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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The first rose of the season


And there are many more where this came from, my plants this year are filled with buds. I wish I could say what I do to them to make them so happy, maybe they just like me because my name is Rose ?!

My hosta is on steroids



Everyone who comes to our house has to comment on our hosta -- yes, it looks like it's on steroids. Or some serious prescription-only MiracleGro.

A woman with a hoe... and a mission

It may appear that I am doing an unusual amount of clearing out this spring. It's true that I've become more acquainted with the "hoe" than in the past, but I have a good explanation.

Since I knew next to nothing about gardening when we bought this house, I considered anything that grew to be a major victory on my behalf. I didn't know if it was a weed or a black-eyed susan, if it was growing it had a place in my garden.

On several occasions, Pat, my former garden guru neighbor, would come over, wrestle her hand around a 2-foot tall plant, what I now know would be garlic mustard, and yank it out saying, "That's a weed."


Dead nettle: friend or foe?

Now that I'm more comfortable, I have no problem pulling out the weeds or even a plant if I don't want it or it's becoming invasive. That's why I've come down hard on the backyard. I really let it go the last 2 years not knowing that the dead nettle would rise above and defeat 1/4th of my backyard faster than I can write this blog entry.

This has been, for me, a huge leap of faith in my gardening. I'm not scared anymore, I'm trusting my judgement and moving onward. Preferably without the horrible invasive ground cover.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Vegetable gardening


My grandpa's birthday was in February. Our gift to him was to come and plant tomatoes in our backyard. Believe me when I say I've never seen the man happier.So last Friday he came over, tomato plants and basil in hand. And we (or rather he) planted them all in these 2 large plastic containers my mom gave me. This is the only area of my yard that gets somewhat consistent sun, so if this works, consider it a miracle.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Garden Diary: May 22

Action:
  • Trimmed down the Viburnum (2 of the 3) ***
Before & After


*** Pat, my former neighbor, visited and we discussed the Viburnum. Two reasons for trimming way back: 1) safety: someone could be hiding behind them. 2) the size caused me not to view the rest of my yard from our front window. The size they are now reminds me of their size when we moved in.

Discovered:

  • The purple tall bearded irises in the backyard have bloomed (2-3 days later than the reddish ones in the front yard).
Editor note: May 30 -- My irises are still in bloom. I think this may be the longest they have bloomed. In fact, one of my reddish iris plants still has 3 unopened buds yet to come. Wow!


Side Note:
I was using the electric trimmers for the viburnum, using a long green cord. Well... my first electrical incident (and hopefully my last), I cut through the cord with the sheers. Sparks were flying and I flipped out; but not before remaining calm, unplugging the cord. Then I flipped out.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Moss...please tell me I did this right

For the record, I was a nut out in the garden today. Hey, it's past our May 10th frost date and that's like ringing the dinner bell -- come and get it while it's hot!!

So,in addition to planting my new Fence Garden and the front yard impatiens, I planted some moss between our flagstone.

I've always wanted something growing between them, because if I don't then weeds and grass grow there. I need competition. Our first year in the house, these looked great, but now they get to be a mess. So I bought, as an experiment--because really, in truth, my yard is just one very large petri dish-- some Golden Irish moss.

It looked like this:I only bought 2 things in case they don't work and I figure I have to separate them anyway. When I finished (and there wasn't enough for the whole path) it looks like this:Does that look right? I assume they'll just fill in. This is my first attempt at flagstone groundcover.

Pink fever

I'm sure no real gardener should ever blog about impatiens. But these are the only shade-loving annuals I know of that actually have flowers. What's a shady gal to do?

Last yr, I tested and planted a whole bunch in this spot and they got really full. This year I wanted something to line my new edgers and go pretty with my green pot (which is still empty). So I planted the impatiens in a straight line and I think they look a-dore-able. Why? I dunno. They're like little prisoners.

I was smiling the whole time planting them. My whole yard is such a hodge podge of plants that to have just a straight line seems like a breakthrough (you always want what you don't have, huh?)


My first, very own, garden

As most of you know -- by my title -- we bought our house 2 years ago and it came with a fully landscaped yard and plants I had never seen or heard of.

Most of the time has been trying to "manage" the yard, learn the plant names, how to care for them, and just enjoy what we have. Unfortunately, the previous owners never gave us any pictures or plant information so we're really in the dark on most things. For instance, I may know I have a heuchera but what kind? No clue.

The front yard was gorgeous, but the backyard? Well, I think it might have been neglected or something because it never looked nice.

So I am so tickled pink that I have just planted my very first garden that's all mine.

Enter the Backyard Fence Garden:When we moved in, there was nothing of real significance here. I know there were some black eyes susans, but we accidentally pulled them out from the left side of the garden thinking they were weeds. I tried to add something, so I added a wild geranium from my first native plant sale (still there, didn't kill it).

