Monday, April 25, 2016

flowers and bees (no birds!)

 What a beautiful weekend we had ~ perfect for getting some yard work done! Saturday was spent at my mom's house. Hubby power-washed her deck for her and then we all went out to lunch. Sunday, we mowed for the first time this season, dug out a lot of weeds, sprinkled grass seed in bare spots, and started on the mulching. In this photo, hubby is digging out some of the pachysandra ground cover that has overtaken the stepping stones. That stuff is a bear to dig out - has very strong roots.

 We also dragged the old ladder out of the garage and put it on the south side of the house. This was a ladder that a neighbor was throwing away last year, so it was a freebie. I need to buy some more annuals to fill out the rung space. I'm heading up to a new-to-me garden center this afternoon!

We had a couple of envious window watchers. (The butterfly at the bottom of the screen is a magnet. It's for covering up holes in the screen.)

The lilac bush as it is now. In a couple more weeks, this bush will be exploding with fragrant blooms. 

Starting early Sunday morning, our neighbors two doors down were working on cutting down a huge tree in their back yard. We have no idea why they were doing this. Maybe the tree was diseased, who knows. Last month they cut down a beautiful, healthy maple tree on the side of their house. Now they have no trees at all on their property. I just don't get it.

 Meanwhile, back indoors, I made a delicious spring salad: brown rice, red quinoa, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, baby spinach, fresh parsley, radishes, scallions and feta cheese. I'm sure sugar snap peas and/or asparagus would be good in this salad, too. The dressing was simple: olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Makes a delicious light lunch or accompaniment to grilled meat or fish.

Later in the afternoon, we visited with some friends. I love the explosion of color in this spot with the tulips and azalea. 

Our friend is a beekeeper and the three hives are literally abuzz with activity right now. Our friend said he can actually smell the honey when he stands next to the hive. I'll take his word for it!

He got this close-up shot for me.

He even painted the sides of the hives with flowers. A guy of many talents and interests! He is dating one of my best friends right now.

Well, it is later in the afternoon and I'm home from the garden center. I bought some more pansies, coleus, gerbera daisies, and a few varieties of lettuce.

Here's what I absolutely fell in love with: Bougainvillea. I didn't know what it was at first, so I took one of the plants down to look at the tag. I was surprised to see what it was because Bougainvillea is usually a tree or bush. They also had this plant in pink. I didn't bring one home because of the $35 price tag. Mother's Day is coming up so I might drop a hint. ;-)

Here's a close-up of the flowers. They don't even look real!

I'm headed back outside now before the rain comes in. We just got a severe thunderstorm warning and the clouds are already rolling in. Looks like cool temps and a lot of rain for us the rest of the week. How is spring going in your world this week?

Sharing with At Home With Jemma - Spring Garden Party.


  1. What a pretty post! I like your pots on the ladder but I can't copy, they would blow off in Oklahoma.
    I remember bougainvillea growing in CA but I only remember bright pink ones, the orange bougainvillea would sell like crazy in my town as the university's colors are orange and black.

    Hope you have many more enjoyable spring days.m

  2. Love your slice of life here! The bee hives are amazing! I hope that the severe weather forecasts pass you by. Here it's still not much about gardening...just enjoying early blooms and a lot of grass much rain over the last six weeks that I think that I and everyone in my neighborhood has had to mow about 4-5 times already

  3. Melanie, I love that you gathered beautiful gardening pictures from more than one place. Those projects you described from last weekend are some of my favorite times with my husband. Team work in action is heart warming.

    Thanks so much for joining the garden party. :)

  4. Well spring has arrived in full force for you! It all looks great! :)

  5. Lots of spring happening there. We have had nice weather here too. Storms are coming though.
    When our neighbor cut down several trees all of a sudden we had more light. Enjoy. Hugs

  6. I wonder if your neighbor has allergies and thought they'd be reducing some pollen by doing that? It's a shame when someone moves in and starts removing things without knowing what is what on their property. Our neighbor removed all the oak trees simply because she hated the acorns. I have some pachysandra on my "hosta hill" and like it's easy going nature. I have a sandy/loamy soil and it's not too hard to dig or weed. That's pretty neat that your neighbor is a beekeeper. We buy local honey in an attempt to help my husband with some allergy issues. Your trip to the garden center is my kind of fun! I haven't ever seen bougainvillea growing in hanging pots before. I wonder if they'll have some here this year. We are getting the thunder/lightning tonight and rain. My lilac topiary tree is showing signs of flowers- can't wait to smell them!

  7. That Bougainvillea is beautiful. We got a bit of garden work done over the weekend, too. Tomorrow is forecast to be very stormy. Ugh.

