Musette’s Musings and a Draw

omg, you darlings!  You haz NO idea.  I am SO beat.  Lemmetellya what’s up.  My garden.  Is. A. Wreck!  But!  it’s a wreck in a good way, if I choose to pull those lemons off the Meyer tree and make lemonade.  I guess.  Mostly it’s just a grass/weed-choked disaster.   This garden season was a beast!  90+F days, followed by torrential rains, meant no work could be done – and it just sucked the heart right out of me.  Foxtail abounded – if I were to show you a photo of my kitchen garden, you’d think it was post-Apocalyptic, there is just so much grass & weeds.  I fought it for about 3 days – then I said ‘feck it’ and sat my fat butt down and ogled my dahlias.   Well, some of my dahlias.

Dahlias.  Those bishes. Some of them are barely speaking to me.   Lemmetellya about THEM!  Weird fluctuations in temps means I have some that haven’t even budded yet!  Of course, my gorgeous Labyrinth is putting on an AMAZING show.  She can be fickle, but this year she came through.

My Queen!  still going strong

The other reliable, Café au Lait, is sighing and weeping her way to maybe putting out a flush of blooms – we’ll see.  Dahls are usually pretty easygoing but this year has been weird (I potted them up later than usual) and I think not having them bloom contributed to my ennui.

I was set to just lift the dahls for Winter – and be done with it.  Then Kay came along.

You know how, sometimes, there’s one thing, ONE THING? that can spark a movement?  Well, for me, it was Kay pruning one of my smoke bushes.  For several years the Hill Border has been a wreck – and a lot of it is due to this MASSIVE smoke bush, some 20′ tall and 6′ wide, where you actually have to hang on to a branch if you want to get around it.  I wanted to limb it up as a standard but lacked the energy and the nerve.  Kay said ‘hold my tea’ (she doesn’t drink) and went to town on that dawg – and the resultant pruning revealed all sorts of Crazy underneath.  A 10′ Silk Road lily, trying to find some sun through the canopy!  Enough Creeping Charlie to choke a rhino!  A poor struggling rose!  That opening of the bush (into a tree) just galvanized me – and I’ve been weeding and digging and hoeing ever since.



Guess what?  Smoke bush green cuttings smell eerily of contemporary Diorella!  Seriously!  That odd, vegetal-floral-chem thing that makes Diorella so intriguing?  It’s in the green wood of a smoke bush!  Kay’s no perfumista but she has a good nose – and as we were hauling the green wood to the burn pile she said ‘ wow, this really smells beautiful!’ – I’d been trying to attach a perfume to the smell and Diorella was what I came up with!

Anise Hyssop.  I love the smell of Anise Hyssop, along with Bronze Fennel, both of which are in my garden.  Now is the time when I start to cut back for winter and the air is redolent of licorice as the stems get bruised.  I don’t wear anise/licorice scents well (Brin Reglisse makes my nose itch and omg DO NOT GET ME STARTED on Fresh Index Pomegranate Anise!  Ow!) but I do love the scent in Nature.  The best part is coming upon a sweater, the next day, after you’ve dug up some Bronze Fennel – it just smells so fab!


I moved 10 mature hostas this weekend.  I had to move them while they are big so I could remember how big they get – every year I forget, and end up losing lilies and roses somewhere in that foliage. Digging a 4′ dia hosta is no mean feat, lemmetellya (again).  But getting them back in the ground is a piece of cake – I just heel ’em in and they say thenkyouveddymuch and do whatever it is hostas do to keep from dying.  They’re pretty hardy.  My Krossa Regals spent a full year (including Winter) outside, in pots, with less than an inch of dirt covering them (long story, don’t judge me!).  They are foine!  In fact, they are in even better shape than they were before I dug ’em up!  The fact that I got these in the ground, IN A HOLE (of sorts) all in the same hour?  Miracle.  They’ll probably double in size!  I don’t need no steenkeeng perfume – I am awash in Smug Righteousness! 😉


So.  Obviously I’m doing nothing other than whining about how tired I am and how much work I did and omg do you care?  Of course you don’t!  But you are all such polite darlings, so tell me what you did this weekend and I’ll have The Girl pull some winnahs.

And what is it with you guys commenting on a Draw day, then not coming back to see if you’ve won?  Heartbreaking!  So don’t forget:  if you comment today, come back in 2 weeks to see what’s what, okay?

Next time?  The Great Australian Bake Off, a story about a door (or not) and something called ‘lagenlook’.   And what I’m reading (you know I’mo wanna know what you’re reading, as well!)   But right now? there’s a hot shower & 2 Aleve with my name on ’em!

