Good Intentions and Some Garden Advice

I have a theory about what happens to good intentions.

You know how when you are driving home from work, and you make that mental list of everything you are going to do when you get home? Then you get home and you think, "I'll just sit down for a minute on the couch to relax." Then the next thing you know, you are zapped and do nothing. What happened to those good intentions?

They get sucked off of you and are now under the cushions of the couch. You think I'm kidding? Look under those cushions and see what's there! (Who looked just now or even thought about looking?)

Tonight, I didn't let my good intentions get sucked under the couch cushions, and so I have some things to show you from the time I spent in the garden, along with some advice, starting with don't go near the couch when you get home.

Look at these spirea.

Earlier this spring, I cut these spirea down to the ground. I was hoping to have time to move them, too, because the design of this bed is all off. I just rowed them up along the sidewalk. Boring! But now they look so nice, I think I'll leave them and tend to other areas of the garden that are far worse.

My advice... some shrubs like these spirea are rejuvenated when cut back like I cut these back, so don't be afraid to do just that. But don't just row them up along the walk the way I did these.

Warning, icky spider picture to follow!
Warning, icky spider picture to follow!

As a general rule, I don't much care for spiders. There was a time, decades ago, when I would knock a spider like this to the ground and squish it. But now, I am more enlightened about spiders, and I let them be, as long as they let me be. "Let me be" means no sudden moves toward me, don't touch me, and don't come in the house!

My advice... leave spiders alone and they will leave you alone.

Sign of a Lazy Gardener?

I did not spend much time in the vegetable garden this weekend because it was hot and dry. Last night it was so dry that all I did was set up the sprinkler and let it water the garden.

This evening I harvested the biggest zucchini I've ever harvested, there on the left of all the squash. I had convinced myself late last week that I probably wasn't going to get much more squash, as I had picked all I could find and didn't see a bunch of new blossoms. So where does giant squash like this come from?

Is giant zucchini like this a sign of lazy gardener who doesn't check frequently enough for produce in the garden?

My advice... embrace your giant squash and act like you meant to grow it that big.


I've been warning people that I am going to have a lot of grapes this year. I planted this grape vine several years ago, just imagining how wonderful it would be to harvest my own Concord grapes.

Now that the harvest is near, I realize that I'm not quite sure what to do with these grapes as I don't know how to make preserves. I supposed I could follow a recipe, but wouldn't it be better to give these grapes to someone who knows what they are doing, and in return, they could give me back some of the jam or jelly or whatever they make with them?

My advice... before you plant any fruit bearing crops, have a plan for what to do with the fruit!


  1. So THAT's where my good intentions are hiding! I'm scared to look under the couch cushions--we might find another cat, as there seems to be copious piles of cathair everywhere, yet no cats are missing...:-)

    I planted a grapevine too, a couple of years ago, and have basically ignored it other than to prune it a bit. It's going to have grapes someday-currently they are the size of baby peas and I plan to make grape jelly from them. I think exchanging fruit for preserves is an awesome idea, but you're a bit too far away from me for us to do that. Plus there's that tiresome border thing, and bureaucrats who see goblins under every couch cushion....;-)

  2. It is easy to lose those good intentions, especially during the summer when it's too hot to want to weed or prune back. I think all my good intentions will resurface as soon as we get a little fall weather.

  3. Lucky you. The mockingbirds ate all our grapes. I'm jealous.

    I loved the spirea I grew in Mass. I haven't tried to grow any down here in Houston. It was a tough plant, didn't care about sun or shade wet feet or drought.

  4. Hey Carol, This isn't David...I'm the spider that lives beside his front door. Gotta type fast with all eight legs before he comes back. Just wanted to say thanks for living at peace with us--we don't have anything against you, and we appreciate you planting all these nice web-holders in your garden. Here comes David...gotta scamper...Bye!

  5. I know just what you mean! I will try to stay off that couch tomorrow evening! The veggie garden needs weeding and I have to plant a few things for fall!

  6. I'm a fan of spiders so I really liked the picture. I'm one of those people who take spiders that wander into the house and put them back outside - alive. I have an empty margarine container that has "Spider Catcher" written on the top just for that use.

