Friday, October 10, 2008
With the end of fall comes the beginning of our son's senior hockey season that we have been looking forward to a lot. Coupled with the girls' activities - it will be a busy five months. These are all good things - just very exhausting! I am also preparing myself for gallbladder surgery next week. The sooner the better as I've been quite miserable for some time .... it's no fun not being able to enjoy all the food I like to eat!
I have met lots of very cool people this year - it's been a treat. I hope to stop by your blogs throughout the winter and see what you are up to. Thanks to all who have been faithful readers - you make it all worthwhile. We'll connect again after the new year.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Renee's also had the knee-high cosmos mix which was probably one of my best performers this summer. I started them indoors in March and only two survived but those two are still blooming in the garden - and it's the end of September! You can bet that I will be a repeat customer of hers.
Monday, September 8, 2008
This "Sterntaler" tickseed coreopsis is really baffling to me.
I have watched it grow to nearly triple in size from when I bought it in late June and it has yet to bloom. The tag from the nursery says it blooms in early to midsummer in full sun. It gets five hours of sunlight a day so I don't think that's the problem. It appears healthy but its blooms are nowhere to be found. I was told that sometimes coreopsis doesn't bloom its first season at all and the next year it'll go nuts. My sister-in-law said she grows this variety as an annual because it won't make it through a winter.
As you can see, it's quite large. I've been wondering if I should just let it be, chuck it or maybe divide it to promote blooms for next year? Any ideas??!!?!?
When we moved in to our current house five years ago, I had picked out this "Angel's Blush" hydrangea. The landscapers planted it on the northside of our house - and we're talking very dense shade. The hydrangea never got taller than 2 feet and never bloomed. I was about ready to toss it in the garbage pile when it occured that maybe moving it would help (and this epiphany came four years later). Duh!
I nursed this hydrangea back to life this summer and by gosh, a pink bloom has appeared - in fact, several of them have. Isn't it pretty? In retrospect, I should have asked more questions when the landscapers came. Then again, I wasn't into gardening back then and probably wouldn't have asked the right questions anyway. So when they said it grows ok in shade - it didn't mean for "my kind" of shade. Only the homeowner knows what kind of sunlight exists in certain locations and it ultimately was my responsibility to speak up and say so. Lesson learned ...
This late-blooming ligularia looks great!
Canna update - they did bloom! At what point do you dig up the bulbs for next season? After the first frost?
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Kris (Minneapolis) at Gardens by the Lake. Although Kris is on blog sabbatical, she's the one that got me interested in blogging in the first place. Comeback Kris!
Friday, August 29, 2008
I was visiting with my co-worker Johnny about my love of gardening one day when he suggested, "You need to come over and talk to my wife, Kit - she loves to garden too."
So last weekend I took him up on his offer and went over to their home to admire their garden. We had the best time! We talked gardening, and dirt, and mulch and seeds and everything garden - we were all in heaven! They have transformed their twin home landscape into a caleidoscope of colorful perennials and annuals.
Scabiosa or pincushion flower. I'm trying this next year.
Loved the combination of profusion zinnias (which looked WAY different than mine), tickseed and balloon flower. Here's another photo below of the profusion zinnias.
I thought profusions were always small?! They did such a nice job with the rock edging too.
This dainty white flower delphinium "Summer Morning" was front and center in the back bed. (I thought it was nicotiana at first glance).
This perennial lobelia was next to the delphinium as well. I had tried this plant before but the bunnies got it ... (sigh).
This was the oddest looking plant - a "cleome" or spider flower - which Johnny said looked like giant jellyfish. It was huge but a very cool accent in the garden.
Here's a glance at how everything works together....
I hope you enjoyed a look at Johnny and Kit's garden. It was a Sunday afternoon well spent.
Happy Birthday Sasha!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My sister-in-law Peggy, a garden enthusiast in her own right, shared a special story with me recently. Many years ago, my mom had given her a fern leaf peony. This plant has followed my brother and his wife through a handful of moves over the years and it now thrives in their Minnesota garden. I was touched that one plant could mean so much to them and what a wonderful memory and tribute to my mom who died in 1992.
