What’s Blooming!

There are things blooming in the garden, but I haven’t been able to get out there much other than to water this week. Thank goodness it rained last night so I didn’t have to go out there.

I just got a couple pictures.

Impatiens.

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These grew great this year. The right spot and good amended soil. Amazing what that will do LOL!

The butterfly bush:

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This is still pretty short. Only about 3 feet high. It was taller last year.  This is going to get moved about 3 feet forward in the garden bed. If I ever get time!!

My 100-pound rose has put up a couple blossoms:

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Still going 6 years later despite being moved to a different house!

Next week will be a much better blooming post and I’ll be updating Bloom Crazy as well.

Quick dash by

Just a quickie post to let people know I’m still alive ūüėÄ

Just busy. The show I’m doing is this weekend (not the weekend before our vacation). ¬†So, a lot of trying to get¬†the final push done.

I have to show you these cute shopping bags I got:

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Aren’t they cute? ¬†I have the handled bag for bigger stuff and this bag for smaller things. They are made from recycled paper – and made in the US. ¬†Nashville Wraps.

This is a picture of  one of my potpourris. I need to get all of them onto the website as well.

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Another new soap, too.

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It’s patchouli and spearmint. Very interesting combo. ¬†I have a feeling this one will be very popular. Then again, I could be wrong LOL!

On the Pixie front, I bought a pot of catnip for her. I was keeping it outside and away from her since she is such an addict.  Well, recently the neighborhood kitties have been coming and knocking it over and eating it.  So I brought it inside and hid it on top of the fridge.

Apparently not hidden so well. I came home the other day and see this:

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You can see how one side of the plant is mowed down. Pixie does not understand the concept of moderation…

Gotta get back to work!

 

Path ride

Saturday I needed to have a relaxing ride. After a really crappy Friday morning, riding was necessary. John was out of town, so I was solo riding.  I would have liked to go to Saratoga, but I had so much stuff to do that it had to be a shorter ride.

bike9-4To the lake it is. I did question that decision as I got closer because it was a holiday weekend. There were a lot of tourists.  Not so on the early  part of the ride.

Country Club:

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I always have a mild fear going down this section of road because you can hear people whacking the golf balls and I am just waiting for the day one hits me LOL!

Nice shady part to the path.

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There are historical markers along the way, but we are usually just whizzing past them. On this day, I stopped wherever I felt like.

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As I got to where the path end at the village, there were orange cones everywhere and then I saw people with bibs on. There was some kind of event, possibly a triathlon because I saw racks and racks of bikes by a finish line.  I figured I would take a picture on my way back out, but the race was over and they were tearing down by the time I left.

Meanwhile at the lake:  This is what Lake George looks like from an aerial view.

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There is an acoustical anomoly right here. If you stand where the X is in the above picture and face the lake, when you make sounds it resonates right back to you off the circular stone walls. We haven’t done this yet. Maybe some time when nobody is around. ūüėÄ

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It kind of makes you want to run down that and jump in, doesn’t it? ¬†I had a mission though, and that was a treat!

The village of Lake George is a mix of the beautiful and the tacky with stores like this:

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Stay klassy, Lake George…

I stopped at The Lake George Baking Company and picked up an almond cookie then grabbed a cup of coffee. I found a nice shady spot with a view:

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Noms!

Then I meandered a bit. ¬†Some of the beaches are closed right now. It’s usually some kind of high E coli or some other bacteria level that does that.

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Wave hi to the Adirondacks!

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Back around to home. This part of the ride is my favorite section.

fav9-4Rocky section:

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It really annoys me that people feel the need to deface stuff.

It felt really good to be in that shady part and there were very few people.  Then back to open path:

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And home sweet home:

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Nice 20 mile ride on the day.

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I was quite a bit on the go and ended up walking 5 miles this day as well! I was surprised when I checked my phone at the end of the day. ¬†It’s that time of year where my legs are in great endurance shape and rides feel great (and walking, too).

That was the “me” time of the weekend.

 

What’s Blooming!

Late post tonight. I was busy and I almost forgot about my favorite post of the week!

The gourds are cooking along out front. There are 6 to 8 of them and new flowers keep showing up every day. The vine keeps growing and growing. I just curve it around stuff. I guess it won’t stop until frost. Here is the finished gourd size:

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Maybe 6 inches?  They are cute. Nothing is eating them yet, either, knock on wood.

