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.
Feast or Famine

Feast or famine, that is the deal with this blog.  I get so busy I forget to post (for months!) and then in guilt I throw up several things right in a row.

Things are growing!

I am so incredibly happy with these window boxes that I can hardly stand it.  There is chartreuse sweet potato vine, euphorbia, coral verbena, some kind of coleus, purple rimmed with lime green petunias and ivy in these boxes.  I am already thinking ahead to fall and winter box combos to keep things lively and pretty up front!

This pic of the Westerland roses was taken about a month ago.  That first spring flush was gorgeous and I am really happy with how healthy and beautiful they look being that this is only their second spring.  The clematis in there also was gorgeous and vigorous.

The Christopher Marlowe (pink roses) in the front beds were heavy, heavy, heavy with buds for weeks before they all popped.  I really love this rose.  I have such a hard time liking pink flowers but these have a nice peachy/coral center that make them stand out above the crowd.  My only complaint is that this variety wants to throw out weird long canes instead of mounding as I was expecting.  Both roses got majorly pruned after the flowers petered out.  

I took this picture yesterday, it is of Grace by David Austin.  I chose it in honor of my own little Grace.  We've been spraying with Daconil, it seems to be working pretty well and I feel less guilty about it than the Bayer systemic stuff we used last year.  

The tomatoes and cucumbers have taken off.  I can't believe the amount of growth in the last three weeks.  We've had enough rain that I've been pretty carefree and hardly had to do anything to maintain these plants.  

Ella, my 6 year old, loves to try a "fun" plant every year.  Last year we gave watermelons a try and this year it is corn.  She's got some Kentucky Blue Wonder beans sprouting here too.  

This pic is of the south side bed taken yesterday.  I love, love, love the juxtaposition of the Apricot Sprite agastache and the purple catmint.  The South Seas day lilies are just on the verge of popping out as they are loaded with scapes.  These are my very favorite daylily of all.  

Annabelle hydrangeas seem to get passed over now for more modern varieties.  I love these old-fashioned Annabelles and have never been sorry I planted them.  They totally fit my blousy, busy, messy, perky gardening style.  

I almost always plant these large planters (which block little ones from falling down a long flight of concrete stairs) the same way every year.  Nothing gives a cheerful shout out from a container like lemongrass and I love that it doesn't jack up the soil completely by getting root bound and stunting everything else that is trying to grow along side it.  I don't like asymmetrical containers so  I try very hard to find plants that will have height balance.  I am always more concerned about that than color schemes.   These have various coleus and petunias and of course, euphorbia and verbena.  

This is an Endless Summer hydrangea.  It is almost completely carefree if I keep it on the drip system and remember to stick a fertilizer spike at its base in the spring and fall.  I actually pruned it pretty hard last fall and it bounced back better than ever.  This is its third year and it really has come into its own.  

This is the front of the house right now, always a work in progress.  I've spent the last 2 weeks trying to dig out every last bit of evening primrose that I can find and I replaced it in front with two Coral Flower Carpet roses.  I love the color and I actually like that it is a single instead of a multi-petaled rose.  It is simple and pretty.  The Lady Elizabeth day lilies are sending up loads of scapes and should start blooming soon.  I can't figure out why the day lilies on the left are so much smaller than on the right.  They were planted in identical numbers, same planting pattern, same sun, same water, same everything.   Another gardening mystery.  

The pyracantha didn't die!  That BioPlex, which cost an outrageous amount of money, surely did its job.  When I first treated it I thought I was pouring dollars onto a grave.  It really is like Jesus and Lazarus but with plants and $$ involved.  Highly recommend!  

This photo is completely unedited (actually all these photos are because I am lazy tonight).  I bought a random bag of gladious bulbs and Home Depot last spring and just dumped then in the ground and these are simply stunning.  They are such a happy surprise AND they are a vibrant orange which goes so well with my orange/violet color scheme in this south side bed.  A little luck comes my way every once in awhile!  

We have a tiny yard.  I have been fascinated with growing produce for quite some time but don't really have the space for much more than a few berry bushes and our raised garden beds.  I bought these Colonnade Apple Trees from Stark Bros. last spring on a whim and they are looking awesome this year.  I'm so glad I got them when I did because it appears that SB has discontinued them.  I hope to get some full sized apples off of them next summer.  

Here is Miss Grace playing the rocks.  Who knew when we spread these that they would be more fun than the sand box.  

This is Carding Mill, another David Austin rose.  It was planted in late April and is looking great, lots of vigor and lots of buds.  I have a love/hate relationship with rose catalogs (especially DA) as most roses look very little like how they are photographed for catalogs here in the muggy Mid-Atlantic.  But, this rose is so elegant and sweet.  I like that she seems very tidy but a little spunky at the same time.  I think she is a Sunday rose, meaning she looks like she could be heading off to church.  




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