It’s a Treasure Hunt

I started to weed up around the western-most garden bed in the front yard. I discovered two roses I didn’t know were still alive. Actually I don’t even know what they are. One has flower buds, so I’ll have a little bit of an idea once it blooms. The colors appear to be very pale apricot, which would lead me to believe it might be Gruss an Aachen, who used to sit in that spot. however, I MOVED Gruss an Aachen to the herb bed several years ago.

It could also possibly be Seafoam, a large rambler, but the foligage is not right. It has more old rose foliage rather than the glossy dark green of Seafoam. I’ll have to get another Seafoam rose, no doubt.

Also what I thought was Rosa Mundi actually turned out to be Rosa gallica officinallis, the Apothacary Rose. It is an ancient species rose and the parent rose of Rosa Mundi. Picture below.

Rosa gallica officinallis

I have a lot of pictures today. I just noticed as I uploaded to Flickr that they are all some shade of pink. It’s not that I have an entirely pink garden, but the pink roses are more hardy in the long run and survive the neglect. My non-pink roses all died out in the interim.

So here are my two ramblers. Robinette is a single rambler which is about 6-7 feet tall.

Full shrub view. It was full of elm saplings. When we got all the trees out of it’s way, it immediately burst into bloom, overnight! Also we cut enough trees out of this shrub to make one entire load on our trailer.

Close up of Robinette. Single blooms, very prominent yellow stamens. Not much scent, unfortunately.

This is New Dawn, about 6 feet high by 15 feet wide in our back yard. The dogs like to burrow under her during the hot days. This rose is indestructible. I brought a root sucker up from my mother’s garden in 1990, that’s how old this plant is. Glossy dark green foliage with palest blush pink flowers. This rose is the first rose ever to receive a patent. It’s the grandmother of all modern climbing roses. I found out my grandmother had this rose next to her cottage in the 40s. It was always a favorite growing up and I’m happy to have that connection with her.

Partially and fully open flowers.

Close up of a single flower of New Dawn.

This is an unknown wild rose. It blooms for a bit every spring. It’s shading out a bunch of iris and is overtaking the driveway so it may not be allowed to stay. It can get very large and it doesn’t have room where it is right now. No scent.

Purple clematis “The President”. It’s also a survivor. It’s about 7 years old in the garden, and still doing ok. I had to unwind it from some saplings and train it up onto my porch trellis supports.

Pink spirea. I need to look up which one this is. My other one is Goldsturm, which has very lime green foliage. I do not remember which one this is, but I’ll let you know later. Very hardy and has survived.

Today’s plan is to get more manure to spread over the newly excavated garden bed and some more plants. I must have my Rio Samba rose, a multicolored yellow/orange/pink hybrid tea.They have some Austen English roses too. I’ll see what’s available. Not pink. I think I have pink covered, don’t you? :)

There is a Reason It’s Called Tornado Alley!

A tornado came the closest ever to our house. I didn’t see it but I saw the wind whip the trees around. It was about a mile south of us on Lake Thunderbird. Right after that part of the storm passed us, we had HUGE hailstones come down.

This was the largest one I found. It was the size of a softball.


There was minimal damage at our house. Michael and I each got one ding from that hail. A dead tree dropped a branch in the driveway, not on our cars. That’s it. We were so lucky!

Some Flower Pictures

The humidity could choke a horse today. We got more saplings weeded out, but we’re soon going to be out of the garden and in the cool of the a/c. It’s not that hot yet, but choking humidity is making it hard to work outside. It rained heavily this week and my newly planted shade garden and herb beds are doing very well.

Here are some pictures of what is blooming.

Yellow Iceplant
In the herb bed we’ve got yellow iceplant. It’s already beginning to spread, and I just planted it last week.

Pink Iceplant
Here’s my pink iceplant doing well.

Cullinary Sage
My cullinary sage is in bloom. This plant is a large and a bit floppy, but it does well. I should say it does well, this plant is over 15 years old, I think. It’s covered with butterflies right now. They wouldn’t hold still for the camera.

Gloire De France
Gloire De France, a Gallica heirloom rose. This plant is only 6 inches tall. The way this rose grows is that it throws up little branches from the roots and spreads underground. I have a few hundred buds on a low carpet of these roses. They bloom only once in spring, but what a bloom it is!

