I love the Canna Lilies. Last year the plants were so stupendously gorgeous that I did something I never do. I dug up the bulbs and stored them in the basement to winter-over. The basement is not as cold nor as dark as I thought, even in the old coal bin. I noticed in January that there were plants sprouting. ??? In April I brought them upstairs. They were pale yellow and weak. I had to put them in a spot where they’d get light but not direct sun. I had to nurse them back to green strength. Finally in May I could put them outside. They are all doing wonderfully. They are gorgeous. Passersby stop to ask “what are those plants????” I love them. There is no other text or description needed. The Canna Lilies stand on their own. 🙂
Subtitled: You Had LOTS of Time to Prepare
Oh my. Frustration is SO exhausting. For at least a week now NJ has known we were in the path of Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Big Messy Storm Isaias. NJ has weathered (hah hah) several storms – sometimes well, sometimes not as well, but I *THOUGHT* we’d been learning with each one. Maybe the individual people are, but apparently our utilities still can’t seem to grasp the concept of “Be Prepared”. There’s a HUGE storm coming. Wires will come down. Power will go out. Things will break.
I no longer remember the big storm that came after Hurricane Sandy. Sandy was one of those events where everyone remembers where they were, what happened, and how many days they were without power. After Sandy, whenever we had warning of an impending storm, the utility companies would assure us that they were prepared, had their crews positioned all over the state, ready to ride and restore once the storm had passed.
Apparently my internet provider forgot the lessons. We lost the internet & cable just before 3 pm. It is now 24.5 hours later and we have no internet & cable, no estimate on when it might be restored. My neighbor actually received a call from a human being (I had NO faith in the automated voice mail system myself, or I, too, could have gotten a callback.). My neighbor was assured that “it is out all over and they will get to it as soon as they can”. I wasn’t upset with that attitude yesterday. I get it – a storm, damage, things broke. BUT. You KNEW it was coming. You KNOW that all of your customers are working from home because of COVID19. You KNOW connectivity is a true necessity these days. I’m disgusted, truly disgusted.
My son was living in Florida in 2017 when Hurricane Irma roared ashore. Of course they lost power, might have been as long as a week. I was impressed with their power company, however. THEY posted estimated dates by when they hoped to get different localities up and running. It didn’t change anything – my son still had no power. But at least he (and I) knew there was some hope that the utility WOULD restore it, and how long he needed to manage without. Optimum either has no clue when things will work or can’t be bothered telling its clientele when the service might be restored.
How am I posting this blog? It is MY good fortune that my next-door neighbors use a DIFFERENT internet provider. Back in the spring, after the lock-downs, Optimum went out of service. Again, I wasn’t angry because it was around the time when EVERYONE in the surrounding metropolitan area all stayed home and hit the internet at the same time. I had a very important meeting, however, and I freaked that I’d miss it. I ran next door and discovered they were up and running AND I could see their wifi from my house. They gave me the password and saved my sorry self. I contacted them again today and they graciously allowed me on again. All of my work apps are running off of my neighbor’s wifi. My brother-in-law brought me his – okay – I’m going to get this wrong – Google WiFi. I think that is what it is. It looks like a cell phone, it’s something Google, and it finds whatever service is closest and strongest. I guess there is some app and a fee but wherever you are in the country, you can find a service provider and hook up and have the internet. My personal computer and all apps that are NOT behind the company firewall are running off of this thing. My phone is using that now too. Sigh.
I was supposed to run a training session today. We rescheduled it to Friday. I’m supposed to run a training session tomorrow. As I was proof-reading this, my OTHER next-door neighbor called – the one who also had no internet. He says it was UP! But as we talked it went down. Another neighbor texted to say she was back UP! “It’s like Christmas in August!!!:)” She lives 3 blocks away, but I went down to reboot my modem and reboot my router anyway. Nope – still no internet here. I guess there is hope. Maybe. It does look as if the storm passed/is passing far west of Honour. That’s good – it means I can’win’ when we compare complaining! 🙂
That’s what WordPress tells me – 12 years ago today I started blogging. That sounds about right because my SL birthday is June 26. Wow. Twelve years. So much has changed. I don’t blog much about SL anymore. I’m not even in contact with most of my SL friends, even though I met so many of them F2F. Maudlin though it might sound – they are all still very much a part of me. Very real to me even if it’s been years. My SL life was so vivid. Intense. It started me on a great path that led to a new job, a new outlook on life, a new me. I think my enjoyment of taking and framing pictures began with all those zillions of screen shots. 🙂 Prior to SL I’d been curating a haiku board on someone else’s website, but blogging my SL life gave me a whole new way to write. I thank all of you who follow me and who just drop in to visit. 🙂 Having reminisced, I know to move on and talk about cats and food and flowers. 🙂
I don’t think I have any new cat pictures to share. WC is not feeling very well. She’s spent most of today under the bed. 😦 She and GC will be 18 in August. They’re entitled to whatever foibles they care to exhibit. BC says she has no foibles. She is a work cat, she says, helping me get things done. Funny, somehow whenever she is in my lap while I’m working, my productivity rate slows.
