Catching up

Hi, Posse!  Catching up with you!!! I’ve been MIA for far too long but it’s been a long slog through the Summer.   It’s been like Jamaica down here, with 90F days and torrential rains – things have gone sky-high!  Check out my Hill Border – y’all remember the 9 tons of dirt and compost from a year ago (wait.  was it 2 years?  What.Ev.Er.  – awhile ago, right?) – well, most of that got moved to other beds but there came that point where neither I nor my hired man could shovel another scoop of dirt – the thought of it made us want to smash our own heads with the shovels – so I decided to leave it as Yet Another Border.  50% mushroom compost.  90F . Torrential rains.  Check. It. Out.  (and that’s just 1/3 of it).  I have 7′ Sunflowers (Chocolate Cherry)  and the aptly named ‘Sunzillas’ are almost 9′ tall and ready to pop!hillborderlate`chocsun7.18Rains really freaked out the tomato and pepper crop – I haz ’em – but they are kinda blah.  Too much rain.  Still…they taste wayWAY better than supermarket tomatoes. And they smell divine!!!  Another great smell?  Cabbages!  I’m not a fan of cooked cabbage but I love the smell of all greens and brassicae as they are cut from their stems.  I hadn’t planned on growing more than one cabbage – not sure how all these ended up here – I think aliens dropped them off while I was asleep.  They are pretty, though.  And I now have enough sauerkraut fermenting for the entire winter!  cabberages

Best smells evah, though?  Lilies.  I have no idea why I haven’t grown more of them, especially the Orientals. So….I was walking through the garden and This SMELL!!!!!  one of those permeating-but-elusive scents that blow out your sniffer if you get too close …but it’s like a lure, wafting on the wind.  I’ve never found a lily perfume that works for me – even the top-flight, gorgeous ones have a musk drydown that kills it for me.  And liles in the house are too narcotic – I can’t think of anything other than the smell.  But fragrant lilies in the garden….oh, baby!  I dunno which one this is (I don’t even remember planting it) but it blew me away.  And now I’m hooked.  I have at least 10 coming in late September.  By next July I’ll be zonked out in the chaise lounge, like an opium eater, gorging on the gorgeous scent.  narcotic lily There is much more Garden to tell but to tell you the truth, this was an exercise in Being Brave.  This is the first time I’ve even wanted to talk about my garden in quite awhile and I didn’t know how to tell you guys this but (plunging in) – you remember those  little puppies and their dam?  Well…canine parvovirus ripped through the litter, right as they were turning 5 weeks old.  It’s possible that the virus was in my soil (like tetanus, it can live for a long time in the soil) or their mom might’ve been a latent carrier.  We’ll never really know but it was awful – despite 24hr care (my bfffe and I turned my living room into an ICU) – we lost 6 of the 8.  But we managed to save two!!! Their survival and growth pulled me out of a deeeeep depression and I no longer see my garden as a murderous space.  Since parvo can be a recurring virus and Chloe a constant menace, I had to get them out of here as soon as they were well enough to travel.  Here’s a photo of them with my bfffe, the day before transport.  Millie (the little one in bfffe’s left) has been adopted by a wonderful family.  And here is Miss Ella with her foster Aunt, who is a Corso/Great Dane mix!  Miss Ella is only 10 weeks old.  I think it’s safe to say she is going to be HUGE!   No more picking up with one hand, baby!!!  And I am feeling way better about everything – especially the garden.  Which is nice, because it really is a lovely place.  And it smells lovely, too!



baby girls


  • Ann says:

    Welcome back, darling! We have missed you, and are so sorry for all you have had to go through. Very glad things are looking up and you are finding some joy in your days and in your garden. Big hugs to you!

  • Rini says:

    Thank you for sharing your little “Garden of Eden” with us! So sorry to hear about the pups. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, there are things we have no control over and it’s heartbreaking. You are one compassionate and lovely person.

  • Kandice says:

    It’s so heart wrenching to hear of all you went through with the pups but the two babies probably would have been lost if not for your dedication. Now because of your care they will live happy lives and bring joy to their new owners. And your garden is like something out of a fairytale. I’ve always found nature soothes my soul during difficult times. I hope it does for you as well and that you can continue to see the beauty there. (BTW I absolutely love lilies. I wish I could smell all the beauties you have there. I’ve never heard of some of them.)

  • Sun Mi says:

    I’m so sorry to hear what you went through with those pups – but what a miraculous job you did with those 2, who are adorable and lucky. I envy your garden. I don’t have much in the way of ornamentals, but our veggie garden is always overrun with weeds and crap and becomes unmanageable! That being said, I have harvested 10000 pounds of zucchini…

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Just another note to tell you that I had never even heard of the parvo virus until this post. Awful serious stuff: the Wikipedia entry states that it can survive in soil for more than 10 years! Bad…bad…
    In today’s mail: Truth or Dare shower gel, body cream and edt, inspired by Portia’s “Bath Tub” post. Testing it out today–I like it so far. XOXOX

    • Musette says:

      TRUTH OR DARE!!! That’s what I was trying to remember re Portia and the BWFs!! Thank you!

