Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Most everybody loves baby pictures. The weeping form 'Kagiri Nishiki' Japanese Maple was planted by the shore of Turd Blossom Lake. One day it will be a fine looking tree. I will watch it as it grows to see if I want to stake a limb to an upright position to form a main trunk with some height.

Can you tell the big maples in the garden to be had some of the lower limbs removed? It's subtle. I'm wanting to get more sunlight in there for the newly planted Bosnian Pines.

And I let the shower run for half an hour while I puttered in the roadside vegetable garden adding a few more seeds. I am happy to report there are no leaks and no small drips. The re-tiling can commence when I have the time.

What there was under the house though was some significant condensation on the cold water line of the shower. My well water comes out at about 55 degrees and during certain climatic conditions that cold water can make pipes sweat. And there is nothing to do about it. When I have the time the electric heat taping, re-insulation and closing of the plumbing box beneath the cabin can commence.

I might even take a shower in there real soon.

There may be a hint of the mental in my increments.

I'll just blame it on this current heat wave. My blood's turned cold after all these years way up here and warm is such a foreign notion when it finally shows up.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Black Iris Returns

Last year there was a black hole where the black iris should have been. In this wild lush you never know what could have happened to it. Only its bloom says I am alive and still here.

I think it is time to part the wild lush, find all the connecting rhizomes of the black iris and move it to a safer undisclosed location where it will prosper and multiply.

Much, much more of the black iris would be a fine thing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It Happened Again

I went to Nichols Nursery in East Flat Rock, NC to buy a Japanese maple for a client and came home with two Japanese maples for me. I did get a much bigger one for the client. I just have more patience than money when it comes to my own garden. I got a dwarf upright form 'Red Pygmy' and a weeping form 'Kagiri Nishiki'. Now I have four Japanese maples in the garden and I wonder, how did that happen?

After I got my fix I started closing up the hole in the shower wall. Some additional wood backing was added before the tar paper to give the backer board more stability for the tiles.

Then I measured and cut a very odd piece from a full sheet of backer board I had to buy. Oh why didn't I save any of the scrap? I wanted a single piece; again for more stability beneath the tiles. Yesterday evening my OCD said check for leaks again tomorrow before you close it up, but my OCD didn't kick back in until I had closed it up. My OCD is a nagging thing though so I am going to cover the hole with plastic and run that shower for a good long while and look for drips under the house before I go any further, if the OCD kicks in at the right time.

My new backer board isn't a quite the same level as the old. Better it is recessed than too high. A leveling coat of mortar will take care of that and help close and bond the seams. Now where did I put the left over 1 x 1 glass tiles?

If anyone googles their way here on how to make a shower repair project like this go on for a couple of weeks, you have come to the right place.

This evening my dealer hooked me up with some goods. The plain green one was boring, I could have that one. Please divide the chartreuse ones and give me two she said. You can have the rest. I made four hostas for me.

I may be developing a reliance on hosta to garden in the shade. I'm not worried though. I hit the streets often enough that I'll find other goods to mix things up a bit more with time.

I come by my habits naturally. There are several new alliums blooming in the ridge top garden that were ordered last fall. Seems I am not the only one with bad plant habits.

I saw her thumbing through the peony catalog and making notations earlier this week. There really isn't enough sun here for peonies, but that doesn't mean she can't have more. Where will you put them I asked.

In the sunny utility meadow of course. All the ones planted down there in the last two years are doing great and blooming already. There is more sun and I will find the room.

You can see why it keeps happening.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Holy Crack

I had this vague recollection about asking if we needed to stabilize the riser for the shower head to some part of the framing. Nah. It's galvanized pipe. It's not going anywhere. Praise be. I was able to spin the riser right out of the broken metal "T" and pull that part out of the wall without having to take out half a wall of tile.

Holy crack! Would you look at that. Thanks a lot Price Pisster. What kind of crap metal pipe are you making in China these days? I could barely see the crack in one of the plastic pex tubing water lines and couldn't find the other. This crack in what should be steel of some sort is enormous.

And of course I could not buy a new metal "T" separate and had to buy the whole kit again. And wouldn't you know it, the the threaded fittings for the water lines were different than the same kit from a couple of years ago. That required another trip to town for the new size fittings.

Anywho, the shower's water lines are repaired and it wasn't a total nightmare. No more dripping of any kind. The re-tiling can commence.

There is another type of crack in my life. It might be said I am prone to plant crack. It helps that I am on friendly terms with a number of enablers. Frances of Fairegarden was bearing gifts when she visited last week. A lovely new deciduous azalea was added in the garden to be.

I planted it along the path that will follow along the base of the slope below the scenic byway. It is in the right bottom of this picture, just before you get to the Bosnian Pine, Pinus leucodermis, that I picked up last fall. And if you look closer you will see another Bosnian Pine further along in what was the old temporary pathway around a rubbish pile that got moved for a planting.

Amazing how quickly the new candles will orient themselves to the sun after lying down in the truck for the ride home. They'll straighten up in no time.

