Monday, April 30, 2007


A friend was telling me about how she got great compost in two weeks. She said she got a metal garbage can, drilled holes in it on the bottom and sides, then she puts in about 12 inches of straw (she said it helps with drainage), her kitchen waste and shredded things from her yard. After attaching bungee cords she rolls the trash can across the yard everyday. In two weeks time she has very rich compost. I wanted to compost again but we can't have trash piles in this neighborhood so I thought I would try her method, with exception of the rolling the can across the yard. My neighbors will think I've gone loony if they see me doing that. I went to Walmart tonight and they didn't have a metal can, so I got this cheep plastic one for less than $6.00. I really had a lot of dirt and grass from the side yard and also where I'm putting the pathway so this can filled up quickly. I still want to get the metal can and see which one works better, (I need at least two anyway). I may not have compost in two weeks, but hopefully it won't take too much longer. Has anyone else used this method for composting?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Scanned Bouquet

Well, since so many others have tried it, I thought I would too. Here is my first attempt at scanning something other than old family pictures.
Actually, I was just going to post about all of the work I've done this weekend and I had no flower pictures to share, how boring. I thought of the scans that others had done and quickly went out to snip a few flowers. So I have a picture of flowers to share now, I feel better.
I have gotten quite a few things done over this beautiful weekend. I did some mulching and moving this evening, working until dark. I'm not sure if my pink viburnums, which were planted in the fall, are still living. All three of them look terrible so I clipped them until I saw green, which was all the way to the ground. There was a little bit of new growth sprouting up on two of them. They were in a visible place so I dug them up and put them in an area less visible. They have a one year warranty, so I'll give them a little more time to see if they are going to live. I moved two small arborvitae to the place where these were, and I planted a Dixie Land, (being from Alabama I had to have this), variegated grass where the middle viburnum was. I planted another grass and put a few plants into a container for the patio. I worked on the side yard flower bed and almost finished weeding it, but it got dark too quickly. I hope to finish this project tomorrow.
I am making a pathway from our side garage door to the driveway using square pavers. The grass has died where they were placed and now I am digging about two inches deep to place them evenly with the grass so they can be mowed over. This is more tedious than I thought it would be. I only did four yesterday. I had thought about taking the path all of the way around to the patio, but I don't think so. What a pain!
Yesterday was my precious mother-in-laws 81st birthday. She has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home. She doesn't really need anything right now so I bought a peony to plant at the nursing home in their court yard. The peony is the state flower of Indiana and they didn't have one. So, I did a little bit of gardening there too.
My plants that I am hardening off got a little to much sun while we were gone to church this morning and with the wind here they dry out so quickly. A few of the petunias look pretty wilted. I gave everything a good watering and I am hoping they will perk back up.
On Monday we had our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband bought me a swing for the patio, actually it's on the grass by the patio. He put it together on Saturday and already I love taking breaks from gardening and resting in the swing. My mother has one on her deck and I love to sit with her and talk and swing, it is so relaxing. It is too windy here and the swings usually get blown over. Hopefully we have enough of a wind break now that ours will not blow into the neighbors yard. That is also one of the reasons we built the patio wall, we couldn't leave our grill out because the wind blows it away.
I am very thankful for the beautiful weather this weekend and the blessing of health and energy to work and for the family that God has blessed me with. Very thankful indeed.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Birds and Plants

It was such a beautiful day. I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee out on the patio this morning. It was so nice to be outside. Early morning is one of the few times during the day when it is quiet here beside the playground. Well, it was at least people quiet, the birds were singing and as they called it on Bambi, they were "twitterpating" (not sure about that spelling), anyway, there was a lot of spring courting going on. This is my first attempt at bird photography and it was with my small camera, zoomed all the way, so the quality isn't that great. It is so exciting to finally see some pretty birds. When we moved here, it was a brand new subdivision that had been a cornfield. There were no mature trees. In fact the only trees were the one small tree per yard the builders installed (ours died). I had several bird feeders at my house in Alabama and I was a bird watcher, identifying and keeping a list of my bird visitors. How disappointing when we moved here and only the sparrows and black birds visited the feeder. I took it down and didn't attempt to feed the birds again. We have added many trees to our yard in the last few years. Our six maples are getting quite large now and we are beginning to see some bird activity. I've seen, robins, doves, eastern bluebirds, and finches (purple and gold). I put out this thistle the other day and was so excited to watch these pretty gold finches visiting my feeder while having my coffee. I'll have to get a real finch feeder soon, this one was just a tester.

