Gardening


Coreopsis & Catmint

Coreopsis & Catmint

So I’ve been gardening! OK, I’ll begin by apologizing for the terrible clarity of these photos. Worpdress is still very picky aobut what pics I post, but for some reason it does not reject ones taken by…you guessed it…my cell phone. So don’t expect any great camera work here.
That said, these are a few images I’ve taken over the past month of the blooms in our yard. Not bad for a first-year growth, methinks! Above is Coreopsis (I believe it is the Jethro Tull fluted variety) and Nepeta “Walker’s Low” Catmint (the purple stuff in the background). The catmint has REALLY taken off. It likes my alkaline clay soil a LOT. Good thing something does! It’s the one thing I don’t have to drench in sulfur every four weeks. ūüôā
This Little Piggy Stayed Home

This Little Piggy Stayed Home

This photo (above) was taken in my sun garden out front. Our piggy sits atop a tree stump where Hubby had that awful pine tree taken out for me for Mother’s Day! What a great present. I now have tons of sun spots in the front yard to supplement all the shade everywhere else in the yard. I can finally grow cool stuff like in this picture! Clockwise from upper left corner: Autumn Sun Coreopsis (the pale yellow, maroon-throated little posies that look kind of like bachelor’s buttons), Dusty Miller (an annual but a worthy one for foliage), more Walker’s Low Catmint, pink Mexican Primrose (scattered throughout photo), Hen-and-Chick Sedum (growing inside the piggy planter), Autumn Joy stonecrop (the succulent¬†in lower left corner), and more catmint, which I love and do not think I can have too much of in my garden.
Daylillies in bloom

Daylillies in bloom

These are some daylillies I picked up on discount earlier in the season. I intended to buy three that all looked like the one in the lower right corner (purple petals, yellow throat), but one had been mislabeled and has turned out to be the exact opposite of the others (yellow petals, purple throat), which I think is sort of cool so I didn’t dig it up and return it. Sometimes the best garden surprises are complete accidents!
Yarrow, Yarrow, everywhere!

Yarrow, Yarrow, everywhere!

Got these little beauties (above) for three bucks a gallon on clearance in June. Some have taken off, others don’t know about that hard, packed soil they’re in, but they’re slowly adjusting. I’ve got these around my rock garden on the short ends of the oval, and then the long sides of the oval are peppered with Lamb’s Ears, which didn’t show up well in the twighlight when I took these other photos, so you will just have to imagine their cute, fuzzy fluffiness. ūüôā
Very impatient Impatiens.

Very impatient Impatiens.

Where does my garden grow? On a tree, among other places. This adorable pot is about the same color as the swatch I picked out for our shutters, if I ever get around to ordering and painting those! We have almost finished the pergola (pictures coming soon), and I have to paint the carport to match it (a bright, crisp sea green), which will look good with our buttercream-colored siding. This fall, once the flowers close to the house have gone into dormancy,¬†Hubby will be able to climb up and paint the gables green as well (so I can live in Green Gables at last…LOL). I can’t wait for all the colors to combine! In the meantime, this little pot of very hard-working New Guinea Impatiens will have to keep me focused and inspired. ūüôā

A Walnut Tree, Lots of Daylillies, and my perfect porcelain pot...

A Walnut Tree, Lots of Daylillies, and my perfect porcelain pot...

This was taken a few weeks ago at twilight (again, sorry for the crummy lighting). Our shade garden has tons of very established daylillies (the only blooming thing that was there when we moved in, really) so there are enough stems that we have loads of them nonstop for about five weeks each summer. Beautiful, and so tall!! Some of them are almost as tall as I am, for what that’s worth.

 

Blue Girls

Blue Girls

Okay, so this one is totally out of focus but I still like it because it’s the only picture I managed to get of my great budding beauties before the Japanese beetles moved in on them. They’re still covered with tons of beautiful lavendar rose buds, but if you look close there’s buggies eating all the rose hips inside the petals. Makes me so mad! Anyway, I can’t believe how well my four Blue Girl hybrid tea rose shrubs are doing. Wish they were coming in more blue/purple, but I’ve noticed the ones I clip and put in vases turn VERY blue as they age, and they last for a really long time before wilting, getting a little¬†bit more blue¬†every single day!

 

Petunia Planter

Petunia Planter

I rescued this plant from near-extinction at a local warehouse store and revived it. It’s looking quite healthy now (this picture was taken about a week ago or more) and taking over a large spot under the pergola quite happily.

