Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Now here's my plan

 In our vast backyard, we have a lot of green, a down and durty doggie fence, and some figs trees...and this wooden structure, which used to support grape vines, trying to stay alive and not doing a good job of it. (This photo was taken indoors, while standing in our bathtub, since it pouring rain currently). I keep looking at this framework trying to decide how I want to use it. Today it dawned on what I will do and of course it means hauling and constructing a garden bed. 
The dimensions are about 4x16 feet it is in direct sunlight all day long, perfect for tomatoes and peppers. My plan is to construct a concrete block bed in the interior part of the frame and have flowing vines growing up the uprights. 
Long time readers know I have done this several of my previous houses. It is a diy project that I can handle myself. Seriously.This one had a pink dogwood, and two rhododendrons, plus a hydrangea, and all did quite well in this spot.  I've learned alot since doing this 48 foot long bed.

And I just want/need/must make a small veggie bed for necessary tomatoes and peppers. I might even use half of it for asparagus, since I had to leave that crop at my last house. See a pattern here?
OK nothing is going to happen today, since we expect rain to continue, and I have yet to wrangle my pal Charly into using his truck to pick up the blocks and soil. That's next. But O! What joy I feel just thinking about this project.

Here's an update on my peony/Asiatic lily bed. Mulched and the supports are in. I wish you could have seen me struggling with these wire cages. Like wrestling an octopus. But eventually I garnered control and placed 20 of them.
I continue to find more peonies popping up along the sidewalk. They have been hidden by weeds and as I try to expose them I am surprised at how large the clumps are.  I have already given my BFF Patsy a big bin full of them, all from one plant, and weeks ago I gave my sister two and they are planted and doing well. 
NowI see I have ten more to share. I introduced myself to my excellent gardening neighbor two doors down and she is happy to take whatever I can dig up. Phew! I want to move them so that a new front lawn can be installed in my weed patch. 

In other news, my little bleeding heart is coming along nicely. It was one of those roots that came in a bag, $3, from Walmart. I must have bleeding heart plants. And once you have one, they reseed so happily that I am destined to have many, probably to share. At the same time I bought a root of Ostrich ferns and one teeny little fern has unrolled and will have to be moved, since it is where the new front porch will be constructed.
We are so thankful to have this redbud tree in our back yard and it is gloriously in bloom this week. Yay!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Last Cowl of the Season #15

And thus we are finished with this wonderfully fun series (for me to knit). 

Just in time for garden season to begin. Yesterday I got outside and took a look at the newly surfacing peonies next to the sidewalk which were planted too deep, which is why they are just appearing. I felt I had to rescue a few, so I dug up and transplanted four more clumps making it 35 plants in the new bed. My my. I actually tried to offer a wheelbarrow full to my neighbor whose yard I covet, but alas no one answered the door. There are still more, so I will have another chance to share. Today we are enjoying glorious thunderstorms which are so encouraging to all that is planted. I love a dark and gloomy day. Perfect for napping. 

But I keep finding new ideas on the computer. A neato keen way to cast on from one stitch and turning that into a crescent shawl. Easy to do and exciting to imagine it in some gradient yarn from my stash.
And then I have been watching Fruity Knitting on Youtube and am totally hooked. One of the guest spots was Julie Weisenberger of Cocoknits. She has devised a clever construction method for top down, all in one garment designs and I love stuff like this so I ordered her book off Amazon, not noticing the fact that the one I chose is all in German. Duh. Luckily my niece took German at school and my brother in law was stationed in Germany in the USArmy. Hopefully they will decipher the directions so I can get on with the knitting. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Ah Spring

 This is the view looking out my bedroom window. The forsythia are glorious across the street and they make a lovely backdrop for the magnolia. This tree is the cherry on top of living here. We planted magnolias in our yard back in IL just a few years before we moved to TN and never had the opportunity to see them in glorious full bloom like this one. So I am savoring it. At the base are lots of hyacinths, which have gone past their prime just this week, and a big ant hill for which I have a bag of ant-be-gone and will use soon. Then I plan to trim the lower brances and a few interior limbs to make this less suseptible to mildew which it had in Sept. when we moved in. At that time I will dig up the hyacinth and store them for planting in the new garden in the fall.
Along the edge of the sidewalk are two clumps of daffodils. which look like an afterthought. O and one lone hyacinth. I am thinking the previous owner just got them in the ground and then sold the house to the flipper. These will get moved too and be joined by more of the same.
 This is Houttunyia Cordata. A real pest of a plant. It is creeping into the rest of the yard and is going to be my nemisis for a few years until I can get it gone. For the most part it will be covered by grass cloth under the new deck, but it has moved around to the side of the house and I will have to deal with it there. Even a tiny bit of stem or root will joyfully continue to grow, so it will be a battle to the death.