      And yes, Parvovirus is a brutal, vicious beast. The soil-tester people gave me little hope – since the dam was all over the gardens, there is likely to be false positives all over the place. I have resolved to Let It Go – it wasn’t for anything other than closure anyway – since there has been a parvo outbreak on this property it would be unconscionable for me to allow any dog/pup not completely vaccinated (the entire series) in that garden. Ever. xoxoxoxoA

  • March says:

    Your situation with those puppies just broke my heart. It takes a strong woman to handle that, and I hope/pray you know you did everything you possibly could have to save them. The fact that two survived is an achievement. Let’s you and I get out and enjoy our gardens, humidity and all, because before we know it we’ll be complaining about the snow!

  • Dina C. says:

    Now that’s a garden ! I’m afraid I’d get lost in there. What a pretty result from all your hard work. I can imagine how wonderful it smells with the greens and lilies. Ahhhhh.

    So sorry to hear about the tragic loss of some pups, but it’s good to hear that two made it through and have forever homes now.

    It’s great to hear from you Musette. Thanks for sharing today. ????

    • Musette says:

      Dina – it’s about 1/5 acre of borders and lawn, all together. That particular border is really, really tall – the others are more average-height and don’t take quite as much effort to maintain. But I love them all!

      Those two pups are the reason I’m not in a psych ward. Seeing them flourish is such a gift.


  • rosarita313 says:

    Ack Ms A I have missed you!! Thanks for the update :))

    • Musette says:

      Hi, cutiepie! How are you? How’s the knee? The parentals? Have you been to the Amish farmer’s market this season? Questions…questions….

      xoxoxoxoA (missed you, too!)

  • jirish says:

    I am so sorry to hear of what you’ve had to go through with the puppies, and am glad you can now enjoy your garden again. Those two lovely fur babies are going to homes that will be forever grateful for all you’ve done. I’m with you on the smell of lilies in the garden. I have a cutting garden of lilies on the side of my house that balances nicely the more astringent, herbal smell of the lavender lining the walkway to my front door. And here in Chicago the rain and cool has also messed up my tomatoes and peppers. A shame, since we were trying to grow the infamous ghost pepper.

    • Musette says:

      thank you for those kind words, jirish! You don’t know how much they mean to me – I’m still a little PTSD. I opened a file of photos that had the puppies with their ID collars. I nearly fainted. But…as one of my bfs said, sometimes it’s an honor just to be there, to help ease a soul into the next plane.

      I am hoping my Nagas and Scorpions fruit and ripen before first frost. Fingers crossed!!


  • Donna S says:

    Your garden is beautiful all that hard work pays off inspires me to get going on our gardens! I always admire anyone who can get Gardens to look like that they are absolutely lovely. It’s also nice to see that there was a happy ending to a terrible story there is nothing worse than dealing with illness with your beloved pets.

    • Musette says:

      I get pretty sick of the garden work, come July – most of that, I think, is the relentless heat and bities. I keep thinking I will weedblock and mulch – and I sort of do…but still they descend, with malice aforethought! xoxoxoA

  • poodle says:

    I’m so happy there was a happy ending for those two pups. I’m also happy to hear you’re feeling a bit better about things. Your garden is looking good. July seems to be the best month for mine and then in August things start to look a bit old and tired. Parvo sucks. After seeing and dealing with it first hand it really does. My heart goes out to you and your friend for having to deal with that. You did what you could and did more than a lot of people would have done. Now give yourself a pat on the back, pour yourself a drink, and go out and enjoy those flowers because soon enough it will be snowing. Hugs to you.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, 6lb, 7oz Sweet Baby JAYSUS! Snow. ICK!

      (and thank you for your very kind words – we did everything we could. I just wish I could know where it came from – soil testing ‘now’ is a bit of a iffy thing, as the mom was all over my yard.)


  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Musette, your garden is faboo! I love my garden too, even if I do neglect it…luckily DH does not.
    I used to have oriental lilies and loved ’em but the red bugs came and ruined everything. Hoorah for those darling puppies! and Hoorah for you, too: XOXOXOX

    • poodle says:

      Those red beetles are a nightmare. They destroyed most of my lilies too. Nothing worked to kill them either but oddly enough when we had the yard sprayed for mosquitoes it got rid of the red bugs too.

      • Musette says:

        I lucked out – no lily bugs. I go completely organic – once my seedlings are up as plants I turn my girlz loose for an afternoon. Every bug and beetle is gone – and they are fat and happy chickens.


  • Your garden is SUPER WOW! Lovely work.
    One day we are coming to visit, you can’t stop us.
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      My darling…..I would praise de LAWD! We would have a swell time – then we would get our a$$es on the train to Chicago.


  • Ellen says:

    Oriental lilies are the terrific. I have them in my garden. There are actually two good lily perfumes, I think. SL ‘s Un Lys and Donna Karen Gold. Really good, but the real ones are the best.