Saturday, December 31, 2011

I think I can be okay at starting things, but finishing them is another story. Right now, I feel like I really need a place to write, somewhere I can be real. I thought about starting another blog and not telling anyone about it, but this little blog is mine and I like it here.

The internet is a funny thing. With social networking, it is amazing how easy it can be to create a perfect image of yourself and your life for all to see. Add all of the "look what I can do" blogs on top of that and I have to imagine there are people out there just sitting at their computers thinking

"What the fuck is wrong with me?"

I mean, people besides me.

Don't get me wrong, I love "look what I can do" blogs. I find them much more inspiring than depressing most of the time, but I have ADHD so the chances of me hyper-focusing and spending hours "pinning" inspiring things on pinterest to do later are much more likely than me seeing something, feeling inspired and actually going and doing those things. 

I'd like to talk about what it's like to be me, a stay at home mom with ADHD who has a son with ADHD. Most of the time, I feel like I am just pretending to be an adult and I'm pretty sure everyone around me knows. I've fallen into this role as a plate spinner and while I seem to be pretty good at spinning one, once you get a few spinning I'm overwhelmed and they all fall to the ground and shatter... then instead of cleaning it all up I decide to make a mosaic table top...or maybe half of one...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Not a lot, but they're all mine!

I love flowers, but I can't say I have tons of them. Not yet at least. Someday I hope to have an absurd amount of flowers. Seriously. A ridiculously obnoxious amount of flowers. I'm talking more flowers than grass. Don't be surprised. This is me we're talking about here!

 For now, at this moment this is what is blooming in my yard!

Pink Daylily

Bellflower White Clips



More Daylilies

Daylilies again

Gold Mound Spirea flowers


My husband bought me this rose bush last year. It was light pink when he bought it, but over the winter it died back and came back this color. My husband calls it my phoenix rose! 

I've been dreaming of creating a cutting garden, and by dreaming I mean I've been obsessing, researching and designing one! I was really hoping to be able to do it this year, unfortunately I don't think it's going to happen until next year. Sometimes I overwhelm myself with all of the ideas I come up with for the yard and have to stop and remind myself that this is all going to take time. Some day, my yard will be amazing. It's like a never ending work of art and I love it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things that catch my eye

Whenever people show me their landscaping, I always seem to notice something I like, get really excited about it and go on and on about it until I realize I'm being a total dork. It's not like "oh wow, that's a really pretty flower" but more like "oh wow I love how the texture and color of the foliage of that plant contrasts with the one next to it..." but then I don't shut up about it. I can keep walking and looking at the rest of the plants but my thoughts keep going back to that one spot that caught my eye and I keep bringing it up like they really want to hear for the eighth time how much I love some plant combination I saw ten minutes ago. They're never like "oh my gosh I'm so glad you noticed that I did that on purpose because I thought so too!" they are usually like "...oh yeah, that does look pretty cool." like they'd never noticed before. I know I'm not alone here, there are books about these things! I know it's probably just because I don't really know anyone else who is as psychotic passionate about landscaping as I am, but I usually end up embarrassing myself and feeling like a total dork because I wont shut up about something and it's obvious that I'm the only one who cares.

So, since I am just typing this and wont be able to see when your eyes glaze over and you start to look at me like I am a crazy person for rambling on and on about things that catch my eye, here we go!

Bellflower White Clips

First of all, I love these bellflowers! When I was planning this whole area, I knew I wanted something small in front with white flowers. I ended up choosing these bellflowers because they are perennials. I am so glad I did! I love their compact habit and how they end up completely covered in blooms. One thing that always seems to catch my eye about this little area is the way the bellflower and the hosta behind it compliment each other. I love the contrast between the bellflower's small ruffled foliage and the broad smooth foliage of the hosta as well as the hosta's subtle white edges that mirror the color of the bellflower's blooms.

Spring 2011

I put this stepping stone here, because my sidewalk curves the other way. If we want to get to the hose or if the kids want to go to the back yard, usually they go in the opposite direction of the sidewalk. Stepping stone or not, that is the route that would be taken. Last year, it was surrounded by hens and chicks. They don't do so well when my kids miss the stepping stone. Ajuga on the other hand, can handle a little foot traffic so this spring I surrounded the stepping stone with it hoping that it would spread and surround the stone.

It has grown just like I'd hoped it would and I love the contrasts between the Ajuga and the stepping stone when it comes to color and texture. 

Next to the stepping stone, I also have a Gold Mound Spirea. I put it next to the Barberry bush because I loved the way their colors contrasted. 

Gold Mound Spirea

...but I didn't even really think about how lovely the Ajuga would look next to the Spirea when I planted it around the stepping stone!

