Sunday, December 30, 2007

Being Festive outside!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas this past week and here's Sam wishing all a very Happy New Year!!!

The good news is the snow has melted enough I have gotten about 85% of my measuring for the winter finished. I think I have just 2 big jobs left and one small project to measure. PHEW! Once I get those can snow all it wants. I think we're supposed to get some snow this evening which shouldn't accumulate too much. I think at this moment, it's projected to be about 2 - 4". That's A LOT better than the 4 - 7" they were forecasting last night.
I hadn't had a chance to post my window box all dressed up in its winter garb yet. I think this one blows away the one I had last year.

I thought it was so cool, it didn't even need a bow. I used some white pine roping that I took apart and some variegated boxwood, both of which I bought. The rest of the box came from my yard...I used Cedar, Norway Spruce, Eupatorium seed heads, Sedum, spent Hydrangea flowers, and the spent plumes from my Japanese Silver Feather Grass. The Ivy hanging down was left over from the summer box. I'm very curious to see if that actually makes it through the winter. I might run out there and take some cuttings to use around the yard.

The latest fish update from Lake Larson is everyone appears to be doing well! The ice melted and I can really see everything in there. They are swimming around(granted a little slower) like they normally do and I haven't seen any casulties. I did see two good sized mosquito fish swimming around. I have noticed that the hundreds of them we had as we went into the fall are missing. I bet the koi and goldfish have eaten them. That's okay, I was getting very concerned about their numbers. That's the circle of life, I suppose. I may take some photos of them today.

Let's see...Eric continues to get better. There's nothing big ro report on him which is a good thing. He's got about 2 more weeks before he can drive. Being house bound HAS to be driving him nuts.

Here's the news on the newest addition to Garden Consultant HQ I have been waiting to add. We're hoping to get a little male rottie in the next month or so. It's not for 100% certain yet because we need to make sure the litter's personality will match what I would like to do with him. But the lady who owns the mom told me she doesn't see any reason why the temperment wouldn't match my goals for obedience and working him. So, if all goes as planned - Deerwood's Larson Bravo Zulu; call name - Lars will join us the first weekend of February. Here's the link to the litter so you all can see!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Don't get me wrong...I love snow. I'm probably one of the few people in Rhode Island who does like snow and hates a snowless winter. But, the timing is all wrong this year! Mother Nature was a little too eager for my work schedule.

Indoor Gardening takes over

I didn't want to make that last post an enormous one but I have some neat things happening indoors!

PAPERWHITES!!! Personally, I can't stand their scent. But this time of year, I'll tolerate it.

Here's the first of this year's orchid crop. **grin** I'll have to keep my eyes open for other buds coming.

The winter garden

Holy White Christmas Batman! I can't believe we've had this much snow this early! I don't remember EVER having this much in December this long. I'm kind of panicking because I don't have any of the measurements done for my winter projects. I normally do them all this month but I took a week off for the surgery and then it snowed the following week! UGH! It's starting to melt now and this rain tonight will really help. I should be able to head out this coming week and go out to do most of them. I feel like a complete grinch that I want the snow gone. After I get my measuring done, it can snow all it wants!

But I got some great frost photos of the yard the second week of December. I had gotten up early and had an opportunity to run outside with my camera:

(That fern photo above and the hens and chicks below are my favorites!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Update on Eric

My last post I made a comment that Eric has going to go in for more back surgery. December 3rd, we went up to New England Baptist Hospital in Boston and he had his spinal fusion revision to remove a broken screw in his lowest level (L5-S1). Apparently he had an area in his first fusion that never fused completely after all of these years and that caused the screw to snap. All this time I thought it was doing crazy things like building Lake Larson which caused that screw to break. The surgeon said that it was the non-union in his fusion, nothing he did caused it to break, and that Eric will be close to 100% once this revision fuses.

So, he's going to be laid up for the next two and a half months and has to take it easy for the next year before he can carry on normally. But he's doing really well and getting stronger every day which is awesome! Thanks everyone who has wished him good luck and an excellent recovery.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter's knocking on our door....

