Things grow, things change (again)

Oh, you were looking for me? Probably not, but I went awol for a while again. We had company from Chicago, our next door neighbors, in fact and that was a good thing because it reminded me that I have something to head back to as I begin the process of packing up our "winter life."  It pleased me to hear that all the daffodils I planted last fall survived the wild temperature deviations of late winter and look lovely along the pathway. I’m sure they’ll be done by late next week, but still, that means I have the beginnings of a garden in Chicago, right?Front

Here, everything has taken off like gangbusters. (What?? What’s a gangbuster? Like a ghostbuster?) Here, everything is growing fast and well. I looked back at photos taken late January as I was finishing up the loose construction ends and just beginning to think about landscaping. Remember those crazy paver guys who worked without gloves or eye protection but screamed like girls at a small red necklace snake? Here’s that same area now. Millie the pig, bless her cowlicky soul, is tucked in there, snug among the butterfly bushes. I guess when you bury a pet in your yard, that makes it your home, right?Sidebefore_2
Fountain 

Along the fence, where it was pretty bare, I have ferns growing, a blooming gardenia and some dwarf jasmine. It smells a lot like Hawaii. I have orchids hanging where they pretty much mind themselves and bloom away. They get once-a-week irrigation watering plus whatever rain comes their way and thrive. Like certain children, they blossom with benign neglect when the general environment is conducive.Fence
Orchid2

Remember I said I had planted some starts and seeds in left over cinder blocks here and there? One thing I planted was that mystery seed/nut/pod that fell on my head one day in yoga class at the botanical gardens. When in doubt, let it sprout! I have no idea what it will be- some kind of vine- and I hope it flowers. You can see that these Peniocereus and similar cactus bits and pieces that I snagged in my wanderings have evidence of new growth; some I’ve already planted out and about in the yard. They have spectacular blooms so I’m happy these have all taken hold. I planted coontie seeds too, but (yawn) I’m waiting for action on those. Maybe when I return next season. I was warned they are slow to startStartsbef_2
  Back1

Having a yard (as odd as it looks, sans grass and a peculiar mix of shell and mulch at the moment) and garden here in Florida has taken a lot of the edge off of leaving my beautiful perennial beds back in Michigan and not having much space at all to grow things in Chicago. It has helped my spirit and sense of wellbeing grow, too, after a tough year or so.Sidebef
Side_2

Still, and here’s probably more of the reason I went silent for a few days, it’s an unsettled patch we’re in for around here. I’m alone now for almost three weeks. Well, I have the cats but Rich took off on business plus an annual golf outing he’s done for thirty years with the same guys early this morning and through a bad alignment of the stars we won’t cross paths again, except for about 4 hours, for almost a month. I’m cleaning up, packing up and saying my goodbyes to yoga and garden buddies and the shelter children here and then I fly to Chicago to wake up the brownstone. He returns the day after I leave and loads up the traveling zoo (minus Millie, plus a few potted plants) and drives back. If he doesn’t hit a lot of northbound traffic I will see him for a few hours before I have a short trip, then he has a longer trip to Europe and so forth. Reminds me of that funny movie, The Terminal, where Tom Hanks literally lived at the airport. Except this doesn’t feel so funny, just unsettled.
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I KNOW you haven’t forgotten about Good Planets this coming Saturday. Liza has already gotten me a stunning photo. Where’s yours? The theme is "water" as in rivers, oceans, lakes, streams, ponds…C’mon, you can do it. Share your vision of this Good Planet (or an ocean on another, if you have it). E-mail those to me here (see sidebar!) by Friday. THIS Friday. 48 hours. Snap, snap, snap.

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16 responses to “Things grow, things change (again)

  1. Your house looks gorgeous. Tres Florida.

    Good luck with your summer life (he said scratching his head and wondering how you can leave that cottage)and I hope your coontie sprout while you are away.
    They are really, really slow, so we may be looking at next year.