Belle Amour
Belle Amour, a damask rose. This is my favorite heirloom rose form — an open rose with the stamens showing. I love this rose and I’m very happy to have discovered it survived.

Raspberry Glow Mountain Laurel
This is a Mountain Laurel Shrub that I bought to plant in the shade. It is the variety “Raspberry Glow”. The color will blend in well with the old fashioned roses. I am going to plant it at an angle from the porch. It will screen out the road (though that is barely noticeable now through the trees) but leave a view of the tree garden and the herb bed.

That’s it for now. You can see some of my old garden from early to mid 2000′s on my first website, Red Earth Roses. Most of those rose plants sadly did not make it. A combination of planting way too many too soon, and horrible horrible soil that we did not amend enough.

It’s Like a Park

Last week I took a bunch of pictures and loaded them here. I was so jazzed about finally fixing up the front porch that I even re-started the mostly dormant blog. I showed the pictures around, even though to me the garden looks like a mess. I know what it was before, so I’m comparing what I have now to what it was before 5 years of neglect. But many people just gushed, even over my overgrown grass, saplings everywhere, etc. They said it looked like a park. So I took a look around. It DOES look lovely. It’s weedy and overgrown, but still beautiful.

So here are more pictures of my “park”. Comments below each picture.

Car Turn-around
Standing on the front porch looking off the corner to the Northwest. That is our car turnaround spot that is lines with cinder block and post fence. I’ve cleared the frontmost corner of saplings, but you can see the overgrown trees to the right. They have to go. If they get much bigger, they will interfere with my Box Elder (the big trunked tree to the left).

Towards Driveway
Looking due west from the front porch. Big box elder trunk. Saplings overgrown in the fence behind my kayak. Also dead elm to the right in back. It died in stages and has been falling down in stages. Due to be chopped down next time we hire our lumberjack. (Oh man was he a wet dream in suspenders!)

North From Porch
Looking due north from the porch. Our house sits on top of a hill and our land is on the north side of the slope. That round thing in the grass is the herb bed from a distance. It was there when we moved in, and I’ve used it for herbs for 20 years now. That sage plant is about that old, too. The skinny tree trunk on the left is a redbud. It grew from a seedling. It was 3 feet tall before I noticed it and instead of pulling it I let it grow.

Toward Porch
This is standing by the herb bed, facing south looking at the house and porch. I’m looking uphill, hence the weird perspective. The ivy is Virginia Creeper. It’s a deciduous vine which does not damage what it climbs. We could easily pull it down if we had to (in order to paint the house, for example), and it would return from the roots. You can see elm saplings mingling with the roses next to the chimney. They are slated for removal this weekend. My two worst weeds? Elm seedlings and Bermuda grass. I would LOVE to build a house in an old pasture that has never seen Bermuda grass. I would seed out native buffalo grass if I had a choice. As it is we just let the weeds choke out the Bermuda. The rose is hybrid musk Vanity.

Closeup of hybrid musk rose Vanity. She grows tall and leggy. Best to plant something at her feet. Once I unearth them I’ll do just that.

East Of Chimney
Northeast corner of Chimney. The white rose is hybrid musk rose Sally Holmes. The magenta is old fashioned moss rose Henri Martin.

Sally Holmes
Closeup of Sally Holmes. I had to stretch UP to get her picture. Even so I had to crop to get a closeup. She’s very tall, about 10 feet at this point. Once she finishes blooming (and I’ve cleared out the saplings) I will prune her to about 4 feet and let her re-grow. She’ll bloom again after I do this.

Henri Martin Moss rose
This is an heirloom rose, moss rose Henri Martin. My camera did NOT like that wild magenta color. I love it. :)

East End Of House
North east corner of the house. Those two windows are to our bedroom. The big round ball of a shrub is a feral boxwood. That’s how big they can get if you don’t prune them. I don’t prune much of anything except to cut out deadwood or to protect something else nearby.

And one of my favorite views, looking down-slope from my bedroom corner. The tree on the left is a Oklahoma friendly sugar maple. Acer sacchirinum. They found a bunch of sugar maples that had naturalized to Oklahoma in Caddo county. Thus this is called a Caddo Maple. It turned gorgeous colors in fall. In the back center is one of our larger elm trees. Dead cottonwood with saplings to be cleared on right.

