Monday, June 5, 2023

hello june ~ peonies, yard project, patio and good book

Even though it's technically still spring, I always think of June, July and August as the summer months. It sure feels like summer is here already. Last week it was 90F. And dry. We haven't had rain in weeks. Our grass is brown and brittle like it usually looks in August. My peonies bloomed a couple of weeks ago and the bush is so laden with blooms, that the top half is falling over despite having a peony cage.

I love when the peony and clematis are in bloom at the same time. Gives me a pretty view out my bedroom window instead of the neighbor's ugly brown fence.

I know peonies should be cut when they're budding, not when the blooms are full, but I cut both. I like to leave most of the blooms on the bush though, since they're so pretty. This year there were plenty for the bush and a couple of vases in the house.

We had a big, messy yard project that got done a couple of weeks ago. Our back yard had been flooding when it rained heavily. We have clay soil and over the years, it absorbed less and less water. We needed to have french drains installed in the back yard. 

Looking the other way towards the south side of the house. The underground pipes wrap around to the side of the house by the patio.

In hindsight, we should've moved our patio furniture to the back of the yard by the arborvitae! We had no idea it would be this messy. They had to dig out all the lilies and hostas alongside the patio.

The pipes came down the entire length of the house, along the front yard and ended up in the drainage ditch in front of our house. You can see in this photo how they had to dig down the middle of the lilies and pachysandra. We didn't have them replant any of those, as both spread quickly. It doesn't look pretty this year, but hopefully by next summer, that area will start filling in.

Seeding and blanketing was done where they dug out the grass.

We've been watering every day but with this intense heat, no rain and being late in the season, I don't think much grass is going to germinate.

Hostas that were dug up were replanted alongside the patio. (Though they dug out my Joe Pye Weed too, and must've thrown it away, grr.) Brian got the patio cleaned off and bought a new umbrella, which we desperately needed for the late afternoon sun.

So my yard might not look too pretty this year, but at least there's the patio. For now. Those of you who have been reading my blog over the years know that the neighbor's dreaded mulberry tree is going to wreak havoc on my patio probably within a week or two. We have a new neighbor in this house and he told us he was going to have the mulberry tree cut down, but so far, nothing. We even offered to help him pay for it, explaining how it's been our nemesis over the years and nothing would make us happier than getting rid of that tree!

In the meantime, nothing more relaxing than an evening on the patio with chips and salsa, an icy cocktail, and a good book. This one - The Covenant of Water - is 715 pages long. I'm only on page 100-something. Hope I can renew it because there's no way I'll be able to finish this before it's due! 

From Amazon:

"Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl—and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi—will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants.

A shimmering evocation of a bygone India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the difficulties undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. It is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years."



  1. Hi Melanie. You are right - that looks like a big messy yard project and one I am sure you are glad to have complete. Your flowers are beautiful! I have a peony bush, but no blooms yet. My clematis is out in bloom - lovely purple flowers like yours. I will be taking both with me when we move and replanting at the new place. I hope you have a lovely June. It is always nice to see what is going on with you. See you again soon!

  2. I'm sure you are glad to have that project done.
    Your peony/clematis combination is gorgeous!
    I saw Oprah talking about the book recently and it keeps popping up on Instagram too. It sounds like it would be an excellent read, although a long one. Are you finding it to be hard to put down or just sort of interesting? Not sure I can commit to a 700+ page book unless it is totally riveting. I am hoping to get my hands on a copy of Demon Copperhead soon as it sounds like it will be another good read.

  3. Well, that yard project must have cost a bundle. I've heard my daughter talk about it in regard to houses she's flipped and her rental properties. However, your peonies are breathtaking! When I had them in Texas, they were always riddled with ants.

    I am so glad your neighbor moved.
    You have such a lovely space there. Even with all of the chaos, it looks serene! I know it probably doesn't feel that way at all.
    Sending you love. 😘

  5. Wow--a big project to check off the list. Love the peonies. Ours are in bloom right now, too, and they always make me think of my grandmother whose long driveway up to her farmhouse was lined with peonies.

  6. Yes! A good book, chips and salsa, and a frosty drink are perfect!!! Beautiful flowers too!

  7. Your peony is spectacular and it beside the clematis in bloom is heavenly! How nice to have enough generous blooms to be able to have vases of it in the house as well as on the bush. I have been wondering if you were still dealing with the dreaded mulberry tree. Perhaps when your new neighbor sees the actual mess they'll want it out too. And I hate that your pretty border where the hostas were had to be dug up, hope so much that they do survive and thrive after replanting and that you get some rain soon for the new grass. I had heard that much of the Midwest was getting dry. That doesn't sound good for the summer ahead, We used to install French drains when my father and then RH was in the garden center business. And he also put them in at our old house so I know the mess it makes but hope it does help keep down the mud in future years. I know you've had a lot of work done outside this year and last but I'm sure you'll be glad in the future that you did. Your patio is a lovely place for summer reading!

  8. I love peonies and clematis, aren't they just the most romantic of flowers. Sorry to hear about all the problems with your soil and drainage, but it looks like you've done a good job of taking care of it. And yes; I know how much you dread at mulberry tree and the mess it makes every year. Congratulations on having a new neighbor that wants to cut it down. You'll have to celebrate on that day :)

  9. We used to have a peony bush in the front of our old cottage, I miss it. You are so lucky to have so many gorgeous pink blooms. They look amazing in your home, too. They must make you smile all day!!


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