Just Ponderin... on preparations for 500

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 10:15am

About this blog:

  • Just Ponderin’ will celebrate its tenth anniversary in August of 2022 and now (pinch us!) has thousands of followers from all around the world, including many who love and/or have connections to Maine. JoHn and I made a small island off of Boothbay Harbor our full-time home in 2017 and still can’t believe we get to live here. We now share our nearly 200 year-old home with a German ShepHerd harboring a royalty complex (HRH The Princess Bunny Blaze), and a new-to-us Second Hand Dog all the way from Oklahoma (Belle/Belle-ah). I’m thrilled to have Just Ponderin’ included in the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspapers. Just Ponderin’ is chock full of observations on - and celebrations of - the ordinary and extraordinary bits of everyday life.  If you want to get in touch, give me a shout at lisadingle@justponderin.com. And feel free to visit justponderin.com. I’d love that. Thanks for readin’. - Lisa 

I got a message from a friend recently, along the lines of "Uh... where are you and what are you doing, dork?!"

My brain inserted the 'dork', but I wouldn't put it past her to call me that. I'm just sayin'.

Well, there was this thing.

I mean, I mentioned it a few posts ago, and I really thought I'd be writing about The Thing as time was leading up to it, but...

But five hundred - FIVE HUNDRED - people were coming to my house and, when five hundred people are coming to see your house and your gardens, you have to get ready and you can't spend a lot of time telling people about it.

I was totally fine with it, actually.


Until about a month before the tour when I realized, "Holy Crap! Five hundred people are coming into my house and gardens in less than four weeks!"

Then, suddenly, there were a lot of activities.

In addition to the weeding, multiple hours of hand watering that occurred every morning and evening, and eye-rolling levels of house cleaning, here are some of the activities - the insane activities - I engaged in during that time:

Hole Detecting. No. I don't mean finding holes that the ShepHerds dug and filling them in. I mean finding holes in flower and plant areas - like gaps - and then rushing to the garden center to purchase the exact, right hole-filing perennial and/or shrub to fill said hole. I now have several new clematis vines, and numerous lovely blue asters. Also something called a Pye Weed (which I told JoHn would yield apple pies, but not until the end of September).

Guest Comfortable-ing. We have a house that used to be an inn. It hasn't been in a long time, but the description of our property in the Garden Club Home and Garden Tour tickets said it was an inn and that it still even had room numbers on all the guest rooms. Did you catch that? Guest Rooms. So now there are matching, pretty water bottles in each of what were my children's rooms but are now guest rooms. On pretty trays, there are also fresh flowers. In addition, there are lovely selections of reading material that my children will not be interested in (Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck doesn't really resonate with twenty somethings). My bedroom is also a guest room now. JoHn and I have nowhere to sleep.

Paint-Based Spiffer Upper-ing. I went around the house with a left over gallon of house paint and a paint brush. If there was a scratch or flaked off area of paint, I painted over it. Also, when I came upon one of the bird feeders, I noticed the paint was all worn. So I painted the whole thing, right over the dirt and pollen and stuff. It looked way better (it won't for long).

Bulkhead ScrubbingMy bulkhead is made of metal and is painted white. It was dirty (like, really dirty). I noticed this when I looked out of my laundry room window during a recent monsoon. So, I thought, why not go out with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and scrub it right then because the rain will help rinse it off so it's perfect timing. But it was not. I just made greenish-yellow muddy swirls that kind of bled down the bulkhead as the rain fell. I had to turn on the hose and use it to clear the stuff off. So there I was, in a monsoon, blasting my bulkhead with water from my hose. It took me four days to feel dry.

Octopus Prep. I'll get to that in a minute.

Here are some photos from the day.

We were house number two. See:

house2.jpgAnd also? We got a special, wooden sunflower to make sure people knew we were on the tour:

sunflower.jpgI studied like crazy before the tour. Before that, I would have referred to these as 'the cute sunny yellow flowers', but now I know they are 'coreopsis':

coreopsis.jpgThe pink ones with the cool spider that lives in them are spirea:

sunrise-11.jpgAnd it wasn't just the plants. The critters were all clean and shiny and ready for their debut...


slug-1.jpgOh! And did you know that when you are on a Home and Garden Tour, you get floral arrangements?! Well you do. This one was made by a woman named Alice. Alice said her theme was 'farmer's market' and that this was designed for my kitchen. Those veggies? Right down to the brussels sprouts? They are real.


And then a woman named Sue, who was supposed to do just one arrangement, brought three for the Vampire Room. Every single flower was cut from her garden. Crazy cool:


People started to arrive and headed to the first 'thing to see', which was the old barn...


They came from the barn, and then through this garden gate, to the house...


And there were hostesses who guided them through, and then they came back out to the back patio...


Where there were huge hydrangea that looked like this...


But also, a hydrangea that used to look like that but, after a certain chipmunk and two german shepHerds decided to leap onto the wall and into said hydrangea... well. There was a bit of a hole in it.

The day.


The tour.


I didn't even try to fix it. I just made a sign.

That bee balm back there (below the bird house) is buzzing with bees and hummingbirds all the time.

















This is the Accidental Herb Garden (it was supposed to be a staging area, years ago, but it got pretty (and I got lazy)):

















And after they were in the back yard, everyone headed across the street to the waterside gardens...

















All was super fun.

Remember I said I was going to explain about the "Octopus Prep"?


A few days before the tour, I realized that I had not addressed that task at all, and time was running out. So I drove over an hour to get two 'lava spheres'. They needed to be exactly the same size and color, which is hard to get with lava spheres.

And then, on the way back home - having succeeded in the arena of lava sphere proliferation - I had to get waterproof paint, preferably in a high gloss finish.

I told you... insanity. 

So then I took my lava spheres and painted round, high-gloss, black circles on each. And then I had two lava spheres, appropriately painted with circles (that's one of the spheres at the top of the post).

I was ready.

So I took them out to our labyrinth which, sure, is a labyrinth. But I have long thought that - if you looked at the grass bit rather than the stone path bit - it was actually an octopus.

Doing ballet.

So it was incredibly important to me that other people could see what I saw, and I needed the lava spheres and paint to make that happen.

Thus, on the day of the Boothbay Region Garden Club Home and Garden Tour, our guests walked through the massive rosa rugosa hedges...

















And met the octopus!

















Oh, and behind him?

That is the Octopus's Garden.

In the shade.

Totally worth it.

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