It’s Just a Little Sapling…

This past Friday I received the first part of my order from Spring Hill Nursery, so Sunday I spent most of the afternoon planting and weeding. Usually, wedding entails dandelions and wild strawberry plants and even some stinging nettles. However, all of these foes, while abundant and annoying, come out of the ground without much of a problem. This was especially true Sunday because we’d had some rain over the weekend, so the soil was moist and easier to dig into. I got a lot done on the weeding front Sunday, so when I looked toward the back of the yard and saw two small saplings growing by the side of our garage, I thought “Well, I can pull those out too.” Famous last words.

The first of the two small trees came out rather easily. It was younger and the moist ground let the roots grow with minimal tugging. Then I moved onto the second tree. I pushed it. I pulled it. I twisted it. I swore. I got out the shovel. I began to dig. I dug from the left side. I dug from the right side. The good news? After digging for about five minutes, the tangled nest of roots slowly began to appear. The bad news? These roots apparently went to China and then kept going. At this point I snapped the first half of the sapling off because it was getting in my way. And I kept digging. By the time I was done digging, I had a very deep, very narrow hole by the side of my garage but it was worth it. With one more solid tug, the roots let go and out came the sapling. The whole ordeal took about forty five minutes. And where was my husband you ask? Asleep. On the couch.

The two saplings. The lower tree was the easier of the two to remove.

The giant root bulb of the second, larger tree.

In other news, our shrub rose has produced its first bloom of the season:

Back to the Garden

Spring has come to the Midwest abnormally early this year, which resulted in my husband and I looking out at our back yard last week and saying, “do we live in the jungle?” A few weeks of above average 80 degree weather and some rain and our little yard was beginning to resemble the Amazon, so after running a 5k on Saturday morning, my husband went out and tackled the grass. It took two rounds with the mower and the first time he had to prop it up on its wheels because the grass was too tall for the blade. Needless to say, it was annoying but our front and back yard look much better now.

Sunday I spent about three hours outdoors weeding and pruning and checking to see what had and had not survived the winter. There were only a few causalities and overall, everything appears to be in good shape. I am writing this blog post on my back porch because we figured it was time to bring up the patio furniture. Do you know when I brought up the patio furniture last year? May.

This fall I am planting massive amounts of daffodils but for now, I’ve got a few doubles.

Last spring/summer it got so hot so fast that our dogwood didn’t bloom.

Remnants from the fall.

Peonies are budded.

My clematis is chock full of buds. It’s going to be beautiful this year.

My hydrangea lived through the winter is growing. Success!

This spring is the first time I have ever ordered flowers through a nursery but I received a gift certificate as a wedding gift, so last Friday I put in my order. My plants should be here in a few weeks and I can’t wait to plant them. I picked a lot of hardy and colorful plants because I like lots of color but nothing that has to be pampered too much. Here’s what I bought:


Butterfly Bush.

Red Carpet Phlox.

Sunshine Gaillardia Mix

Red Penstemon

Back to the garden…

It seems to be a tradition at the end of the spring semester (since we’ve moved into our house) for me to celebrate by going to work out my garden. This year I got a head start when RJ finally agreed to help me spread mulch throughout our flower beds. I also put in a few solid days of weeding before grades were due this week, but I think that was more like therapy. Sometimes after you’ve read several sub par papers, you just want to yank something out of the ground…

At any rate, the semester is over. I am glad. Graduation has come and gone and after one final meeting this afternoon, I will officially be on break for about two weeks before beginning my summer teaching schedule (more on that in a later post).

Yesterday I woke up feeling ambitious and spent the better part of four hours outdoors accomplishing the following tasks: 1) planting sunflower and zinnia seeds in a very large bed in our backyard. I planted a lot of seeds this year including sweet peas, lavender, bachelors buttons, and nasturtiums. If even half of the sunflowers grow, that back area is going to look awesome. Here’s hoping. It’s not a complete gamble. I planted just a few back there last summer as a test and they did pretty well.

2) Bringing up our patio furniture and assembling it. While this may not sound like a particularly arduous task, there are few things you have to take into consideration. It was 86 degrees yesterday by 11:oo am. The table, umbrella and chairs were down in the basement, so I had to lug them up the narrow, slick, muddy steps. The table was in pieces and we all know how good I am with spatial relations, so the fact that it only took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to put the legs on is a major accomplishment. But perhaps the biggest obstacle came when I discovered that Nimbus, our cat, had used the umbrella as a litter box. To say it was gross, well, that doesn’t even begin to describe it. At any rate, I had to disassemble the umbrella, wash it, and then put it back together. Good times.

And finally, 3) Sweeping off our back porch. Again, this doesn’t sound particularly complicated, but when you have a gigantic tree (I think it’s an oak) shedding seed pods (we used to call them helicopters when we were kids) at an alarming rate, well, let’s just say I don’t know why I bothered to sweep.

The reward? That came in two parts but both were equally gratifying. The first part came when RJ arrived home from work (yes, he started his new job this week. Hooray!) and said, “Wow.” The second part came when I came out this morning to sit on my back porch, with my tea and type this blog post. The pictures above are some of the flowers to bloom this year.

Zombies, rings, 4th of July, and fireworks in a fir tree…

On Friday July 2, 2010 I pulled this ring (see below)…

out of this zombie…
RJ and I are engaged. I am very happy. I think the zombie is too.

My parents visited this weekend and like all good parents, they did not arrive empty handed. They gifted us their original dining room set, which means now every room in our house has the appropriate furniture in it. To celebrate, see pictures below of our house with actual furniture. Hooray!


My garden is blooming in full force.

End of the Semester Therapy

I should have spent today and yesterday prepping for a conference I’m attending tomorrow in Chicago. This is what I did instead:

This is our new patio furniture. I love it. Now I can sit outside with my morning tea or a book or we can eat meals outdoors or…

Here are some more shots from my garden of flowers and shrubs that opened this week. I also discovered a lilly while I was weeding today…


I had to cut a few Iris earlier this week because of a late frost that came through. Luckily, the rest of the buds hadn’t broken through yet, so they bloomed later this week.

Nimbus isn’t allowed outside and he’s pretty good about staying away from the doors, but he loves to sit in front of the screen and look out while Kweli and I are sitting on the back porch.

These are my Brandywine tomato seeds. I’m so pleased that they’re doing so well. I’ve never started tomato seeds inside before, so I was a little worried. However, these little guys are growing like weeds. I hope I can keep them going long enough to get them in the ground later this summer.