This morning I took all of my plants outside to begin the hardening off process. I counted all of the plants and also took some notes so that next year I'll remember what to do or not do.
*Pampass Grass- 8 plants. These have been very easy to grow with good germination rate. I think each seed represents a blade of grass, I sprinkled multiple seeds per peat pellet. They were started at a good time, February 25th. The seed brand was Ferry Morse and cost $1.99. Pampass grass is not winter hardy here so I will give some of these to my mom when she visits in June and I will try to over-winter a couple in the garage. I read that they do not bloom the first year, so I'm not sure why someone would choose to grow this as an annual. I'm hopeful that I will see plumes this summer, we'll see.
*Purple Wave Petunias- I have 20 healthy plants and there were only 21 seeds, (in a packet supposed to contain 15). Great germination rate. They were planted at a good time, February 25th. If I planted any later I'd have to wait for blooms, just a few are beginning to bloom now. I can't find the seed packet, but they were bought at Lowes.
* Coleus- I have 49 plants. Most are pretty healthy. Very easy to grow. Started them way too soon, (Feb. 25th).

*Impatiens- I have about 90 plants. These are a little fussy about transplanting. Those which were not transplanted, but left in the peat pellet did the best, the next best are those that were not disturbed but placed along with peat pellet into a larger peat pot. Those that fared the worse are the little ones that were too crowded and didn't receive enough light. I thinned them but hated to throw any away. I tried to save every plant, but these are obviously not healthy. I will still place them in the flower bed, who knows maybe they will perk up and begin to grow. These actually could be started earlier. I have no blooms yet, just a couple with buds. Mine look pretty pathetic compared to the store bought.

*Moonflower- 14 plants What am I going to do with 14 of these? They have been very easy to grow. I can't remember if I even soaked the seeds, I don't think I did. These were started on Feb. 27th and should have been started later. The roots are growing out of the pots and they are vining.

*Foxglove- It is actually healthier than I thought. I really neglected these because so many germinated and I didn't want to thin and transplant all of them. It has basically been survival of the fittest. I think I will separate the peat pots and just let them fight it out. I have another seed packet and I'm going to sprinkle some on the ground. Hopefully, one way or another I'll have beautiful pink foxglove. If I ever grow this from seed again, I will sprinkle the seeds a little more finely. They have a very good germination rate and obviously take some neglect. They can be started earlier than Feb. 27th.
I will have quite a bit of planting to do in a few days.

Friday, April 27, 2007

After the Rain

Johnny Jump-ups

The front porch flower bed.

I am partial to hosta and have always planted quite a few of these wherever I live.

The three coleus that I grew from seed are doing well outside, even with the cooler evening temperatures and all the rain. It should now be safe to begin hardening off the rest.

This is my favorite color of impatiens. I try to get a flat of these every year. Last year I planted them too early. Some were damaged by the cold, but when I went back to get more I couldn't find them. They obviously sell out quickly. I am waiting a few more days to plant these.

Lovely tulip.

Things waiting to be planted. Should be warming up in the next day or two and be in the 80's by Monday. Crazy weather.


Speedwell Veronica was recently planted to help attract hummingbirds and butterflies to my garden.

I love the tulips next to this white railing.

I am ready for the weather to clear so that I can finish my new bed on the side of the house. I have quite a few packets of seed, mostly zinnias and cosmos and am thinking of creating a cut flower bed. I have already spent quite a bit on containers, trees, shrubs and perennials and I think this would be a great place to use the seed I already have.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Indoor Growing System

My indoor plants continue to do well. In a few days I will begin the process of hardening them off to get them acclimated to the outdoors. I planted three coleus outside already, if they do well with the cooler nights then hopefully it will be safe to begin this process. The plants that are alive and did well: petunias, impatiens (some look better than others), pampass grass, coleus, moonflowers, caladiums. The plants that are alive but did not do well: Maiden pink Dianthus, foxglove, Purple Prince zinnia and Victorian mix dahlia these last two are barely alive and I probably will not put them in the flower bed. The plants that germinated but didn't live are Miniature Hollyhock and another dianthus.
The Purple Wave petunias are blooming and they look pretty healthy considering the issue I had a few weeks back with the leaves turning a purplish black color. I think I was watering too much. I watered less, removed affected leaves and the problem was resolved.
My Moonflowers are really beginning to vine now. I have the trellises ready and waiting for them.
The gnats are becoming a problem, for some reason they are swarming around the impatiens. Kitty likes gnats and that is becoming an issue too. So far she has behaved very well with the exception of digging in the container that had my just planted elephant ears in it. What a mess that was! I should have taken a picture.

