A is for Aardvark

I admit that photo of Hoover (check out those eyelashes) has him in sort of an odd position, but people! In addition to termites, these African mammals eat Cucumis humifructis, or Aardvark cucumbers, of which there is not a single image in Google. Learn something new every day.

Here’s what I learned first thing today: styrofoam weights, used in water aerobics, weigh 47# each when you’re trying to pump them under water. OMG. I don’t like to use silly little abbreviations like that but, OMG. So, I’m back now from my early morning workout and getting ready for:

OPENING DAY Tonight is the first concert of the season down at Millennium Park. The Grant Park Symphony Orchestra plays at the Pritzker Pavillion, the spectacular venue designed by Frank Gehry. Tonight is Barber violin concerto and Brahms Symphony No.2. Close to a dozen of us from the neighborhood go down early and set up on the lawn with blankets, chairs, champagne and the biggest antipasto spread imaginable. I have my red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and giant garlic heads slow roasting in the oven, 2 artisan cheeses plus a round of Zingerman’s City Goat I managed to snag, which is- hands down- the freshest, creamiest goat cheese I’ve ever tasted. (Wren! Take note!) I’ll also take some French country sausages, olives and berries. I found some giant blackberries that will taste good and look pretty on the plate. A baguette and some Chicago Flats and a box of chocolate truffles completes our end of the picnic fare. Not that it’s all about the food.

Speaking of tomatoes, my earth box tomatoes are showing promise despite only 6 hours of sun a day. I have them up here with me on the third floor balcony. I’m not sure the little tiny step out balcony is actually meant to be heavy weight bearing; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it falls off the side of the condo come August. (Thumbs, toes, balconies. If I knew a therapist I’d ask about this concern over parts falling off.) Nevertheless, I’ve decided I can’t live without growing tomatoes so there you go. The third floor balcony gets more sun than any other spot.

By and large, the courtyard is quite shady and cool and very limited in growing space so my gardening endeavors have been really constricted here in the city.

Begonias bore me, impatiens likewise but what can I do? I’m adding some hardy ferns, astilbe and a few other shady loving perennials a bit at a time. I end up using planter boxes and wall space, too, just to get a little bit of growing color about the place.

While I was taking some pictures this morning I discovered that our chia doormats are once again flourishing. We’ve had so much rain and the cottonwood threw all of her seeds recently- there must be some way I could make money with this. In the meanwhile I keep yelping at Rich to not step on the mat (which defeats the purpose of it, I guess) because I want to see how lush it will grow before it peters out.

Here’s our little urban entryway. It’s a far cry from the half acre of mature perennials that greeted guests in Ann Arbor but it will do for now. I try to keep it cheery in hopes the mailman will decide to step it up to three days per week.

17 responses to “A is for Aardvark

  1. You have a lovely garden wherever you find yourself, don’t you.

    The concert and food sound divine.

    Thanks for the info on Hoover.

  2. The entrance is lovely, and you put me to shame. Of course, anyone puts me to shame in that dept!

    What is anyone else bringing to the concert if that’s what you are supplying? Seems like no one else need bring anything!

  3. P.S. I love your craftsman style chairs, and do tell what the flying saucer with legs is doing in your floor?

  4. It’s lovely. I planted some Astilbe but was ignorant to the fact that they love shade and of course, I have none out front yet. There is a recessed area next to the porch that I would like to make into a shade rock garden with fern, astilbe, hosta and a few other plants….perhaps some day soon.

  5. Why is everyone’s living room/yard/other-random-living-spaces more tasteful than mine?

    Is it because I have poor taste/am lazy?

  6. OMG is breaking the 2nd commandment, you know, unless you are praising him for lovely friends, beautiful music, and the pleasantest of surroundings.



  7. Hey, I weeded today. . . does that count?? I love your walkway, but I dig you on the begonias. Here, it is the ubiquitous Rhody. I hate having them in the my yard because I’m delusional enough to think that I need something more. . .uh. . . unique.

    Of course, I’m the crazy Californian who planted “drought-resistant” plants in her yard, ignoring the fact I live in a rain-forest.

    As for Bonnie’s comment… for some of us, the “G” in OMG stands for “goodness”. Ahem. Because if I were going to break the second commandment I would say, OMY.

    And seriously, can we PLEASE stop referring to God as a “HE.” What year is this?

    (Takes her BDB and strokes it lovingly. . . s i g h)

  8. The concert program, feast and company all sound wonderful. And I’d love to see the venue in person.

    I’ve realized that if I want to grow vegetables, I’m going to have to rip out our front yard. Not enough sun in the back or side yards. (So far this summer, there’s not enough sun in the front yard, or anywhere in the PNW, but hope springs eternal.) I think the grass (and moss) will have to go.

  9. I love your path, it is magical! Tomatoes normally do well for us, but we will have to tent them this year unless it warms up. They don’t like constant rain and 40-50 degrees. IN JUNE!! Bah.

  10. That is the same walkway that I saw last year!!! My. What a wonderful change. Stunning.

  11. amarkonmywall

    OMG! Thank you! It’s Bonnie come to call.

  12. OMG!
    Oh My Grits!

    I couldn’t help noticing you forgot the canned spinach.

  13. Beautiful!!

    Do I spy a turtle on your carpet? Real or taxidermy?

  14. Thanks to those 47# foam weights, my biceps are the most toned part of my chubby old body and have become a permanent part of my water aerobics routine. Love ’em.

    Your courtyard looks so peaceful. It just needs a good book and a great glass of wine by that comfy-looking chair to make it perfect.

  15. How do you do it? Make an entry way look like that? It’s lush and inviting. You have a green thumb (speaking of body parts), and quite an artist’s vision. When I garden, the short flowers are always hidden behind the taller ones; the ones that need sun are planted on the north side of everything, and the shade lovers wilt.

  16. Can’t keep a good woman down. You are a wonder with your posies.

  17. I cannot believe how beautiful and clean everything is! Not a leaf out of place. My attempts at cottage gardens mean that there is always something that look straggly. Or I have to leave it till it is all the way dead to self sow. I need help.

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