 

Herbs for Magicians

Herbs for Magicians

I like this photo of some of the herbs/spices/other¬†funky plants¬†I have hanging out on our concrete porch pad soaking up the sun. Oh, and that bright greenish blue thing in the center is one of the pergola posts, so you can imagine the color a little better. Isn’t it cute??? From left: Polka Dot Plant (red variety on top, pink variety on sides of strawberry pot), a very dead-looking gaillardia in the background (hey, it can’t ALL bloom at once, can it??), some verbena foliage (it started blooming the next day, darn it), some really funky purple perennial that I can’t identify (in the white pot, if anyone knows what this is??? It’s not salvia, I know that at least…), a small yellow pot of Moses-in-a-basket (the reddish spikes), some cute salmon-colored Lobelia that’s really been a workhorse this year (recommended by Country Living magazine, so I knew I couldn’t be steered wrong there), a good batch of cilantro in the yellow pot to the right, and a purple pot of Dusty Miller behind it. Also on the porch right now I have (not pictured) geraniums which are cranking out the foliage but refuse to make any magenta¬†blooms like they’re supposed to, hanging yellow Zinnias, and three matching baskets of blue & yellow Lobelia. In front of the porch right now is tons of lavendar that is between harvests at the moment and some artemisia I’ve been dinking around with and dividing as it multiplies.

 

And that’s it for this episode of Look At What I Grew!¬† Catch you next time!

 

–Gracie

Well, in some ways I am glad the weekend is over…I spent most of it stressing about money. At least being at work gives me something to do other than worry about personal issues…at least some of the time.

To keep myself busy, I am pretending that I have won the lottery, and money is no object, and am surfing the web for photos of the things I would love to have in a garden where money is no object…

Peonies:

Peonies

Giant Persian Allium:

allium

Primrose:

primrose

Lilac:

lilac

Wintergreen:

wintergreen

Hedge Rose:

hedge rose

Happy dreaming!

–Gracie

Well, as this was the first summer we have spent with our very own house and yard to call “ours,” I’ve been quite experimental with the garden this year. Tried out lots of stuff to see what would grow, and where, and what wouldn’t grow at all…and to see what would actually come back next year.

However, now that I’m getting a good idea of the land, and the shady/sunny spots, water trenches, and whatnot, I’m already planning bigtime for next year’s garden. With the newspaper starting to boom, and Honey making lots of future plans for it, I feel confident enough to plant some things that will take a few years to reach maturity. (And if something unforseen happens before that, I’ll just dig the suckers up and take them all with me!)

There are several things that did well this year in the garden that I’d like to use again next year, or that will come back next spring. But there are several more things that I’ve been researching online and would like to try next year.

Things I’d like to keep using from this year’s garden include:

Artemesia (perennial ground cover)

Creeping Dusty Miller (ground cover — hopefully perennial in this case, if my periwinkle doesn’t strangle it first!)

Caladiums (annual, but I learned the hard way this year that I’ve got to buy live plants because the bulbs won’t grow worth a lick for me)

Petunias (annual — who can live without these?)

Coleus (this year I purchased the gigantic “Kong” variety, which I won’t be doing again. They sprouted giant flowers that are very ugly, and trimming them off just creates zillions more. I’ll stick with the smaller, full-shade variety next year. Plus, they have many more varieties than the basic two Kong types, so I can create more depth in my garden by using the small varieties.)

Hydrangeas¬†¬†(perennial — I bought two “Endless Summer” plants for the front yard this spring — in addition to the regular one I have at the side of the house. Not lots of blooms yet, but I’ve gotten a few so I have high hopes for the next two years. I would like to add to the collection when the pocketbook allows!)

Sedum (perennial — I bought a healthy Autumn Joy sedum from our garden club sale in May, and I’m hoping it comes back even larger next year. Mom has one that’s two or three years old and is really starting to plump up and look fantastic. I look across my yard to hers, and long for mine to take off like that.)

Daffodils (perennial) — Mom hooked us up with loads of these last fall in front of the porch pad. I’m not sure if they’ll all come back once we put purgola posts in the ground there, and they’re kind of a pain once the blooms die and you have to leave all that ugly foliage up for so long before it can be trimmed, but they’re my favorite cut flower in the world, so I’ll just have to come up with something to plant in front of them that will take off about the same time that they’re dying back. This year I used the Kong Coleus for that, but I’ll come up with something new for next year.

