Thursday, June 8, 2017

Gardening with a disability....

 It'll be exactly a year ago in a couple days that I had shoulder surgery. It went well, but it's a long recovery. I didn't get a lot of heavy-duty gardening done last summer. I still have pain if I over-do it.

I have always had a cloth wheelbarrow. I love these and was working on my second one before I had my surgery. They are much lighter than a metal wheelbarrow and I love how they fold up to take up less room when not in use.

But I knew this wouldn't work for me because of my surgery, due to the fact that you have to PUSH this and it was just too heavy even before I loaded it up with gardening "stuff".


I checked out to see what alternatives they might have and saw the little plastic cart above. It is much lighter than my cloth wheelbarrow.

I loved the idea of it because it looked like something I could PULL, rather than push. It holds a ton of material. It would work for taking out my garbage, too, which is always hard on my arms, especially because I change my kitties' litter every week and this is especially heavy for me.

I ordered the cart and it came in 2 days. All I had to do was screw the handle onto the cart.

I have to say I absolutely LOVE this cart. It holds a ton of material and allows me to do my garbage so much easier. Pulling it behind me is so much easier on my arms and shoulders.

I get no money for this post - I just want to recommend this little cart if you struggle from any kind of disabling problem such as arthritis or something similar to my issues. I just went on and these carts are $10.00 off right now! The link is below if you are interested. And what a great gift for a gardener you know that struggles with their own physical issues.

Happy pain-free gardening my friends!

Something hidden will manifest itself to us....

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.” BrainyQuotes
This quote is AWESOME! Isn't that just what gardening is all about? Something hidden - though hidden, it's working feverishly to manifest itself. When the time is right?

The above two photos show that patience is rewarded. I planted the two rhododendrons two years ago. Last year neither one had a single bloom. I was sad to think they would never bloom. The first one is a gorgeous raspberry color, and the bottom one is white! I'm so glad we all hung in!

Another happy surprise is the return of this beautiful dianthus. Beside it is a black-eyed Susan also from last year, looking very healthy. I love these because I just pull up a stray runner from my daughter's huge clumps and stick them in the pots. They'll look weepy for a while, but will eventually perk up and start growing well.
I must share with you my daughter Erin's rhododendron....just exquisite! This is out in East Central Pennsylvania.

I hope your spring awakening was a good one!

Happy gardening, friends!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Bold and The Brazen

It's just amazing to me how bold this guy is. I don't know if he is living under my shed, or sneaks under the back neighbor's fence which is the end of my back yard.

I happened to look out my back window and there he was, waddling up to my back porch, without a care in the world, looking me square in the eye.

"What chu lookin' at??

Yep I know what he's lookin' for: My garbage can to see what lovely rancid treats he might be able to devour. It ain't happenin', mister.

Well he went away and the next day what do my eyes behold:
This looks like an albino, but I guess he's not. Hmmmm....that guy in the first photos is probably not a guy, but a momma!

I like what WikiLeaks says about groundhogs: "The groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. It was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. "

Ground Squirrel?

No wonder they seem so confused.

As long as they leave my plants alone.

Happy Gardening, friends!
Ann Bailey

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Feeding foibles

"Uh, do you mind, lady?" These photos are taken through my kitchen window.

On the way to the loo at 2:30AM this morning, the dawn of light struck - and it wasn't the sun shining yet.

I don't remember why I even walked over to my kitchen window, because normally I wouldn't. My neighbor has a large property behind mine and it backs up against a woods. I imagine this is why they have a giant security light that floods the whole area, including my back yard. It lights up everything so I can see things out there if something might be moving around, so I don't mind.

"Maybe if I hide, she'll stop taking pictures of me."

I have a critter - I think it's a possum - that tries to get into my garbage can on my back porch. Learned this lesson in a very messy way. That was months ago, but I see fresh prints all the time all over everything out there as he rummages for food.

I finally broke down and bought a bird feeder. I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing all the birdies enjoying breakfast - lunch and dinner.

Last week I filled the feeder and was surprised when I saw it empty just a couple days later. I told those birdies "I can't afford for you to inhale this stuff, especially with spring eats all around you".

"Num, num, num, num - I better fill up now before the rest of those hogs show up"

I know you know where this is going......

So I'm in front of my kitchen window this morning, and I look out and see this large dark image foraging in the bird feeder. It had the lid off (I specifically tightened it on just yesterday!) That possum was very gingerly eating the seeds out of the tray the way the birds do.

I wasn't having it - I went out the side door and opened the very loud creaky door to my porch - and he disappeared.

He's sneaky because I think if he tried getting the seeds during the day the birds would be attacking him and squawking like crazy. But they sleep at night and he sleeps during the day - just right for nighttime raids of bird feeders and garbage cans.
"Don't look now, but I think we're being watched!"

Yes you are, dear little birdies. Thanks for the show. Oh - and happy nest-building, except not on my porch please!

How do you keep the critters away? I'd love to have a comment from you!

Happy gardening, my friends,

Please sign up for this blog, and oh - besides gardening and birding, I love to sew. Check out my Etsy shop to your right. If you want to purchase anything, mention The Northern West Virginia Gardener and receive 10% off any purchase! Thanks!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Winter survival

My backyard on a gorgeous winter day in Northern West Virginia Photo: me
Hi everyone! I hope you've all had a great winter. Thankfully, it hasn't been horrible here in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia - except for these last few weeks of on-again off-again nice weather. This is the stuff that really causes havoc to our plants. That first stretch of warm weather caused my plants to bud and leaf out. Then the temps did a nosedive and killed off the new growth. I think this has happened two or three times.

