What’s New(s)? and a draw

I’m baaaack!    I missed you guys – and also, Missy March is sick as a snake with some gallopin’epazutick.    I’m knee-deep in the garden so….well, this is going to be quick and dirty, flower-centric  and because you all are such great sports, I will do a draw, if you tell me a story.

Okay – let’s talk about men v. women.  Do men read instructions?  Do they even look?  Most women I know do – I sort of suck at instructions because I can’t read a print and I’m a bit hasty but I do at least open them up BEFORE I BUILD A FOUNDATION WITH AN OPENING THAT IS ON THE WRONG SIDE.  Yup.  My greenhouse.  El O, would could build the Taj Mahal if I could get him out of the recliner, built my greenhouse foundation.  Only AFTER the foundation was built, epoxied together and tight as a tick, did he open the actual greenhouse instructions.  The door opens on the LONG side, not the short.  Alas.  So I now have this greenhouse perched atop the foundation, like a little jewel.  A jewel I cannot get into without a stepladder.  I am expecting the buzz of a concrete saw any minute but so far, no ‘buzz’.    The Old Me would’ve ripped that foundation out of the ground with my bare, enraged hands and beaten him senseless with it.  The New Me?  ……time will tell.  Saw still ain’t buzzin’.  Alas.


But the greenhouse is cute as the dickens.  And I put my lemon trees in there during the cold snap.  Then I forgot to take them out – they’re fine but they are blooming like mad!  And the smell, when you open the waist-high door (BUZZ! SAW!)…I know for you who live in temperate/tropical climes, the scent of lemons and oranges on trees might be commonplace but for those of us in the Midwest, who do not have conservatories…this is heady stuff, indeed!  Lemon blossoms, with that waxy-soapy smell.  So delicate and largely unlike the smell of the actual fruit!

Roses.  I always have roses in my garden and they usually adhere to my few rules:  you must be pretty and you must smell pretty and you must not cause me a lot of agita – rugosas, with their rugged beauty, fit that bill.  I have a decent amount of space in the garden and practice a lot of ‘cramscaping’ so often I forget that I have a particularly smelltastic plant lurking about…until it blooms.  Right  now all my rugosas are in bloom and…oh, wow.  Blanc Double de Coubert is the most breathtakingly beautiful one – I have planted that in every garden and perhaps, when I shuffle off this mortal coil, I can be the compost for one of those beauties.  You know they have those urns that turn your ashes into a tree, right?  Well, why not a rose?

pink rugosa

pink rugosa


Dirt.  I love the smell of dirt.  And worms.  Which makes me a weirdo, I know, but for dirt worms = life.  And living dirt is an amazing thing to behold and to smell.  Christopher Brosius did a phenomenal job with Demeter Dirt and CBIHP’s Black March, both.  I wish he’d done a Worm scent.  No…well, yes, I do.  Though I wouldn’t wear it.  I would just spray it on a blotter and sniff it, along with the other two, in February.


leetle lemon blossoms

Yeah, I know.  It’s a lemon post! (heh.  get it?  Lemon?  heh.  shut UP!)  – but hey!  I was caught unawares, I swear.  And I have another reason…but it’ll have to wait to tell (it’s a seeeecret for now).  So.  In the meantime, y’all tell me a story and I’ll have Miss Chloe pull a random winner.  I owe several of you your winnings – I promise they will be out this week.  It’s been kinda hectic over here (which is where the seeeecret comes in) – once I’m able to tell you, you’ll understand and forgive my lemon-lame-o post!



  • Sun Mi says:

    Now that my son is 1 I thought maybe I could take him out while I garden. For a bit he roamed around the grass outside of the garden enclosure but after a bit he came into the enclosure and promptly put some of the white stones we use between the boxes in his mouth. Apparently he still requires eagle eye supervision. Hehe. And yesterday he found a dead stink bug and put that in his mouth too. Yay! 🙂

  • Winterlude says:

    I’m currently gardening with chickens and let me tell you, they are terrible gardeners. They prune extravagantly and indiscriminately. They dig things up but don’t bother replanting them, and they also eat EVERYTHING. Roses, hosta, begonias, lady’s mantle, rhubarb leaves, insulation, the list goes on. They also eat bugs and provide delicious eggs though, so I’ll keep them.

  • Kandice says:

    As always, I loved your post. You do have to appreciate his good intentions. He did build you a jewel of a greenhouse. It’s so pretty and sounds like it smells wonderful! Once he gets it fixed, it will be perfect! Unfortunately I don’t have a green thumb so no gardening stories to share. But it’s been fun reading everyone else’s. Welcome back!