One more thing when it comes to colors in general. With the idea of light colors kind of popping and visually seeming to come forward and dark colors almost receding in mind, here is a picture from when I began working on the plants in front

May 2010
Can you see how the dark mulch almost seems to take a step back and let the plants be the stars of the show as opposed to the light colored landscaping rock that almost looks as if it's competing with not only the plants but also the sidewalk for attention?

July 21, 2011
I like the dark mulch!

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

Swiss Chard
When most people think about vegetable gardens, usually the word 'beautiful' isn't one of the first words that come to mind. This season as each day has gone by, I've watched my garden come to life. Sometimes it just leaves me breathless. When I walk back into the house after spending some time out there, sometimes I look at my husband and all I can say is

"I have a beautiful garden" 

Now, I know I'm a little (or a lot) biased because it's kind of my baby but I think the foliage and blooms on some edible plants are just as lovely as some of the ornamental plants we regularly use if not more so. 

Foliage from carrots, opal basil and pepper plants

Snow peas

Potatoes in bloom

Marigold next to cucumber flowers



So, I've been thinking about edible landscaping a lot lately. So many ideas have been swirling around in my head. 

Asparagus and Swiss Chard

I'm feeling inspired, to create a beautiful edible landscaping design. If I can come up with one, I'll share it with you

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The one where she bored everyone to death with millions of pictures

"So...where do we go from here?"
Tonight, after it had rained for most of the day, I went out to the garden to see how things were doing. I was in heaven. 

Swiss chard, onions and peppers

My garden is flourishing!

Swiss Chard
I've spent many hours dreaming it up, creating the design, planning plant placement, building the actual garden, planting everything and tending to these plants. When I walk back there and see things thriving, I can't even explain how good that feels.

It really is one of my favorite places to be. Sometimes I just sit and stare, amazed. To me, it's just beautiful.

I think the combination of Opal Basil and the fine textured carrot foliage would be a gorgeous addition to a flower bed.

I've never really had much luck with peppers, but they are all growing well and I'm starting to see little peppers on them.

I have several different kinds of tomatoes and the mesh trellis supports have been great so far. I'm starting to see little tomatoes on a lot of them!

Never mind the toys, gotta keep the four year old entertained sometimes!
I have three different types of peas on the left side of the supports and three different types of cucumbers to the right. I had spinach in front of the peas but it started bolting so I pulled them out. I will probably either replant spinach or a different type of salad greens there. In front of the cucumbers I have baby romaine.

aww aren't they cute?

Do you by any chance remember that middle bed I wanted to have jack be little pumpkins and morning glories climbing up a teepee?

Okay so I obviously planted too much in this bed but I might be okay with that. They are climbing up the teepee and spilling over the edges. I love it! So far the morning glories are still trying to climb up through the pumpkins. Hopefully they'll be able to sneak through so there will be some blue blooms mixed in here and there. I think that would be so pretty with the pumpkin flowers!

These are boy flowers. You can tell because they don't have little baby pumpkin bumps.
They get to stay thin. Jerks...
Speaking of flowers...have you ever seen a potato flower? Well I haven't, at least not until today!

Okay so I know it's closed and sad looking, but I was pretty excited to see that this evening! I have never grown potatoes before so I didn't know what to expect. When I filled the bed they are in, I only filled it halfway to "make it easier for me to hill up"...right...

I've obviously underestimated these guys. Four and a half bales of straw have gone into this potato bed.

"Is that all you've got lady?"
...and they keep growing...and growing...and growing! Now I know that some of it is just the straw settling but wow! I am going to have to add some chicken wire around this bed to keep the straw from spilling out. I still think about how much it would suck if I were to dig down after all of this and not find any potatoes! I'm pretty sure I would cry. Yes. I would definitely cry. Hopefully, we will have lots of potatoes!

"Hey guys, how's it going?"

So, things are growing pretty well, besides the weeds we also have a few uninvited guests like this tomato plant that randomly sprouted here!

"oh come on I'm a pretty fun guy!"

"'fun guy?' For shame Jess, for shame""

...and these little guys that showed up in the bed with the peppers and onions! I'm thinking I'm going to have to take the straw mulch out of this bed. With a soil mixture of composted manure, peat moss and vermiculite I think it might be retaining more than enough moisture without the mulch. So far this summer I think I have had to water the garden maybe three times! 

