A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Bee Nice

This is a Stewartia bloom with a bee enjoying a little bit of its pollen. If you look close, you can see the bee covered in pollen on its top and even down its wings. Bet he’ll be popular back in the hive. We have often thought about buying some hives and becoming real life bee keepers. Sounds a little dangerous, but fun. Do you or someone you know keep their own bees?

Fruit Juicy

This is a very good sign.  Earlier in the Spring, we planted two miniature citrus trees with plans to put them on the patio during the Summer and hopefully harvest some fruit.  I think we might get our wish!  After planting the shipped trees, there was about a month where it appeared there was little, if any, growth.  Then all of a sudden and at about the same time, both trees erupted in a mass of blooms.  There was a little bit of fragrance from the blooms, but not too much.  Towards the end of June, the trees were placed outside where they receive several hours of direct sun.  The blooms stayed intact for about a solid month and now many of the blooms have turned into baby fruit.  Above is a picture of the Meyer Lemon tree and below is a picture of the Calamondin Orange tree.  Both are packing some serious baby fruit!

So we’ve already talked about marmalade making with any oranges the Calamondin tree produces (with the help of regular oranges to make up any shortfall), but this is my vote for the Meyer lemons.  It is one of my new favorite Summer drink recipes.  Don’t worry if you don’t have Meyer lemons because regular lemons work just as well.

Meyer Lemon Drop

Ingredients:

  • Sugar, for rim of glass
  • Powdered yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Lemon slice, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 teaspoon Cointreau
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

Directions:

Tint sugar with powdered yellow food color, if desired.  Place sugar in a saucer.  Moisten the rim of a martini glass with a lemon slice.  Dip rim in sugar.  In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice, and superfine sugar with ice; shake well.  Strain into prepared glass.  Make another, and another and then fall over.

So here’s hoping we get to harvest our lemons and oranges by the end of the Summer.  We don’t want our marmalade jars and vodka to be lonely if the fruit doesn’t make it, do we?  That’s the one thing with gardening…fruit today doesn’t always mean fruit tomorrow.  A bad storm or a big bug can ruin your plans (and crop) in an instant.  However, if they do make it and you see us walking slightly unsteady with lemon-scented breath, you know why.  Do you have any lemon or orange recipes that you can share with us here at Acorns On Glen?

Reunited With An Old Friend – Our Clematis Back From the Assumed Dead

This is an old friend.  It is our Clematis Bonanza vine which was one of the very first plants that we planted when we moved to Glen Road.  That first Spring and Fall seem so far away.  One of the reasons we bought the house was the big yard and many gardens that were dispersed around the property.  Some gardens were nicely planted and others were vast mud holes.  I knew that I could revive my gardening skills put away when I moved out of my childhood home in Iowa at age eighteen and make the gardens plush with vines, plants and flowers.  Little did I remember that taking mud to plush meant a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  That first year I lost almost as many plantings as ones that grew.  Eventually, I realized that to make a dent in the mud, I would need to envision what I wanted in a certain area, research what grew in our area of Connecticut that looked like my vision and then utilize that particular plant in my garden.  In other words, just because something was pretty didn’t mean that it was going to survive the hot Summers and freezing Winters that Connecticut has to offer.  From my studies, I found the Clematis as the perfect flowering vine to cover my backyard fence.  It did not prove me wrong and flowered there for the last five years.

Then I thought we had destroyed it.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we did some construction to our home over the Winter and Spring here on Glen Road in an area that was heavily planted.  We worked very hard with some landscapers to relocate many plants that we knew we could use after the renovation.  However, we were told that the Clematis would most likely not make the move so we just left it where it was.  I figured it would be driven over, built upon and then destroyed and we would need to start fresh with new plants.  To my surprise this Spring, a large section of it rose from the ground and attached itself to the new fence that we had installed around the backyard, two feet from where the old fence once stood.  It did what it had done for the past five years.  It was amazing given the amount of construction work that went on in the area where it grew and prospered.  When I noticed it this Spring, I got a wide smile on my face and laughed.  It was if it was saying to me ‘ha ha ha, you can’t kill me off that easy’.  I’m so glad that we didn’t.

Clematis is a genus of about 300 species within the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.  Their garden hybrids have been popular among gardeners beginning with Clematis jackmanii, a garden standby since 1862.  More hybrid cultivars are being produced constantly.  They are mainly of Chinese and Japanese origin.  Our Clematis Bonanza was introduced at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2006.  This free-flowering Clematis blooms from midsummer into September.  We have let Bonanza, with its purple-blue blooms up to 3 inches wide, grow along our backyard fence with much success.  It is a hardy and vigorous vine and generally shunned by deer.  This is always a good thing for our deer-ravaged part of Connecticut.  Our only concern at this point is around the amount of sun the Clematis is receiving each day.  Most Clematis prefer the full sun with some shade around its roots.  Our new construction shades the Clematis for most of the day.  We will need to keep an eye on it to make sure it can survive with only a few hours of direct sunlight.

So hats off to you Clematis Bonanza and your ability to survive against even the hardest of times.  We are so glad you did.  Here’s hoping you have enough sunlight so that we can bring you some new brothers and sisters in the Fall to help you fill in that backyard fence.  What are your favorite ‘children’ living in your garden?

Critter Alert – What Is It?