Hostas (perennial — I know these take a few years to really plump up. This year my hosta bed has nine plants, and looks pretty sad, but in a couple years they should really fill out the shade bed on the south side of our house where Geoff likes to take hammock naps.)

Lantana — I’m not sure if this is a perennial or not. It looks like it might be, but I’m not sure if it will come back or not. I planted six of them I got from Lowe’s, and they are so interesting — each flower head is made up of pink, yellow, red, orange, and purplish blossoms all together in one bloom. I would love to have a really dense pocket of these. If they’re perennials, I might not have to plant anymore, and maybe time will make them grow denser. If not, I’ll have to plan better next year and not plant them so spread out from each other.

Daylillies (perennial — the problem with daylillies is their foliage is so huge, even when they’re not blooming, and the leaves can very easily start to look beaten-up, but I just can’t bring myself to put my foot down and get rid of them. They do look pretty when they open…)

We’re planning on¬†building a purgola next year to shade the entire porch area, and I’m really looking forward to dressing up the front of the house in a fancier manner. I’ve got my eye on several new plants to spruce up the facade…

Climbing Iceberg Roses — I saw a beautiful photo spread in Cottage Living a couple of months ago where a lady planted zillions of Icebergs all over her garden, and the effect was enchanting. Nurseries refer to these bright-white bloomers as “a garden’s nightlights.” It’s easy to see why! I would love to train these climbers up grow up the purgola posts. I think it will add a lot of “cozy” to the front of our cottage-style house. They’re supposed to be very low-maintenance, disease-resistant, extremely winter-hardy, fast-growing, and the climbing variety is supposed to have minimal thorn problems. Sign me up!

Lilac — I can’t figure out where to put something this yet, but I love their scent and can’t wait to have some in my own garden.

Primrose — Mom has a bunch of these near her front door, and they really took off this year. Such cute little pink blooms — I sort of need a “delicate factor” in my beds, and these are particularly beautiful during the day.

Peonies — I bought some bare roots this year, but neither of them¬†did anything¬†at all. I don’t seem to have good luck with bare root purchases, so I guess I’ll have to cought up the dough for some live plants next year.

Creeping Phlox — Our neighbors have a pond trimmed with purple and pink in an alternating pattern. Breathtaking during the spring. I’m jealous. ūüôā

Wintergreen or Boxwood — Either of these would be OK; I need some green shrubs someplace to anchor the garden between bloom phases. I have two Euonymous in the ground, but they’re really slow-growing and neither is big enough to shake a stick at yet…

Allium (Giant Persian) — These things are so cool-looking. They look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss garden. I need a novelty in my garden.

Rose-of-Sharon — These are so low-maintenance. I’m not just crazy about them, in particular, but they take off effortlessly and grow really big, so it would be nice to have some as accents in the back yard, where I haven’t really done anything yet. (Got to come up with a fenced area for Cleremont and Dezi¬†first, though — no sense in having a nice garden backyard if it’s full of doggy-bombs!)

So…I’ve got lots of work to do next spring! I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to afford to do all at once, but maybe I’ll get some nursery gift cards for Christmas and can save them up. Mulch will be a small fortune by itself, but I’m not worried. That’s the great part about dreamily planning ahead. You don’t have to worry about details yet. ūüôā

–Gracie

Howdy folks!

Sorry it’s been so long getting a post up — I’ve been without computer access for over a month. But here I am, and a lot has happened this summer!

Well here goes:

New Job: I started work at the new job on June 28th. I’ve made it through my first crazy deadline week, and am slowly getting the hang of stuff around here. Still some snags, but I’m wading through it. I work in a brand-new office suite, with brand-new furniture and as of Friday, brand new computers, which is of course nice. I don’t really feel like I¬†fit in over here at all, but as long as I can plug away and pass my 6 month evaluation, it’s good enough for me. I hope to be here a long time. I hate switching jobs! Somehow, my raise has already spent itself. Money is suddenly quite tight around our house. I’m not sure how it happened, but it has. Going to be quite a while before we can afford much of anything extra, but no bills are due today, and I keep reminding myself we’re only promised our Daily Bread, not our weekly…

Jamie: Is working on cutting Tooth #3 right now. He still refuses to crawl, but has discovered that noodle-rolling is the best way to get from Point A to Point B. Has a ball rolling around on his tummy. He tried saying the word “bubble” last week, but it came out as, “BALL-BALL-BALL-BALL-BALL.” Heehee! He’s now decided that bathtime is the most fun thing ever. This realization came at about the same moment that he discovered that if he puts his hands together, he can make a cup that is excellent for scooping bathwater onto Mommy’s countertop. Needless to say, we don’t leave bills lying on the counter anymore!

