Garden Delights

Today's post is pretty much nothing but flowers...the growing kind and the stitching kind. Before I go on, I want to thank the many of you who have left such sweet comments. Hearing from so many friends has been a great way to celebrate my blogiversary. If you missed yesterday's post, be sure to check it out. You don't want to miss out on the giveaway, do you? Also, I neglected to mention that I will ship internationally, and so all citizens of Planet Earth are invited to join in.

As for the blooming things, I neglected to feed the birds on my day of sloth Tuesday, and so I needed to get out first thing yesterday and fill those feeders. It also seemed like a good time to take a walk around and see every blooming thing. First, take a look at these gorgeous hydrangeas. This purple one was a gift from Erik and Mae for mother's day three years ago. We wondered at the time if it would maintain its deep purple color, and I'm happy to say that it has. If anything, the color has become even more saturated.

Its neighbor to the right is an intense blue. The previous owner planted this one.

The sunflowers are blooming away. I just love sunflowers. They make me smile. This is the Ring of Fire variety.

This one is called Floristan.

I expect this one to open up larger by this afternoon. It was just starting to show itself.

I leave the bloomed out flower heads when they finish up. The birds like to pick at their seeds. They're already starting on this one.

And we have other sunflowers planted around in random places, compliments of the squirrels.

Oh, hello there, little lady!

They've been using their little cat house. In the afternoon, the sun is fairly intense on this side of the house. Smitty was napping inside his little shelter yesterday afternoon.

Okay, moving around to the front of the house, these are called Hens and Chickens. They are a succulent, and this grouping was given to us as a housewarming gift many years ago. It was originally in a pot about 10 inches across, but the grouping has grown to about five feet in diameter now. They require nothing of us except to pull up the bloomed out stems. Oh yes, and I have to continually watch the strawberries so that they don't encroach.

Right now they are blooming. They grow on the funniest little stalk and remind me for all the world of a Dr. Seuss flower.

We're on a septic system here at the Three Cats Ranch. There are plenty of reasons for keeping a compost pile, but we keep ours out of necessity. We don't have a garbage disposer because undigested food is the worst thing you can put into your septic tank. I keep a lidded compost bucket beside the kitchen sink and throw all the cuttings, eggshells and coffee grounds into it. When it fills up, I take it to the far side of the garden and dump it. And look at what it has become. It's a rather unsightly pile of rotting stuff, but this year, it has covered itself in the most beautiful greenery. You'd almost think we planted it there on purpose, wouldn't you?

So, I've kind of been wondering what this is. Is it squash? Pumpkins? Something else? Frankenfood, perhaps? I've read that things growing from the compost pile have crossbred, and therefore, are not good eating. Still, I am hopeful. If you pull back the leaves, it has huge blossoms, and these are good for the pollinators.

And I've been watching for any sort of "fruit". Yesterday...

It's perfectly round and about the size of a golf ball...and there are several others. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it turned out to be a pie pumpkin from last year's CSA share? One can only hope. We're in the watchful waiting stage right now.

And just a little bit away from the compost pile, there are plentiful plums. Sometimes the tree sheds a lot of its fruit before it has come even close to ripening. We've had plenty of rain this summer so far, and so it's hanging onto its fruit. Now, if these babies will only have the good sense to ripen while we're home to pick them, I'll be a happy camper. We have a trip planned the first two weeks of September, and so there is some luck involved.

Checking into the greenhouse, the second round of lettuce is ready for harvesting. We've had plenty of sweet lettuce in our CSA share so far, but I have a feeling we're going to be getting more bitter varieties from here on. A little of that is fine, but we like our sweet lettuce too, and so this is ready just in time. Those black snake-like wires are the drip irrigation system that Mike rigged up.

These are the echinacea plants I've grown from seed. They are remarkably slow-growing. I'm ready to plant them outside, but I'm waiting for Mike to get a load of dirt to amend the crappy soil that exists where I want them. Mike needs to retire. He has work to do, and my list is getting longer and longer.

So after that, I headed into the sewing room. With a heavy sigh, I started making seven more reversed leaves for the Quiltmaker's Garden. I made this one. Six to go.

When these are finished, I'm going to have to make 16 of these stem sections. 

