Monday, January 6, 2020

2019 in Review

Happy New Year

2020 at one time seemed so far off in the distant future, but here we are full of hope and enthusiasm for the new year. I've not made any resolutions, just set some goals that I'd like to accomplish this year: Continue to work on maintaining good health--that's pretty vague, isn't it? None the less, some days it's hard to remember to take care of myself; becoming a little more social by spending more time with old friends and making new ones; reading a little more. Things like that. I'd like to do some traveling, too. We'll see how that goes.

As we begin the new year, it's fun to reflect on the past year, so I went through my photo library to see what I could come up with.There were so many good garden moments and beautiful plants and there were some trying times in the photo album, too.  I tried to select one photo for each month to keep the post short, but that was really hard to do. This is supposed to be a Garden Blog, so let's see what went on here at the Garden Spot.

January: The seed catalogs begin to arrive, and we begin dream and plan and select: I want one of each.
Anxious for Spring Blooms, we cheat and buy a handful of daffodils at the supermarket.

February: Mother Nature gets pretty bossy, reminding us that it is still winter as we are ready for Spring.

March: The Head Gardener fires up the rototiller and lays out the garden beds, creating a clean slate to start the garden.

April: The first of the spring bulbs begin to appear: the early daffodils along side the tiny iris that if you blink you will miss them. They come early and disappear quickly.


May: The show begins. I call them the Three Sisters, crab apple trees planted by a previous owner always delight with their deep reddish pink blossoms. 

The first male oriole arrives, scouting out the feeders, looking for grape jelly. Soon his family and friends will arrive. They will gorge themselves most of the summer as they raise a new clutch and teach them where the free food is.

More daffodils appear. A garden have too many daffodils. Right?

Spring always has to put with Mother Nature's little temper tantrums, but the daffodils are hardy and will shake of the snow and continue to smile.


One of my favorites in the garden: the bleeding heart.

June: The garden shows signs of life as the iris bloom with the tender tomatoes are covered as a storm forms, threatening wind and hail.

The clematis and Edith Wofford iris are always such a joy.


There are so many other beautiful flowers in the garden that I could share, but I vowed to do one photo for each month--well that isn't working too well. I take my camera out every day and take pictures of the flowers. It's hard to choose which will make the year end post.

With a two major events--a 50th class reunion and a wedding-- planned for August, there was a lot of work to do to make the Garden Spot a real show place. The barn circle consumed with weeds and bad grass needs had been an eye sore for a long time and required a lot of hard work to get it ready for the big events.

After removing gravel mulch, a load of top soil arrives, followed with a pallet of sod.


All of the Head Gardener's hard work pays off as the Garden Spot begins to look clean and beautiful. Trust me: it's a lot of hard work for old people.

This garden will be the focal point for the bride's beautiful wedding photos.

For the Bride and Groom, it was perfect night.

Mid summer: a most unwelcome visitor to the Garden Spot who certainly is not invited back. He kill our prized koi. We were heartbroken and felt so badly because we didn't do a better job of protecting our fishy friend.

Lady bugs are always a welcome in the garden. I asked my little grandson once what lady bugs ate and then gave him the correct answer: aphids.

August: We have apple trees, cherry trees, and two peach trees. This year the apples froze and the birds devoured the cherries--mostly because I didn't want to deal with them; Cherries are the pits, you know. And while there was late spring freeze, a few peaches survived. They were so good, but it certainly is a race to get to them before the birds discover them.


As September rolls around, Lady Hawk takes a break from supervising her fledglings that sprint though sky, squawking and screaming under her watchful eye. The hawk is quite approachable and tolerant of my camera.


For Mother's Day I received and assortment of 25 dahlia tubers and what a show they put on once they started to bloom in earlySeptember. We saved the tubers and we will plant them earlier this year, hoping for a better yield earlier.

November: The weather cools and sometimes we have fog. We loved fog here at the Garden Spot, but only because we don't have to drive in it and it is a rare weather occurrence.

And who doesn't love a harvest moon?

To add spring color to the newly sodded barn circle (so named because it out by the barn and to distinguish if from the front circle), we planted 50 assorted colors of tulips. In a few months they will make me smile.

As Fall descends on the Garden Spot, light changes to a golden glow. It was a good summer with good things that happened. My husband reconnected with classmates, some whom he hadn't seen in 50 years and a young couple began their life together. They were, we promised ourselves, one time events for the the Garden Spot. 

By the end of the summer the weeds got the best of the garden and dahlias took off. We always promise ourselves that we will do a better job of managing the garden next year. Next year we won't plant as many tomatoes. Next year we will hoe weeds more diligently. Next year. 

 The bride wanted sunflowers, so I purchased seeds and my dear neighbor cultivated them in the green house at a local nursery and they were gorgeous. We harvested the ones that we wanted for the wedding and planted the rest in the garden. They looked so hopeless and weak and spindly. I staked them to keep the wind from breaking the over and by summers end what a show. Many grew to giant heights, making me wish that we had started some seeds in the garden. They certainly are a do-over planting.

