Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sandals!

I am officially happy today - it's warm enough for me to wear my sandals outside again!  Okay, so it was about 30 degrees this morning, but I still wore them for my round of groceries etc., knowing that it would be almost 60 by this afternoon.  To my mind, that's warm enough for sandals.  I have HAD IT with my walking shoes, and don't even mention boots to me until November, please.  If I lived somewhere warm, I'd wear sandals year round.  As it is, I go barefoot or in sandals or flip flop style slippers indoors year-round except on the coldest days.  I have to say, it was absolutely love-r-ly to let my poor, claustrophobic feet out of their long winter confinement.

Adding to the happy quotient of this day, while grocery shopping I bought a shrub.  I like Aldi more every time I shop there - they had a great little assortment of shrubs and small trees today. (I love it when I can find garden goodies while doing groceries!)  I bought a very nice rose of sharon, about 15" tall and well-branched, which will eventually have pure white flowers in late summer/early fall.  It's out in the small front flower bed around the utilities now - one point of a triangle with the river birch and the rhododendron. (That little rhodie is looking pretty anemic and unhappy - I don't think it'll make it another winter, so I'll have to ask my neighbor what she'd like to put there - it's hers.  We share that bed, as it straddles the property line.)

While I was planting the little rose of sharon, I decided to expand that bed slightly on one end.  Digging is so therapeutic.  I also pulled a bunch of grass that was creeping in from the edges.  That's a monthly chore from April through October - the grass in this yard spreads aggressively.  My philosophy on weeding could be summed up by, "Pull them early, pull them often."  Every time I go out to look at the yard or do any outside work, I pull whatever small weeds catch my attention.  It's far easier to pick away at them little by little than to let them get away from me, then spend a sweaty, buggy, grubby weekend pulling them by the armload.

I love the nubby, fuzzy texture of foxglove leaves.  
They were green under the snow all winter.

I also bought a packet of foxglove seeds today.  They're biennial (they make a rosette of leaves their first year, and bloom their second year).  If they like a location, they might be a short-lived perennial and bloom for a few years.  I planted some last year on the back of the house, and this year they're HUGE - the clump of leaves is two feet across.  I can't wait to see them bloom.  But, if I want blooms next year,  I have to start more this year.  If I'm lucky, they'll self-perpetuate by self-sowing after next year.  Foxgloves are poisonous (their genus is Digitalis, and they are an old herbal source of a heart medication), so I didn't plant them until my kids were well past the plant-sampling age.  Now I can enjoy them in all their glory.

The blooms are actually darker than this picture shows, like plum wine.  
Gorgeous!

One last happy thing:  my Lenten Rose (helleborus) bloomed this week, and it's dark wine purple.  I'm quite pleased, since it was a seedling from a mixed strain.  I bought it several years ago, and it made the move from the old garden.  This is it's first time blooming.  It could have been any color from greenish white to mauve to dark purple, with or without spots.  The darker colors are rarer.  I think it's lovely.

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