  • Ann says:

    Welcome back, sweetie!! Too funny about the greenhouse, but never fear, it will all come out right (especially if El O gets to deal with the wonky door a few times himself). Not much gardening from here — we’re lucky to keep the grass cut, ha! And hope Missy March is feeling better soon!

  • Jackie b says:

    Men, gotta love ’em. Mine loves a good handyman project, but when I ask for something small to be fixed or a herb bed in the garden I have to let it take its course. Out come the power tools, bags of cement and then the trips to the recycling centre for timber or bricks.
    The most recent was, could we have perhaps a few stepping stones to the compost bin. He’s drawing up plans!
    Citrus flowers smell amazing don’t they? Have you smelled lime blossoms?

  • AnnieA says:

    Have just dabbed on some Malibu Lemon Blossom in the hopes of being blossom-fragrant. No gardening stories to relate – wish I could grow herbs on my window sill, don’t seem to have the knack. Basil in particular gives up the ghost without a fight…

  • I love that greenhouse.. one more thing to dream about for when I finally manage to buy a house and have a yard and stuff! I like the smell of dirt too. I love the smell of a fresh bag of potting soil. And speaking of worms, if I’m not mistaken, there is (or was) a Demeter called Earthworm. I think it might be really similar to Dirt, though (which I really like).

    A few weeks ago, I was at a nursery near my apartment, and they had some meyer lemon trees that still had a few blooms on them. Between that and the star jasmine, honeysuckle and magnolias, I was walking around sticking my face in things and it was heavenly.

  • kizzers says:

    I love gardening posts! I love all Posse posts but, yay gardening posts!

    My apple trees are in full blossom, the Magnolia tree is in its last throes but the wisteria is just getting started and they smell glorious. I spent all last weekend digging out ground-elder (that stuff seriously stinks). I wish we still had chickens as they loved it and kept it down to a manageable level.

    Hubby doesn’t ‘do’ instructions, and I don’t have a greenhouse anymore because of that. His electrical rewiring exploits on an old heater caused a ‘small’ fire this winter, and I lost my timber greenhouse – and my beautiful Daphnes which were overwintering in there in pots 🙁

    He has promised me a new greenhouse and a bottle of Wit to make up for it though. Yeah, if he throws in a bottle of Scandal as well he might just make it out of the doghouse!

  • odonata9 says:

    My husband reads directions, but has a hard time actually getting things done. We don’t have any major to dos since we rent and cant make any major changes to our house, but when little jobs need doing, he will get around do it. And he is very busy, so it ends up getting put off and put off until I bug him enough or do it myself. I’m reasonably handy, but let him handle anything that requires a drill.

    The owner of our house who lived there previously is a rose lover, so we have several bushes in our yard. I enjoy the flowers but don’t have time to do any real tending,so they get aphids and other issues – I can water once a week and cut dead heads, but that is about it. We have 2 pretty white bushes with a faint scent, 2 enormous vining/trailing pink shrubs, and a few other random ones. Only 1 has a strong scent, but it is truly lovely. Nice to have cut flowers for free!

  • JanLast says:

    A while back, during the flurry of “get organized” posts, the idea of building a new storage shed came up. A light at the end of the tunnel! So, with my husband/contractor/cement person George at the helm, I gave my blessing to the project, which is now a year down the road. We have a 16′ x 30′ TWO-STORIED barn. With a George room, which has an antique iron and chrome wood stove, refrigerator, distressed barn wood walls, cabinets for his manly entertainment stuff. It does have storage, on the second floor.

  • mikasminion says:

    Men and directions, WTF? Even worse, engineers and directions (my husband isn’t one but a close friend is). Imagine this: my hubby who is a natural plan-in-your-head woodworker, our friend the structural engineer, and his son-in-law the architect all building a medium scale trebuchet. Three incredibly intelligent men that think very differently and don’t quite have the common sense natural tech skills of any of their wives. Hasn’t happened yet but they are working on a couple of weekends to get together. I’m fully expecting to yell a lot and am taking my camera, and wine. Also, I plan to be in charge by the end or nothing will get done.
    By the way, I love your garden posts and need no apologies.

    • Sharon C. says:

      Thought I was the only one “blessed” with a Plan-in-the-Head woodworker! Unfortunately my DH has a bit of trouble translating his REM sleep plans (seriously, he says he designs while he naps) into squarely-built finished objects, because he doesn’t like to take the time to draw up properly measured-out plans. His scrap wood pile is testament to the number of “adjustments” he’s had to make on various projects.

      This became a BIG challenge when we build our carport last spring. Fortunately one side is attached to our garden shed, and it is more or less squared up overall, so that the metal roof we installed fit almost perfectly.