Fall soon fades and the winter storms come. It's a doozy of a winter. So far one big storm, followed by one that brought less snow that the wind scattered and drifted, but we were cozy inside. January will vanish quickly. Already it is booked up: This week clean up the basement and store all the Christmas decorations; host a DAR Valentine card making session for the veterans; go to a rabbit show with the granddaughters; attend the state DAR Board of Management meeting at the end of the month. And then it will be February. The really good news: we have an extra day this year. 

 Finally, Christmas is always a joyous season, even in the garden. I wanted the trees out front decorated, but the weather turned bad and we never got it done. Next year.


I'll finish my post with a baking lesson. 

I didn't bake last year, leaving it to the girls to bake the cookies since I follow Weight Watchers and didn't want to be tempted; however, this year, I decided to at least make my ginger moose

As I sprayed the cookie sheet to lay out my first round of cookies the Pam spray didn't come spray quite right, but I didn't make too much of it. I filled the sheet and put it in the oven and began the next batch. I sprayed the second sheet and the Pam didn't smell right. Sort of lemony, but once again I didn't make too much of it and I began cutting and placing cookies on that second sheet then I caught sight of the can on the counter that didn't look like Pam at all; instead, it was Pledge. 

Some how the Pledge, usually kept under the sink, was placed in the cupboard underneath the cooktop where I store the Pledge.

I pulled the first batch of ginger moose and ginger horses out of the oven and trashed them, washed my cookies sheets, put the Pledge in its proper place, and continued one, feeling rather silly.

Happy New Year, Friends. 

Thanks for joining me here at the Garden Spot all year long. 

I'm linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Remembering the Fallen

With a pot of beef soup on the stove and a very large batch of gingerbread dough chilling, I finally have a moment to write.

Winter will mark its official presence in just a few days with an already very good start to the season. If we don't have another storm, there will still be snow on the ground for a bit of a white Christmas. Still, it is cold, even with the sun shining. We barreled through a heavy storm yesterday as we made our way home from a day in town, which I'd like to share with you because it was a most worthy day.

Wreathes Across America

I first heard about Wreaths Across American on the evening news a couple of years ago.  Worcester Wreath Company, formed in 1992, ended the season with an excess of wreaths. As the story goes, not wanting the wreaths to go to waste, the owner decided to adorn the graves at Arlington Cemetery with the left over inventory. Now, a national organization, Wreaths Across America places wreaths on as many military graves as possible across the country. You can read more about the how program to supply the wreaths began:

Saturday morning, December 14, I dressed in my winter clothing and enlisted my husband to go with me to Grandview Cemetery in Ft. Collins, CO, to help place wreaths on 1,100 graves of fallen soldiers. Today's mosaic shows the event of the morning which began with singing the National Anthem and listening to our speaker for the ceremony giving a message on the importance of remembering the fallen heroes. The local ROTC raised the American flag and the flag honoring the POWs and MIAs. A local Boy Scout troop presented the flags of the five branches of the military. Near the end of the ceremony, ROTC bag pipers played "Amazing Grace" and the ceremony ended with a Veteran playing "Taps." Then it was time to place over a thousand wreaths. The small crowd that had come to participate were finished placing wreaths in a matter of minutes.

Each grave that would receive a wreath was marked with a purple flag. When the wreaths were all placed over 2,000 purple flags were left marking graves that did not receives wreaths. Next year's goal is to provide an additional 2550 wreaths to grace every soldier's grave.

Our Daughters of the American Revolution sold 160 wreaths and some of us were there to place them. The mosaic shows Julie Beckman, a new member to our chapter who also coordinates the Wreaths Across America project for the cemetery and my sister-in-law, chapter regent. 

Dozens of boxes fill with wreaths had already been distributed and waited to be empty.

We are a small chapter with some members who live out of state, some who live out of town, and some who are not able to venture out in the cold. So here we are: Carol Sue, Jennifer, Sue, Julie, Karen, and me. 

The wreaths can be ordered year round just by going to the website and placing your order. Local organizations as members of WAA will earn $5. back on each wreath that they sell, making the project a nice fundraising project. 

It was a worthwhile morning and I didn't even really feel the cold.

Here are home the decorations are up, yet the house is still disorganized. I just can't seem to get into full gear this year. I debated on which tree to decorate: my less than traditional pink one or the tree that has all of the vintage ornaments, representing the family though the generations. I decided on the pink tree, only this year it is not pink since my two strands of pink light failed. I bought the new warm LEDS, only to realize that they are more yellow than warm. I still love my pink tree, especially at night.

Outside it looks seasonal.

I wanted the trees lit this year, but that probably won't happen now the weather has turned bad. In years past, the weather was mild so we could wait to put up the lights until around the 1st of December. This year it's been cold since before Thanksgiving, so no lit trees. I'll enjoy the neighbors.

My dear neighbor works at a local landscape nursery. In the summer she plants the baby poinsettias and just before Christmas she delivers some to her friends and neighbors. I was astonished when she said to pick three from the back of her loaded SUV. Thank you, Carol. I love them.

Well, it is time to make gingerbread men and moose and maybe a horse or two for the girls. 

What will you be baking?

I'll be linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday. See you there.

Thanks so much for visiting.

2019 in Review

Happy New Year 2020 at one time seemed so far off in the distant future, but here we are full of hope and enthusiasm for the new year. I...