Monday, August 11, 2014


To do list... Reposition geranium Rozanne eaten by flourishing catmint, x 2.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nellie Stevens Holly

I am the proud owner of three.  AND a pink velour crapemyrtle, which I hope will not turn out too violently pink, but it was a good price at the nursery and I thought it would be nice to get a season's growth on it even if the bloom color is a bit of a risk.  I live dangerously like that.

Kit Island is burgeoning.  It was planted last summer and the catmints are huge.  I misjudged how big they would get and have some veronica and geranium hanging on under their burgeoning selves.  Isn't the baptisia fab?  The color is awfully close to the catmint-- could use some contrast in there.  Jupiter's Beard wouldn't quite be in bloom yet.  The roses will pop soon, of course.

This was taken from the garage door.  You can start to see the layers I'm going for-- hoping someday for a birdy, bee-loud 60' x 90' well of wonderfulness.  And it is kind of well-like, with the berm and the nursing home behind it.  When life hands lemons, etc etc.

Last weekend we finally made it to Chanticleer.  It was divine.  I don't take good pictures, sorry, but I have a few I must share:  The espaliered tricolor beech.  Pretty cool, huh?


The parking lot.  There was this very cool screening island, Foster Hollies and Unnamed Evergreen underplanted with deutzia.  Inspirational.

 More deutzia underplanting, this one with white Bleeding Heart at Hershey Gardens from a year or so ago:

So the immediate task is the plant the crapemyrtle in the west bed with the stewartia and hollies, and to decide on how I want to arrange my screening situation in the 15' strip on the north side of the lot.  Then work out how I am going to pay for all this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


So I can stay in and write about gardens.

Activity for this week:
  • Much mulching (it's slow)-- I'm using the free leaf compost from the township.  It breaks down to fluffy stuff in a year. 
  • Some fertilizing-- I put down Osmocote and Hollytone, but some things were looking peaked, so I splashed around some dilute liquid fertilizer on the pale things.
  • More planting-- the last of my Santa Rosa plants, annuals (lots of Angelonia, some verbena and annual salvia)
  • More buying-- I have an Itea Little Henry waiting to go in once I moved the experimental hydrangea I put in that spot to God knows where.  I'll find a place.  
  • Awaiting my exciting splurge early-birthday present, which is a self watering planter from Gardener's Supply which I will put on the back steps to grow the tomatoes and basil which got pushed out of the garden in favor of ornamentals.  To wit:  

  • Weeding-- Who isn't?  'Nuff said.
  • Watching and feeling anxious-- The Green Giants planted between us and the nursing home employee entrance on a tiny strip between pavement and a steep slope have unsurprisingly all died over the winter. We'll see what the nursing home's response will be.  Also feeling tender and guilty over nonthriving plants at home-- the Charlie Brown-style sweetbay magnolia, three bare root mail-order roses I thought were dead but seem to be showing very tentative shrunken signs of life.  Slight guilt over sticking in threes and fives of all kinds of perennials and knowing this is perhaps not the ideal way to approach design.
  • Rejoicing-- last year's catmints, white vinca minor, Neon Flash spirea, baptisia, etc are all thriving.  Two out of three bargain Hummingbird clethra are not actually dead.  The Hoogendorne Holly did great over the winter and are now on the recommended list (knock wood). Verbena Homestead Purple is a rather fetching addition to the south foundation.
  • Cutting-- I have put together recital and sick-friend bouquets out of What's Blooming, which at the moment is allium (yay allium!), Summer Snowflake Viburnum, baptisia, and catmint.
  • Admiring-- my blooms, my green things, and my worms.  Awesome worm count this year.  And the baptisia Purple Smoke, which I know for some has been a weirdy, in-between color, is really gorg in my garden.

Happy Spring :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014


It's still cold, but it's lovely. Don't you think this front bed needs to be widened a bit?  I bought a Stewartia "Sky Rocket" at Highland Gardens today.  I think I'm going to plant it at the far end of the rock wall in back. Today is my mother's yarhzeit (I'm not Jewish, but the idea of keeping the anniversary of a death in remembrance has meaning for me).  I will plant the tree for her. Twenty three years and I still can't really think about her much because I miss her so.  I'm lucky to have been blessed with such a warm, smart, loving mother, and more blessed still to have so many people to love-- my father, my brother, and my best friend, three uniquely charming, affectionate, and awesome children, and a husband who is pretty much flesh of my flesh at this point.  His flesh is much better looking than mine, but you get the idea.

