Saturday, May 26, 2012

Birds (and bees?) and Flowers


I may have mentioned that we don’t exactly ‘break a sweat’ while working at our lake cottage. The only sweat we break is when the temperature rises like it has today. So to compensate to reach our philosophical balance, the hub and I have napped almost all day.

I, myself, lay down on the sleeping couch about 1:00 and, what do you know? It’s 4:30. A quick catch up on the Facebook News and it’s 5:30. Where is the hub? Why he’s upstairs, ceiling fan a fannin’, snoozing in the breeze.

Ok, this is only Day one. By tomorrow, I’m sure, I’ll get around to cleaning up the boat. That was supposed to be my task for today but as the hub did not remove the boat cover, I was thwarted and so encouraged to catch up on my sleep.

“The boat cover?  You couldn’t get the boat cover off by yourself?”  you might ask if you are not familiar with our rather unique canvas tarp. It has angles and braces and ropes…I’m betting we got a ‘deal’ on it. No, I cannot remove it by myself. So, tomorrow. Probably.
Visiting for Memorial Day

My big tasks here are the bird feeders and the flowers.

Winona Lake has the usual assortment of Midwestern birds. On occasion, some host exotics on their ways to exotic locales. Outside our kitchen window, I have two or more feeders and some suet bars. Here’s what I discovered: if I spring for the ‘gourmet’ Scott’s feed that comes in an easy-to-use carton, I get all the birds. They flock and they chase away those pesky black squirrels. If I cheap out with regular seed, the birds go elsewhere and the squirrels win.

Generic: snob birds don't like it.
Hmmmm. Momentarily curious, I compared the two seeds. Left hand/right hand. Except for the easy-to-pour thing, they look exactly the same. To me. Of course, I am not a bird. So, depending on my mood, I buy as my fancy dictates. On cheap days, tough times, birdies!

My other task is to plop some flowers in four window boxes and try to keep them alive. This is my greatest challenge here in lakeville.

Being generous to my self-esteem, I am not good with plants. I have tried all sorts of plants. Plants do not like me….they may have been communing with the birds.

We (I) try every year. Those pesky flowers usually die off. The best year for our flowers was 2009. Our neighbor asked, as a favor to me, if she could fill our planters and care for them. Why, yes Sande, you can. Sande has all green thumbs, a fact that she hides when she goes to her job as a nurse.
Across the way is another lady, Connie. Healthy plants and grass spring from her feet as she walks by, much as I image it happened in Eden. I am surrounded by men and women for whom plants are a passion. Peer pressure is a pain.

But, hope springs eternal, as they say, so I drove to our ACE Hardware Store where my friendly garden specialist was ready to help me. The annuals were arranged in bright, healthy rows. 

“Where are the Lynne-proof flowers,” I asked.
“Pardon me?”
“You know, the ones that can take it, the tough ones, the ones with attitude.”
“Oh. Do you know what kind of sun exposure they’ll get?” he asked.
“Yes. They get full sun and they must be tough.”
“Well, (here it comes), geraniums are hardy and easy.” This from his booklet, I’m sure.
“Hm. No, I kill geraniums.”
“What about marigolds? Do you like yellow?”
“I like the ones that can fend for themselves,” I returned.
“Let me show you the full-sun annuals. You might pick out the ones that look healthiest.”

He wanted to help somebody. I was turning into ‘not that somebody.’

Thanking him, I made my selection quickly, much the way that a dieter who is about to cheat eats the bad food before he has time to think. I ended up with white verbena and purple dianthus. From those little stick-in things, the ones with the ‘care instructions,’ I see that I also picked up a few white zinnias, not telling them apart. Plus some hanging-down-viney things. DO NOT TELL ME THAT I’VE CHOSEN UNWISELY, GRASSHOPPER. These are this season’s experiment.

Back to the planters. I dumped the soil and assembled everything on the picnic table. Then, we had a chat.

Remember when people talked to their houseplants in the 70s and 80s? Not I, but that may have something to do with my lack of success.

My pep talk, in capsule form: Ok, you guys. You gotta be tough. You gotta survive abuse and neglect. I’m going to try to get you some water when you need it and I’ll rip out any weeds that try to choke you. But YOU gotta be tough.

So far, so good. One week in the dirt and only ONE scrawny plant has bitten the dust, literally. (1 down.....)

Our cottage is surrounded by 12 varieties of hostas (thank you, big sister), carefully landscaped by the former owner. Now, THAT’S a tough plant. Not only does it survive ME; it spreads and fills in and looks just gorgeous. I even separated a few plants and took them home and planted them around the Kokomo house. THEY ARE STILL ALIVE!

I wish they would look good in planters.



  1. I love you, Lynne.... but those are not hydrangeas, I think they might be hostas ... (this from someone who Knows Someone who knows this stuff).... it is a fatal family gene that you and I both got. janis

  2. Loved this post, Lynne! I'm sure your flowers will do great! So happy you guys are back at the lake and taking lots of naps...good for your body and your soul:) Love you! Sherry