good garden

thank you for your enthusiasm about my garden photos . . . no worries, i won’t stop posting them; it’s not like i can help myself. and they make such great blog fodder while i have bigger projects on the needles. plus, looking at all this regeneration is such a celebration of life, and i think we all need that.

these little guys. do they look like tiny chicks or is is just me?
i’m definitely going to miss their most interesting growing stages while i’m gone . . . damn.
i have to admit that i’m not much interested in ferns past the fiddlehead stage. the foliage just isn’t as fascinating to me, and i find them a bit messy in the garden. some day, i will find ones that i like (maybe some painted japanese varieties) and plant those in an organized way that shows off better how they look for most of the season. for now we just have this one stand and maybe a few odd, badly-placed ones that ultimately, just look scrappy. all things in good time. for now i enjoy these, at this time.

we have lots of deep shade around our house (yay, for not needing air conditioning). in fact the whole place was built to be very comfortable in summer. speaking of which, while i was taking a nap yesterday, david opened up our sun porch and cleaned it all out (we have to seal it off from the house in winter)

this is a great room; we eat out there every chance we get in summer, and it’s a favorite spot to visit with people and to knit and spin. it’s sunny, but cool, with overhanging tall trees and shrubs right outside.

at first we were at a bit of a loss to figure out what to plant at our place; our first tendency was to try to grow flowers (ha!). but there are few that will grow near our house, and then, mostly in spring before the trees have leafed-out fully.

these are the last clutch of tulips to bloom; after this, it will be impatiens and begonias if we decide to put those in. and our lilies, which spread out farther every year.

(look at the stalks on these—this is very good; these lilies grow very tall and need sturdy stalks to hold themselves upright)

over the last five years, as we trolled through green houses and looked at what was already in place in our yard, we discovered a whole world of woodland plants that have proved incredibly appealing. someone who lived here years ago had a good sense of what would grow well and planned for a garden that continually evolves through the growing season, with several special treats included.

this beautiful variegated solomon’s seal (related to lilies) is flowering now, and after that will feature dark berries. the rhizomes are easily propagated by splitting, so i took advantage of that and spread them out around the foundation. same with our hostas and many of our plants—i split them every spring and plant them in bare spots so that eventually, they will spread into a deep, solid a swath of cool green around the house. and free to boot—ya gotta like that.

the less grass we have the better, in our opinion (since it looks like crap anyway, what with all the shade we have). we are aiming eventually to have no lawn, or only a small amount where it grows well.

we are adding some new ones as we find them—this wild ginger was gifted to us by our across-the-street neighbors (not the house “decorators”) when they renovated a few years ago and had to move some plants out. it’s a slow spreader but it’s so fragrant, i keep trying.

speaking of fragrance, the lilac is just about ready to burst open in a chorus of wildly extravagant scent. it is lovely this year and we are so allergic to it that it might as well be poison. we don’t dare bring any inside the house (been there, done that, almost died), but we won’t get rid of it either.

most of the sunny area we have is devoted to vegetable growing—other than that, we’ve decided that colorful foliage and large-as-possible shade plants do the best in our space. soon we will head out to buy caladium, coleus, and maybe some begonias and impatiens. though it’s been incredibly warm and tempting to do it right now, we know this is a trick—the month of may in ohio in often cold and even frosty, so we’re sitting tight and preparing the beds instead (big changes ahead for the vegetable patch—stay tuned).

oh gosh lookit that . . i’ve prattled on and on with no knitting to speak of. and not much i can show you today actually

i worked a full, 12-hour day yesterday on something involving this yarn which i can’t show you.
these are samples of some new colors deb is cooking up for her fearless fiber merino lace yarn line (not available yet, but soon . . .). we are collaborating, hehehe.
and did you see the adorable photo of her on stephanie’s blog?? such a smile—we love you deb.

and i did also put in some work on the star shawl

it is longer—can you tell?

and then friday night i wasted spent several hours searching for a swimsuit as promised. ok, i know i’m going to get slapped down for this, but what’s up with the stores not carrying small sizes?? now, before anyone starts yelling, please PLEASE, just take a moment to walk by the end of the rack where the small sizes hang. see anything there? no, and you won’t.
the little rings that say “2″, “4″, and “6″ might be there, but no clothes hang between them (ok, maybe some 6s). one major store i visited officially doesn’t stock any misses clothing in my size range (i can’t wear juniors or petites) at all, and in swimwear, nothing smaller than size 8.
i know this is a touchy subject and i have long put off saying anything about it but c’mon, what about diversity? real women come in all sizes.
anyway, sorry for ranting . . . i don’t shop enough to make a big deal out of it. but when i shop, i guess i want to be able to find something useful.

anyhow, i did find a suit finally—at target, of all places.

i ran in there to get some toiletries and there was a rack of suits, right inside the door. why not? i thought—i’ve been everywhere else. it’s not exactly what i dreamed of (no hologram that features gorgeous, tanned legs to sheath me in a protective layer, for instance), but it will do—it covers my butt (that’s the trick for me) completely and doesn’t look terrible with my glacier-white skin.

wearing it should be interesting . . i’ve had no need for a swimsuit in many MANY years, but i’m planning to have fun it.

