Monday, March 27, 2017

Feel the vi-BURN-um

Another weekend, another walk through the botanical gardens.  Todd and I love to take early-morning walks and spring is the perfect time.  It can be bittersweet, because I saw a few favorites from my Indianapolis garden.

There, I'd planted viburnum on either side of the front door.  It's an attractive shrub (if you prune it into submission) and the flowers in the spring have a delicious scent.

Oh, the daffodils!

I just finished a book on garden theory and design by David Culp (The Layered Garden) and he advised that you can stretch out the growth of a favorite flower by planting early-, mid-season, and late-blooming varieties.  I did this with the lilac bushes I planted in our Indianapolis back yard.

Deer love hydrangeas, and I have yet to find a cage that lets our hydrangeas spread and grow but keeps the deer out.  In Indianapolis, I had both Endless Summer and Little Lime growing all season along our side fence.  At the botanical garden, I discovered something that I never knew existed...a hydrangea TREE!

My mind positively boggled at the bouquet, wreath, and landscaping possibilities.  Needless to say, this tree is going to the top of my list for our FRP, or "final resting place" - the property where we settle for good and where I'm able to throw myself into making the cottage garden I've dreamed of since childhood.

But there are things here, of course, that I've never seen thrive in the midwest.  Camellias, for example.  The botanical garden has over 60 varieties.  They've mainly bloomed and dropped by now, but the walk is still lovely.

Nice to meet an old friend on the trail, too!

I love seeing the semi-wildlife out and about, whether napping...

...or having a very serious meeting of the minds!

By the way, a group of turtles is called a bale.  This discovery led me down a rabbit hole of delight (a group of caterpillars is an army!  A group of ferrets is a busyness!  A group of wild cats is a destruction!) but I was able to pull myself away to read more about the next creature we found...a banded water snake.

Non-venomous and totally benign, just having a rest in the sun.

The dogwoods are in full bloom, both at our house and at the botanical gardens.

Redbuds are still going strong.

I love walking on petal-strewn paths!

Borga doesn't care either way...she just wants to be out.  Check out that smile!

I recently finished knitting a pair of socks, Jaywalkers.  It was a bit of an experiment.  When I first started knitting, I stocked up on any yarn that appealed to me without being particular about a specific project need or fiber content.  Now that I'm more knowledgeable and discriminating about what I buy, I have a big box of these "guilt yarns" in my cabinet.  I don't want to use them, but I hate to waste the yarn.  I'll probably end up donating a lot of it, but I'm trying to find uses for some of it first.  Self-striping yarn is just not my preference, but this pattern cleverly draws it into a kind of zig-zag design. Still, I'm just lukewarm about these.  At least they're a good fit!

I've also started  a quilt.  No, I didn't finish the big star quilt from last week.  I put it away until I feel more excited about it.  I bought a coordinated layer cake set (42 10" x 10" fabric squares, all different) called Strawberry Fields Revisited.  Beatles reference aside, I like the cheerfulness of the pieces and feel like it's a perfect spring quilt.  I'm paper-piecing large stars that showcase 8 different designs.  I'll have four (five?) squares like this:

...and four (five?) squares each of four other fabric combinations.  I'm grumpy that even with paper piecing my points still aren't lining up perfectly or even very close in some cases, but I'm going to push forward.  Practice makes perfect, and the quilting itself will hide a multitude of sins.

Have a great week!

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