Happy Spring, people!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ilex crenata "Bennett's Compacta"

The solution to the three-shrubs-West-border problem.  There are drawbacks to this shrub, but none that outweigh its general handsomeness and the key fact that they were only $15 each at Costco.  Problem solved.

I measured more or less carefully for flagstone, and ran into another Limit.  The Best of Men and I are going to spring for 3 pallets, or 300 sf, at about $1200 delivered, once we dig out three inches of ground, spread with two inches of sand, sacrifice a rooster, etc.  This is about 1 pallet short of what we probably really need but my thought is:  I can't afford four pallets.  Et voila.

Tomorrow I hope to obtain a Crape Myrtle, probably a Pink Velour, so here's hoping I don't hate the color once it does its thing.  I could wait until they bloom but who wants to leave a giant, weed-inducing spot in the border?  Not I.  

I also want:

a daphne by the steps to waft fragrance when I release the Kracken, aka the dog
dwarf deutzias to cluster gracefully around the ankle(s?) of the Zelkova I planted
calycanthus in the back corner of the yard, more fragrance
another clethra or two to augment the ones that may not all be entirely dead
caryopteris to flower wonderfully in the West border and distract from all those briiiight pinks
a New Jersey tea because I just do
maybe an abelia because people seem to get excited about them?

I got my wonderful, wonderful Santa Rosa plants-- little pots carefully packaged in netting and paper.  Stuff arrived in great shape.  I gave them a day's rest, as advised, and planted them lovingly, even though I had to walk around carrying the Agastache Black Adder thinking, But there was room on Kit Island, really there was. (Not once I planted the verbena boniarensis I grew from seed).

I'll learn how to take real pictures eventually.  It's much prettier in person.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ooh! Ooh! Mr Kotter!

Showing my age.  Never did watch that show, but everybody saw that part.

I was looking at a picture of last summer's front border, and thinking:  alchemilla mollis between the hosta and the kerria.  Obviously.

Just didn't want to forget that.

Also, two attempts at West Bed design-- from left to right, that tiny thing left would be a New Jersey Tea, followed by a Pink Velour crapemyrtle, then three nice foliage-intensive shrubs that I cannot possibly make up my mind on, then the Dragonlady Holly, and tree on the left is the closest approximation I could find to the Sweetbay Magnolia actually planted there.

The one below is a doctored winter shot.  Confusing, huh?

The important elements are the crapemyrtle and the three shrubs to be named.  The other stuff just has to be nice perennials that won't make me crazy.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Working Hard Here

So. Much. To. Do.  Not just in the garden but in life.  In no particular order:

Pulled out the dead Japanese Maple.  DH planning to turn something out of it on his lathe :)

Marked out beds with landscape paint and leveled the path part (what a relief-- DH did it in about 15 minutes.)

Enlisted the daughters to lay cardboard and mulch for extending the putative West Bed.  They do not enjoy this, but we got a lot done in an hour.  DH was a Trojan.  I hope this works as well it has in the past, and that I didn't forget some crucial step resulting in disaster.

Planted my tiny vulnerable seedlings, namely Rose Campion, Verbena boniarensis, penstemon, foxglove.  Have a fussy tent of evergreens over the wilty looking penstemon.  Here's hoping.

Mulched Kit Isle and part of Hemlock Hillock.

Pulled some small dead shrubs, replaced the destroyed boxwoods and moved the few viable ones, moved a baby peony, planted some veronica something or other from Walmart... lots really.

But So Much Left to do and it still doesn't look great out there.  But it will.  Right? Right.

Latest thought on West Bed... crape myrtle, manhattan euonymous or maybe fothergilla, dragonlady holly, face down with amsonia, liatris, catmint?, caryopteris, spirea Neon Flash-- whatever will fit.  At some point I will have to stop the iterations and put in actual plants.

Monday, April 21, 2014

April Q&A

1. Why do I feel so old and lazy?  Also fat?

A: See "also fat."