      He DOES read instructions for his various power tools, thank goodness, or I’d be a nervous wreck each time he fired up his table saw. And I admit I’m a taskmaster when it comes to other joint projects, and insist that we follow directions, no matter how poorly written. Guess that’s the accountant in me coming through.

      I will give him credit for reading directions when he is cooking–probably because that is well outside his comfort zone, so the instructions on a pound cake mix or other “some assembly required” meal items are like Linus’ blanket.

  • Janice says:

    That greenhouse is adorable! So frustrating about the door. Once when we moved to a new place we were hanging new towel racks and things in the bathrooms and my husband had one of those carpenter’s levels with the little air bubble in the glass tube… he thought that as long as the bubble was “somewhere roughly in between” the two lines it would be fine. So every single thing he hung up is at a slight angle. If he’d been doing a larger renovation project we’d have ended up living in something like the Winchester house.

  • Kathryn says:

    The thought of lemon blossoms in your new greenhouse makes me want to spritz on some SL Fleurs de Citronnier. That’s a great summer fragrance for early and late summer here in New England, but IMO it blooms a bit too much for really hot and humid weather.

    I share your love for the smell of dirt. Some of the deepest scent memories I have of the month I spent in Morocco (a great place to smell all kinds of things) are of the myriad dirt smells there. In the farmlands around Fez in the north it’ smelled as if we were inhaling something ancient and primal. In the vast expanses of rocky pink desert around Marrakech the earth was dusty and dry, dry, dry. It ate up almost every other scent including those strong rose-oud Middle Eastern perfumes which became remarkably mild and subdued in all that environment. When we finally reached a river running through a mountain valley it almost brought tears to our eyes, the scent of moist earth and the softness of green things growing, with that dry dustiness still in the background. I didn’t get to smell lemon blossoms there, though. I wish I had.

  • Shirley Munoz says:

    Thank you for your story. Here’s mine. Throughout our marriage my husband has given me many delightful gifts. One of them was a potting table. It came as a kit. How he toiled on it, reading arcane instructions and battling non-compliant pieces. Finally it was done. I used it for years and each time my heart would fill with happiness as I used my table to fill our pots with Spring flowers.

  • Tiara says:

    SOME men read directions. With 2 engineers in the family, they usually get it right w/o reading the directions. The non-engineer usually reads the directions and will re-direct the other 2 to doing it properly.

    Ask El O to put something in there for you a time or 2 and I’m guessing the correction will be made rather quickly. He might like the smell of the lemon blossoms enough that he’ll enjoy going in there, too. Or not.

  • Dina C. says:

    Your greenhouse is a lovely gem. I hope the sound of a buzzsaw quickly fills the air and makes the doorway possible. (What a crazy mistake to make!) My story: my DH grew up very poor and has little to no experience with DIY household projects. But because he’s an engineer with that I-must-solve-this-problem-myself fixation, he tries tackling everything. Ai yi yi. Right now we need a drywall expert to come in and patch up several holes in the walls and ceilings where he “oops’d.” It’s very tiresome. I think I deserve some new bottles of perfume for dealing with it, don’t you? 🙂 I think you deserve some, too. The lemon blossoms sound glorious. Maybe a scent with a lemon blossom note?

  • FeralJasmine says:

    My garden, nearly all edible, is burgeoning and every nonworking moment is spent tending it or cooking/ freezing the huge bounty. This is my favorite time of year. Growth is all around me, and I feel so damn good, maybe because of all the leafy greens. But all is not paradise…I don’t have a greenhouse. I want one with a lot of interior space, so I am looking more at farmer-technical models than at glowing jewels like yours. But I will love it when I get it.
    Interestingly, I have the blackest of black thumbs when it comes to indoor plants, and haven’t managed to keep a lemon tree more than a couple of years. So I tend to substitute verjus from my young green grapes where I just want a sharp-sour note, and buy lemons when I need true lemon flavor. But there is no substitute for those blossoms.

  • masha7 says:

    This really had us laughing today–reminds me a bit of the Fawlty Towers episode with the Irish Builders! But your lemon trees do sound heavenly- I can’t grow any citrus on a sand dune, have to go inland for that experience. Have a wonderful week!

  • Vanie says:

    Two wishes, dear flower fairies:
    1. I wish I had a garden!
    2. I wish I had a green thumb (even the palest, faintest green will do! I usually blame the luminosity for my failures, but let’s face the truth… I suck at gardening! 😉 )

  • Portia says:

    My story is
    Portia xx

  • poodle says:

    I put together things around here because the hubband isn’t good with directions and when I used to let him try to do things he would hurt himself. A lot. Then I’d end up having to bandage him up or take him to the ER. He’s banned from the toolbox.
    Garden story- Rodents ate my rose, my white fringe tree, and a yucca plant. They must have been nesting under the mountain of snow we had out there and chewed the bark off of a lot of plants. All dead and need replacing. I’m so not happy. The harsh winter also killed all my butterfly bushes so I need to get to the garden center and get some replacements for the blank spots in the garden. What did survive is looking lovely so it’s not a totally sad story. My irises are gorgeous this year.

