Monday, July 06, 2009

It's a garden report! It's a party report! But it's not a garden party report.

The good news is the fried chicken, barbecued ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, potato salad, cole slaw, tossed salad, angel cake, mixed berry compote, and whipped cream went down a treat. So did the cheese platter and cruditeés.

And the liquor, of course.

You know, I haven't thought about gin and tonic in years. Which is sort of weird, when you think about it. I'm a card-carrying WASP of the deepest dye; my porch is so heavy on the wicker, sea shells, and lobster prints it looks like an L. L. Bean outlet store on Nantucket Island. On top of that, in honor of the fourth I wore one of my navy blue Lacoste polo shirts under my Official Preppy Handbook butcher's apron. And yet I can't stand the taste of tonic water and never could.

But I am very, very glad that I bought a full case of tonic water and a bushel of limes. Because everyone else liked them A LOT.

(Which is fine, because it leaves more white wine for me.)

What we didn't like was the craptastic weather. We coordinated the necessary supplies with our guests--we had massive numbers of tarps, lawn chairs, and mosquito repellent ready to be called into play. Serious quantities, along the lines of what Scott would have packed had he been leading an expedition to the Newtopia fireworks instead of the Antarctic.

But a long, gray day of drizzle made everyone decide "Hey! Instead of going to see the South Pole fireworks, why don't we stay on Poppy's porch drinking gin and tonics, instead?"

So that's what we did.

Oh, and everyone admired my yard, so I thought I'd show off update everyone. And educate you on what not to do.

First, how not to hang bunting: one tiny bit of it, lost in the middle of 20 feet of window boxes:

I couldn't help it. That was the last bunting at the hardware store. Newtopia has apparently gone bunting mad. Instead of bye, baby bunting, it was Buy bunting, baby. Heh.

Also, let's face it: the big plastic clips I'm using to hold it up are tacky.

Not to mention that the window boxes themselves are pretty skimpy. At the beginning of the season, I made the mistake of planting them with pansies, and when pansy season was over, I had to refill them with petunias and such. Let me tell you, the back-breaking labor of filling those window boxes is not something you want to do every month.

You can't really tell in this crappy iPhone picture, but this is some hydrangeas. They're exactly the same variety, but one bush has blue flowers, and the other ones--the ones that look kind of yellow? Are are actually pink.

My friend Sophie tells me that burying five or six pennies in the soil around a hydrangea bush will add enough copper to the soil to make bright blue flowers. Finally, a use for pennies!!!

OK, this is my patriotic corner: red astilbe, red berries on the viburnum, white hydrangeas, and blue hydrangeas.

When I was out making the rounds taking pictures, I noticed that the hydrangeas were looking a little thirsty.

Naturally, I was a little peeved. If it's going to rain so much that everyone blows off the fireworks, can it least rain enough to make it unnecessary for me to water the yard?

But then I got all stiff-upper-lip, as befits my heritage. And I did what any card-carrying WASP would do; I gave them each a couple of gin and tonics. With a penny chaser.


  1. Pak Karamu visiting American housewife

  2. I've never been a fan of GnT's either. Really, I think it's the gin for me more than the tonic water. The only good use for tonic I've found is mojitos (yes, I'm from the 80's, what of it?)

  3. I thought I didn't like tonic water either, but then I discovered it's just Schweppes tonic water that I don't like, and that's what everybody seems to use. I've started buying another one without HFCS and it's actually not half bad. WHO KNEW?

  4. Pennies are made of 99% zinc with a copper coating and will not do anything for your blooms, sorry.
    Aluminum sulphate fertilizer must be added to the soil. One application in the spring and one in the fall thats all, and they will stay blue. Nice garden!

  5. Sounds like a fun party. I love your pictures. Just another little tip you can also put a few rusty nails around the plant to change its color.

  6. Hey, it looks like I could bury all kids of crap in my yard and it will help my hydrangeas stay blue! Pennies, rusty nails--how about Diet Coke cans? Maybe the aluminum will help.

    And what about all the permission slips I was supposed to sign and never got around to so the school sent home dupes and I'm just finding them now? Think they'll make good mulch?

  7. Wait--they make you folks carry a card?


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.