Monday, May 18, 2009

Mish-Mash Monday

Mish-Mash Monday seems to be turning into a bit of a habit...or a classic! ;-) To change it up a bit, I've added subheadings to direct you!

We've had frost advisories the past four nights and I dutifully covered my winter-sown seedlings each night, though frost never happened. Except last night! Eep! (Note: I am not receiving free trays in exchange for showing product names in my blog, but I'm very open to the idea!)

The seedlings all look OK, but we'll see (knock wood). The seedlings are hardened off (being winter-sown and all), but they're still babies and can't handle the frost uncovered. My garden is way, way too big to cover, but I forgot to pull Piney and Mini-Me Piney under the eaves, but they too look OK (knock wood).

The castor beans, sown in a milk jug, look to be doing fine!

Yesterday I tied two five-gallon buckets to my bike and rode 3 miles to visit my friend Carole and return said buckets to her. The ride is huff-puff uphill on the way there. I had to get off and walk my bike, Trekkie, twice on inclines too steep for me to keep pedaling (in the past I could manage these inclines, but wheeze-struggle-for-air now I can't. I decided not to feel bad about this because I was at least getting some exercise). On the way home, it was wheeeeeeeeeee! mostly downhill and if I hadn't needed to stop at various intersections, it would have been almost like flying home!

I stopped on the Huron Parkway bridge and snapped this photo of the Huron River--can you make out the canoers at the far right?

And just a bit south, at the Huron Hills Golf Course, I passed a little rain garden. Trekkie is next to a non-functioning drinking fountain and the ball washer is just to the left of that. When I was on a work golf league 20 (20? Good gravy! It really has been 20!) years ago, my favorite golf-course features were the ball washers. In fact when my friend initially told me what they were, I thought he was pulling my leg. Who'da thunk it?!

The garden itself didn't have much blooming yet, except some golden Alexander (Zizea aurea) at the back, for which I couldn't get a good close-up.

While looking around the Blogger Dashboard, I saw the selection "Monetize." I was quite excited thinking it would apply some kind of graphic filter that would pixelate my photos, but no. They were weren't talking about applying Monet-like effects, but about earning money from blogging. DOH!

As you may have noticed, I'm a bit of a tea snob. You just can't help it if your ex-mother-in-law and ex-step-mother-in-law are English and you met them at the impressionable age of 19! I've always splurged on Typhoo decaf because I just don't like other decaf brands, but for some reason I was buying PG Tips as the regular tea, perhaps as it's a bit cheaper. The other day I bought Typhoo regular instead and MAN do I like it orders magnitude more than PG Tips. It really puts the nice in "nice cup of tea." (No, I am not getting free tea in exchange for positive reviews in my blog, but I'm very open to the idea!) Note for English friends: Tea in the U.S. is a lot weaker than in England; even those sold under the same brand names. Milk just weakens it more. I used to go to Canada to get stronger tea (still not quite as strong as English, but close), but in recent years the same tea sold in England is available at some local stores in the international aisle, ooh er.

For the first time ever, I think I've seen hummingbirds in my garden. I thoroughly cleaned and filled a hummingbird feeder and occasionally see small blurs of red and dark green flit by it, which, even though I haven't gotten a good close-up look, let along managed to take a photo, I'll assume are indeed hummers. Yay!

Plant Swap & Garden Tour
The plant swap went well on Saturday, despite the chilly and drab weather. You can see some of the attendees here (the lucky ones were behind me and escaped the camera!) I got a bunch of new stuff to plant including a yellow trout lily! Only a subset of folks braved the weather long enough to tour my garden, but that went fine as well. Weeds abounded, but I used Sweet Bay's suggestion of telling them to pretend to wear special glasses that blocked out the weeds!

Thanks to all your encouraging comments while I was panicking trying to get my garden ready. It is true we tend to fuss too much. But I assure you that I really had (and have!) a lot to do — I was using the tour (which I planned way back in February) as a motivator to get me to do all I wanted to do, only it didn't turn out that way. So I wasn't trying to make it perfect so much as get around to some of the many things that have been on my list for a very long time. Well, gardeners understand, right?!

In the Garden
Not too much is blooming right now in my garden. A few exceptions include:

...this lovely phlox (not a PPPP, but a regular garden phlox), new chokeberry shrub,

...this glorious cushion spurge (it's over 2 feet wide and nearly 2 feet tall!),

...these really adorable silver bells (Ornithogalum nutans), which I had trouble photographing, but you can see a better photo here,

...this small variegated red-twig dogwood,

...these daffodils (which I thought I saw on Jan's blog and thought I'd commented that they looked like dogs hanging their heads out of a car window with their ears flapping in the breeze, only now I can't find it on her site) which I just discovered hiding under some evergreen shrubbery,

...this cute yellow columbine (the groundhog ate the purple one), and

...two tulips (out of 100+) the groundhog did not eat.