  • dinazad says:

    Balcony story: Snails. I live on the second floor (I think. Usage differs, and one country’s second floor is a another country’s third. Anyway, it’s several staircases up). I don’t like killing snails, but I honestly don’t see why I should let them have my primulas and seedlings (happily, they ignore the roses and leave them entirely to various miniature insectoids). So I started collecting them and transporting them to the nearest meadow. Within one week I had collected 170 snails on my balcony. Honestly, how do they get there? I picture batallions of them shinning their way up the outer walls at night to get to culinary paradise on the second floor. Basil! Chillies! Seedlings! What else could a snail desire? Or maybe they like the adventure of not knowing which meadow they’ll end up on? Dinazad’s Adventure Travel for Snails! Just get to her balcony and you’re off!

    Speaking of adventures: my (large) balcony is also prone to sprouting various things I never planted or sowed. It’s sunny and dry, which hasn’t kept marsh-loving Yellow Flags from suddenly appearing and thriving. They’ve already taken over two pots. And where on earth did all those white violets come from? The pennyroyal I sowed twelve years ago to no avail: now it’s here, much to my surprise. And that thing in the corner appears to be lilac, judging by the leaves. Huh?

    In short: even balconies are full of mysteries. Never underestimate them.

    • FeralJasmine says:

      170? That is an impressive and disgusting tally of snails. Maybe you could have a side business selling them at the farmer’s market…

    • odonata9 says:

      I too had slugs and snails on my very small balcony with olny a few pots. Not only did I wonder how they go there, but why? Why would they go to all that work – how did they know there was something up there worth the effort? And there were plenty of plants and such at ground level. Mysteries indeed.

  • foxbins says:

    I have no garden stories, I can’t grow a thing even after many years of trying. However, I have a man story for you. Before my husband and I were married, we wanted to go away for a romantic long weekend and chose a lovely Victorian bed and breakfast in a picturesque little town. The morning of our arrival we were shown to our room, with a big four-poster bed with a canopy and a lot of lace and little doilies on the furniture. My sweetheart put down the luggage, looked around, and said, “Where’s the TV? This is the biggest college football weekend of the year!” Needless to say, we spent quite a lot of our romantic getaway in a sports bar. Men (sigh).

    • wynnguthrie says:

      That’s hilarious! And very Dude. (My sister got (re)married in late September, 12 years ago… right up until the Very Last Minute we could leave and still get to the wedding on time, the men of our party (my dad, my cousin, my husband, and my brother) were parked in front of the TV in our hotel room, watching football. We nearly didn’t make it before the procession.

  • Nemo says:

    I loved reading your post, as always. For some reason the rose bushes around my neighborhood were trimmed to nothingness this spring, so I am still waiting to smell the roses. I also have not smelled lemon blossoms, but I do remember the first time I smelled real orange blossoms. Wow!

  • Eloquaint says:

    I wish we had the space for a greenhouse. I’ve always wanted one. Sometimes I eyeball the side of the garage that roughly faces west and think about trying to build something like a glass lean-to, but I always give up the idea.

    Thanks for the draw. Mystery draw! Yay!

  • tammy says:

    Yea, men and directions.

    In all honestly, my husband will READ directions (and is quite good at understanding them) but he will lay down and die before he’ll ASK for directions if he’s lost.

    Your first mistake was using the greenhouse before he fixed it, thus rendering it Perfectly Okay/No Longer Broken. The only thing I can suggest is asking him to take/bring things to the greenhouse several times, so he fully understands the situation. Of course, then he will rig something up that will ruin the jewel-like appearance of your Precious.

    Where’d you get this beauty, by the way? It really is lovely! Unlike my roses, which are covered in black-spot. Having done all my adult gardening in SoCal, black-spot was heretofore something I had only read about. (My roses didn’t have it last year, which is when I planted them.) But it’s been so wet this year, even some of the wild roses have it! And the lawn is full of mushrooms, which in turn are covered in algae.

    It’s great to have you back and I cannot wait to hear the secret!

  • Elisa P says:

    Thank you for that hilarious bed-time story! I have to say that yard and greenhouse look great. When I see a little patch of green in NYC I think I’m in the country. I have to confess that my hubster ALWAYS reads directions AND follows recipes. I have no patience for either of those trifles but I’m also not a “natural” so really would benefit me to follow his lead 😉