Somehow, It Blooms Anyway

Somehow, It Blooms Anyway via cottagemagpie.com

Somehow, It Blooms Anyway via cottagemagpie.com

So, I may have mentioned this already, but most of my time this summer has been consumed by helping my Mom move to a fantastic retirement community, clearing out her old house and putting it on the market. It’s a huge, mammoth, gargantuan job as you can probably imagine, and it’s taken all summer so far and there’s still miles to go.

My house? Nothing is happening at my house except the accumulation of unfinished chores. Inside, the only thing changing is the growing piles of stuff. In the garden, any progress that had been made has completely been overtaken by the six-foot weeds and healthy crop of dandelions. I’m sure the neighbors are wondering if I’ve taken up dandelion farming. [Read more…]


Garden in Bloom: June 2014

Garden in Bloom: June 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Garden in Bloom: June 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Aside from my birthday month of April, I think June is one of my favorite months. The whole garden bursts into bloom and it’s such a joy to watch it unfolding every day. This garden needs a little attention. Some things have died off and others taken over. Some of the perennials need dividing. So it’s not in as full of glory as it was a couple of years ago. But it’s okay. It’s still a cheerful burst of color to enjoy.

The weather this year has been unusual to me. It’s been warmer and wetter than I remember from previous years. Muggy and overcast isn’t the most common condition where I live. Overcast, sure, but then rainy and [Read more…]


Continuing Progress in the Back Garden

Continuing Progress in the Back Garden via cottagemagpie.com

Continuing Progress in the Back Garden via cottagemagpie.com

Flowers continue to bloom and fade, and little creatures come and go, and I keep chipping away at cleaning up the back garden so I can feel guilt free about focusing on the shed garden this summer. Now that it’s June, the proportion of sun to rain has increased, though we still have little spatters here and there.

But with the increase of good weather, and the decrease of children’s schoolwork, I’m starting to make bigger strides out here. The herb garden I put in a few years ago had gotten kind of ragged. Originally it had herbs, decorative and [Read more…]


Spring Flowers in the Rain

Spring Flowers in the Rain via cottagemagpie.com

Spring Flowers in the Rain via cottagemagpie.com

The garden here evolves on a daily basis this time of year. With the mix of sunshine and rain, things are growing so fast (*ahem* like my lawn *ahem*). I find myself wanting to take a little tour every day just to see what’s newly blooming, what’s about to bloom, what’s already fading.

The weather is mercurial. Some days we have squalls and rainstorms sweeping through the otherwise sunny days. Other times it’s unrelentingly drizzly, and the flowers bend under the weight of all the water.

My favorite days are when it’s a little bit of both, a little but sunny, a little bit rainy. Then the light does amazing things, and [Read more…]


Garden in Bloom: May 2014

Garden in Bloom: May 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Garden in Bloom: May 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Luckily for me, the garden doesn’t care if it’s cleaned up or not. It just blooms and blooms anyway. This time of year is so fun with the peonies all peeking out their heads and gradually opening to a frilly, blowsy celebration of joy. I love waiting for this show every year. Most of the best action in my garden all takes place in this one little part, the garden around the Gazebo Thing and the part next to it where I put the bird and butterfly garden. I did all that work our first summer here. I took lots of pictures, too, but never shared them. I’ll have to go back and do that, soon.

But in the meantime, you see what’s blooming. These gardens don’t have as many blossoms as they did originally–I think they need a bit of dividing and editing, but I’m still enjoying what’s going on, and [Read more…]


My Tree Peony Bloomed!!!

My Tree Peony Bloomed!!! via cottagemagpie.com

My Tree Peony Bloomed!!! via cottagemagpie.com

Wow!! Last week when I shared the enormous buds of my tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), I never in a million years thought it would bloom so soon. The herbacious peonies won’t bloom for weeks, so I had no idea this one would bloom so early. Color me stunned.

Plus, as I said before, it’s pretty exciting since it’s never bloomed before in the 10 years I’ve had it. That’s mostly my fault, since I had moved it so many times it was really unhappy. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s growing at all, let alone blooming.

But blooming it is, and goodness, it’s pretty spectacular. Can you believe how big those blooms are? I mean, wowzers, they are HUGE! [Read more…]


Progress on the Garden Shed (and “Ungarage” Sale)

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

Last weekend, I went outside to weed a little. I was thinking I might clear some more of the area around the shed, keep that project moving forward. But then I noticed how all these old doors I’ve collected up were piled on the porch, along with some salvaged wood for another project, and I thought to myself, “Gosh, I should clear a little space in the shed so I can store these things in there until I’m ready for them.” Just a few things, mind you.

Somehow, I got on a roll, and we ended up spending the entire weekend clearing out the shed. It was amazing. I had all this stuff that I had collected and collected and I just knew I didn’t need it anymore. Good stuff. nice stuff. But stuff that I didn’t have room for in my house. Plus a few treasures–I’ll tell you about those in a minute. First off, I thought you’d like to see how much emptier the shed is. [Read more…]


Beginning the Shed Garden Layout

Beginning the Shed Garden Layout via cottagemagpie.com

Beginning the Shed Garden Layout via cottagemagpie.com

As Spring rolls on, if one is going to relocated large, woody things like trees, and one wishes to be successful and not lose or stunt the tree in the process, one needs to get it in gear and get it done. That’s what I did last week. You see, I planted a Japanese elm (Zelkova serrata)last year. It was August, things were not going particularly well, and I just wanted a shady tree outside my window. So Mr. Magpie brought one of my favorite trees home for me and we planted it together.

I really do love these trees. They have graceful shapes, pretty leaves and absolutely stunning fall color. Unfortunately, I completely misjudged the size of the tree in comparison with the house. It’s hard to envision a tree 50′ tall and 50′ wide when [Read more…]


Garden in Bloom: April 2014

Garden in Bloom: April 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Garden in Bloom: April 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Spring is such a tease, isn’t it? You get those sunny days and the early flowers and you think, “Ahhh, the beautiful weather is here!” You wear short sleeves, you open the windows, you get out the quilts and pack up the duvet. Of course, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you then have another 6 days of weather straight out of November and you have to get the duvet back out and wonder if the sunny weather will ever come to stay. (Here? Nope, not until June. Maybe longer. You’d think I’d know that by now.)

The biggest tease of all, by far, though, is the peonies. They have had visible buds swelling on them for some time now. But it’ll be weeks before [Read more…]


Front Down, Back and Sides to Go

Front Down, Back and Sides to Go via cottagemagpie.com

Front Down, Back and Sides to Go via cottagemagpie.com

As you know, I said I wanted to clean up the entire garden before I focused on this year’s project, the Shed Garden. I’ve been chipping away and I think I’ve gotten the front garden to a point that I’m okay with moving on. Not that there’s not more work to do out here, but all the winter debris and deadwood has been cleaned up, and that means it can go into “maintenance mode” for while I focus on making the shed garden something to enjoy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all the weeds stayed weeded, the bushes pruned, the lawn mowed? Sigh! I do love to garden, but sometimes I wish things wouldn’t grow quite so fast. I’m sure there’ll be many more all-day-weeding sessions this year. But for now, it all looks neat and tidy, and it’s [Read more…]