Friday, May 28, 2010


My blue gate has a trellis area next to it and you can see less weeds now than before yesterday. Time is my biggest enemy as I use to be able to go weed a little each day and it would be done by this time of the year.  I will just plug away until I get it done.  I planted some snapdragons today and cleared out a large area of creeping charlie.....the curse.

The object for me is to get the most offensive weed growth gone and in another week come back and perfect it.  Can you spot the sage plant that survived our winter and is going strong?

I had to get an area cleared for some planting of a roots for a flower that needed to have sand mixed in, so I cleaned the whole area. You can still see a few weeds but you couldn't see the bench before I  started.  Angel boy is using mental telepathy to make the rest of the weeds die.

It is Friday and we are headed to Osceola to get the yard mowed.  No one is to do any remodeling today as we both are physically exhausted.  Once the yard is mowed we are going over to the Murray cemetery and plant small starts of this red peony on the graves of my parents and brother and baby sister.   It is the red peony that originated at my Grandmother Brooks' home.  My mom moved it to the Osceola property, and I moved a lot of it to my home.  These small starts I planted last fall to get them in shape to be moved to the cemetery. I am really not into decorating graves as I would rather get peonies and irises going there.  It will last forever and the show will be better than plastic flowers.

Have a good Friday and thanks for keeping in touch.  I need to catch up a little with all my friends blogs so I will not do the Creative Zone for a few days.  I have a lot of good friends out there and I have neglected  some of them, so maybe I can be the mad poster for a while.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peonies, Peonies, and more Peonies, and dog stuff........

It was scheduled to rain and I knew that rain will take out your blooms quickly so I went out and cut a few for the inside.

My peony row is old. It has been here on this property as long as I have lived here 34 years. I think they have been lining the drive so many more years than that. With the house over 104 years old I bet they have a little more history than just my lifetime.

We didn't have extreme rainfall but as you can see everything is drooping.  It could have been worse. The rains sometime make the blooms shed into piles of little petals.

I always say that I have a white peony and every blooming season I am reminded that this has a yellow with red dots of color on it.  I wonder if the pure white ones were bred to be that way, as I don't have a white peony.  I will be watching my neighbor's plants across the street and see if they have the perfect white. This one is wonderful anyway.

My wife's cousin who lives in Minburn called and said a neighbor has a yellow peony.  I saw one once at the nursery where I was working one summer, but I have never seen one in a garden.  Anyone out there who has a yellow peony,  please share it.

It was a busy Wednesday for us and we are taking both dogs to the Vet today.  We decided to get two different appointments as it is easier not to take them both in at the same time.  Button got a haircut and a bath.  Barnabas received an hour long brushing.  I need to brush him so much more than I do.  He has the softest, silky hair when I brush him.  Button has the soft cotton-like fur which gets very white when he gets his bath. His brown ears get so fluffy after being washed. He had a hard time drying out tonight so we had to wrap him in an afghan to get him warmed.

Thanks for stopping by........

Wednesday's minimal words and red......

Peonies that are ready to pop open.

An older peony that has fully opened to the point it will start to shed it's pink petals.

Red daisies are neat but they don't last very long.  This would be a perfect photo a day picture but the bloom itself is weathered already.

I planted more things today, mowed the dog's yard, and got the water pump installed in the fish trough outside.  I will let the pump run a couple of days to be sure that the water will be cleaned up before I move them out to their summer home.

Thanks for stopping by...........

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesdays things........

Last years dianthus survived the winter and when my wife cleaned out the garden area around our business sign, you can now see the actual plant.

The spirea was slow blooming this year but it was showy.  The heavy snow and ice flattened all of my bushes and I do now need to add them to my pruning schedule.  They came out misshapened in places.

My water boy  is hiding behind the sucker tree that I need to cut  away. He never tires of holding his pose.

My neighbor lady's Terrier named Penny is such a character. She is looking out the porch window moaning because she can't come out and look at the flowers with us.  She is such a sweet little lady with lots of energy.

I stayed outside too long on Monday, mowing and trimming up things.  I took a break but by noon I could tell I had stayed out too long. One can just keep doing the next thing and the next thing until you don't realize how you really are feeling.  I can finish mowing the yard another day and I can do whatever else I want as the days go by.  I am grateful for air conditioning as it does make life good.

