Saturday, August 7, 2021

Still Home: Out of Control

When I came home for what was a going to be a few days, I realized that there was much to be done on the home front. Not the least of that was a garden that was completely out of control. While I prefer to show loads of lovely close-ups, this view of the path between the back and front yards pretty much shows it like it is -- a jungle of sunflowers, hydrangeas and (in the distance) phlox, making it impossible to get to the back yard -- which was in sore need of mowing!


While it is very pretty, it is also impossible and so part of my time home has been wiring up the sunflowers to the fence, cutting back the hydrangeas and leaving the phlox as is. When the windows are open, the fragrance is fabulous.


The front was no better, but after pulling out a few pots of dead plants and pulling enough sticker-weeds so I could at least get to the faucet, it will do. Some of it looks pretty spectacular.


I have so many Black-eyed Susans -- they really spread out this year!


The sweet pea, (aka Audrey Two, for "Little Shop of Horrors" fans) is also out of control and seems to have spread from the front bed by the garage to the one closer to the house. I'm leaving them for now -- they're in full flower and very pretty. But they need some serious pruning!


I have no idea what these are and every year I pull them out. And every year they ignore me and return.


While I was outside working, I heard ice cream truck music and saw a police car coming down the street very slowly with all his lights flashing. So of course I stopped to watch. He drove up and said, "Hello, want a popsicle!" The township police were giving out popsicles to people outside -- something like neighborhood night out.


The other reason I stayed home is that I need to sell my car, which means getting it ready to sell. Silly me. I thought that would mean just giving it a good clean out, which it has sorely needed and an oil change. But when I picked it up from Rick's and drove it the two blocks to my house I heard bad sounds. It turns out I need new brakes, too. So, this also has to be taken care of. That was an expense I hadn't planned on.


In some ways it's nice to be home, but I'm reminded of what a mess I left my house! Much as I'd like to run back to the lake, the weather doesn't look great up there and in any event I'd need to come home Monday or Tuesday for my birthday, as Rick couldn't go up with me this time. And Lizzie's certainly glad to not be in her travel box again. But I also feel a bit at sea, like I don't belong here or there or anywhere. 


I'm sure the death of a cyclist Rick knows -- he crashed for no apparent reason, no bike problem, avoiding an animal crossing the road, hitting a piece of gravel or a pothole -- has left both Rick and I shaken. The death of Rick's godmother, a lovely woman who never forgot a birthday and someone he called one of the pillars of his life also hangs like a dark cloud. I see the vast numbers of people in the store who are unmasked and listen to the recent Covid statistics and wonder who in our world will be next to get ill or die. It would all be so simple if they'd just get a shot. The odds are in their favor when they do.  

This heavy feeling will pass. Art camp is coming up and that's always wonderful. And there are good things this week, too. I sold my painting of Michigan State's Beaumont Tower and I have clean laundry (there was quite the pile from the lake!) I also (finally) got my June book wrap up posted and July is in the can and will come soon, so that's a plus. My time will be productive. Meanwhile, I leave you with a couple of photos from my next door neighbor's lovely garden.


This is what happens when you actually tend to a garden.


You'd think I'd learn!

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63 comments:

Miss Val's Creations said...

It has been an amazing year for plants and flowers! The upkeep is constant but so rewarding. From what is being said in the news, it is a great time to sell a car. The maintenance will be worth the expense. That is so fantastic that the police are getting out into the community and doing something positive. The good P.R. is important with things that have been happening across the country. Your neighbor's garden is gorgeous! What a talent! Enjoy your weekend Jeannie!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Wow! Your garden is overflowing with beauty! I am sorry to hear about Ricks friend.

Divers and Sundry said...

I favor the wild look, but it can get away from you. I love your sunflowers and black-eyed susans especially. Your neighbor's garden is lovely, too.

I'm so sorry for the losses y'all have suffered :(

mel said...

I feel you on the overgrown garden...and I don't have the excuse of being absent for long stretches! lol The rainforest-y weather has certainly made my garden very happy.

I hope you can get some relaxing time in, in amongst all the To-dos...xo

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh Jeanie, there is always something to do around the house, isn't there? Love the Black-Eyed Susans. They remind me of Fall. I know a garden takes much effort to tend to, and as I get older simplicity is the name of the game, so I will be content with my Bridal Wreath plant and Roses in the front of my house. Your neighbor's garden looks very nice. I like those red potted flowers and the bridge. I'm sure it takes quite a bit of work to keep it that way. I'm so sorry to hear about Rick's friend and Godmother. Sending a big hug to you, Jeanie, and don't worry, the work will all get done. I'm waiting on some new blinds myself to replace the ones that got broken. It seems like when we catch up, something else needs fixing haha.