I have some baby agastache that grew from seed. The parent plants didn’t make it, but lot of babies did. This is the tangerine dream:

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I am going to move these around to various places and see how many survive. I was disappointed that the parent plants didn’t make it through the winter, but maybe the babies will be hardier.

I gave my cosmos a hair cut a couple weeks ago and they seemed to like that. More flowers now.

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Another passion flower:

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So flipping cool!

At the flower show in the spring, I bought some tubers that they called Japanese wonder flowers or something like that. They really are just 4 o’clocks given a fancy name. I planted them and they are blooming!

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I have yellow ones, too, but they weren’t open. You have to catch them early in the morning or in the evening as they close during the sunny part of the day.

I actually had more luck with seeds than I thought this year.  I planted some butterfly weed and got 4 plants to come up.

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Cross your fingers, no aphids as of yet. This plant tends to get the aphids.

Dragonfly sunning himself on the hydrangea.

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This was early morning and he was getting warmed up.

Zinnias and Joe Pye are going strong:

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.

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A lone swallowtail has been coming around the garden. Very few butterflies this year. ūüôĀ

Foxgloves are still blooming. I didn’t know they bloomed for so long.

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And a couple coleus shots for leaf color.

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.

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I am going to start moving plants in the next couple of weeks. Plus I might have a few arriving from the catalogs ūüėÄ

Hope you have a great weekend!

Bagel Wednesday

Life is cruising along fast. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to Wednesday Bagel Day.

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I know some people do, but I don’t have treats every day because then they aren’t so much like treats. ¬†Bagels are one of those things. I hardly ever eat them at home, so it is a real treat twice a week to look forward to. ¬†Having them planned in makes it easier to stay on track with my eating knowing those are coming up. ¬†Cupcakes are like that as well. Pretty much only on long ride days or a rare occasion. Makes them taste better ūüėÄ

It’s also nice to be out. When you work at home, it’s easy to forget there is a world out there sometimes LOL!

We have a little over 3 weeks until our vacation and I need it so bad. It’s been a couple years since I have had more than a long weekend off from work. That’s scary. ¬†My peeve now is that in July… JULY… I told my account supervisor that I was going to be on vacation and wanted someone else added to one particular account — of which I am the only one working it. That means if I don’t do the work, it doesn’t get done. So I asked for help just on that basis, but also because I’m going to be gone. Every 2 weeks when I submitted my lines, I asked for an update. Still haven’t found anyone. Here it is almost September and they still have not gotten anyone on the account. I don’t understand this because the other MTs¬†are complaining that work is slow. ¬†Hello?? The new person has to get trained on the software and all that before I’m gone. This is going to be a problem for them because I will not be working or even answering the phone/email from work for the whole week. It’s not my problem. Thank goodness it’s in the works for me to be leaving there.

Anyhoo – shall I share another annoyance? The espresso machine went on the fritz today. We’ve had this 4 or 5 years? I can’t remember. It was sent for service once and has been fine, but now all the lights are blinking and it won’t do anything.

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Lori is an unhappy camper with that. ¬†At least I have the Aeropress so I can make a pseudo latte. ¬†Later I will have to look at the manual and see what’s up.

My big show is coming up in 2-1/2 weeks (the week before our vacation) and a lot of soaps are being boxed and labeled plus¬†new products. ¬†I need a lot of add-on stuff to cover a wider range of people since the booth was kind of pricey. ¬†So, I’m doing some potpourri. ¬†Some matching scents to soap and others just fun stuff like rose:

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And a Pumpkin Patch one (won’t show that because Labor Day hasn’t passed yet ūüėÄ ). ¬†I’m also hiring my niece to help out on Saturday, which will be the busiest day. ¬†Lots of stuff to do between now and then.

Cupcake riding

It’s been a while since we did a cupcake ride. I know you all missed it ūüėÄ ¬†So did I! ¬†The weather was a little hotter than we would have liked, but no rain was forecast. ¬†We did have to get a project underway before we left. ¬†Chores first, right?

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We had our driveway paved just about a year ago and it needed to cure before sealing, so it was time. ¬†That was the project for the morning, complete with an extra trip to the hardware store in the middle — like any project requires ūüėõ

We were sweating away and working when a woman pulled over and called me over. She said she was glad to finally catch us outside because she wanted to let us know she loved the work we have done on the house. Another random stranger comment on our house! ¬†It’s kind of weird feeling sometimes how much people pay attention to what you’re doing and you have no idea.

