Friday, May 30, 2008

Burpee Clogs Giveaway

If you're like me you're always looking for a good pair of garden clogs. Clogs are fashionable right now, so you can find them in many stores in varying prices. It pays to take your time and search for a pair of clogs that are just right for you.

I am very fortunate because Burpee has given me a pair of clogs to review. I chose this lime green pair; they come in six different colors. (Please overlook the blue socks. It was very cold the day they arrived, and I was anxious to get them on my feet and start testing them out.)

This view shows the ventilation holes on the side as well as on the top. I like this feature a lot. My last pair of clogs were the older type that had no holes at all. They were very hot and sticky in the summer, so I gave up wearing them in the heat.

Burpee Clogs have these little bumps inside that I thought at first would irritate my foot. The opposite was true -- they help the shoe to stay tight to my foot, and when I wore socks, they gripped the sock so I didn't slide around in them. That was a nice surprise.

This particular shoe was a little big for me. I wear a 6 1/2 and since Burpee does not make half sizes, I ordered a 7. Little did I know how wide they are at the toe area; therefore I probably should have ordered a 6. The width makes them very comfortable for even my wide foot, and with the inner sole grip, they stayed on my feet even though the sizing was incorrect. Nice. Sliding around in my slip-on shoes is hard on my knees.

I've given my clogs a good workout. I pulled weeds, hauled mulch, and even overturned some sod, pushing hard on the shovel with my foot. They're still just as soft and flexible as when they arrived. It's almost like wearing slippers in the garden!

The garden holds special challenges, and W. Atlee Burpee Company can meet these requirements. They say their clog is "the most comfortable gardening shoe ever" and I think they are right!

Now, here's the best part: Burpee Company has given me three pair of clogs to give away. All you have to do is go to their website and tell me what you like about it, whether it's their selection of plants, their gardening supplies, or just the way the site is set up. Please leave the comment here and be sure I can contact you if you are a winner, either through a link to your website or leave your e-mail address. That's it. If you are a winner I will notify you and you can tell me your size and color choice. Contest winners will be drawn on Wednesday, June 4th at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

This contest is hosted by Online Sweepstakes and Contest Girl.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Burgers, Madame?

(Turn off my music on the Playlist in the sidebar by clicking on the small double bars. Just muting won't work, because it will silence this youtube also. Now hit play here and read on.)

The waiter comes to the table and politely asks, "Burgers, Madame?"
What?? Oh no, I must have dosed off at the computer, but it was a nice dream. The French sun was warm, and I was feeling very mellow at my table along the Champs-Elysees. The gentle sound of the language and the cooing of the pigeons were lulling me into a nice stupor -- oops maybe that was the wine.

When I woke up I wondered what I could do to recreate that nice relaxing feeling. I decided I needed to invite some friends over and forget about the hectic pace of my life for a while. So come on over. Let's have a small dinner party.

My herbs are coming right along and one thing I have an abundance of is thyme. (I'd rather have an abundance of time) Why not start the grilling season off with a new twist. We'll have a small gathering of friends and pretend we're eating in a sidewalk cafe in Paris. Small tables with market umbrellas lit with white lights, glowing candle flames, and sparkling glasses of wine chilled and ready to sip. Sound like fun?
I have just the recipe for this occasion, Burgers a'la Francais.

1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
3 T Dijon mustard
1 T minced thyme
1 T white wine
2 T minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients, form into 6 patties, and grill.

I thought a little sun-dried tomato, red onion, and arugula would top it off nicely.
Be sure to use buns fresh from the bakery, perhaps open-faced to save on carbs. Healthy and delicious.
Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #5 -- Pretty Pink Peony

Pretty Pink Peony

Go here for more Wordless Wednesday photos.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Garden Sign

This is my new garden sign this year. I'll probably put it on the garage wall.

For today, Memorial Day, it's on the front porch in recognition of all of those who have gone before us and all of those who have given their lives for our country. We thank you for your sacrifice. You have not been forgotten.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Peonies for Dinner?

I had to laugh! I heard a splash and looked up just in time to see this frog jump from the pond onto the peony blossom that was near the edge of the water. There looked like there was a struggle of some kind going on; he hung on for a while, dropped to the ground, then he took a few hops to this rock.

