Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Plants started from seed

A sampling of some of the plants that I started by seed this year. Some were winter sowed and some direct sowed.

Candy Lily

Purple Majesty Millet

Purple Spiderwort

Moss Rose

Four O'Clock


Monarda "Prairie Night"

I've been to the flea market again

And got this nifty little 2 piece fountain statue for $3. I didn't have to haggle or try to talk her down. It is very heavy.
I also got 2 Hosta "Great Expectations" for $6. each. Nice sized plants that I took home and planted. I then decided that they were such nice sized plants that I dug them back up and split them, then planted 4!

"Great Expectations" is florescent green with blue-green edging. Very bright!

I picked up 2 6-packs at the grocery last week, of Coleus. They were $1. each. The purple veining in them is great.
I finally got an "Endless Summer" Hydrangea. It blooms on both old and new wood all summer long! I got this at Home Depot while buying a chainsaw a few days ago. I have resisted and resisted and couldn't resist them any longer. It is small now, but just wait until next year!

All of these new shade plants forced me to finally break down and revamp the Maple bed out front. It is a large bed and had a few Hosta and very little else. So I added bunches of purple flowering Toad Lilies, Liriope Muscari, Spider Plants (the houseplant variety), additional varigated Hostas, and a bird bath. I also moved an Astilbe that was being smothered by a Hosta.
It turned out quite nice, although it still needs mulch.

I also added an Ostrich Fern and some Toad Lilies to this section of sidewalk bed. Once grown full sized, this will bring a lot of texture to the shade.

Also in the shade is this pot of Japanese Knotwood. For many years my mother and I thought it was a variety of bamboo, but after doing some research I found that it isn't. It gets red flowers right before the first frost. It is doing nicely here in the shade, although it is a sun lover.
One last shade picture for this post. Chris and I picked up this iron cat made of nails and springs a few years ago at an art festival. It too is in the big Maple bed sitting in front of one my Poinsettia's. It isn't real noticeable due to the rust blending in with the mulch, but it is always fun for the kids to find.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Do you know any rain chants???

Hot, dry weather loving Daylily by gazing ball

The smell of rain is in the air...as it has been frequently, I can only hope that we will actually get some this time. We have had exactly 3/4 of an inch of rain since the beginning of May! There is an 80% chance that we will get some today according to our meteorologist on the news last night. An 80% chance is pretty good, but we have seen it rain a half mile down the road from us in both directions and remained dry here.

Plants that are established aren't the problem, as I try to maintain a lot of plants that can tolerate the hot dryness. It is all of the new things, the seedlings and little plants that I winter sowed. I hate to water! I hate dragging hoses around everywhere and I hate coiling them back up even more (ask my husband-he's always asking me if I'm done with the hoses).

I have lost a lot of plants so far this dry spring, but thank goodness for the mass amounts I started with, I still have lots to look forward to.

Dry weather isn't the only problem, with the grasses and wild areas so dry and crispy, all the woodland creatures are looking for nourishment elsewhere-mainly in my gardens! I am down to two sunflower plants, and one of those is partially eaten. Baptisia and Four O'Clocks seem to be a favorite of smaller creatures, but luckily many of those are hanging in there.
Groundhog looking for food. Our younger son saw one when we first moved in, and that city slicker thought they were beavers!

I do have Jackmanii blooming, just starting. It is going to be really beautiful in the next couple of days, especially if we really do get rain today. HF Young has grown 3/4 of the way up the rustic arch I put up last year and reloaded with blooms. It too is going to be gorgeous.
Isn't this Jackmanii beautiful?

Annabelle Hydrangeas are starting to bloom. I am not a white flower kinda gal, but these are nice because many of the surrounding plants aren't quite at their bloom times yet. A flower is a flower!
Annabelle Hydrangea

Scabiosa that I dug up from my MIL house last year is getting ready to open. I love this beautiful purple flower and (like always) can't wait to see how big and thick it will be next year.
Scabiosa soon to bloom

I finally got around to putting out one of the signs that I made over the winter. It took quite a few pounds from the hammer to get it into the hard, dry ground. Notice, I really do have weeds there, lol!!

I took the blade off of my son's broken fan before tossing into the trash and made this little windmill out of it. It adds a lot of flash out there when it gets spinning away.
Veronica Incanata is blooming. I got this pretty plant in a trade this spring and it is doing well! I of course like that the flower is purple the best!
Veronica Incanata

Yucca and ditch lilies are looking quite spectacular together down at the spillway. I never got a chance to see them bloom last year. I really like the brightness of them together. They are putting on quite a show!
Yucca and Daylily

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Some inspiration....

"Just living is not enough...One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." -Hans Christian Anderson

"Sometimes you just gotta get up and get on with your life."
-Mary-Alice, Desperate Housewives

Boredom is not an option.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Gardening on the CHEAP...Part II

Gardening need not be a budget breaker. As soon as I posted Part I, I knew I had missed some things. I hope these lists will help someone save a few dollars. After all, with todays price of gas, we need to save as much as possible!

