Archive for April, 2011

April Garden Notes

April 30, 2011 @ 8:20 am | Filed under:

We spent the better part of the week outside working on the flowerbeds, and since this blog is the archive of what-I-was-doing-when, I like to file my garden notes here.

Photos from April 22nd, after we did a flowerbed cleanup (pulled out a year’s worth of bermuda grass, planted some seeds and annuals and a new lavender to replace some things that died over the year).

Lots of lettuce ready! Need to eat more salad! After this photo was taken, we did more weeding, rearranged hoses, moved the morning glory (behind lettuce on right) closer to the wall (cement wall to right of photo), planted sunflower seeds, and planted a watermelon seedling in the front of the bed near the nasturtium.

A view from the veggie patch looking down the length of the flowerbed. The far corner has become something of a shade garden because the neighbors’ trees have gotten big. Foreground moving away: nasturtiums, salvia, ice plant, cape honeysuckle (the huge flowering shrub, orange flowers), pink geraniums.

For contrast: here’s what this space looked like three years ago.


June 2008, looking the opposite direction. The lettuce patch above is in that wall/fence corner now.

When I rearranged the hoses later in the week, I made a loop go through the bare mulch part of the nasturtium patch in the foreground. I think we planted some of the flower seeds from the kids’ Easter baskets there, but I’m not sure. We did plant zinnia, cosmos, bachelor’s button, and morning glory farther down the bed toward (but not IN) the shady corner, and a few more sunflower seeds along the back fence where they came up so beautifully two years ago. Oh, and it was CANTELOPE seeds we planted near the nasturtiums, now I remember.

The redug/replanted area to the left of the cape honeysuckle and butterfly bush. There had been a large semicircle of stones sort of where the hose is. They were thick with bermuda grass so I heaped them in piles as we yanked the weeds. Some are still in piles. πŸ™‚ We planted the new lavender (above Huck’s head with a new arc of stones), some poppies, moss roses, a fuschia, impatiens, and the aforementioned flower seeds. That’s a bougainvillea on the back fence with the bare lower stalk and new green growth at the top. It’s usually in flower this time of year, dunno what’s wrong this year.

This pincushion flower was a giant clump two years ago. Now just some stragglers, but still one of my favorite things in the garden, especially contrasted against the orange and yellow nasturtiums (to its right) and the cape honeysuckle (left).


April 25. Milkweed is blooming (far right above R’s wrist) and Rose rescued a tired monarch. I know I posted these photos already but it’ll be nice (for my later reference) to have them here in context.


Later in the week, starting Tuesday the 26th I guess, we tackled a woefully weedy flower bed in the front yard. Very small bed bordered with bricks that you could hardly see under the bermuda grass. Rose & I pried them all up, yanked the weeds, returned the bricks to their places, added compost, and planted a few (small, cheap, easily movable if necessary) things: the rest of the flower seeds, some sweet alyssum plants, a yellow daisy. I discovered that the boysenberry plant in my big gray planter—the planter was a gift from my Shakespeare Club kids a couple of years ago—had rooted itself a runner by the house wall–neat!

We also uprooted all the weeds in the backyard strip along our neighbor’s cement wall. It’s ready for planting now–more sunflower seeds, I think. Busy week!

Here, Brain, Press This

April 27, 2011 @ 11:41 am | Filed under:

Drawn – New database of Victorian magazines.



OK, I feel like a dolt. After months of thinking “I wish it were as easy to share interesting links on the blog as it is on Facebook—just a simple click instead of pokey old copy-and-pasting,” I suddenly thought: HUH. That little “Press This” bookmarklet WordPress keeps nudging me about every time I go to my dashboard. I bet that does exactly what I want.

And it does.


Anyway, I thought this link was neat. Good thing I will have all this spare time thanks to Press This; I’ll need it for exploring the Victorian magazine database.

Comments are off


April 26, 2011 @ 7:09 pm | Filed under:

I’m bumping this up from the comments, because it’s too delicious a topic to dispense with quickly. We’d been discussing Upstairs, Downstairs, and I felt compelled to make a list of British costume dramas I have enjoyed. And by “enjoyed” I mean “squealed with giddy delight every week when I remembered it was time for another episode.”

I included films in the list, but for now I’ll just list the television shows, along with one or two others I forgot. These are in no particular order, unless you count “the way they happened to pop into my head” as an order.