As I walked in my back yard garden and looked at the things I planted my heart sank because they didn't look too good. A lot has to do with the fact that, being on the retired person's budget, the plants were small and possibly never had a chance to fight the erratic weather patterns.

The other thing is that critters chewed down the few small trees and bushes I planted, which were nothing but one or two sticks to begin with.

Here's some photos (not mine) of the things I planted:
Variegated willow bush

Variegated redwood dogwood
Variegated redwood dogwood in winter - well my sticks are still bright red, so I'm taking that as a good sign!

American Redbud - mine was a 2 foot stick and now is chewed down to the ground...will it sprout up? I have faith....

I did a poor job of protecting my plants - never thought the trees and bushes would get 'et. Bummer! I need to get a roll of chicken wire to wrap around the tomato cages - maybe. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! How have your plants fared this winter?

See you soon!

Happy gardening my friends!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September garden

I haven't been around lately due to trying to heal from my shoulder surgery. It feels 100% better and I'm able to get out and dig!

Here's what I'm working on:

I planted almost all of the shrubs I got last summer in the front garden and they did very well, except for the azaleas. This garden gets sun the whole day, so the azaleas looked pretty beat up. The one I put behind the Knockout Rose got completely blocked and didn't grow much even though it wasn't burnt up. I removed the three azaleas and I'm going to plant them in my back yard where most of the yard gets shade at some time or another.
Our lack of rain didn't help my azaleas much either.

My two Crape Myrtles are still alive! I was so thrilled when I got three more from WalMart for 2.00 each. I gave two to my daughter and planted one in my back yard. It looks sad.
These Crape Myrtles are doing pretty well. They bloomed a beautiful dark hot pink.

I purchased the bricks for around the Crape Myrtles and just stuck them there temporarily, as you can see. My goal is to make two layers (larger circles than what is there now). I will put in some garden soil and humus in the circles. I want to get a few tulips and plant them and see how they do, or if they survive the critters! I'll then fill the circles with mulch, making sure I leave a space free around the trunks.

The Knockout roses have all gone wild and have bloomed literally all summer long. I really love them.
The other Knockout that is growing like crazy. I deadhead them every few weeks.

I am somewhat disappointed in my clematis - it was a combination of two - a dark purple Jackmanii and this pale pink or violet. But early on in the summer I think something ate the Jackmanii - more than likely a mole or vole. I don't know the name of the pink one to know what its leaves are to look like, but it seems in need of something because the leaves don't look very hardy
The photo on the right is a close-up of the fresh bloom on the bottom of the plant. Most of the upper blooms have been small even though I fed it.
( The single bloom photo is on the right as I write this, but shows up on the bottom when I publish it!)
Well, now I know what does well in the heat and drought for next year: snapdragons and zinnias. A pathetic little tuft of my favorite flower peeks out from behind - cosmos, but most have died in my pots.

I received some used bricks for my garden and laid them down in front of the main garden. I need a few more, but I'm happy with how they look so far!

My poor Datura is not looking great, either. I  moved it to a shadier spot, too.

Until next time have fun with your Fall gardening. I would love to hear from you. Comment below, or write me at  .

Happy gardening,

Monday, August 1, 2016

Torrential downpour bunny

I love to see the wildlife in my yard. We have bunnies running around and I have looked out my window to see a couple playing with each other, racing around like maniacs trying to catch each other. They never do.
Here's the little bunny that got stormed on sidling up to my beloved moonflower - not looking great due to lack of rain.

It’s interesting because we have cats running in the neighborhood, too. I see the bunnies once in a while and often they’re different-looking than the ones I saw earlier. I kind of wonder, of course, if the earlier versions met their demise at the hands – or paws of the cats.

We’ve been very, very dry lately and everyone, especially us gardeners, have been praying for rain. Finally our prayers came true over the last couple days.

One of the bunnies who had been visiting regularly to relieve my lawn of all its clover was out there the day the rains started. Then we had a horrible storm move through with thunder,   lightening, wind and pounding rain. I worried about my tree in my back yard losing limbs.

I looked out at the tree and barely spotted something on the lawn that looked like the bunny. It was. He just lay there getting pummeled by the storm. His ears were up high and eyes wide open. I was beside myself. I ran out in the storm to my back porch and yelled and screamed at him and clapped my hands. He was frozen – couldn’t move. Those big eyes gazed my way. It was so sad.

Well, hello!!!
I went inside and kept looking out the window. It seemed like forever, but he finally disappeared. I don’t think he’s been around. I hope he didn’t die.

I’ve been looking for the bunny. This morning I looked out and there were two bunnies cavorting around. I thought they looked a little strange.
This photo was taken with him looking at me, but there's a kitty about twenty five feet away getting ready to make a move.

I sneaked out with my camera and the one was gone, the other was behind him, but turned around and started running right toward me. Wait – he’s not even the same kind…is he a jack rabbit? A kangaroo? Strange-looking little critter.

I hope my rain-soaked guy is all right.

I'd love it if you would leave a comment, or email me at Or share - whatever you care to do!

Until next time, happy gardening my friends,