Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sweet Success

Hello? Hello? Is anyone out there? Yes. I know. I have been MIA for several days. Do you worry when you haven't blogged for a few days--okay, over a week or more --that you have lost all of your followers? Well, I do, but I also know that that my kind followers have had the same lapses in time and space and we are always waiting for a happy return. So here I am, now an officially retired English professor.

The sweetest sound of spring:
the male gold finch singing to his his Lady Love
The end of the semester is always stressful, and this last one was not any different except for the long faces of friends whom I will miss very much. Five of us had dinner the week of finals, not to say good-bye, just say "see ya soon." One other friend is also rearing, so with the two of us leaving, we ate good food, had a bit of wine, and did the 'remember whens. There will be a huge hole in the English department with the two of us gone. My final words to my dear friends were simple: We may not be working together anymore, but we are friends forever.

I did really get tired of everyone asking me "What are you going to do now that you are retired?"   The list is a very long one; here are the top two:

1. Spend time with our dear, sweet grandchildren who are growing up so quickly:

Lucy graduated Pre-School.

2. Spend time in the Garden with my sweet Head Gardener (who happens to be off on his annual fishing trip).
Sweetness in the Garden

Meet Sweet Sensations who will join her sister roses; a Weeks Hybrid Tea rose, she will grow hardy and healthy. And what fragrance she has. 

Today I gave the roses sharp pruning. I had pruned them mid-March, taking only a bit of each branch since they had already begun to leaf out. Then April weather turned ugly with record setting cold, freezing rain and a lot of snow, killing all of the new growth.

Today the roses look hardy and are growing a new, strong leaf foundation. Originally I left one long stem on the red rose, but post photo, I snipped it off, too, to give the rose a nicer, more uniform shape.

I love these three little guys clustered by the David Austin. They are supermarket roses--you know, those pretty little potted roses that are great gifts, but if left potted in the house they die. I plant them outside and they do very well. In fact, they will be the first roses to bloom. I think I paid 5 dollars for two of them on the sale shelf last summer.

The three David Austins on the other side of the garden wall are doing well. They required little pruning. They seem to be such easy keeper.

Peony Beauties

We have been adding peonies every year. I had beautiful, huge plants at the old house that were pretty much left to fend for themselves, but here I struggle get them to do well (just as I am struggling tonight to upload the photo of the 3 planted with the David Austins in the front of the house.) We purchased one last summer at the iris garden along with 5 new irises and it failed to thrive. Hubby dug up the rhizome and just threw it in ground by the hen house, and while it did sprout leaves, it really needs a more suitable home. But look the these two healthy plants above. The lady at the iris patch said to feed them rabbit food in early spring. We did and look at the results. The ones out front are tall, healthy and all are full of buds. Can't wait for these beauties to bloom.

Sadly Raspberry Sundae isn't doing so well, much like the alum planted in the same garden bed. I have decided that the plants in the entire bed which have turned yellow don't like the horse manure top dressing we gave them last year. The peony were all fed the same, only this one got a dose of pooh, too. She apparently does not like it.

The alum was going to be spectacular this year with two new sprouts. She was going have 3 gorgeous  giant purple spheres. Guess we will be scrapping away the manure.

Just Peachy

North Star Dwarf Cherry

Covering the fruit trees during the last cold spell paid off. The newest peach tree planted last summer is loaded with blossoms, while the two year old tree had only a sparse flowering. Hopefully we will have fresh peaches. The cherry tree will have to be netted to keep the robins off of it once the cherries begin to show a bit of red. I really like the this tree. Who does not like cherry pie? While the tree looks pretty skimpy, the dwarf produces an amazing amount of cherries that are easily picked. 

More Garden Success

Remember my blog last year about daughter Heather redesigning the front water garden? We made a trip to our favorite wholesale garden in Ft. Collins--the one that supplies High Country Gardens Nursery. This little iris is not one those plants, but Heather did give it to me last summer.The first iris to bloom this season. I did lose a few new plants around the pond, but more survived than died.

Success in the Vegetable Garden

Three varieties of potatoes have been planted: Red, Yukon Gold, and just plain white spuds

Even more exciting: the asparagus lives. Pretty skinny, though. I have not decided if I will cut the spears or not. The plants are entering their second year, planted from gallon containers. So I don't know if I should harvest them or let them go to seed. There is one teeeeeeny tiny spear poking through int the trench of 16 asparagus roots planted a few weeks ago. Hopefully more will grow. Patience. Lots of Patience. 

The berries are coming out of their winter funk too. The strawberries are blooming, the raspberries that were transplanted are alive and growing, and the blackberry has vibrant growth coming up from the bottom. I don't know just how much of the cane that we tied up to trellis is alive. As the roses, it had good, hardy leaf buds before that freeze. 

