Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rain Gauge Report 2010 08 31

.45" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is full.
3rd rain barrel is half full.

A surprise rain shower came just as I was going to go outside to water.  Perfect timing!!!  Watch for a video of it tomorrow.

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Name That Plant

A few years ago, I got this plant free from a local gardening club.  If they said what it is, I've forgotten.  I planted it near the wild area to see what it would do.  It got lost in all the sunflowers, gourds, morning glories, etc. 

This past spring, I found it still growing right where we planned to build a raised vegetable bed.  I moved it.  But, I still don't know what it is.

I've never seen it bloom.  It seems to just grow.  If you know what it is, please leave me a comment.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Winter Accomodations

The family room in our home got a deep cleaning recently.  By deep cleaning, I mean everything got moved and vacuumed, dusted or washed.  Top to bottom.  OK.  I didn't do the ceiling.  Anyway, after the deep cleaning, I rearranged a few things including the plant stand.  I moved it from one window to another.

My father-in-law made the plant stand for me as a gift.  It's big.  He was going to make it bigger.  I intervened after measuring the space.  Although, I sometimes wish I had more space when I bring the plants in each fall.

The three middle shelves have lamps so I can give those plants some extra light during the winter.

I have clay saucers...

plastic saucers...

miscellaneous saucers...

wood blocks to raise containers up inside baskets so the container rim is near the basket rim...

and some baskets to sit containers in.  There are also some cork saucers to protect furniture under the containers.

I never know when that first frost will hit.  It's good to be ready for the winter plant migration.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Suet Diner

The bird feeders add so much to Garden on Sherlock Street.  We aren't serious bird watchers.  I can't tell you the species of most of the birds.  All I know about the bird in this photo is that it is some type of wood pecker.  He or she has become a regular visitor.  The birds have added a lot of interest to the garden and they really help to keep the insect problems under control for many of the plants.  If you know what this bird is, please leave me a comment.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Bunch Of Seed Heads

The early blooming zinnias have gone to seed.  They're really awful looking in the flower bed.  Cutting them off tidies up the flower bed and gives me tons of seeds for next year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Produce On The Kitchen Counter

There seems to have been an influx recently of cherry tomatoes.  Mostly red ones but a few of the chocolate ones too.  They are out numbering the roma tomatoes and a few others my mom sent home with me recently.  I think these are destined to be diced and "put up" in the freezer.

Rain Gauge Report 2010 08 24

2.90" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is full.
3rd rain barrel is full.
We had a deluge last night.  Luckily, no tree or power line damage on Sherlock Street.
I shouldn't need to water for a while.  Yea!!!  Everything grows better after being scrubbed by a thunderstorm.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Lettuce Sprouted

So far, so good with my "icing the lettuce" experiment.  The lettuce sprouted.  I am more careful how I place the ice now but I'm still putting it on the soil at least once a day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rain Gauge Report 2010 08 20

.10" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is empty.
3rd rain barrel is empty.

I've been using the water in the rain barrels.  This little shower topped off the 1st rain barrell but didn't give us enough to overflow to the other ones.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chilling The Lettuce

This is the first year for trying to plant vegetables in August at Garden on Sherlock Street.  It has been soooo hot that I didn't dare try until we had a cool down this week.  I know it will get warm again, but I'm hoping our little break in the heat wave will assist in starting some "cool season" vegetables.  I am also trying the ice trick where I planted lettuce and spinach (right side of the cold frame box).  Plus, I threw a few ice cubes where I planted radishes (left side of the cold frame.)

If I get lucky and the lettuce germinates, I already have it in my cold frame box so I can slide the lids in and protect it later this fall. 

I also planted some peas.  Just to see.  I pulled back my cantaloupe vine (which is done), pulled back the straw and worked the soil for the peas.  I scattered a little straw on top of the seeds to help keep moisture.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bulb Wish List

We've gotten a break from the 100 plus degree days and I've starting thinking about fall.  Not completely, as I have much to enjoy still in the summer garden, but just enough to start thinking about planting bulbs.  I did well this past spring making a list of flowering bulbs I needed to replenish or replace.  Plus, I've added a few new bulbs to my list. 

