Monday, August 20, 2007

Reel Lawn mower

Matt and I bought our reel lawnmower when we moved into our new house. We didn't know anything about it and didn't do our homework. We ended up with one that's really heavy and doesn't adjust height.

So now we're looking for a new one (our old one will be going on Freecycle) and I've found these 2. Have any of you tried or have one of these and can recommend them? We liked the Sunlawn because the adjust height is so much greater.

Brill Lexus 38 vs. Sunlawn MM2

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pest Control

Remember the walkway I'm kinda putting in? Well, the bricks have been laying there for some time now because I want to make sure I like this before I commit to any work (and even then I'm having doubts -- are bricks dumb? Do they go with the rest of the landscape? Is the path to wide? Why am I making a path on prime sun property? etc...)

When I decided to go ahead with it, I discovered an ant colony as big and as populated as China was living under the bricks. The minute you lift up a brick they come swarming nd they BITE those suckers. Hours later, I could still feel ants crawling on me. Here's a short video:


So I had to stop the path making; when I recommenced path-making I found out they only relocated to some bricks further down. This might take longer than expected.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I went up to Lake Geneva last weekend to start cleaning out some of my mom's new garden that's totally overgrown now.

This is the garden that I told my mom I was going to re-do for her and I was so excited about it. The only problem was that with the heat and the cicadas, I wasn't able to do much until recently, and by then there was a plant/weed explosion!

So I did a simple weed clean up, pulling out what I could identify as weeds. But herein lies the problem:

The previous owners, instead of using a wood mulch, used rocks under their plants. Some are large (which are fine) but the rest are small. I like the look of a rock garden and wanted to keep them, but after the years, the rocks have become embedded into the ground. The plants still manage to grow but to get weeds out I have to start removing the rocks.

I didn't want to remove the rocks but I think I have to, just to get at the roots of these big weeds, and especially if I want to transplant anything. Ugh.

Does anyone have any experience working with rocks as much?

Evolution of a Vine

Jumanji, my killer clematis, was pretty tame this year. Last year, I let it grow wild and carefree and it swallowed everything in sight, forcing my neighbor to take drastic measures and tie it back for me.

This year, I took better care of it, pruned it down better and I thought it would be inetresting to take photos of it every month and chronicle it's life (well it's growing season until bloom time). Here are some photos of that...

April 2007
May 2007

June 2007
July 2007

And finally, August in bloom!

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - August

Only 2 days late ... not bad! But I have a good excuse, my husband and I adopted a new kitty and he's been keeping us pretty occupied (plus, there's not much going on in the garden -- I consider August my month of REST!).

Thanks to Carol at May Garden Dreams for putting this together.

Not a plant, but a cute kitty!

I just went out this morning to peruse my bounty and there's a lot going on, and I don't know what a lot of it is.

My purple palace heuchera are blooming prettily in front of a fringed
bleeding heart (gotta love the shade!)

I'm not sure what this plant is, but at this time I get these nice fronds.

I have some various grasses in "bloom" right now --
although I don't know what kind they are:

My sedum (which I cut back this year for the first time) is just
flowering, but no color yet.
Another plant I don't know -- these are my neighbors that re-seeded into my yard.
She said they were sunflowers. I like how the fell over into the variegated grass.

Japanese beetles be damned -- these roses are coming back!!

some annuals I have -- coleus in my large green pot and impatiens below.

And finally, I have a black-eyed susan look-a-like ground cover. Reading Lake Shore's blog, I thought these night be yellow coneflowers?

The real black-eyed susans!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Made in the Shade

Most of my front yard is in the shade. Not deep shade like a forest (despite the 7 trees), but more like dappled sunlight coming in between the tree branches, and some areas get some a nice amount of sun (not scorching though) at various parts of the day.I lamented the lack of sun for the last 2 years, admiring the tons of flowers available to those with full-sun. Until this year, I have finally have embraced the beauty that shady-lady plants give. Not to mention, when you're gardening in the sun, it tuckers you out quicker.

I have a nice variety of shade plants, but as you all know most of the front yard was planted by the previous owners. As I start to put my stamp on the front yard "rooms," I've been in search for some good shade-gardening books and I found one called Making the Most of Shade by Larry Hodgson . It has some nice garden plans, great information on planting, and an extensive list of shade-loving plants.One of the problems with my other gardening books is that they are really comprehensive, so I have to search for the shade-lovers. With this book, any page I turn to I know the light needs work for me and I can concentrate on learning about it's other characteristics and whether or not it might work in my garden.

Long live shade!

RSS Feed

Annie at the Transplantable Rose let me know that without a Feed, it's hard for people to see when I post something new -- and that's especially true when there are so many great gardening blogs you want to check.

And Gina at Skinny Garden was commenting that she checks blogs often only to find no new posts. This should alleviate the problem.

So I just allowed Feeds to my site, I hope I am doing it right; and I signed up at bloglines to check on other gardener's blogs. I am new to Feeds, so again, I hope I am doing this right.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Garden Bloggers Muse Day

I'm 1 day late!!!!! But I only got my inspiration last night when I cam home from work and found my roses decimated by my front door. The reason: Japanese Beetles. I took a photo, but I'll post it tonight when I get home from work. For now, here's my poem.

Japanese beetles
biting, munching, feasting,
tearing apart my roses;

petals falling, flaking, scraggling,
into the periwinkle below;

one, two, three of them,
climbing over each other,

biting, munching, feasting,
tearing apart my roses.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Circle Garden (Front Yard)

One of the garden beds in the front yard is affectionately called the "Circle Garden."

2 large shade trees cover this area. Plants include:

  • Daylilly 'stella d'oro'
  • Coral bells
  • Hostas
  • Black eyed susan-looking plants
  • Ferns

Photo: late May 2005
Action: Pulled out some ferns, mulched

Photo: late May 2006
Action: Added 2 dicentra formosa
Noted: Bearded iris didn't bloom, large daylillies in back didn't bloom, discovered a mophead hydrangea

Photo: early July 2007
Action: Moved small mophead hydrangea to front of house, added 3 different new coral bells (chocolate ruffles, amber waves, and lemon-lime).
Noted: irises and daylillies still didn't bloom. stella d'oros look overgrown and don't repeat bloom.