Yes, it does look like it would be easier to strip piece these than it would be to paper piece. I checked the measurements, however, and they were going to be in 16ths of an inch. I'd go blind trying to strip piece them, and so I decided to stick with paper-piecing.

But then I got this bright idea to start making the flower sections and just create the remaining paper-pieced sections as I needed them. It took most of the afternoon, but in time, this longest section was all sewn together. I had 3 of the 7 reverse leaves made at this point and 10 of the 16 stem sections. Yay! Tedium be gone! 

When that was finished, I decided to sew together the two remaining flower tops.

I was going to call it quits for the day there, but then realized that if I made just one more reverse leaf, I could sew together the smallest of the flower sections. So I girded up my loins and made one more. And there it is.

So now, I just have one more flower section to finish, which includes 3 more reverse leaf sections and 6 more stem sections, and Section 4 of the Quiltmaker's Garden will be finished. I CAN GET ON WITH MY LIFE!!!!! So, okay...I want to finish that today.

But we're not finished with our garden delights because this morning I finished stitching Block 9 of the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. This one is Bee Fruitful.

So, I have a few errands to run in town today, not the least of which is to pick up some local freestone peaches for sale at a little produce stand. I'm going to bake a peach pie for two, probably tomorrow. Nothing is getting in the way of finishing up the remainder of the Quiltmaker's Garden section. Aside from that...sewing, sewing, and more sewing.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Unknown said...

Your hydrangeas are beautiful! Hope you get the pumpkin you are hoping for.

Dana Gaffney said...

The two colors of hydrangeas must be gorgeous together, that blue is stunning. Did you want sweet comments yesterday? I would have said something more chocolatey than mentioning the look on Smitty's face.

gayle said...

We always seemed to have a squash or pumpkin plant (or several) growing in our compost pile. Since we grew lots of varieties of squash, the plants were generally some kind of cross, some tastier than others. Depending on how seed-saving your CSA folk are, your squash/pumpkin might not be a cross-bred one. (When we were growing squash to save seed from, we kept those fruits separate and their seeds didn't end up in the compost bucket. Mostly.)

Pam said...

WOW! The torture blocks are really coming along and look so pretty-just great. All your flowers and veggies are awesome. I had my birthday and received my new camera. Which is the one you use so now my photos will be as beautiful as yours (not really-there is also skill and practice and the knack for it involved). The photos I have taken so far are the best of my life. Hi to sadie!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love seeing all the blooming things - especially the sunflowers as they were my Dad's favorite and always grew them for the birds. I think that may be a pure pumpking you have growing - fingers crossed for you.

Sarah said...

Such a gorgeous purple hydrangea. My house came with a massive white one but someday I want all my gardens to be purple and yellow so I best keep my eyes open. I have seen a yellow one on vacation in PA but it was not for my zone (4). Bummer!

Janarama said...

Beautiful pictures, as usual, of the flowers in your gardens. The paper-pieced flowers are so colorful. I like almost anything that uses bright, happy colors. Paper piecing is one of my favorite techniques. Precious picture of Sadie watching you in her new catio. Mike did a fantastic job on making a safe outside area for Smitty and Sadie. Is there anything the two of you can't do?

Susan said...

All that time outside taking pictures and not a one of Smitty! Did he not go out with you? Probably a good thing as Sadie looks awfully sad being on the inside apparently all alone.

I have a beautiful blue hydrangea too. I have never seen a purple one; yours is beautiful. And my guess for the compost pile would be squash, so if it turns out to be a pumpkin, I am still correct as pumpkin is in the squash family:-)

Christine M said...

Beautiful flowers, Barbara. I keep thinking I should plant some sunflowers. They are gorgeous.

newsurfiegirl said...

What beautiful Hydrangeas! They always remind me of my grandmother and that always makes me smile, so thanks for making me smile today :0)

Quiltdivajulie said...

Your posts are SO much fun to read. Beautiful photos, kitties, humor . . . and quilts.

Kate said...

Love your hydrangeas and sunflowers! So much color. You've got the cools and the warms well covered. Your paper pieced blocks turned out nicely. Hope you got everything done you were hoping to yesterday.

Pattilou said...

Such a fun post. Love your paper piecing.