  • Libby says:

    Checking in today , 2 weeks later , inquiring minds want to know… Who won?

  • Ann says:

    Hi, dear! I bow to your gardening (and storytelling) skills — you rock! Love that you’re finding such cool stuff in your yard despite the wonky weather. Hope you’re feeling back up to snuff now. Hugs!

  • Ingeborg says:

    Love your posts, but they remind me how much work a varied garden requires. So some herbs in the balcony flower boxes will do nicely for me.

    Your dahlias look stunning! We have to make do with other plants. Temperatures are no really showing us we are in autumn.

  • Stephanie says:

    My gardening attempt was also thwarted by weeds and the insane rain/heat/rain cycle. I managed to grow sunflowers, one zinnia (which grew to epic proportions and is almost shrublike), and some calendula that really went to town and is still blooming like crazy with next to no human intervention.

    As for the weekend, I was in Oakland, California but now I’m back in the Midwest, enjoying some early fall/late summer weather.

  • crikey says:

    Part of me is desperately sad that I have no garden any more–and then posts like yours remind me about the immense amount of work. With no time off: that turn your back for a week and WOOSH the triffids have taken over thing surprised me every time. But oh, it does sound lovely. (And that smell of bronze fennel is so very good too.)

  • Michelle J Little says:

    This weekend my eleven year old daughter was in a performance of Rock of Ages so I had to play theater mom and go to every one of the shows, sell concessions and scream and clap Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. But I love watching all the kids, they’re amazing, and so is seeing my girl love something so much she throws her whole self into it. But I’m tired and it is sooo much driving. Starting Sunday they will be rehearsing every weekend until just before Christmas to do Willy Wonka. Fun stuff. Your dahlias are gorgeous!

  • I bought the new Scientific American issue that’s about dogs and cats. 10 bucks but oh well.

  • audesko1 says:

    Your garden sounds and looks great! I know it is a lot of work but it pays off. With aleve and flowers! Feel better and thank you for the chance to win.

  • RoseMacaroon says:

    I don’t actually have a weekend so I did what I need to do on Saturdays and Sundays before and after work, specifically, I shopped the farmer’s markets then cooked beautiful dinner. Having an almost fetishistic love of seasonal produce is very useful as motivation to cook when your hands are sore, as I’m guessing some of you find it to be in your gardening practices! I would love to have a garden someday, so for me these posts really make for enjoyable reading. Thanks for the draw! I hope you feel lots better Musette!

  • HeidiC says:

    I love your posts, not just for the descriptions, but for the incredible sense of VOICE you have! I just gave up on getting anything done in the garden this year, besides trying to establish some raspberry canes & rhubarb along the back fence. I’ll regroup in the spring. But I did do some nice pots, and brought those indoors, so my kitchen smells all herbaceous and green.

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    I do enjoy your garden posts and lovely pictures. My flower beds (mostly lily and iris) have been completely neglected for the past two years, to the point where my husband takes a weed whacker and knocks them down. I’m planning to do some rearranging and dividing next year if my health allows, it is long overdue. This past weekend I did some Fall house cleaning. We had guests off and on for the summer and the house was in a bad way but is more presentable now and quite a relief that I don’t have to look at the mountain of dust bunnies any more!

  • Karen says:

    Sigh. What an inspiring post. Those dahlias are gorgeous! But weeding? There’s always something to do in that regard, right? Alas, I blew my weeding wad back in June when I spent 10 DAYS (over an hour every morning in the cool) hand-digging dallis grass, and have done little since. It was an epic event, I promise, but I got it done. I was super proud of me. I’ve even kept up with taking out the evil dallis grass babies that have since popped up. Grrr!

    This weekend though? Saturday I drove to my old college town to visit some old friends and take them to lunch. It was lovely to see them. Sunday? I did absolutely squat after taking a shower, which for the day was quite an accomplishment.

    Oh, and my husband plucked the last rose for me a couple of weeks ago – a beautiful dark red and fragrant “Abraham Lincoln” rose. (We actually call the rose bush “Ralph”) It was glorious while it lasted. Smelling a beautiful rose always makes me wonder why humans ever decided that roses without fragrance were an OK thing to make.

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Dahlias saved my garden’s ass. Still going strong. No fragrance- but that can be forgiven. We have plenty to spritz them with when we bring them indoors, right?

  • Dina C. says:

    Like March, I’ve had a deluge of rain this spring and summer, so my garden plot has been a jungle. I just pruned 2 bushes and a hedge in the front yard this weekend in the broiling hot sun. Apparently it didn’t get the memo that summer is officially over. My backyard is totally overgrown with weeds and out-of-control plants. I had planted a ton of zinnia seeds, but invasive grape vines and unwanted morning glories just take over everything like kudzu. Need to get back there with a machete maybe and hack my way through! I’ve never heard of smoke bush, but if it smells like Diorella, I’m interested.