  2. Missed you when my little fam journeyed to Chicago a couple weekends ago. I was looking for you in the crowds, but Chicago is a big city. And you were in Floriday anyway.

    By the way, when we were in Chicago, we visited two of MSN’s travel site’s “15 places in the world that tourists should avoid.” That was Navy Pier and the Sears Tower. Should have gone to the zoo like you suggested.

  3. Of course, I checked here for you everyday! Your yard is gorgeous already; puts mine to shame and I’ve been here for 25 years. I can’t wait to see what the mysterious unknown pod turns out to be. Hope it isn’t like the plant in the movie that eats people….LOL

    Enjoy your trip back to the north. I’ll email a water photo to you in a few minutes.

  4. I missed you but I figured you were busy and . . . I was right! You gotta keep living your life, after all! Sometimes we go quiet.

    I can’t imagine how unsettling it would be to up and move away from a place you are still learning to love. I’m impressed to say the least.

    I hate it when our stars align (or misalign) to keep us travelling in odd ways. Doesn’t happen as much for us now but it used to and it was awful.

    I (for one) am looking forward to learning more about Chicago through your eyes. I’ve only ever been to the airport there changing planes and that doesn’t count! 🙂

  5. You know how to make a beautiful flower garden grow. What a lovely place you have put together there, Vicki. I can imagine the gardenia and jasmine fagrances.

    Do you and Rich have video chatting set up? When Roger was out of town for a week, we used our little computer cameras and instant message accounts for live video chats everyday. It really was great to be able to at least see each other while we talked. Way better than phones.

    I will be emailing some watery photo soon. I just can’t decide which one, and I think that means I’m just not satisfied yet and will have to shoot another. Bay, creek, pond, or puddle?

  6. It all looks great! A month away is long…we’ll keep you company.

    We’re getting our landscaping started again, soon. Can’t wait. Now I just have to figure out how to control my allergies.

  7. I needed to stay longer in Florida, or go to Hawaii. I love the weather, the flowers, and SOME of the animals. (not the insect variety though!) You will have some quiet, alone time, and that can be a good thing. I craved it when my kids were small, but now it’s harder to deal with. Change can be stressful. The only kind of water around here is rain.

  8. Hi Vicki! I did look for you, and I missed you, but I was also quiet. I am just sitting down now to try and update.

    The garden looks lovely.

    A month is a long time. May I suggest phone sex?

  9. I was afraid perhaps you had already gone. As Kenju said, your yard makes me ashamed of mine. It is truly beautiful (yours, that is.) By the way, I met Kenju for lunch in North Carolina! Yay!

  10. I didn’t notice anything about this post except for the pic of the men working.
    Hot damn! Man buns!

  11. Um, you have SKYPE… and so, Miz. S’s suggestion could work. Just sayin’.

    Your yard looks amazing. I’m hoping to shape our little space into something worth looking at soon.

  12. It’s gotten to the point that when I check in to see you and you’re not there, I figure you are 35,000 feet up there, going somewhere…

    Your garden looks like Paradise! Lovely!

  13. I also wondered if you had gone north yet. I was thinking of you when I was in St. Pete last night getting my hair cut. Yes, I drive way to far for that luxury. Anyway, they were talking about the Green Thumb Festival there and how much fun it is. You may know about it already, but I thought it might cheer up your doldrums. Wish I could go, but my husband’s motorcycle club is coming to my house for a spaghetti dinner. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

    http://cms.stpete.org/default.asp?page=1483

  14. You know how to make a house a home, indeed!

  15. The Florida gardens are heaven! Bravo to you.

  16. I was wondering where you had been. The yard looks magnificent and you’ve done so well… I still have weeds to pull and pumpkins to plant… (not as many as last year)

    And we have had a milestone birthday.. I just had to muddle through without your input. My brother as always had his ideas, so things went well. Pictures to follow.

    I posted one with the sky and trees reflecting in a very still pool of water… perhaps that one… or… hmmm!

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