I want to move my siberian squill from the front yard to the back yard.  It truely is a blue flower (so often, catalogs say blue but the flowers are really purple).  My front yard has purple, yellow and white flowers.  I try to keep the white flowers around the front walk and front porch to brighten the entry.  The blue siberian squill doesn't fit into my color scheme so I marked where they are and plan to move them this fall.

I have plastic forks stuck in various places marking where I need to add daffodils.  I like an even distribution of daffodils in front along the driveway if I can manage it so I need to fill in a few gaps.

I want more crocus in front along the walkway and in back along the patio.  They bloom first.  I want to see the crocus flowers easily next spring as soon as they appear.

I need to replace my giant allium bulbs.  I had only a couple of small globes this year and since they are planted with the hostas that need dug up and replanted, I've decided to just redo that area this fall and see if the space looks happier next spring. 

I also want more red tulips beside the stepping stones off the patio.  I love bringing them in as cut flowers for the table.

That's my initial wish list.  Bulb catalogs keep coming in the mail so I'm sure I'll add a few more selections.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Growing Chocolate

I received a cherry tomato plant from a friend this spring which is suppose to produce chocolate colored tomatoes.  It was so tiny when I planted it.
Now, it has tomatoes.  The color is starting to show.  I can't wait to actually eat one.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rain Gauge Report 2010 08 15

.25" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is full.
3rd rain barrel is one quarter full.

We had rain today.  Surprise!
And, it's cooler.

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Bee Happy

Bees are welcome at Garden on Sherlock Street.  Numerous bumble and honey bees feed on the flowers.  There are always bees on the salvia along the driveway.  They're fast too.  I'm amazed at how quickly they go from bloom to bloom.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just Trying To Survive

If you check out Tour of Garden on Sherlock Street, you'll see two hanging baskets under the beam of the patio.  Each basket has a bacopa plant and a red geranium plant.  The bacopa in particular is doing very well.  I love having hanging baskets on the patio.  However, when it gets over 100 degrees and especially if it is windy, those baskets dry out fast!  It's like having a blow dryer pointed at the baskets all day.  So, I take the baskets down and they sit on the patio until the weather gets more moderate. 

Not the best display but we're talking survival here!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rain Gauge Report 2010 08 13

.55" of rain in the gauge.

Rain Barrel Status
1st rain barrel is full.
2nd rain barrel is three quarters full.
3rd rain barrel is empty.

We had a thunderstorm overnight.  So glad for the rain but there was a casualty.
The very tall sunflower that I just posted about (took the photo Thursday afternoon) came down in the wind.

I guess it had its moment.

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The Sidewalk Sunflowers Are Blooming

The Sidewalk Sunflowers have been interesting to watch.
They were cute.  They got ridiculous.  They grew as tall as me.
Now, they're taller than me and blooming!

What I discovered when I pulled the flower down to look at it was that there were 3 honey bees covered in pollen working over that bloom.  I tried to get a photo of them after retrieving the camera from my wonderful husband, but they had gone on to another bloom.

These sunflowers are growing in a crack in the sidewalk.  They've only gotten water when it's rained.  It hasn't rained in quite a while.  It's been over 100 degrees a lot.  The wind has felt like a hair dryer. 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that sunflowers do so well here with no help from me.
They are growing in The Sunflower State.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Butterfly On Bush

Just wanting to prove that a butterfly bush really does attract butterflies.

It was 104 degrees when I took this photo.  I didn't spend a lot of time chasing butterflies for photos.  This one held still a bit.  I captured it and went back inside!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How's Jack?

In May, I welcomed a Jackmanii Clematis to Garden on Sherlock Street. I posted about my failures in trying to establish a clematis. I was very optimistic about Jack.

Jack was full and lush. I happily planted him, mulched him and watered him. Spring turned to summer. I watered Jack. Slowly, Jack started to look less full and lush. I worried. I gave him more mulch to shade his roots. I monitored the water more carefully. Then, I realized something was eating Jack's leaves. I never caught the culprits in the act. I'm suspecting grasshoppers. I hoped Jack's roots would survive and be able to produce a beautiful plant next year.

About a week ago, I noticed Jack producing new leaves!!! Leaves with no chew marks! I think Jack is going to be OK. I'm not expecting any flowers this year. I'm just glad I haven't managed to kill another clematis--yet. Sigh. Keep your fingers crossed!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Time For The August Tour

You may use the page in the right hand colum, "Tour of Garden on Sherlock Street" or you may go back one post to see the August tour.

