Thursday, May 31, 2012

What To Do When Life Hands You Orange Roses

There's nothing wrong with orange roses...unless your garden palette is primarily pinks, blues, and yellows and they clash horribly.

But Life--as well as students, their parents and my family members--keeps throwing those oranges (and apricots and peaches) at me. Mini-roses, baby roses, floribunda roses, hybrid tea roses--in all shades of orange from shocking to soft.  Aren't there some sweet pinks and striking whites and yummy yellows out there that people can buy?
I know...I'm an ungrateful wretch.  I received this amazingly lovely rose named Just Joey last year and I wanted more than anything to cart it to the nearest nursery and talk them into letting me switch it with All-American Beauty or Iceberg or an Austen rose.  Because although I appreciate the sentiment behind the gift (and it is a lovely rose), mixing those oranges with my beloved pastels just doesn't work. It's not fair to either.

I kept Just Joey.  I believe if someone takes the time to choose a gift for me with love, then I need to accept it gracefully.  So I pulled up my Big Girl Panties and accepted the challenge yet again.

I have a dedicated garden by our mailbox reserved just for those orange hues. They co-exist there in harmony with a few white Shasta daisies and some English lavender. Just Joey joined the group last summer. I have so many oranges that I've also resorted to planting the baby roses in large pots that can be moved away from blue delphiniums or pink petunias as needed.
Plants (even orange roses) are my very favorite teacher gift and I like watering the "Twins" rose or the "Class of 2010" rose or the "Neighborhood Boys" rose while I remember how much fun kindergarten is.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of my neighbors think that orange roses are my favorites as they walk or drive by our mailbox.

I admit I got a quick pang of regret when Just Joey started blooming as I thought about the beautiful rose I could have exchanged it for, but then I thought about the cute mischievous freckled grin that accompanied this rose and a real Joey from that same year and I've decided that orange might just be my favorite color of rose after all!

No, not really.

(But I'm learning to appreciate them.)

Thanks to Liz at Fresh Cut Friday for getting me out of my posting doldrums and back into sharing!

And come join Cindy at My Romantic Home (talk about a girl who loves roses!) for some Show and Tell without compare!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Total Eclipse

We were in the right place at the right time (for once) and really looking forward to seeing the total eclipse. I've been humming..."a total eclipse of the heart"...all day long.  

Then some grey cumulus clouds appeared and instead of sunshine, we had shadow. Which might have led to me grousing and groaning about the clouds interfering with my enjoyment of the big event.

Especially since the next total eclipse for our neck of the Sierra isn't till 2045.

Look at how dark our yard looked at 6:30 pm! You can hardly see the neighbors' roof off to the lower left.  I found myself turning lights on in the house.

The clouds parted just a minute after totality and we went back to enjoying the eclipse on our little pinhole viewer. Which was fun until my sweetie noticed the back wall of the cottage.
Amazing!  The maple leaves created their own eclipse viewer. 

The whole wall was covered by these little crescents that changed as the eclipse progressed. It was so cool that we invited the neighbors over to watch the abstract, almost-Oriental patterns that resulted.
I want some wallpaper like that.  I'd never tire of it!

Meanwhile the chickadee parents (back again for a second year) were much too busy feeding their very hungry and noisy nestlings to let either the eclipse or the people standing next to their birdhouse interfere with their feeding routine!

Reporting from one of the few places in the U.S. lucky enough to view the total annular eclipse,

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Rhubarb Success (Maybe)

I'm starting to believe that my rhubarb-growing career may just be getting into gear.  Maybe.  (I'm afraid to jinx it by sounding too cocky here.)

Did I mention I've failed three other times? And I swore that if I didn't succeed in growing rhubarb this time, I was giving up? 

I'd provided a mansion of a hole for the bareroot.  I'd amended the tilth into the horticultural equivalent of a luxury suite.  I'd provided amendments enough to provide my future plant with every nutrient and mineral that any rhubarb could ever want.  I even made sure the pH was perfect.  After all that, I really thought that I'd failed yet again last spring when my latest victim left its entrance till quite late.

 Ahhh, but this year it showed up early and threw out lovely crinkly green leaves that thrilled my heart.  Apparently my careful preparation has paid off and I need to start perfecting my rhubarb cobbler recipe.  

I was puzzled by one baby leaf that looked like it was shrink-wrapped. 

I kept waiting for it to open up but instead it grew taller and taller. Eventually it dawned on me (duh!) that my rhubarb was blooming. I had no idea that such a thing was possible! Perhaps because I'd never kept a rhubarb alive long enough for it to even think about flowering.

Every day I would make a mental note to Google "rhubarb flowers" to learn more, but it's taken me a week to carry that thought from the backyard upstairs to the computer.  Too much multi-tasking?  Maybe.  So the bud grew taller and taller and eventually opened.  Cool.

Or not.  'Cause Google informed me that I should destroy that flower bud ASAP--that would explain why no other leaves, borne on delicious edible stalks, had appeared since the alien blob made its appearance.  

The flower is no more and I await the arrival of new leaves.  The flower went into the trash but I carried the stalk into the kitchen and made a mental note to Google "rhubarb flower stalk edible".  Yeah, haven't succeeded in doing that yet.

But I did get the photos into a blog post.  That counts, right?  And in time to join Jami's Tuesday Garden Party!