Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tomato Surprise

This is the newest planting bed in our back garden.  There are a few radishes and some onions planted here.  Plus, I planted pumpkin seeds in the middle by the aqua cone.  Since the soil in this bed came from the wild area where we've tossed a lot of plant material, I'm not surprised to find a few gourds and sunflowers sprouting here as well.

I was surprised to find a tomato.
I had an old cone tomato cage not doing anything, so I put it over the plant.  I don't know what kind of tomato plant it is.  I guess it'll be a surprise.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spreading Chocolate

I planted this flower a year ago.  It it quite happy in the front garden.  The flowers are suppose to be chocolate scented, but I haven't really noticed.  The catalog also said this plant "self seeds easily."  Last year, as the plant made seeds, I harvested them and scattered them around the area I wanted more to grow.  I have one new plant.  It's not blooming yet.

I really like the flowers and would love to have more scattered throughout the front shrub border.  This year, my plan is to collect the seeds and try winter sowing them.  I hope that will give me better results.  In the mean time, it's nice to see this original plant performing so well.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Daisy Greeting

If you were visiting Garden on Sherlock Street in person, you would be greeted by daisies at the front walkway.  They grow on each side near the driveway.  I have tried to capture this greeting in a photo year after year and it never comes through.  So, this year, I'm taking a photo as if you were leaving our home and walking down the walkway.  The daisies are right there.

They are in full bloom!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Vines Are Coming

The teepee trellises certainly get a lot of attention in the garden.  They are unique structures and kind of artistic.  However, their purpose it to support the gourds and flowering vines which I planted from seed below the teepee trellises.

 I think I'll have plenty of vines especially since we have received a lot of rain the last few days.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Marvelous Malva

Our amazing gardening neighbor gave us some malva starts a number of years ago.  In particular, one called 'lilac passion."  It has made itself at home at the base of the hawthorn tree.  It is perennial with amazing tap roots that keep it looking good even when we get hot and dry during the summer.

It does self seed a bit.  I pull them out when they settle in the vegetable garden, but with flowers like these, I try to leave them whenever I can.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pretty Peonies

Each year, my peony plant gives me more flowers.
Just look at this beautiful display.

Big, showy blooms.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wild Four O'Clocks

What I consider the utility area of the garden includes the rain barrels, the compost tumbler, access to the rain gauge and storage of a few miscellaneous items with potential for future garden projects (chunks of concrete, old wooden gates, some black edging, bags of mulch, etc.)  This area has also become home to mystery plants.

I had a few mystery plants last year. I didn't know what they were. I left them hoping they were the local wild blackberries which are popular for pastries. When the mystery plants didn't produce blackberries, I forgot about them. My sunflowers and morning glories took over the area.
This spring, I noticed more of these mystery plants sprouting. They're spreading.
 In the path.

By the morning glory trellis.

By the fence.

By the hawthorne tree.

And, numerous other places.

"Oh no," I thought. "What am I dealing with here?"

I searched online with no luck. I took a sample of the mystery plants to our local horticulture agent. She was stumped, and took the mystery plants to the nearby agriculture experiment station. Someone there identified the mystery plants as mirabilis nyctaginea or wild four o'clock. After some searching online, I found these sites with good information:

Wild four o'clocks can be aggressive and are considered a weed by some. I have decided that I'd like to control them, but want to keep some near the fence.
The last link above had the following information:

"The extensive root system and the waxy covering on the leaves hamper the effectiveness of herbicides."

Good to know that before I waste a lot of time trying to spray.

"Hand pulling is not recommended because the stems break at the crown, the roots are strongly branched, and broken root pieces will produce sprouting."

That explains why it's coming up in bunches. I tried to pull out some of the plants.

"Small infestations can be spaded, or dug up."

I don't think I want to dig in that area. Too rocky.

"Repeated mowing or cultivation will prevent seed production to lower the seed bank, and eventually the plant will die from loss of nutrient reserves stored in the root."

This is information I can use. My plan is to cut down the plants I don't want to the ground, and try to dead head the flowers of the plants I want before they produce seed. We'll see how this works out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting Help In Various Ways

First of all, I found two more garden hose guides by the same company that makes the other ones in the garden.  A leaf and a rose.  I decided to not duplicate any of them.  Surprisingly, the rose is three separate pieces screwed together somehow inside.  I tightened it before putting it in the garden.  All the other ones are a solid piece.  They are heavy.  I'm hoping for many years of use. 

I also bought some hose for the garden.  Nude, sheer toe.

The hose go with these green spikes.

And, a bunch of two litter bottles.

My wonderful husband and I don't usually purchase beverages in two liter bottles. We collected these from various sources. I had some from last year, but I purchased more green spikes over the winter. My WH snagged some from a few nights the guys gathered to play and I brought several home from an event at work. We cut the bottoms off the two liter bottles.

When we put the three pieces together, we get aqua cones! 

I stick them in the soil by the plants in the vegetable garden.  You just pour the water into the bottle and the spike delivers it deep to the roots of the plant.  My large garden plants did well with these through the hot, dry, windy days of summer last year.  So, I invested in some more over the winter while they were on sale.  The hose keeps bugs and leaves from getting into the bottle and clogging the spike.  Any color or style would work.  By the end of summer, the hose look kind of rough, but they really do the trick.