Then it was off to Saratoga after lunch while the driveway dried.  Like I said, it was sunny and hot Р88 degrees, but sometimes some fluffy clouds blocked the sun, which was very much appreciated! I had also liberally applied 50 SPF sunscreen. We had a few shady spots, like this one:

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The option was on the table to turn around and go home if it got too hot, but those periodic clouds really helped.

Our sweaty selves arrived just fine.  I always bring a hat because helmet hair is never a good look.

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At 48, I don’t really have much in the way of wrinkles yet (good genes); however, my forehead crease makes up for that LOL. Too many years of squinting in the sun, I guess.

We were ready for cupcakes and iced coffee! ¬†We stopped at Parkside Eatery. ¬†I was taking a picture of my cupcake and the owner came out and asked if I was the blogger¬†who biked and ate cupcakes. ¬†Yes, that’s me ūüėÄ

We ended up getting 3 cupcakes as they aren’t really big. We each had our own and split the other one.

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Chocolate for John, of course. We split the carrot cake one.

I had peanut butter:

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I love any and all nut or nut butter products.  Especially in frosting form.

We relaxed for a while, but then realized that by the time we biked home – it would be dinner time! ¬†You forget sometimes that it’s about 1 hour and 40 minutes each way, ¬†Another layering of sunscreen and we headed home. No picture taking as we were cruising and making good time.

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41 miles. It’s that time of year where we have good bike form and riding feels good even at long distances.

We arrived home to our freshly sealed driveway ready for foot traffic.

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No car for 24 hours. I love how it looks. It’s a shame it can’t stay this way forever ūüėÄ

It seems that I am always working on a project and now I’m experimenting making a portable backdrop to take to my show in 3 weeks (ack!!). I’m hoping my idea works.

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I also spent time with my mom at Lowe’s picking out stuff to redo their kitchen. For their 50th anniversary, John and I gifted them with the labor to redo their kitchen. ¬†Along with putting in a dishwasher, we are doing countertops, paint, and lighting. ¬†This is the countertop sample along with what will be the tile backsplash.

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The tile is more white than the picture shows and has some sparkle pieces in it.  I actually am thinking about incorporating that into our upstairs bathroom remodel that hopefully will this winter some time.

I am really needed our vacation in 4 weeks, I must say.

Last gratuitous shot of Pixie doing her best job:

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She’s a champ at relaxing. My goal is to be like that when I relax.

What’s Blooming!

One thing I try to do with my garden is to always have something in bloom. ¬†This is the easier part of the year to design that. It’s mid spring that is the hard part. ¬†Lots of plants still blooming now, even though some are looking tired.

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I have one of these Black-Eyed Susans in front and one in back. I am hoping they will give me baby plants. I had 2 last year and they didn’t give me any, but I got a different cultivar this time.

Mushroom peeking out!

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I leave the liatris for some interest right now. I’ll cut it down when the foliage starts to look bad.

I was very surprised to see another bloom pop out on the balloon flowers:

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I had cut the tops back after the blooms were gone. Not sure if there will be others, but that would be nice. The blue is such a beautiful color.

Snapdragons everywhere.

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I’ve always loved the snapdragons. It’s surprising to me how many seedlings I get from these even though I mulch. I’m okay with that, though.

In the back the potted plants are looking a little tired. I think the Black Satin really could use a hair cut.

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It’s getting quite leggy. ¬†I just hate cutting off the blooms, even though I know it will come back and look better.

The hydrangea tree out back really flopped over with the last rain because the blooms are enormous.

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I apologized to my neighbor the other night because some of the branches have flopped into her coneflowers, but she said she really likes how it looks and people think they are hers LOL.

See how big the blooms are?

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This has to weigh almost a pound, especially when it’s wet.

Zinnias and Baby Joe Pye Weed:

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I would probably do zinnias from seed again. Not starting them indoors, but just putting them in the soil.  They were pretty easy.

The bees love the Baby Joe.

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There was another surprise in the back this week. One of my columbines bloomed again!

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The others that I have kind of died back to the ground and this one¬†just shot up some stalks. It’s such a unique flower.

