Friday, June 29, 2007


I've written before -- on my other blog -- how much I love this cute stationary by the guy who did the artwork for Why French Women Don't Get Fat. I've gifted these cards away, but now I just went ahead and bought my own ...

...a woman after her own heart, the 2 sets of cards I got show where my interests truly lie: gardening and cats! I consider it a birthday present.

The Hedgeclipper and Bad Cat!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fence Garden ... 1 month progress report

For me, this garden is like a baby.

In the beginning, you calculate it's age by weeks, then months, until about 2 years old, then it's years. And by the time they're old enough where they tower over you, eat more than cafeteria of grade schoolers, and leaving dirty socks everywhere, you have no idea how old they are, you're just waiting for them to move out of the house.

(Don't be fooled folks, I say all this, yet I'm 31 with no kids...)

It's been a month since I planted my Fence Garden so I'm still in La-La land: checking up on it constantly, whispering sweet nothings into their ears (resembling a chant "grow grow, flower flower").I picked up, recently, Tracy DiSabato-Aust's book The Well-Tended Perennial Garden and she has pictures of gardens just planted and then 4 months later they looked better than an Arboretum. I expect nothing less from this garden (oh, no, is this an insight into my mothering skills?).

So here's the baby at 1 month old. Isn't she the cutest baby you ever saw?

Tomatoes... 1 month progress report

I said it would be a miracle if I got any tomatoes. Why? Well, my track record in general isn't that hot and neither is the sun in my backyard. But I am trying to grow them in the sunniest spot I could find because frankly ... store bought tomatoes suck.

I grew up on tomato salads over the summer. My family is Italian and we always had a veggie garden. In the summer months, dinner was outside (al fresco, although it sounds nicer than it actually was) and we always started with a tomato salad with basil and olive oil, sopping up the juicy tomato bits with hunks of italian bread.

I miss that.

Later on, when I was living in France, I would make myself cold couscous salad with tomatoes, olive oil, and vinegar; I just loved the tomato. But when I tried to make it at home with -- sacre bleu! -- a store bought tomato, I had to spit it out. No flavor. If a tomato has no flavor, then it might as well be thrown into the compost to serve some other higher good.

Now that I have a house and some gardening under my belt, it was time for the tomato (and some basil and green onion too). I don't have tomatoes yet, but I do have little yellow flowers that I hope will turn into juice, ripe, plump tomatoes ... my mouth is watering as I type. My dad said I'll get tomatoes in August, but I hope to God they come sooner.

So here's the 1-month progress report on the tomatoes. In the picture you can see my neighbor's hydrangeas pouring through the picket fence. I love not having to plant anything there because I get to enjoy these. (And yes, that's how close my neighbor is to me, the pots are right outside my door!)

May vs. June

Monday, June 18, 2007


I'm in the process of re-doing the southwest corner of my backyard. I've pulled out the lamium (for the most part, there is the occasional sprouter) and thinned out the army of cinnamon ferns guarding the fence.

But now I'm noticing the weeds are taking over. I'm purposely not rushing to make sure all th lamium has been removed (it was VERY overgrown); but while waiting, a farm of clover look-a-likes are taking residence. I don't blame them, it's primo property, but they're not paying any rent.

So I'm pulling them out by hand but it's tedious because there are so many and they are so small.

On U of I's Hort Corner "Bed Preparation" they say to get rid of all weeds first by treating the dirt with herbicide like Round-up.

Do any of you recommend Round-up? I'd prefer to use something less chemical, but maybe there is no other way.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - June 15th

I'm one day early because I'm not sure if I'll have the time tomorrow to post. I have a lot blooming in my garden on June 15th -- it's very exciting stuff 'round here.

Thanks to Carol from May Dreams Gardens for putting this together!

Here's what's blooming in the front yard on June 15th:

The oakleaf hydrangea at my doorstep. I was pruning this plant all wrong the last 2 years, and now that I know not to prune in the spring, I was blessed with several blooms. They are not all bloomed but it's really pretty.

The roses on the other side of my doorstep are also in bloom. I've brought a few in because they last longer, but I love these -- I know I have 2 different kind (1 grows in a bunch the other as single stem).
Now I know this is a potentilla (thanks carolyn!), and it's pretty yellow flowers are finally blooming.
This is another rose bush in the front that I always thought belonged to our neighbor until they moved and the lot lines got drawn up. Now it's mine. Good because it beautiful, bad because it's so thorny and now I need to care for it.
Hemerocallis "Stella d'oro" (I think). It's a repeat bloomer, so I'm thinking that this is what these daylilies are. I have about 5 groups of these, but this one always does the best.
My dianthus 'sweet william' is still blooming, but this is another one I got. The label said dianthus cheddar pinks 'red dwarf.' I think it looks more like dianthus deltoides, but what do I know. In any case, these cheddars are blooming better than the actual pink ones I have in the back yard.Also in the front: fringed bleeding heart, oxeye daisies, catmint, & salvia.

Backyard blooms:

This is the new Campanula glomerata (clustered bellflower) I planted in my new fence garden May 19th. It's flopping over (maybe it's not getting enough sun), but it's blooming nicely.

This daylily I found against the back fence our 1st summer. It was all alone. The 2nd summer it didn't bloom, so I moved it to the kitchen window area and voila, it just opened up this morning. It's so lovely and she loves her new home.Also in the backyard: purple loosestrife & fringed bleeding heart.

What's just about to bloom:
  • purple coneflowers have their buds on them
  • yellow daylillies in the backyard are all set to bloom

Friday, June 08, 2007

Dame's Rocket

I was just browsing some other garden blogs and low and behold stumbled upon this entry by The Gorham Garden.

She's making a list of weeds, so imagine my surprise when I found one of my garden inhabitants in her list. Dame's Rocket looks an awful lot like phlox which is what I thought it was. It's not, it's a weed, an invasive one and it's sneakily been making a cozy home in my new fence garden hoping I wouldn't catch on.Thanks for the tip Gorham, this weed is coming out!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Name this plant

I have 2 plants I need to identify!

One of them is in the backyard. It's tall stalks with pretty purple flowers. It seems to re-seed itself because it sppears that I get more plants each year. The bottoms can be kind of woody and they tend to grow in clumps of stalks. The closest I could guess looking at photos in my plant books is purple loosestrife.

The other is in the front yard in full sun. It has long branches that flip over with tiny green petals and now it's starting to bloom with pretty yellow flowers. I haven't been able to match any photos for this one.