Monday, July 18, 2011

A Summer Walk-About

 Purple Foxglove

After a very drizzly weekend, we are getting a little break in the weather. But the forecast is for more of the same this week. I can't remember a colder and wetter summer except the one when my Daughter, H, was turning 14. That was 20 years ago! I can't even believe I am old enough to say I remember something that long ago when my daughter was that old! Does that make sense? Time has a way of catching up to you.

Anyway, she was turning 14, and had planned her birthday party at this beautiful little lake nearby. All of her Junior High friends would be there and we planned on having a day of swimming, picnicking and roasting a few weenies and marshmallows.

But the day turned out to be cold and misty and the party ended early with shivering friends and purple lips.

And we all remembered it as the 'coldest summer ever'.

But today is semi-sunny and I took a little Summer Walk-About this morning. I plan on going out again later to do some work out in the 'underbrush'. Because you see, this year I have given up on trying to keep things orderly. The wet weather has created rampant growth and I can't keep up. So I am going to work on the only place I have been working on all summer, the tall grass invading my back shrub bed. Pulling blades of grass is no fun. But it has to be done. These are blades of grass on steroids, growing 7 feet tall, so they are easy to find. I have pulled them 5 times already this year. I feel like maybe I am starting to win!

This is the view of the house from my parking area. This side of the house is where my living room looks out from. The 'girl's room', turned sewing room is upstairs. It gets morning sunshine.

These blue hydrangeas are growing just past the chimney along side the stairs to my deck. The very snowy winter took a toll on all of my hydrangea's this year and I lost several. But these are sheltered and doing fine.

These little pots of red Impatiens are on a shelf below the living room window. They are tucked in behind the large lilac bush and manage to bloom despite the cool and wet. They like shade but can take some morning sun. I can see them from inside and they are very cheery. You can see how mossy the pots are and that speaks of how wet it has been.

Hubby just clipped all the ivy and ground cover along the walkway leading to the parking area. At this time of year, it is nearly a weekly job.  At the bottom of the stairs, it turns to the right and leads to the front door. He and my youngest Son, 'D' installed the walkway a few years ago. Before that, it was gravel encased with timbers.

If you travel past the front door, there is another gate that leads out onto the front lawn on the left, or this wooded glen to the right. It sits on a little knoll, higher than the ground in front of the house. It is full of Cedar and Hemlock and nothing will grow except an ancient Huckleberry and a few ferns.

This is where my daughter 'J's play house is (the red building). She had many, many wonderful hours playing with her dolls here. After she grew up, we converted it to a heated dog house and recently Hubby fenced it in to create a kennel when we got Whitey. You can see the 'new' dog house facing us. I still need to give it some paint. This is where we put the dogs when we have guests. Otherwise, they get too excited and jump all over everyone. Whitey was able to jump the picket fence keeping the dogs out of the living area, so we had to install the kennel. He hates it in there, but my big dog, Little Bear, has claimed it as hers and sleeps very contentedly inside the large house, which is piled with cedar shavings. We only use the kennel sparingly, as they think they are being punished! So we keep the gate open until we have guests. You can barely make out the black wire 4 foot fencing.

Whitey Bear is peeking out of the bottom of the frame.

From there you can cross the worn gravel driveway and up another little knoll to Hubby's work shop. This is the side of the building as you would see it coming down the driveway. I have hung 4 hanging baskets of flowers that I potted up in the spring and the wild looking garden is full of Tansy, Daisies (not blooming yet), Wildflowers, Columbine (already done blooming) and Sweet William, which are just now coming into full bloom.
I have two patches of them, one against the shed and one growing along the woods behind. The Sweet William actually started growing from a packet of wildflower seed I had strewn down by the house years and years ago. I had to move them, as we were building the deck, and so I put them up here where they have flourished and spread. They must be at least 20 years old. The last few years I have saved seed and planted them anywhere I had scratched up some bare earth. They are incredibly care free and easy to grow and come in such a variety of colors and pinwheel stripes. I recommend that you seek them out and grow your own.

They are biennials, blooming the second year. They like sun, but can take some shade. Let the seed drop and you will always have more.

These are called 'Indian Plum'. The birds love them and disperse the seed, so they are growing everywhere. In the Spring they bloom with white clusters of fairy like flowers that are very pungent!

These are 'Red Elderberry'. They are not edible to humans. These also grow everywhere as graceful, arching 20 foot trees with clusters of white pungent flowers in the Spring. The birds also love these. But this year, they are very late in blooming. Normally they would be already eaten by all the nesting birds.

But just this week, I have noticed that the birds have stopped singing. This means they are done nesting and have dispersed. Only the resident birds remain, the overwintering birds. The rest have formed little flocks and although some do stay around for another couple of months, they are not tied to their nests as before.

The berries remain uneaten. But not for long. The little flocks will discover them and in just a couple of weeks they will be gone.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed taking this little Walk-About with me. We will do it again, soon. 


  1. I loved your "walkabout"! Thanks for the wee tour. I dare not show my husband, because he would have terrible Shed Envy. He would love to have a little wooden outbuilding / workplace / kennel even, but where we live it would take up half the room in our small gardens. I've often thought of trying to grow Sweet William - I know someone in Aberdeen who does. Maybe I should give it a go!
    It was also interesting to hear that the summer birds have gone. I'm not very knowledgeable about birds, but I do notice when the swallows leave. That's usually in August, though.

  2. Beautifully written on a Beautiful day!

  3. Thank you, Sarah, I hope you are enjoying your day, too.

  4. Thank you, Christine. Your Hubby might not have such shed envy if he had a peek inside the shed these days. It is overloaded and needing a clean out. Also, maintenance. Hubby just had to replace the front panels, as they had dry rot.

    Do try to grow Sweet William, and maybe your friend will gift you with some seed!

    Ahh! Swallows! They are so pretty. xx

  5. Oh yes Karen, its hard not to enjoy days such as this one. I find myself scheduling more and more meetings that allow me to travel and catch some sunrays outdoors. So much to be grateful for! Glad you enjoyed it as well!

  6. Beautiful post and pictures! Your home is the perfect setting for a summer walkabout!!!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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