I have been thinking to my self about the settlers in this area 150 years or so ago, and I am sure they were first amazed of the weather here in Iowa.  After surviving such sever cold and snow, that the spring gave them such a false sense  of the future weather.  We have California like weather for a few weeks and then it is 90 degrees.  I can imagine they thought that the crops they planted in the spring were going to have a blessed, pleasant summer. I am not sure what they thought when the blazing sun started to shine forever.  I planted tomato plants out Saturday and they didn't wilt or shrink as the day got to be so hot.   I guess Iowans have either bred plants to go with our climate or we found the ones that really do enjoy it. I know the corn companies have worked hard to create corn to root down when it gets hot and to take in the sun with out a worry.

Thanks for stopping by.......

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday morning and my backyard.......

We are starting to go into our hot part of the summer already. All of these plans will bloom in another month. You can't see the path anymore as the rains have made the lilies.phlox and hosta all very lush. Working on a mural today and mowing the tall grass. Weeding if there is time. Thanks for stopping in....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Let's take a walk.......

I was called on the phone by the neighbor lady and she asked me to take some pictures for her.  She wanted me to send them to her via email and then she would forward them to relatives.  On the way out of my gate I took this photo, weeds and all.

I won't share all the photos right now that I took for her, but she is the one with the hybrid irises.  She is part Lakota Indian so she likes to decorate her yard with various things to honor her roots.  The wolves sit in her front yard and we can see them from out back yard.  I told her she needs to light them at night and get a tape of wolves howling to play at night.

On my way over to her house I snapped a shot of this shrub.  It's name is not in my memory banks right now.  It is a beautiful yellow and green.

My neighbor's house is on a lot that faces the street but her back yard is a 20 acre farm.  Her late husband worked on different things and the tractor sits there still today, ready for the engine to be installed.  It sits next to some new grape vines that she was showing me.

Judy's flower bed surrounds her Lakota Sioux flag pole.  I have close up shots of her irises that I will show later.  I took her some of our rhubarb cobbler and she looked very pleased about that.

Have a great day. It will be hot in Iowa for the next few days. Thanks for stopping by..........

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday's happenings.......

This is the third iris of my cemetery collection.  It is one of my favorites.  It didn't bloom last year so I may move it to a hotter and drier location.  It only has one or two buds on it this year.

I need to get out my weedeater, but my hand works best to get the weeds out from around flowers.  I always and I do mean always cut off flower blooms if I get into a flower garden area.  I need to weed more around these two hostas but I haven't been able to get outside for two days.  We are moving into 90 degree weather now so I can pull weeds and they die instantly.

This is another quick shot of my Iowa Wild Rose.  It probably was my best shot of it so far.

My wife and I got a lot done on the house today.  We are rapping up the bathroom remodel and now have the living room painted.  Painting walls goes so much faster than remodeling work.  It feels like we might get it done by another month, or close enough to get it on the market.  We are going to play this Saturday as we haven't taken any day off this week.   We worked the house on Monday also and the rest of the week was recuperating and getting work done around the house.  I hope you all have a good weekend.  Thanks for stopping in.........

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flowers abloom on Friday.........

This is a shot of my pink weigela bush.  It is a healthy one as I pruned it all down to the ground a couple of years ago while I was working on the house.  It is on the side of the house that I don't see often so I was surprised to look out and see it in full bloom.

When I go to the Murray Cemetery, I always scout out the antique Iris.  While there I can find iris that has been mowed back by the grounds keepers because it has been there so long and it is invasive after all those years.  I took a couple samples home with me and I must have mixed the purple iris from my mom's place.  As you can see I have a yellow stem and a purple stem side by side.

Here is the one that is sitting next to the yellow antique one. This was posted a few days earlier.  It is more purple than the camera picks up but it is a beauty.

My rhubarb is doing so well this year that I had to throw some of it away.  My wife pointed out that we had some red raspberries still in the freezer, so we added them into the rhubarb cobbler mixture.  It smells great and I know it will taste good too.  I make the filling and she makes the topping and we get the job done.
My red raspberry patch has enlarged itself by 5 fold since last year. I will be interested in seeing how much we will be able to harvest from it.  I believe that they produce berries only on new canes, at least I hope so,  as I have lots of them.  Thanks for stopping by..............