I do have some food pictures I haven’t shared yet. 🙂 You’re probably tired of me raving about the perfect 40 minute rolls. I baked a PERFECT batch of them the other night. I also made sesame noodles and coleslaw that night. I’m wanting the wheatberry salad but that takes a lot more time and effort.
And of course the garden. There are ALWAYS pictures of flowers and plants. I get such joy from the flowers. I have 2 rose mallow plants growing in the front garden. They are a variety of hibiscus – perennial in this zone. I’m hoping that they thrive. It would be such a joy to have hibiscus flowers every year. I don’t think the colors will be as spectacular as the tropical hibiscus but I think the size of the rose mallow flower is much larger. Only time and good fortune will tell!
My grape tomatoes are ripening! The radishes are doing something, but I really think they are doing something odd, not something radishy. I am sure they are growing down and long, not round. The bits of red I can see between the leaves and the soil look distinctly oblong, not spherical. I’m giving them a bit longer. No pictures of those yet.
I had to hunt down canna lilies this year. Last year I had no trouble finding them and I noticed that the butterflies seemed to really enjoy them. I already told you my thrill upon seeing one of those tropicana canna lilies wintered over and is growing. I have a recollection that I usually head out the last week in June to get my cannas. I went out on Saturday. Unlike my usual style I’ll cut this story short. It took me over 1.5 hours to find them. 3 Home Depots, 1 Lowes, 1 of my usual nurseries and a Walmart. It was the 3rd Home Depot where I finally found some. They were not all that great looking either. 2 of them had tags indicating variety, the other 3 did not. I’m hoping they are tropicanas because those grow to 6 feet. I was planning to go online and pay whatever I had to pay to get some cannas if that last store had not had them. I was exhausted, it had started raining, the humidity was horrible and I was distraught at the idea of no cannas. There were 7 left at the store. At one point I had all of them in my cart, but then I put 2 back. I wasn’t really sure I could fit 7 in the garden (they get fairly large) and I thought maybe someone else was hunting for cannas as crazed as I was by the scarcity. I promise you a picture as they get larger.
My lovage is doing very well in its new location. The ones I left behind in the planter are not as happy. I do like the blue flowers. 🙂 Do you have any idea how difficult it is to weed around a cactus? They don’t seem to appreciate the effort I make to keep their pots clear of clover and other weeds.
My pollinator plants are doing well. I have lots of bees all over the goose neck (Lysimachia clethroides) and the swamp milkweed. No one seems to have discovered the hyssop or the butterfly weed yet. I hope the butterflies get here. 🙂 Can the bees use up all the good parts???
12 years. wow. 🙂
The black swallowtail butterfly has been much more cooperative than the orange and black butterfly. The other day I managed to catch a few photos of her, although she moves so fast! She is much more aware of my presence than the black swallowtail, which allowed me to get close enough to take several decent pictures. This butterfly moved every time I moved. All the photos are just that bit out of focus, but I think she’s a Painted Lady. Now that I’ve gotten this close, I’m wondering if it is this butterfly I’ve been seeing or if I really was seeing Monarchs earlier in the season. Maybe I’ll have another lucky day and will be able to catch her, or other butterflies in the act! I’m happy to see that they are enjoying the zinnias as much as I am!
I love the tropicana canna lilies. They are simply stupendous. I was listening to a garden show this morning that was explaining how I should dead-head the flowers, but it sounds a bit tricky. Apparently the new flower is growing right next to the old flower and if you cut in the wrong place you lose the new one. Sounds too risky for me to try. She was also giving instructions on how to dig them up to over-winter them. Sigh. I suppose I SHOULD try to do that – the plants are so expensive, and I do want them every year. But by the time it’s digging-up time, I’m really “over” my garden. 🙂
I have also figured out that what I thought was the false starwort is actually the butterfly weed. And what I thought was the butterfly weed is probably some huge weed weed(you can see it behind the cosmos and zinnias and to the left of the canna lilies – it’s green 🙂 ). I guess the false starwort died. I started reading to see what I’m supposed to do with the huge butterfly weed seed pod. Apparently I should harvest it, which seems to be easy but messy. I think one of the reasons I’ve been so confused is that I tend to buy very tall plants – ones that grow to be 3 feet or taller. Butterfly weed does NOT grow that tall. It’s possible that at the point when I planted everything I knew that and knew what I was doing. 🙂 I must have ordered them because I wanted to support the butterflies. 🙂 That’s actually ironic, because I NEVER see butterflies over in that part of the garden. I guess they don’t like marigolds.