So, that's where we're at right now. If you've made it this far, thank you so much for taking the time to look at all of these pictures! Next time I will try to remember to take my real camera out with me so you don't have to look at camera phone pictures!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm not exactly sure who decided on the placement of the light switches in the lower level of my house, but I'm pretty sure whoever that person is, was feeling pretty sadistic that day. Okay, so maybe they just lacked experience in that sort of thing, but having to reach past knuckle scraping pipes to turn on a light switch behind the door in the space the size of a closet while holding a basket full of dirty laundry starts to get really old after a while if you're not a contortionist. My husband, who soon grew tired of hearing me complain about it, and after catching me eyeballing the ceiling in the laundry room started worrying that he might come home to find a hole in our bedroom floor D.I.Y. laundry chute, decided it was time to install a light switch with a motion sensor in the laundry room.

Seriously, it's magical. I'm not kidding. It's a perfect "shut up" project! It took him about five minutes, cost less than twenty dollars, earned him hero status for at least a few days and totally shut me up! Okay that's not entirely true, I didn't totally shut up. It's probably been almost a year now since he's installed it and I still tell him at least once a week how awesome it is.

Today it seems like every time I walk into a room I am turning lights off. The sun is shining and I've got big windows and small trees. All of these lights just aren't necessary. Especially when no one is even in that room. It makes a girl kind of grumpy. Makes a girl wish she could do electrical things so she could install those motion sensor light switches through out most of the house. Since I can't work with electricity, or at least am not willing to try on my own, I'm thinking I'm going to have to turn this grumpiness into a learning experience. I'm thinking that today, the kids are going to have to do a couple extra chores to make up for the electricity that they are wasting. (insert maniacal laughter here)

Yep. It's going to be one of those days.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

If this is a circus, where are all the clowns? Oh wait, that's me I guess.

Since my memory is just about as short as the time it takes me to get everything ready and get outside some days, I usually try to write myself a few notes to remind myself what exactly I want to do. If I don't, I'll end up going outside and bouncing around the yard like a pinball from plant to plant only to realize a couple hours later that I'd totally forgotten to do what I'd originally gone outside to do. Usually it's just things like "potatoes need hilling", "these seeds need to go into the ground now" or "does this need to be watered/mulched/deadheaded, etc..." you get the idea.

Today I went outside with a game plan. A few weeks ago, I forgot all of my melon seedlings out on the front step on an insanely hot day. Five different kinds of melon seedlings all dead. I'm not going to lie, I kind of wanted to cry. I'd been daydreaming of having this big patch of melons and pumpkins. Yeah, I killed the pumpkins too. Out of them all I only have a couple kinds of melon seeds left. I realized last night that they don't take as long as some of the others so if I were to get them into the ground today they might actually have a chance.

So my list for today was:

  • plant melon seeds and mulch the area they will be growing in.
  • check plants in the garden and water them (only at the roots, tomatoes are looking a little blighty)
  • hill potatoes
Not a long list right? Seems pretty reasonable doesn't it? Well, after getting the kids dressed and covered in sunscreen and gathering everything I needed I went outside to do these things. While I checked on some of the plants in the garden, my four year old thought he would help me out and water the garden. I have one of those sprayers with a bunch of different settings. It's really very fun for a four year old, but not so fun for the plants that are getting blasted with water. If my little basil plant comes back I'll be amazed. Same goes for the carrots he blasted. He was only trying to help, but he ended up drenching just about everything in the garden including me.

Meanwhile, my eight year old shows up with his dirt bike, notices a patch of dirt and decides that it looks like a fantastic place for him to do burnouts with the back wheel. That patch of dirt just so happened to be a patch of dirt because I planted seeds there a few days ago. Did I have it marked? No, but I shouldn't have had to. He knows he is not supposed to do burnouts in the yard.

By the time I got a phone call from my sister in law wanting some information, I was so glad to have a reason to give up and go inside. So the plants are watered. That's it.

Sometimes I feel like all I am doing is running around trying to avoid disaster after disaster. One mess is cleaned up, another is made in another room. One thing is planted, another thing is being destroyed a few feet away. Soon I realize it's late afternoon, I feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing, but I'm exhausted. By the end of the day, my husband gets home and it looks like I've done absolutely nothing because my house (on a good day) looks exactly like it did when he left that morning. I on the other hand, look and feel like I've been wrestling tigers, or alligators or...trucks.

If I could draw, I would draw a comic strip of myself today and I would be a circus clown running around frantically trying to put fires out all over the place but the hose would be kinked. Then when I would look at the hose it would un-kink and spray water all over my face. Then you'd see that my kids are the ones kinking the house because they are playing the "who can push mom so far over the edge she hides from us and eats hot fudge out of a jar with a spoon" game. Yep. Today I'm like a deflated clown. At least that would explain my huge feet...