Well, operation adding compost is in full swing! Since time is running out before the snow flies and Eric goes back under the knife for his back, I've switched my game plan to top dressing the beds with lots of compost. I've been scratching it into the soil the best I can. Eric also has been collecting leaves with his lawnmower and chomping them up into great leaf mold. So, I have been using the leaf mold as a mulch which I will turn into the soil in the spring when it breaks down. I've got about 50% of my beds put to sleep this fall. I haven't gotten the bulbs in yet and hope to do that this weekend if I have time. I don't think I'm going to do much of a fall clean up this season. I may just let everyone but the dahlia's and the tender cannas go into their winter's nap and clean them up in the spring.

I took a bunch of photos a couple of weekends ago of Garden Consultant HQ in the middle of it's autumnal glory!

Below, here's a close up of the fall color of my Coral Bark Japanese Maple from that top photo...I love her!!

Below is Lake Larson before I skimmed all of the water lettuce and leaves out of it. I've been procrastinating of getting the rest of the leaves out of there...I was sore from the first time around! I'll probably get to that this Sunday. Then I can put the fishies to bed for the winter. Actually, I have to order some pond heaters before I can officially put them to bed.

Above is the back part of the pond before the killing front whacked all of my annuals whom I have since yanked.

One of my dahlias that my father in law gave me earlier this's last hurrah. I'll have to dig them up before thanksgiving. I actually don't have a great place in my house to overwinter them. My basement is too warm for them and the bulkhead is too cold. I'll have to send them back home to him. He's got this closet that butts up to an outside wall and it's worked out great for him and his dahlias...if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

My Sargent's Crabapple gearing up for her winter show!

There won't be much in the way of updates for the garden this winter which is understandable. But, I'll be doing Project Feederwatch through Cornell's Ornithology Lab and I'll probably post what I see every week. Also, the other big thing going on this winter or maybe spring will be a new addition of the four legged kind to Garden Consultant HQ. I'll definitely keep you all posted on that front.

Friday, November 2, 2007

OH Wow! Hurricanes!

I was going to make this post about something else that I'll get to in a minute. But...we have a little hurricane brewing outside. Normally, I would be completely freaked out about this, especially since we haven't had a hurricane or anything close to one come near Rhode Island since I moved here in 1997. However, they are forcasting at least 2 - 3" of rain out of this. This might be exactly what we need to break this dry soil streak we've had almost all season. I just came in from getting birdfeeders and things that could launch across the yard and end up in Lake Larson. I wasn't going to do it until I heard the updated weather forecast on TV and it sounds like it's gaining strength and coming closer than what was earlier predicted. Man, what the heck is going on...a frost and a hurricane all in one week. It must be the Apocalypse. Heh, I bet there's no bread or milk in the stores. Maybe Eric, Sam and I will go surf watching tomorrow at the beach.

Anyway...what I was really going to post about and what may become the subject of the blog over the winter is Project Feederwatch. Cornell's Lab of Ornithology runs a research project every late fall and winter that uses data from backyard birding enthusiasts. I missed the cut off date last year to sign up. This year, I'm ready to go and have my feeding stations all set up off in the back perimeter of the yard. It's kind of neat, you choose two days a week where you note the numbers and species of birds that visit your feeders. Then that information is sent to Cornell and they track the habits and numbers of birds.

It's probably too late to sign up now, but here's the link in case anyone wants to participate next year.

Batten down the hatches everyone, I think tomorrow is going to be a wild ride.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Yup, fall has officially arrived in RI...we got a touch of frost on Sunday night. My dahlias, ageratum, nasturtiums, and the peppers in the vegetable garden were lightly hit. I was really suprised the pond plants are fine. It makes sense why the water lettuce and others didn't get damaged. Water cools down much more slowly than air and it protected the plants. I think the water is going to be skimmed clean of floaters this weekend before they are reduced to mushy slime.

I was up at a client's house in Gloucester and man, they were hit HARD with frost. Their hydrangeas and annuals were pretty much fried with little hope of recovering. Newport and the surrounding areas weren't bothered at all with the drop in temperatures. That completely blows my mind we can have that much difference in temperatures in such a small state. That's what makes gardening so interesting in Rhode Island!