So these pictures will serve as the 2013 BEFORE pictures. I’ll document our sapling clearing and general straightening up. But Lou was right, it does look like a park. :)

Patio Shade Garden Planted!

Here are all of the plants in the ground. I got everything in except for the Mountain Laurel, which needs a spot cleared for it, since it gets rather large.

Patio Front, right side. Back right is the nandina. In front of it is a blue hosta, Big Daddy. To the left of the hosta are three variegated monkey grass. A Heuchera is to the back left of those, and in the back is a lime green coleus. There are small lime green moneywort plants and a few violets that I found in the lawn plugged in here and there.

This is too the left of the previous picture, to the right of the stepping stone path. In front are three hosta, variety Patriot. Behind is a large violet found by the house, back center is an old Peony which is recovering being moved three years ago. They hate to be moved and sulk for years before they bloom again. Doesn’t help that I’ve ignored it so long, too.

Front is another blue hosta, behind it is a Japanese Fern, by the Patio is a lime green with darker margins hosta. I really am bad about keeping track of names. I already threw away most of the tags. Honestly I don’t care. If it thrives, I’ll be dividing it eventually and spreading them around. If they die who cares what they were? Back left is a purple with lime edges coleus. In between those is a purple wandering Jew. Lower front is the corner of a clump of iris.

Herb bed is completely planted now except for four more little sedum plants. I still have more room for plants. I want a pineapple sage, since the hummingbirds like it. I need to find one. It will look much better in a month or so once the plants have put on a bit of growth.

ALL of the plantings will look better in a bit. They all look so newly planted, don’t they?

Garden Reclamation Project of 2013

I have not posted to this blog since March of last year. I have been so busy at work that blogging was the last thing on my mind. But now I have a project I want to share and lots of pictures. Due to a family illness, we’ve not been doing anything in the garden other then mowing to keep the grass under control. It’s been like this since 2007, so I have a lot of dead plants, a lot of overgrown areas, and a lot of fixing to do.

Here are some “before pictures” taken last weekend, April 27th, 2013. Comments below each picture.

Herb bed needing a bad weeding. The plants surviving were blue sedum, garden sage, oregano, and a tiny bit of thyme. The rest were weeds. Mostly goathead grass and a bit of rye grass. Thankfully no Bermuda grass encroached here.

House 1993-2013
The front of the house before our clean-up. The tree is a box elder. In the lower right you can see the house in 1993 when we moved in. You’ll notice the tree isn’t even large enough to make it into the picture.

Front patio/porch area. I have a narrow porch that realy only has room for a chair and table and not much else. This is before cleanup. It’s clear now except for the chair and table and a few garden pots I’ll be using.

Now this week’s progress photos. May 12, 2013

Some trimming went on under the box elder. It’s now HUGE and shades the entire front of the house. I did a lot of trimming so Michael does not get hit in the face when he walks under it. I’m short, so I don’t have that problem. :)

Silverado clump
Here is what I unearthed when I cut away a bunch of saplings. Iris “Silverado” which I’ve had for almost 20 years. Pale blue, huge, and gorgeous, even after years of neglect. I love iris. The golden iris is a passalong plant, no idea what name, if any.

Silverado Closeup!

Patio Path
Yes, I AM showing you a picture of dirt! There will be more dirt added and plants. This is the main area of the soon to be created shade garden. I put rocks down in the area where I always walked to the patio, making the path official. I have some moss from the land I will transplant to nestle between the rocks.

Nandina, dwarf heavenly bamboo. Survivor of five years of neglect and drought. It’s even spreading to a bigger clump. This is not a real bamboo. Real bamboo would have taken over the universe by now.

Here are the shade plants I bought yesterday waiting to go into the ground. I need to spread more manure and organic matter, then I’ll be planting them today. Hostas, some variagated monkey grass, coleus, moneywort ground cover, and some others.

Austen Rose “The Herbalist” is doing ok. It’s one long gangly stem, but that stem is bowed down with flowers right now. I’ll move it to a sunny location once it’s done with it’s first bloom.

Herb Bed
Here is what the herb bed looks like now. It’s weeded and all herbs planted. Now to add succulents and some flowering plants. I also will transplant some sun plants I find in the undergrowth. I know I have some daylilies that would appreciate the better soil and sunshine.

