Thursday, February 15, 2018

Winter Landscapes In The Poconos

It's mid-February and Winters in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania can sometimes be drab and dreary, but if you take the time to look more closely, you just might see the most beautiful hues of white, gray, brown, and green coloring the landscape.
Winter lake shores can be dotted with bare trees, rocks, and boulders
or covered and glazed over with snow and ice.
It would be very easy to spot a red male Cardinal resting on a snow-covered branch.
Yet, a snow-covered branch alone can be just as beautiful in its simplicity.

Our whitetail deer bring color and texture to snowy landscapes
and the snow-crusted branches of a pine tree are just as lovely if you take the time to really look at them.
Just look up and you might see a squirrel's nest.
Oh ... and here is one of the nest's residents.
You might spot a fly fisherman trying his luck in one of our many creeks and streams
 or catch a glimpse of a child enjoying the pleasures of a Winter snowstorm.
You might even see our cat, Patch, getting nose to nose with a whitetail buck.

You never know ... what you just might see. Just take the time to look.

Friday, February 2, 2018

C'mon Spring ... Bring On Some Flowering Spring Bulbs & Flowers!

Yes, I know it's February 2nd  ... Groundhog Day. I know Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of Winter. I don't care. I can't wait til Spring arrives, so I'll put on my own flower show!
Not the first Spring flowers to appear in the Poconos, but Daffodils are my absolute favorite Spring flowers.  They are just so cheery and tolerate the early cool days of Spring with ease.
Snowdrops, though, usually show up first by defiantly pushing their way right up through the snow!
Crocus are okey-dokey with the white stuff, too.
Pansies also love the cooler weather.
Sweet Alyssum love the sun but don't mind a little nip in the air.
A much warmer mid-Spring brings sweetly scented Hyacinths
more Daffodils
Muscari, also known as Grape Hyacinths
and bright, colorful Tulips.
When the later part of Spring arrives, the Alliums will be blooming their heads off
along with the Peonies
and Bleeding Hearts.
Just have to wait ... sigh.

What are your favorite Spring flowering bulbs and flowers?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Patches Of Color Amidst The Snow And Ice In The Poconos

In the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, there is no disputing that the seasons of Spring, Summer, and Fall come in a myriad of rich, dazzling colors. Undeniably, Winter's palette is more ... subdued. Varying shades of brown, white, gray, and black are what bathe most of the landscape from December til April. At first, you might think ... Oh, how drab and dull. Not so ... vibrant color is still there. You just have to look for it.
Doesn't the bright orange of the paddle boats seem to glow in stark contrast to the gray and white snow-covered lake shore?

True, there is nothing really special about a pair of Bluejays perched on a white, snow-covered branch of a tree, but their brilliant blue plumage easily catches one's eye.
And this fat, little squirrel? Don't you just love the tinges of gold in his thick winter coat?
How about this photo?  What do you see first?  I bet you'd say the terracotta-colored flower pots!  You probably wouldn't even notice them if the pots were white
Simple enough. It's just a woman in a bright red jacket and her dog out for a walk on a cold Winter day. Did you guess that they are walking on a frozen lake?
Another brave soul. A hopeful fly fisherman braving the dark blue cold waters of a flowing Pocono stream in late Winter.
And lastly, what would the Poconos be without our whitetail deer? In Spring, Summer, and Fall they have the almost uncanny ability to seemingly melt into the very fabric of the rich greens and browns of the woodlands and forests. Yet, it is the very starkness of Winter ... the grays, whites, and blacks ... that reveal just how beautiful they really are.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Love To Garden But Have Health Issues? Gotta Cheat And Make Some Changes.

Sooner or later health and age issues will catch up with you.  In my mind I'm still 35 and can work in my garden all day long. But my body says ... who you kiddin'? I'm going on 67, have a bad back ... and bad knees. To top it off ... I'm a 16 month out Breast Cancer Survivor. Four rounds of Chemo and 35 Radiation treatments takes a lot out of you. As a result, my immune system is forever compromised. Right now, I 'm getting over a cold and my Doc told me it might take me about a month to really feel better. To say the least, my mind and body has gone through a lot.

Yet, the thing that still makes me happiest ... is working in the garden. And I refuse to give it up ... but I can compromise. That is my goal for the upcoming gardening season.

                     For years ... from April through mid-June ... I've had daffodils

along with Irises, Bleeding Hearts, Astilbe, and Alliums to dependably brighten up quite a few of my garden beds.

When they would begin to fade, I would normally plant clumps of annuals around them for Summer color.

                                     LOTS OF ANNUALS EQUALS LOTS OF DIGGING. 

