Tag Archives: Schnauzers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

16 Aug

This photo, taken furtively with my phone, is not a great one. But it is the embodiment of “carefree”: Schnauzer 1 and Schnauzer 2, sleeping on their backs with legs in the air, dreaming of balls to catch and toys to chew, of doorbells to bark at and houses to defend, of future meals and loved ones coming home at the end of the day, and–best of all–dreaming of many a memorable squirrel chase through all the flower beds in the yard.

Summer Sloth

11 Aug

The sad fact about gardens  is that it takes work to look good. The flowers and herbs in my garden have a great deal of natural beauty, but that beauty requires maintenance — and those poor plants have only me to provide it. So, at the moment, the garden is looking a bit sorry. I am trying to figure out where to apportion the blame for this state of affairs, and have settled on 1) intense heat, 2) mosquitoes, and 3) the Olympics, combined with a houseful of vacationing children, guests, and a couple of impromptu trips. But the reality is, I have slacked off in my gardening duties due to summer sloth.

For starters, a spectacular weed has taken up residence and is now taller than I am;  I left it in place partially out of curiosity to see just how far it would go (whereupon it proved that it can outgrow anything else in the yard, even without water) — but the truth of the matter is procrastination: I assured myself I would take care of it “next time.”  However, even I acknowledge that its time is now, though it did put on an impressive display.

But that’s not all: I need to cut down spent plants, yank out the grass that is trying to creep into the flower beds, do some more preventative edging, resuscitate the latest dog-trampled plants, undertake an emergency transplant operation, and do a lot of dead-heading: roses, gaillardia, echinacea, oregano, and basil to name just a few plants in need of a trim. Here is the flowering basil–the bees love it, but if I don’t pluck off the basil flowers soon, the plant will put its energy into the flowers rather than the leaves, and there goes our pesto.

Following on this theme of neglect, our garden has become pretty quiet. Why? Because I have failed to refill the bird feeders. I am a sad friend to the local avian community. And this slump has extended to the canine members of the family as well–Shaggy Schnauzers 2 and 1, who by now must be embarrassed to be seen by other, perfectly coiffed members of their breed. So, by the end of this weekend, I hope to have made significant headway on the garden, lured the birds back, and cornered at least one of the dogs for a buzz cut.

2011: Lessons Learned from the Garden

21 Jun

When it comes to gardening, I learn as I go. In 2011, I learned some valuable lessons:

  1. Yarrow gets big and bushy and then it starts to fall open, exposing its barer, unattractive core. Of course, this could be due to the fact that perhaps one is supposed to stake Yarrow. But I am not about to start staking my plants. Harsh, I know — but when you don’t have a lot of time to garden, it comes down to survival of the fittest, not support for the floppiest. For this reason, Yarrow was on my do-not-resuscitate list. Actually, it earned a spot on my get-rid-of list, not only because of its spineless character, but also because when it fades, it doesn’t fade nicely. When I could no longer bear to look at it, I leveled it. And lo and behold, it bloomed again. For that act of bravery, it earned a reprieve. But I have my eye on it.
  2. Some plants, such as Asters, are space hogs.  Of course, had I paid more attention to info about plant spread, rather than just plant height, I might have realized this beforehand. This oversight on my part has caused some problems elsewhere in the garden, and I suspect I will be trimming or moving (or removing) plants in years to come for this very reason. As an example, Montauk Daisy is also a remarkable grower, and within one year, the two daisies I planted completely overtook the poor Asiatic Lilies in front of them, like a mother hen atop her eggs. The lilies did not survive the experience. The daisies are now on my watch list. As for the Asters, two of them had to go, and they did, in Spring 2012.
  3. Gaura (Belleza Dark Pink) did not survive the winter. All six plants died. I was willing to give them one more chance and plant them again, but I couldn’t find the same variety. Instead, I’ve planted Gaura (Passionate Rainbow), which caught my eye because of its wonderful foliage; you can see it here in the foreground (note the bushy green Montauk Daisy in the back). If this new Gaura does not survive, that’s it — I will move on to something hardier.
  4. Beware of hubris. A couple of my tulips did not come up in 2012. Those miserable squirrels (see the bottom of this post) must have figured out how to get them. But my squirrel-proof bird feeder gives them pause. Actually, it doesn’t; they just get the seeds that fall to the ground. Miserable squirrels.
  5. Marc Chagall said, “All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.” But some flowers in my garden in 2011 just did not go well with their neighbors. They may have been friends, but they weren’t a love match. So I moved them. This is a lesson I learned a while ago — if you aren’t happy with a particular combination of flowers, if the colors don’t sing together, move things around. If the plants are hardy, they will be back next year. Otherwise, they shouldn’t be in the garden.
  6. Final lesson is one concerning dogs and gardens, but as there are as of yet no solutions to that particular problem, I will simply leave you with a photo of the two culprits: