Nothing Much

Not a lot going on this past week, which is just how I like it!
Just work straight through to the weekend, all pretty calm and satisfying.

A full Saturday for certain with a lot of gardening chores–also how I like it. With packing squeezed in there for the family trip to the spa. BW’s going to meet us there mid-week as he’s off to a music workshop to work on his Cajun accordion playing. Kayla and I head out Monday morning, and the rest of our gang will dribble in through the day.

Spent the evenings signing books and finishing up galleys as I really don’t want to take work with me.

We get our first little harvest of tomatoes–a very pretty Roma and some cherries. Setting them and the peppers in this new spot made all the difference. While I weed the front of the beds, BW braves what I like of as Snake Haven and does the back. (No snakes spotted.)

And as our wild berries are ripening, he has himself a handful, then gets another handful for me. Yum. We don’t often beat the birds to the berries that climb all over the slope behind the raised beds.

Last week, he discovered a nest of ground hornets under the furled loosestrife when he started to install some low fencing support as they’ve gotten so big. The hornets were not pleased, nor was BW when he got stung–fortunately only twice.

We just can’t have hornets buzzing around right outside the house,  but whatever he sprayed didn’t bother them a bit. Time for the exterminator.

The plants and pots look good!

We have an incident last week with a raccoon and the dogs. The dogs behave like dogs, so the raccoon is no more. In the battle, they break my favorite pot–my face pot–in two. Handy BW glues it back together, but I’m letting it rest for the remainder of the season–and happily save the plants.

A couple of problematic shady spots we’ve worked on are coming together. In one area, after many failures due to deer, I tried astilbes–deer-resistant, and they’ll take shade. Not my prettiest spot yet, but since the ones planted last year survive, we add more this spring. Eventually, when the little guys catch up, I hope for a nice flow of color and texture the deer ignore.

I chase one away from another area just the other day after work. They’re pretty, but relentless. 

I’m having serious good luck this year with hummingbirds and butterflies. We have a couple of hummingbird feeders, and I like watching them. One enjoys the boomerang lilacs outside my gym, and often comes to feed and visit when I work out. Sweet.

Happy boomerang lilacs

My herbs are thriving (harvest a lot for dinner last night). I’m letting one patch of oregano bloom because the butterflies like it, and I like them.

My favorite of the weekend is the stone lantern BW gave me for our anniversary, and installs yesterday. So pretty during the day, and what a lovely glow it gives at night. I think it’ll be my favorite thing for a long time. Across from that, my Rose of Sharons are about to burst into bloom.

Stone lantern
Rose of Sharon on the bring of bloom

Purple coneflowers and Susies bright in my beds, cardinal flowers ready to pop. Spilling nasturtium, bold begonias, cheery garden phlox. Hydrangeas lush and lovely–and so plentiful I cut some to enjoy inside.

Coneflowers, Susies, nasturtium
Hydrangea display

It so satisfies me to see the rewards for the years of work, to see each area we tend develop its own personality.
It’s even more satisfying to see it all on an evening walk after a good day’s writing.

I’ll miss that this week, but I’m pretty sure the family time–and a couple of good massages–will more than make up for it.


38 thoughts on “Nothing Much”

  1. I love walking through your garden with you. It must be glorious by the end of summer to see how all your planning has worked out.

    I’m so jealous of your tomatoes and herbs. We gave up trying to defeat the squirrels. Sigh.

    Enjoy your spa time.

  2. Such a beautiful yard you’ve got going, I can almost smell all the flowers and see all the butterflies (my favorite). Sorry to hear about your face pot…it’s such a lovely piece and hope to see it with new plants in it next season. The lantern is gorgeous…

    Wishing you a great time off with the family…Enjoy your massages. I’ll be off to the bookstore on Tuesday to pick up Under Currents..

    By the way, I’ve been wearing my Nora Roberts hat and have gotten lots of questions about your books along with compliments on the hat…

    Have a great week and look forward to the next blog???

    1. Try acanthus mixed in with your astilbe. Those suckers are not called bears britches for nothing. They love the shade, have thorns, interesting foliage, and unusual “blooms.” Deer haven’t touched mine. They don’t dare.

  3. Love seeing your garden. It has been very hot and dry here in NC. Looking forward to the new book I pre-ordered it and should be here the.

  4. Love your garden! It is so fulfilling, watching your work come alive. We have hummingbirds, also. They love our crepe myrtle and our feeders. Those ground hornets are no fun and if someone is allergic to their stings, can be deadly. Exterminators are called for. Enjoy your week at the spa and another facet of BW! Hope he enjoys his workshop. Rereading Connections In Death, anticipating the newest edition to the saga!!

    1. This looks how I imagine the garden of the little yellow cottage on the island …..

  5. Your garden areas are so pretty. I love flowers and my husband was the one with the green thumb. Enjoy your spa time and be refreshed when you get home.

