Happy Mother’s Day 2014

Dan made me breakfast.

Elly gave me a beautiful necklace and pin.

I spent the rest of the day in the place where I hope to spend every Mother’s Day: my garden.

I planted the after-frost seeds today, inserted all the cages and frames, and laid down the soaker hose system.

I purchased my soaker hose system from Gardeners Supply Company. It is worth its weight in gold, especially since I detest standing over a garden in the heat holding a hose. With the soaker system, I just attach our hose, turn the water on and walk away for 2 hours. It’s a thing of beauty and the only reason my garden survives the long, hot summer.

Vegetable and Herbs in my grow beds and garden bed this year:

Tomatoes, of course
Swiss Chard
3 different kinds of mint for tea
Lemon balm

Gosh, when I write it all down, it looks like I went and lost my mind. It should be noted that the asparagus, rhubarb, chives, thyme, sage, rosemary, lavender, mint and lemon balm are all perennials and thus require little to no effort. All I have to do is keep the weeds at bay. Here’s hoping our local shop hurries up and fixes Dan’s lawn mower soon. I could use some grass clippings to mulch around all the plants and help discourage the weeds.

After a day of gardening, I am sore and a little chewed upon thanks to the swarm of gnats that followed me everywhere. It was a wonderful day though.

I hope your Mother’s Day was just as wonderful!

Sunday Snapshots (of tomatoes)

The prize jewel of my garden every year is my tomatoes.

I loved eating the spinach, swiss chard and zucchini. The peas were OK though I will likely never grow them again since the shelling was more work than I liked. I can’t wait to try fresh corn. Yet, nothing holds a candle to a fresh tomato.

It doesn’t matter that nobody agrees with me. Both Dan and Elly won’t eat fresh tomatoes. They have to be cooked up into something – anything – first before they will touch my tomatoes. Fools. Yet, I suppose it means more for me and that is just fine.

It has been a year now since I have had to purchase spaghetti sauce or tomato soup. It didn’t take me long to become completely spoiled by the taste of fresh tomato sauce. So, I wasted no time in pulling out the canning pot this year and processing the first batch of tomatoes.

Sunday Snapshots (of home)

Ocean City, NJ was lovely. We had perfect weather. Every morning was spent on the beach.

From Ocean City, NJ 2013

(More pictures of our vacation can be seen by clicking on the album.)

Elly had a blast in the ocean and digging in the endless sand.

Still it was so nice to get home.

While away, the vegetable garden had exploded. So, today was spent picking zucchini and peas.

Elly helped.

She even helped shell the peas.

Home sweet home.

Why I Fell in Love with Gardening

This yard made me fall in love with gardening.

In Spring, our yard is filled with eye candy. Here in this picture only 3 dogwood trees are visible, but there is a total of 6 dogwood trees in our yard each one more beautiful than the other. There are more azalea bushes than I have fingers on my hands.

Millions of bulbs pop up every year from tulips to daffodils to crocuses to daylilies. The scent of the lilac bushes can be smelled before your eye locates them on the edge of the property.

Before moving into this house 8 years ago, I hated gardening. It seemed like such a fruitless activity. All that bending and digging and weeding felt like work. All I wanted was a glass of port and a huge ball of yarn instead, thank you very much.

Then, I saw the beauty that a garden can bring. Add in fresh tomatoes and I came crashing to my knees.

Yep, I could spend every waking hour in my garden. Elly has less dedication. There are swings to be ridden and ice cream to eat.

Hooray! My Garden is Growing!


Seeds have only just started to poke their heads out of the ground, but I am already dancing for joy!


Swiss Chard!



Carrots that Elly and I planted last Fall!

Unfortunately, I need to remove the lion’s share. One, they are growing too close together and two, I need room to plant seeds of corn.

Other plants require less squinting to find, such as the garlic and herbs.

Just this past week, I tossed the dried thyme in my spice rack because the thyme in my garden is available year round. And fresh is better.

Soon I will be able to toss the rosemary too. Even though it dies back in the winter, I can whip out my dehydrator and dry my own supply in the Fall before the first freeze.

It’s rewarding and really fun to reap what you sow.

Grass Mulch

It is a goal of ours to eventually replace all the grass in our front lawn with trees, bushes and an overabundance of ground cover plants.

Dan hates to mow. He especially hates to mow under the low hanging branches of all the dogwood trees. Apparently, it is difficult to get the mower underneath the tree to cut the grass without getting whacked in the head.

Perhaps most importantly, we don’t use the lawn in the front yard. It is strictly for decoration. The backyard is where we play, lounge about and run barefoot.

Slowly but surely, I am eating all the grass up with my ever-expanding vegetable garden and miniature trees.

Japanese Maple and Japanese Stewartia trees
When I am 100, they might be as tall as me. Which is to say, they are terribly slow growing.

In the meantime, the grass is earning its keep by providing free mulch.

Dan saves the grass clippings for me every time he mows. The grass mulch is used all over the yard, but most heavily in the vegetable and herb gardens.

Sunday Snapshots (of dandelions)

I hate dandelions.

Every year, I pull out close to a hundred. Of course, the only way to pull them out properly is to dig down and get the entire root. If you miss even just a little bit of the root, it will grown back. Grrr.

If they would just stay in the lawn, I wouldn’t care. But no, they get into my garden beds and even my raised vegetable beds. They are pure evil.

Elly, on the other hand, loves dandelions.

She likes to pick them and then give them as little gifts.

It’s adorable.

It almost makes me want to forgive the dandelion for all its evil traits. Almost, but not quite.

How My Garden Grows

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
How Does Your Garden Grow? 

Perhaps I’ve been reading too many Mother Goose rhymes.

My garden looks like it isn’t growing at all.

It always looks horrible in the Spring. The few seeds that have been planted are still buried under the earth and the warm weather plants, like tomatoes and watermelon, won’t be planted until Mother’s Day.

This year, the garden is actually looking better than normal for at least the garlic is growing.

Like every previous year except the year Elly was born, the vegetable garden has been expanded. A new grow bed was added in front. (We use this model and this model). It will house asparagus, eventually, since asparagus takes a year or two before it produces a good crop.


If all seeds and plants take in my vegetable garden, I will be able to harvest the following: spinach, swiss chard, corn, tomatoes, parsley, basil, peas, zucchini, garlic, two types of mint, blueberries, strawberries, pumpkins, watermelon and a few other herbs.

Elly has asked for broccoli. I might squeeze in one plant just for her.

And to think that I hated gardening 8 years ago. Ha!

Come On Spring!

Winter needs to leave now. The cold weather is keeping me from my garden. Seeds for the garden arrived 2 months ago, but it’s still too cold to plant them.

The cold weather is NOT keeping Elly from doing what she loves to do:

playing in her sandbox

(note the boots)

and swinging

Balls of steel my girl has!

Sunday Snapshots (of a romantic pathway)

There is nothing more romantic and magical than a pathway lined with trees and shaded by the tree’s canopy. The print that hangs over our mantle is a picture of just such a pathway.

When I first found the print, I cried. It was so beautiful.

Today, I found such a pathway.

It was in a development where our friends live. It was the path we took to reach the playground. While Elly and the other kids raced to the monkey bars, I took pictures of romantic surroundings.