flowers for July

One of the beds in front of the house is going well with previously existing flowers! The purple, taller plants are Bellflower, and the white are Shasta Daisies, I believe.

Bellflower and Shasta Daisy

I’ve been picking rocks out of this bed and pulling weeds, and will have plenty of room to add some more plants. I think that it could use more daisies, and maybe another something?

The Bellflower clearly isn’t getting quite as much sun as it would like, since it’s leaning noticeably to the right. The daisies are pretty alright, though.

Shasta Daisy

There’s also whatever is closer to the house (on the left side of the bed), which hasn’t started to bud yet. What might it be?

bloomin’ yucca

Our yuccas are blooming!

Yucca at Firefly Cottage

I am surprised to see it, but happily so. We lived in our place downstate for seven years and never once did the yucca flower.

Yucca at Firefly Cottage

It’s a bit strange in that the yucca is sort of out by itself between the sidewalk and street, but I’ll take it. Perhaps in the future I can separate some of the pups and spread it out for a larger area of yucca.

adios, Arbor Vitae

We FINALLY got a tall ladder again (thanks for nothing, Home Depot! Everything about working with you was terrible! GREAT JOB on making me never want to order from you again) and within hours of possessing it, we were taking care of biz, like we do.

Fifth Element taking care of business

We started out here:
Firefly Cottage

and worked our way starting from the lower, outermost branches/stems:
Firefly Cottage

(By we, I mean K did all the actual work and I dragged branches to the curb and picked up sticks and handed him the hack saw. I also monitored all ladder activity with preemptive worrying. Heidemann gotta Heidemann.)
Firefly Cottage

Firefly Cottage

Firefly Cottage

Huzzah!! So now we have a super ugly stump trunk, but at least the roofers will be able to do their job! Speaking of which, we (K) also cleared off more of the vines/trees from the side of the house.

Where we left off last time:
vines mostly cleared away

And now:
Firefly Cottage

The section over the kitchen nook was especially awful – there were dandelions growing up there in the composted materials caught in the knotted vines/branches. It was ridiculous!

vines on house

Now, it’s clear, mostly:
Firefly Cottage
We actually left some stuff up there of fear of pulling off too many shingles and creating a leak. The roof and the roots of this tree have now become one indivisible entity. Neither can live while the other survives!


Firefly Cottage

Not too shabby for a couple hours of work on a Sunday morning!

let it go

We continued to help the vines to let go of our house over the weekend. They are tough bastages!

Here’s where we started, more or less (actually more, as this is a photo from several years ago, courtesy of the real estate listing):
realtor 23

And then after we removed the bulk of the vines:
Vine removal day one

Although most of the vines came down pretty easily, there were some areas that were grown very thick with roots grabbing in all directions. These parts are super tough and reluctant to move! We cut through the base of these awhile ago, allowing them to dry out and not be connected to the roots anymore, but they were still pretty difficult to pry off.
vines climbing on house

K put his back into it and I helped as much as I could, and voila! After quite a lot of effort, we have a nook corner free of growth!
More vines removed

There are still some bits higher up that we want to pull down, but we are STILL WAITING for our tall ladder to come in at Home Depot. (It’s been over a month, Home Depot! What UP?) The roof replacement is going to happening late this month, hopefully, so we want to get as much down as we can before that happens so there’s as little stuff in the roofers’ way as possible. We are making progress!

wis-chief managed

This weekend we finally tackled the Wisteria by the garage. It’s a lovely plant but it’s already destroyed a lot of the siding on the garage and I decided that it needed to go. I don’t have a good place for a very sturdy arbor to go yet, so I didn’t try to transplant any. (I did take some to the plant swap, though.)

Here’s what it looked like a few weeks ago. It had grown a bit more since, but not a ton. Most of the taller branches were not actively sprouting, though they were definitely not dead (still quite green as we could see when cutting into them).


Wisteria cut back
And here it is now. It looks quite bare, but I am planning to add to this area with more plants in the future. There are already some milkweed plants there, and I added another one from the plant swap to it as well. Our plan is to create a paver pathway along this side of the garage, connecting the cement apron by the garage to the existing sidewalk-type pathway (which leads from the garage access door to the house), and I’d like to get that settled before I add too much more to this bed. We need to learn how to set pavers propertly so that our pathways will be sturdy and long-lasting. Anyone tackled that type of project before to offer any tips?


We have one yucca plant, located in the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the side street. It looks like it will bloom!

Yucca looks like it will bloom

We had yucca surrounding our front walkway downstate, and it never bloomed, so I’m curious to see this.

needlepoint geometry

If you haven’t stopped in to the Art Reach gallery recently, you should make time to see the current exhibit: Needlepoint Geometry by C. Joanne Grabinski.

Needlepoint Geometry exhibit by C. Joanne Grabinski

Her work is detailed and so satisfyingly accurate! She works in a variety of colors and has many varied inspirations ranging from Asian art traditions to the traditional arts of the southwest.

Needlepoint Geometry exhibit by C. Joanne Grabinski

I love the colors in this one! It reminds me of my grandparents’ living room (the frame is the color of the awesome chairs I inherited from them).

Check it out! The exhibit runs through July 18th.

compost post

Finally, we built the compost bins! I’m so happy to be able to compost again.

New compost bins

I placed them toward the back corner of the property, but with enough room to mow around them (for now, until I get rid of the grass in favor of something that doesn’t need mowing). I really like the style and how easy these cedar compost bins were to assemble. The downside is that they took FOREVER to arrive and I had to call the company about sixteen times before they finally gave me a tracking number. They seem to have a big disconnect between customer service and their warehouse and I don’t know that I’d order from them again.

The front slats of each bin are removable for easy turning – looking forward to having plenty of elbow (pitchfork) room around them!

New compost bins

So FINALLY the leaves and whatnot that were accumulated next to the garage/firewood pile have been scooped up and can now go toward future compost. Hooray for progress!