Going into The Slow Lane

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Now that it is mid-July and the summer heat is ON… life for me goes into the slow lane. After our vacation to Mexico, I find I am enjoying life at a slower pace. Vacation is all about relaxing and exploring new places, where going into the slow lane is all about home life and just enjoying puttering around the house without a to-do list or an agenda.

Once mid-August arrives, I know I will be back at it, but in a more organized and refreshed way since I went into the slow lane for awhile to get recharged.

One thing I have always liked to do when I first get up in the warmer months is make my tea, or coffee as I have been craving lately instead of tea. I take it out on the deck to enjoy the stillness of the lake and nature all around waking up with me.

I water the flowers in the planters and once that is done, eat breakfast, workout and take a shower. Now that I am in the slow lane, I am allowing myself to spend more time on the deck before the heat begins to soar and not hurrying off into my day.

While we were on vacation, my neighbor looked after our house, got the mail, watered flowers etc. I told her not to worry about watering the flower planters with the scraggly Verbena in it on the deck since the rabbits basically destroyed any chance for it to thrive. I tried a few methods to stop them, but the rabbits won.  Life is too short to try to battle with them so…

… last week I just removed the chomped-up Verbena and replanted the deck planters with pink Vinca that the rabbits don’t like and is thriving in my front flower bed under a Crepe Myrtle.

The previous owner left the wood barrel-style planters on the deck and out in the garden. I liked how they looked since they blend in with the wooded, tree lined yard. Up until our trip to Mexico, I just needed to water the planters once a day, but now that it’s mid-July and the heat is on, the flowers and perennials are wilting. I am finding I need to water them at least twice a day to keep them vibrant and full.  The front yard flower bed gets watered by an in-ground sprinkler system, so I just have to weed that one every once in a while.

Last summer, to make it easy to water, I bought two of those expandable hoses, one for the front yard to hose off the driveway, wash the cars and front porch and one for the deck planters. When I reattached them to the spigots in the spring, the one in the front burst.  :-(  So much for that $45 dollar hose. I went online and found these hoses usually only last a season.  What a waste of money. The one on the deck was still OK, but about a week later I found it sprung a leak midway in the hose.  Double waste!

With the summer heat approaching, I had to get a new hose and remembered Gilmour reaching out to me to see if I would like to try out a super duty hose and nozzle. I found the email, wrote back and said yes.

Best hose for deck planter watering

I was sent a Gilmour Super Duty Flexogen hose and nozzle. It is heavy duty, but lightweight enough for me to handle on a daily basis. I liked the fact that it was durable and stands up to frequent use, season after season. YES!   No more wasting money on hoses that only last a season.

At first glance I thought the nozzle was just a traditional nozzle, but on closer inspection, I noticed it had a thumb control, where there is no need to keep squeezing a handle. Turn on, turn off and adjust water flow all with an easy flip of the thumb. You get complete control, plus a break for your hand and 8 sprays to meet every watering and cleanup need.

I water the flowers on the Flower and or Soft Wash setting.

Did you notice this planter still has Verbena in it?  It is the only planter where the flowers were not totally destroyed by the rabbits. I told Ed I think it is because the rabbits must be frightened of the driftwood Cormorant that the previous owner of the house made and left. We liked and kept it. What a good sentry!

Since I water the planters every day and now twice a day, I like the lightweight ease of handling the hose and being able to…

… take it to the far end of the deck to reach every planter.

Since I began the double watering, the newly planted flowers are starting to take off and thrive and there is not a rabbit in sight. :-)

Now I just need to hope my slow lane brain likes to putter around after I water to weed out the pine straw and clover that seem to show up daily in the planters. :-)

After I water, I sit back in slow lane mode. I like to watch the bird feeders. This one attracts yellow finches and small Pileated Woodpeckers…and of course a squirrel or two that tries with all its might to get food from this feeder.

I try not to watch the clock, but just sit and enjoy the quiet…

…and the sound of the wind chimes when the breeze blows.

This is my favorite time of the day and for the next few weeks I plan to enjoy life in the slow lane sitting right here.

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  1. Love your post. This is the first year I’ve had vincca in years and I am loving it. Didn’t realize it reseeds itself. Thanks for the info. I may be the only one in the world who doesn’t know the name of the purple viney plant. A friend gave me some this year and it’s wonderful. Fills in so well. Do you know the name of it? I would appreciate it if you do.

    1. Hi Jayne –

      The purple flowers or plant is called Tradescantia or Wandering Jew. It is a perennial and is super easy to grow. I cut it back in the late fall and in the spring it grows back. It rarely needs water and gets little pink flowers at the end of each stem. I was seriously telling my husband just yesterday that I want to plant it or something like it in all the deck planters.