This is what I found on the granite posts that support our espalier apple trees.  What the hell is it?  A larvae of some sort with some fur or hair sticking out on the bottom.  When I saw this on the post, I almost threw up.  Again, what don’t I like?  What’s my least favorite part of living in the woods of Connecticut?  Yes, the critters.  It can be as big as a beaver or as small as a hairy larvae, but the site of something like this from nature sets me free.  I don’t really know when my critter fears began.  As a kid I was always one with nature.  I caught frogs and toads, tried to catch fish with my hands, used to watch the pheasant and quail fly around in the fields behind my house.  Something changed and all I know now is that there is no joy…there is just a rush of heat through my body as my natural instincts instruct me to run for safety.  It’s the weirdest thing.

The larvae has to be related to the caterpillar I found on the other side of the post.  As a young kid, I would have grabbed the caterpillar, rubbed its furry little body and maybe put it into a jar with air holes poked into the top to watch it turn into a moth or a butterfly.  Now, I attach the telescopic lens to my camera and zoom in from across the yard to get the picture.

Here’s what I’m hoping.  Maybe the larvae and caterpillar have something to do with the luna moth that was stuck to the side of the house for so many days last month.  Maybe the luna gracefully flew to the granite post to leave one more generation of its beautiful family and this is what I found.  With my critter luck, I know that this caterpillar probably produced the larvae and out will come some hideous moth with fangs, a large wasp with a six-inch stinger or some strain of garden eating worm.  Let’s pray for the luna moth!

So rest assured that I will be hitting the internet this afternoon trying to figure out what is stuck to the espalier posts.  I may even go to the book store and buy a moth/butterfly book to see if I can figure out what is growing in the back.  I pray it is not something hideous so I won’t have to go out there and knock it off the post.  That would mean the neighbors would get to see another round of me screaming and running around like a crazy person.  If you know what this is, please leave me a comment.  In other words…..What is it?

Friday Dance Party – JTX’s ‘Love In America’ And A Love Rant

This is another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

It passed. 10:30 PM NYC time right now!!!

What’s the state of love in America?  It seems that everyone in politics seems to have a view on the subject these days.  If you live in the State of New York or close by in Connecticut like we do, you have heard a lot of people weigh in on the subject over the last few weeks.  This is primarily due to the New York State Legislature working to vote on a marriage act that will allow same-sex partners the right to marry in the State of New York.  Connecticut already allows it.  I first have to tell you that we are very pro same-sex marriage.  We look at it differently though in terms of views at Glen Road.  One view is that if two people love each other, than they should be allowed to marry.  Another view in our house is that same-sex partners should have the same rights and protections that others are given and this includes marriage.  Another view in the house is that they would want to be married if the church recognizes the union and they care less about the government.  Which one is right?  I think that it is probably a mix of all of these opinions.  So why does it bug me that the debate on same-sex marriage is such a big deal and so controversial?  I just don’t get it.  I just think it is so easy to see.  I don’t think that God frowns on it like some, I don’t think it dilutes the bond of marriage traditionally held between a man and a woman and I don’t like politicians weighing in on something I don’t think many of them know too much about.  Again, I like to keep it simple.  I think it all comes down to love and love is one of the most pure and simple things we have.  If you love someone, it is love.  There is no straight love, gay love, Caucasian love, African American love, Hispanic love, man love, woman love, etc.  There is just LOVE…the same feeling no matter how you get there.  There is just LOVE and if you and someone else are in love, you should be allowed to marry if you are so inclined.  The marriage that you enter should also be equal to all other marriages done in this country.  It’s only fair…this is about equality.  So to the same-sex marriage haters….if you don’t approve of gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person.  Mind your own business…God forbid if you were told you couldn’t do something that someone could do!  So that’s my rant on love.  <deep breath>

Moving on, I do think I know something that we can all agree on regarding LOVE.  I’m pretty sure that we all love living, music and dancing.  Right?  You’ve made it through another week and you are still kicking.  Celebrate that fact by turning the speakers up on your computer and shaking it to JTX’s ‘Love In America’.  You deserve it.  Go ahead and shake that money maker and remember to love the one you’re with.  What’s your opinions on LOVE…we’d love to hear them?

Our Virtual Garden Show Continues – What’s Blooming

This is a transition period in our garden.  The spectacular blooming of the more tender plants of Spring is over and the vast majority of the gorgeous blooms are just memories now.  As we start Summer, the new wave of bloomers tend to come from more hardy plants and shrubs that are better able to take the hot temperatures and small amounts of moisture that Summer offers.  The plants of Summer are a tough bunch.  They can stand up to the brutal 100 degree days and seem to not mind too much if the raindrops are far and few between.  You can just tell by looking at them.  They actually look tougher than their Spring cousins.  Hardier and thicker, their flowers seem to stare at you and say ‘what are you looking at?’  Remember when you were growing up and the ‘tough’ kids would hang out together and taunt other kids by saying thing like ‘come over here and we’ll punch you’ or ‘what’s your problem?’ or ‘what are you looking at?’.  That’s these bloomers…the tough kids.  They know how to get along with little help from others.  They are scrappy.  They need to be to make it through July and August.  Enjoy our latest virtual garden tour and see what’s blooming on Glen Road.

When it is all said and done, we’re glad the tough kids are out there growing during the Summer.  From now until the end of August, the days get so hot that it makes it difficult to spend a large amount of time working out in the gardens.  Some light weeding, deadheading and evening watering is about all you can do without major heat stroke.  Even though we stay indoors or by the pool more, it is still a great feeling to look outside and see that you still have flowers blooming.  Raises your spirits even in the hottest of times.  What are some of your favorite Summer bloomers?