Family History · Gardening · Labradors and Friends

After Dinner Gardening and finding Hydrangeas

We enjoy the longer days of spring and summer with walks after dinner and sometimes, a little time in the backyard garden afterwards.  To make it work, I start the prep work for dinner ahead of time:  chopping vegetables, starting brown rice,  thawing chicken or fish, and picking any herbs we might need.  Once Mr. H. is home, we decide whether to walk the dogs before dinner (our best bet if a rainy evening is predicted!), divide our duties before an evening meeting, or have a relaxed time with a walk after dinner (the best choice mid-summer).

A few nights ago, with no meetings to rush off to, we did something a little different.  We fed Maggie and Dale an early dinner (they were happy!), then went out for salads at one of our favorite restaurants, a good and quick dinner.

Home again, we walked the dogs (they were very happy!) and as it was still light out, we worked in the garden a bit.  We have had an unusually wet spring, but this day had been warm, dry and in the 80’s.  We did some weeding (more is always needed) and checked for infant peppers (about the size of a pencil eraser, but with several more blossoms), a few green tomatoes (and more blossoms), and some very beautiful cucumber, zucchini and eggplant blossoms.  I do hope the bumblebees get to work on those blossoms!

Meanwhile, Maggie and Dale inspected the back yard, sniffing for squirrels, chipmunks and possibly deer.  Maggie got tired pretty quickly, sitting on the back step, with a little yap at us to let her go in.  Dale stayed longer, checking every inch for something, new, then just sitting patiently at the back step until we noticed he was wanting to go inside.

As we tired of weeding and watched Dale inspect, we realized the hydrangeas had started to bloom, a sure sign that summer has arrived.  Whether pink, purple or the many shades of blue, the color changes from year to year, and although the original variety has a set color, it will change dependent on soil, optional fertilizers (rare for ours) and weather conditions.  Rooted cuttings from one plant might be different from the  parent plant, due to soil conditions. My mother had a white mop head hydrangea, we called it the snowball bush, which she grew from a cutting of her mother’s plant.  I hope to add one of those, eventually.

Although we don’t have a white  snowball, we have many varieties of mop heads and lacewings.  Both of our daughters remember planting seedlings here with their grandmother, many gathered from friend’s plants, the lacewing from the youth building at our church.  My mother-in-law would root plants by placing a small stem in water, although occasionally she would try RooTone on the stem in the soil.  I have better luck by the layering method, placing a rock or brick on a low stem so it contacts the soil, then cutting and digging the new plant a few weeks later.  Sometimes I have accomplished layering the stem into a pot underneath the plant.  These are good memories we find as we pull out the overgrown ivy, wandering dew, cherry laurel and pokeweed.

After letting patient Dale the Labrador inside, Mr H. and I got our garden clippers and gathered a bouquet.  Then we clipped some more, one for the kitchen, another for the den.

It was a very good evening.

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