Sunday, July 29, 2007

Garden Diary catch-up

Even though I just wrote some posts July 20th, I feel totally out of the loop. I haven't really had the time to write and catch up on everyone else's blog. I think it's the mid-season blah's...

But this reminds me of my mom's bowling days when I was a kid, and before all that fancy electronic scoring. Whenever they were bowling like crap, she and her gals would draw a house around one of their frames; this was the "doghouse" and after that frame they were going to get out of the doghouse and bowl better.

So that's this blog post -- my doghouse -- after this I vow to write more often, more sincerely, and to visit other blogs more often and more sincerely, and to respond to my comments more often.
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We've actually been doing a lot around the garden in July -- more than I did last year. And I have a feeling I'll be doing more: my aunt told me about the plant sales at Home Depot; luring me with low prices is pure evil.

Our tomatoes are awesome! The romas have begun to turn red. This photo is from the 27th, and they're even more red now. My grandparents were over today and couldn't believe how BIG our tomatoes were; I told them it's because the soil we used had been composted the last 2 years. I'm sure that's why.

Front yard path:
I came up with the idea to make a new path in the front yard. I love walking on paths. Plus I think it's easier to garden and visit your plants if there's a path. Maybe they're dumb, I'm not a landscaper, I just like paths. So after we pulled out a bush last yr, and the mongo eunymous this year, I was left with a bare hole in the front. Then I found myself always walking this way to get to the side of the house; so I thought a path would be the obvious choice. Using the same bricks as the walkway (thank you old owners for leaving them around the house), I outlined a future pathyway. I wanted it be sort of whimsical and twist around the existing plants, and then plant new ones around the curves. Right now the bricks are on top of the ground, but I want to bury them 1/4 down and fill the path with mulch.

Backyard path:
Our southwest garden always had a path: a path to nowhere. I'm an odd bird where if I'm walking, I better be walking somewhere, walking in and walking out doesn't work for me. So we continued the path to the other end and made a 1/2 circle. I think it looks super. This is the garden I'm overhauling, and I'm not done yet, but this is where we're at so far.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gigantic weed

I had to post this picture! There is no way a weed could get this huge in my tiny 50' x 20' back yard, without me noticing it.

But it did ... how? It was hiding under the Anabelle hydrangeas that come from my neighbors yard. It totally blended in until I was practically on top of it.

Check out the size of this thing!

Roses re-bloom

I had completely forgotten that my roses in the front re-bloom. Their first bloom is from the end of May to mid-June. The second round started blooming mid-July.

Are roses supposed to re-bloom like this: 1 wave , then a 2nd wave one month later?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Azaleas under the pine tree?

Last Sunday was one of the first days Matt and I have actually been around to take care of the yard.

He took down the old basketball hoop (previous owner left it) and I cleaned out under the Pine tree by the street.
This photo was taken in May. It looks okay in this photo, but really not much has ever grown here except for some vinca minor and that died in huge amounts this year. We added those hostas last year and the rest of the green are weeds and shoots.

I cleaned out all the vinca, weeds, shoots, and now it looks like this:
Yep, black eyed susans have sprouted behind the hostas. Okay, I'll admit it, I found some small black-eyed susan shoots last year and put them here. But I didn't think they'd grow. I was wrong!

So now what can I do with that bare area around the tree? I read that azaleas and rhododendrons would grow good under the pine tree because of the high acidity level from the pine needles. Has anyone had any luck with something like this?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - July 16th

Oops! One day late! Thanks again to Carol at May Garden Dreams for putting this together.

In my garden on July 15th, I have blooming ...

Container full of: foam flower, 'Catalina' Midnight blue Torenia, 'Cabana' Sutera Cordata, 'Laguna Dark Blue' Lobelia hybrid

Purple Coneflowers with yarrow, potentilla, and black eyed susans
Yarrow close-up
Puple Coneflower close-up
Coral bells in front of Oakleaf hydrangea
Daylillies ...
Cranesbill geranium ... my first blooms
Purple Garden phlox
Container filled with ... yellow dahlias, diamond frost, and a petunia-like trailing flower I found at Home Depot and I already lost the name!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Update: Fence Garden & Tomatoes

It's now been 1-1/2 months since I planted this garden. I thought it looked especially pretty today, the purple coneflowers (echinecea purpura) is finally starting to bloom despite the lack of sun here (they re-seeded themselves here).