40 Responses to “good garden”

  1. Jocelyn says:

    The suit looks great! And while I don’t have the small size problem, I completely agree with your “women come in all sizes” rant. My big problem is that, while I’m a nice average 10, I’m a 10 with a waist that’s very narrow relative to my hips — nothing ever fits. Sigh…

    The flowers are looking great, and I can’t wait to see the shawl in person!!!

  2. Heather says:

    Lovely garden photos! I love the yarn and can’t see what you make out of it. I didn’t realize you were from Ohio until today. I have been reading for a bit. Can’t wait to see your yard come along as we also have a shaded yard, altho I am not much of a green thumb so hostas are my friend…LOL!

  3. linken says:

    Here Here on the clothing sizes. One of the largest department stores near me – their smallest size is a 6. *sigh* I too can’t wear juniors or petites. Very frustrating – but gotta love Ross Dress for less – score on the smaller sizes. And some of the best swimsuits I have found – online- Victorias secret of all places.

    Sorry that you will miss your evolving spring garden while you are away. *grin* But not really – we know that you are going to have a fantastic time with fiber and friends out west! We should feel sorry for David *grin* no fun at home alone. (though in my house I could think of a delectible vacation at home alone – fiber and chocolate- the best.)

    Have fun!

  4. Michelle says:

    Nature is so incredibly inspiring! I feel as though I am coming alive along with my garden after a tough winter!

  5. naomi says:

    Oh, no, allergic to lilacs?!? How horrible!

  6. naomi says:

    Oh, for the foresty bit of your garden, have you thought of meadowrue or hobblebush?

  7. marianne says:

    The swimsuit is a hoot, enjoy! (I actually like it)
    You and David are BOTH allergic to lilacs? bummer!

    I still cannot get over seeing you having lily of the valley blooming! shouldn’t ours bloom before yours?
    I’m seriously gobsmacked.

    Deb’s new colours have me whimpering.

  8. Ronni says:

    I love lilac with a passion but haven’t been able to get one to grow here yet. I’m so bummed for you and David that you are allergic and would trade you any number of itty bitty yellow polka dot bikinis for a lilac in my yard. I love your sun porch! It looks a perfect place for the warm months. I can’t wait to see what those yarn cakes end up being for.

    You are shopping in the wrong place. Around here we have tons of selection and quantity in 2s 4s and 6s even up to 10s. Not so much in my size though. I haven’t worn a 6 since high school at the latest. Too tall and broad shouldered.

  9. Laura says:

    I hear you on the sizes – I used to buy all my work clothes at Ann Taylor but now they’ve inflated their sizes so much that even the ZEROs are too big! And I’m not even underweight (seriously – BMI of 20 right in the normal range)

  10. Stephanie says:

    I love the shaded plants. I grew up in the woods and we had a ‘lawn’ of moss and weeds, but the gardens my mom put in were beautiful.

    The new shawl is really pretty as well, I love the shade of blue!

  11. Keatyn says:

    I love lilacs but am also allergic to them. Yours look beautiful.

  12. Deb Gemmell says:

    It’s encouraging to look at your garden and see what’s ahead for us in middle Ontario. We are so terribly behind you in our growing season. I have daffodils out and that’s it ! I raked leaves today since once again the snow did not eat them. I thought for sure this year it would. There was so much of it.
    I look forward to the star shawl. I think it’s the project for me (it’s the border knit as you go that has attracted me big time). My skein of Zephr laceweight awaits. With summer coming there will be time to do larger projects.
    - Deb

  13. Carrie says:

    Yeah, the bathing suit/size issue is an incredibly loaded one. I recently found something called Right Fit at Lane Bryant, and they fit according to body shape and size. I’ve been losing a bit of weight lately and I am actually worried about getting TOO SMALL for these sizes.
    Anyway, I hear LLBean and Land’s End are good sources for suits if you decide you need another – they both have a fairly good range.
    Lovely garden, too. I got a wild hair and had the DH put a raised bed in for me. We have a truck full of planting mix waiting to go in, and then I have to figure out what veggies grow in this barren land.