I assume there was a tasty morsel attached to the petal. He sat there for at least a half an hour with it dangling from his mouth. Did he realize I was having a good laugh at his expense?

Here's the peony that sacrificed some of it's pretty pink blossom.

This little fellow was hanging onto the side of the pond and was calmly watching me click away with my camera. I guess the frogs think I'm a rather strange thing, too. Do they laugh at me when I'm not around? What kind of gossip goes on in Serendipity Pond where they eat peonies with tasty morsels attached for dinner?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Skywatch Friday #6 -- Water Tower Bucket

I was at a car show last weekend and there was a firetruck on display with it's 100 ft. ladder extended with an aerial water tower bucket. It was amazing to look up and realize that firemen go up these things regularly to save lives. The clouds were moving fast, and I was dizzy even though I was on the ground. I can't imagine actually being up there.

Here's a closer shot of the bucket. It looks like a good place to get pictures of birds and other people's secret gardens!

For more Skywatch Photos visit Tom at Wigger's World.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blue and Pink Progress Report

There's been enough work in the garden to keep me busy so I haven't been too antsy about the flowers not blooming yet. But now things are slowing down (don't get me wrong, there's lots to do yet) and I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm anxious to see the results of my hard work.

The weather has been cooperating, with days that warm up to the 50s and 60s; the blooms are popping. This is the Siberian Bugloss, or Brunerra Macrophylla. It seems to be bluer than ever. This particular plant loves being next to the pond.

Another blue favorite of mine, Cornflower, Mountain Bluet, Perennial Bachelor's Button, Centaurea Montana -- whatever you want to call it, it is a knockout.

The peonies are starting to open, but not quite there. Where are the ants? Maybe it's too cold at night. Our furnace is still running. We've had nights in the 20s!

This is a shot from the top of the hill looking down toward the ponds and main garden. You can see lots of green and my anticipation is running high.

And last, but not least, a lonely columbine that decided to hide behind the wheel. A shy wallflower?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Toad Is In the House

Yeah! A toad is in the house. I can't believe he has moved in so quickly.

You'll have to look closely but you will see a lump in the back left corner. He snuggled down in the woodchips when he saw us peeking in. I guess it was a good thing that I broke my crock.

Shade Garden Finished!

I feel real good about today's work in the garden. It was 50 degrees and windy; we spent the afternoon struggling against the wind gusts.

I dug the hostas/plantain lilies from other parts of the yard. They needed to be divided anyway so it worked out great. There are about 6 coleus in there that are too small to be seen yet, along with the impatiens and begonias. There's still a bleeding heart I want to move but it's blossoming now and I think I should wait until it's done.
I brought out my blue and white Chinese foot bath and put pots inside of it so I didn't have to load it with a lot of black dirt. I just hope that a tree branch doesn't land on it but it's a thick and heavy pottery. I got it half price at Hobby Lobby a few years ago, so don't worry, it's not an antique.
The bench was in a part of the yard where it wasn't seen often and the two birdhouses were indoors, being used as shelf sitters.

All in all this area didn't cost me much other than some potting soil, the annuals, and some hard work. I'd say, not bad.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New Garden Plans

We have some new garden plans. And true to form at this household, we do everything backwards.

After our last dog passed away last month, we decided not to have any more pets, at least for a while.
This area was used by three very large female dogs over a fifteen year period for their "potty place."

We put down lime and covered it with mulch because obviously no grass is going to grow here for a long time.

Now we've decided to make a shade garden, so we have to rake back the mulch and shape the area. Then plant some divided hostas and of course buy some new plants. Stay tuned to see how it turns out. We should be done in a day or two.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Skywatch Friday #5 -- A New Day Begins

This little, lonely, bird is letting the sun warm him as a new day begins.

For more Skywatch Photos, visit Tom at Wiggers World.

A Trip To Countryside

A few days ago, Duane and I went to Countryside Greenhouse. It's a fantastic place to shop for all of your planting needs. They specialize in annuals but carry everything including perennials, herbs, and trees, also. Countryside is 8, yes 8, acres of enclosed space. They are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year so the sales are wonderful!
Don't go on a weekend unless you like crowds. The parking lot holds 350 cars, and on a Saturday you can't find a place to park. They say Thursday is the slowest day and the stock is back up after the weekend. We were there on a Tuesday, late afternoon, and it was not busy at all.