As you know from my previous post, I had to remove the 2 clustered bellflowers (Campanula glomerata); they were getting leggy and falling over and according to come research they shouldn't even need to be staked. So I moved those out. I also moved out my bloody cranesbill geranium. I think they all needed more sun.

My former neighbor told me that the previous owner tried growing things here but failed. It was just too shady, and the other side of the fence gets all the sun. But I think so far I'm doing okay.

Also ... tons of tomatoes! Nothing ripe yet.

My role as gardener

This morning, I took Matt to the train station (long story) and I told him that I could go head-to-head with anyone about any subject. He answered back, "You know what I love about you: your modesty."

I say, If you act like you know what you're doing, then people will believe you. I mean, isn't that how our president got elected (oops, sorry, no politicking here). When it comes to gardening, I don't know anything but I must act like I do because I find people asking me all these questions. I want to look at them and say, "I don't have a clue what I'm doing." But they see living plants and they somehow believe that I have something to do with it.

I'm just like a babysitter; keep them happy until mommy comes home. Other times I feel like a landlord -- "bloom or you're outta here." Sometimes a nurse -- "there now, do you feel better with more sun?" And even once I felt like a ship's captain trying to prevent mutiny -- "we're all in this together, let's not get too overgrown.". But never, ever, do I feel like I am the boss.

But gardening helps me with my Type-A personality. I can't boss them around; I can't argue with the plants; I can't make them see eye-to-eye with me.

Campanula (purple) with her new friends

I just have to do their bidding, make them happy and in return I'll be happy. I think they should teach this in an MBA program.

But here's what I am learning from gardening:
1) Have no fear. Plants won't kill you in your sleep if you prune them way back. Or tear them out.
2) You can admit you didn't read the label and planted the plant wrong. Just don't tell anyone and fix it.
3) It's okay to trial and error, it doesn't mean you suck.

For instance, I planted two clustered bellflower (campanula glomerata) along the fence because I wanted it there, pay no attention that it needed more sun than shade and the fence garden is a black hole of darkness. This is where I was determined to plant them. They bloomed, I was happy, then they got leggy and then they fell over. "Aren't you happy here?" I pleaded,"Sun is bad for you? UV-rays." Nothing. They weren't listening.

So after 1-1/2 months of darkness, I bit the bullet and finally moved these 2 guys to two sunnier locales: triangle garden & kitchen garden. Now all I can do now is wait and see.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'll take this one ... and that one ...

Can't I just walk into the garden center without walking out with $70 worth of plants? And I had a list to keep me from falling off the wagon, too. When I walked in the door, Matt was sitting at the table reconciling our accounts, so I wasn't shocked when he asked, "$70? What did you buy?"

"Some plants," averting my eyes.
"I'm getting worried about you," he answered.
"But they had heucheras in different colors..." I'm sure he tuned me out right about there, so why go on.

But I went to the Garden Center, unfortunately also known as Home Despot, to get some annuals to fill my 50% off hanging baskets I snatched up at Jo-Ann fabrics when I was looking for something other than hanging baskets. Matt can't grasp the idea of the annual any more than grasping the fact he actually knows what an annual is.

"So it's a plant that dies, and doesn't come back next year." He asks.
"Why would you spend money on that?" Still confused.
"Because they look pretty?"
"I still don't get it."

So he didn't understand how I could spend $70 on annuals and some heucheras, and frankly neither could I. I stared at the receipt for very long figuring out how all those $3.99 could add up to $70.

Am I going plant crazy? Is it my fault that they had several different types of heucheras that I needed to try out? Is it my fault that I want my hanging baskets to look like the hanging gardens of babylon?

And just because this IS a garden blog, I should add that ... I planted my new heucheras in the front yard in my "circle garden" right in front of the fringed bleeding hearts and hostas. They are:
  • Heuchera villosa 'Citronelle'
  • Heuchera X 'Crimson Curls'
  • Heuchera villosa 'Caramel'

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Garden Bloggers Muse Day: BirdBath

This is my first Garden Bloggers Muse Day, thanks to Carolyn at Sweet Home & Garden Chicago. I decided to write a poem about the birdbath because I just saw a bird use it for the first time. It's short, but I wanted to give it a stab!
Two pieces, concrete
Probably factory-made.
Filled with some water
And set out to roost,
In a corner of dappled-shade.
Alone along the fence,
But not out of sight,
Beneath the cicadas singing.
Waiting for a robbin, a sparrow,
A wren.
A pool of cool water, waiting.