  14. Hattie says:

    They do look like chicks! Newly hatched ones. The sun porch looks great, I miss the one we used to have. We get horrid wasps in the summer and miss lots of the nice weather outside because of it. A sun porch would be great, to just open the window and let the screen keep out the bugs! One day maybe we’ll get it closed up.

  15. Kathleen C. says:

    Aha! Solomon’s Seal is that little plant I saw blooming outside just this morning. Thanks for that! I thought it looked kind of like Lily of the Valley, but not quite.
    And I like your suit… it reminds me of your garden!

  16. Rhiannon says:

    You’re right, all sizes should be available to us! I’m a size 18/20 and I can’t even shop in a lot of stores. It shouldn’t matter wether you’re a 2 or a 22, you shuold be able to find clothes that fit that you actually like to wear!

  17. Rachel says:

    Lovely garden pictures. I like your idea for the plants in the shady part of your yard. Hooray for less lawn!

    I can’t wait to see the star shawl completed! Will you be selling just the kit, or can I just buy the pattern? Also (sorry, I know you’re busy and don’t necessarily want to respond to inane comments), do you have any idea of the yardage? I’m heading to a nice yarn store on Friday (which is 45 minutes away, so I don’t visit often), and I’d love to pick up some lace yarn while I’m there. Even an approximate guess on how much yarn I’d need would be wonderful! Thanks!

  18. Rhiannon says:

    Oh, an I’m on row 23 of the Whispering Pines shawl, and am really enjoying the process, even with my ridiculous cold, tonsillitis, antibiotics and cold meds. Man, I feel amazingly capable becuase I’ve gotte this far with no mistakes! Now however I am going to go to sleep again.

  19. amanda says:

    i almost posted to tell you how jealous i was of your solomon’s seal – that we’d lost ours to the addition…when i discovered that it actually survived a transplant and is not-quite-ready to bloom. i am a bit jealous that you already have lily of the valley, however….

  20. Julie says:

    Allergic to lilacs – how tragic! I adore lilacs and would fill my house with them if the kitties wouldn’t attack them. Instead, I enjoy the fragrance as I walk out my door; we have them lining our driveway. It’ll be a while before they bloom here, though; the leaves are just now coming out.

    I’m loving the star shawl!

  21. Teyani says:

    I just had to spray my flowers with Liquid Fence, a natural-organic mix to fend off DEER – yes, and I am in the city. go figure (I’m assuming the deer got lost somewhere and then got hungry)
    Your star shawl is stunning – those colors so perfect.
    Bthing suits are the bane of my existence too – and yes, even the store I work for part time has stopped carrying size 4 – it totally bums me out – where the heck are we supposed to shop?

  22. Peggy says:

    I feel your frustration. Apparently women with long legs like me and that are relatively thin (like a 6 or 8) do not really exist unless they are models. In which case, they can afford custom made clothing??? The only place I can really find pants is the Victoria’s Secret website. Even there, not all pants come long enough. Virtually all their dress pants only go up to a 34″ inseam. Luckily, they all seem to have a 2″ hem, so I can lengthen the pants just enough. Yes, all my friends want to kill me, but at least they can buy pants off the rack!

  23. Peggy says:

    Okay, I didn’t know that putting an 8 followed by a ) gives you a smiley face. Learned something new on your blog!

  24. Mitty says:

    That star shawl is *lovely*–I am tempted to try it when the pattern is available. Boy, do I empathize about the lilacs! I adore the scent and the beautiful flower clusters. My mom and her mom both grew them, and we always had big bunches of them in the center of the dining table and on the mantle in season. After 3 years in Maryland in my 30′s, I came back to New England to discover that I had become horribly allergic to them– and they don’t even grow in Maryland! How unfair is that?

  25. Arlene says:

    I love looking at your beautiful knitting and your garden. I live in northern Canada, and we had a huge snowfall last weekend, it’s still cold! We probably won’t see tulips until mid May, lilacs until June, if it ever warms up!
    Sigh, at least I can enjoy yours.
    thanks

  26. Anne-Marie says:

    We are at a loss with our garden. We live in a forest so its always humid, and warm in the summer, but shady. I have a small open area which I plant vegetables in, but as for flowers im a bit stuck. Its also so big, and on a hill so its going to be a MASSIVE overhaul to get it to how I want it.

    I like seeing your garden, it just worries me that im way behind with mine :)

  27. Theresa in Italy says:

    Nice bathing suit! And I love your sun room!

    Thanks once more for all the garden photos, and I also think those ferns weirdly resemble baby chicks. The shawl looks wonderful, of course!