Next year I would like to use the grow lights for overwintering a few things and some propagating. I will also grow a few of the things that did well, (not as many coleus) from seed and try my hand at winter sowing outside.

Garden Tools or Lack Thereof

We had a much needed rain today, everything was so dry. I'm very glad to have a little break from yard work. I had one of those duh moments today. I love to just sit and do yard work with my hands (it's very relaxing to me), but I weeded a very large section yesterday with the little tool you see above. Today my hands are stiff, swollen, and blistered. I thought about Carol's ( hoe collection today, and realized I don't even have a single hoe. I think I need a hoe for the rest of this job, it would make it a lot easier on my hands and back. I wish I had thought of that before I started the project. I was bent over so long weeding yesterday that I think the oxygen supply to my brain was diminished. Seriously, I could barely put a coherent sentence together last night, I think I was just a bit exhausted.

Today I had one of my favorite little getaways. I went to Barnes and Noble, got a white chocolate mocha, a stack of gardening magazines and sat for about two hours. I usually do this two or three times a year. I probably flipped through every gardening magazine they have. I think my favorite is Fine Gardening. I also currently have all back issues from the last two years that I checked out from my library.
The one gardening tip that stands out in my mind came from Backyard Living. The reader said that they line their containers with newspaper before planting. This helps keeps the soil from drying out, and also provides insulation keeping the roots from over heating in the summer.

Rain is in the forecast for the next few days. I'll soon be itching to get my project finished, with my new hoe of course.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Side Yard

The side yard is an eyesore especially since we are on the corner lot and beside the common area. We have a difficult time growing grass since the builder scraped all of the top soil away and we are left with nothing but clay. The dandelions however do very well here. We also didn't like the builder issued plant that had been in the front flower bed so we just stuck it here on the side. I don't like it here either, so out it came today. Here is the before picture.

Here is the after. I was able to do about 2/3 of it today. I was going to lay down newspaper to smother the weeds but I just couldn't stand knowing that millions of dandelion seeds were in my bed so I scraped and weeded just about all afternoon until dark. I'm not sure what I'll plant here, but I want it as maintenance free as possible. Maybe a few shrubs, few easy perennials and some hosta. I really need something to add vertical interest. Maybe a couple of trellises and morning glory or a rose bush. I purchased the manure, peat, and top soil today and will add that before planting.
The pink tulips are so beautiful. I wish they lasted longer. At least I'll have the pictures to enjoy them whenever I want.

Today I replanted a Japanese maple that I had in the back, I think it was getting too much sun. I have two in the front, bought at the same time, and they are so much bigger and prettier. So I moved it to a more shady spot in the front flower bed. While I was planting it I smelled honeysuckles, it turns out that these daffodils smell like honeysuckle.

Here is the new flower bed on the left side of the patio. The tag on these hosta say full sun, I sure hope they will take the sun because I would love more for the back yard.

Container Gardening

I have been searching everywhere that I can think of for the perfect container to go on this wall. Pam, from Digging suggested more of a bowl shape. I found a picture of a container that I think would be perfect. It was more of a bowl on a small pedestal . I can't find anything like it in the garden centers or local nurseries.

I found this today and I can't decide if I like it or not. My husband likes it better than anything I've brought home so far. What do you think? Does this work?

I've been busy planting other container groupings today. I planted variegated ivy and pink verbena with the dwarf spruce today.

This is variegated lily turf, I planted this to add some greenery to the patio. I will plant purple wave petunias on the wall above it.

I love the colors in this one. It will be beautiful once it's filled out and spilling down the sides.

This one is on the front porch railings and has the pink superbells, (Calibrachoas).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Done for the Day List 4/23

Today I had some extra time to work in the yard. There was so much needing to be done, I didn't know where to start and honestly I wasted a lot of time flitting from one thing to another. It was really too windy to get much done, but I was determined to work outside.