    Anyway, you can make grape juice very easily. Wash the grapes, put into a mason jar, pour boiling water over them, when cool, refrigerate for about 6 weeks and you have juice!
    Or, put them in a pan with a little water, mash them down and cook for a while. Strain into a jar and you have juice. This way is instant gratification and tastes good. I did it with wild grapes once and it tasted delicious. You use a lot of grapes that way, too.

    Good luck..

  7. I grow the vegetables in my garden, and my Mom comes out and picks them, and then cans them. She loves it! She is 82 years old, and acts half that age. I don't think that she has ever lost her good intentions under the couch because she rarely sits down. Me, on the other hand....well, let's just say that in this heat, the couch and a good book is my intention!

  8. Homemade concord grape preserves or jelly are so good! Not hard either. If I were you, I would search out a recipe.

    That's my advice.

  9. Heh, I had a spider on my balcony last year. It built a small house using the leaves of my Nordstjärnan rose and grew huge through the months. I loved study it, but my son's godmother refused to step outside...

    I envy your grapes. Use Alyssas recipe for juice - seems easy to do.

  10. Lots of good advice here, Carol :-) I especially like the advice about pretending that you meant to grow a huge zucchini! I'm not a fan of spiders either, but at least your spider is kind of cool looking. We have tons of those orb-weaver spiders. They love the front porch. Ick!

    Your spirea really grew back nicely. They look great!

  11. I guess spiders are good for the environment, at least that's what I've been told. At my house we tend to put beneficial bugs back outside where they belong. Carol, if you make grapejuice I'll be more than happy to drink it for you

  12. I'm lucky enough to have two young kids who will jump on my head if I dare sit down on the couch before they are asleep. Nothing under my cushions except the crumbs that those same kids make. :)

    Although starting all those "good intentions" at around 9:00pm after the kids are asleep keeps my to-do list pretty large. I think my intentions scattered are all over my house. :)

  13. Oh, but I do love my couch. It's new and soft and calling me all the time. Do I REALLY have to get up? Shoot! Oh well, I'll go weed, if you think it's the right thing to do. But when I get done, the couch it is. I need to finish Harry Potter.

  14. Same here with intentions! I'm not getting much done these days because it is just tooooo hot. I'm doing lots of mental planning, however. What I do with my big squash is cut round holes in them and add a votive candle. Makes for a fun centerpiece and actually lasts for quite a while.

  15. Hi Carol,
    That spider is an Argiope, otherwise known as a "writing spider" because of the pattern it always weaves into its web. Good mascot for a garden blogger, don't you think? Like a lot of native spiders, an Argiope probably couldn't even survive in your house (not enough moisture), so you're quite safe. Thanks for letting them live!
    Wild Flora

  16. That is my theory on spiders. I leave them alone when I see them. But dang, One time I didn't see one and it bit me while I was harvesting some peppers.

  17. All
    Thanks for the wonderful comments. I had "good intentions" of individualized comments for each of you, but the hour grows late. Let's just say that you were all informative, amusing, and helpful as always. Thank you!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  18. Great advice all around, Carol. And as a spider-lover with arachnophobic friends, I appreciate that you have become enlightened enough to not only tolerate spiders but take a wonderful picture of an orb-weaver. :)

  19. Hey! Grape jam is easy-peasy, it's just separating the grapes from their skins and seeds that's the bear. You need TOOLS, and it'd be hard to do it with a hoe, so you might need to "find a friend," quickly. We just make a lot of juice and freeze it, at least, that which doesn't get made into jam or wine. We're due for a huge crop this year, so if you'd like a tutorial, hop on US31 and go north, sometime in mid-late Sept.!

  20. i just love writing spiders.. They have so much charm and their webs are so fascinating.. We welcome at our house.

  21. p.s. Beautiful grapes! Can you take them to work and leave them out in the breakroom?

  22. Oh, Carol, I laughed my way through this post! First, I avoid the sofa when I get home from work and never intend to sit on it until my day is done. If I do, the evening is shot :o)

    When I saw the grapes, I thought, "Wow. She even makes jelly." LOL!


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