On the south side of the house the transplanted peonies are coming along nicely without a bit of stress. Almost all have big fat buds so I thought ahead and ordered 20 peony supports from Lowe's. Yes it was expensive, but I saw a large pot of just sprouted peonies at our local nursery, and the price tag was $54, so I have a gold mine of peonies and want to give them primo treatment.  Note to self: Get that mulch laid down now!

 Newly planted purple coneflowers, the kind that are one step above wild. Three or more plants came in each pot from the veggie section at Walmart, and I am pretty confident I will have coneflowers to divide in the years to come. I really want the new orange, yellow and red varieties, but those will come in the next few weeks. And I want the White Swan variety too, so I'll be on the lookout. 

 Last season at our previous house I found a blooming star jasmine which has the most intoxicating aroma. It got planted in the rocky clay at the fence and went to town. I hope I have good luck again with this new one. I lucked out with a package of plastic wired twist ties from the Dollar Tree and will keep this vine upright.  It likes to be kept watered so it will live next to the splash basin and will enjoy the overflow.

 In the back yard, the red bud is taking its sweet time opening up, but is already pretty fabulous. It needs some ruthless pruning but I have a sharp pair of snips and will tackle this when the blooms all drop. 

 Our neighbor, two houses down have the most gorgeous yard and raised beds, and real grass. Envy is green and I am full of it. I keep my eyes open to see these people working in their yard, but so far I think they must do it in the dark. I haven't see who lives there yet, but I want to be friends. They really know what they are doing. Now here's the cool thing. I often see UPS delivering rolls of decorator fabric, and leaving it on the front porch. Hmm. What could this mean? Stay tuned as the mystery unfolds.

And now for more knitting. This cowl was made for Margaret and is #14.  #15 for Edie is about an hour away from being finished. I have so enjoyed making these cowls this winter and getting to play with various yarns in combination. I am so thankful to you all for ordering them and giving me so much knitting joy. And it was fun to make the pins too. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Driveway bed

Over the years I have taken a lot of photos of my knitting, quilts and garden, and posted them here on the blog, or on my previous blog Fibermania. And when I look back it is clear that I take more pics of gardens than anything else. Maybe because they are always changing and becoming. 

 Here's the newest garden bed. My landscape guys, Juan et al, came at 9am and dug out this bed and were done by 11. That's the way to garden! They transplanted the remaining 14 peonies, making a total of 31 plants, and then when they left I found one more that could join them or go to live somewhere else in the yard. The magnolia and peonies were my 'inheritance' from the previous owner and I thank her, whereever she may be for blessing me with these. And I hope the people that bought all of our previous gardens are just as happy with what we left them. (including all the work!) We bought metal edging to separate this bed from the grass, and the guys will install it next time around. There is a bunch of leftover compost but I am sure it will find a home in the near future. This bed receives full sun all the long day so I have Asiatic lilies to plant and then as soon as they are available, more sun loving perennials.
I'm hoping these are white peonies.

Here's my latest purchase. This is something I wish I had had for all my gardens. Didn't even know they were made. Retractable hose! I will have my deck builders mount it on the house so that I can keep the plants watered without the struggle to rewind the hose each time. Yay!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Wearing o'the green

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's something green for today. I have a collection of yarns (no kidding) that are less screaming meemie than the rest of them and I thought it would be fun to put them together in this cowl, #13 making it a Baker's Dozen. Many are on the more exotic end of my stash, including Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, Takeuma from Noro, a combo of silk, wool and viscose, RYC Cashsoft DK, Poems, Toconao, and my fave Rios from Malabrigo. 

Continuing to try new things, I added a three row strip in garter between each set of pattern stitches. This enlarged the cowl to 44" in circumference which makes it about a foot longer than the rest of the collection.

Width is 12" which is nice for a shawl effect.

 Since I knit for my own enjoyment, it is nice to have a project like this where I can experience the different properties of each of these yarns. Some are quite smooth and stay separate, while others are fluffy and fiberous and fill without gaps. I've used gradient yarns in this cowl which change from mossy green to dried wheat, to loam to stone. 
I love making the pins to coordinate with the cowls, and finding just the right beads to 'match' is quite satisfying. 

 This cowl doesn't have a home yet, so if this is your cup of tea, it is available for $45 plus $5 shipping. Email me at fibermania at gmail dot com. SOLD

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowls #11and #12

And here we are back at cowl knits! Good thing I had this commission or I would have been climbing the walls, listening to thunder and watching lightening. Can't play in the dirt now, so thankfully I can play with yarn some more. These two cowls were knit for Gisela and are made from Malabrigo Rios, Silky Merino, Rastita, Arroyo, Mochi Plus, Nashua Creative Focus SW, Lamb's Pride Worsted and Inca Gold. All my faves!