Additional progress in the front yard:
* snapped up a few cheapie plants in the market (lupins, lavender, cilantro, and a funky pink-flowering ornamental grass) and added to the new bed.
* planted seeds in the new bed as well: hollyhocks at the back, poppies of various heights and colours and longevities all around, bright lights swiss chard in the middle, some gigantor marigolds (just in case they might actually sprout when direct seeded outside) nearish the back. I have never yet succeeded in growing poppies from seed, but the packages insist they're easy to grow and that bed is the best approximation I have of their ideal conditions, so here's hoping.
* the peonies are (knock on wood!!!) looking like they might actually manage to bloom this year??!? Again, here's hoping!
Progress in the back yard:
* Operation Lily Beetle Sudden Death continues apace. I could only find two of the little bastards to squish the other night; this morning I couldn't find any. Trying not to get my hopes up, as they will no doubt be back in force soon enough. Sneaky tricks I have discovered:
* it's hard to tell whether you've squished them enough to actually kill them dead, and it's gross besides, but picking them off and chucking them in a bucket of water will make sure and is not as squickifying.
* my cousin had the excellent idea of wielding needle-nose pliers at them, since they like to hide in the folds of leaves and fall right off the plant and hide in the ground if you are too clumsy to nab them right away.
* use a short bucket of water; that way you can lean the plants over it and just brush/shake the beetles off into the bucket. Much less gross than squishing them.
* check the undersides of the leaves - eggs, like adults, are bright orange and easy to spot.
* plant today's spoils. SQUEE.
* buy some of those tall hardwood stakes and fix up the delphiniums - also the japanese maple, which has grown a few inches since last year, astonishingly enough.
* ongoing weeding of doom. Bleh.
* On that note: MULCH. How I am going to manage this exactly I'm not sure, because it will involve a crapload of the stuff. But nonetheless.
* Clean up the throughway, it's getting embarrassing.
* de-dandelion the backyard lawn and add some more clover in its place.
* mow the lawn front and back. What a concept.
* hunt for a shade-tolerant mockorange and possibly a bicolour buddleia, if there is still a sunny bare spot that's big enough.