Coralbell Makes a Comeback

At the beginning of the summer, I transplanted the mismatched variegated  coralbells facing the street to pots in the backyard. They made way for a smaller dark green variation.

Both transplants took a while to become accustomed to their new homes. They quit blooming and focused their energy on leaves. But this past week, the larger one sent up stalks and now the flowers are even lovelier than years past.


Last Day of Intensive Gardening

Today is the day I finish the back garden! I’m so close to done, I can almost taste it. (Or is that topsoil in my mouth?)

Yesterday I was stabbed, scratched, and eaten alive by everything but earwigs. The hydrangeas in particular gave me conniptions. First I tried digging them out. Then I cut them at the base. Finally I put flattened cardboard boxes over the stubs – which stabbed THROUGH when I walked over – and hoped they will give up the fight. 

THREE HOURS later, I finished (at least for this year). I jam-packed three bags with their wands and roots.

The one near the house gets to stay. Or should I say “the hydrangea community,” since the dead ones were clearly separate roots in the clump. Or perhaps I should call it Mosquito Estates because the bloodsuckers sheltered during yesterday’s dry, breezy weather.*

I found two lovely river rocks beneath old fabric. I suspect they came from the original owner of La Casa de Tontería, as the couple who sold me it preferred semi-circular bricks. With the river rocks and my collection of Lake Huron souvenirs, I can make a “water feature” aka rock garden around the downspout. 😉

*Amazing how they discovered the gap where the cuffs of the work gloves no longer fit snugly! Bites on the wrist are more painful than the forearm.

Who Loves the Rain?

Mosquitoes, obviously. I have had to close the bedroom door in case one (or more) sneak into La Casa de Tontería. There is nothing less relaxing than drifting into slumber, only to hear the whining buzz of a bloodsucker. As soon as the light goes on, the tiny monster hides but by then it’s too late: I declare war and move heaven and earth (or furniture, in thus case) until the wee fairy-like vampire is a splotch on the bottom of a tissue box.*

But also the flowers. I am delighted with my garden so far. Check this out:


Wild columbine growing among the day lilies at the base of a water-loving swamp oak (also called a blue oak).

*Slippers are heavy arsenal reserved for spiders and Green Berets. So far no Green Berets have shown up in my home. Someone must have tipped them off.

Ditch bouquet 2016



Spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) on a flowering chicory (cichorium intybus). Copyright 2016 Jean Balconi.

This is photo is for Derrick, whose beautiful garden photos are one of the charms of his eponymous blog.

Years ago I used to have a running series on my first blog (now defunct). I called it “Ditch bokay” (a country spelling I used to see in the Thumb). I’d be traveling along fields or shorelines, only to stop short because of wildflowers or weeds in bloom.  I’d take snapshots with my low-quality digital camera and upload them.

Asters, lilies and the elusive buttercup – there are dozens of beautiful blooms growing in the fringes.