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It’s almost time to start moving plants around. The end of summer comes so fast.

It should be good riding weather this weekend and I have a hankering for a cupcake! It’s been a while. ¬†Have a great one!

I made it!

Back at the beginning of the year, I didn’t make it an official goal, but when we booked our trip to Ireland for this fall, I made¬†a mental goal to try to lose 20 pounds by then. That would put me comfortably into my clothes (some of which were too tight) since I had some creep happening.

Anyway, this morning I officially made that goal! ¬†Yay! ¬†I’m wearing my size 10s easily again, which makes me happy. ¬†I really did it by just staying around 1500 calories a day with more on long ride days in the range of 2200 to 2500. One thing that helped was to keep my exercise on the non long ride days to an hour. ¬†Doing more than that was counterproductve and trying to force weight loss with exercise just doesn’t work for me. ¬†Anyway, I actually acheived a date goal, which I almost never set.

That cooler weather blew in this week with a vengeance!  Overnight the temps dropped 20+ degrees along with lower humidity. We had an overnight temperature of 47 degrees, too, which is crazy. I had to jacket up for morning riding.

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It’s been nice not sweating profusely all the time, too. I was getting really tired of wiping my upper lip LOL.

It even called for warm evening drinks.

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One of my favorite snacks when it is cooler.

Even though it feels like fall, it’s not and I don’t want to be seeing this in the stores.

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Gah!  I took this picture when it was sweltering hot, too.  Go away.

We have a house project we are working on now.  Over the winter, we noticed a leak in one of our basement rooms that is directly below the garage. We kind of freaked out and had a couple structural engineers come in to make sure our garage was okay. They said the house was very solid, but there are a couple depressions in the garage floor where water pools under the car tires and seeped through some cracks to below.  The solution is to level the depressions and epoxy coat it. Phew!  Of course, in leveling the depressions, we removed some loose concrete skim coat and now have a bigger project.

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That’s getting patched:

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The sticks are there to prevent anyone walking across this. And by anyone, that would be me because I almost did!  Once all this is dry, we can do the epoxy floor coat to seal it up. That will make it look nicer, too.

Some plants are arriving as well!

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These are some heuchera. There are 9 plant plugs in all here, surprisingly.  Most of these are going to go by our water feature since it is semi shady.

So there is no shortage of projects going on around here.

It’s back to the warm weather now. I sure enjoyed that coolness while it lasted!

What I’m Reading

Not much exciting over the weekend and I didn’t take too many pictures. ¬†We got caught up with a lot of things, including doing some work on my parent’s bathroom. ¬†I love home improvement stuff. It’s really satisfying, even when it isn’t my own house! ūüėÄ

Anyway, I realized I hadn’t updated my reading list in a while. In my goal to complete 30 books in 2016, I have finished 17, which is about 2 books behind schedule. It’s summer and I spend a lot of time outside, so less time reading. ¬†I imagine when we fly to Ireland, I will churn out 2 or 3 books on the plane flights!

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The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

This is a book that tells the story of young women who were kept captive in an indoor garden. The Gardener (as he was called) tattooed each young woman with butterfly wings on her back and each one was killed on her 21st birthday to preserve her young beauty.  The story begins with the escape of the girls and the narrative is told through the eyes of Maya. What seems cut and dried on the surface is actually a story with a lot of twist and turns.

Overall this was a decent book. I struggled a tiny bit with the premise because with a dozen girls in the garden, you think they could just overpower the Gardener and that would be that. A little hard to swallow that plot point. Other than that, the story had some interesting twists in it at the end, which seemed just a little rushed.


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Winter Men by Jesper Bugge Kold

I got this as a Kindle First book, part of being a Prime member. This book is a translation and I think it was done really well. Sometimes translated books come across as a little stilted or forced, but this one was well done. ¬†The story follows the path of two brothers and how they ended up unwillingly becoming part of Hitler’s SS. ¬†It was a very different perspective for me to have the story told from the German point of view. The war touched everyone and they all handled it in a different way. The brothers step by step gradually became part of the machine and their reasoning and justification was an intriguing read. It’s really difficult to feel any sympathy for either brother, but it’s never really black and white anyway.

The book really is graphic about the front lines of WWII and you really feel the harsh reality of what a country goes through being invaded and how soldiers are treated.  Not the easiest read, but quite good.