2. How do you keep a dog from ruining a boxwood?

A: Pepper spray (the plant, not the dog), and a fence.  Possibly Wilt-Pruf.

3. When should I transplant my Siberian Iris?

A: Spring is best, evidently.

4. How many calories in a Peep?

A: About 30.

5. Is it worth it?

A:  Eh.

6. Is there any better or more useful tool than a Japanese weeding knife, and do you feel cool and a little bad-ass when you casually replace it in its sheath?

A: No. Yes.

7. What groundcover will I not regret planting?

A: Veronica Georgia or Waterperry Blue perhaps too invasive.  Perennial geranium, though it's $$.

8. Are those plumbago dead or just slow to wake up?

A: Per High Country gardens, "slow to leaf out in spring."  Here's hoping.

9. Is it too late to overseed lawn?

A: You let them put crabgrass control on for the first time EVER so probably not a wise plan.

10. Are those summersweet dead or late risers?

A:  Pretty sure they're dead.

11. That's upsetting.

A:  Yes, it is.

12: What handsome low blobby mound should I put near the rock garden after moving the iris that the dog like to lie on?

A: Something prickly.

13.  Why is blogger randomly underline words in blue?  It's like the Bible where random words are italicized.  I never got that.

A: No clue.

14. Does garden blogging time count as gardening time?

A: Absolutely.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Beautiful 50ish sunny day here.  All family/church duties have either been successfully completed or avoided, my chocolate bunny fueled youngest is whirling like a dervish (ok, she's dancing The Cat from Peter and the Wolf) and I am slowly working up to the 8 yards of mulch in my driveway.  I've been working, really I have, and it's been lovely.  DH and I planted a sweetbay magnolia, cultivar ned blah blah let me look at the tag, but it only gets ten feet wide supposedly-- I planted it near our awkwardly positioned Bilco doors which are near the living room windows, to provide yet another layer of lacy screening between us and Mr Nursing Home.  We also put in a rather frighteningly expensive Dragon Lady holly.  I managed to get my Costco bagged liatris bulbs, ferns, and hosta in the ground.  I planted some Chocolate Chip ajuga (irresistible in full blue bloom) in the rock wall.  Much dividing and clean up remain.

In the casualty list, all of the Franklin's Gem boxwoods are so peed upon, trampled, or traumatized by cold that we're taking them all out and replacing them with Winter Gems from Costco ($15 each, yay).  The big spruce seems ok, if not loving life, as does the Edith Bogue magnolia.  I have had passing thoughts that the monster butterfly bush might be dead.  The Japanese maple is absolutely dead, but I don't mourn it. Camellia has left this mortal coil.  The Serviceberry appears to be alive. The Otto Luykens cherry laurel got the hell knocked out of it, but with some shearing I think it will be okay. My white vinca minor, ordered in a persnickety manner from the other side of the country-- to my belief, the ONLY white vinca in this zipcode-- bloomed a lot, so that's cool.  There's some purple in there too but O well.

A lot of my seedling have made it So Far, but they have to make it to actual planting.  I have them on my porch approximating what I consider hardening off.  I am hopeful seedling perennials won't be kilt by frost.

From Pickering nurseries, my bareroot Rosarium Uetersen (aka Seminole Wind), Mayflower (David Austen), and Golden Celebration (ditto) are all planted.

For the west bed plan, I am moving more towards (left to right roughly), the R. Uetersen on the fence, perhaps a blueish mounded evergreen/pine arrangement, Blacklace Elderberry, Pink Velour crape myrtle, three staggered holly type things or some other tough evergreen, the Dragonlady Holly and a boxwood by the door.  Some flowery things like the Mayflower rose, my much-tried peony, and either caryopteris or spirea to front down the evergreens, and then groundcovery stuff (geranium?  wall germander?)

I ordered my wonderful goodies from Santa Rosa nurseries and am looking forward to: Rozanne geranium, alchemilla mollis, a dwarfer type of catmint, and agastache Black Adder.

So now I either take a nap or put on a talking book and go work.  Hmm...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Won, I Won!