(Don't tell anyone, but I'm ready for some fall/winter weather after this growing season. Bring on my long winter's nap!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's still dry....who knew!

Hi Everyone!

I'm still alive, just not that active in the gardens. We've had a little bit of rain but not enough to really make a difference. We had some rain which I thought may have wet the soil on last Friday. I was helping a client move some plants in Portsmouth on Saturday and the soil an inch or two down was like powder. Not good.

The little rain we've gotten has brought weeds sprouting and Eric's grass is starting to come back. We did get a truck load of compost from the city two weekends ago. Eric said that there was hardly anything left at the DPW which actually shocked me. Thank goodness we got a lot of it...that will have to be a mental note for next year to not wait around. I was able to use the compost I had cooking over the summer but it didn't last long. I've lifted the shade gardens by the front door and divided some of the larger hostas and relocated some things to the back yard now that we are getting some more areas developed. I put out a soaker hose too in that area to help keep things wet as things get resestablished. It's still 80 degrees outside here so I'm waiting again to go back to lifting and dividing so things don't get shocky.

I've gotten some plants from The Farmer's Daughter: a very dwarf Japanese Holly (I have the label down in my office) and finally a Norway Spruce 'Little Gem' and some heathers for around the pond. I also picked up some small spring bulbs for the pond area: crocus, Iris reticulata, Snowdrops, and Mini Daffodils.

On the design front, I've started getting this year's RINLA Flower Show Exhibit in the works. The theme for the show this year is "Fairy Tales"...which kind of had us all scratching our heads. After a couple of brainstorming meetings we have a fun and function idea which could easily be taken from the show to a person's backyard.

This fall hasn't been too interesting gardening wise but Mother Nature continues to be uncooperative with us gardeners. The fall color in the backyard is starting to pick up and I'll be very curious to see how the colors are despite the drought.

That's one of the Sassafrass trees in the back behind Lake Larson. That photo doesn't do the tree's color justice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh yeah...horticulture distance learning from Cornell

I was so overcome with horticultural angst with the happenings in the garden I forgot to post a couple things. Duh.

First, Cornell University offers hands on, online classes for gardeners and green industry professionals. One of these years I should go back to "Big Red" even though it's virtual and take a couple of these. They are pretty reasonable too. This fall, they are offering Organic Gardening and plant propagation.

Second, photos!!!

One of my Italian sunflowers before the damn squirrels destroyed them for the seeds. That was a big note to sunflowers near the fence where the squirrels have easy access to the blooms. Grrrr...if it isn't spider mite, it's the squirrels!

The "Wet Pets"

Nasturtiums sans Spider mite...they recovered nicely.

Wow...we finally got some rain...

Well, after the second driest August on record, not much has happened at Garden Consultant HQ. I think the biggest thing that has happened since I last posted was HQ got a new laptop.

Without water, I haven't been planting anything, weeding anything, doing much of anything really in the garden. I have been watering non stop though...I honestly couldn't keep things wet enough. I would water and the plants would be stressed a couple of days later. That really struck home that my sandy soil needs to be completely rehabbed and ammended with compost or some kind of organic material. I think that we are going to go to the Town of Warwick and load up Eric's truck a couple of times with their compost and just go crazy with it in the gardens. Eric's almost scheming that he will be putting in an irrigation system next spring for the gardens, turf, and drip irrigation for the edible gardens. This was definitely a learning year in my garden.

Remember those Spider Mites I mentioned in my last post...well, it wasn't just me who has been plagued with these little monsters. I recently read in UMASS' Landscape Message Spider Mite were off the charts this summer due to the lack of rain and moisture. That makes me feel better, I think. A week after Eric broke out the miteacide for the south gardens, the mites reappeared in the veggie garden and did in the peas, beans and eventually the tomatoes. We didn't want to spray the miteacide on the edibles so tried to control them by spraying the foliage to keep the humidity levels high. They won that battle and the tomatoes finally crashed and burned this week. Oh well...

