Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

I am not a parade kind of guy.

I don't really get the fun in waving to some Girl Scout troops I don't know or watching some people ride comfortably in a classic car while I stand in the heat next to some crabby kid who just accidentally let go of his helium balloon.
Yet, we agreed to attend a Memorial Day parade yesterday and the thought of standing outside in 95 degree heat (not an exaggeration) with two young children sounded sweaty and exhausting at best. Couldn't we just watch one on TV in air conditioning? I've been told "it's not the same" so we gave it a go. You know what? It was a good time, with a great vibe and admittedly, it tugged a bit on the old heart strings:

The parade was in Bucks County, PA, specifically in:  

There were plenty of vehicles carrying our brave and heroic men and women:

Some animals were thrown in for shits (literally) and giggles:

Some dudes dressed up in old time garb and fired off shots that terrified every child under the age of 10 (and all of the parents would like to thank them for that):

A little not so subtle marketing:

Some serious weaponry (I had the kids in close touch while this dude walked by):

There was an overwhelming feeling of patriotism and just good old fashioned fun even though we all baked like mad in the sun (yes they were all covered in sun screen):

But honestly, the best part of the day may have been the walk to and from the parade. We parked a distance from the parade route and walked along the towpath of the Delaware River canal:

We had never been on this part of the canal and it was beautiful and loaded with wildlife:

We saw a few snakes in the water, a beaver busy at work on a dam and plenty of ducks, which the kids absolutely loved:

Unlike the towpath in our parts up in NJ, there were a bunch of homes right on the canal that were phenomenal:

It seemed like one big party could be had just hanging around the canal and maybe one day we'll make our way there.

I also spotted some awesome entrances to some of the properties:

The funniest part of the walk was our interaction with all of the geese. They were the most brazen geese I've ever seen and were overly aggressive. While the kids panicked as the geese hissed at us, I found it hilarious as they chased after us even after we had passed by with no intention of ever messing with them:

Even the young guys and gals were ready to mix it up and I'll share that video with you in the near future:

All in all, a great Memorial Day and one not to be forgotten.

Now back to the grind.


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Friday, May 27, 2011

Awkward, but I love ya

Not all babies are cute.

They're really not.

But if that child is your own, you love them to death and believe they are the most beautiful thing on the planet.

As the child gets older, he or she (mostly he) will go through a number of awkward phases where again, you'll see them as handsome and attractive, but to everyone else, they will be "kinda funny looking." Trust me, this is coming from the King of Awkwardness at age 13. Braces, legs too long for my frame, head to big and just plain old socially inept. Of course, I eventually got straightened out, the women fell at my feet and I became a dashing young man (if you believe that, you don't know me very well).        

My point for today - as I ogled all of the blooms on my peonies, irises, ninebarks, campanulas, etc, I also took notice of the true anchors of my landscape - the ornamental grasses. While the blooms are the cool, good looking kids, the OG's of May 27th represent the pubescent boy. Little odd, but you can see the potential of what is to come.

So today, I honor the ornamental grasses and want to let them know they will always be wonderful to me no matter what stage they are in with their development. Your time to shine is not that far off, but I still dig you even today:    

Calamagrostis (Feather Reed Grass) 'El Dorado' 

Panicum (Switch Grass) 'Rotstrahlbusch'

Miscanthus (Maiden Grass) 'Variegatus' 

Miscanthus (Maiden Grass') 'Gracillimus' 

Calamagrostis (Feather Reed Grass) 'Karl Foerster'

Miscanthus (Maiden Grass) 'Morning Light' 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and try to remember who we are truly honoring.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

A peony, some iris and a near fatal encounter with a deer

Yesterday, I posted a photo of a 'Bowl of Beauty' peony in bud and literally an hour later, it bloomed like an SOB. It is the only bloom so far out of three different plants and I dig it because it gives me a chance to ogle the one bloom for the next day or so:

There was also just one Iris sibirica 'Snow Queen' bloom as of yesterday and overnight it turned into Bloomapalooza:

Same goes for the Iris sibirica 'Ruffled Velvet':

And just in case you didn't know already, I sort of like my Catmint:

Just to keep on my toes, the deer have appeared in droves the past two days. This young fellow was running around the yard like he was lost and while it was sweet and all, I calmly escorted him off the property and gave him by best intimidating sneer:  

True story, I stepped outside at 5:45 to run this morning and saw a large heap of animal in the backyard with a bird perched atop. I assumed it was a deceased deer and was planning on how to dispose of said carcass but when I got within ten feet, the deer jumped up, I peed myself and the deer ran off. The deer must have been in serious REM sleep when I approached because it didn't move. When I returned from my run, the deer had returned to it's favorite place and is most likely, still there:      

I've finally learned to keep my camera nearby and ready to go so I can hopefully capture some decent shots of the wildlife. This morning, I was the "bird hunter" and despite taking maybe one hundred photos, these are the only pics that came out OK. Bird photography is not a strong suit right now, but I'll keep working on it:
Finch in a River Birch tree 

Cardinal on the weed filled playground

Good times for all!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In with the new

Yesterday, we said goodbye to those plants that are quickly fading into the background. They served me well but I'm over it already. Time to move on.

Here are those perennials and shrubs that are next in line and ready to take center stage. They've put in the time and effort over the past year, determined to show us their worth. Without further ado:

The Siberian Iris 'Snow Queen' have absolutely exploded in year 3 and the big show is just about ready to start. One of the few the deer will leave alone:

As is always the case, I turn my head and the Nepeta (Catmint) 'Walker's Low' go OFF. The most consistent performer I own and lucky for me, they line the path of my front walkway. The "hum" of the bees will be here soon; music to my ears:

Spirea 'Snowstorm' is looking good with more blooms than ever before:

The Physocarpus (Ninebark) 'Summer Wine' has become a beast and is definitely due for a hard prune next spring. It is covered in blooms and will put on quite a show within the week:

A teaser for the soon to be blooming 'Bowl of Beauty' peonies. They will definitely be worthy of their own post and maybe even a haiku or limerick. Hell, I'll team up with Kanye and write a song about them. It will be hot:  

The wet weather is heaven for the Astilbes 'Deutchsland' and they will be showing their gratitude with abundant blooms in the near future:

Spirea 'Goldmound' looks fantastic and is also about to majestically bloom:

Amsonia (eastern bluestar) is in bloom and while I wouldn't call the blooms their best feature (clearly it's the yellow fall color) it still is a nice color blue this time of year. They also have been deer free for two years now which is a bonus:  

There is so much going on in the garden this time of year and I couldn't be more pumped up. In fact, I have to run and see what's progressed since yesterday.


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