Blue Sedum is a survivor in the herb bed. I have many clumps of it, so many that it’s hard to weed without digging it up, but all I have to do is drop the pieces from my weeding and it will root.

Hens and Chicks to go into the herb bed.

And some more.

And an entire flat of sedums and succulents. I’ll be adding to this bed for a while yet.

And here is a birdbath bowl turned garden ornament. It split and broke one winter, so I stood it up on it’s end. I don’t want my friend’s decorating to go to waste.

So that’s what I’ve done so far. I’m about to get my garden gear back on and spread some dirt around and get those shade plants into the ground.

Loose woman!

You know the diet is working when every piece of clothing, from underwear outwards, is loose. I’m about swimming around in my orange long sleeved T today. The only item of clothing that fits the same today is my socks.

And I wore out my belt! I have to stop somewhere after work and get a new one. I’m having great results for just the third week into this, and I’m very thankful that it’s been easy to control my snacking in the evenings and on the weekends.

First Goal Met! Pants fit!

Thursday morning I pulled on my before way to tight khakis, and they fit! I wore them to work. In celebration I bought a pair of shoes to wear with those pants! Actually I just bought the shoes because I needed them, but I’ll call them a reward.

Since my goals in this diet are pants, my rewards to myself will be below the belt. New pants, shoes, socks, sock yarn, and maybe even undies, though I don’t normally care about fancy undies. Maybe a swim suit.

Tomorrow I’ll dig out some pants from last summer and get ready to set a new goal for March 29th (two weeks from goal day- which will always be Thursdays from now on). The pants I’m thinking about are a size smaller than I’m currently wearing. So if I reach that goal, I’ll go out and get new pants!


The Pants Diet is Working!

Two weeks ago I bought a pair of stone khakis for summer. They fit, albeit a bit snug. Well now, they fit well and I even need to wear a belt with them! Woo hoo!

I’ve had no trouble keeping my eating under control. I snacked a bit more than I needed to over the weekend, but not insanely so.

This Thursday is my first try-on day for my goal pants. If they fit, then I already have yet another pair of pants I need to diet into. Heck I have pants all the way down to size 8 (I can barely believe I was that small). Not to mention a few hand knit sweaters that I want to get back into.

Yay for loose pants!

The Pants Diet

I’ve talked about my weight here before. In 2003 I joined Weight Watchers, and over the course of about 3 years I lost 85 pounds total. I went from a Size 22 to a Size 8 in clothing. Then I stalled out. Then Michael’s health problems began. Then my weight began to creep back on. I’m not surprised. I had reached my size 22 right during and after my mother’s death and pretty much stayed big for 10 years.

Well I’m not a size 22 yet. I’m an 18, which is TOO CLOSE to my old size, plus I’m 10 years older, so this has to stop. I don’t have a working scale right now, and looking at the number just makes me sick to my stomach. So I’ve come up with a plan.

The Pants Diet.

I have two pairs of pants which fit, sort of, but are just too snug for comfort. They are brand new, and I’d gained some right after I bought them. Well they are my goal for right now. In two weeks I’ll try them on again. That way I don’t have to get batteries for my scale, and I don’t have to stress over the lack of movement on the numbers. If the pants fit, it’s all good, and I have plenty more pants around here that don’t fit. Once the kahki’s fit, I have some jeans that need a bit more work before I can get into them. They’ll be my second goal.

I started tracking my food intake on March 1, 2012. Today I’ll do some walking and be very careful with my eating. The weekends are hard for me to stay on a diet, but I’m going to do it. I am using an app for my Android smartphone called My Fittness Pal calorie counter. It’s free on Amazon (there are adds). There is also a website, My Fitness Pal which synchs up with the Android app. The cool part of this app is that you can scan barcodes on just about any food from the grocery store and it loads into the app. I eat a lot of frozen Lean Cuisine and such meals for lunch at work. The food database on My Fitness Pal is really big, too.

I’m excited to do this again! Yes I really am. See, I know I can do it. I’ve done it before. Now it’s a matter of carrying out the steps, and trying on those pants. My rewards to myself will all be clothes related. New pants, shoes, and I’ll treat myself to new earrings every single size I go down (which comes to about every 10 lbs).

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