QUEEN ANNE’S LACE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – July 8 – QUEEN ANNE’S LACE


This wildflower pops up in various parts of our property from time to time. It’s naturalized in the U.S. and Australia, wild all over Europe and parts of Asia. It doesn’t grow here consistently but sometimes, there it is. It’s also sometimes called a “wild carrot.” Has anyone ever eaten one?

Queen Anne’s Lace

More lace

A GREAT DAY FOR THE LILIES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – July 6 – Daylily


Today was as close to a perfect summer day as you could hope for. It was warm, dry, breezy, and sunny. Not terribly hot and not at all humid. Owen decided to put up the shed that has been waiting for a dry spell and in the process, moved my swing into the middle of the backyard. It’s a big improvement.We have an Amish community down the road and they sell outdoor furniture. I bought this from them close to 20 years ago. it’s still in fine shape and where it is now, it might actually get used.

Duke likes to sniff the plants

While I was taking pictures of the shed going up, I realized we still have a lot of daylilies, so I took pictures of them too. While I was at it, I took pictures of  the rapidly growing hemp, the fuchsia (which fell from its hook and now sits on a small table) … and the Duke who just likes hanging out on the deck.

The wild daylily garden

No squirrels for the Duke

We’ve been putting black sunflower seeds down on the grass below the deck, so the squirrels are having a fine old time munching them down on the lawn instead of trying to get them out of the feeders. It’s probably a lot more comfortable for them and pouring seed over the side of the deck to the ground isn’t nearly as much work as filling feeders. But pictures are hard to take when the squirrels are down there and the Duke doesn’t get to sniff all around the deck in the hope that there will be a live one.

The fuchsia has survived a lot of damage this year, but still blooming!

There will never be a live one waiting for the Duke. They just hop on a branch and depart, leaving a sad dog who had hoped for a big squirrel day.

SPIDER PLANTS IN THE BIG WINDOW – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – July 5 – SPIDER PLANTS


My son’s spider plants are blooming and he wanted me to see if I could take pictures of them. But it was a little tricky. The light was coming from the back and I could get close because two big recliners are in the way. I got some nice pictures, but the flowers are there, but hard to see.

Spider Plant – The first

Spider plant – the second

Spider plant – the third

Spider plant – the fourth

CATALPA TREES IN BLOOM – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – July 3 – CATALPA BLOOMS


In addition to the flowers, we have a lot of Catalpa trees. They are supposedly hard to grow, but we didn’t grow them. They just grow around our property, almost like weeds. I think they are beautiful, but they do tend to pop up in the middle of the garden. All of a sudden, a Catalpa tree is growing in the middle of the tiger lilies.

I took a few pictures. I had to take these pictures from quite a distance away because these are pretty tall trees. They don’t bloom until they are quite big.

Full tree Catalpa

Catalpa flowers

More Catalpa in bloom

 

THE LAST OF THIS YEAR’S ORCHIDS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – July 2 – THE LAST OF THE ORCHIDS


They are alive, but barely. They have been blooming for five months. That’s the longest blooming flowers I’ve ever known and it’s like having another friend going away. Two more buds … and then they will rest. And yes, this is another picture where I forgot to turn off the grow light.

Orchid

DAYLILIES IN THE RAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 28 – Daylily


It finally rained today. It was the thunder that woke me from an impossibly deep sleep and it was a lot later than I thought. In fact, I never sleep that late, but we were up very early the day before so I was tired.

One square daylily in the rain

I realized I had awoken not only to the thunder, but to Duke barking. It’s his special “delivery” bark, and I wanted to get stuff inside before the heavy rain began. Then, I saw this post and realized i have a garden full of daylilies, all covered with drops of ain.

One wet daylily

I would have taken more pictures, but the rain was coming down heavier and my camera’s lens in not waterproof. The camera is, but the lens isn’t. So, it got to looking remarkably wet and I went inside to dry the lens.

Three rainy daylilies

I’m sorry I didn’t take more pictures. They looked lovely in the rain, but it also made my hair frizzy.

Two wet daylilies

SCARLET ANTHURIUM – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 27 – Anthurium


I spent a lot of time on these pictures today because I wanted them to be special. It turned out to be a lot more interesting. I discovered a whole new set of filters I never played with before.

Scarlet Anthurium

I redid a bunch of squirrel pictures too. Maybe I’ll include them too.

BACKYARD DAYLILIES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 24 – DAYLILIES IN THE BACK


It had to be about 18 or 19 years ago when Owen and a friend came by on Mother’s Day and informed me they were going to build a garden for me.

And they did. The ground near the house is much less full of roots and rocks than the rest of our property, probably because after they dug the hole for the house, they had to add earth. Anything had to be better than what was there before. They planted hollyhocks, zinnias, daisies, and lots of daylilies. Most were “standard” from the woods” and along the road as well as some fancier Chinese daylilies.

The annuals were glorious that summer, but didn’t seed and thus didn’t come back the next year. Nonetheless, for nearly a decade, we had a wild and wonderful collection of hollyhocks and daylilies. It was a glorious combination.

One daylily

Then, one year, the hollyhocks grew, but a few days later, withered and died. They never came back. I’m pretty sure some kind of disease attacked them. All the Chinese daylilies eventually faded away, so now what remains are a lot of standard “by the road and in the woods” daylilies. Which although they are one of our most common wildflowers, they originated in Tibet and were brought here from England — where they weren’t native either.

