Staying Alive (in my yard)

The weather has been a-mazing, so we’ve been attempting some yardwork.  Full confession: we’ve been paying for yard help, and let me tell you, it is a world o’ difference.  Our awesome yard guy is a friend of Chris’s who needs some extra work, and we’ve got plenty to give him.  And it saves me the agony of trying to deal with weeds, and the resulting spiral of anger (“curse you weeds, go back to the abyss from whence you came!”) and despair (“I’ve been out here for 2 hours and it looks the same!  whimper”).

But here is my small contribution.  Last fall, this patch of what you might call a flower bed looked like this:

Where does the grass end and the bed begin?  Hard to say.  And one of the rosebushes was nothing more than angry spikes of extremely thorny wood sticking out of the ground.  Here it is after being tilled and the roses are getting leafy and not so angry.

Yeah, mostly dirt, but it freed up a clean space to put in some more lambs ear!  I love this stuff.  We inherited a patch in front of the porch, and it has been very happy in the moderate rainy weather.  Its so happy that it has been spreading out of the patch and launching brand new plants in nearby spots in the yard.  I popped these out of the random places they were growing apart from the bed, and stuck them in the ground hoping they will flourish and continue to make babies.  Right now they are looking a little squashed, but I’ve been watering them and they perk up in the morning and evenings.  Here’s hoping they survive.  Here’s the happy thriving bed that spawned these other big guys I transplanted:

Its so soft, I like to sit there and just pet it.  Ok, I don’t really spend much time doing that, but if these survived in a pot I would keep one at my desk and pet it throughout the day.  When I tried putting a little bit in a pot once it didn’t last long. Hang in there buddy!

Another set of  survivors, are my window box mums.  Here is what they looked like in the fall:

For a while this winter they looked like a pile of dead sticks.  No green.  I took some scissors and snipped down the dead parts to give new green growth some space.  And now:

Ta-da!  Green!  Wait, what’s up with the lil guy on the left?

Tiny Tim here is lagging behind.  All of them looked like this in the winter, but this one is way behind on the new leaf production.  Not sure why since I treat them all the same.  But then DLF Christie noticed something about one of the big fat mums:

BUGS.  Little black bugs coating the stems.  Ewwww.  I googled and somebody recommended mixing dish soap and water and spraying it all over the plants.  It will get rid of the bugs and not hurt the plants.

It isn’t green cleaner, I just re-used the bottle.  I thoroughly sprayed all three mums, just to be safe, every which way.  The bugs did not seem disturbed by the soaking in soapy water.  They didn’t move, actually.  Maybe they died silent little deaths, or will leave later.  I sure hope so.

Hang in there everybody… except for the bugs, you need to vacate or die asap.  Thanks.