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I rallied. I overcame February and March influenza and pneumonia. OK! Enough!

As I convalesced and resigned myself to bed, my Smart Sony TV and YouTube became my go-to sanity. Thank heavens for channels which transported my weary body to the great gardens of Italy, England, and France, all hosted by Monty Don. Amazing Places on our Planet is another channel that convinced me I had become an angel, riding the back of a drone across continents. Brilliant videos! One can fulfill their bucket list on YouTube. Why spend one’s life in airports, lines, and crowed aircraft when in just a few clicks, one can visit the most beautiful places on our planet from the privacy of one’s bedroom? One day there will be smell-a-vision and I will be complete.

This month Swallowtail Cottage emerged with lush blooms, smothered weeds, departed needy plants, and as of yesterday eight tons of brown gravel that refreshed a tired driveway and paths. All events lifted my spirits to a new level of optimism regarding home ownership. Mother Nature missed my gardens with late frosts which ruin buds and spoil the essence of spring. I am awash with spring’s glory!


These tulips are new to my gardens. They are a rare heirloom which multiply! I lost most, but these seem to be happy.


The snowflake viburnum are awash in blooms. These three shrubs are sixteen years old! Peonies (on right) are chest high and loaded with buds!


The bridal wreath spirea is now lush with subtle fragrance. Brides order my Key Lime Pies, not my spirea!


This lone Lily-flowering Ballerina tulip is simply magnificent. I moved others and they vanished. I celebrate this single specimen the entire week it blooms. Planted in 2003… one of 16 bulbs from a cheap-o bag from Sam’s. Go figure!

Now, I admit from January-March I hauled/applied one hundred bags of pine bark mulch to all the deep shrub borders. The pine needle mulch experiment was a total bust allowing every rogue weed to propagate here. In January, one helper and I spent three hours on hands and knees ridding one peony bed of invasive Angelina Stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’). It became very unhappy with all the rain 2018 delivered and soon turned a lovely, moldy, black patch!


If one gardens in Arizona or CA, perhaps Angelina Stonecrop would thrive. Not so in central VA.

Live and learn.


The heirloom peonies are now chest high and loaded with buds. During May I will deliver many bouquets to market to my ever loving customers!

The Fire Power nandinas, installed in the front bed behind the Morris buxus, were also a total bust.


Just lovely, eh? $250 worth of plant material lost. Fire Power Nandina, a total waste of time in Zone 7a.

They came from the nursery infested with an “insect they had never seen.” Nor had I. The first season I was forced to apply an systemic insecticide. Then the second year, the leaves were riddled with what the nursery identified as “fungal issues” and advised me to treat them again this season. OUT I SAY! I have no tolerance for needy plant material!  The owner of the nursery sent out a plantsman who removed all the nandinas (at no charge) and will give me a 25% discount when I decide what to plant in that space. Right now, I enjoy the minimal front bed. The bay window still appears to be a hanging chad, but for now new plant material will wait. Perhaps a 7′ wide planter under the bay filled with fern will be splendid. Wild ferns are popping up in the pebbles, so perhaps they can be convinced to live in a more civilized planter. What do you think?

Now that I hopefully wowed you, I will go to the nuts and bolts.

Fresh gravel. Future projects…


Tabula Rasa or Latin for “blank slate.” Nothing like a fresh coat of gravel to perk up spring! Carport project still great and serving Auto and moi well.


Long shot of drive. Leylands on the left are becoming a royal pain…too large and too expensive to maintain. Some Leylands are dying out on this row, with will require many dollars to remove and replace with additional privacy fence…LATER!! Notice the “Green Giant” arborvitae on the right, planted in 12/16. I have high hopes for this plant. Fast growing, heavenly scent, and great for privacy.


Now doesn’t the front path look nice and tidy! The wee Morris buxus (dwarf boxwood) are like pets that I pat every time I stroll by. And by the way, I do not fertilize my turf. The perfect conditions during spring create a lushness beyond words.


Today’s view of house front. Notice my hanging chad bay window? So glad to have calm in that bed. What do you think of a large planter under the bay filled with ferns?


I should name this photo “naked gardening!” Need more river pebbles and that planter, gushing with ferns…yes?

Any hew, I am up and making things happen around here. I still relax with YouTube daily. And I failed to mention…I gave up sugar and refined carbs…going Keto this month and one week in, I feel good and body fat appears to be melting away. No longer guilty about eating bacon, butter, and meat. My market neighbor this season is a sustainable farmer who raises heritage beef, pigs, and chickens. Check out his web site…www.harmonyhillfarm.net  to learn more about sustainable farming.

Living well and upright. 😉

Now back to my Spring 2019 Honey Do List:

Replace RO system, pump septic tank, level boulder at back door, replace 8 casement windows! Time for the sale sign?

Love to hear from you. Drop me a line in the comments section. Happy Spring!


Copyright © 2019 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved