Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hello stranger!

It's been a mighty long time since I've checked in here. I hope all my blogging friends are doing well and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2011. The more snow we get, the more I miss my cheerful flower garden! :O)

Hope all is well in your world - happy holidays...


Sunday, June 27, 2010

A little fun in the sun ...

Not a lot of blogging - or gardening - has happened at our house in the last 8 days. I've been out of town ... as in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Beautiful Puerto Vallarta - with its lush mountainside and green waters of the Pacific. My husband and I treated our girls to a little Mexican R&R and what a delight it was. Mommy's Little Helper (MLH) poses next to the famed arches on the Malecon.

The weather was very warm but it was just what we needed. Lots of fun in the sun and ocean. All-inclusive resorts are the best - especially with kids. MLH must have had 30 "Version Strawberry Daiquiris"! This is what we looked out at EVERY DAY.

I never tired of the sunsets. I looked around at some landscaping but nothing was really all that impressive to take photos of. Besides I was there to smell like a coconut for a week and sit my lily white Midwestern self on the beach to celebrate my birthday and my eldest daughter's. :O)

My husband and daughters snorkeled off the shore near Puerto Vallarta at Los Arcos - a national park. They loved it!

So now back to reality and back to my normal life. The garden looked a little tattered when I got back home. Rain and wind had caused some havoc and the newly planted shrubs in the firepit area were in desperate need of TLC. This will be a busy week getting stuff looking good again ....

Hope to post new garden photos soon as I think some new blossoms are a week or so away.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oh Caesar's Brother where art thou?

I never was a huge fan of irises. I called them the "devil" once to a neighbor, as I found them to be very pesky in the garden with their deep roots and mangy growing habits. It wasn't until a few years ago, that I decided to give them another try.

I found the Siberian Iris "Caesar's Brother" and irises are back on my good side. I love the compact clump it makes and the bright purple blooms. They are nothing like the iris that were at our previous house and I'm glad I didn't discount them altogether. Caesar's Brother is nestled between coneflowers (which have yet to bloom) and this petite "East Friesland" salvia in the front garden bed.

These gloriosa daisies have a very odd leaf/bloom shape to them this year -and are definitely different than others that I have in a different spot of my garden. Does this look normal?

One of my goals this year is to plant a perennial that has the name of each one of my children. Without getting into too many details ... I have two plants that have done just that ... I have three very stately hydrangeas, I just added this loosestrife (can anyone guess the name) and now I'm on the lookout for a plant with the name of "Kate" in it.

Any suggestions?

Friday, June 4, 2010

My darling Clementine!

Last year I raved about the Clementine Columbine and how I was going to try different varieties. Well, they are blooming now ... let me know what you think.

Clementine Blue. Love the deep violet.

Clementine Red ... much like the Rose I planted last year that's at the top of the banner of my blog.

Clementine White ... it's just ok for me. Not nearly as showy as the colorful varieties. Clementine Salmon Rose was a no show, unfortunately.

This was a plant from the free garden .... any ideas on what it is ... it kind of looks like a Forget-Me-Not but it's about 8'' tall. I'm stumped.

I had a lack of spring bloomers but my "Silver Princess" Shasta Daisy was a nice addition. I love daisies - kind of like Meg Ryan's character in one of my favorite movies, "You've Got Mail." Daisies - they're so happy!

Help me out here! My master gardener friend said I dug up a weed from that free garden dig. I think it's a sedum. Look at the rubbery leaves?!?!?'' Any ideas?

Every nice shady spot deserves a coleus. I couldn't resist this "Colorblaze Dipt In Wine". I have it in a cream can on my deck.

I planted this new "Fanal" astilbe in the front of the house. It really looks red against the green of the hosta but it's actually a lovely raspberry color.

The rest of the weekend I'll be digging out rock to add some shrubs in a new firepit area that we cleared out. It seems as if some friendly chipmunks found a cozy home in our hot tub over the winter and ate right through the electrical wiring. We were pretty bummed because the hot tub is not worth fixing. So we thought, "Let's make this area a nice fire pit spot!" And so the project begins .... I'll leave that for another post!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Perennial smorgasbord

The email started off innocent enough ...

"Special Gardening Request!"
"Good day to you and Happy Spring to all my gardening friends! I have a first time home buyer who just moved into their new home ... It came complete with " a whole lot of perennials and ornamental plants. They have asked me to pass along the word that they would love some gardeners who could and would remove the perennials to a new home - Could this be YOU?"

Yes, it was me!

It took me, oh I don't know, maybe two minutes, to respond back to the realtor who sent this out to a mass list of area gardeners. (How she got my name is still beyond me). But nonetheless, within minutes I was in contact with the homeowner and I had set a date to come over with Mommy's Little Helper, gloves and shovel. I was psyched!