I tend not to win things, apart from doing rather well in the husband lottery (six-foot-three woodworker who can talk about feelings).  I won something else, and it's pretty awesome.  I won a GIFT CARD to Santa Rose Gardens from John over at Obsessive Neurotic Gardener, which, by the way, is a much better blog title than mine.  So thank you, John!  Now I have to figure out what to get, which is difficult enough that I will probably end up spending half again as much.  At the moment the Perennial Shade Garden is looking pretty tasty.  This time of year I am such a sucker for anything plant-related.  I get so hungry for green-- for us Easterners, it's been a long icy winter.  We had some warm sixtyish days and the snow is almost melting, but not many signs of spring.  There are snowdrops at church and my witch hazel is fitfully trying to bloom. Haven't seen any bulb action at all.  A number of my new shrubs are looking pretty daunted, but I'm hoping they'll look better when it's time to start into active growth.  I'm still really pleased with the bones of the new back yard.  Brian the Landscape Architect rocks.

In other news, I have about six flats of seedlings going and some Costco bare-root perennials (liatris bulbs, hosta, and oh hell what WAS the other one? Blanking.  It'll be a lovely surprise, I guess).  I soaked them for a bit (the perennials) and potted them up in moist homemade seedmix (potting soil, perlite, and I mixed in the spagnum moss from the perennial bag, probably a no-no, but I needed more bulk.) They're in the garage and basement where they theoretically stay until they sprout and it warms up. I was afraid to plant them this early and afraid to leave them in the bags.  We'll see what happens.

For seedlings, I am attempting Pacific Giant Delphinium (presoaking seeds does work, friends.)  Caryopteris, two kinds of nepeta, stock because I had it left over, asclepias (no sign of that), penstemon (not much doing there yet either), ajuga (no sign of life), campanula Blue Clips, centaurion/Jupiter's Beard (grew some a couple years ago, love this stuff), achemilla mollis (nothing yet), clematis summer indigo (nope), lychnis, sedum, eupatorium.  They're under shoplights in the basement.

All right, I have a day off and much to do.  Off I go.  I'll report back when I get my Santa Rosa plants.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Know Why This Is Hard

Designing a garden bed, I mean.  Because trees and shrubs are costly, hard to move, grow at unexpected rates, bloom at different times and in potentially urpy combinations, need to flourish under the given conditions, and require years to look their best.  So that's why I'm still tinkering in a dissatisfied manner with my plans for the hot, sunny west exposure of the house.

This is using the free Better Homes and Gardens plan-a-garden app, which is imperfect but gives you some idea of shapes and how things look together.

From the left-- Rosareum Uetersen on the fence, Ceanothus Marie Simon, April Blush camellia, Blue Chiffon hibiscus, three abelias-- Rose Creek or Edward Goucher probably.  Dragonlady holly and then a Winter Gem boxwood which I already have.  I threw some juniper in there-- it gets big, might use some wall germander or something low and shrubby repeated in several places.  Hoping to fit in some caryopteris, but that remains to be seen.  On the right, another boxwood (already there), a Sweetbay Magnolia probably too close to the house (6'), and the monster butterfly bush which I'm not moving at present.  The two shrubs are currently Little Lime hydrangeas I quite like, but I don't know if I will want to move those and repeat some material from the left side.

On the potential sick list:

One of my Encore azaleas is not looking good at all.
Little boxwoods are looking daunted and my dumb dog has completely exploded one of them.
Spruce and magnolia seem to be holding their own.
The magnolia planted in front of the nursing home generator (not mine, theirs) went completely kaputen.  Very sad, especially since I'm not at all confident they'll replace it.  They did their planting pretty late, I wonder if it just didn't get a chance to develop a root system.
The limber pines all have comical flat heads from the snow and ice, but they're limber, right?  I figure they'll recover.

I have a bunch of perennials started from seed.  Worried I cooked them too near my south window.  Time will prove.

Found out from Pickering Nurseries that my roses are coming in early April.  Perfect.  Now I just have to find out where I'm putting them :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Last year I was late.

This year I am early.

According to my calculations I need 20 yards of mulch.


I am going to discount that to 16 because I just don't believe it.