I put 18 aqua cones in the garden.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

6 Fish

On Saturday, we made a stop to pick up some "feeder" fish or "mosquito" fish.  The lady at the pet store, bagged 6 for us, and then we realized one wasn't moving.  So, she got another bag and caught 2 in the net.  She gave us the extra fish free.  We brought them home and floated the bags in the water container for a while hoping to get the temperature of the water in the bag closer to that in the water container.

We released the fish.

Sunday morning, we found one floating.  So, we're at 6 fish.

Our area has a frost advisory for tonight.  This has been a crazy spring.  We hit 100 degrees Mother's Day weekend and tonight we're suppose to be down to 35 degrees.  I moved all the small containers into the garage and sat clay pots over as many other tender plants as I could including the pepper and tomato plants in the vegetable garden.  If we do get frost, I'm planning to spray water on the plants I couldn't cover in the morning.  I also watered a lot today and my wonderful husband helped me mulch a lot of areas.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Planting Assistants

This is the best free gardening tool I've ever received.

A local hardware store had a coupon in the paper one year for it.  Spend at least a certain amount at their store, bring in the coupon and choose a hand tool.  It's nice for digging holes for large seeds and the claw side is great for loosing the soil for small seeds.  It also has a handy leather hanger.

I also got this tote free from somewhere.  I didn't use it for a long time, but gave it a try this spring while planting the vegetable seeds.

I keep a small note book and pen in it to make notes while planting.  It also has a small paring knife to open seed packets and clothes pins to help hold seed packets closed.  The inside pocket has enough room to carry four or five baby food sized jars of seeds as well.

Clothes pins on the seed packets keep them from blowing away if it's breezy while planting.  A quick fold at the top and a clothes pin also keeps seeds from escaping the packets easily.

I will continue some succession planting of radishes, lettuce, etc until it gets too hot.  Otherwise, I believe the edibles are in place.  Remember when I tried to plot out the raised vegetable beds in February?  Here are the maps now.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Filling The Vegetable Beds

Reposted by GonSS due to loss during Blogger's outage.

I have set my tomato and pepper plants out into the vegetable garden.

Here are four tomato plants from a generous gardening friend who had great success in her greenhouse this past winter.  She shared tomato starts with me:  sweet baby cherry, chocolate cherry, brandywine heirloom and mater sandwich.  Each has a cage and a couple of milk jugs filled with water to act as wind breaks until they root in well.  I'm already envisioning a bountiful tomato harvest.

I purchased my pepper starts:  a green bell pepper, a red bell pepper and a jalapeno.

This is the wild area dominated by the teepee trellises.  It looks bare right now, but I planted several gourd and flowering vine seeds.  Plus, some castor bean plant seeds from a friend. 

Containers, Containers Everywhere

Reposted by GonSS due to loss during Blogger's outage.

I plant a lot of containers.  We have some large hardscape areas which really need plants.

Here is the flower tower.  This year, I went with white bacopa and purple hyacinth bean vine.

The front walk gets a few containers and hanging baskets.  I'll bring out some houseplants when it gets consistently warmer.

I placed some containers amongst the garden beds.

These are planted with gomphrena seed.

A mix of sweet potato vines.

Purple basil in the laundry basket.  It's hard to see right now.  After I mulch it, there will be more contrast.

Around the water container, I rearrange the plants through the summer.  I still need to get some fish.

Along the patio edge, I have my large galvanized containers and several small clay pots.  The hanging baskets will go up on hooks after they get better rooted.

I also have a tray of geranium cuttings I'm hoping will root.  There's always room for more plants.

I have moved all of the plants I overwintered from the family room to the garden.  Some I left in the same containers.  Others, I combined with different plants in larger containers.  The list of overwintered survivors are in the previous post.

Here's what it looks like now.

Obviously, plans change.

Overwintered 2010

Reposted by GonSS due to loss during Blogger's outage.

This is a list of the number of containers of each plant I brought inside to overwinter in hopes of returning them to the garden next spring and maybe propagating more.

3 Jacob's coats

2 amaryllis ***

1 mother-in-law's tongue ***

2 cacti ***

10 geraniums

1 aloe vera ***

2 asparagus fern

6 impatien cuttings

1 ice plant

8 sweet potato vine cuttings

1 basil

1 verbena ***

hornwort (in bucket)

snails (in bucket)

***  will stay in current container during 2011 growing season
-#  number of each plant that did not survive

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Two From One

Saturday was a great gardening day.

 The weather was perfect.  My wonderful husband and I went to my favorite greenhouse to purchase annuals for the containers, pepper plants for the vegetable garden and these pretty hanging baskets for our moms.

The purple fountain grass is for two of my containers.

I removed it from the container.

I used some pruners to cut it in half.

As long as you keep good roots on both sides, the plant divides healthy.

I did the same thing to one of the asparagus ferns I overwintered.

It's always nice to get two plants for the price of one.