  2. This is a very interesting blog. This is my first time here and I really love interior designing related blogs. I will comeback here more often. You certainly deserve it after all your hard work on all your projects.

  3. Hi Diane,
    I love vinca and I like how it will drop seed so you can look forward to blooms next summer. I like to plant up lots of containers and place them around in the garden and on the deck. What I don’t like is dragging the hose around the yard every day to water the containers. Here in SE Virginia we are going through the mother of all heat waves with daily temps in the high 90’s and feels like temps in the 100+ degree range. I’m considering trying out these self watering containers for next summer. They are not cheap, but considering the time I would save and the fact that they are built to last as well as being made of recycled materials, I think it would be money well spent. I’m not affiliated with this company just trying to work smarter not harder. Here’s a video about the containers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALOTlOV7uNc Vikki in VA.

    1. Hi Vikki – Watering can become such a chore. I like easy and wish the planters could be reached with the automatic sprinkler out on the lawn. Thanks for the link to the container. I will check it out. I hope the temps have dropped for you. They have here. It only reached 88 today :-)

  4. I enjoy all your advice and since I live in a lakeside community in SC am also experiencing the same heat. I have a screened porch and love to listen to the birds at the feeders. Unfortunately the past two weeks we have been visited by two black bears who have destroyed our bird feeders. DNR says move all feeders out of the yard and they will move on.
    Hope you continue to enjoy your lake house.

  5. I like your plan for the rest of the summer…taking it easy! You certainly deserve it after all your hard work on all your projects. Sit back and enjoy! ;)

  6. Hi Diane! Good for you in the slow lane!!
    I need to go there!!! I feel like I haven’t stopped since we arrived at our Lakehouse in May!!!!
    BUt in our way back to NJ to go on my 1st cruise ever to Bermuda!! No cooking for ONE WEEK!! Surely I will get in the slow lane on the ship!! Enjoy your lovely home!

  7. I don’t know if you have considered this, but the addition of a rain barrel would cut down significantly on the water from your well – boy, when a frog strangler rain happens, we can fill our huge rain barrel enough for almost the entire summer! But using a hose might be nigh well impossible, you’d need a bucket or big watering can and surely make more than one trip.
    I love your place and all the improvements you’ve made, and happy to see you feed the birds! They say you get a better seat in heaven if you feed the birds!

  8. I tried more than one of those hoses and they didn’t even last a season. It’s a great idea, but the manufacturers have yet to find a way to execute it. They brought out a “new and improved” which I think are the $45 ones, but those didn’t last either. I imaging you and I are just two of many who wasted our money.

  9. Enjoy the slow lane! I am going to join you. It took us a year to build and completely move into our Raleigh, NC home from Columbus, OH. Since the heat index is expected to be 110 tomorrow, I am looking forward to the air conditioning and just enjoying our new house for several weeks. Like you I will be back to full steam and will unpack bedroom 3, the garage and attic when it cools off.

  10. Enjoy!!! You deserve it. Thanks for sharing this as well. We all need to step off the conveyor belt once in awhile.

    1. Hi Connie – :-) Yes that is sometimes exactly what it feels like… a conveyor belt. I like that term instead of daily grind. I hope you are enjoying your summer and have stepped off the conveyor belt too.

  11. Love your home and lake views to enjoy every morning. I once heard you should do all of your summer projects before July 4th, then sit back and enjoy the rest of the summer and do not take on any more projects! Good advice!

  12. Hi Diane,
    I have a small hint for your plants. You can use a product on them, called a surfactant, which will help reduce the amount of times you need to water them. A surfactant allows the soil to hold the water onto the soil particles, against the pull of gravity. It sounds fancy, but can be something as simple as washing up detergent. However, to get it right, just go to your nursery or hardware store and try to find a product like Wettasoil, or Soil Wetta. (I’m in Australia, and they’re 2 products we have). If you ask the staff they will show you, I’m sure. You simply dilute the product in a bucket or watering can, and water it onto the soil of the plant. If you do this every 6 weeks, or so, during your hot season, you will reduce your watering frequency significantly. If you’d rather make your own, this link may help: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/discussions/1701604/dishwashing-detergent-as-a-surfactant
    Hope you find this helpful.
    Regards, Elisabeth.

    1. PS Sorry, that link was for using it to make herbicides stick better. Still, you could use a similar amount for improving water holding capacity of the soil. I generally just slosh about 100mls into a 9 litre bucket of water.

      1. Hi Elisabeth – I have just been reading all the replies in the thread and realized that. Seems like I should make sure I use enough water in the mix. I will experiment. Thanks again for the tip and link. That site has some great advise.