Lake Larson has been keeping me busy with more thinning of the water hyacinth and water lettuce every week. I have repotted the lilies in a way that the koi should not be able to eat and damage the roots (They's already killed my yellow one!). I went with much bigger containers with no holes, used weed fabric over the cat litter for soil and then big crushed stone on top of the fabric. I would really like to see those fish get through that! I have to chuckle, we are now back yard breeders of koi and goldfish! We have 4 confirmed babies from the fish we have in the pond. It's kind of exciting but worrisome because what happens when we have too many? I hope to get some photos of the bundles of joy as soon as they get big enough.

Now that we have some soil moisture, I'm hoping to start up with the massive project of adding organic materials to the soils so the water issue won't be as much as an issue in years to come. I'll have to cruise the garden centers and see if there's anythng out there that tickles my fancy and comes home with me. I have been looking over mail order websites this summer and fall to see who has sales. So, stayed tuned as long as the raidrops keep falling!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Update on "Frankenmato"

He did in fact get eaten...Eric's Chili on Friday night. He was actually very good (I wasn't really sure how he was going to be) I had to give some friends some better scale on how massive it was...the grapefruit didn't really cut it.

So, here's the Monster and the Monster 'Mato.

I think Sam's just as freaked out as we were!

Here are some other good garden photos...I don't have much to report out there other than basic garden maintenance and watering. I jumped into the Lake this past weekend and seriously thinned out the Water Hyacinths. I can totally understand why those things are considered invasive in the southern states. Jeez...they made this crazy net of plants. I have lots of good green materials for the compost bin. I think I will be able to start using the compost from the bin soon...all of that shredded paper from my office, coffee grounds, and grapefruit rinds actually look like dirt now. We've been battling spider mite on the south side of our house. It was bad dahlias, roses, DAYLILIES, and iris got hit. So, I caved in and Eric brought home some mitacide which promptly took care of the problem. I have come to the conclusion that I will have to start adding large amounts of compost and organic material because the sand doesn't hold much at all. I'm really hoping that the rains that we have been getting will be a regular event.

Is that dragonfly not cool! I love his colors!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Attack of the Killer Tomato

A couple of weeks back, I posted a photo of my demure little veggie garden. Well, I have to show you what it produced for us. I just about died when I really got a good idea of what I was harvesting!


I thought it was three tomatoes but was this monstrosity! It's an heirloom tomato variety called Brandywine. It weighed in at 2.5 pounds!!! Here are some visual aids for grasping how huge this thing is...

That's a "normal" tomato and a cherry tomato...


That's not an orange...that's a big grapefruit.

Now I have to figure out what recipe will take 2.5 pounds of tomato that isn't tomato sauce. We had that last night, I'm thinking chili.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rain Barrels!

Hooray! I got them a couple of weeks ago and have filled one already from a water change from the pond. I have been slowly adding to the other one from the dehumidifier in the basement. I really wish we would get some rain...then I could see how much a good storm would fill the one near the house.

These things are really pretty good size and they hold 60 gallons of water each. Granted I filled the one on the left in 15 minutes when water changing the pond...but that's a lot of water I can use around the yard. I have already but a dent in that barrel from watering things with a watering can. I'll probably top it off this weekend with more pond water. I would like to get two more and hook them together in both locations.

Some cities like North Kingstown and Jamestown are really starting to push rain barrels as water bans become more of a summer tradition. My neighbor saw the barrels and wanted one for himself and his cousin wants one too. I think the more people know about rain barrels, it will definitely help with storm water management and lessen the stress on municipal water supplies. If you want a rain barrel of your own, give Beverly O'Keefe, The RI Water Lady a call at 401-539-0667 or email her at

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cool stuff at Blithewold

I got this email through the Greenwimmen (a small, local organization of ladies in the biz) a couple of days ago. There are a lot of neat classes and lectures at Blithewold this coming check it out!


Wednesday, September 19, 5:00 to dusk

Join us for wine, music, and flowers in the Display Garden at Blithewold. As the boats take a sojourn from the mundane and indulge yourself in Italian wine, gourmet cheese, and music by the Mark and Beverly Davis Guitar Duo. The Display Garden is contagious with energy and new ideas; a flurry of discovery and wonderment accompany its two peak explosions of color, texture, and scent. Enjoy the company of old friends and new, chat with staff horticulturists, stroll the grounds, and bring a picnic dinner to celebrate the season with us in high style.

