Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Future Weed Infestation Prevention Plan

After thinking about why I was posting so infrequently here I realized it's because of pictures and picture storage space. So, I'm not going to worry about having pictures in every post but I may come back and edit the pictureless posts to add pictures at a later date and I'll try to link to relevant pictures in my main blog so you can click over and see what I'm talking about if you want.

Today the mosquitoes were biting like crazy so my big lesson learned was to never garden, even for a few minutes without some kind of insect repellent (I make my own with lotion and essential oils but it won't work if I don't apply it). Although I was only working in the garden for about 20 minutes I did deadhead some of the following plants: marigolds, dahlias, verbena, little joe pye weed, roses, dianthus, petunias, tithonia, obedient plants, black eyed susans, coleus, calendula (although they're looking almost dead so I'm not sure it will make a difference), mexican blanket flower and mint.

Still waiting are more roses and almost everything named above, the reblooming lilacs, echinacea, mountain mint, lemon balm, bee balm, impatiens, lantana... there's more but you get the idea! And that's just the dead heading... the weeds are more abundant than the flowers it seems. But I'm focusing on dead heading this week so I can enjoy more flowers during the growing season.

The reason we have such a major problem with weeds is that the critical step of mulching the flower and herb garden beds never happened last autumn or this spring. I got rid of all the weeds at least twice but without mulch it was kind of futile. This time instead of weeding bed after bed, I'm going to weed for about 3/4 of the time and save the last 1/4 of my gardening session for spreading the mulch. Unfortunately I have an injury and can't lift a full bag of mulch but I'm going to ask my husband to fill the wheel barrow with mulch and I'll use a little bucket to grab light portions of mulch to make it more manageable. In a nutshell, my plan is to do smaller sessions of weeding but mulch right afterward. This should help prevent future major weed infestations like we have now. I'm calling this my "future weed infestation plan".

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Late August Garden Update

So much has happened since I last posted (dinner plate dahlias and more new plants than I could number) that I'll just start with today :) Today was an exceptional gardening day, even though I didn't last out in the heat very long.

Today I had some fun gardening firsts for which I'm thankful. I planted my first recycled celery plant in the ground (I'd started it in a bowl a few weeks ago and it grew 3-4" of leaves already!), I planted my very first rooted cuttings of Cuban oregano and some lovely red coreopsis I also rooted from cuttings. And, I made a new friend via freecycle who let me enjoy her private garden and gave me a giant hosta plant and 3' tall lady fern (hoping both will survive the heat wave transplantation although the lady fern is looking pretty stressed). Also I had the lovely sighting of two preying mantises (one in my garden and one in my new friend's garden), a bunch of butterflies, moths and birds. Lovely! 

So, even though my garden is overrun with weeds, there are still lots of beautiful flowers to enjoy and I'll do what I can, when I can and pray for the best. Happy gardening!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Flowers, Herbs and Hungry Critters

This week I got some sad news so I cheered myself up by buying these two mixed pots of flowers and the two rosemary plants (the rosemary plants are on the right, in the shade). I put the flowers in larger flower pots (in this picture on of the pots is resting in the larger pot I eventually put it in and the other is on the ground) and the rosemary in my new herb garden (which is where my failed xeric garden experiment was last year - hoping for better results this year!). We're still growing herbs in our old herb garden location too so if the experiment works out we'll have plenty to share and if not, at least we should have enough for our own cooking.

Last week I mentioned that something ate our dill plants down to the ground. If you look closely in the photo above the stem on the right is starting to produce new growth so I'm hoping both plant clusters will recover (each plant cluster has 2-4 stems).

Above is an overview of the new experimental herb garden, taken before I planted the two rosemary plants. In the photo (clockwise from the left) are bee balm (courtesy of my wonderful master gardener and stamp collector neighbors - thank you!!!), cilantro, the chewed down dill clusters and a patch of lemon balm. The area is shaded in the photo but receives more than 6 hours of sun a day.

Here are our artichoke seedlings. They looked a whole lot better a few weeks ago. I guess when we moved the dill whatever creature was chomping on it moved on to the artichokes. We really only need two so if even that many survive we'll be happy. In the back pots my husband had originally planted some echinacea seeds but they didn't sprout so I planted some dwarf zinnia seeds. They have yet to sprout so if they don't we'll change the soil out before trying with some new seeds.

There's a lot to do in the garden in spring. In the past week I've also transplanted another echinacea, put in more of the bee balm our kind neighbors gave us and done some weeding. My husband has done some pruning and added dirt to the flowers in our window boxes and more.