21. Nickie reminded me that lots of plants are tossed to the curb. I picked up some free Day Lilies last year from someone who had placed a full cart by the road and marked them as FREE. I only took a few, but the mound shrunk daily as people stopped by and loaded up. So keep an eye on the curb for castoffs!

22. Garage / yard sales! This is another suggestion from Nickie that I have done before also. If you're going to have a sale, might as well pot up a few of those extra or unwanted plants and make a couple bucks on them.

23. Leaf bag snatching! I know it sounds suspicious, but for those of you who don't have lots of trees to make that free mulch, this is one way to do it. When you see all of those bags of leaves sitting by the curb waiting for yard waste pick up, this is the time to get yours. Of course, you could always stop by someone's house and volunteer to rake them up for them...

24. According to Snopes.com, collecting those wild flower seeds on state property may not be illegal after all.

25. Freecycle.com allows people to post listings for items they want to get rid of for FREE. There are items from all over, so put in your zip code and see if anyone has plants.

25. Craigslist.com has a section for Barter, another section for FREE, and another section devoted to Farm+Garden. You can visit a local craigslist virtually anywhere in the world. You can find plants and shrubs and pond supplies and garden art and rocks and bricks and so on. My husband checks this website daily. Oh yeah, there are a dozen other different categories, you will want to spend some time on here.

26. Recycle those newspapers! Newspapers have several uses. Uses pieces in the bottom of your pots to prevent the dirt from going out the hole. Shred them and use them in the compost. Shred them and use them as mulch. Open them up and put layers of them under your mulch to smother weeds. Many people use plastic or weed mat under their mulch. The problem with this is that neither of those are organic and will not break down. Plastic will last forever and won't allow water through. Weed mat is tough and allows water through, but it isn't adding any nutrients to your soil. Newspapers on the other hand, will allow water through and will break down over time to add nutrients to your soil. Another great things about them-worms love it!

27. Catch that precious rain water! Use a barrel, use a bucket, use a wheel barrel, use anything you can! Not only can you save on your water bill (or keep from draining your well), everyone knows the benefits of using rain water on your gardens. Sometimes I will see food grade plastic 50 gallon drums on Craigslist for free. These can easily be converted to collect rain water. You can add a drain towards the bottom to attach your hose to.

28. Don't water in the middle of the day. Water early or water late. This will allow the best bang for your bucks. Midday temperatures can dry the soil quickly and can literally fry your plants if your foliage is wet on those super hot days (this is especially true for evergreens).

29. Think outside the box when adding a border to your beds. You need not go buy fancy borders, just look around to see what you already have. If you have trees, then you are sure to have a pile of branches or sticks. These can be broken (or cut down) and stuck into the ground close together to make a really cool rustic border. If you have larger branches, just lay them at the edge and use smaller sticks stuck into the ground to hold them in place. If you like radical, try saving those wine bottles and then placing them neck down into the ground around your garden. It will be colorful and add lots of sparkle.

30. Read, read, read. This seems obvious, but many people decide to put in a garden, whether it be flowers or vegetables and have no clue what they are getting into. While this is great, a lot of times things are planted in the wrong place (a shade lover in full sun, a veggy garden under a Walnut tree) and then when things die or don't flourish, they may have wasted a lot of money. So go to the library, or do some internet research, or borrow some books. At the very, very least, read the plant tags!


A Purple Martin looking for baby food.

One of the Purple Martin babies waiting on that food!

Hundred's of tadpoles

One of the few frogs that sticks around when I visit the spillway pond.

Tulips in a tree-you're kidding right?

If you've never been lucky enough to see a Tulip Tree in bloom, you are certainly missing out. A tulip shaped, beautifully colored flower on a tree. This is the third house that I've lived in that has one (I planted one at the last place but moved before it was mature enough to bloom) and this tree is also the largest. The problem with the larger tree is that I almost missed the blooms this year. The tree is so tall that the blooms are not at eye level, heck, they almost aren't even within arms reach. Yesterday evening I just happened to notice petals raining down and looked up and there they were.

Liriodendron tulipifera

Yesterday evening I took a picture of this unnamed lily bud and this morning it had opened up. It is a real beauty. Very bright and colorful. It is growing beside a large Goldmound Spirea, which is also just starting to bloom.
Sedum sarmentosum
This Graveyard Moss Sedum is taking off like crazy. I just plunked this face down in it a little over a week ago and maybe next week I will have to move him again as he will be completely buried. I am going to dig up a good portion of this sedum and plant it on the hillside in "The Wilds". The Wilds isn't mowable due to rocks and bricks scattered about and sticking out of the ground.
Centaurea cyanus
My wheel barrel is just starting to bloom. Beautiful purple Bachelor Buttons that were winter sowed. The other side has purple Poppies and purple Balsam, but they aren't budding up yet.
Athyrium niponicum var. pictum
If you are a collector of ferns, the Japanese Painted Fern is one you should have. A wonderful lighter green with purple, it really adds some interesting color to the shade garden. I have a couple of these and they are fantastic!