Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring yard clean-up

EDITED: Two more pics added to the original post at the end, including one mystery plant. Anyone know what it is?

FINALLY - a glorious day to be outside doing a little ‘yard farming’!

Other than riding my motorcycle, puttering in my yard and garden is my absolute favorite 3-season activity. It’s far too early to plant tender annuals just yet, so today was just a day for doing a little policing and clean-up. I took a few pictures to share, but it's still very early. (And, to give you an idea of our property in general, here’s a link to a Webshots album showing our almost-acre.)

Most of these shots were taken in the perennial bed to the north of the house (um, that red thing isn't the house, it's the shed - LOL)...

First up, here is (apparently) the ONLY early-spring bulb on the whole property - a lovely lavender crocus! I was lucky I picked today to go around picking up litter, otherwise I would’ve missed this little feller! This Fall I have GOT to scatter more crocus, hyacinth, tulip, and early daffodils!

For mid-spring there are lots of small patches of daffodils - I’m waiting impatiently for those beautiful blooms!

And, although they won’t bloom til mid-summer, I do have several patches of Surprise Lilies (aka Naked Ladies!) that will look lush and green for another few weeks til the foliage starts to die back. This little gnomey guy is overseeing this particular spot…

… and he’s keeping an eye on the flamingos for me as well.

Hard to see it, but behind this flamingo there’s a very large tomato cage poked down in the soil. Last year I used it as a trellis for Sweet Pea, but they never bloomed.

There are also a few patches of sedum (my former neighbor called them Live Forever) poking through.

This stump (which I dragged home last year over vehement objections from my darling hubby - it's TOO BIG, he complained, though I didn't even ask him to help me move it!) is the perfect height for sitting amongst the hostas, which aren't up yet.

Also in this bed, there is a very large patch of Black Eyed Susan...

... some pretty purple Spiderwort...

...and Monarda (bee blam) which smells wonderfully minty!

Over next to the garage, I took advantage of my husband’s winter hobby - wood-turning - and used all the wood shavings and sawdust we cleaned up from our basement as free mulch in this little flower bed, which is supervised by my wire chicken, Henny Penny…

… and her friend Miss Frog. This bed will be filled with annuals, and…

… I hope some morning glory volunteers will sprout and take over this curb-rescued planter I’m using as a trellis.


A little more raking revealed a few more tidbits in the perennial bed! First, the hostas are just BARELY beginning to peek thru!

And, here's something I planted a couple years ago, but can't remember what it is! It's bright green, and grows in a low, matte-like ground cover with frilly leaves, and blooms purple... hmmm, early summer if I remember correctly. Any ideas?

Happy Spring, y’all, I’m headed back outside!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pretty vintage sales cards

I don't have a large collection of vintage ephemera, but I do own a few pieces - mostly postcards. Among my more unusual pieces are these wonderful advertising placards which I purchased thru Ebay a few years ago. The cards, which measure about 4 x 9 inches in size, are from a Burlington, Iowa company called John Blaul's Sons Co. They were probably used by the sales force of this eastern Iowa wholesale grocer to promote the "Four BBBB" product brand. They could have been used as premiums or trading cards, or perhaps they were intended to have a small month-by-month calendar stapled to the lower half.

With pieces like these, I like having a bit of history to put them into context. Although they aren't dated, the printing quality and images look to me to possibly date from the early 1900's. The John Blaul's Sons Co. began in 1856 in Burlington, run by Mr. John Blaul who was eventually aided by his sons John Jr., Charles, Theodore and Louis. Originally a grocery, the Blaul family expanded their operations over time to include wholesale grocery distribution, coffee/tea & spice manufacturing, and canning. They also expanded into nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During its heyday in Burlington, the company employed as many as 150 people, plus 18 traveling salesmen. Later, John Blaul Jr.'s sons Milton and Mark took over the family business. They sold the company to the Benner Tea Company in 1954.

More soon!
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