Be careful What You Wish For

Our wish was for rain instead of snow--we were sick of the late spring snow. Last Tuesday it rained; boy did it. According to the rain gage, we had almost 1.5 inches in about half an hour. Our water garden project has stalled for various reasons, but the hole collected a nice amount of rainwater. 

Even the hens had a bit of puddle. They were not too sure just what to do about it either.

And Sundance took a mud bath.

The sweetest of All
The Saturday before Mother's Day, late in the afternoon, the doorbell rang. Expecting to see my 6ft. 2 nephew, I was shocked to see the little guy, Nathan. "What are you doing here and how did you get here," I asked my four year old grandson? Then his momma appeared from behind the courtyard wall. In short, she brought a mother's day dinner and Jen and her family came for an early Mother's Day Surprise. Really the best of all.  Ellie presented me with a bit of gift. She knew I had a collection of bird nests that had fallen from the trees last summer, so she asked for one. Later she brought me a nest of chicken eggs--freshly laid--decorated with a pit of purple weed flowers. I love the colors and treasure the moment.

And they want to know what I will be doing in retirement? 

Top of my immediate To Do List: catch up on my blog reading. I have been reading randomly, but not commenting much. I am now using an iPad instead of my lap top and I am thinking that I need to add a keyboard to it so that I can type more accurately. I have missed my blog friends, but I am back in business. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful week. My great nephew graduates from high school Sunday then he is off the to Marines. Congratulations, Austin. 

And thank you dear ones who offered sweet sentiments on my retirement and encouragement that there is life after a wonderful career.

Keep Bloggin'


  1. I'm retired and stay BUSY all the time! You'll love having time to do the things you want to do and spend time with things and people that make you happy! Sweet hugs!

  2. Heck Yes! For Us gardeners and nature lovers there are a million things to do!..... One of them is just Chilin LoL!

    There are days that I wished I had the time to just sit on my little balcony and think to myself with a nice cup of coffee or tea..

    Congrats to you on your retirement! The best times, days, moments and events are a head.. because now you have all the wonderful time to do it! Boy do I envy you!

    Enjoy! Enjoy! and congrats again!

  3. Yay for you! I do think blog contact goes in spurts and some of my favorite blogs get somewhat neglected by their owners. Sometimes I'll follow a pin to the source on Pinterest and see that a cool blog hasn't posted in two years. I've been blogging for four years and I keep going, but many of my old favorites have stopped. Sigh.
    You'll be busier than ever with all your earth, animals, people, and reading. I'm so happy for you, Ann!

  4. Congratulations on your retirement! It looks like it will be filled with lots of enjoyment :) I am so happy for you. We have a keypad for our iPad and it is great - we can type so much faster.

    So interesting about the horse manure. Come to think of it, I've never seen it sold before - I wonder why that is? I love peonies - one of my favorites in the garden. Here's to hoping you have a great year in the garden!

  5. Hi Ann, you will soon wonder why you don't have enough time for all the things you want to do, even in retirement! I love that Mother's Day gift of the bird's nest with fresh beautiful eggs and purple flowers. What a nice surprise, and dinner, too! With your loved ones...doesn't get any better!

  6. Congrats newly retired....

    I know that you will be busy, and having a lot of fun.

    I wonder why the horse manure would be a problem, was it too fresh?


  7. Congratulations on your retirement. I'm sure you will find plenty to do in your spare time. I just layed about 4 inches of horse manure on my vegetable garden. It's suppose to be great for the plants & veggies. Was it aged? I hope to till mine in this week-end.

  8. Many congratulations on your retirement Ann, I'm sure you will find like me that there are just not enough hours in the day!
    (I wondered too if the manure hadn't rotted down enough?)
    Rose H

  9. Pam I forgot to tell you about the Sheep Manure and Peonies. It is what my grandmother used on hers..and they were always full and healthy!

  10. I think I'd leave the asparagus another year (however I've never grown any). People always say they're much more busy than ever before in retirement and I bet you will too as you've a huge range of interests and a sizeable garden. Exciting times!

  11. I we all know life happens and blogging will wait! So glad retirement means spending more time with you Grandchildren. Things looks good in your garden, by David Austin roses are blooming..I so love them.

  12. I'd take your picture of the alliums and deformed peony to your local extension agent to find out what it was about the manure that caused the problems. Everything looks great! How wonderful to have a cherry tree. They are one of my favorite fruits. :o)

  13. You have two wonderful reasons to enjoy your retirement! I know just what you mean, I retired in December, and I STILL get tired of explaining to people what I do with my time. I've been trying to come up with a snappy comeback, but haven't yet. Enjoy those grandchildren!