In the event of rain, the soirée will be held in the mansion. Price includes 2 glasses of wine per person.

Single Soirée: $15 per individual/$25 per couple. Package of four Soirées: $50 per individual/$90 per couple and $40 per individual/$70 per couple for members.

ONE GARDENER’S OBSESSION: An Intimate Tour of a Private Garden
Wednesday, August 15, 6:00 – 8:00

Every garden has a story to tell, and much is learned when gardeners get together to share their secrets, triumphs, and tribulations. Virginia Purviance grew up with gardening in her blood and has been cultivating her Aquidneck Island property for thirty years, complete with specimen trees and five disparate gardens featuring long borders of shrubs and perennials, an enclosed memorial garden, an experimental nursery area, and a unique collection of art. Ginny’s passionate guided tour will inspire you with stories of accidental beauty, lessons learned, and other colorful threads that make up the fabric of her garden’s ongoing evolution over time. Light refreshments will be served.

Virginia Purviance, graduate of the Radcliffe Garden Design Seminars, retired from her landscape design practice three years ago. She lives in Middletown with husband Jim who indulges her obsession and has learned to use a chain saw, a rake and shovel like a pro.
Registration limited and required in advance - $15 Members, $20 Nonmembers

Saturday September 8, 10:00 - 4:00; Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 – 8:30; Saturday, September 15, 2:00 – 3:30

Work with designer Ed Lindemann in this 3-part workshop to develop or improve the basic design of a specific garden area on your property. Session 1 will include an illustrated lecture about garden structure and space, as well as a demonstration of how to sketch your project, evaluate your needs, and achieve your desired result. Session 2 offers studio time to develop your project on paper and receive valuable hands-on help from Ed. Session 3 meets off-site at a private Little Compton garden that incorporates Ed’s designs, encouraging lively discussion of design, plants, hardscaping, and garden ornament.

Ed Lindemann began his practice as aprofessional Landscape and Garden Designer in 1964 and works on residential design projects along the east coast.
$100 Members, $125 Non-members

Sunday, September 16, 1:00 – 2:00

The Blithewold garden fairies need new homes! Spend an enchanted afternoon with Gardens Manager Gail Read in the Water Garden creating tiny fairy houses out of natural materials and found objects to entice fairies old and new to visit. We will read stories about fairy lore and other woodland mysteries and enjoy a light snack. Bring your imagination and a blanket for relaxing outdoors. Family program for adult-children groups of all ages.

$5 Members, $7 Non-members

Saturday, September 22, 10:00 - 3:00

In its seventh year, Blithewold Fall Gardener’s Day celebrates the harvest and all that is locally grown. Farmers and horticultural professionals will lead workshops, answer questions, and sell their goods. This event provides opportunity to learn new growing tips, sample the region’s goods, and network with community gardeners, green professionals, and farmers.
Pre-registration is not required.$5 Members, $10 Non-members

Tuesday, September 25 through Friday, September 28, 9:00 - 4:15

Award-winning sculptor DJ Garrity will lead this fascinating exploration of three dimensional form through the ageless process of stone sculpture. Students will be guided through the process of creating their own unique garden sculpture with a hands-on approach designed to impart a basic understanding of the medium of stone, sculpture tools, techniques, and the three-dimensional aspects of portraiture. All materials supplied.
$375 per student

Wednesday, September 26, 3:30 - 5:00

Awaken your senses with an outdoor exploration of Blithewold. Appreciate the colors, scents, sounds, and tastes of the grounds and gardens as Education Coordinator Debbie Olstein leads a variety of hands-on activities focusing on nature discovery. Bring lots of curiosity and a sense of adventure! Family program for adult-children groups; most appropriate for children ages 5-9
$5 Members, $7 Non-members

CRAZY FOR CRANESBILL: All about Hardy Geraniums
Thursday, October 11, 6:30 - 8:30

Discover Hardy Geraniums, otherwise known as ‘Cranesbill” for their beakshaped seed. These easy to grow species are diverse in color and form. Geranium enthusiast Mary Anne Brady will explain how these versatile plants are used as ground cover and border specimens in multiple garden locations. Propagation methods will be demonstrated and you will have the opportunity to work directly with plants. A diverse collection of Hardy Geraniums will be available during the workshop and for purchase.