In general, containers are fuller, the garden is growing and flower colors have shifted to more "hot" colors (orange, red, etc.)  Except for the surprise lilies which form a large bouquet in the back yard.

If I can keep plants watered through August, the plants should just continue to grow and bloom as they are until the weather cools.

Enjoy the tour!

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Tour August 2010

Front Garden


Back Garden

Side Garden



Friday, August 6, 2010

House Dwellers

I have plants that always live outside. I have plants that live outside thru the summer and inside thru the winter. I have plants that always live inside.

Today's post is about the plants that always live inside.

There are currently seven containers with plants that always live inside. They all reside in the living room where they get bright morning sun.

This is an arrowhead vine. I got it as a tiny little start from a plant we had where I work. It is growing like crazy. Sometimes, I trim it and put the cuttings in the same container to root. I'd like it to be fuller.

I think this is some type of peace lily. Occasionally, it will put up a white flower. A friend gave this plant to me from the collection of plants her family received when her mother-in-law passed away. She had so many plants, she shared. It's getting kind of floppy. I cut out a couple of the worst floppers and am trying to get them to reroot in the same container.  If you have any advice for this plant, please let me know.

***Updated 2010 08 07***
Thank you Kim for helping me identify this plant as an Aglaonema.  I don't know what variety, but that's ok.

This is an angel wing begonia. I got a cutting from our amazing gardening neighbor who got it from one of our local extension agents. I'm always starting a new one outside each summer because it drops leaves during the winter and can get kind of sad looking. By its second winter inside it looks awful. This one actually held up pretty well last winter. Looks like I'll have two of these in the living room this winter.

This is a spider plant. I got a start from my mom when my husband and I moved into our first home. It's huge now. It keeps putting out new shoots. The shoots turn brown eventually and I cut them off. I think the main plant gives each shoot only so much time to find a place to get rooted.  Then, it cuts off the food supply so it can make new shoots. I've read on other blogs that in parts of Florida they grow outside all year and will fill in a bed with all those shoots. It may be getting a bit root bound in this container. I'm sure trying to repot it will be messy so I'm holding out. It loves being in front of the window.  The drapes you see behind it are usually open.

This is a rubber tree. I rescued it from where I work. I can't believe how tall this one shoot has gotten. I have a bamboo stake holding it up.  There is also a shorter shoot.

This is a Christmas cactus. I got the starts last spring from our amazing gardening neighbor's daughter after her mom passed away. The cuttings were in a cup on the window sill just waiting for a good home I'm told. They seem to have rooted in and the plant is growing. I don't know what color it is suppose to bloom because our amazing gardening lady had several Christmas cacti.

This is also a Christmas cactus. A very special Christmas cactus. It is probably over 80 years old. It was my grandmother's. The plant has made new shoots and old areas have been removed during its life so there isn't likely any part here that is 80 years old but it is still considered the "family Christmas cactus." I never met the grandmother who had this plant. She passed away the year I was born. One of my aunts had the plant for over 20 years before she gave it to my mom. It bloomed beautifully for my aunt and for my mom, but it was in an old clay pot that had broke and was threatening to fall apart. My mom replanted it and decided to give it to me. My sister has the "family oleander tree" which is even older. That is a story by itself. One of the main things I've read about Christmas cacti is that they bloom when they're "snug in the pot." It did not bloom for me for a number of years because my mom repotted it. However, it has bloomed for the last three years. Literally one bloom the first year, more the second year, and a good display last year all over the plant if not on every end. I don't play the "stick it in a dark room" game to make it bloom for Christmas. I let it bloom when it wants. It seems to prefer blooming after the holidays are over. It has bright fuchsia blooms.

I check all my house plants once a week to see if they need a drink. Some get watered every week like the spider plant, but the Christmas cacti can go a month or more between waterings. My main advice to people who ask how to have a nice looking houseplant is this: when you find a place where it does well, don't move it. Getting the right light and temperature can be a trick inside a house so if the plant is happy, leave it in that room. Also, don't over water houseplants. I have killed my share by overwatering.