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday's twists.......

My red weigela bush continues to struggle.  I can get some great blooms from it but it hasn't grown in size for  many years.  I will be moving it to more light away from the north side of the house sometime after the blooms fade.

We had a morning of errands to run Wednesday but in the afternoon I was able to get some planting done.  I need to now buy some filler plants for these. I needed to get what I had purchase two weeks ago into the big planters.  I am so good about buying plants in good weather and then the bad weather keeps me from getting them transplanted.  They are already root bound and need to have a bigger space to grow.  The geraniums are the saved plants that overwintered in the spare room.  I was able to root  six pieces in water to increase my planting.

I have moved my computer out of the dining room and into a new area.  When I look to the side at the bookshelves I see ceramic pieces that I have collected.  I shot this rooster to share one of my antique buys.  The sad thing is that the place that I bought this from, which is in Osceola, has shut it's doors.  It was two large floors of old things.  What I liked about the store  was the items  the sold really did have a Southern Iowa flavor of farming people and the things they lived with for the past 70 years.   I will miss the place.
Thursday is up in the air as to what I will be doing, but I will start out with a frame job and then see what happens.  I have been out and weeded a couple of areas yesterday and I do plan to hit a couple of new places today.  If I hit it everyday, I should be able to get it into better shape for a respectable gardener.  Thanks for stopping in........

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday's wanderings......

Potentilla  in full bloom.

Irises that I brought home from Oseceola parent's home.

This is a hosta that I bought a couple of years ago.  I really like the green notch on the leaves.
It will be the second day of good weather around here.  It may get so warm the the air conditioner will have to be turned on but not for a few more days.  The weeds are doing well as the grass is doing well and I have some plants to get potted up and some tomato plants to get into the ground.  Our painting surface for the mural is all sanded and gessoed ready to be painted.  We will sketch on the different parts and the rest will be ad lib.
Thanks for checking in........

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Part Number 698726

It has been raining a lot and I couldn't get one spring of the box of springs that I bought to work on my mower's throttle.  Sunday after church while in Des Moines, we stopped at the Sear's parts and equipment department.  I explained what I needed and the young man looked up my name, and I had not bought the mower from them, even though the mowers with the same brand name were sitting five feet behind us.  So he said to me do you have the model number?  Well no, but I can explain to you what it is and you have all those parts on the wall over there.  The young man said he could not help me unless he could look it up on the computer with the serial number.   I left and I was very nice!

Monday afternoon, I had the serial number and the model number and I tried to call Sears.  They have few to no numbers in the phone book. I finally found a parts number and it was the National parts number. I could order it out of who knows where and wait for it to be shipped to my local store.  I have been there before, I just wanted to talk to the parts department in which I was standing the day before.   I called the mall that the store is in and they gave me the only number that they had, and it was an automation operator.  I was to say what department that I wanted and they didn't recognize parts department.   So I tried lawn mowers and the machine sent me to the lawn mower department.  I had a real person on the line and I asked about buying a part and could you connect me to the parts department.   I dialed it and it was the parts department for Bob Brown Chevrolet.

Ok, I am a kind man and I didn't think I needed to lose my life over this.  I said to my wife, we will just go down one more time.  We needed building materials also so we made the trip south again.  I arrive and it is a completly new crew and the different young man greeted me from afar and welcomed me to his computer.   He put in the serial number and all he could get was weedeaters.....  I smiled and an older man than him walked up and asked what I was looking for and  I explained,  He walked over to the mowers and said is it the spring that fits under the air filter?  Yes!@@@@!!@@!   The nice older, young man walked over the the wall of parts and handed me the spring in the plastic bag. When I looked for it I couldn't see the spring as the package print covered up it's contents.

With tax, that will be $3.06 please.

Spring missing......

Spring more duct tape!!!

I turned to my wife while I was buying the part, and she looked back thinking, wow, he didn't say a thing.  I did a pleasant thank you and we came home to the awaiting mower.  I works like a charm.
Did I say that I will never buy a mower from Sears because the service is too restricted for the customer to get any help??????? 
I will take it to Osceola today and mow an overdue shaggy yard. Thanks for listening.......I hope you all know how now to replace your throttle spring.

