a cut-flower food to help preserve the bouquets even longer. Here's the recipe:
Cut Flower Food
In a standard vase, drip three or four drops of dish-washing liquid and 1/4 tsp pancake syrup or corn syrup. Run water over these to mix and fill the vase. Add cut flowers, first removing any leaves or thorns below the water line. Change the water every two days, following the same recipe.
The reason this works to preserve the cut flowers is the dish soap inhibits bacterial growth and the syrup provides food for the flowers.
|I've been enjoying my hydrangeas.|
Tonight the kids have a swim meet from 5-9, so I have to cook early and pack a picnic for us to eat there. On this diet I get one traditional meal instead of a smoothie for supper. Then I have to time the swimmers during the meet, so I suppose I'd better get going to cook and get ready. This is, of course, as long as the meet isn't rained out. We have storms pretty much every night, and I woke up yesterday and today with a headache like a press on my forehead. In fact, these storms oppress me so I can feel them coming from my head all the way to my stomach and through my teeth all day. My teenager calls this my "super power", because I am much more accurate than the meteorologist in predicting rain and thunderstorms. I was quite right yesterday; it stormed all afternoon and into the night.
|Lightning flares over the lake.|
Oh, and I almost forgot: I'm going to get in trouble with my eBay sales consultant again. My store has been doing well, but I haven't posted a link for weeks. I promised to link my store to more blog posts during my last sales conference. So here's my link: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline. Right now I have a lot of child and toddler dress clothes, toys, and of course, dolls.