Friday, July 31, 2015

Dahlias, Day Lilies, Butterfly Weed, and Hot Peppers

Yellow dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" I took these photos right after a heavy rain. Raindrops on flower petals make them even more beautiful.
Bicolor day lily duo: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
 These pretty ruffled day lilies have a nice bright center that's like a floral smile.
First butterfly weed flowers: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
To support the monarch butterfly population, we bought three butterfly weed plants this year and they're finally blooming. I have yet to see a butterfly on them but am hopeful.
Sights of Summer dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Our sights of summer dahlia was the most expensive tuber we bought this year and the last to bloom. But it's flowers are beautiful and large so worth the wait.  
Ben's hot peppers: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
I started three different types of hot pepper plants from seed for my husband in late winter but once we planted them in spring, rabbits kept eating them. So he decided to get some already large ones from the store. His store bought ones are producing nicely but my seed started ones are still at the flowering stage (note to self - next year put up some rabbit fencing around the pepper seedlings). I hope the ones I started from seed do produce some peppers eventually but he's pretty glad that he bought the larger plants and can pick peppers as needed.

Thank you for visiting! May God bless you today and always!

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2012's peppers:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

From Disaster to Delight: An Organized Linen / Cosmetics / Toiletries / Storage Closet

My big organizing achievement for July was my linen closet, which also serves as a cosmetics/toiletries and general storage closet. The "before" clutter clearing & organizing photo is on the left and the "after" is on the right. Big difference!

Someone asked for details on this clutter busting project so here they are. The basic "how to" was the same as most of my organizing and clutter busting projects:
  1. Remove everything, 
  2. Clean the empty space, 
  3. Get rid of everything I don't need/use/love, 
  4. Organize what's left. 
For the purging I donate everything useable (either to charity or friends), recycle everything left that can be recycled and trash the rest (very little has to be trashed, thankfully).
  • Extra toilet paper is stored in the small handled basket on the top shelf.
  • Hair accessories are in the pink photo storage box on the top shelf (the box below it is empty for now but it will probably gain items from under the sink vanity once I get to that).
  • The baskets hold one type of linen or cosmetics/toiletry each. There's a basket for pillow cases, hand towels, face cloths, hair products, face products, body products, etc. Blankets are stored in an extra drawer in the bedroom but since there's space on the top shelf I might eventually move them there. 
  • Within the linen storage baskets things are folded uninformly by what makes sense for the amount of that item that we have and the depth/width of the basket, mostly with rounded edges facing upward and the neatest part facing forward.
  • Towels and the extra bath mat are folded so the rounded edges face outward.
  • They don't show in the photo but we store our space heaters and some cleaning projects on the bottom shelf.
Last year I bought baskets and kind of organized things but I didn't purge enough to make it truly organized. It's hard to tell from the photos but there's a big space above the door jam and there's a bar to hang clothing up by the ceiling. I left the two cedar hangers on the bar and you can see the very ends of them in the "before" photo (above) but the rest of that space is empty right now (though eventually I might hang extra table cloths from the bar as our clothing is too long for the space).

Clutter clearing was definitely beneficial here as retrieving things is easier and I don't have to worry about things falling on my head when I grab something from the top shelf anymore (a definite bonus). I think the biggest difference from the first go at organizing this closet and this time was having read Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I haven't implemented her process yet but it made it a lot easier to release the things that don't "spark joy."

I love to organize but have a host of health challenges and little energy lately so this project took me from July 6 to July 27, even with my kind husband's help. The key was to do a small, managable section at a time (like one basket). 

Thank you for visiting! May God bless you!

Do you have any storage organizing tips? I'd love to hear them! 

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Sunrise Zinnia, Pink Rose, Sunrise Dahlia, Joe Pye Weed and Funky Coleus Flowers

Sunrise zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" I'm not sure what kind of zinnia the one above actually is but I think of it as my sunrise zinnia and love its multicolored petals.
Bright pink rose: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Our roses are still going strong although I've had to pick a few Japanese beetles off of them.
Magic sunrise dahlia 2: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The Magic Sunrise dahlia is my current favorite although I do love all of the dahlias.
Joe pye weed buds: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The joe pye weed flowers are just starting to open and should be covered in bees by next week.
Unique coleus flowers: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
I thought these coleus flowers were really unique and pretty. I usually cut all the flowers off of our coleus plants as soon as they appear (we grow them for the foliage) but I'm letting these remain because they're so neat.

Thank you for joining me on this week's mini garden photo tour! May God bless you!

What is your favorite photo from this week's post? Is there a flower I haven't posted that you'd like to see in the future? 

Related posts:
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Black Cat, Pink Tongue Cuteness - Photos by Ben Wheeler

Baby cat with tongue out: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
Happy wild Wednesday! My talented husband took these photos of my precious Baby cat (who is fifteen years old but still petite) while she was camped out between my ankles. The photos make me smile and I'm thankful he let me share them with you. I think she's super cute all the time but even more so with her little pink tongue sticking out.
Baby cat with tip of tongue out: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
She'd had her tongue out for a while when he went to get the camera but she starting pulling it back in as soon as he took the first photo.
Baby cat's gaze: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
And then she'd had enough and soon went to sleep. Technically, I think she will always be considered a feral cat but she's the best cat I've ever had and I love her.

Hearty thanks to my hubby for taking and sharing these cute cat photos! May God bless him and may He bless you too!

