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May is a month of insanity. Between graduations, gardening, Mother’s day, end of the school year band concerts, plays, ceremonies, and in our house we have kids in soccer, baseball and track and a few of them are in all of these sports AT THE SAME TIME! Fortunately, the month of May is about over and it looks like we are going to survive it. In addition to all the other goings on around here, I decided to fix up an area of foundation plantings in front of the house. I was never satisfied with what used to be in this spot and have long wanted to tear everything out and start over. This Spring, I finally tackled this project. I built a stone pathway to the hose, tore out some old shrubs that looked terrible, planted a few new ones, added three Hostas as “filler” and jabbed some flowering Vinca in the remaining bare spots. Check out the photo!

I know!
It’s not much to look at when you consider all the work involved, but I think by the end of the summer it will start to fill in a bit and look pretty good and then in a few years… well you just wait. I think it is going to look great and certainly better than what was here.

The shrubs I planted around the stone walk are two oak leaf hydrangeas, one pink diamond hydrangea, and a red wing viburnum.

Ridiculously excited about the Red Wing Viburnum.  It’s got all sorts of bells and whistles.  Spring flowers, red tipped leaves and in the fall a nice bright red color.  How can one possibly ask a shrub to do more?  Oh!  How about flower all season in large conical blooms that slowly urn from creamy white to pink to red?  Why that would be your Oak Leaf Hydrangea!  A shrub that I may or may not have had a hot steamy affair with during my first season as a Garden Center employee.  Trust me, you don’t want to know.  But what about a massive shrub that will form an excellent backdrop to all the other plants in this area, cover the two unattractive gaping holes underneath the porch and be covered in blooms all summer long?  Oh!  Why that would be the Pink Diamond Hydrangea!  So yes!  I am kind of a genius when it comes to choosing a shrubbery!  This can’t possibly be bragging when it is simply the truth!

In other news…

I picked my first batch of beets today.

Just call me Dwight Schrute!

Beets are very pretty plants, but I am struggling with finding a way to prepare them that doesn’t involve sugar and vinegar.  Not really interested in borscht either.  I don’t mind a few cold beets in a salad, and I can eat a few roasted beets, but surely there are other interesting ways to prepare this veggie.  If anyone has any recipes, please help!  I’ve got tons of these things in my garden!

Lastly…

I went antiquing with my mom this past winter and purchased the above flower vase.

I have been very excited to put this vase to use and today was the day!

I tramped around the yard cutting cone flowers, Victoria blue salvia, Helenium, Russian sage, and yarrow.

And here’s the first bouquet of the year!

Isn’t that vase great!

I am so glad I bought it.

I’ve said this many times before, but I really do love growing flowers so much more than veggies.

Sometimes I think about chucking over the vegetable garden and just going all flowers all the time.

Because this whole beet thing…

It’s just not turning my crank.

This is what it looks like when the school bus arrives these days.

This would also be why my kids haven’t made the bus in weeks.

None of us are willing to beat the sun out of bed.

This is a great time of year to buy a shrub.

I know, I know – you are probably thinking Hey Rechelle!  Isn’t it is always a great time of year to buy a shrub!  And… Are you serious Rechelle? – I buy shrubs at least once a week!  And…  Hello!  When exactly is it NOT a great time to buy a shrub!

Well – yes – it is almost always a good time to buy a shrub (except for when the ground is frozen) but right now is an especially good time to buy one.

Why?

Because right now you can see the shrubs in all of their Autumnal glory!

And please try and remember!  I work at a Garden Center people! Shrub viewing is one of many ways that I occupy myself during the slower seasons at work.  Here are other things that I do when the Garden Center is deader than a door nail…

Dust shelves.

Sweep floors.

Dust more shelves.

Dust more.

Dust.

Dust.

Dust.

Sweep floor.

Take long slow drinks at the water fountain.

Arrange Christmas merchandise!

Christmas stuff!!!

Christmas!

More Christmas.

Christmas.

Even more Christmas…

Still Christmas.

Christmas crap.

Christmas crapola.

More Christmas Crap!

Lose desire to ever celebrate Christmas again.

Snack!

Long slow drink of water….

Dust more shelves.

Notice with prickly tingles of fear that there are teeny tiny mouse turds on the low shelf that I am dusting.

Worry that I am now going to die from deer mouse fever.

Deer mouse fever.

Death from deer mice.

Death.

Death.

SNACK!

Chat with co-workers.

Chat with co-workers some more.

Chat.

Chat.

Christmas crap.

Chat.

Dust more shelves.

Admire shrubs.

_______________________________

So admiring the shrubs is just one of the many intense responsibilities that I have at my job during the slow season.

It’s not easy being me.

Here are a few shrubs that have exceptional Fall color….

Lynwood Gold Forsythia.

Turns out that the bright yellow Spring plant also has great fall color.

TWOFER!!!!!

Sweetspire.

From brilliant gold to ruby red, there are several variety of Sweetspires that put on a great Fall display.

Fothergilla.

Currently my favorite fall shrub for it’s brilliant orange leaves.  I want to plant one of these surrounded by Blue May Salvia.

Burning Bush.

No one does Fall like the Burning Bush.

Oregon Grape Holly.

Want some Fall color in a shade garden?  This is your plant.

Snowball Viburnum.

Massive white blooms in the Spring and dramatic wine colored foliage in the Fall.  I hope to plant one of these in the near future.

Now go out and admire you some shrubbery people!