  • Kathleen says:

    Your dahlias are gorgeous, enjoy them! My smoke bushes have also grown huge, but I love them. Plants don’t grow super well in our dry clay soil here, so I’m thrilled with any growth! Fragrance wise I’m enjoying Francesca Bianchi Angel Dust sample this week.

  • March says:

    It’s a good thing you can’t see my yard now because I’d die of embarrassment — the rain this summer gave me a bumper crop of weeds. I’m pretending they’re not there and focusing on my houseplants, lol.

  • jirish says:

    My back yard garden is pretty nonexistent right now, and will remain so for a few years. We took down a large cherry tree (that had allowed a raccoon to get on our roof, claw through it, and cause a ton of water damage that we are still dealing with), and plan to take down two more trees on our property next year, and replace our fencing. Everything will change after that, and with the additional light we should actually be able to have a kitchen garden. In the meantime, it is truly ugly, with all the damage down from the crew taking down the tree.

  • Lemoncake says:

    I haven’t grown dahlias in years but you are inspiring me. Our garden is looking sad….couldn’t deal with it last weekend….tried to tackle a closet clean up instead with minimal success.

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    I was so pleased with myself for growing such a nice big crop of garlic that I rested on my laurels, and didn’t help out much in the garden after that. My husband loves working in the garden although just the vegetables, so my flowers are a mess. We had/have tomatoes, scallions, many kinds of beans, beets, etc. And EGGPLANT–lots of it, the globe type and the long, thin Japanese ones. I learned how to make moussaka to deal with some of the volume. Eggplant is not an easy one to give away; lots of folks don’t know what to do with it. For real? Baba ganoush, moussaka (our new fave), caponata, the inevitable parmigiana… I have always wanted a smoke bush, but I don’t have a good place for one. Love dahlias, but had no luck with them–beetles eat ’em. As for smells: catnip, basil and the crushed green seeds of cilantro. There are many little holes in the yard from the skunk digging for grubs. On the one hand, he is kind of cute, if I am up late and can watch him. But what a mess it makes. I think I’ll wear some Alkemia fragrance oil today–maybe Verdigris. XOXOX

  • Neva says:

    I don’t have a garden so the only flowers around are in the vase – gladiolus at the moment…and the only plants on my kitchen window sill are edible – thyme, rosemary and basil. I love the idea of a beautiful garden though. Maybe some day…

  • LEE MARY says:

    Sooo envious of your Cafe au Lait- it’s the dahlia du jour down here in Australia (where we’re just planting ’em) and I’ve just missed out on the last one to be had anywhere…spraying my sorrows away with,what else, Dahlia Divin…

  • Jennifer S says:

    That flower is a real beauty! If I had a garden it had better be pretty self sufficient if it knew what was good for it cause yeahhh……
    none a my fingers is green! Lol

  • Jane Winne says:

    Yes, it’s been a terrible year for horticulture, and yet the variety of plant scents are still amazing. One of my favorite smells is the scent of tomato plants, although I wouldn’t want to wear it. LOL I’m still hopeful that there will be a glorious Indian Summer to make up for the meterological mess we’ve dealt with since May. You’ve done something right cuz your dahlia is stunning!

  • zibbyz says:

    well, our garden is in horrible shape too! no rain this summer, at all, and we did not want the water bills we had last summer (when we did water), so we just have dry, dusty garden, and dusty weeds, and a few plants…’s in such sorry state, and I know that when it starts raining again (it’s already started – drizzle today) it will just be mud, mud, and more mud….that’s seattle weather for ya. i’d better set a reminder, cause I will NEVER remember to come back in two weeks exactly….thanks for all your lovely hard work and reviews – I always enjoy them! even if I rarely comment, as i’m on the bus or some such….

  • Brigitte says:

    I am in awe of your gardening skills as I truly lack a green thumb. I am exhausted for other reasons (work and middle aged insomnia-LOL!) and I LOVE anise/licorice notes in perfume. Never thought I did until I discovered 1000 Flowers Reglisse Noire. Recently purchased my 7th bottle of it and have drained 1/4 of the bottle in less than a week!

  • roseyposeyleo says:

    I was away for three weeks. The weeds are gigantic. It’s been a hot summer. I’m looking forward to Winter!

  • Ellen says:

    Doing very much what your’e doing for similar reasons. Very truly tired. Heat. humidity, and rain. Ugh.