                                                    So, I'm going to cheat! 

 I'll buy a flat or two of annuals and fill some large flower pots with them ... then hire a teen in the neighborhood to tuck the pots into different places for spots of color.

I may even consider Silk flowers ... How could I even contemplate comitting such a sacrilege you might wonder?  Hey,  it is not as tacky as you might think.  And there are benefits. You don't have to fertilize or water them ... and slugs, deer and groundhogs won't eat them. I am a bit embarassed to say this, but this hanging basket is still hanging above my well and it's mid-January. 

Summer, though, can be more of a challenge, especially if it's hotter and drier than normal.  But I do have quite a few hardy perennials I can rely on.  Catmint, Yarrow, Butterfly Weed, Shasta Daisies, and Black-eyed Susans are champs.  They happily grow and flourish on their own.  They can stand a dry spell ...  but on a really hot day, the Shastas are happier if they get a good soaking before the Summer afternoon sun hits them.

Three years ago I fell in love with the tall Garden Phlox I planted in my front garden with Impatiens as a front border for them. They pretty much bloom from mid-summer right through the Fall. They are easy to care for, they spread each year, and their scent is heavenly. They don't seem to mind the heat of Summer as long as they are well-watered.  They will continue to bloom as long as you cut them back. 

I'm know I'm jumping around, but I had to mention something else about flower pots. I use only pots on my back deck. They always come to the rescue in the lazy days of Summer.  I have a water hook-up to the left side of the deck. All I have to do is pull the hose up through the rails and water my plants. Easy peasy!

Have you tried trellises with flower pots? Last Summer I had Morning Glory and Moon flower vines covering my 2 tall trellises on the back deck. Mind you ... I had more vines than flowers due to a very late start and a cooler and wetter Summer than usual.  But at least I had showy green leaves climbing up the trellises. This coming year I will start the seeds sooner. I'll try both an outside winter sowing (around March) and also start some seeds indoors in April. 

This coming growing season I am also going to use water sprinklers to water my garden beds. 

Normally, I had been using a watering can and/or hose to soak down my flower beds, but it really is too time consuming. Too much walking ... too much refilling the watering can ... and the heavy weight of the filled can has become too much for my shoulder and wrist. I've got Arthritis in my shoulder and Carpel Tunnel in my wrist and hand.  It might seem counter-productive to drag a hose and sprinkler around, but it will save time in the long run.  A sprinkler can cover a much larger area. In-ground sprinklers would be nice, but the cost just won't fit in the budget.  So, I will compromise. I just love  the word ... compromise!

Well, this is what my new agenda will be for the 2018 Gardening season. Wish me luck ... I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Twelve Days Of Christmas ... In Flowers

                                 On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
         a pretty, frilly pink Pe-on-y.

         On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
two yellow Roses ...
and a second lovely pink Pe-on-y.

       On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
three white Daisies
   two yellow Roses
     and my favorite flower ... another pink Pe-on-y.

   On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
     four lavendar Lilacs
       three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
       and, Oh My ... another lovely pink Pe-on-y.

           On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
              and another ...  pink Pe-on-y.

        On the sixth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
six stunning Tulips 
 four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
   and another very pretty Pink Pe-on-y.

  On the Seventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me ...
seven fragrant Sweet Peas
six stunning Tulips 
four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
and to my delight ... another pink Pe-on-y.

   On the Eight Day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 
eight purple Poppies 
seven fragrant Sweet Peas, six stunning Tulips 
 four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
     and a rosy pink  ... Pe-on-y.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
nine nodding Bluebells
eight purple Poppies, seven fragrant Sweet Peas, Six stunning Tulips
four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
       and ... what else? Another pink Pe-on-y!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
     ten tiny Violets
nine nodding Bluebells, eight purple Poppies, seven fragrant Sweet Peas
six stunning Tulips
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
    and another sparkling Pink Pe-on-y!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
eleven lovely Lupines
 ten tiny Violets, nine nodding Bluebells, eight purple Poppies
seven fragrant Sweet Peas, six stunning Tulips
        ---FIVE GOLDEN SUNS ---
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
       and what else? Another ruffly, pink Pe-on-y!

    And on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
11 lovely lupines
 10 tiny Violets
 9 nodding Bluebells
8 purple Poppies
 7 fragrant Sweet Peas
 6 stunning Tulips
4 lovely Lilacs
3 white Daisies
2 yellow Roses
 12 beautiful flowers
as perfect as can be
Ah, come on, you know ....
it was a dozen lovely, PINK PE-ON-IES!

Wishing you all
 a very

Thanks to Pixabay for use of the photos used in this blog.