I KNOW that I bought, planted and HAVE the Agastache foeniculum (anise hyssop). I’ve posted pictures of that here. I also know that I planted things where those 2 huge weeds are growing. I’m waiting to see if they flower – it looks as if they might. But they are NOT false starwort by any stretch of the imagination. Here’s the bottom line – they will flower and I’ll decide whether or not they stay, or I’m going to pull them out.
This weekend the weather was GLORIOUS! No humidity, low 80s, sunshine – just perfect weather. Beginning on Friday afternoon I began psyching myself for waking early on Saturday to go out and tackle the evergreens in front of the house, which were in desperate need of pruning. I got up a little before 7:30 am, fed the cats, cleaned their litter boxes, and headed out to tackle the pruning. My husband left, came back, left again, came back. When I finally finished all I’d hoped to do, and bagged the evidence, I’d been out there for 5 hours, utilizing 2 different step ladders. Even as I type now, I feel the strain in my muscles. Ouch.
On the other hand, although my body feels battered and bruised, the hedge and garden are looking extremely fine, in my opinion (does anyone else’s opinion matter for this???). I even tackled the willow bush along the driveway so that I can pull my car further up without fearing for the paint job. No pictures of that so you’ll have to take my word for it. Would I lie to you, honey? Now would I say something that wasn’t true? *grin*
I spent several hours on the hedge alone – getting the front, top, back and sides. I usually try to do this in the spring, before the flowers are growing, so that it’s easier to clean up the cuttings. I had to keep moving the large step ladder around the dahlias, trying not to damage them. I did at one point lose my balance anyway (on the ground, NOT on the ladder, go figure) and ended up falling on one of the dahlias. 😦 Thankfully I only damaged a piece of it, not the whole plant. There will still be flowers. I don’t use an electric hedge clipper. I use manual loppers and take my time to step back a distance and see what I’ve been doing. My goal is to take the top down sufficiently far to allow air and light to come into the front sun room under the awning, without losing the privacy we get from the hedge. I’d estimate I took off at least 8 inches from the top. I also pruned the little golden arborvitae a bit – took a bit off the top and the side by the golden rod.
I also trim the front and sides to give room to the other bushes and flowers there. The one side was reaching out to the andromeda bush and the other side was into the potted plants along the front walk. Perhaps the ‘ickiest’ part of the pruning is the back – clearing a path between the hedge and the house. That’s where the spiders hang out. Ick. Yes, yes, I KNOW they eat bugs. But I don’t like them or their webs touching me. *shudder* I go through first with a broom to clear anything like that before I start cutting. I had a lot of encouragement from the butterflies. Both the black swallowtail and the monarch butterflies were flitting about.
Once I finally got the hedge under control, and took a few cuts at the forsythia on the corner of the sun room, I worked on the willow bush along the driveway. I’d hacked it back in the winter when we were due for a huge wet snowfall. I learned in the past that huge, wet snowfalls cause the willow to bend all the way into the driveway and until we clear that bush, we can’t move the cars. It’s been a wet spring and the willow has flourished. I also trimmed up the pots along the front walk, and weeded them, and removed the ones that were done for the year. I was doing my best “energizer bunny” imitation. 🙂 I am delighted that FINALLY the canna lilies in the front pots are blooming. Sure took them long enough. I still see very little evidence that the ones in the other pot will flower. 😦
After all of the pruning is done, then comes cleanup. Had I seen any evidence of the teenage boy who supposedly lives next door, I’d have tried to hire him to do get the debris into the big brown lawn bags. But as is usual this summer, there was no sign of life there, so I bagged 4 brown bags full of debris. Ouch. Anyway, I think it’s looking fine now, and there is air and light in the sun room. You can see the metal heron between the bushes. Even the metal & rocks art sculpture can be seen. Pruning the rhododendron and tying up the forsythia will have to wait til fall. I’m not sure my muscles will recover before then. 🙂
It’s happening!!! It’s really happening! Spring is on its way here! I have 3 bags of bulbs sitting in the front hall. Alert to my sister: 15 of the gladiolas are for YOU! Maybe if you’re REALLY nice I’ll let you have a few of the 9 canna lilies also. But I really love my cannas. I’m NOT sharing the dahlias – get your own. *grin*
Just 2 weeks ago there was snow on the ground and the little green shoots were being brave and pushing through. Now there is gorgeous sunshine and the snow is gone and everyone has room to stretch and grow.
All together now: PHOTOSYNTHESIZE!!!