I now have the opportunity to cherish a piece of mom's garden history. Peggy asked if I wanted to share this fern peony (pictured above). She felt I should have have something of mom's - garden-related naturally. I am honored. Problem is, neither of us know how to split a fern peony. And because of the precious nature of this plant, neither one of us want to botch this job and leave us both plantless ....
Dwarf Garden Phlox "Pink Flame"
Winston watching over the garden.
Thanks for sharing Peggy ... let's get this fern peony thing done!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Aforementioned teenager got himself in a little hot water recently. Aside from the normal punishment of no cell phone (gasp!) and no keys to his truck, his father thought of a more creative way to earn back privileges.
"You have some garden stuff to do outside?" he asked me. "If so, put him to work."
It was music to my ears.
On a really hot sunny day, aforementioned teenager dug out the area I was hoping to have tilled this fall. He did a nice job and I watched his work with the eye of a disapproving mom and a landscape forman.
"You missed this spot over here!"
"Watch out for that underground sprinkler head! - Good grief!"
I moved my foxglove over to the new area and surprisingly, I have blooms already. Aren't they cool?
I took this gloriosa daisy home from the nursery this week and planted it in the new bed.
Next blog installment ... photos from guest gardens!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
1. Lilies: oriental or asiatic?
2. No-till or till? We still prefer to use a shovel. Let's clarify that ... MY HUSBAND prefers to still use a shovel.
3. Bare hands or garden gloves? (I won't be hired to do any Sally Hansen ads, that's for sure)
4. Garden tchotchkes, no or yes? (I highlighted both as I do have small things in my garden to add interest: child's tricycle, small statue, bird feeder.... But if you're thinking gnomes, Disney characters or a God-awful, bloomer-showing cutout of a lady bent over weeding - than NO!
5. Purple coneflowers or black-eyed susans?
6. Do you normally plant in odd numbers - yes or no
7. Stella D' Oro daylilies - love 'em or hate 'em (sorry!)
8. Petunias: Of course or they have their place just not in my garden
9. Bachelor buttons or zinnias?
10. Impatiens: double or single?
11. Do you plant marigolds? Yes or no? (and several varieties)
12. Arborvitae or juniper?
13. What do you like to use for edging in your garden? Right now, it's field rock. Looks very cool.
14. Asters or mums?
15. Least favorite garden chore: Weeding or watering
16. Morning glory or clematis?
17. Favorite trailing plant? Sweet potato vine
19. Orange or pink?
18. Best gardening advice: Compost!
19. Barberry bushes or spireas?
20. Garden bed shapes: formal or informal?
21. Do you listen to music when you garden? Yes or No
22. Least favorite garden critter: rabbits
23. Sedum: dried flowerheads standing over the winter or cut down in the fall?
24. The flower that always makes me smile: Cosmos
25. Garden stroll time: dusk or dawn? (But really, is there EVER a bad time?)
Make your own taste known! Append! Amend! Object! Applaud!
That's the fun part ...
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I had to share this photo. This brave little squirrel found its way near the garden this morning - undaunted by the fact that a wiry Schnauzer was watching its every move. Sasha, tied up on her long rope so that she can roam the yard, was quite intrigued by this little guy. At one time, rubbing noses with it.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Good friends of ours decided they want to landscape in front of their lake cabin. I brought down some cuttings from my garden and some sun-friendly perennials. I was all set to plant.
"The guy at the nursery told me I would really like it. It camouflages the dirt when you start planting - especially if you move things around a lot," my friend explained.
To my surprise, they had laid down black mulch in the bed and around the shrubs they had already planted. Black mulch? Hmm.....
So I put the black mulch to the test. And you know what, I liked it. Once you started mixing in the plants with the dirt and the mulch - it did seemingly blend well together.
I have a love/hate relationship with mulch. I try different mulches like Lindsay Lohan tries boxed hair color. I like how mulch looks right when you put it down. Everything is neat, organized. Then I get bored and I move something around and all of a sudden, I have mulch mixed in with clumps of clay-like soil. Not very appealing.