First, the ones we’ve discussed here at Bonny Glen already:

β€’ Upstairs, Downstairs (obviously) (here’s the link)

β€’ Downton Abbey (link)

β€’ Lark Rise to Candleford (link) (And oh! We have a new one to watch tonight! Color me pleased as punch.)

Others we’ve enjoyed/are enjoying:

β€’ Pride and Prejudice, which goes without saying. The gold standard.

β€’ Berkeley Square. Victorian nannies, which: you had me at hello. Scott & I watched this many years ago—just the first season. Were there more?

β€’ Garrow’s Law. Kathryn mentioned this in a list of recommendations (see below), and it was serendipitous timing because Scott and I had seen half an episode just the evening before—stumbled into it halfway through and were drawn in. We’ve now seen two more episodes and it has become one of my favorite shows. As Kathryn said: “nice 18th century twist on the legal drama (and based on a true story).” It’s like early Law & Order with knee breeches and powdered wigs. Be still, my heart.

β€’ Life on Mars. An unusual police drama in the 1970s, but that’s still period drama. πŸ˜‰ Modern-day detective goes back in time (or does he?) to the late 70s. A great deal of adult subject matter and violence, but brilliantly acted and quite gripping.

β€’ The Railway Children. This was a TV movie, not a series. This one, from 2000, not the 1970 version. (Bit of trivia: the mother in the 2000 version was played by the same actress who played Bobbie in the original. Other bit of trivia, the 2000-version Bobbie was played by Jemima Cooper, who was the lead in Lost in Austen.) Anyway: I love this movie even more than I loved the book, which was a lot. Jemima’s Bobbie is a wonder.

Next, reader suggestions:

β€’ Cranford (I seem to have watched some of this, but not all? We must revisit. I’ve read the book.)

β€’ North and South — recommended by several commenters who noticed my affection for Brendan Coyle of Lark Rise and Downton Abbey. We’ve got it in our Netflix queue. I think it may be available on streaming?

And more from Kathryn:

War and Peace – the version with Anthony Hopkins and Pierre. Inspired me to read and love the book.

Testament of Youth – based on an autobiography of a young woman who lived through the First World War. Heartrending, but well worth watching.

Poldark – set in 18th century Cornwall. Romance and intrigue among the tin mines, based on books by Winston Graham.

Then some more recent series:

Various adaptations of Dickens – Bleak House, Oliver Twist come to mind.

And somewhere in the middle (80s?) is Brideshead Revisited, which somehow I never saw (another one on my wishlist), but is considered to be the definitive TV version.

I also felt like Gosford Park and Enchanted April belonged on this list, even though they are films. And A Room of One’s Own. And everything Jane Austen, obviously. And Miss Marple!

Betsy-Tacy Digital Books

April 26, 2011 @ 2:32 pm | Filed under: ,

Today’s a big day for Betsy-Tacy fans:

First of all, it’s Maud Hart Lovelace’s birthday…

And second, many of the Betsy-Tacy books are available as e-books for the first time today!

Yes, I’m excited. The more ways we can spread the Betsy-love, the better. Here’s what’s available so far for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other e-readers:

β€’ Heaven to Betsy / Betsy in Spite of Herself (together as one volume, just like the recent reissues)

β€’ Betsy Was a Junior / Betsy and Joe (ditto)

β€’ Betsy and the Great World / Betsy’s Wedding

β€’ Carney’s House Party / Winona’s Pony Cart (Have I mentioned I wrote the foreword for that?) πŸ˜‰

β€’ Emily of Deep Valley (Please, treat yourself to this one. It stands alone, and it shines.)

The four “younger” B-T books will be released as e-books on May 17th. You can pre-order them now if you like.

New to Lovelace? Here’s a A Reader’s Guide to Betsy-Tacy (and Carney and Emily).


Related posts:

Heaven to Betsy! High-school-and-beyond books being reissued! (Sept 2009)
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
The Betsy-Tacy Songbook
Interview with Mitali Perkins, Jennifer Hart, and me about Maud’s books
Betsy-Tacy booksigning at ALA Midwinter
Photos of my visit to the real Deep Valley, as chronicled by Margaret in Minnesota
Why I love Carney
Why I love Emily
A Reader’s Guide to Betsy-Tacy