~Sheri

bobbie said...

Hugs ~

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,
I just love all your flowers, such an explosion of color. I am sorry about the loss of Rick's friend and Godmother. It is nice to see the police being active in the community, for happy reasons. Good luck for the sale of the car. It looks like Lizzie really wants out of the cage. Take care and stay safe.
Have a happy weekend!

My name is Erika. said...

Your garden looks fabulous Jeanie. I am having the same plants growing out of control this year, but the flowers are so amazing I am leaving them. It doesn't happen all that often. Your neighbors garden is truly amazing. I want to get mine more scenic one of these years also. One of these years is the best way to put it. And I'm sorry to hear about those deaths and I get how they can put you out of sorts. They would me, even just reading about them does and I don't even know these people. We just don't know, do we. Covid really makes you think about that too often. I am now mask woman, and boy do I get looks in the store. I want to wear a sign that says I am vaccinated but I don't know about you. So important to live each moment. Good luck with the car sale and sorry about the breaks. I am guessing you will get something new. Hope the home time is a good catch up and you do get back to the lake before long. hugs-Erika

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I'm sad for Rick's and your losses. Never gets easy to say goodbye to people who've had a place in your life and heart.

Pace yourself working out in your yard! It didn't get overgrown in a day and what you don't get done one cay will wait until another.

Linda Sue said...

Your garden is very enthusiastic! In a beautiful way too! I love its wild ness and much prefer it to your neighbors well kept and tidy garden. I am sorry about your cycling friend. There is just no explaining.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Who knew there are rampant, unrestrained jungles in Michigan? Who knows what might be lurking in there? I am sorry to hear of the death of the cyclist, Jeanie, and I can see why that might be disconcerting for Rick. From your own perspective, it must give you pause each time he goes off alone. That point was brought home by his recent medical issues no doubt. Bet he could still bushwhack through that jungle though! He may have to if he wants to see you!

Valerie-Jael said...

I love your wild garden, that's how I like gardens, wild and free! Lizzy doesn't look happy in her travelling container! Here people are being very careless. Pepys kept alive back then because he stayed home! Stay safe Jeanie, look after yourself, keep away from these idiots! Hugs, Valerie

Jenn Jilks said...

So sorry for your heavy hearts.
Your garden looks amazing.
I miss lake life.

Tracy said...

Your pretty plant looks like purple loosestrife. I saw some growing wild recently and had to look it up to see what it was.

William Kendall said...

I'm sorry for your losses.

Karen said...

Your gardens are wildly beautiful. I've noticed the black eyed susans are crazy here too. At the cottage they have a solid mass along a LONG LONG lane.

Mereknits said...

I think your unruly garden is beautiful. SO sorry to hear of your losses, so many people are suffering . Sending you a hug.

DUTA said...

Sorry about the two losses of life:Rick's cyclist friend and his godmother. May their souls rest in peace!
As for the garden, you'll have to try and minimize work.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Prayers for the passing of you friend

Pam Richardson said...

I love the cottage garden look, it is beautiful. Your plants are obviously happy! I am so sorry about the loss of friends, it is really hard. We know several people who currently have the dreaded virus that have been vaccinated. I must say, that is disheartening. On a positive note, your neighbor’s garden is lovely!

Lynne said...

And there are those that say . . .
I have nothing to do!
Grrrrrrrrr . . . it does not stop!

Always something to do, to take care of, flowers growing
out of their space, cars not working,
places to be, people not well,
people not vaccinated.
I am back to the masks again.
Not much of a “goer” but when I
am in a crowded place, store, etc, I think it is wise.
To use masks and happy I have had the vaccination.
Considering a booster . . .

Keep painting, congratulations on the sale!

Betty said...

sorry to read of the people you have lost. I like the overgrown version of your garden - it's beautiful.

Little Wandering Wren said...

Oh Jeanne so sorry to read about your losses, yes this summer was supposed to be one we felt out of it all - your flowers seem to sum up the out-of-control world. Wishing you a peaceful week ahead.
Wren x

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Your garden is beautiful. If you want to see out of control, come visit me. It's surprising what you don't see from a few well chosen close ups of blooms! I don't know if I will ever bring it back to what it was.

shoreacres said...

I do love that photo of the kitty-in-the-cage. As you can imagine, it brought back some memories. The sunflowers and black-eyed Susans have been running rampant down here, too. The sunflowers especially can be thuggish; I always laugh when I see a new stand of them has appeared in our substantial road/bridge construction zone. Never mind that rebar and heavy equipment -- they're going to bloom, doggone it!

