Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Using those grapevines....

I made a grapevine Christmas tree today. I actually started it yesterday, but ran out of vines and had to stop, go hunt down more vines, pull it from the trees, untangle it, cut it, coil it up, and put it into a trough to soak overnight. This tree is about 38 inches tall and took a lot of grapevine. The frame is just a tomato cage. Starting at the bottom, wire the first bit of vine to the lowest circle at each of the splines. Keep wrapping around, using additional wire to hold in place as needed. The center section didn't need as much wiring, but once I got to the top, I needed to wire it some more because the vines kept wanting to slip off. After the first layer, I went ahead and rewrapped it to completely hide the cage and to thicken it up. The second layer did not require any wiring, just tucking the vine. It is quite heavy, but once it dries and cures it will be a bit lighter. It took me around 2 1/2 hours to make this, not including retrieval of the vines. I think it turned out very nice!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some red for YOU!

A few days ago there was no sign of this brilliant red. We got a bit of rain and over night they have turned. It is spectacular I tell you!
The Maple trees around it are yellow and green and the nearby Walnut trees are completely bare now. Tulip Poplar is still shades of green and yellow. Choke Cherry is a fading green. We are lucky to also have a few very mature Pine trees that will give lots of color throughout the dreary drab gray winter months.
Here's a couple of buzzards sitting in one of our trees out back. They don't normally hang out there and I wouldn't normally take a picture of them. It was unusual to see them there though, so thought I would share them with you.
My beautiful Toad Lilies are still blooming their little heads off. This is the best show that I have ever gotten from them and I am loving it!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


One of our sons spotted this out in the yard. This is the first I have seen them up topside. Usually we find them at the bottom of the hill, usually way past their prime. I am considering plucking it from the ground, slicing and cooking it up today. I have heard that they are really yummy and it looks prime for picking.
Here is another one that has already split open. It is not good for picking now.
Here is a look at some of the leaves that have fallen so far. I am hoping to rake some and run them through the shredder, but may just leave them whole and just rake them directly into the flower beds.
The colors of the leaves are very beautiful. Due to the drought this year, the only leaf colors we are getting are the ones on the ground. Most of our trees are still green, dropping a few leaves at a time. They seem to be changing color on their way down.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I almost stepped on this little guy while bringing my plants indoors yesterday.

Just a little thing, it snapped at my shoe when I nudged it with my toe. He wasn't more than 8 or 9 inches long. I went and got a leather glove and picked it up. After picking it up, it quit trying to bite me and instead wrapped itself around my fingers. Not being a "snakeologist" nor a fan of snakes period, I didn't know what kind it is. I certainly would never ever pick up a snake without a leather glove. Too gross for me. I did touch it with my ungloved hand away from the head. I placed in one of my flower beds where I wouldn't step on while dragging my plants into the house. I looked in my papers and found that it is most likely a Milk Snake. Harmless and can't really bite. It is a constrictor, which is why it wrapped itself around my finger, it thought it would try to squeeze the life out of me! I hope it catches lots of mice and other critters.

Here is a small portion of the plants that I brought in. These are in the front window, the rest are scattered throughout the house. I have Jasmine, Pineapple, Orchid, Hydrangea, Spider Plants, Jade, common Geranium, Coleus, Sweet Potato Vine cuttings, Elephant Ears, Philodendron, Poinsettias, and a few others. The Poinsettias (a regular red one and a Da Vinci, which has pink bracts) have begun spending their nights in the closet for a couple of months to try to get the bracts to grow. I tried this last year, but wasn't able to keep it up for the required amount of time, so no color. As a gardener though, I have faith that if I try, try again, it will happen.

Gardeners are always so optimistic, aren't they?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fall planting and transplanting...

I've been doing a lot of planting lately. I did a trade with someone in New Jersey. I sent her a couple of my Toad Lilies, a Candy Lily, and a Red Bud tree seedling. In return I got two Rhododendrons and a Boxwood. She didn't know what color the Rhodo flowers are, but that is okay. So I planted the Rhodos in the large pine tree bed outside our bedroom window and the Boxwood out front near the driveway along the future stone path. I am looking forward to the Boxwood growing and giving us some winter greenery out front.

I also received a large box of plants in the Plant Traders fall swap. Loads and loads of plants! Here is a list of what I received:

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium)

2 pink flowering Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Geranium Sanguine

Sedum Angelina

Sedum 'Coral Reef'

Heuchera 'Palace Purple'

Sedum 'Kamtschaticum'

Euphorbia myrsinites

Sedum spurium

Kenilsworth Ivy

Linaria Purpurea

Hyssop oficinalis

Sedum 'Blue Spruce'

Woolly Thyme

Clematis viticella 'Venosa Violacea' cuttings

Lungwort (polmonaria)

Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub)

Salvia 'May Night'

There were also several packs of seeds and bulbs. I got all of the plants into the ground, but have not touched any bulbs yet. I have others than need to go into the
ground too, but I am waiting on a bit of rain to soften the ground first. I have Chiondoxia, Hyacinth, Daffodils, Poppy Anemones, and Grape Muscari.

Besides all of that, I have many things that I would like to move out of their current locations. Maybe they have already outgrown the location, or maybe they aren't getting the optimum amount of light, or maybe they aren't as visible where they are now. This too is waiting on some much needed rain to soften the ground and make the transition easier for the plants.

I am already excited about next year's growing season, the colors of Spring, how well everything should grow with the addition of compost, some things being in the ground for over 2 years now should be taking off... So much to look forward to. I know probably next fall I will have to expand, I know I have over planted some of the beds already, but you really can't have too plants can you? Just not enough space!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Getting down to the nitty-gritty of fall

It's that time of year...when it still feels like summer, but it certainly doesn't look it. The leaves are changing colors or just plain falling to the ground. Walnuts litter the lawn, making it dangerous to walk for fear of twisting an ankle. Flowers are being pulled and tossed onto the compost pile. New perennials are put into the ground. And a few trucks loads full of well composted horse manure all around.
Most of the flower beds here are very compacted. The plants grow poorly and it isn't soil - you gardeners know what I mean. It's just plain dirt. My brother is lucky enough to know someone with horses who has a couple of piles of horse manure compost to get rid of, since he needs to make a couple new ones. I got 3 truck loads and it only made a dent in one of his piles. These have been sitting for approximately 2 years cooking and seem to be real nice black gold now.
3 truck loads was a lot and made a dent in my flower beds, but really, I could've used one more. I had enough for 8 flower beds, but I didn't get to finish one bed and I have some other beds away from the house that could have used some, but those beds "aren't as important", meaning, they aren't where I keep any prized plants. The plants I get that I don't love, maybe just like, or one's that I've accepted because someone is giving them away, but I don't really want them...just don't want them to get tossed. You know what I mean?

So, the "important" beds are done. Now I am waiting for the leaves to turn and drop. Then the next big chore, raking and running them through the chipper/shredder and putting them on the beds. If you have never used a chipper/shredder, let me tell you, it is a lot of fun. I will be sure to post some pictures of it in action.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Plants....for Ginia

Matteuccia struthiopteris aka Ostrich Fern
36-48" tall
Part to full shade

Pardancanda norissi aka Candy Lily
Full sun
Mid-Summer to Early Fall blooms; colors ranging fuchsia to purple

Veronica incana aka Silver Speedwell, Wooly Speedwell
12-18" tall
Sun to part shade
Violet/lavender blooms mid-Summer

Hosta Austin Dickinson
18-28" tall
Light to full shade
unknown flower color (have not bloomed for me yet)

Ceratostigma Plumbaginoids aka Hardy Blue Plumbago, Leadwort
6-12" tall
Full sun to part shade
Blue late summer to mid-fall flowers with bronze-scarlet foliage following

Tricyrtis formosan aka Japanese Toad Lily
24-36" tall
Purple spotted blooms late summer to mid-fall

Cercis canadensis aka Eastern Redbud tree
15-30 ft. tall
Part sun to full shade
Fuchsia blooms late Winter-early Spring

Linum perenne aka Blue Flax
18-36" tall
full Sun to part shade
blue flowers early Spring to late Fall

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Toads in the garden....Lilies that is

My Tricyrtis are beginning to bloom! Another of my fall favorites, I got this many years ago through a garden catalog and have never been disappointed by its blooms. This spring I divided one of the two clumps and now have a total of 5 clumps. I really wish I would have divided the other one also, but I will certainly do it next spring.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More signs of fall, buckeyes & The Little Brown Jug

We moved here the end of October, 2005. While hiking through the woods we occasionally found buckeyes laying on the ground, but not very many. Last year we went out and hunted for them, and found a few more, but still not very many. This year, I went out looking 2 months earlier (I was smarter and watched the trees for ripening nuts!) and found lots more! I still missed a bunch, probably could have gone out a week or so earlier, the squirrels have still gotten a good amount of them.
I found a few trees still loaded quite heavy with them. One of the trees was small enough for me to grab and shake the crap out of it until the nuts rained down around me. I probably looked quite funny shaking the tree, but it worked! I now have them all spread out to dry, otherwise if they are all put together, they will get moldy and rot! Buckeyes are super easy to start from seed, barely needing to touch the ground for them to split open and sprout. I would start a few from seed, but there are so many seedlings, it is easier to just transplant them. Now to make some Buckeye necklaces to show our OSU spirit!!
Another sign of fall around these parts is the Little Brown Jug flag hanging all over town (this one is in my front yard).

The Little Brown Jug®, the premier pacing classic for 3-year-olds, provides a fascinating chapter in the more-than-a-century-old history of harness racing. The Jug, enriched by the tradition of the famed Grand Circuit and the picturesque backdrop of the Delaware County Fairgrounds, steadily maintains the flavor of the sport and competition from the days of its origin. The Little Brown Jug® is a part of Americana. And it shall ever remain so.

The Little Brown Jug not only happens at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, it also happens during fair week. It is a major sporting event, shutting the town down on race day, Thursday. All the schools and most businesses are closed, traffic is horrific, and if you want to eat dinner out on that night, you better do it early. Once racing is over around 6 pm, the fairgrounds are emptied and all the restaurants are packed to the gills.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's not too late to get in on the fall plant trade... is having their fall plant exchange. You have to be a member to join the swap, but registration is free. This is one of the greatest gardening sites around. Mostly gardening related, there is also some crafting too. There are sections relating to ponds, birds, insects, plant identification, house plants, propagation, seed collecting, seed starting, succulents, tropicals, soil, composting, companion planting, green houses, bulbs, seed trading, bulb trading, plant trading....I could go on and on and on forever, but I promise, it would be best for you just to go and register and check it out yourself.
The fall plant exchange gives everyone an opportunity to make a list of plants that you have to trade and a list of plants you would like to receive. Teena (the administrator) sorts through all of the lists and pairs you up with the best match. You will then get a list of someone you are swapping with and will send them at least 4 plants, some seeds and maybe some cool gardening supplies. You then will send it to them and they will send one to you. If you are a gardener, it is better than Christmas when you get your box! A box full of new plants - just for you!

So don't waste any time, get over there now and get signed up!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

My garden ROCKS!!!

Literally! I love rocks...I collect them, I stack them, I lay them out, I line flower beds with them, I set them on tables, I have them on shelves in my house, I even have some on my bathroom walls. I have them everywhere. So amongst my pictures of flowers and things, I am showing just a few of my collections today.

H.F. YOUNG CLEMATIS, third flush of blooms this year. The one I like the most out of my Clematis collection, it is like the Energizer keeps going and going and going....

Rock wall lining path to back yard. I put this up last spring.

These stones will eventually be used in some sort of mason project that I have in the back of my mind. I pick these up out of the creek bed or along our lane and deposit them on this flat rock for now.

Stones lining the path by the rock wall used as filler-cover to prevent weeds from growing.

Stack of stones near front door decorated with mussel shells.

Toad Lily buds, another of my fall favorites getting ready to bloom. I divided these this spring and now have 7 or 8 plants getting ready to bloom.

Pine cones ripening. It won't be long before we are gathering mass amounts of these off of the yard. I have a couple of flower beds that I dump them into and use them for mulch.

Autumn Joy Sedum getting redder

Unknown variety of Sedum that was here when we moved in. I really like the pink color of this one as compared to the Autumn Joy.

Still gathering loads of cherry tomatos!

Smaller stones sitting on the rock wall

Granite surface

Friday, September 07, 2007

What's still blooming

Although fall is almost here, I do still have lots of things blooming and budding. There is still over a month until the first frost of the season, so there is plenty of time to enjoy them.

Candy Lily aka Blueberry Lily winter sowed for this season. I am very pleased they are blooming the first year in the ground. Kudos to winter sowing!

Purple Mist Shrub - I love this! It is just starting its show for the season.

Great Blue Lobelia still going strong. This plant is around 5 foot tall. I think it will continue to grow and bloom until the frost comes. Certainly one of my favorites, this was dug from the creek side last year and seems to be thriving in this location.

H.F. Young Clematis still putting out buds. Japanese Beetles did a number on these earlier in the season, so it is nice to have a flush of blooms without pests eating the petals.

H.F. Young seed heads

One of several Jasmine that I have in pots. This is the most fragrant plant I have ever grown. I bring them in for the winter and they will continue to bloom and give the indoors a wonderful aroma.

My only surviving Canna's from last year. I love the lush, tropical foliage of this plant and hope these will winter over in the garage better than last year's batch.

Zinnia's in the wheel barrow still putting out blooms. I only leave them on the plant for a day or so, then cut them and put them into vase indoors. I like how cutting them encourages more flowers.

One of my many volunteer Cosmo's that is just now starting to put out flowers.

Unknown variety of mini-Hosta blooming for the first time since we've lived here. Neglected until we came along, it is now flourishing.

Sweet Potato Vine that I started from cuttings. Holes in the older foliage is from those pesky Japanese Beetles. I will be taking cuttings from these before the first frost to keep for next spring.

I can't tell you how much I really, really like this Purple Majesty Millet. Winter sown, they have grown beautifully!

Another PMM, with Dianthus blooming at its base. The purple foliage really stands out, getting darker and darker as it grows.