Now this time I didn't get just one. I bought two more Bosnian Pines. These are being planted for winter interest and winter screening from the scenic byway. I'm getting used to being part of the scenery, but it still freaks me out a little when people gawk as they drive by.

I will need to get a bit more sun to this third pine by taking out some lower branches on some of the nearby maples.

It is hard to tell by looking from a distance, but I have been busy planting things for the last four years in the garden to be.

There are all kinds of things growing in among the lush, hosta and dwarf crested iris.

And more hosta

And more hosta. I don't pay good money for hosta. The dealer lives next door.

It is much more dangerous going to nurseries. That is when my plant crack habit can get the better of me. I have been fondling this Seven Son Flower, Heptacodium miconioides, since last fall. One day at the nursery I couldn't resist and it followed me home.

Other times freebies like this Curly Willow, Salix matsudana, from the Soiree at Kalamazoo can find their way home with me. I think plants just naturally gravitate towards me.

Now where did these Hardy Begonia, Begonia grandis, come from? Oh yes, they fell out of the ground at a garden I helped clean up as a volunteer last fall. I am pushing their hardiness up here. One winter survived. Time will tell.

I bought this yellow leaved Smokebush, Cotinus coggygria four years ago. I did move it to more sun when it turned green, but this has to be one of the slowest growing things in the garden to be. I suppose there's no rush.

The Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Gold Mop' right below the front porch seem to have a little more get up and go.

I bought a Kniphofia in a four inch pot four years ago. It's getting big now, dividable. Every time I saw a picture of them I craved one. Now that I have one I'm not sure I like it. I know I don't like where it is and it will have to be moved at some point.

Now my native Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium I like. The white flower heads are more subtle than the red and yellow combo of the Kniphofia and much longer lasting.

The garden to be really is coming along. This is only a small bit of what is out there in the lush. There are also daffodils, iris and daylilies and perennials of all kinds. I've planted viburnum, azalea, rhododendron, hydrangea two kind, weigela, bamboo, duetzia, spirea and aesculus to name a few more. All of them just wee little things. I can't afford the good stuff yet.

But one day soon the garden to be will arise from the lush to become my garden, Ku'ulei 'Aina.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Late Stroll On A Wet Day

By the time I got home yesterday evening, the long stormy night had begun. It rained off and on all day up here I heard, while down below a token drizzle was all that fell.

The rain did stop this evening in time to go on a brief wet stroll.

Tomorrow I will take the day off and work in my own garden. I have plants to plant.

Tomorrow I will remove some 1 x 1 glass tiles and attempt to spin the shower head riser out of the cracked metal "T" in the shower so it can be replaced. Wish me luck. If it don't work the entire center section of that wall in the shower will have to come out.

The cozy cabin has been booked for late June and I need to have every thing in working order. I need to get a bedroom set up.

And I have promised myself I will move into Hale Mana on June 17th, the four year anniversary of my arrival on the low spot of a North Carolina mountain top.

I may need to give up my evening strolls and late night blogging to concentrate on my house. I still need play house time just to get stuffs organized in here, you know things in the right drawers and all.

Eh, whatever. Things will get done when they get done. There are only so many hours in the day and so much energy in this skinny body.

There is a garden to see that could use an extra hand at weeding. There is a garden to be that needs more plants and attention given to those already planted.

I deserve a stroll at the end of the day.

It's good for my mental well being.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Late Stroll On A Warm Day

I have been running out of words of late. The ridge top garden is not running out of flowers.

The peonies are here.

And there and everywhere.

There is more Foxglove about than in the past, though there is room for more.

The iris keep blooming in a rainbow of colors.

It's a botanical circus out there.

With the rhododendrons still in the center ring.

No matter how tired I might be, a slow stroll through the garden is palpably rejuvenating.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It Just Keeps Coming

Tomorrow I should be done planting the second new garden for another new client. I really should get some baby pictures of both of them. Next week will take me back to a now fuller schedule of regular garden maintenance. Hopefully some time will appear in that schedule to continue turning the cozy cabin into a fully functioning home.

The most asked about flower on the garden tour was this red and yellow Mckana hybrid columbine. There were several requests for seed. So many I went online to find a seed source. It would be easier to buy them and give them out as gifts than to collect seeds myself with the shortage of time that is my current state of affairs.

By the time I get home I am ready to chill and manage only the most pressing chores. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to carry a small brown paper bag and a pair of clippers when I go for a stroll. I have big enough pockets in my gardener pants.

I strolled out this evening to water the roadside vegetable garden. I seeded a number of new things last week and want to keep the beds moist for the germination process. The rain of late hasn't been too generous. The warmth has been on the generous side. Maybe I should try a cantaloupe again? I have half a row left.

A really big hosta and really big Goat's Beard, Aruncus dioicus live along the stream in the sunny utility meadow. I saw them while passing by.

The rhododendron are still glowing strong. Soon their time will be over.

And the next wave of bloom on the low spot of a North Carolina mountain top will follow.