  6. Nature keeps giving back all you invested ?

    I love those hidden treasures you have here and there. It makes everything so much fun and magical.

    We don’t have those hornets as scary as you say… we do have yellow jackets and bees of all kinds. But they don’t mind me and never built those out-of-a-nighmare nests we read in the news. My garden peeve are ants. This year they seem to be unbeatable. Just now I came from the garden where I watched their amazing work picking from the bird feeder and taking to their kigdoms – one has to admire their work and estamina ?

    Enjoy your SPA time ? Have loads of Fun!

    1. Ants! This must be tie year for them! Early this spring they moved into my kitchen and tried to take over. I almost had a nervous breakdown. Took two months of vigilance before they decided outside was better. But the communication between them is phenomenal. Once they discover a piece of sugar it’s the raising of the ant flag and their mates come running. Unreal. But wow., the work they do!

  7. Boomerang lilac? Is that a reblooming variety? I have a Josie lilac that blooms heavily in the spring and then sporadically throughout the summer. Wish I had thought to plant more of those. I also have encore azaleas which do the same. Love when pretty things reappear for twice the enjoyment. My rose of Sharon has gone crazy for quite awhile now. I guess the near constant rain we’ve had, coupled with hot and humid weather, all caused them to flower a bit earlier. I am in zone 6 so I suspect your zone is not the same and a little behind warmer climes.

    Your hydrangeas are lovely. Have you seen the lace leaf hydrangeas? Saw them for the first time a few weeks ago at my parents’ new house. I had to ask the landscaper to identify them because I had never seen them before. They don’t have the typical mop head blooms as the old-fashioned variety but a profusion of smaller flower clusters. They provide a bit more vivid color, as well as texture. Interspersed with the traditional hydrangeas, they add more interest. Do a Google search for images of them. The pink and purple looked really pretty against the pink and blue hydrangeas. Wish I had thought to take some photos so I could share them.

    1. Yes, it blooms. Several times through spring to frost. Smells great, too!

      I have some. Oak leaf hydrangeas that do really well for me. I haven’t tried the lace cap—actually haven’t seen at my nursery.

      1. I think you have to order the lace cap variety. The landscaper I spoke with said he doesn’t like to plant the same old thing that everyone else has so he tries to find things that are different for each client.

        Love the fragrance from the lilacs, but my allergies don’t allow me to bring them inside. Too bad because that is one of my favorite scents. If you want a different color lilac, the primrose variety is a soft yellow. I don’t think it is a rebloomer though.

  8. I love hearing about your garden. The pictures are lovely. Herbs and tomatoes from your own garden for cooking is perfect. Enjoy your time away, and the garden will have more for you when you return.

    1. I use periwinkle in a couple of large, wooded places as ground cover. In these other areas, I want more height, color and texture.

  9. Hard to find shade in my climate, but I’ve a gorgeous Japanese painted fern hiding behind my clematis that persists. I always have a happy dance when I see it has made it again. I’ll have to look for that boomerang lilac, pair it with my Pocohantas lilac. I have blooms about every other year from it, thanks to late Spring snows, so a multi-bloomer would be great. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and enjoy your family spa time!

  10. Thanks for sharing your love of gardening with us. Love the stone lantern – BW sure knows the way to your heart! Have a great time next week at the spa.

  11. Years ago we were redoing the garden in front of our home and found hornets under the bushes. Their tunnels/nests were so massive that the exterminator said they had probably been under there for years. We used our back door for a very long time. I love to read about your gardening successes. It looks lovely. Enjoy the spa and family time.

  12. Have you thought of using sarcococca in the shady space? It is an evergreen that has white blossoms, usually in the late winter/spring. The fragrance is an exquisite jasmine smell. We have some outside our front door which delights us during those dreary months and hints of upcoming spring.

  13. What a great garden! It looks absolutely lovely! I can just imagine the hummingbirds and butterflies outside your workout room. When we were in Arizona several years ago, a hummingbird came to feed, every morning, from a flower bush right near where my granddaughter (she was only 3 at the time) and I sat, right after breakfast. My daughter was attending a conference and my son-in-law stay in NYC. My granddaughter enjoyed it so much, kept perfectly quiet, and would clap when the bird finished eating and flew away. On our last morning, though it was too early for the bird, she tugged me to the place to say goodbye. She was sad the bird wasn’t there, but said bye-bye to the sky and bush! Sweet!
    I hope you and your family enjoy your spa week. You all deserve the break. Glad you’re traveling with your granddaughter.
    I’m treating my family to a Hawaiian vacation at the end of August. We’ll celebrate my daughter’s 55th birthday while there. All the hard work pays off when you have time to share and spend with your family!