More daylilies

We can thank England for our beautiful white mute swans and the daylilies. We also grow a lot of ferns. I never remember which ones are which, but in the fall, they turn golden and because they are shade-loving, the whole ground in the woods turns golden. I’ll try to get some pictures this year. I might finally have a lens that will shoot in the dark of the woods.

IT WOULD NOT BE SUMMER WITHOUT FUCHSIA – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 25 – Fuchsia


I took pictures of a lot of flowers yesterday. Not just the daylilies, but also the Fuchsia. And a few other things. But let’s do this one flower group at a time.

Fuchsia on the square

I honestly don’t think it would feel like summer without Fuchsia growing on the deck. They make me happy and these days, not so many things make me happy. It has been a grim three and a half years.The bank will not give us a loan, even though we have a flawless 8-year payment record. Because, 60% of our income goes out to pay bills.

“Oh,” said the woman who runs the oil company. “You mean, like everyone else?” So they set us up for a loan that most people — especially now — can’t get.This is how they set up these rules:

  1. Figure out what it actually cost for a retired couple to survive and have a home.
  2. Give them about 60% of that amount and charge them more than $3500/year for each of them to get “free” Medicare.
  3. Raise the costs of Medicare a little bit each year while reducing the benefits,
  4. Don’t give them raises. This is so that each year a retired couple’s fixed income buys less. A lot less in a really bad year.
  5. This is a very bad year.

It has been suggested that we set up a “FundMe” campaign, but I don’t want to. We had to do it once before when the well went dry and I swore I’d never do it again. So we will work with the mortgage bank.

Maybe we caught a break because of the disaster of COVID-19. If they tried to evict every person who has a house and doesn’t have a job or money, there would be millions of unoccupied houses they could not sell

They will have to do things differently.

Pity that hasn’t dribbled down to the computers that gauge whether or not you can afford a relatively small loan, even though you’ve paid every bill you’ve ever been sent for as long as they have been keeping records.

Does it make sense? Not to me. Not, in fact, even to the bankers who were embarrassed to refuse me. They said I had an impeccable record, but the computer said no.

The computer said no. Somehow, I knew it would come to this, that one day, my future would be decided by software. I probably deserve it. I spent years building software and now, it’s running my life.

Go figure, right?

FUCHSIA STILL GROWING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 20 – FUCHSIA


Three squirrels were inspecting my deck today. I got the feeling they have NOT forgotten. They are just waiting for me to put the feeders up. I didn’t know that had such good memories.

Meanwhile, the fuchsia are growing and are not being crushed by squirrels and birds.

I have a feeling that none of the critters will forget. We’ll put the feeders up and it will be full throttle ATTACK MODE!

I’m considering filling the 10 pound feeder twice a week and in between, they will have to find other food to eat. They seem to be doing fine. When winter comes, I’ll up the anti, but while food is everywhere, they can forage.

ANTHURIUM? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 19 – ANTHURIUM


I didn’t know they could flower until this one did. Scarlet flowers on a regular philodendron, the classic green plant everyone grows in their offices.

Anthurium flower – 1

Anthurium flower – 2

Anthurium flower – 3

Anthurium flower – 4

TREES BY THE RIVER – FOTD – GARRY ARMSTRONG

FOTD – June 18 – Trees by the river


Down by the river, Garry took some pictures. I keep hoping we’ll get a little bit of rain to clear the air of the pollen. Because tree pollen would normally be gone by now, but it has been so dry, it’s still lingering around.

The river, some kids, and wildflowers across the water

And some loverly reflections

And then there are leaves and trees, and some really pretty violet wildflowers growing wild along the Blackstone River.

Trees framing the river

Wildflowers

THE WILDEST GARDEN IN WORCESTER COUNTY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 16
The Wild Garden of  Worcester


When you totally neglect a garden — even if you have a very good reason, like, for example you are trying to not die — eventually it goes completely out of control. Our garden has been barely controlled for years, but this year, it has gone around the bend.

There are still some cultivated plants growing there, but there are flowers I’ve never seen before. We’ve had a lot of wind, so maybe they blew here. Or a bird dropped some seeds.

There are very thorny branches coming up, so think the roses are coming back. I don’t see any buds, but I usually don’t. Just, one day, there are roses. Rather magical.

And here are two more headless catbirds. Enjoy the foliage and feathers.

 

FUCHSIA IN THE MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 11 – Fuchsia in the morning

I still haven’t put the feeder back up. I have to admit, I’m enjoying a couple of weeks without the mess on the deck. And I’ve been busy.

Summer is a busy time in New England.  It’s not really about vacations, though many of us used to try to fit a couple of weeks in somewhere during the warm months. It’s more about getting stuff done. Fixing the doors, getting rid of rotting wood and big black ants. Trimming the trees. All things that need fixing need to be done before the snow flies.

You never know when the snow will fly. It could be as early as November, or not at all. These days, the weather is strange and unpredictable. From having endless rain earlier in the spring, suddenly, we have only had one serious rain this month. But I think that’s about to change. Or not. The weather these days is the best guess by the best meteorologist, but the winds have changed. The ocean has changed.

Everything has changed but the fuchsias are doing well.