I'm sorry to hear about the losses you and Rick have suffered. Every time there's a bicyclist accident down here I think of him. Oddly, the numbers of those incidents have been declining. I'd like to think that people are being more cautious and polite: maybe, maybe not. Things still can happen. Life's chancey.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Jeanie, my sympathies for Rick's and your heavy hearts. Losing someone close and/or tragically can be a true shock to the psyche.
Your garden, although I love that look, understandably would raise some anxiety in the work needing to be done. It was always hard for me to even want to go anywhere in summer because of our landscape.
Congrats on the sale of your artwork! Hopefully that will offset the unplanned expenses.
I hope you have a wonderful birthday week!

La Table De Nana said...

Life is dotted with sorrows sadly and gardens help to soothe them💙💙💙Never stopped masks and we will have a vaccination passport to enter non essentials.
Up in arms the protesters are.so be it.Move if you don’t like it.

Pam said...

I have always dreamed a garden like your neighbors.....but it will never be, I am finding that with each passing yr I am having to give up more and more just to keep up with things. When I moved here last yr I made a quick garden to put stuff in the ground that I brought from the other house, and this summer, it has gone wild!! I used to use a mix of potting soil and sand in my gardens, sometimes I would grab top soil, which over the yrs is not worth the money. Well last yr I grabbed Miracle Grow potting soil for my flower beds.....and this yr, oh my gosh, my plants are amazing. But so out of control. I have a plant, can't remember the name, that grows tall and near the end of summer it blooms purple....in the few yrs I have had it, it maybe got as high as my thigh, this yr they are taller them me. I think they like that soil. I don't see how you take care of two places, I barely can one these days. Love the brown eye susans and the sweet pea.

The French Hutch said...

Sounds like you've been really busy. Gardens are always constant, never-ending weeding and cutting back. I think your garden is lovely but I know how fast they get overgrown. Mine is simply in a mess, we've had so much rain the weeds are taking over. Our hot muggy August temps assures it will only get worse. Hopefully a few cooler days will slip in long enough to do damage control. So sorry to hear about Rick's friend, tragic! Congratulations on the sale of the art and wishing you a wonderful birthday!

Sharon in Las Cruces NM said...

as always you rise to handle any problems issues and come away still joyful and happy..and a little wiser I suspect. the flower pics were a blessing to this gal living in the "desert". Hugs and love to you!

Tristan Robin said...

Your neighbor's garden is, indeed, a glorious exhibition of color and life on show. But, your wild and untended explosion of plants and flowers left to their own devices echoes the mystery of the children's classic The Secret Garden...and trespassing looks like a grand adventure! I love it.

Now, I'm off to read your book post you've linked! As if I need more books piled up awaiting my attention! ��

My condolences to you and Rick on your recent losses. Sometimes, it just doesn't seem like life is playing fair; first the pandemic and all the challenges that were piled on us afterwards. And then to add to our unpleasantness, to make us deal with the passing of our friends and loved ones. As a friend once said to me, "They say that what doesn't kill us makes us strong. Well, dear, I can now bench press a Buick." ��

Sami said...

So sorry for the death of Rick's cyclist friend and his Godmother.
Even a bit wild your garden looks nice Jeanie.
We haven't worked in our garden for a few months now and with so much rain there are so many weeds all over! It's going to take a few weekends to clean it all up!
How lovely of the police to interact with the community.
Good luck on the sale of your car.

Sandra Cox said...

Even with the overgrowth your garden is beautiful. I love the hardiness of brown-eyed Susans.
I'm so sorry for your and Rick's losses and that your heart is heavy.
Your neighborhood's garden is quite lovely.
Wishing you a healing week.

Deb said...

I think the fairies were visiting your gardens because they still look magical. And you have a neighbour like I do...a master at gardening. I quietly learn from her from a distance. I'm so sorry to hear of your losses. It's all so sad. I hope this new month brings you some wonderful times with family and friends. And please give Liz a hug for me when she stops screaming. ;-)

gigi-hawaii said...

I think your garden is wild and beautiful. It is too bad that it has run amok. LOL. Take care of it slowly but surely. I love your neighborhood. It looks so nice, and it was nice of that cop to give you an ice treat. Life is good, isn't it?

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Sorry Jeanie for the loss of Rick's friend and godmother. Your garden is lovely. The Black-eyed Susans look wonderful. I am happy to see the police out and bout. Life is always changing and we do lose loved ones and friends.
Have a happy week ahead.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

While your garden might need some serious pruning, it is beautiful in its abundance.