As you first enter you see this, and that's when my heart starts to race with excitement.

Off to the left and right are the newest garden implements, statuary, clogs, gloves, etc.

Now we'll walk through the annuals. I can't even explain how huge it feels. You'll need a list or you could become overwhelmed, and you'll be roaming through it all day.

Here's Duane getting me two large asparagus ferns. They're perfect for my front porch. All hanging baskets were 25% off! Yay!!!

Next, let's go to the water garden area. Of course, we had to buy something! Our plants from last year made it through the winter so we just picked up one; Bletilla Striata, a hardy water orchid with magenta pink blooms. It was good for zones 5-9-- perfect. I hope it blooms for me.

But there was so much to choose from, and our little pond couldn't hold all that we dreamed of. Look at those water irises and the cattails and water hyacinths, oh my. Get me out of here fast before I lose my house over this excursion!

This area is shrubs and trees. We need a viburnum but we decided to wait for another day. The car would be full as it is because we also had to pick up a bag of potting soil.

I was so exhausted that I forgot to take pictures of the herbs! I can't believe it.

Well. we came away with velvety pink petunias, some pink and some red impatiens, two kinds of coleus and a spike, and the two hanging baskets. Not as much as usual but we didn't need that much this year. I put in a lot of seeds. Besides I need to save room for daylily season.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Toads and Frogs

I'm in a big rush today. I just have time to pop in these pictures. Work is calling me!

Yesterday it was raining and I couldn't get outside at all, but the day before I found these three guys warming up in the sun. I never saw them all together like this before. And they didn't mind having their picture taken at all.

This fellow was sitting off to the side by himself. Was he banned from the group or just a loner?

After writing about my broken crock, Laura at Laura's Gardening Journal suggested I use it for a toad house. Thanks, Laura, that's just what I did. I'll let you know if I get any warty residents.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Please Tell Me -- What Is It?

I don't know where I got it, I don't know how long I've had it, I don't know what it is. Will someone please tell me -- What is it? ( And
if you're looking close up, please ignore that sneaky dandelion. I didn't even know it was there until I looked at the picture.)

I love it, whatever it is. It seems to be of a wildflower variety. The blue is awesome and is the first perennial to bloom after the pasque flower.

The lupines I planted just two days ago are blooming.

Now if I can only take care of them so they return another year. I have a bad history with lupines, so if you have any advice, throw it at me. And if you have any ideas about the blue flowers, please tell me. I'll be waiting.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Pink Flamingo?

Would you use a pink flamingo in your garden? Well, it goes against everything I believe in for a Michigan gardener. BUT my 86-year-old father made this for me. So what would you have said? I said, "Thank you very much."

My first thought was -- tacky! Then I took another unbiased look. It's really kind of cute. And look at the detail of the painting. But where to put it?

Suddenly inspiration struck! I had just dug out an ailing bush and the corner of my fence was empty. Doesn't it look lovely by the stained glass bird house? (My yard sale find last year)

Now I am in love with my pink flamingo. It's funny how the right setting can make all the difference.
What's your opinion? Take the poll in the sidebar and leave a comment.

Although much of the pleasure in gardening derives from serendipitous effects, thorough planning is essential. Tom Wright

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bye Bye Tulips

Here's to the last of my tulips. Bye Bye, tulips. It was good seeing you again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Gift

Duane surprised me with a Mother's Day Gift on Friday. A gift certificate to my favorite greenhouse. He gave it to me early because Daughter No.1. took me to the greenhouse and then to lunch. He wanted me to have a chance to use it while I was there.

Well, what could I do? I had to! These are the plants I came home with. I got a Gallery Red Delphinium, Gallery Pink Delphinium, Louisiana Mix Water Iris, Tiny Hope Asiatic Lily (actually a birthday gift from a friend), Bee Balm, and two Lupines and the one on the lower right that I can't remember the name of right now. It's raining and the tags are in the potting shed. The lower right one is new to me; I just thought the flower looked interesting so I tried it. You can be a little more adventurous when the money is given to you, I think.

Duane helped me all day with the mulch yesterday. We're almost done. I planted everything and today the knees are aching. It was more difficult this year than ever before but I forge on. Nothing can keep me from my garden. Thanks Duane for the very thoughtful gift.