I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Enjoying the Garden

We've been working our tails off in our yard the last couple weeks and signs of life are sprouting up everywhere. Our daffodils, tulips and hyacinth are on the cusp of blooming which is exciting for Ella and me because we bought 600 bulbs last fall and I didn't label the bags well, just planted them in masse here and there so we'll see what we chose and where it ended up! I know we have some fancy, ruffled hot pink tulips with lime green stripes and some pink daffodils out there somewhere (both chosen by my five year old Ella!).

The loads of compost and mulch have begun being dumped on our driveway. We also bought a 10 foot Nellie Stevens Holly and moved the Skip Laurel to a new position in the tree island in the back yard to give us even more privacy. I have some new, inexpensive pots from Better Homes and Gardens via Wal Mart that will be full of annuals and ornamental grasses to fill in here and there back there as well. Five Lo and Behold Blue Chip buddleia will fill in in front of our new Nellie Stevens and some Korean Feather grass will either go in the ground or in a low, shallow and wide pot in fronts of the Japanese maple and skip laurel to fill in there. There is sort of a weird space in between the two cryptomeria and the holly due to necessary room for the trees to grow so in the meantime I found a great idea in a container gardening magazine to fill in the space with three pots in descending size, the largest holding a japanese maple (18-20 inch pot diameter), a Dwarf Alberta spruce (16-18 inch pot diameter) and Chinese Juniper (12 inch pot diameter). I'm going to try and find some nice brown pots so it looks natural and soft and fills the area in well. As the island trees get bigger I can move those small potted shrubs to somewhere else.

The south side bed was also completed. Last fall we planted a Janet rose, a Bloomerang lilac and a vitex/chasteberry there. This year we pulled out the sod to make an entire new bed, edged it with catmint, filled in around the three foundation shrubs with lavender, spiderwort and hollyhocks. I'm waiting on delivery of six South Seas daylilies which will finish the bed.

The north side bed got some new columine and some pachysandra to fill in under the hydrangeas. I've got some caladiums ready to go in once it warms up to also fluff that bed up a bit more and I'm thinking of putting another trellis on that side with some goldflame honeysuckle which is fairly tolerant to high shade conditions.

My garden pillars from Jackson and Perkins arrived as did the huge trellis which I mentioned in previous posts. I am thrilled with the purchases and believe they will really add to the beauty of the garden. We are also strongly considering have the stairs off our porch done in stone which is a higher up front cost but will last forever and look really lovely as well. We are also debating a patio this year but are also feeling like hanging on to our pennies so we'll see what we end up choosing!

My five roses that I ordered from Pickering were delivered on my wedding anniversary last Friday (Bob couldn't have planned that better if he'd tried!) and we got them in the ground. I know have four OSO Easy Honey Bun Roses, two Christopher Marlowe roses and a Tamora in my front bed. I have two climbing Westerlands in the south side bed. I debated putting some roses in the back but the children play there so much I thought it best to keep the thorns away. I also found the most interesting looking pennisetum/fountain grass that is called fireworks. I've got three coming for the front bed to intermingle in between the roses.

We dug the beds that hug the back porch and they look great! We still need to get some more compost in them and then mulch the beds but they are almost finished. I have Pinky Winky hydrangeas immediately in front of the porch on either side of where the stairs will be. Beyond those are a mixture of types of echinacea coneflowers and then I have Anthony Waterer spirea rounding the bed out. On the bed to the left (when you face the porch from the yard) it extends much further and around hugging the exterior basement stairwell and I have a Colonnade Crimson Spire Apple Tree and two blueberry bushes coming from Stark Brothers. I also planted a mini weigela, My Monet. Once everything is up and leafed out I'll see if I need to add any annuals. I know I will putting two hanging baskets on the stairwell railing for a nice pop of bright color, probably my usual choices of petunia, geraniums and coleus will go in them.

I am now obsessively planning my containers. In all previous years I've just gone to various garden nurseries and bought whatever caught my eye and tried to hobble it together when I got home. Not this year! I'm going with a plan and a list. I feel the need for things to look organized, planned and streamlined.

Last but not least, my mother gave me some patio furniture for our porch and Bob and I are thrilled to have an adult space to sit! I got the kids one of those turtle sandboxes and stuck it under their playset out in the yard and bought a large, weatherproof deck box to hold all their toys for their water table and the porch is finally looking a bit more adult and pretty. As the weather warms I'll get some more pots of herbs out there and we'll hang two outdoor ceiling fans and it will be such a great place to hang out!

She's Almost Here!

Spring, that is. I'm finding all sorts of evidence in my garden that things are about to get a lot prettier and warmer around here. Thank goodness, I am so ready. Spring is my favorite season. I think the warm, breezy days with a profusion of beautiful blooming bulbs, Easter and all the new baby animals being born seem like such a reward for surviving the cold, dark, bleak winter. I like things about all the seasons but I'm never so relieved for a season to arrive as I am for Spring.

Last spring and fall my husband and I spent a ton of money and time trying to get our yard in a livable condition. We planted trees and shrubs and perennials and bulbs on a massive scale considering we had a new baby, a toddler and a 5 year old. I'm so thrilled to see all that hard work creeping back up back through the mulch to share its beauty with us again this year. And the spring planting plans are well under way, Bob is taking off a week from work next week and we should get the remaining beds dug and ready for planting in April.




Hollyhock (12 of them!)

Rose beginning to leaf out

4 raised beds full of cabbage, lettuce, brussels sprouts, broccoli and various asian greens

I planted 600 or so bulbs last fall, they are popping up everywhere

I like having a photographic record of what things look like from season to season so I can really see the changes!


(C) 2010
Blog design by Splendid Sparrow