2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Now It’s Time to Rest

empty lawn chairs

Time to Rest

This past year has been one of the worst ever for me. That is mostly due to lack of finances and unexpected big bills. After a busy season, now it’s time to rest. My fingers are crossed for a restful and productive (business-wise) winter.

All summer I worked in the yard, planting and digging and enjoying the crops. My tomatoes were a huge disappointment, but everything else did quite well. I kept very busy working online all morning, and working in the yard for a few hours in the afternoon. We had a wonderful summer, and beautiful fall here in the northeast so the weather was usually cooperative.

We were graced with a spectacularly warm and sunny day just this week – in mid November! It was in the 60’s and I was raking leaves in a t-shirt! I didn’t work online that day, but spent all of it outdoors. I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. Even though my back was telling me I had done enough, I still had gutters to clean out and mulching to do, so I pushed myself more than I should have.

I dug up some parsley and mint to bring inside for the winter because they both still looked so darn good. I used the blower and rake and wheelbarrow to remove the masses of leaves that were everywhere, even though I had raked numerous times already. I paid for it with lots of aches the next day, but I was satisfied with my efforts.
Bring on the snow!

I took pictures on that bizarre summer-like day and will be using them as soon as I get the chance to load them to the photo library. My single blue hydrangea flower is beginning to dry out.  It never turned purple like last year.   All the limelight blooms are gone by, but they would make a nice dried bouquet for indoors, if I didn’t have a cat that would “play” with them.  I will trim up those plants soon so the snow won’t break the stems.

I’m ready for that rest.

The Year The Tomatoes Died

tomato blight

Tomato Blight Disease

I hate to even write about this, but it’s the unfortunate story of tomato death. This depressed me so badly that at one time over the summer I decided I would never grow tomatoes again. But of course I will. I don’t give up that easily!

I don’t plant many tomato plants because I don’t have the space. I don’t eat that many tomatoes either, but I do look forward to picking my fresh, garden crop by August. I look forward to it all summer long, from the time the little tomato seedlings are put into the ground. At one time I counted 30 tomatoes on one plant, and I had 6 plants, so I expected a nice crop.

green tomatoes on the vine

When They Looked Good

It wasn’t meant to be. In the past I’ve never had a problem with my tomatoes growing nice and big and ripe. The “Celebrity” variety is my favorite, so I grow them.  I water them when it’s dry and I rotate my planting space. I give them fertilizer and watch for bugs and tomato worms. Everything was fine. Until it wasn’t. Suddenly, it seemed like overnight, I noticed that the leaves were looking funny. They were brown and wilting. They were curling up and dying near the bottom of the plants. I had managed to pick and eat a few of the early ripe fruits, but the others ended up looking like my first picture, above.  With brown spots and weird looking markings and colors, they were inedible.

red, ripe garden tomatoes

Garden Tomatoes

There is always next year. It seems so far away.

Pinky Winky Blooming Timeline

All season I have been photographing my beautiful Pinky Winky hydrangea shrub. Now I am ready to share my pictures, in a blooming timeline, to show the progression of the flower color from spring (summer) through fall.

The bush is lopsided because the deer decided that the buds would be a tasty treat (darn deer), but at least they left me some flowering stems.

So here you have the white to pink progression, with a surprise late white flower showing in my last photo. After all the blooms had turned totally dark pink, a lone white bloom appeared. It looks so pretty against the rest of the bush, that I made a hydrangea poster from the image to sell in my BlueHyd store.

If you are unfamiliar with this variety, the flowers begin as all white, then gradually become pink from the bottom up. As time goes on the pink darkens to a beautiful shade, which can be seen in my last image here.

budding hydrangea shrub

The Buds in July

white flowers hydrangea

White Flowers

white flowers with pink

Some Pink Beginning to Show

pink hydrangea paniculata

Most flowers are pink by late summer

hydrangea flowers white pink

Sept: All flowers are dark pink except for one new white bloom

I don’t have the exact dates listed, these photos were taken from the end of July through September. The hydrangeas don’t really start to grow flowers in my area (southwestern New Hampshire) until summer. The pinky winky is a fun one to watch as it changes throughout the season. This bush also attracts a lot of bees. So along with being a beautiful ornamental for the yard, I am helping to feed the wildlife – deer and bees! I don’t mind the bees, but those deer have plenty to eat without ruining my hydrangeas.

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