Lavender in Bloom

The lavender is just starting to blossom. I picked 5 large bunches off of just one plant to hang in the sunroom. This plant is four years old.

I cut handfuls, then place a rubber band around the stems, trim the stems all to an even, tidy length, and then hang them on hooks, cabinet knobs, etc. The house smells so nice!
I made this wreath for the garden shed out of last year's lavender bunches and some of our herbs.
Lavender can get very "leggy" and needs sheering to keep bushy and give lots of flowers; just don't prune or cut below the green stems. Sometimes, if conditions are just right, I even get a second flush of blooms in the late summer.
Our herb garden (garden house is in the background)

Happy Flag Day

I love to see the many American flags that line our little town of Newberg on Flag Day. 
We have a very patriotic town; a giant flag always greets us as we enter the quaint old part of town. 
Don't you love to see festive bunting? 
Here's some fun flag trivia...

Reproducing the American Flag
  • According to the U.S. Department of State, the names of the flag's official colors are old glory red, white, and old glory blue. Their HTML codes and Pantone equivalents can be found on the Department of State's style guide. 
I love to see decorated bikes displayed in yards or in a parade!
  • There are federal regulations governing the handling and display of the flag (the U.S. Flag Code), including restrictions on using the flag's likeness for advertising, or printing it on anything intended "for temporary use or discard," like cocktail napkins or paper plates. Under the Flag Protection Act of 1989, there are also federal laws that call for criminal penalties for certain forms of flag desecration, although the Supreme Court found this act to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment in 1990. It is my hope that some day we can move back that court decision to protect our flag pre-1990! 
  • Old Glory was actually the nickname of a specific U.S. Flag owned by sea captain William Driver. He was previously given the flag by the women in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, but he only named it Old Glory when he saw it flying on his ship's mast in 1831. The name later went on to become synonymous with any American flag. I love the name "Old Glory" for our flag, don't you?
  • Despite the harsh temperatures and conditions of the moon's atmosphere, five of the six flags that were planted during the Apollo missions are still standing. According to Buzz Aldrin, the one that fell was blown over by the exhaust from Apollo 11 during its liftoff from the moon's surface.
Won't you join me in proudly flying our American flag this flag day? (Sunday, June 14th) Wouldn't it be a spectacular site to see every home and business fly our flag? That would speak volumes to other countries!

Everything's Coming Up Roses

June is the month for the end of a school year, filling the wading pool, picnics, weddings... and roses!
We live about an hour from the "City of Roses," as Portland is called. The Parade of Roses was just this Saturday, and the Rose festival goes on for weeks in Portland.

Roses grow in our area without much attention, which is a good thing since at last count we had over 35 rose bushes.

We have shrub roses that line our driveway; they've never received supplemental water, fertilizer or been sprayed, yet they are prolific bloomers all summer. Their only drawback is the abundant thorns. These would make a good fence, as nobody would want to get caught up in these brambles!
The roses near our barn are extra hearty, too. Most of our roses are heirlooms, and I'm very partial to David Austin roses. 
The long blossom life and cupped shape along with an intoxicating fragrance made the initial expense well worth it, for these roses will be living here longer than we will.

Here's just a few more pretty blossoms in their full glory today...

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”  

Happy Thanksgiving in June!

Today is the first day of June, an unofficial summer day to most of us. We've had a beautiful spring with temperatures in the 70's and just enough showers to keep everything lush and green. Today, though, is a cool high of 63 degrees and rain; a perfect day to celebrate our second Thanksgiving. We plan to place the turkey in the oven at noon,with all of the usual Thanksgiving dishes to follow. The only thing missing will be the pies because we are all trying to watch our weight (shorts and swimsuits have their way of doing that!)

Why second Thanksgiving today? First, we were unable to celebrate holidays for two years due to Glen's illness. He was either in the hospital or in recuperation. So we agreed that we'd celebrate everything...holidays, birthdays and milestones, twice this year. Today just so happens to be mid-way between Thanksgivings!

Second, at Thanksgiving we bought a couple of extra turkeys at rock-bottom prices and kept them in the deep freeze. Now, we're hungry for a good turkey dinner and, most of all, for the delicious sandwiches, pot pies and casseroles which follow.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, I planted sweet potatoes for the first time this year. I urge all gardeners with itchy garden fingers in late winter to try growing their own. Early in February I started the slips in mason jars on a sunny windowsill. It took a little over two months to have slips with good roots large enough to transfer to a small pot. Then, just last week, Glen prepared the large pots with a mixture of loamy soil and sand, then the sweet potatoes were planted in their final home. They will thrive on the hot rock patio this summer, and we will hopefully have fresh sweet potatoes to eat all next fall and winter!
little sweet potato slips will be beautiful vines soon and, hopefully,
sweet potatoes down under come fall!
Before I help get that turkey prepped, I must get back to work painting a new art collection; one of my favorite things on one of my favorite days! (My friends, family and blog followers know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.)