Monday, April 28, 2008

Grief Work

After losing our sweet kitty Surely last week, our labors in the yard became a good form of grief work, helping to pass those initial days of missing her. Baird worked on putting in the fence posts for our new picket fence which will go around the south side garden that is abutted by sidewalk on 2 sides. I did various clean up projects and helped him with the fence posts a bit. On Friday I took the day off and tackled the picnic table, sanding it and re-staining it colony grey. We have a long way to go in the next 7 weeks for the Tour but, I think we've made a good start.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Surely 4/8/04 to 4/24/08

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life."

Our sweet, 4 year old Maine Coon, Surely, lost her battle with lymphoma today.
Surely -- You were a good kitty and we loved you lots! We all miss you. Rest well sweet one.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Emily Dickinson's Garden Week 3

On Monday I strolled over to Emily's garden, this time with my "grand-dog" in tow, as I was dog sitting for a couple of days. We've been having a heat wave here in is supposed to be 80 today and I am already having to water my garden! So, in the past week the plants have been growing like ... well... like weeds. Emily's garden has still not had its Spring cleaning. I am not sure what is up with that. Amherst College (which owns the Dickinson properties) has a gazillion grounds workers and wonderful landscaping. They must be focused on getting their campus ready for graduation weekend or something. If I wasn't so busy getting my own garden ready for the Tour, I would go over with my rake and do some guerrilla gardening. Have you heard of the global guerrilla gardeners' activities?

Well, I digress. In Emily's garden the magnolia was blooming, the tulips we brilliant and a large (cherry??) tree was in full bloom. In several places the foliage of Bleeding Hearts had gone from barely peeking out of the ground to about 8" tall in one week. This week is another hot one here so stay tuned for pictures of next week's Spring happenings at Emily's.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Maggie's Splendor - Part 2

On Friday I had showed you my huge old Magnolia at it's peak.
On Saturday AM I couldn't help but take another picture -- since the clear blue sky morning showed off her beauty even more so than the day before. I was disappointed that I missed a photographic "first" for me...... a perfect picture of a bright red cardinal amongst all the white blossoms but.... another "first" was to come my way.....

Not long afterwards, as I was staining fence sections in my back yard (UGH!! enough said about that endless task!!) ...... my husband came to say, "Honey, grab your camera & come quickly!

There is a wedding party taking pictures at the Magnolia tree!" Sure enough this bride and her photographer had also noticed "Maggie's splendor" on their way to her wedding ceremony at the church across the street. They were kind enough to allow me to take a few pictures for my own record of this historic occasion. A bride in my garden! It was a first for me, but it makes me wonder how many other brides may have posed there for pictures in all the years the tree has stood?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Maggie's Full Splendor

My huge old magnolia tree is today at the climax of its bloom for 2008. The whole neighborhood is awash with its sweet perfume and since my garden is in the center of town, across from a town park, people stop at least hourly, to smell, take pictures or even sneak a blossom. Who could resist?

I've also put my new "garden tool" (aka truck) to work this week buying compost, potting soil, 2 rhododendrons and... the biggest news..... my new cedar picket fence for around Sweetside Garden (the sunny beds,facing south, with the 30' stream). Tomorrow I will start staining it white and maybe the proverbial "we" will get a couple (?) of post holes dug. There are 12 sections to install and a couple of gates to build.

I still hope to put up a tall board fence along the back property line for privacy, but that has to be phase 2 or 3.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Visit #2 to Emily Dickinson's Garden

Today marked my second visit this Spring to Emily's garden.

As I strode along the granite stepping stones toward the garden I could see there were no striking changes to report. The snow drops have passed and the crocus are on their last.

The tulip leaves are quite tall, but no tulip buds are yet visible -- perhaps next week.

The shaded granite bench in the far corner of the garden looks to be a pleasant place to rest and ponder come the heat of summer, but for today, the entire area awaits it's Spring cleaning.