How many days will it take to spread 16 yards of mulch?  Grow, little plants, grow!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brief and Poorly Photographed Longwood Visit

But it was lovely.  My friends bowed out because of the snow (piles of it in Philadelphia, made driving/parking pretty entertaining).  I circled the gift shop, admiring all the things I won't be able to buy until I finish educating my children, ogled the witch hazels on the hill by the cafe, had a spot of quick lunch admiring some orange-flowered witch hazel whose signpost was under a couple of feet of snow, and then went on to the conservatory.  I took the plant propagation tour, so I got to see one of the enormous greenhouses.  The arrangements are very complicated and clever-- snow melters, automated shadecloth, watering systems with plain water or fertilizer mixed by computer, coolers (to keep plants from blooming till just the right moment), seed-starting, cuttings, etc.  In the conservatory there were grapefruit blossom, lilies, and sweet alyssum smelling divine.  A gardener deadheading camellias gave advice (they are one of the few evergreens that will thrive under trees; winter sun is the killer, desiccates leaves and the roots can't pull up water from the frozen ground).

This is a tall variety of stock (Google search suggested this cultivar might be especially for greenhouses.)  Isn't it luverly?  

Butterfly bush trained as a standard.

This tree is planted quite close to the wall.  It has been discretely pruned to fit.

I also sang at a karaoke bar in Chinatown and visited with a number of friends, so overall it was delightful. However, I have to catch up on hugging my husband.  I'm blogging snuggled up next to him on the couch.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

First Buys of 2014

I have spent hours upon hours deliberating over my rose wish list.  DH murmured something about a Valentine present and was very pleased with the idea of getting me a live bush.  Enter Pickering Nurseries in Canada (also pored over Roses Unlimited, Heirloom Roses, Chamblees, Regan, and about five others).  I was still agonizing with my credit card number actually in place, when I picked up my laptop and inadvertently completed the order.  So, right or wrong, in March I should be getting bareroot Mayflower (a supposedly tough David Austen), Golden Celebration (slightly less tough, yellow climber ditto), and a vigorously pink climber known as Rosarium Uetersen.  What is unclear is whether these will go with anything else, particularly the violent pinks/reds of the knockouts I planted in Kit Island.  But the beauty of it is, I shall simply move the dang Knock Outs if I so choose, ha ha.

My problem is that I am currently Between Color Schemes.  I was always a pink/blue/purple girl, unapologetically English cottage, not so sure now.  I am craving more foliage but still a sucker for blooms.  Choosing roses is an exercise in decision paralysis.  The main problem is resisting the apricot pinks that make me melt, because they assort vilely with the Knock-Outs.

Also coming are a bunch of perennial seeds-- Campanula Blue Clips, caryopteris, gigantic Greek catmint (where is that going again?) and others.  If the postman can get through.  Piles upon piles of snow out there, no one stirring.  It's quite nice :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I don't recall ever seeing that on the thermometer before, the winters having warmed since I moved away from the heat island of Philadelphia and of course before that it was sunny (sob) Arizona.  I've seen it a few times this winter.  Brrrr.  Socked in by snow with more coming.

Which makes me all the more garden-obsessed.  My sweet MIL gave me a beautiful orange tree whose blooms are very therapeutic at this frozen time of year.  One nice thing about us plant people is that we never have everything: it simply isn't possible.  Very easy to buy for, that's us.

It's funny I'm still so focused on this garden because the nursing home really is pretty wretched.  Their 24 hour employee entrance and delivery area starts about 20 feet from our fenceline, which is only about 60 feet from our house.  So less than 100' away it's diesel trucks and 24 hour lights shining over the dumpsters and air conditioners.  I'd post a picture but it would be a bummer.  Research shows that people are suprisingly resilient about life's set backs and that seems to be the case here-- it is what it is, right?

At the moment my thinking for the very blank west foundation is handsome stuff that can tolerate hot, sunny conditions, to wit:

  • Blue Chiffon Hibiscus (decided I Must Have This, even though I don't usually groove on hibiscus)
  • Dragon Lady holly or the like-- it's evergreen, it's narrow, it gets berries.  
  • Caryopteris to carry out the lots of blue theme
  • New Jersey Tea, probably Marie Simon, for the bee/native factor
  • A mass of something summer blooming-- thinking spirea is cheap and cheerful until the rest of the bed shapes up
  • I have a couple small boxwood and a teensy April Blush camellia, which I actually sited after reading a fair amount on the subject--the guy liked a NW orientation so I'm trying it.  Right now it is sheltered by a dead or dying Japanese Maple that was never going to make it in that spot anyway.  
  • Plug in liatris, peonies, maybe bearded iris
  • Wall germander for the low evergreen factor
  • et voila
Still have to measure REALLY well and plot it out on paper so I don't plant stuff too close.  So:  can I get all this planned by April?  Gotta hope!