  28. Anne C. says:

    Oh, like the suit! AND the yummy yarn – look forward to seeing your progress!

  29. Tara says:

    Maybe a redundant comment at this point, but I really like your suit. Looks like it’ll be excellent “frolicking-in-the-surf” wear.

  30. Anne says:

    Swimsuits and jeans. I hate shopping period, but those are the absolute worst!

    My gram had a whole huge row of lilac bushes outside her farmhouse. They normally bloomed the first week of vacation when I was there. I always associate that smell with my childhood – I adore the flowers.

  31. Courtney says:

    I can’t WAIT to see what the star shawl looks like. My best memories with my mother all involve stargazing, and I’ve been looking for a great falling star/starry pattern to make for her for years, but nothing that I’ve found really suits my/her style. I’d prefer lace to intarsia stars, but that seems to be all I can ever find.

    I hope your shawl will be just the pattern (and maybe something I can modify into a blanket for her… wishful thinking!).

    At any rate, I’m trying to say that all of your patterns are so gorgeous that I’m full of hope!

  32. Having problems on the other end of the size spectrum I appreciate the difficulty you must have. Neat pattern on the bathing suit though…looks like leaves. I hope you put it to major good use!

  33. Fiberjoy says:

    And here I was getting excited to see tiny buds on our lilac bush. How’d you get so far ahead of us? Must have been the cold and snow from a weekend ago set them back. Our apple blossoms are splendid.

    The people who moved into an old house near us are allergic to lilacs. They immediately wiped out the lilac hedge formed by huge old bushes – Ed got the big pieces and make some spindles and a few hooks. The wood from purple flowered lilacs usually have light purple streaks, very pretty.

    What is up with the unrealistic sizing these days? A young friend had a heck of a time finding a size 4 wedding dress. And finding pants that actually have a waist that fits instead of bagging out front and back is next to impossible.

  34. Virginia says:

    I have just had brilliant luck on eBay: a new-with-tags, sensible Speedo for an excellent price, and I had about 15 to choose from in small sizes.

  35. Beth S. says:

    I have never heard of a lilac allergy! At least not in the hardcore allergy sense, like peanuts or bee venom. I’m so sorry you can’t enjoy the lilacs properly, as they are enchantingly lovely and fragrant. Oh well. At least you can admire them from the safety of the sun porch, if it faces the right way. ;-)

  36. Rachael says:

    oooh, I have to go bathing suit shopping too, my best friend just bought a house with a pool so I won’t be able to avoid it!

    I hear you on the small sizes, I often find that the smallest pants size is an 8 too, it’s frustrating.

  37. Jessica says:

    I was thinking even before I read your comment that those fiddleheads looked like baby birds. Strange how fine the line sometimes is between animal and vegetable (minerals notwithstanding)

    The shawl is looking good, I can’t wait to see what it looks like blocked and what you’re going to do with the top edge.

  38. marjorie says:

    Consider getting bathing suits from SpeedoUSA.com. Even though the sizes seem large, they’re very tight (I go up a size). The “workout” bathing suit that I use for lap swimming and have worn for years (just a plain color maillot) is ok to wear in public, and the sizes do start at 6. The service is very good.

    Lands End seems to have suits starting at size 6 also. These aren’t sturdy enough for lap swimming, but I have gotten them in the past and they do last well for 1-2 seasons.

    (You can see from these recommendations how much I like to shop in malls! But some malls do have Speedo stores, so you can try them on, and Sears has some Lands End merchandise.)

    I love the scarf.

  39. LynnH says:

    Me, too, on the lilacs. And peonies, and tulips (actually, anything that comes from a bulb). I can smell a tulip across the street.

    For someone who loves spring and color as much as I do, it’s hard to avoid being outdoors on the porch when all our peonies are in full bloom. Luckily no lilacs on our tiny lot, and the early dwarf daffodils bloom before it’s warm enough for us to go out and porch-sit.

    I’m with you on the small size thing. I usually wear a 6 but I have curves. Petite garments are short enough between hip and bust but they seem made for women built with shoulders and angles. (Just try to find a 32C anything. I have no luck, at least within my price range.)

    Occasionally a Liz Claiborne Petite dress will fit right. Sometimes even those are too long in the waist. I don’t wear dresses much, though…

    However, once upon a time I was on Weight Watchers and I wore a 14. I’d rather have today’s struggle than that one. I lost about 50 pounds almost 30 years ago and haven’t found it back yet.

    I’m counting blessings. It’s colorful spring even if I am allergic… and I’m thin with decent curves at the age of 49. Could be much worse.

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