Garden: Is a disaster. Weeds everywhere. I had so looked forward to this past weekend because I really wanted to get out there and get it all cleaned up, and then wound up coming down with a terrible summer cold on Friday night. I was practically bed-ridden all weekend, and showed up for work today with DayQuil, Kleenex, cough drops and hand sanitizer…I feel better today than I did this weekend, though. A combination of medicine and coffee has helped quite a bit this morning.

Hubby: Geoff is doing well and is hoping to be able to take several days off in a week or so. He has a few work-related projects for that period, but is also hoping to have some much-needed down time as well. Other than that, things are going well for him and the papers are both still doing a great job.

Well, I’ll be sure to keep up with the posts now that I have access again.¬† Oh yeah, and here’s a picture of the boy:

The boy

I spent all of Saturday landscaping our front yard. I’m having such a great time — this is our first spring ever as “homeowners,” and the knowledge that I can do whatever I want with the yard is exciting…(especially since Geoff does not seem to mind paying for my botanical flights of fancy!)

So…Hubby and I headed to Carbondale on Saturday morning and loaded up on tons of annuals to decorate the garden. I bought multi-colored celosia (cockscomb)¬†and white wave petunias to plant around our garden flag,¬†ten¬†Kong coleus plants to line the front of the porch with (to cover up our daffodils which looked beautiful a few weeks ago and are now in the process of dying back), and enough black mulch¬†filler¬†to look like one of Tony Soprano’s thugs on a “business trip” to Lowe’s

I wound up with celosia and petunias left over, so I’m trying to figure out where to put them. I have an area in the front that gets a lot of sun where I’d like to have peonies blooming, so maybe I could put the smaller annuals in front of that. I’d really like to have some creeping phlox in the yard, because our neighbors down the street have a pond that is completely lined with purple and pink phlox. It takes¬†my breath away every time I drive past it.

Only problem is, I have to buy the peonies first. Shrubs are where the price tag gets high fast. I’m trying to pace myself, but that’s not as much of a problem today as it was on¬†Saturday¬†evening when I went to Wal-Mart and wanted to blow more cash in the Garden Center. Today I’m feeling what the weekend did to my poor out-of-shape body, and I don’t think I’ll be planting anything else for a few days!! I am too stupid to remember sunscreen, so my neck is the color of tomato soup today. My back feels like it is broken, and it takes me three minutes to achieve a sitting position, but I don’t care. I am having too much fun being a gardener! ūüôā

Meanwhile, I think Jamie enjoyed the weekend because my projects meant he got to be an Outdoor Baby most of the weekend. I set up his playpen on a shady part of the porch Saturday so he could watch me digging up the front yard. He thought those coleus plants looked pretty cool! And then he spent the early evening snoozing on top of Grandpa’s chest next door on my parents’ porch swing. Geoff’s mom bought him some little baby-sized sunglasses on Easter. Jamie enjoys wearing them, too. And besides, he looks downright hilarious in them anyway, so they’re on his face a lot. ūüôā I think he had a pretty good weekend. He was all smiles when we drove to preschool today, and started doing his “baby babble” when he got there — I think he was trying to tell his teachers about playing in the yard on Saturday. How cute!!

smelling the flowers

I like how you can see his little bald spot (in the above photo) where he’s rubbed all the hair off the back of his head…heehee!

Sniffing

Well, I just got back from enjoying a nice long lunch hour poking around in Lowe’s Garden Center…(I was very, very good and only bought the two things I went in for — caladium bulbs and a bigger hanging pot for my office philodendren, which is getting so huge at this point I sometimes want to stop working at my computer and grab onto one of the long vines hanging down and start swinging on it while letting out a Carol Burnett-esque Tarzan yell…)

¬†But I digress. I am wondering…has anyone grown freesia as a houseplant? I have been researching it a bit online today and I am thinking this is something that would look pretty and be very hard to kill…but I am looking for advice!! I plan to¬†get some bulbs at some point in the next month and give it a try but I wonder if there’s anything goofy about them or anything I might need to know…I don’t know much about that plant at all except that it smells good and grows in lots and lots of bright colors. Anyone???