Monday, January 27, 2014

What about

Viburnum "Dawn," which is apparently tall, narrow, arching, with fragrant pink in spring and good foliage thereafter?

With:  tall conical holly, mounding camellia, some Helleri Holly or small boxwoods for the front, and New Jersey Tea, baptisia, peony, and iris, and possibly caryopteris if there appears to be room in the middle. With some Rozanne geranium or ajuga to fill in.  And dwarf deutzia.  And it is not all going to fit.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

West Facing Bed

Jotting notes--

I think I want a tallish narrowish evergreen in the first third (Dragonlady Holly probably-- won't eat up too much of the bed. Wish I could try a Red Oak Holly but we don't seem to get them around here, maybe not hardy enough?  I am not neglecting that feature in this very cold winter.)

A narrow, vase shaped thing for just behind and to the right of it-- Aronia?  Blackhaw viburnum much pruned?  Ninebark Summerwine?  I gather Cotinus gets too big, even pruned to within an inch of its life.

A flowering shrub in front and rightish of the vase-shaped thing-- thinking New Jersey Tea for this, as I want to try it and it's bee/insect friendly.

Tuck in baptisia and/or caryopteris.  Peony and iris would also do well in this hot sunny spot.

There's a teeny April Blush camellia to the far left... hoping it prospers, but time will prove.

I want something lower and green for visual relief-- I have some little boxwoods I can plant and move I suppose if they get too big.  My favorite look is tall green thing/medium flowery thing/evergreen skirt-- just a touch formal, perhaps because I live in town.  If I lived in the country, which I hope to some day, I would want something less buttoned up.  Comme ca:

I know it looks silly to put up these rather grand images, but they have common elements I love.  This further illustrates:

Noting in all of these gardens there is lots of green, which frames the flowers.

Not that I'm setting the bar high or anything.

*Noting these images come by way of Pinterest.  Pretty sure the first is by Jan Johnsen of Connecticut, a fabulous landscape designer whose work I have come to admire by way of the web.  The second is I think Sir Roy Strong's British garden.  The last is a lovely space I believe by Tara Dillard of Georgia.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mount a Rescue

I have been literally WALLED IN with gardening books and magazines, and my laptop handy to reference Pinterest and Missouri Botanical's website.  I am a little tetched, people, but that's okay.  They say loss of interest in usual activities is a sign of depression, and since my obsession with gardening has only waxed with time, guess I'm in ok shape.

My most recent focus has been the West Foundation Bed, which according to Tara Dillard's theory of multiple axes, should look much better than it does.

To encourage myself, some pictures from the progress of last year:

Still a long way to go, naturally, but I am enjoying (most of) the process.  This is the space I am planning now:

This west-facing site is dryish and hot, backed by an expanse of glaring (but charming) yellow siding.  I figure any time in the back garden is going to be spent facing away from the nursing home and towards the house, which means a good deal of work remains to be done.  Last year we cardboarded and leaf-mulched most of the area-- I plan to plant it up as far as the retaining wall, pretty much, with just a stone pathway once I steel myself to fork over for the stone.

The space is about 14-16 in depth and about 30 feet long-- I did measure, though I better check that again.  My idea is that I need a tall narrow evergreen as the focus to one side of the bed, and something lacy and vase-shaped by the basement doors (awkward spot) to screen the window without blocking too much light.

This is with the benefit of a free trial garden photo-shop style program, which I dearly wish I could afford-- $500 is a lot of plants, alas.  Only a few plants are available in the trial but it allows you to get a rough sketch of placement/ideas.

I need plants that can take heat and afternoon sun. For the low shrubby things I am thinking caryopteris, spirea, bear's breeches, baptisia... plenty of choices there.  It's the shrubs behind the tall conical thing and the vase-shaped lacy thing on the right (represented by a Japanese maple) which are causing me angst.

Back to the books!