Saturday, June 22, 2013

Agility Training

Its summer in New Hampshire and that means we're going to agility classes with the dogs once a week. We go to Diane's, our wonderful Westie breeder. She has a large backyard and has a lot of agility equipment set up in the back field.

We are doing this just for fun, as something the dogs enjoy, and we enjoy doing with them. Diane is kind of encouraging some of us to try competing, but so far I'm hesitant. I'm not completely ruling it out, but I haven't decided yet one way or another.

Agility reminds me a little bit of what it was like to do a jumping course when I used to ride horses. Its different, for one thing its not as dangerous, and (sorry horses) the dogs are smarter, but its similar in that you have a series of obstacles that you and your animal partner need to go through. In agility competitions there's a time limit, too. Oh, and no, you don't send a horse through a tunnel or a chute!

But when I did competition with horses I used to get SO nervous! I don't want to do it with the dogs and be nervous. Its not good for them and its not good for me. So I'll only try a competition if I feel confident that I will be relaxed and view it as something to do just for fun.

So far we are mainly working on getting the dogs comfortable with the various obstacles. There are tunnels,

A dog walk,

An a-frame,

And, yes, jumps!

After looking at the videos I shot at the last lesson, I realized that Harper is really catching on. Cosmo has only done agility a few times, but he is starting to get it too! But with Harper I can say the name of the obstacle and point to it and off she goes!  I should be able to not have to be so close to her, and I should be able to not give her as many treats, but that's my problem, not hers. She is one smart little doggie, and she's fast too! I get so out of breath running a course with her, you'd never guess I am a runner!

So here is a little video I made from our class. It was the first time I tried using iMovie to actually add music and put some video clips together. Aren't they all just darling?

Friday, June 14, 2013

What's Blooming on Shore Drive - June 14th Edition

We have gotten so much rain in the past week. And its been chilly too; highs in the 60's, lows in the 50's. Everything is holding up well, however. They wouldn't mind some sunshine and a little heat, especially the vegetable garden, but the flowers seem happy.

I had some Maple Leaf Viburnum blooming along the rock wall, but I waited a couple of days too many to take their picture. They were very fleeting this year, now you see them, now you don't.

Doesn't this guy have a great bug sitting on it!

I have a variety of Asters blooming in the wilder spots in the garden. There are so many Asters, and they are difficult to identify, even for experts. And DNA testing has made it even more complicated, as they keep moving the Asters around to different genuses. I think I will be content to call any wild daisy-like plant an Aster, and leave it at that.

My Peonies are even more spectacular than last week! All the rain has made them pretty droopy, however. And they will go from extreme beauty to blowsy overdoneness in the next week, probably. I'm enjoying them now. I do have a problem in the bed that contains the strawberries and clematis, as well as the peonies. The peonies have gotten large enough that they seem kind of crowded this year. Maybe next spring I will move them somewhere else.

Speaking of clematis, the pink flowered plant has finished blooming. I have another clematis with delicate white flowers that is blooming now. It won't stay for very long, however. I wish I had a late summer clematis. Maybe if I move the peonies there would be room in this flower bed to add something that likes to climb an arbor and blooms later in the season?

My roses are starting to look wonderful. I really lucked out with the varieties I chose last year, because if they do the same thing this year, I will have roses blooming for most of the summer. I just need to remember to deadhead!

This little coral bell is starting to bloom this week. It looks a little lonely...I think I need more coral bells!

I bought some Lambs Ears a couple of weeks ago at the Windham Garden Club sale. I bought them for their foliage; I had no idea they had pretty pink flowers too!

Remember the spirea from last week? See how its not blooming that much this year? And how big it still is, even after pruning? I want to prune it more, but I don't want to discourage the blooms too much. I have a chart that explains when to prune various plants; I better refer to it before I attack these plants again!

The dogwood's flowers are slowly turning pink, but they have a ways to go.

I think containers have a place in any garden, don't you? Here's one I made with sweet potato vines, coleus and nasturtiums. It will look especially nice when the nasturtiums bloom, don't you think?

Friday, June 7, 2013

What's Blooming on Shore Drive - June 3rd Edition

Earlier this week I was afraid that nothing new would be blooming in my yard this and I would enter one of those dread "non-blooming" periods in the garden. My goal is to have something blooming all summer long. Its easy in the spring, but it gets harder as summer comes. Instead of flowers, things are starting to create fruits, which is great of course, but selfishly, I want flowers too!

But just when I was starting to worry that I wouldn't have anything to show for this week, all sorts of new things started blooming. Another example of worrying for nothing....

