Thursday, August 05, 2010

A BABY BOY has bloomed!

Our dear son (a surprise!) was born on July 25th!

He was 8lbs 9oz, 21" long -- a big baby for being born 1 week early!

Not getting any sleep has never been better...

For all the information and my birth story ( 18+ hours and I decided against an epidural wanting as non-medicated childbirth as possible), please visit my main blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Personal Garden: Charleston, SC

Since I haven't been doing much in my yard this summer, I wanted to share someone else's garden with you all.


Last September, my husband and I (along with his parents) visited Charleston and the home of my mother-in-law's cousin. He's one of the fortunate few to have one of the stately, 100+ year old homes in the historic downtown. I was in love with the architecture and charm of the house, but moreover I was enchanted by the side garden, the hardscapes, and the southern plants that make these gardens truly unique (especially to a Chicagoan).

Here are a few pictures of this personal garden in Charleston. Enjoy!

this path leads to his art studio - this would inspire me to work everyday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Baby & the Garden

I've been a bit absent in the Garden Blogging world, as well as in my own garden. I'm due in 2-1/2 weeks. Although that hasn't stopped me from pulling a noxious weed taking advantage of my extra 35 lbs, my normal garden routine has flown out the window as I prepare for our littlest one's arrival.

At the same time, I started thinking about what I want from the garden in relationship to the new baby; how I can share my love of the green goodness with the world's newest citizen. Maybe it's the nesting, maybe I'm a dreamer... that's alright.

I've been very conscious of the way we live via our garden: tending to our garden with no pesticides, growing our veggies, supporting local agriculture, conserving water, composting waste, etc etc. I really want to pass that on to our child through the garden -- for example: my husband is going to build a new raised bed veggies, one in which we can plant together as a family and teach our child how food grows. The same goes for the ornamental garden, as we watch the butterflies and bumblebees frolic and flitter through the plants.

I guess I just want the baby to grow up loving the garden (which if he/she is anything like me -- stubborn -- they won't.) So at the very least, I'd like to teach the baby how to ID certain weeds so I can have an extra pair of tiny hands in the garden next spring (wishful thinking!!).

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

New plants for 2010

Besides the Spicebushes and Alumroot I mentioned in my previous post, here are some other new plants in my garden for 2010.

White Bleeding Heart

Salvia 'East Friesland'

Variegated Jacob's Ladder 'Stairway to Heaven'

Bellflower (I think)
This isn't new, but it's the first year the rabbits haven't eaten it so it's new to me.

Dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea (by the rock) &
Cimicifuga 'Chocoholic' to the left of the birdbath

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Busy weekends

Making Pots

20 minute garden bed clean-up
(remove horrible ground cover, thin out plants, transplant hostas)

Plant 3 new spicebushes (Lindera benzoin)

Remove diseased boxwood. Replace with Alumroot.

Prune down massive Korean Spice Viburnums (and they still look huge)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My 5th Anniverary... of my garden

I started gardening when I bought our house in 2005 – that translates into 5 growing seasons. In knowledgeable years, however, it might as well have been 1905 since I hardly recognize some of the garden beds or the clueless person who bought it all.

My first summer in the house, I took about 20 photos of the yard. In 2008, I took over 300. But nothing seems more valuable than those photos from 2005-2006 where I can look at the garden and see what I have done (or haven’t done) in such a short time.



And although I have more beds to reclaim, weeds to kill, and ground cover to land manage, so much has been done in such a short time that I feel as though this garden is now officially mine (even though it was inherited.)

The nicest thing said to me this year was from my husband. He said, “Rosemarie, the garden’s looked the best since we’ve moved here. You’ve done so much.” Then he smiled and said, “Now you can relax and take some time off.” Time off? That’s crazy talk, I wanted to say, why would I ever want time off from this.

Taking over someone else’s yard in some ways was the best thing for me as a newbie gardener. Sure, I messed up some perfectly fine garden beds when I went through my “I hate coniferous shrubs” phase, but that’s all behind me now. And how un-fun would gardening be if I couldn’t put some blame on the old owners with the obligatory shake of the head, “I don’t know why they planted these here!”