Lots of things have nice buds, including:

...Jupiter's beard, dear purple smoke bush, and peonies, which are earlier this year than normal, presumably due to the rainy spring.

I've been planting a lot, which means transplanting a lot. For example, a forsythia was too close to my large dogwood out front, so after pruning it down to a manageable size, I dug it out (no problem) and moved it to one of my two "wilder" beds (big problem). I had to get out the chainsaw to cut down some buckthorn and then I had to dig out buckthorn roots to make the hole. I also moved a Miss Kim lilac to have room to plant the phlox, which was no problem, except there was a non-buckthorn tree root right where the lilac needed to go. This root is small compared to the roots I usually have to deal with, and maybe a quarter of the size of the one that sent me flying off the spade the other day.

Also of interest are several mushrooms (fungi?) growing horizontally off the stump of a cut-down cottonwood. This one's for you, WiseAcre Gardens!

And that's it for today. Whew! Happy Mish-Mash Monday.


  1. Monica, Your "Mish-Mash Mondays" are so much fun! Thanks for the permission to use the same title:) My whole life seems to be a mish-mash at times.

    Glad your garden tour went well; at this point in spring I would have trouble distinguishing some weeds from budding plants even without special glasses:) But it does look like you have lots of wonderful blooms; sheesh, I'm just glad I don't have a groundhog here!

    LOL, like you, one day I clicked on "monetize" thinking it would turn my photos into Monet-like paintings:)

  2. I love these posts with lots of different topics;)

    We had frosts here Sat and Sun nites. I'm glad I didn't have too much in the ground. It was difficult enough hauling it all into the garage.

    Received some Canadian tea from a friend over Christmas. Couldn't tell he difference. It's probably just me, I'm not a conniseur. I'm embarrassed to tell you I'm drinking 'peach' tea this morning;)

    Monica, my seedlings aren't growing as fast as I want. They finally got their second set of leaves after waiting weeks. When can I fertilize them? Should I move them to larger pots first? They are in the pellets now. They are outside every day, have been for a couple weeks.

  3. Hi garden blooms are seems strange seeing daffs when all mine have gone.....

    Frost eeekkk....I cannot imagine...we should not have any now but can never be a 100 per cent certain until June......

    Tea....I love tea.....if you would like me to send you a box of special English tea, please email me on and give me your address. It will be a pleasure to send you some......

    Have a good week......

  4. Enjoyed your long newsy post Monica. Hopefully the danger of frost has vanished here whilst you by the sound of it still have to be alert. When does the risk of frost end for you ?

    Interesting to read about how tea strengths compare. I must be one of a minority on this side of the pond -I never touch the stuff :) Glad that you can get the real deal nearer to home now.

    It sounds as if your plant swap went well - look forward to hearing more about your new aquisitions.

  5. Wow you've had an interesting few days Monica. I'm glad your tour went well, we gardeners always see all the work that needs to be done in our gardens instead of the beauty. :) It's hard to imagine frost in May, but then again I live in zone 7b. We've been known to have one as late as April but that's about it. I'm glad you still have some lovely blooms and that the groundhog didn't eat everything. He's a pesky little guy. ;)

  6. Hi Monica, I predict big things for mish mash monday. You are going to have to get that Mister Linky set up. :-) Glad you have the tour and sale behind you. Now you can work at your own pace and get the stuff done that you need to when you get around to it. Interesting about the strength of teas. :-0 (mouth sipping)

  7. Yep, we like Mish-Mash Monday! Don't like the frost though! You've got some lovely plants blooming and the Chokeberry looks very cool. Mom will have to investigate on it...
    Purrs, your feline friends Siena & Chilli

  8. Monetize - I never thought of Monet, and I'm an artist!!

    Tea glorious tea - I love a good strong mug of tea and always used Typhoo or PG Tips. Recently I thought I'd try Sainsbury's economy Basics range teabags, which is only around 27p for 80 bags. I expected it'd be horrible, but I actually like it best of all!!!

  9. A very nice Mish Mash post! I hope this is the last of your frosts! With the sweet blooms you have...frosts need to disappear. I love the variegated will light up a garden~~maybe add that to the list~~and the phlox is lovely. Speaking of phlox, PPPP...It will go in the mail in the next day or so. I'll make sure I send one in bloom so you can capture seeds. Thanks for the shout out!

    I serve tea to all visitors and clients! Although I am not knowledgeable about teas!


