Climbing Roses

Aug5When we moved into this nondescript little grey house, the bushes hunkered down against the cold, the weeds spread their wings wide and water pooled in murky grass along the entire north side of the house.  We’ve since hand-dug trenches inside the foundation wall and installed sump pumps, laboriously machine dug a French drain, and laid drainage gravel to whisk away the rain. In the winter, it now flows away from the house and we watch the storm drain swallow the wetness that was our swamp filler.

Once the water was at bay, I turned to the weed bed. I pulled the noxious ones and over-wintered it with clover to enrich the depleted soil. I planted cast-offs from the end of season garden carts, not knowing what would survive this poor soil. The carnations died.  The salvia fed the saucy hummingbird and then didn’t make it to the spring. The hydrangeas pouted and dropped all their petals, scratching at the air with their exposed brown branches. But the lavender was happy. It took over the spaces left bare by the carnations and salvia and fed bees by the hundreds every day.  At peace for a moment with the weeding, I turned my attentions to the front bed.
The pitiful roses crawled along the ground, the petals crushed by rains, their branches many and wild, all vying for attention.  My vision is naturally a lush and heavy rose, one who is fragrant, heady, and carefree.  Ones just like the pin that inspires me for today. But the roses I’ve been given are of the roadside variety.  They grace the drab concrete Walgreens Pharmacy across the street, hardly the Palace at Versailles. They mass when they are hardily clipped and kept low.

When I visited my girlfriend Lori’s high maintenance rose garden, I saw how she’d trained her climbers.  She chose two main stalks and attached them to an arbor.  They grew straight and clean, flowering profusely up the side of the structure.  They have yet to cover the whole arbor, as she envisions, but I can see it.

I picked up two frames this week at an end of season sale and today I am planting them in front of the house. Next I’ll be choosing which stalks are going to be the lucky ones.  All the others will be trimmed back next winter with the tips listed at Fine Gardening.

Mother and Child

They were eating apples and the tender leaves off the trees in the orchard in the afternoon, trying to escape the heat.  As they took their time, I was able to fit the 300 mm lens on to get a close up.  I shot until the camera was full, as I don’t often get them to hold still long enough to get a clear view.  I think it paid off…

My flowers were absolutely lovely early in the week.  The blossoms all bloomed out and I got photos of most of them.  However, since we had unusually hot weather, by the  end of the week, they had been burned.  (Heat stroke for flowers too, I guess.)


The bees have continued to work faithfully, both good and naughtily.


Bumblebees are pollinating my blackberries and the yellow jackets are eating the cedar on our patio railing.  I set out to capture a bee in flight, but it was so hard!  Because they just lift off and are gone in a blur, I had a heck of a time.  I must have taken 50 shots to get just one I liked!  If I was still working with a film camera, I could never have justified the cost!


Dh grilled ribs out on the patio, though he thought it would probably work just to lay them directly on the concrete this week.  I thought it must be a subliminal message of hope for cooler weather that the munchkins set the table with the snowmen tableware.  It looked rather funny to me to see watermelon and ribs with the blue rimmed plates.

Here’s a little exercise for you.  I took a photo of this in order to use it for the play of light across the surface.  I thought it would work in quite a few applications.  Just what do you think it is?



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very best birthday

One of the munchkins announced that they’d had their very best birthday tonight.  I was a bit surprised, but then, they’d skipped school, played a board game with their daddy, had pancakes for dinner, a package arrived in the mail, and they finished off a new movie tonight.  I guess that would be a pretty big day for me too.

What’s your idea of a bestest birthday?  Send me your thoughts and if I pick it to post next week, you will get a “birthday” surprise from me…

The flowers are beginning, the rain is coming in torrents, and the grass is growing.  My sister told me that the cherry blossoms have started in Washington DC.  She thought she recalled mine being about three weeks later.  I think they may come sooner though as we’ve had a tiny warm spell.

A girlfriend of mine came and saw the “shack” in the back yard last weekend.  She declared that it was much larger than she’d imagined.

I guess my stating that it had been used as a doghouse had thrown her off.  I meant to say that it had been used by very large dogs after the children had outgrown it.

The birthday muchkin took a crooked picture of me by the “play house shack” this morning for you.  I hope this helps you to visualize it better.

Does it need curtains?  to be raised and have steps? Dream a little with me…


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