Mary Anne Brady is a URI Master Gardener and a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist. She is owner of a small garden design business and Cranesbill nursery.
$12 Members, $15 Non-members

Saturday, October 13, 10:00 - 11:30

Join us as we create terrariums, beautiful micro ecosystems that thrive indoors and liven up the home or office. Expect to get your hands dirty along side horticulturists Gail Read and Kris Green as we learn how to balance the needs of the terrarium environment with soil, plants, and water. A unique selection of terrarium plants have been propagated in the greenhouse in preparation for this popular program and will be available for use, along with all necessary materials.
$30 Members, $35 Non-members

Saturday, October 20, 10:30 – 12:00

Don’t let cold temperatures and shorter days outside stop you from growing fresh flowers indoors! Join our Director of Horticulture Julie Morris for an interactive session that demonstrates how to force bulbs and create striking container arrangements. Each participant will design and plant three pots containing a variety of bulbs such as iris, tulips, and daffodils to enjoy at home or to give as a special gift.
$30 Members, $35 Non-members

Thursday, November 15, 10:00

Preeminent landscape architect Douglas Reed will explore his creative design process and the ways in which his work forges a deeper connection between people and the landscape. This scintillating discussion concludes with a relaxing luncheon with friends overlooking the estuary at the Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington.

Douglas Reed is principal and founder of the firm Reed Hilderbrand of Watertown, Massachusetts. He has built a reputation for excellence in design with award winning projects that engage the intersection of nature and culture
Before October 15 - $65 Members, $75 Non-membersAfter October 15 - $75 Members, $85 Non-members

Register Online at or call (401)-253-2707 ext. 21

Thursday, July 19, 2007

RAIN!!! Finally!

I started this post late last night and have to finish it this morning. I fell asleep with the on the couch with laptop on my lap! I woke up to Conan O'Brien blaring and the laptop in sleep mode. Good goin' Cris, let's try this again. (Thank goodness Blogspot autosaves posts)

This summer has been pretty dry...drier than we've had to deal with in the past couple of years. That was a wonderful rain yesterday and more tomorrow. It's amazing how different New England weather is, my Dad in NH says it has rained every day where he is since Father's Day. Anyway, we've got some rain and I can relax on hose duty for a while. I've got some rain barrels on order and I'm eagerly awaiting them.

Let's see...things going on in GC HQ this week...we have creatures that resemble and hop like frogs. There are many more in the wings too. Sam will probably find the pond much more interesting now. Check this guy out...a mere week ago he was more tapole than he was frog. I shall call him "Frogpole!" He doesn't look happy to have my camera zoomed in on him. Get over it, dude...if you live in my yard, expect to be stalked like Britney by a paparazzo. There is an update on this guy this morning...he has crossed over to a true frog...he lost his tail! I'm not sure where it went...but I'm not going to ask. :)

I was out taking photos of some of the goodies in bloom this week. I would definitely say my gardens are geared more for a summer show. That's something I have to work on, getting color other seasons of the's just worked out that way with things I've collected from shops or other people. At least with the back wooded area, I can get more spring and fall color with those plants.I was reading The American Gardener (a magazine from the American Horticultural Society) and I got the cool idea to make Lake Larson more of an evening garden sort of place. I'll probably do that more with containers and some of the perennials in the area. I'll do that next year because a) it's fairly late in the season and b) Eric's got to build the new deck. But anyway, here are some neat flower photos:

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Hortensis Compacta'

Lilium orientale 'Stargazer'

I've got a ton more photos...but I'll post them later on.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

Not much new in the yard this week...just some new water lilies from ebay (God, I love eBay!) which I'll post some photos and info on when they bloom. But, I'll offer up some random Lake photos.

My favorite koi...not that I play favorites with the "kids". He's the orange and white butterfly koi. That's "Petey" behind him because he has a circle around his eyes like Petey from the Little Rascals. I think he's Eric's favorite.