Here is what I accomplished today:

*Pulled all of the Yarrow from right-side flower bed, (lamenting ever planting this weed), it spreads vigorously from the roots and was very difficult to remove.
*Planted two more Blue-eyed grass.
*Replaced the Dracaena spikes in container with purple fountain grass, (I like it so much better).
*Did some mulching
*Planted variegated Lily Turf in planters on the patio. I saw a picture in Fine Gardening magazine that I'm copying using Lily Turf as the base of a container garden, (will post pictures when finished).
*Watered everything morning and afternoon - the wind was causing everything to dry out quickly. (I must finish that mulching tomorrow.)
*Finally fixed the outside water spigot that had never been connected to the house properly.
*Picked dandelions. Since I don't like to use chemicals I try to pick the dandelions before they go to seed. Quickly realized I was fighting a loosing battle. I would have done nothing else all day had I continued this vain task.
*Weeding has been done in all flower beds.

I wish that I had been more organized and efficient today , I could have accomplished so much more. I guess I was in the mood to piddle rather than get down to business and really labor. Tomorrow I will have some extra time, maybe I'll get more accomplished.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Lesson from the Garden

I was reminded again today of the valuable lesson I learned from my garden last spring.


While I was outside waiting for my daughter to go for our nightly walk, I immediately noticed the dandelions in my front flower bed. There were quite a few and I got busy pulling them out of the bed. After several minutes had passed, I saw, for the first time, that the beautiful pink tulips were in full bloom. I couldn't believe it, there they were right in front of me and I didn't see them. How could I have not noticed the beautiful tulips first? My total focus had been on the dandelions, the weeds instead of the flowers. Sometimes I do that in life too, I don't fully enjoy the blessings and beauty of life because my focus is on the problems, the ugly weeds of life that keep popping up, robbing me of joy. I can do this with people too, it is sometimes easier to see the faults in people rather than focusing on their good. To be negative rather than positive. I pondered on those thoughts for quite a while and vowed that I would try not to miss the tulips again. It has become a little saying now in our home, "Let's focus on the tulips rather than dandelions".


Here are those same beautiful tulips back again this year. They are so pretty. I had quite a few duds in the front bed too so I've weeded them out. I will have to plant more this fall. This is a small bed between the front porch and sidewalk, I think I'll plan a mass planting of pink tulips.



Here are a couple of pictures of the violas in the from flower bed with the pink tulips. I love just spring flowers!


My very patient hubby, of 25 years tomorrow, drove me around to several garden centers today trying to find three more aborvitae. We were finding them but the dirt was like concrete and I was concerned that the trees would die from being so dry. Finally, at our fourth place we found three that were in acceptable condition. We planted them on the right side of the patio. This gives us a bit more privacy on the playground side.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Petal Pushers

I couldn't resist this pink gerbera daisy. If you click to enlarge it looks like pink curled ribbon in the center.

This is a grass that blooms, I think it is called star grass.

I shopped at several garden centers today (still looking for that perfect container) and then worked in the yard until dark. I planted two Wine and Roses weigela, five hostas, several perennials. I also bought about six grasses and just a few annuals, I'm still afraid it might cool down, so I didn't get many annuals. I had my favorite color of impatiens in the cart, but took them out. Hopefully we are past the last frost date, but I'm still hesitant to buy tender annuals,(thanks to the advise of several friendly gardening bloggers).
I also planted flowers in my four front porch containers, moved several perennials to different locations, and did a bit of weeding. I'm so tired. I will have free time Monday, I hope to get lots more done.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mission Accomplished

I love this flower! As the afternoon progressed the petals of the Ranunculus began to unfold and turn downward.

Before last fall I had nothing, not even a shrub, planted on the left side of the patio. Now I have a lovely flower garden. and when the grasses grow the air conditioner will be hidden. This should also help with some of our privacy issues.

I finished the flower bed this evening, including the mulching. Trellises are in place waiting for the Moon flowers.

I finally found the planter I wanted for my front porch. I have one for each section.

I'll be planting the Superbells in the new front porch containers.

For some reason the stems of the daffodils are weak. They are falling over once they bloom.

Pretty tulips are blooming! I must have bought a mixed selection, because there are several different kinds and colors blooming.