With all the crazy in the world — you know, the destruction of Western Civilization and all that — I thought it was time for a brief blogging retreat to the former Ye Olde Wreck, now known as Mo Saoirce (My Freedom) Hermitage.
So here are some moments of peace and beauty for you.
The hermitage in morning light and shadow
The light gray gravel heaped beside the driveway will soon go on the top of the slope in front of the house as part of my nefarious campaign to rid the world (at least my world) of lawns. It’s what they call 2″ to 8″ cobble, so has a mix of small and very large rocks. This is exactly what I wanted for that spot and was lucky to find it in the next town over.
Roses on the rocks
A rose bush, past its seasonal prime and dropping petals, bows over the rock garden, where the sedum I planted last August continue to thrive, despite my best efforts.
Speaking of the resilience of sedum, the four flats of it I bought last year at an end-of-season sale sat for a month next to the house before The Wandering Monk, the neighbor boy, and I were able to get the rock slope built and covered with topsoil. I feared the already-long wait in the flats might harm them. But to the contrary, in addition to them growing like Audrey 2 amid the rocks, this spring I discovered they’d put down roots (or whatever passes for roots with sedum) on the gravel where they’d sat all that time.
My first response was to nuke them with Roundup. I actually succeeded in killing a few of the brave little plants. Then I thought better of it and let them grow. I expect by next year they’ll be climbing the walls like old ivy and strangling passing cars.
Credit the sedum, not my gardening skills. I did everything I could to ruin their lives — and failed.
That thing they’re sitting next to is the bottom of a rain chain.
New gravel, streetside
The neighbor boy — now nearly 16, strong, friendly, and responsible in the tradition of eldest sons — comes to the rescue once again. The Wandering Monk has been around a few times this year and there’s much that I couldn’t do without him. But for odd, COVID-related, reasons he’s limited his client work.
I miss him. Still, his absence prompted me to tackle a lot of projects I didn’t at first think I could complete on my own. I’m proud of that. But here’s the neighbor boy off in the distance in the above photo, making my life easier. And I like that, too.
This is one of those projects I didn’t think I could do.
If you’re a regular reader you’ve seen this door before. All I did was finally trim the side that faces the living room. “So what?” you might be thinking, “This broad thinks it’s tough to cut a few 45-degree angles and nail up some 4-inchers?” You’d be right if that’s all I had to do. But let me just say that, thanks to some seriously bad planning on my part when the door project began, this was the most complicated trimming project in the house, and it was a whole lot more than it looks.
The screen porch starts to be prettified
It’s impossible to get a good picture inside the screen porch. Suffice to say that two months ago it had bare stud walls — and I had three sheets of 1/4-inch plywood left over from an earlier project. The Monk cut and nailed the plywood and suddenly the porch started looking amazingly good. For the last several weeks I’ve been trimming and staining.
The last rhodie of summer
Rhododendrons are nearly a religion around here. They grow up to 40-feet high in the old-growth forests (so I’ve heard) and sprout more modestly from every suburban lawn. I think you can be accused of heresy if you don’t have one in your yard.
So last year, when the end-of-season garden sale became an end-of-end-of-season sale, I picked up this little guy (below), 75% off.
It wasn’t looking so good. Its leaves were brownish and covered with some sort of powder. But what the heck, for $10 I’d see what I could do with it. I took it home, potted it, spritzed the leaves with Daconil (anti-fungal) and left it all winter. This spring it was still powdery, so I hit it with more Daconil and waited.
May — rhodie blooming time — crept past. Everybody else’s rhodies but mine exploded in bloom. I figured I had a loser. Then, just as other rhodies were starting to drop their blossoms, this happened:
I’ve never watched rhodies all that carefully, so I was a bit surprised when after two weeks, the vibrant reds and magentas softened:
Now, two or three weeks later, it looks more like I expect my plants to look:
But that was fun.
I hope you enjoyed these few moments away from the madness and that you have a serene and beautiful retreat of your own where you can de-stress.