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The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

This was the first I have read by Alice Hoffman. I might look up some of her other books. I think there was some wish to compare it to Night Circus, but it’s really a different book all together, and much better.

The story takes place in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, so of course you know I liked that. Much of it is set in Coney Island. Coralie is a girl born with webbed fingers. Her father runs a museum of side shows acts, I guess you would say, and Coralie was used as a mermaid, complete with tank and costume to complete the deal. Her father was a brutal man with all of his employees and basically kept Coralie prisoner until she started to sneak out at night.  As the story progressed, her father became more and more desperate as a new show called Dreamland (an actual real life attraction) was to open and would cause the end of his museum.

Eddie is the other character. He is a Jewish man who left the faith and began a life not quite of crime, but definitely dealing in the unsavory part of New York. Eddies finds people and things and he is asked to find a missing young woman. This is where his and Coralie’s stories intertwine in a murder mystery.

I really liked the atmosphere of this book. It definitely takes you back in time. The only thing I didn’t care for was the narrative switching through multiple perspectives by the same characters, which was a little jarring. ¬†There also was a *lot* going on in this book. Lots of sub stories and plots that mostly intertwined, but some were left hanging. A quick and interesting read, though.


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At The Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

I was pretty excited to read this book. Sara Gruen wrote Water For Elephants, which I loved. ¬†This story is set in the 1940s. To avoid scandal in Philadelphia, Maddie, her husband and a friend left the country to hide out in Scotland, despite a war being on. ¬†Maddie’s husband and his friend decided to look for the Loch Ness Monster (or fake the monster) as a way to redeem themselves and be able to go back to Philadelphia.

Maddie is left alone much of the time and really begins to understand her privilege and learns empathy for others, particularly during war time. It’s the story of her personal development from a shallow socialite into a deeper, better person. She also realizes how horrible and manipulative her husband really is. ¬†Left alone at the inn they are staying at, Maddie falls in love with the innkeeper, which obviously causes a lot of trouble. ¬†In many ways, this story is like WFE with the woman married to a horrible man and the outside male trying to protect her. So, maybe nothing new, but I really liked this book. ¬†Definitely recommend it.

What’s Blooming!

Some plants in the garden really love the heat and humidity.  My mums exploded even bigger.

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These are going to look amazing when they bloom. ¬†It’s about time to buy some more. They are now in stock at nurseries. ¬†I’m thinking of putting them in my tippy pots.

My hyrdrangea back there needed some propping up.

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I think I might cage it next spring to help it stay higher.

In the spring, none of my agastache came back. However, I did notice little volunteers and I decided to let those grow.  I have a big clump of them now:

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That looks like one plant, but it’s a bunch. ¬†I will separate them out when it’s cooler and plant them around the back and here in the front. ¬†This is a cool bloom color, too.

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The last of the lilies are open now. They were nice this year.  Very tall, too. Probably 4 feet!

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They need stronger staking next year, mental note to myself.

The gourds are coming along nicely. Check out this vine, though!

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I keep winding it around because I don’t want it to get tangled in my other plants or go onto the front stoop.

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Isn’t it funny that the vine is strong enough to hold this up against the house? ¬†I don’t know how big these will get. I imagine not much bigger than this because I know I only had small gourds last fall.

As fall approaches, the sedums start to bloom. This is firecracker:

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I’m also surprised at how long my foxgloves are blooming. I kind of thought they would be done by now, although the stems are very droopy. The bees love them.

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I know I posted the passion flower earlier in the week, but it deserves sharing again. I have the vine twining up by the garage.

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Fastened with green floral ties!  Classy, I know.

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I just love these. I think this is the bloom of the summer for sure. There is also a red one, which I might get next year.  I am thinking about bringing this pot in for the winter and seeing if I can baby it to live another year.

In the back, my baby Joe Pye Weed is opening up.

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The ‘wild’ Joe Pye Weed is really tall, like 6 feet tall, so that doesn’t work in my garden. However, they have come out with a Baby Joe which is about 3 feet. I was happy to find that at my local nursery. ¬† I also have empty space there that needs plants. ¬†Gee, the hardship of shopping for plants! At least I got some mulch down so I don’t have to weed it!

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Joe Pye is a butterfly magnet. We actually had a swallowtail today in the garden!

One last shot of the Black-Eyed Susans downtown.

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En masse planting!