Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Visit to City Hall

I usually don’t repeat here the same photos as I do on Examiner, but I just like this picture and I have a bit of a time crunch today. I used it at the end of the slideshow for my recent report about the Baltimore City Hall Garden. I was happy to find it thriving and productive. Though it is less showy I like it because it seems like they are utilizing the space well and the crops selected are good for a continuous harvest. I also like the addition of sunflowers here. They bring a bit of cheer to an otherwise utilitarian garden. I plan to do a Wordless Wednesday with more photos tomorrow.

I just noticed that Examiner now has spammy little ads on the bottoms of my photos in the slideshow. Ugh! I shouldn’t have done one.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Squirrel Flophouse

It has been hot here. Well, that is an understatement. It is more like an unrelenting summer of 90+ degree days with no relief. At least it has rained here and there so I don’t have to worry about my garden being dry anymore. The grass in front is growing again but the back is a disaster. First, most of the grass died. Then, we had heavy rain that flooded the back lawn. Now when I go out barefoot I feel the weird texture of the crunchy grass that has been pounded into the ground by the rain.

Aside from the heat, my big activity has been squirrel watching. This little guy (we call him the “squirrely squirrel” because he is a little nuts) is often sleeping on our porch, rolling around in different positions like a little kid. Yesterday he flopped into one of my potted plants. I usually keep seashells on top of the soil of my potted plants to deter squirrels from digging. Well, we found him sleeping on top of the shells.

As for Examiner I’ve pulled back from them a bit in favor of things that pay more money. I did write a little heat series earlier this month, beginning with an article on preventing heat stress in plants. Next I did a story on facts about brown grass as it seemed to be a bit of a fascination at the time. One of the TV stations (I believe channel 11?) was running a “worst lawn contest” and everybody I knew seemed to be talking about their brown grass. An easy offshoot of these topics was “Five heat tolerant plants”. No wonder there is so much bamboo in North Baltimore. Them, yesterday I wrote about larkspur simply because I am tired of writing about heat.

I just noticed a large ad with music that took over the heat tolerant plant article page when I went to it. They are on other pages, too. I believe these ads, which begin as an intrusive band at the bottom of the page, are new. If you accidentally move your mouse over them they tell you they will “…expand in 3…2…1….” Thanks, now my readers will be motivated to click away quickly. No wonder Examiner is not getting the page views it used to. I could complain about them a lot, but I do like the body of work I have on the site and I should just diversify a little more. Once this busy summer calms down I’m going to explore some new angles to my writing (for other places).

Friday, July 16, 2010


The gladiolas that my aunt gave me began blooming last week. I’m glad because it seemed that everything else was doing so badly in the heat. I have a lot of impatiens and things that won’t set flowers when it is too hot. I thought I had a lot of bare spots but actually things just aren’t blooming. I got some portulacas for half price on my way back from the Eastern Shore so I popped them in for quick drought resistant color. Hopefully the recent rain will help.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Visit to Sotterly Plantation

I had the good fortune to visit Sotterly Plantation on Friday. This was impulsive, as we originally planned to visit Mount Vernon in Virginia but then thought it might be too stressful due to the holiday. Sotterly was so beautiful and peaceful, but it was a shame that this place wasn’t seeing more visitors on a holiday weekend. We were there for hours and other than workers, we only saw one other family.

This plantation is worth some time. Visitors should go during summer because even though the house is beautiful the grounds are a great place for gardeners and nature lovers to explore. There is an old tobacco road that goes by an original slave cabin. This leads past the former tobacco fields and down to the water, where there is a shady picnic bench. (Carry out your trash on your own.) Along this path is an eagle’s nest, which is surprisingly visible. There is also another path through the woods.

Ahh…the formal garden is another place where you will want to spend time. The second photo above shows a part of it. There are lots and lots of flowers, and more butterflies than I’ve ever seen in my life!! I used up one memory card taking zillions of butterfly pictures. That will be my Wordless Wednesday this week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Should Take my Own Advice

This volunteer petunia is thriving happily in a sidewalk crack in Fell’s point. I wish I could say the same for all of my flowers.

When I went to put out the recycling this morning I watered my garden. I’m a little down because I seem to be loosing my impatiens to mildew and my one garden bed is a scorched mess. But, this is up against the wall of my one neighbor’s garage and gets a lot of reflected light. The other side of the yard is sheltered by the other neighbor’s fence and so is faring much better. Thankfully, my new herb garden is on that side.

I’m still fretting about the scorched bed and my beloved zinnias, which usually do well no matter what. I want to run out to find a garden center that still has drought tolerant plants like portulacas but I know that is unrealistic.

In my “July in the Baltimore garden” article today I wrote that if you have a scorched flowerbeds you can cover it with mulch or move potted plants to the area. I have enough mulch for the sad impatiens bed under the tree. The scorched bed next to the wall could really use mulch, but since my arm still hurts from the last time I got mulch I’m avoiding that. I don’t want to transplant anything when there is no rain so I may well move my potted plants to the sad flower bed and go from there.