Bonnie said...

Have a wonderful birthday, Jeanie. I love your garden. How nice you have so many Black-eyed Susans that you can cut some for the house and not miss any outside.
I am sorry you are grieving the loss of friends and family. I totally understand. I have been sad and very frustrated about the division among us regarding getting the vaccine and mask-wearing

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

To me, your garden looks wildly lovely! I'm getting so frustrated about this Covid strain -- it's hard to see a way out of this when people refuse to get vaccinated. The sad thing is that it's so much more contagious, eventually it's going to catch up to all those unvaccinated in one way or another - either personally, or someone close to them. I've noticed many more people wearing masks in stores now. I'm so sorry about Rick's cyclist friend and godmother.

Iris Flavia said...

WOW!!! I have just... "green" here.
LOL, that police I would want here!!! How very cute is that? You live in a great place!
Shoot with the car.
Oh, Lizzie is cute even in there.
Sorry for the lost ones and yes. Seeing those unmasked soccer-guys hug and kiss, all drunk is a pain. Dumbness will never leave this planet.
Nice end with the garden :-)

Nancy said...

Having two places to take care of can be frustrating… this I know. I am still a bit worried for our gardens back in AZ. I know we will have a jungle when we get back.

It’s still an unsettling time due to this pandemic. I am so sorry for your losses my friend. Its hard. I wish the division in our country over the vaccine and masks would just stop.

Enjoy those Black Eyed Susan’s and each day will get better.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the losses you have suffered, Jeanie. I, too, am experiencing losses right now, and many of them among the unvaccinated seem tragic. Somehow we must move forward.

Your garden is hugely successful right now, a living wash of color and shape. Beautiful.

Mary Rose's said...

Oh honey - my sympathies to you and Rick. Hugs, too. Sounds as though you both have a lot going on right now.

The unknown pink-purple flower might be Purple Loosestrife, an invasive and unloved plant. It seeds itself and has underground runners so it won't be easy to eradicate, if you're so inclined. Or it could be the native variety,winged loosestrife, distinguished from purple loosestrife by its smaller size, and by upper leaves that have an alternate leaf arrangement rather than the opposite arrangement of purple loosestrife. The flowers of native loosestrife tend to be more widely spaced. Looking at your picture, though, I think you have Purple Loosestrife.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Happy Birthday! How fun that law enforcement is handing out popsicles! What a wonderful way to build rapport in the community. Love your flowers.

Buttercup said...

Your yard is lovely and I envy the aroma. I spent a lot of last year reading about the Great Plague and reading excerpts from Pepys' diary. Take care!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, your plants are quite happy and it appears they have a mind of their own. I always told them they were bad girls when they did such things - that made it easier for me. Fortunately, I don't have room for them to be so bossy in this garden. The plant you have in question is a butterfly busy. It looks as though it was one planted for you by the birds. Watch it, because it can take over as well.

So sorry about Rick's friend. I know that was difficult for you both.

Jeanie, I feel this pandemic is far from over. My dearest friend is among those unvaccinated and says she still has not made up her mind. I just don't get it.

Have a great week, Jeanie.

R's Rue said...

I love your yard. I’m so sorry for the sadness and losses. It’s so sad. Sending a hug your way.

Ricki Treleaven said...

Your garden is so lush! Y'all must have had lost of good rain. You will make a lot of money on your car because the prices have really spiked due to inflation. Used cars are hard to find right now!

crackercrumblife said...

Oh no I am so sorry to hear about your friend. :(


Your garden looks lovely - I love the fullness of it, the jungle feel! And all those black-eyed susans are spectacular!

Lowcarb team member said...

Your garden is full of colour, which is always nice to see.
I was saddened to read about the loss of Rick's friend and Godmother.
I wish you good luck with the sale of your car.

Sending positive thoughts and good wishes to you.

All the best Jan

Marilyn Miller said...

Please give my condolences to Rick on his bike friend and godmother.
Your neighbors garden is lovely; but so is yours in a wild sort of way. At least it has potential-Smiling!
I have never heard of the police handing out popsicles. Nice!

Carola Bartz said...

Oh Jeanie, I'm so sorry for the losses in your life. The death of the bicycle rider hit me - my husband rides his bike to work and every morning I pray that he comes back safely in the evening. (I'm quite relieved that he is working from home again). I share your feeling about unmasked and unvaccinated people. Same here, albeit we have a mask mandate again for indoors. Even though I have been fully vaccinated since March I have always put my mask on indoors and I'm not planning to stop that habit anytime soon.

