The Snowball Bush Returns!

This Viburnum Opulus "Roseum," commonly known as a Snowball Bush, is on the east side of the house, but has only had one bloom since we moved here four summers ago. It didn't help that a certain someone sprayed it and nearly killed it two years ago. But I'm happy to report that as of April 2016, it has returned and is thriving and currently has dozens of beautiful lime green blooms (which will gradually go from green to pure white over the next few weeks.)

I'm dreaming of a white...Easter!

Easter morning, March 27, 2016 brought an absolutely gorgeous snow! We didn't even know it was in the forecast. And it was gone by evening except in the shadows. But oh, so pretty. Reminded us of a Scripture verse that is at the heart of Easter.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." Isaiah 1:18 

Glorious Spring of 2016!

This has been one of the earliest springs we can remember, with the flowering trees in bloom the first week of March! We're just praying we don't have a late freeze! But oh, how beautiful everything is! Here are just a few of the views around our house:

A beautiful sunrise March 18.

A stunning sunset March 11.

 The Profusion Crabapple we planted last June
burst into bloom almost overnight March 19.

Tracery of Ice

December 29 and everything is encased in ice. It's beautiful, but I'd rather have snow.

Caged Squirrel

We set up a little cage for the birds, but had some unexpected visitors just before Christmas. The squirrels provide us hours of entertainment, and so far no more trouble than a few stolen seeds.

Vacuuming leaves

As November comes to a close, we're bringing outdoor plants in, and "vacuuming" the lawn.

Fall's Last Gasp

November is nearly half over and while it has been a stunningly beautiful fall, a few windy days have taken most of the leaves, and we're saying goodbye to autumn and reluctantly ushering in winter. We've put a few of our flower pots to bed, planting perennials in the ground and composting the rest. The final pots will be emptied and put away next week. I'll miss them, but we're already having fun talking about what we want to plant come spring.

A new member of the family

After many years of always having a cat in the house, we've spent the last 10 without an indoor cat. Until a couple weeks ago. We adopted one of our daughter's cats, and are thoroughly enjoying having a cat in the house again. Melvin loves the views out the windows.

November Roses

The first of November and we still have roses.

Columbus Day Blooms

The garden is fading, but cooler days have brought a few things to life again as well.

We declared the tomatoes DONE mid-October since the vine kept knocking over the cage! But tomatoes have been a wonderful experiment and we'll have another vine next year. (Sure glad I didn't plant two though!!) Maybe it's time to finally try fried green tomatoes?

Leaf-strewn lawns

We are enjoying the advent of Autumn! (Even though it means leaves to rake!)

These little lights of mine...

Our string of solar lights had a good run for about a year before they gave up the ghost. Thankfully, we found a wonderful replacement in these little basket lights—3 strings for $3 at a garage sale! They sure make these shorter October days cheerier!

Orange cosmos!

Two years ago in October 2013, Ken and I went to a neighborhood art show in the Riverside area of Wichita. At one of the homes, they had the most beautiful orange cosmos blooming! When we admired it, the owners told us to shake off as many seeds as we wanted. So we did.
We didn't get them planted until this spring. Lots of green foliage sprang up in the spot where we'd put those seeds, but we were beginning to think it was an imposter weed. Until a few days ago! Now, I want to find those dear people and tell them thank you!

It's early October and they are blooming like crazy and just stunning! We're hoping they'll reseed but we're going to save some seeds to plant next spring, just to be sure we get these beauties back next year!

Challenges and Triumphs

The rail pots have been a disappointment. We used old dirt and nothing is growing like it should, despite watering, pruning, and fertilizing. We were hoping by this time, end of July, that everything would be spilling over both sides and a foot tall. At least it does offer a little color.
AND, I ate my first home-grown tomato today, July 24, from our first ever tomato plant. It was just as good as I imagined it would be the day I planted it. And there are LOTS more where those came from.

Waiting on tomatoes...

We have an abundance of tomatoes on the first tomato plant I've ever grown! Apparently, because of all the rain we've had this spring and summer, the tomatoes are slow to ripen, but I can't wait until they do! Meanwhile, I'm thinking of trying some fried green tomatoes.

The lilies are on their last gasp, but the hibiscus are taking their place, and the roses are producing new blooms daily. It's such a pretty time of year, even though it's too hot to be outside until evening.

Happy 4th! God Bless America!

It rained the weekend of the 4th, but Saturday was perfect weather and we sat on our front steps and watched a glorious display all around us, thanks to our neighbors to the north, south, east, and west!

Backyard views

The roses are doing well, as is the little barberry bush my dad gave us from his overrun. My tomato plant is halfway up the trellis and has 10 lovely green tomatoes on it. I'm so excited and wonder why I didn't plant a tomato every summer of my life!

The day lilies have loved my attention (deadheading to prolong their blooming works!) We're now pretty much in the maintenance phase for this summer.
Sadly, the apple tree has been struck by some sort of bug or worm this year. It has apples, but they don't look good. We may have to spray next year, much as we'd rather not.

The entryway garden is finished!

Before we left on vacation mid-June, we were able to get the entryway finished, including taking out the sad Japanese maple that didn't survive. We found a Profusion Crabapple on sale at Home Depot, and they replaced our tree for free. Still, we feel a little discouraged that we just haven't been able to get a Japanese maple to thrive at either of our homes! Still, we're very happy with how the entry garden came out—for very little money (thanks to free mulch, and using flowerpots we already had).

We're happy that all the plants we transplanted (that were growing in the entry garden when we moved in) are thriving in their new spots. The Japanese magnolia (tulip tree) is our favorite transplant because moving it revealed the brickwork on the porch, and in its new spot, it hides the utilities on the side of the house, as well as the neighbor's trash can. (You can see the magnolia—a bit shorter for our pruning—at the left corner of the house in the last photo below.)