My magnolia tree, 2 houses to the west, has begun to bloom. The shaded one at Emily's Homestead, though covered in buds, has not yet burst to reveal its gentle petals. And the lilac hedge separating the carriage house from garden is lightly tipped with green. In another few weeks I imagine it, laden with blooms.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring at Sweetside Garden 4/12/08

It's finally Spring here at Sweetside Garden in Amherst, Massachusetts. A good dose of warm weather, interspersed with some rain, has led to many buds popping and blooms opening. Here are a few scenes from around my garden this weekend. Red buds of the maple, as seen just outside my kitchen window. Magnolia bud popped (I love their fuzzy buds). The south facing garden bed, top dressed with MooDoo. And, Scilia in the front yard, under huge maple tree.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Aha! I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by Jess of Jet Fuel! Jess is seen here at left.... Thx Jess!! I've never done this before I go...

11 April 2008 by Jess

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share 4 things in these themes
4. Tag 4 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

Four jobs I’ve had:
Bookkeeper & florist assistant, in a florist shop (my first job, I was 15-17)
Diagnostic Social Worker & Therapist (still)
College Instructor (Now)

Four movies I can watch over and over:

I'm stumped....
Sorry, I almost never watch a movie more than once.

Four places I have lived:

Dalton, Ma
Scotia, NY
Ipswich, MA
The Pioneer Valley (Northampton, Shutesbury, Amherst, MA)

Four TV shows I love:

30 Rock!!!!
Ugly Betty
Anderson Cooper 360

Four places I have been on holiday:

Brazil (many years ago)
(I've been to Israel but is was for a course not really a holiday)

Four of my favourite dishes

Blueberry pancakes with fresh, warm maple syrup (OK..yes..I like bacon with it too)
Strawberry shortcake (fresh of course, with whipped cream, in 2 more months!!))
BBQ steak
Almost any Stirfry

Four Web sites you visit daily:

Blotanical check out my favorites list there!
Moss Hill, Joanna's (art & journal site)
Nina's (art & journal site)
Misty's (art & journal site)

Four places I would rather be now:

Wow.. a month ago this list would have been long but warm weather is here and I am in my garden every chance I get. So I like being home.
In colder weather... hmmm..
The South of France.....
Mexico, visiting off beat towns and collecting local art.
England touring the gardens
I'm looking forward to going to Toronto and Quebec City in June

Four bloggers I am tagging:
Carol, fellow garden blogger at May Dreams Gardens
Joanna, my artist blog friend at Moss Hill
Joey, another fellow garden blogger at The Village Voice
Ewa, a garden blog friend in Poland at Ewa in the Garden

Friday, April 11, 2008

First Spring Visit to Emily's Garden

As some of you may know, or recall from previous posts, I live 2 doors up from the home of Emily Dickinson, which is now a museum.

I've recently become inspired to visit her garden weekly and chronicle it's changes over the coming months, here on Terra Nova Design. To that end, I went the other day and took pictures of the early Spring at Emily's. Here are a few of the views to pique your interest. Enjoy!

They are: One of me, sitting with "Emily." Snow drops along the garden path. A view of the house from the garden. And the sky as seen through the branches of a giant tree that Emily would have viewed from her window and under which I imagine her lying in the shade watching the leaves blow in the breeze of the warm summer days.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My New Garden Tool

There are many useful garden tools in my garage but one that had been missing for some years was a truck. Yes, a truck. I am not one to buy a couple bags of compost and a few bags of bark mulch and call it a summer. I tend to buy mulch and compost by the truckloads and plants and shrubs and..... well you catch my drift.

My trusty Honda Civic has been a pretty good little "truck" and has carried way more that its share of garden stock but this year, with the garden tour slated for June and some bigger projects in store, we decided it was time the family had a truck again. So over the past 2 weeks we have been looking at and test driving an array of such vehicles. On Friday we brought home this Mazda. The extra cab and 4WD are luxuries but I am sure we will out both to good use. I'll be sharing the truck with my 21 year old son but something tells me that much of the summer, he'll be driving the Civic and I'll be gardening with the truck.