Last year, my grandpa gave me a tall grass to plant there, and I transplanted a hosta (which definitely likes this new home better). There were also some re-seeded rudbeckia and purple echinicea, and maybe some phlox growing. The geranium was still there.

So I found a fence garden in the Tribune and like a recipe, I adapted it to my own taste, because I wanted to keep some of the existing plants.

I added:
  • a fringed bleeding heart (dicentra luxurient)
  • another geranium (Cranesbill geranium/ geranium sanguineum "Max Frei")
  • 2 clustered Bellflowers (Campanula glomerata 'Acaulis')
  • and a Boxwood (Buxus Microphylla 'Green Mountain').

I also transplanted from other parts of the yard:
  • 4 heuchera (2 coral bells and 2 purple ones)
  • an Astilbe
  • 2 Irises
  • and some daylillies.

Here's what it looks like now.
Not a great picture, but I'll update it as it grows bigger.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Invaders!

CNN put together a list of invasive plants -- otherwise known as "Problem Plants." They say:
Here are some plants still commonly found at nurseries and garden centers that have made the invasive list in many regions of the country.
Let's see how many of these Rosemarie can find in her yard ... I call it my Parade of Problem Plants.

How many can you find in your yard?

Vines:
English ivy (Hedera helix)
Fiveleaf akebia (Akebia quinata)
Porcelainberry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)
Oriental bitttersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Wintercreeper (Eunymous fortunei)
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Herbs and Perennials:
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, L. virgatum)
Peppermint and spearmint (Mentha varieties)
Common mullein (Varbascum thapsus)

Shrubs and Woody Vines:
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Exotic bush honeysuckles (Lonicera species)
Multiflora rose (Rose multiflora)
Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica)
Exotic wisterias (Wisteria floribunda and sinensis)

Groundcovers and Grasses:
Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum)
Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
Running bamboos (incl. Bambusa, Phyllostachys, and Pseduosasa)
Vinca, or periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - May 15th

Here's what's blooming in my yard on/about the 15th of May. I Love May!
  • Bleeding hearts (fringed and non-fringed)
  • Lilac bushes
  • Wild columbine
  • salvia (? I think)
  • Oxeye daisey (well, one of them have bloomed)
  • dianthus pink chedder (new from last year)
  • ajuga
  • wild geranium
What's just about to bloom:
  • tall bearded irises
  • heuchera coral bells
Pictures:
Lilac bush

Salvia (?)

Oxeye daisy

Wild columbine

Bleeding hearts

Columbine

Ajuga

Dianthus chedder pink

For once, someone wants to be like me!

I’ve never been that person that people copy. No one ever cares what Rosemarie did, does, looks like, dresses. No one wants to be me. No one copies me.

Well, that’s all changing and it’s true: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

My grandpa came over the other weekend and we showed him around our yard (true, he called most of my plants weeds, but I heard he was winking when he said it. Still, the permanent dirt under my nails were not amused). But he seemed oddly bemused by our rain barrel, standing and staring at it. Hand to chin. Lips pursed.

Oh great, I thought, he’s gonna have a smart remark about this. And he did, he said, “Why did you put it here? This is wrong spot for it.” But that remark was just him being grandpa, cause the next day, my grandma called. “Guess what your grandpa bought? A rain barrel!”

Yep, he copied my rain barrel. And it’s all hooked up and we both enjoyed the great rainstorms the last 2 days knowing our rain barrels were being used. And what’s more, he’s all ready to add more and only water his grass with that water and lowering his water bill.

Ohmigod – I actually influenced my grandparents to go green. I’ve got a permanent smile on my face. Tickled pink, let me tell ya.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Garage Sale Find

Garage sales ... love 'em or hate 'em, sometimes you walk away with something fabulous.

I picked up this gorgeous pot at a garage sale recently. I love the color and the fact that it's HUGE. I can't wait to get some plants for it --any suggestions?


The walkway to our front door is more formal, unlike the rest of the yard (woodland natives, wild and carefree). So I thought it looked nice here in the mulch with my new edgers from my wish list my mom bought us for Christmas. Thanks mom!

Pictures: May 6th Front Yard

Crab Apple and Viburnum in full bloom


The "Circle" garden: daylillies, coralbells, hostas, and ferns have all come up.

Garden by the street: sedum, native grasses, lungwarts, ferns...

My favorite area by one of two flagstone paths: large hostas, coralbells, bleeding hearts, and astilbes.

Rain barrel...finito! Porch...1/2 way there

8:15pm, the sun has set, it's getting dark ... that didn't deter Matt and me from getting that blasted rain barrel finished.

Doesn't it look lovely?

We both had to pose with it! Nerds!

Last weekend, we finished painting the screened porch; then my dad came over with screen he just happened to have in his garage. My dad has a virtual Ace Hardware in his garage; whatever you need, he has. No matter how old, how outdated, if it works, it'll find it's way in your house.

These screens weren't bad though, and they were free so no complaining here. All that remains are the wood slats to finish the screens and we need to re-screen the roof slats because that wood is so bad they are falling apart.