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Morning Glory, Bicolor Day Lily, Magic Sunrise Dahlia, Black Eyed Susans and Unusual Zinnia

White morning glory Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" The morning glories are blooming nicely and their white color seems cooling in the summer heat.
Bicolor day lily: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
I love this striking deep red and bright yellow bicolor day lily. 
Magic sunrise dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
And I'm thrilled that our magic sunrise dahlias finally started blooming this week. Can you see the bee in the upper left hand corner? The bees are happy too. 
Black eyed Susans: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The black eyed Susans have been blooming for a few weeks but something is chewing on their petals so it's hard to find nice fresh ones for photos. But from a distance they look great. 
Funky orange zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
And in the midst of our giant zinnias we have this one unusually shaped zinnia. The whole plant has this type of flower. I thought it was neat. Yesterday a visitor noticed it and said it looked "so perfect it doesn't look real." The giant zinnias are still my favorite but this is a pleasant surprise.

Thank you for joining me on this week's mini garden tour. Which photo did you like best? What kind of summer fun are you having? May God bless you this summer and always!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Butterflies and Bees Love Purple Coneflowers

Swallowtail on echinacea: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy wild Wednesday! I took this week's photos in my own garden. What a blessing it is to enjoy so many flowers and so much cute insect wildlife. 
Bee on purple coneflower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The purple coneflowers (also known as echinacea) seem to be most popular with the bees and butterflies this year, with the giant zinnias a close second.
Swallowtail on purple coneflower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
We must have some undesirable insect eating at the purple coneflower petals but I think they're still pretty, even with partially chewed parts.
Two moths on echinacea: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Although it's not technically a good photo, I liked the fact that there were two moths on echinacea flower heads in the image above.
Moth on purple coneflower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
As you can see, the purple coneflowers bloom at different heights. Although we've put in a wide variety of coneflowers, the old fashioned purples seem to thrive the best in our Maryland soil.

Hope you enjoyed this week's wildlife photos. Which did you like best? Whatever you prefer, I thank you for visiting and pray that God will bless you!

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Vinca, Dahlia, Giant Zinnias, and Day Lily From Our Garden

Bicolor vinca: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!"  The vincas in our deck box are thriving despite the summer heat.
Mr. Optimist dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
So far the Mr. Optimist dahlias are the only large ones blooming but others have buds so I hope to see some soon (we have three other varieties planted).
Giant pink zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
That package of "red" giant zinnia seeds has surprised us with orange, pink, white and other shades of zinnias as well. 
Giant red zinnia with bee: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Thankfully it did provide a handful of red zinnias too. The bees love all the colors.
Frilly day lilies: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Day lily season is still going strong. I love the extra bright inner shade of the yellow frilly day lilies.

That's all for this week's mini garden tour. Thank you for joining me! May God bless you!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ben Wheeler's Zoo Photos for Wild Wednesday

Red ruffed lemur: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
Happy wild Wednesday! My wonderful husband was kind enough to let me publish some of his photos from a recent trip to the National Zoo and we hope they make you smile.
Sleeping Luke the lion: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
Luke is a magnificent male lion who looks fearsome when roaring but adorable when sleeping.
Toothy reptile: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
Outside the reptile house this creature kept an eye on us.
Descending sand cat: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
Volunteers have told us that the best time to see sand cats is the early morning. Most zoo buildings don't open until 10:00 am but the small mammal house opens earlier (I think we were there at 9:15).
Minature donkey: Copyright © Ben Wheeler, 2015
The petting zoo has minature donkeys, including the funny one pictured above, as well as alpacas, cows, chickens, goats and more. It seems like either the donkeys or goats are usually doing something funny when we visit.

Thank you to Ben for sharing his fun photos! I'll gladly pass on any comments you share below. May God bless him and may He bless you too!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Giant Zinnias, Gladiola, Mr. Optimist Dahlia and Day Lilies

Giant red zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" I finally have a true red giant zinnia! A few weeks ago I shared the giant orange one that came from the "red" seed packet but I hadn't had a red one bloom until now. It was worth the wait because I love it! The flower is about the size of my palm (about 4" in diameter).
Bicolor gladiola: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Our gladiolas have started blooming. I think this was the very first one to pop. I wasn't sure if they'd come back after last year's harsh winter so they're a pleasant surprise (we have two of these).
"Giant" white zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
This white zinnia also came from the same "Giant Red Zinnia" seed packet that produced the red and orange ones (and, not yet shared on this blog, but pink, peach, mauve and purple zinnias too). While all the others are producing large flowers the white plant is producing smaller flowers, about 1-2" in diameter. But it's producing more of them, and they're pretty so I don't mind.
Mr. Optimist bicolor dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Our Mr. Optimist dahlias have started blooming too. They don't look like the photo on the tuber package (it had more of a bright fushia main color) but they are gorgeous. Even nicer in person.
Creamy yellow day lilies: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
In addition to the El Dorado and double orange day lilies these lovely yellow and cream day lilies have started blooming. Our day lily bed is exploding with color and I love it.

That's all for this week. I hope my flower photos made you smile! Happy 4th of July to all celebrating! May God bless America and may He bless you too!

Related posts:
El Dorado day lily:
Orange giant zinnia:
Day lilies and more:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mourning Dove Photos and Video for Wild Wednesday

Mourning dove: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy wild Wednesday! This pair of mourning doves enjoyed hunting around in our back yard.
Mourning dove searching: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
It was fun to watch them pop in and out of the foliage.
Mourning dove over shoulder: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
And they definitely kept an eye on me while they went about their bird business.

Here's a little video clip so you can enjoy their movements too.

May God bless you and our feathered friends!

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