Right now our roses, lilacs, irises, ajuga, goatsbeard and forget me nots are blooming. You can see some of our flowers on my inspirational and photographic blog at

Happy gardening!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Planting Cosmos, Bachelor Button, Asian Day Lily and Dwarf Zinnia Seeds

Today I noticed that the potted cilantro was looking pretty bad (some leaves had turned brown and others kind of yellow and overall just not healthy looking) and the two dill plants had been eaten down to the potted soil level (I guess it tasted good to a local rabbit) so I planted them near our lemon balm. Then I planted cosmos, bachelor button, Asian day lily and dwarf zinnia seeds. The cosmos are in front of our house where I (someday) hope to put a nice bench but for now there was just a big gaping hole in the flower bed. The bachelor buttons are beneath a tree in our front yard (where the red zinnias were last year). The Asian day lilies are outside our bedroom window and the dwarf zinnias are in some pots where my hubby tried to grow echinacea seedlings but they didn't sprout. His ornamental artichoke seedlings are doing great. We're going to have to thin them soon. 

I like having the pictures of the seed packets for future reference. I think I got these at the dollar store. The day lily and zinnia seeds were harvested from a friend's garden (the friend wishes to remain anonymous but thank you, sweetie!!!).

The goatsbeard I planted last week is still looking stressed but the echinacea transplants are looking good now. I suspect if we get a heat wave they'll wilt again but so far so good. Some of the zinnia seeds I planted two weeks ago had sprouted but something ate them down to the ground. I think I'll need to get some netting to put over those pots soon if they're going to have a chance to grow.

How is your gardening going this spring? Any new plants or projects? I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Planting Mexican Blanket Flower, Goats Beard & Echinacea

Today we bought a Mexican Blanket Flower at Home Depot (pictured above, photo from Home Depot) and I planted it and the goatsbeard (pictured below, photo from Spring Hill Nursery) we bought last week at a local garden center this afternoon and I also transplanted two of our baby echinaceas (aka purple coneflowers). I had to transplant these two volunteers from preexisting plants because they fell in an undesirable location - right in the middle of an iris patch). Hubby also did some of his stealth garden work (meaning I have no idea what he did but he was busy for at least an hour).

It was tough digging the baby echinacea plants up (below is photo of their mother plant's flowers) and they were clearly already suffering some shock when I planted and watered them but I'm hoping they'll pull through. Last year I did the same thing and all of the transplants survived.

Of course, I also did some weeding (it's never ending). We have crabgrass that's infiltrated our iris and daylily patch roots. If you happen to have a solution beyond digging the plants up and pulling out the tangled crabgrass (which I've already done but it came back) I'd love to hear it!

May God bless you and your garden!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Early Spring Garden Update

So far this spring my husband and I have purchased dill (pictured above; image source) and cilantro (pictured below; image source) for our herb/butterfly garden and a whole host of flower plants for our window boxes (pictured below, after the cilantro). We got the herbs at Home Depot and the flowers at a locally owned garden center.

We've both spent time in the garden but not at the same time. So I'm not sure what all my husband's done, but I know it's more than I've done. He has planted some seeds and I've helped with watering them, although I'm not sure what he planted. I've mostly been weeding but today I planted yellow, orange and pink/purple zinnia seeds (although the orange ones are technically tithonias) in the giant pots our lantana trees were in last year. I had intended to save some of my red zinnia seeds from last year but apparently I saved two batches of the pink instead.

Today I also planted some black eyed susan seeds near our existing plants (to expand the impact of the clump when they bloom) and set our sweet pea seeds to soak for planting tomorrow (hopefully).

My xeric garden experiment last year was a bust. The direct planted zinnia lasted the season but the rest of the annuals' lives were all too brief. This year's only survivors from that area are some irises and a lemon balm plant. Apparently the soil was too acidic and poor in nutrients for the rest. We'll need to clear the rampant weeds before we try again but this year we're aiming to make it another butterfly garden with low maintenance plants like cosmos. It's a patch I can see from the house so I'd love for it to be bursting with color (instead of wilting and getting choked out by weeds).

So, there's lots to do and little time and energy to do it. We'll do what we can and enjoy the fruits of our not so long labors. How is your gardening going? What are your favorite plants?

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Houseplant: Air Plant

We picked up this tillandsia (air plant) in January and while I imagine I'll add it to an arrangement one day for now it just rests on this glass. It's a very low maintenance plant. I mist it with water twice a week and enjoy its red spikes every day.

When considering a year's worth of care, it's probably my easiest houseplant to manage. No soil amendments, fertilizer, over or under watering, repotting etc.

The photo above shows the front view and the photo below shows the side view.

The photo above shows the tag (which I can now recycle because it's stored permanently on my blog. Less clutter; yippee!).