I planted this Yarrow in 2010, the first year that we had the new deck and patio. I swear, after that first year it disappeared, and I haven't seen it since! And I think it was multi-colored too. Now here it is again, after 3 years, and all yellow. I'm not complaining, but I am a little bit mystified. Where did it come from, and where has it been all this time?

I have a tomato blossom on one of my six plants! Very exciting....

The Peonies are starting to bloom. I love them; they're so showy, and they smell sweet too. By next week they should be going full steam.

Here's my pretty little Dianthus. Unfortunately it doesn't bloom very profusely anymore. I'm going to try fertilizing it this year after it finishes blooming. And in the fall I plan on giving this flower bed a healthy dose of compost. Maybe that will help.

Here's a new plant, Jacob's Ladder, that I bought at the Windham Garden Club sale this spring.

My roses have acquired a pest of some sort. I planted roses for the first time ever last year, jealous of the beautiful flowers my neighbors have. I've always avoided roses, knowing they could be finicky. Well here is the first proof that they aren't so easy to grow successfully. The plants all over-wintered very well, but a little flying beetle is eating them up!

A relatively unscathed bloom
The culprit

I went to the local garden center and asked them what I should do. They suggested spraying them with something called spinosad, but told me to avoid spraying the blooms because it is toxic to pollinators, so that's what I've done. Hopefully it will work, and won't kill any bees in the process.

I have to brag a little bit about how nice the rhododendrons look along the driveway right now. I'm so happy I planted them. I have fantasies about how amazing they will look in around 10 years....

I thought all of the spring bulbs along the driveway were finished for the year, when up popped this hyacinth, hyacinthoides non scripta to be exact. Its the last one, however, before its time for the day lilies to start their part of the show.

I have iris on my hillside this year that are actually blooming. I've still got a long way to go before this steep hillside is covered with iris like it is in my imagination, but I've got a good start. I add a few more plants each spring. Its just a very hot and dry location, even with the sprinkler system, but iris like this sort of thing.

I was just mentally complaining that all my neighbor's spirea were blooming and mine wasn't when mine decided to join the show. These bushes frame my front porch. I pruned them heavily last year so they may not bloom as much this year. But they are really big for the space they occupy. I probably should prune them more this year after they finish blooming.

And pink dogwood is just starting to bloom. This is a BIG dogwood, planted by the previous owners in the northeast corner of the house. Every year I am astonished by how late this dogwood blooms. It starts in early June, and there will be flowers on this tree well into July. The flowers are just peeking out now...they haven't even turned pink yet.  Next week I should have pictures of showy pink blooms covering this tree.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

What's Blooming on Shore Drive - May 31st Edition

We have gone from lows in the high 30's to highs in the mid 90's in less than a week. That's a bit of a shock, both to plants, dogs and people. My plants are doing okay. They have had a lot of moisture in the past few weeks, and they do have a sprinkler system coddling them when it doesn't rain.

Hanging Baskets on the Deck Mean it Must be Summer
But they are looking a bit droopy in the late afternoon, especially in the front where it gets really hot and sunny (we're talking New Hampshire, not Texas, but still).

Not very many new things are blooming this week, but things that started to bloom last week are in full flower and some things, like the clematis, are still really going to town.

Its probably only got about a week to go, but oh my its lovely!

Garden corner featuring from left to right: beets, radishes and peas. Note tomato plants in the foreground. The fence keeps out bunnies, and dogs.

My vegetable garden is in full swing. So far I have a patch of lettuces, edible pod peas, radishes, beets, kohlrabi, swiss chard, eggplant and basil. I just planted cucumber, coriander and snap beans and are anxiously waiting for the seeds to germinate.


Remember this puzzling ground cover from last week? Well I saw it in a garden center a few days ago. Its name is Veronica. I'm so relieved. I don't like not knowing the names of the plants I own anymore...its common name is Spiked Speedwell, hmmm....

When I edited this picture of the Catmint I noticed the spiderweb-like substance attached to it. I wonder what it is, spider mites? I wonder what, if anything, I should do about it?

I love the Allium, prettiest onion I've ever seen!

I have an entire bed of perennial salvia that the previous owners planted. This is a saliva plant that I bought and planted in my front bed. It blooms much earlier than the other salvias. Maybe its a different variety, or maybe it gets more sun, I don't know. They're very close to each other, and they look very much alike. They are even the same color.

Oh my rhododendrons....I'm so happy to have them along the driveway. I hope they thrive and grow into the big, gorgeous, blooming bushes so many of my neighbors have!

And finally, the Wegilia bush is in full bloom now. I love the variegated leaves almost as much as the flowers. And that's a good thing, because these blooms don't last very long!


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