  8. Melanie, nice to meet you. Your garden photos are lovely. Everyone is busy in their gardens. How fun your neighbor keeps bees. Those Bougainvillea are gorgeous! I wish we could grow them. Happy Monday.

  9. I love that Brian helps you outdoors with the 'green' stuff! Makes chores a little more fun! Those bee hives are amazing. Don't really like the critters, we have huge yellow jackets hanging around the hedges and Milo and Layla constantly snap at them...I can imagine the disaster if they swallowed one.

    The salad is awesome, the more complex, the more I love to eat them. The bougainvillea surprises me, I thought it was native to the South.

    Yes, the storms didn't seem to pan out here on the Southside. Em and I were at Oakbrook earlier and I was a little nervous about the direction it was coming from.


  10. I would not have expected to see bougainvillea in an Illinois garden.

    I'm so happy that spring has hit and you can enjoy the garden once again.

  11. I saw your post on the new garden center. Looks amazing! And you're right, I have never seen bougainvillea growing in hanging pots like that before. I have two bushes in big pots on my balconies. As long as they get water, they keep blooming. Actually, now that I think about it, I do also have two smaller ones that are more like a plant than bush, but they keep blooming, too.

  12. I love this post...that salad looks amazing.....and your ladder reminded me that I have a tiny ladder in the storage room that I need to add to my flowers. xo

  13. So glad you two are out enjoying spring. I love that purple flowering shrub in your neighbor's yard with the tulips.

    I've never seen bougainvillea grown like that. Maybe it is treated as an annual up your way? If you get one of these, watch out for thorns! These thorns are awful, I know. I have two bougainvillea in my gardens.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  14. I've never seen Bougainvillea in a pot - how gorgeous! Wouldn't it be nice if it was perennial in our zones??? :)

  15. How wonderful to have a bee keeping neighbor. Thank you so much for linking up to the Garden Party. Your garden is completely enchanting!

  16. All of your hard work will surely pay off in a month or two. I love how quickly things change in the next few months. Strolling the garden each morning looking for new blooms is like opening a package at Christmas. :) We just did the mulch thing and reseeded where Voles got to our lawn this winter. Never had that problem before, but we had snow on the ground for a long time this year. Fun to have bees! Thanks for sharing with the Garden Party.

  17. How great that you are able to get back out in the garden! The ladder will look great planted up with some annuals!

  18. Good Morning Dear Melanie!

    What a great day it is to be here gardening with you:)
    You know your kitty Cats are too precious and I feel as though I know them, they do have such great personalities! Like little toddlers:)

    Well, I love your gardens, they seem magical to me. So organized and yet natural, how do you do that?

    What a darling use for your whimsical ladder and your colorful pots are just perfectly placed on it too.
    I have tried to grow Bougainvilleas so many times and I have not been successful. Maybe I just need to try another mindset and look at them as just temporary color for one season.
    I have never seen a peach colored one before-gorgeous.
    Love your healthy eating and recipes:)

    I am so happy to have you at the garden party, it runs all the way through Mother's Day so share more, as your garden blooms and thrives!

  19. Hi Melanie, I really enjoyed your post! Love your ladder, what a great idea to display it in your yard full of flowers and plants...
    Your kitties are so adorable. That salad looks amazing, I need to try your recipe!
    I love Bougainvillea and it grew really well in CA, but here in MA I think is too cold for it! I never saw it in that beautiful orange color!
    Thank you for your beautiful post!

  20. Your yard is filling in so nicely already with all your perennials and the annuals you've added, Melanie. You are leaps and bounds ahead of us in your yard! It's been so cold that spring seems to be on hold up north. We had to cut down 2 diseased trees this spring and I'm already missing them!

  21. Hello Sweet Melanie, I am delighted to see that you are finally having some pretty spring weather. You have been waiting so long. No more snow, Hurray!!! I loved reading your post and that first photo of the garden center. I love the perspective that you captured in that shot. Great camera work!
    Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend . . . enjoy :)

  22. My inlaws were like that with their trees. They used to have many, but now, none. There was always an excuse. The birch tree was too messy, the pine tree had dead branches inside, and the maple attracted too many birds. Once they were all gone, they were perfectly happy. Can you say neat freaks?

  23. Looks like you have been very busy around your house, Melanie. That old ladder is wonderful and your kitties are as cute as ever. I think it would be wonderful to have a bee box or two but I am not sure if I am brave enough to handle the bees though. Your photos are beautiful and that garden center you visited looks like a place I could spend a lot of time in!

  24. Your garden is lovely and the salad does look yummy!


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