In 2006, after I decided not to bulldoze the entire yard, I started this blog. I figured I needed a place to record all this work I was doing (it was work then). Going back to blog posts and looking at pictures has been the best thing that I could have done.

What’s more satisfying than seeing your work, saying I did this, showing it to people, gathering flowers from your yard, picking that ripe pesticide-free tomato off the vine…

Friday, May 14, 2010

20 minutes a day...

With the belly growing day by day (I'm now 28 weeks along), gardening has taken a back seat.

I thought I could just let my husband do the work while I pointed to things, but no. I like to get my hands dirty; I like to prune, pull, and propagate. I like to stand back and watch the fruits of my labor grow into bigger and better things (I am still talking about plants here). But I can't do too much, as my body is not letting me cooperate.

So I got inspired reading one of my Chicagoland Gardening magazines where Mike Nowak took care of a small piece of his property in 20 minutes (basically showing that in 20 minutes you can clean up a small space, as to not get overwhelmed).

I can do 20 minu ... and before I could finish that thought I was out with my pruners in hand.

I tackled the west side garden:
  • pruned the lilac growing into the house
  • pulled out groundcover growing into the walkway (vinca, lilly-of-the-valley)
  • pulled weeds
  • pruned spent flowers off lungwart
  • pulled out any clematis not growing upward (so that my neighbor could get into her backyard without danger of getting lost)
And now I could just stand back and look, and smile. One small (but very large) task done.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why leaving tags on plants is a good thing.

So you can find the plant the rabbits have chomped down.

Yes, this is Hydrangea quercefolia 'Little Honey' which I bought and planted last year. It grew to a nice height and then... it disappeared under the snow only to re-emerge as... a stump. If I didn't have the name-tag still attached (silly me) I wouldn't have realized what had happened.

I am officially a rabbit hater.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Babius Freemanii

A new type of plant? Not really.

The tiny foot of Babius Freemanii '21weeks'
Buds on trees aren't the only things blossoming and growing this spring!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seeds for the summer

I've never bought seeds to plant -- 5 years in the garden and I've never sown my own seeds. Unless you count the freebie packets I get that I dump aimlessly in my garden?

But these weren't freebies, I actually went out and bought 2 packets of seeds. Go me!

-I liked the spiky aspect and that these were recommended as a good replacement for purple loosestrife. I plant on planting them in my perennial garden behind the overgrown daylillies (where I pulled out the loosestrife).
- My mom had this growing up a trellis when I was young and I loved the idea of plant that flowers when I get home from work. I plan on planting this against the outside of the screen porch, so we can enjoy it when we have a glass of wine in the evening.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gardening in the winter

I needed some soil and I was too lazy to go to the store and buy a bag. So we checked the compost -- it was frozen. Where to turn to next? Our huge pots where I plant my tomatoes. Success!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Arboretum Plant Sale 2010

Arboretum Plant Sale ... la la la... plants plants plants ... la la la...

Sounds like I sung this tune before?

The colorful fold-out brochure arrives just in time, as the snow melts to reveal brown leaves and dying grass. How can a girl resist buying some plants as a much needed pick-me-up?

Wish List this year:

Pee Wee Oak Leaved Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia 'Pee Wee') -- I am in love with Oak-Leaved Hydrangeas. I have a large one at my doorstep, and a smaller one I just bought at last year's sale ('Little Honey'). This one will be the trifecta.

Chocoholic Bugbane (Cimicifuga 'chocoholic') -- I have nothing like this and am interested in darker foliage shade plants.

Alumroot Autumn bride (Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride') -- Heucheras do well in my yard, although I don't have the species villosa. Again, another great shade plant, this one with autumn interest.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back on Track

It's hard to get motivated when snow blankets the yard, the temps dip below freezing, and you tell yourself, "It's only January." But it's never a bad time to continue my garden classes at the Arboretum. I took a break from classes last summer, but now I feel ready and energized to finish my "home gardening" certificate.

February classes: Design Characteristics of Plants (and I'm waitlisted for Pruning Small Trees and Shrubs)

I miss my garden, but taking comfort in the fact that I'm "growing" something else just as inspiring.