I like your out-of-control garden. Your rudbeckia is so beautiful and so are the sunflowers. Don't worry too much - you did the necessary maintenance, now lean back and rest. I hope the dark cloud will disappear soon.

Yvonne said...

It's really nice that Lizzie can accompany you to the lake. My cats are too verbal in the car without any letup. I'm so sorry about the deaths. One of the things in life so difficult. Really a bummer nature never takes a break from inviting the weeds to the party. You have a nice yard anyway. Thank you so much for your lovely comment to my post. Take care, sweet lady.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

How good for your community policiing. We have a Nationalk Night Out tomorrow night (Tuesday, Aug 10), the hottest night of the year to date.

Your garden may be wild, but it is far more beautiful than the bamboo I dealt with. I think everything is beautiful. It may not look like your neighbor's garden, but it has its charm, regardless.

Good luck selling your car. No one seems to have used cars, so now should be a good time for it.

I'm with you on the masking and getting the vaccine. Will some people ever learn?

Danielle Zecher said...

Your neighbor's garden looks more like a park or a garden you'd visit! Wow! I think yours looks nice too. I know it's annoying when things get overgrown, but the flowers are so pretty. I love all of the color in your yard.

I'm so sorry about Rick's friend and his godmother. It's never to lose loved ones, but I think it's even harder right now, because as you say, there's such a sense of "who's next", and that's scary.

I may have to borrow that quote about the plague. Nick and I have been saying something similar for a while; how it's not worth risking your life to eat inside a restaurant or go to a movie theater. Most people here aren't wearing masks either, and last time I checked, our county only had a 41% vaccinate rate. It's so frustrating.

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your losses. Over here they've now pretty much thrown aside almost all restrictions, and I think it was a very bad move. Needless to say, my already minimal enthusiasm for going out and mixing with people is even less in evidence, since I'm not in any hurry to go running around among crowds of people who seem to have decided to ignore the fact even the vaccinations only increase your chances of survival. I appreciate that the economy is in need of some attention, but I don't feel like all the lives it's going to cost will be worth it.

Anyway, I hope the car repair isn't too costly, and that you enjoy the time in your garden (even if it is because you're working in it).

DeniseinVA said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend and godmother. Very sad for you with everything else going on. This business about vaccinations is troubling. If we all thought like that we would all be still fearing smallpox and polio, and other awful illnesses. The Samuel Pepys entry says it all doesn’t it? I know there are people out there who have chronic illnesses and worry it could make them worse. I understand their fear. Then there is all the misinformation on social media. But on a lighter note I think your flowers are gorgeous and cheerful. I would be happy to see them in my garden and thank you for sharing them.

Anca said...

Lizzie is definitely not impressed by her travel box. I'm sorry to hear about your friend, that's such a shame.
The news about covid in US is pretty dire, isn't it? I was annoyed to see many people unmasked in the bus this week too, even if this particular bus company asks for masks.

Pamela said...

The backyard grows so quickly when we are not looking! I love that the police were handing out cold treats! I don’t envy you getting your car ready for sale!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, I think your flowers are lovely. So bright and cheerful. Mine that keep coming back year after year are now in their down spiral and the garden will look so unloved until next spring. I am home all the time so I don't have an excuse at all. How sweet is that officer bringing you ice cream. That could cover up a whole bunch of ills! What a great idea. Your neighbors garden is really gorgeous and well taken care of, and I have a neighbor across that has a beautifully manicured garden also. I can see her out my kitchen window so I just try to give all my attention there, overlooking my own in the process. The Covid counts are going up here too, infact we had another death just yesterday. I thought instead of giving ball game tickets to those who are not vaccinated yet, why not show the people in hospital beds that are trying to get their breath and in the process of dying? I noticed they are showing some unvaccinated who are telling a different story now. Too bad it is almost too late..Happy Tuesday..xxoJudy

Polly said...

The feeling will pass Jeanie, you're facing multiple tasks that need doing at once. Take your time. Your garden may be out of control but it does look pretty. My garden looked so pretty back in June and July, but now after lots of rain and wind it's looking very sad, I need to get to grips with it! What a lovely thing for the police to do :-)

Cindy said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. I can only imagine the pain you're going through.

Your flowers are beautiful, even if they are overgrown!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

The flowers around us are in a sad state unless the owners do lots of watering! It has been so hot and dry here. The creek bed I run along is bone dry. I have never seen that! But your flowers are gorgeous! It is tough to keep up with 2 homes but worth it to be able to escape to your cottage!!

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