Here's an unidentified pink Water Lily we got from Piece of Paradise early this spring. I lost the tag so I don't know the variety. It started up blooming about 3 weeks ago and it just keeps cranking out the buds. I think Water Lilies are my new green addiction.

Oh! I'll show off the more productive part of our landscape: the edible garden!

This year we have strawberries, peppers, radishes, watermelons, cukes, beans, a variety of tomatoes, peas, carrots, squash, blueberries, raspberries, Concord grapes, hops, a peach tree, and a bunch of different herbs. So far, we've harvested radishes, herbs, and peas. The squirrels got to the Strawberries before we could. The blueberries aren't as vigorous as last year and we're wondering if they suffered some damage from the wacky winter we had. We'll have to see if they do better next year.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Even bigger changes

The 4th brought us an arborist, a tree truck, and a whole lot of chainsawing and wood chipping. Eric and Daren were out there from 9-ish am to 3-ish pm. I didn't take any photos of the massacre and stayed inside the heck out of the way. I know, don't bother men when they are doing things like this ruins the testosterone mojo of chainsaws and wood chippers. But I do have photos of the aftermath:


It took another weekend for Eric to saw up the lumber and us to carry away all of the debris. This is what we're left with:

What was once a shade backyard is now part to full sun and my vision for what was going to happen there is completely shot. Back to square one for the back yard which is fine. It's been about a week now and I think the initial shock has worn off. I was (dare I say it) almost overwhelmed by the difference in the yard. See, I can walk into a yard that completely overwhelms someone else and tell them what they need to do, but my own yard...different story. Stay tuned to the new direction of the back yard!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

HUGE changes to the Lake Larson area

I know I haven't been forthcoming with updates of Lake Larson this year. But Eric's been busy out there with more "OH MY GOD projects". Those of you who are clients of mine know of these "OMG Projects". They are the projects where I happen upon in progress (usually as I am pulling into the driveway) and think "OH MY GOD, what's he doing!

Here's a photo diary of the latest OMG Project. Eric added a stone patio and walkway leading from the driveway to the lake area and the much anticipated new deck (aka my outdoor office.) Anyway, we have lots of trees near by that just about pushed me over the edge this spring with all of their junk falling into the pond. I was the undeniable Queen of Pond Skimming. Here's Lake Larson a couple of weeks ago:

Since I was fairly bent out of shape about the constant skimming of junk, we talked about taking down the tree closest to the Lake. After all, it has been dripping foaming ooze from it's limbs when it rains and there is a big hole in it which houses a family of squirrels. Eric had been watching to see when the squirrel babies would leave the tree so he and one of the arborists from work could take it down. Eric decided with the help of the neighbor to start limbing up the neighboring tree while he was waiting for the babies to leave the nest. By the end of the day, he decided to take that one down too when Daren was supposed to come over.

So, fast forward about a week. Eric came home somewhat early on a Friday and while still dressed in his work garb, he vanished outside. I think he's going to mow the worries, right? I'm in my office and I don't hear the mower running for a lot longer than it would take him to get it started. Then, I hear a chainsaw fire up. I wander out into the kitchen and see this:

Now, that sight warrants an "OH MY GOD, what's he doing!!! Please take note of the line tied off to another tree off screen. Some how (he claims practice at work) he drops the tree right in between the Lake and the large Oak to the right. Our other neighbor and I were rather impressed.

Thank god we did take the tree down, because it was a hollow as it could have been inside which had it's own OMG comments from both of us.


Salutations and an easier way to update what's going on in my yard.

I've been kicking around this idea for a while as a faster way and more in depth way for me to show everyone what has been going on at Chez Larson. I think almost every one has a blog now and I have one for personal, dumb stuff for friends and family. Things change so quickly in my yard that trying to do web updates in the middle of spring and summer is a little tough. Something like this that's quick and deadly will be much more manageable for me and more fun for the reader because this also should be more user friendly.

Please feel free to bookmark this as it should be updated fairly often or subscribe to the feeds if you like.

So, welcome to the birth of the Garden Consultant's Blog and I hope you enjoy!

~ Cris