I had no idea what the house would behold but I can tell you it was overwhelming and overgrown. The previous homeowner was quite ambitious in both the front and backyards - even boasting a small pond that used to be stocked with fish. The new homeowners, just young kids, have no interest in gardening and really want to have a yard for a future family and a dog. I don't blame them ...

But where to start?! There were irises, tiger lilies, tulips, lambs ear, daylilies and chives everywhere. And groundcover, oy! ..... Half of which I had no idea what it was.

It was hard to know what to choose as a lot of things weren't in bloom ... I had to pick and choose based upon foliage which isn't always easy to do. Some of the ground cover was so thick that I couldn't even dig up some things that I wanted - which included Johnson's Blue geranium, hyacinth and dianthus. I was bummed.

I loved this look of wild phlox and pink tulips. I took some of the phlox but it didn't take the transplant very well. And boy, did this stuff SPREAD. They had it in every area of the garden. Probably not a good choice to put in my garden after all ....

But we dug, and dug, and brought home some beauties: overdam and blue fescue grasses, yellow and purple iris, this really cool groundcover (ajuga) that seemed non-invasive, and what I think to be neon sedum. My good friend and I will go back this weekend to dig more out and plant at the school. (see previous post)

At the end of the day, I was very grateful for the offer to take what I wanted, even though my planting space at home is getting smaller. I brought home some smart additions to the garden that are sure to be blooming for years to come.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy spring gardeners!

I'm back in the blogosphere !

We've had a wonderful North Dakota spring .... little to no flooding and no SNOW in April so far. The grass is green and the perennials are starting to poke their heads out of the dirt. It instantly is a mood lifter.

The highlight of my winter was attending a gardening seminar of the Renegade Gardener Don Engebretson of Minnesota. What a treat it was to hear him in person. I have been reading his blog for the last few years and love his irreverent and no-nonsense approach to gardening and landscaping. He gave us great ideas for container plantings that I am sure to incorporate this summer.

I also have reassessed my garden and have decided to (gasp!) scale back. Of course, I say that now, and by June I'll be back daydreaming about expanding another bed. Why scale back? For lack of a more eloquent answer ... I bit off more than I could chew. By the end of last summer, I was tired of having so many different planting areas and trying too many things. I felt my landscape lacked "oomph". I had too much of too many different things. In other words, it just ain't workin' for me anymore.

It would be differently, surely, if I only worked part-time, and I would have more time to experiment and hand-hold my garden beds. But it just won't happen. I will make the first of many trips to the local hardware store and purchase grass seed and fill in areas that didn't work.

Somewhere, my husband is shaking his head and saying, "I told you so."


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spiffin' up the school

My neighbor and PTA member Allison has asked for my help at our school. Not with school pictures or helping at a teacher appreciation day, but with landscaping.

"You seem to have a green thumb," she said. "We could use your passion for gardening at our school."

The front of our school IS pretty dull. There are overgrown daylilies and mangled shrubs. I look at it everyday when I pick up my daughter and it lacks color and interest. I knew that it needed a facelift.

"I'm no expert, " I tell her. "But if you need some help, I'm your person!"

And so it began ...

What to do with this eyesore? Yeesh. We have a handful of areas like this. Allison thought some bulbs might look nice here. Can I plant bulbs in this space and spruce it up with some Karl Foerster and some other grasses? I have little or no experience with bulbs - do I have to plant annuals over them once they die down?

What makes this planting tricky is that there is no one to take care of these plants once they are planted. They are on their own to survive.

We were supposed to plant tomorrow but recent rains postponed it until next weekend. The school's Boy Scout troop and their dads were going to do the tough work - dig out all the daylilies and rose bushes.

This retaining wall planter is attractive but look at the junk that's in there. (What were they thinking?) Should we put some perennials in there to give it some "bones"? I can see some wave petunias or sweet potato vine looking nice - spilling over the sides. Maybe a few morning glories? What do you think? What would be a good foundation for that planter?

We put out a call for perennials and so far I've yielded black-eyed susans, lots of irises, sedum and some coneflower. I have some May Night salvia that I split that we could use here too. It's a VERY long and narrow area. My master gardener friend Kathy suggested we repeat patterns: black-eyed Susan, monarda, Salvia, coneflowers - repeat. Problem is, not sure we have enough to fill the area.

All of these flowers are donated - and there's good and bad that goes with that ! I've had offers of snow on the mountain (no way!) and lots of invasive ground cover stuff. I hate to be picky but do you really want plants that are going to wear out their welcome?

Please share your ideas!