For some reason, I didn't mulch this year and the soil and plants look particularly parched. Although a lack of rain would have something to do with that too.
Do you mulch in your gardens?
Saturday, August 2, 2008
I love these Q-tip shaped flowers. My girls always comment about how cool they look in the garden.
This silvermound should be huge - at least twice this size and by this same time last summer, I had already sheared it back. It looks as it has little beads at the tip of its leaves - almost as if the growth was stunted somehow. Symmetrically, it fits into my garden but I know it's not completely right.
This container used to burst with color and now, my million bells have nearly disappeared. Too much heat? Too much water or fertilizer? Even the Marguerite daisies are a fraction of their blooms (and size). Thankfully, the sweet potato vine is happy or else this really would be an eye-sore.
Happy Birthday Peggy!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The Plant Ranch is famous for the "99 cent perennial". Of course, with the price of gas and the general state of economy, the 99 cent perennial soon became the $1.29 this year - still a good bargain. They have hundreds of perennials - grown locally in little Pekin, North Dakota. The selection is superb - if you're a patient gardener and can live with a small cutting of something. Me? I'm impatient by nature but I decided that this is a great time to try some new things - since I'll have a new part-sun area come fall.
I was surprised at the wide selection this late in the year and how good their stock looked. I had 10 minutes to get home so I did a quick shop and here's what I took home:
Grasses: Korean Feather Reed Grass, Blue Hair Grass, New Zealand Wind Grass and, I couldn't help myself, "Heavy Metal" Switchgrass. Rock on dude! I've been Googling photos all night of these. I'm especially excited for the Korean Feather Reed Grass.
Perennials: I am finally trying a "Camelot Lavender" foxglove, an "Alba" Armeria, St. Johannis Anthemis (which came up as chamomile online), Campanula "Blue Clips", Gayfeather and Eupatorium "Chocolate" - which looked really cool online. It has purpley chocolate leaves with small white flowers. Has anybody grown this?
I also picked up a few New Guinea impatiens to bright up a shady spot. All this, ladies and gentlemen, cost me a whopping $8.00. Now that's what I call a good day.
Here's a few favorites right now in the garden ...
Profusion white zinnias.
"White Swan" coneflowers - always a favorite.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
This is the view from my deck each morning. Our property extends past the evergreens onto a major county highway. We are also next to a river so I get all kinds of wildlife walking through the backyard. Our development covenent also prohibits fencing so to try and block that off is a mute point. I've simplified this area and have kept most of the garden space near the deck where the animals are less likely to venture. So far, so good this year!
Jane suggested that I develop another area off the deck - still far away from the back but yet close enough to me to enjoy. The area is sloped - which means I'll have to add a lot of black dirt to level it off. This partial-fence area (I don't know how it got past the developer) sits in partial-shade. Jane offered the services of her wonderful husband and his tiller and would be willing to dig this up for me for fall transplanting. Linda, from Garden Girl, do you make house calls to North Dakota?!
Here's what else is going on this week ...
My ligularia "Little Rocket" is flourishing in the front garden. Wow - I love these. I also have the "Othello" but that doesn't show any blooms - lots of leaf activity though. I hope that's not a bad sign. This one is planted in partial sun - but mostly shade and it seems to suit it perfectly. I have another in the back that gets more sun and I see it looks a little more stressed. Put that one down on the list of things to move this fall.
I purchased this hummelo betony on the clearance sale at one nursery last fall. I knew nothing about the plant and it offered no blooms last season. I'm enjoying what it's doing now. It's planted next to my "Helen von Stein" lambs ear and rudebekia.
The coral reef monarda are begging to show their color. I planted this one next to the "Cherry" profusion zinnias which form a nice burst of pink.
New things I've put in the ground this week from the "clearance rack":
- "Arizona Sun" Gaillardia - I gotta try this one more time!
- False indigo
- "Baby Gold" Goldenrod
Need to go ... I gotta yank out some unsightly spireas.