Monday, May 17, 2010


This cream and yellow iris is an old fashion iris that you see growing in old cemeteries.  I lost some of my collection but still have three different ones.

This a second iris of my cemetery iris.  They are small but they are tough. I like the color of this one.  It is the first time it has bloomed in this location. I was pleasantly surprised to see it as I had forgotten I had put it there.  I have a white and blue one yet to bloom and I need to collect another one that will replace the yellow and brown one that I lost to rot.

This is an older iris, but I don't classify it as an antique one.  I brought it from my mom's property and it is a very deep blue, blue-violet.  It is not large like my neighbor's large hybrid iris.

It cooled off a little today again but it isn't too uncomfortable.  The furnace has to run in the morning to take off the chill and when the sun gets up, it warms up pretty fast.  It is Monday and I am not sure what thing we will do today.  We have many things on the list that have to be finished.  I have a bear print to frame that I forgot that I had in the shop.  The lady called and said she liked all the framing I had done for her, but where was her bear.   It was still rolled up tightly right where I put it when she dropped it off for me to do. 
Thanks for stopping in and checking on me...............

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fixed the mower with duct tape........

I have not  been to the right store that carries mower parts.  I bought a box of springs of various sizes but it didn't have the one that would work.  It has rained so much that I haven't been in a hurry to get back to the mower, but yesterday I had to take a strand of duct tape and replace the throttle spring with it.  It worked for a half hour at a time and then it would heat up and let loose.  I mowed the orchard area and it was such tall grass but it made the river birch look good standing out in it's fresh mowed area.

This is the second year for this to bloom and I am curious about how much of those little buds will actually open up as flowers.  The viburnum is like my allium plants, it has provided me with so many great photo shots.

It was 72 degrees yesterday and today it will be less warm but the rain is finally out of the forecast for awhile. We have our boards glued together for our mural project and it is back in the house.  We walk around  the 6 foot square piece of wood and will continue to do so until the painting gets done. It stands up vertically so it is an obstacle.  The painting will go into the old interurban railroad station. Photos will be shared much later.
Have a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by.............

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday's scatterings.......

How many photos can I take of allium before all my followers drop off the charts.  I can't help it, they are still looking good.

I lost one out of two orchids but this one is thriving (not striving).  I actually have two new leaves coming out and a sprout.  It sets in the bright light of the new dining room window but not in the sun.  I have been good to it with minimal watering when I water the African violets.  So far it is hanging in there.

I have drug my agapanthus back up and out of the basement.  I am going into a heavier feeding program as I read that they like to be crowded and fertilized.   I did have the one plant actually bloom last year with one sprout of blooms.   I should send them to my brother to California as they grow like weeds out there.
Thanks for stopping by,.......... mowing, weeding, mulching, and fertilizing will be the name of the game.

Friday, May 14, 2010


In spite of all of the wind and storms the one sole blooming iris holds it own, standing tall and solid.

My neighbor has a larger variety of iris and this is her first bloom of the season. She has many different colors in her iris bed and I will share them as they bloom.

A hollyhock study  as they are starting to take off with great speed.  I think this is a first year plant so I won't see blooms on this until next year.

We spent some time working on the house yesterday and we are seeing some success. We have a major mural project to start here at home, so we will be getting the painting surface prepared and ready for sketching the picture on the board.   My wife and I will do this painting together.  I will log the progress and share it once we get it completed. 
Thanks for stopping by.........Friday is here, hooray!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Plant Report for Thursday.......

My first iris bloom for the season.  It has many buds on it so it should put out a lot of nice color for me. I have two other plants that are showing buds also.

I have pulled one of these off of the one rhubarb plant.  It going to seed already and to keep it going you have to pull it out of the center of the plant.  I have three very strong plants this year with a lot of growth.

It hasn't been warm enough to help this new iris to form any buds.  It may not, even though I bought it in a pot as a somewhat mature plant.  If not this year, it will bloom next year for sure.

I hope you are having a good week.  It has been so rainy that it makes it almost depressing.  We have been fortunate not to get severe storms but we have had a lot of rain.  I guess it makes the grass grow, even if it is only 50 degrees.   Thanks for stopping by............