  14. The lantern is gorgeous!!!

    And as I am rading this Monarchs are flitting by! Life is good

  15. What a magnificent garden! I can’t decide which area i like better, except for the slope. You never mentioned it, but i think i caught a glimpse of a weeping willow tree, my favorite. I love your hydrangeas, but when i buy them, they only last a day in a vase, before they droop. I followed directions online, but it didn’t come back to life. Enjoy your spa week. If anyone deserves some time off, it’s you.

  16. Nora, your garden looks great! I have about a dozen of pink and blue hydrangeas and this year only the blue ones bloomed. Had a landscaper here in early April and he pruned all of the hydrangeas then and I bet the pink ones didn’t like that. I have a couple of lace cap hydrangeas and always found the flowers don’t last very long, not like the regular hydrangeas. Will the deer eat ferns? I have good luck with the painted ferns, they spread gradually so you get free plants. I just move them around where I want them. Theoretically, it might work for your shady area. Those hornets sound nasty and the bites are really painful. Poor BW! Have a lovely spa week!!

  17. Nora I was reading that Catnip repels deer really well. It’s also 10 percent stronger than deet to repel Mosquitoes. The article I read said that it does spread and could be invasive and blooms white or blue flowers.
    Love your garden be as always. Enjoy the spa with your family. Hugs, Beth

  18. I think this is my favorite time for your blog . . . when we all get to see your lovely “spot” on the planet. You’ve made it quite a heaven haven, if you will – a lovely spot to sit, reflect, read, pet the dogs, enjoy an adult beverage . . . good on you and yours for carving out such a gracious space. And lucky us to get a glimpse. Enjoy your gardens, and have fun at the spa. Be safe and make sure to come back to us to write more delicious pleasures. Loves!

  19. Thank you for sharing your garden with us, Nora! I always enjoy it! When I first bought the house, I had a lot of shade areas. Now that I’ve had two trees removed (disease on one & age on the other…and it was leaning towards the house!) I have some areas for sun gardening!
    I did try astilbes in the shade areas several times, but they like it moist & I resist watering heavily except the pots. Happily, I love the colors & textures of hostas, and have never had trouble with deer. I’m glad the astilbes seem to be doing well for you; that they came back is a good recommendation!
    Enjoy your spa week; I’m glad to hear that you are not taking work with you! And yes, Under Currents was preordered a long time ago, and I’ll be downloading it Tuesday AM! Unfortunately, lot of things on the list for Tuesday (cooler outside & lower humidity! Hooray!), but I’ll be reading it before the end of the day!

  20. Such a relaxing garden . Your pots are so different and pretty , I too would have rescued your face pot .
    Enjoy that spa time
    Happy Summer

  21. I don’t have a green thumb. I did in Germany grew Coleus and Ivy and Geraniums in pots so easy. Returned to the states and they died all the time because I would forget to water them or something. Now, I’ve just got a simple bamboo plant I only have to add water to the container.

  22. Thanks for sharing your garden with us. Beware of oregano as it cab behave like mint and invade where you least expect. I now have most of my lawn south and east of my herb bed ( it even jumped a driveway) taken over by oregano. Fragrant when the lawn is mowed, but just beware of its tendencies to take over the world.

    1. Had mine for years—it’s spread, but is well contained in its section of the bed. I’m now being ware of my Susies. They’e everywhere, and next year I must dig bunches up and give away.

      1. Just finished mowing the section of lawn to the east of herb beds (across a driveway again) and found a new clump of oregano. Have never seen it over there before. Am I being invaded by an alien species??

  23. Wow, I didn’t realize that oregano was that aggressive. My sister & I always laugh about the wonderful smell of creeping Charlie (ground ivy) because it reminds us of our grandparent’s house; the entire north section of yard was way more ground ivy than grass, and since it was shaded, we played there a lot! (Central Kansas–HOT!) That stuff is Aggressive.

    I wish my black-eyed Susies would spread some, but instead they died out. Too shaded. Will be trying again now that I have sun areas. So bright & cheerful, they take over brightening the beds when the evening primrose finishes.

  24. Love all the updates on garden and family. Such fun to read. Happy spa week and family time. I can’t wait for new books to come out.

  25. Love your garden shots! I have a pretty great, relaxing space in my yard too with a little fish pond, a couple of bubblers and LOTS of hostas! My son had those yard hornets in his yard a couple of years ago….and what he read on what to do was to locate the hole (nest) and at night (when they were all in there and “resting” pour in ammonia and then fill in. They didn’t come back this year! So —- that another idea to try if you haven’t called the exterminator yet! Good luck!

  26. Although all of your flowers look wonderful, I especially like the tomato plants against the wood background. I have a semi-shady spot that has been hidden for many years by a slowly rusting away glider. But now the glider has been hauled away and the spot in full view and I’m going to put in a red Astilbe, some narrow leaved Hosta, a Heuchera “Silver Gumdrop” and a Columbine. Fingers crossed that I picked the right plants for the spot. Love your yard.

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