  10. Monica, I so enjoy your Mish Mash Mondays. Like a letter from a dear friend who is catching me up on all that has been going on in her life. :)

    A garden walk and plant swap is a big under taking any time of the year bit especially this early. Glad it went well for you. I have so much I want to do but loose energy quickly. I did manage to get a few more plants in the ground this weekend even with the rain and the granddaughters being here. After work today, I planted amy barrels and a couple of containers. But need to do much more. I can't believe June is almost here and I don't have everything planted.

    Your blooms are beautiful and so unusual. Really liked silver bells.

    Won't we all have a time next weekend getting to know each other in person! Can't wait.

    PS. 5 miles on a bilke uphill is a LOT of exercise!

  11. Ha -- I hadn't thought of the Monet in "monetize". lol

    Glad to hear the tour went well, and I bet you're glad it's over and you can relax. ;)

    I really like that variegated Red-Twig Dogwood; it's beautiful.

  12. Monica, it looks to me like you have a lot blooming in your garden. I'm glad your tour went well. If it were me, I would just be grateful it was over! LOL! I don't do well under pressure. Enjoyed your Mish-Mash Monday!

  13. Hi Monica - great post, I love the mish-mash of subjects! I'm glad your garden tour went well too.

    I've not got groundhog problems or hummingbirds, but I have got LOTS of rain and zillions of slugs setermined to eat all my seedlings and vegetables. Ho Hum!

    As for tea - here in the UK, you can now get a brand of tea known as 'Builder's Tea'! So strong you can stand your spoon up in it! If you want any sort of English tea, just email me at with your address and I'll pop some in the post to you.

    Enjoy your day :)

  14. Monica, if you get a spare moment would you email me
    I'd like to ask a couple more questions about seedlings;)

  15. LOL @ "Monetize." Thanks for the laugh.

  16. Well, I didn't know there was such a thing as ball-washers either. See, blogs are educational. I enjoyed a little tour of where you live, Huron looks lovely and I would have liked to be one of the people in those canoes. You do have some serious roots! I use an Irish trenching spade which can be strong enough for roots like those if they don't run forever, but sometimes I just have to give up and use a crowbar, or borrow a scotch broom tool.

  17. I agree...they are fun...and this one was jammed packed...

  18. What a great post, Monica:)

    I love to read about all of your blooms and the different topics you chatted about :)

    Your seedlings are enormous and look ready for potting on now :)

    I am a tea drinker and now love Mariage Freres tea from Paris. My daughter-in-law is a Parisian and she introduced me to it. It has a strawberry or vanila taste to it...we can't decide which :)

    Glad the groundhog behaved himself :)

  19. You win the frost contest - I just missed the sub-freezing temps.

    You should have emptied the buckets before leaving.

    You should have used the chainsaw on the groundhog.

    Cool - I hope the Trout Lily takes to your garden. They are among my favorite early spring bloomers.

    You like leaves - I like beans. Coffee for the win.

    Figures - when people think fungus when they think of me :)

    I estimate you will reach Google's payout threshold ($100.) in just over 8 years. I could be wrong and over estimated your monthly earnings. Don't be surprised if it takes 16 years. That is one misleading button. Blogs are tough to effectively monetize.

  20. I'm drinking a cup of PG Tips, Tea-Bag tea while I read your post. Strangely, it is different from loose tea and I like the tea bag version better, which embarrasses me because I've avoided teabags until recently on the grounds they are unnecessarily wasteful.

    (The fabric doesn't seem to compost either.)

    My favourite tea at present is Typhoo Green Blend - which I often can't get, even here.

    Tea-snobbery at nineteen . . . with me and my friends, it was whether one preferred Russian Caravan to Keemun, and which was best, Keemum or Lapsang?

    Then there was Twinnings or Jacksons of Piccadilly . . .

    Real English snobs offer their guests Earl Grey Tea without warning their visitors first . . . on the grounds that it is what everyone drinks in the afternoon, isn't it?

    I too like the idea of sending you teas . . . if you'd like to tell me where to send them, I'd enjoy sending you any of the above mentioned. Let me know if you'd like this. (Seriously.)

    Why is that a rain garden? It doesn't look as if it's seen much water recently!

    Do you have ball-cocks in the cisterns of your loos? Now, there's an odd name!

    Garden tours . . . mine are like this . . . "If you stand here, you get one view. If you stand here, you get the same view in the opposite direction. Would you like a cup of tea?"


  21. Einfach schoen - die Aussicht auf den Fluss. Ich muss auch unbedingt meinen Kolibrifeeder fuellen - meine Schwiegermutter hat schon seit einiger Zeit Kolibris - bei mir habe ich noch keine vobeischwirren sehen, aber ohne Futter werden sie wohl auch nicht kommen;)
    LG, Bek