Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mid-August 2010

Quick one - busy, busy.
Blooms in the yard now:

I love this color.
mid August

Past bloom. I missed it.
mid August

Still tons of buds to open yet. I'm hoping I'll get at least a few the Japanese beetles haven't munched!
mid August

Another I love the color of this year.
mid August

The scent is glorious this year.
mid August

These were suppose to be the double cosmos 'extra' seed from Renee's Garden. Ummm, not quite...
mid August

These always cheer me up!
mid August

The hummers are happy.
mid August

So pretty.
mid August

mid August

mid August

mid August

And, just like every other year, my poor lil maple is confused again!! He's always in such a rush, and no amount of trying to explain to him that he's two months early is sinking in...
mid August

Monday, August 02, 2010

'Descendents' Is Stunning!!

This animated short, called Descendents, with the Whoopi Goldberg as the voice of the older, wiser flower, is simply stunning!

Description from Binary Alchemy:"Descendants" is a 14 minute animated short about the wish of attaining the unattainable and about the fact that something good can evolve from something evil.

The two main characters are flowers (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg and Christy Scott Cashman) who grow on the edge of a clearing next to one another.
One is old and jaded by a mysterious history - the other one still young, vivid and curious. Destiny has brought these two together and it seems as if they would exist without possibility for change, until one day a visitor to the clearing brings something unexpected to their lives.

Descendants from Goro Fujita on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Grow Project, post 6

And, once again, it's the first Sunday of the month. Wow, summer is flying by!

I'm sorry to say that most of the nasties all look rather pitiful.

The WS'd ones pretty much pooped out in the heat even though the pansies made it through looking ok. Hmmm....weird.

2010 GP

The ones started inside and transplanted to containers don't look too bad here and there. Still a bit small, but looking decent.

2010 GP

The one's started in the ground don't look too awful either. Although I only got 50% germination and only one has bloomed so far, these seem to be doing the best of all the methods I tried.

2010 GP

2010 GP

The nasties started in containers outside are another matter - they're very small and they haven't even begun to bloom yet. There's still time.

GP nasties

Since we still have another month and a half left to the growing season here, I won't give up on any of them yet, but honestly, they haven't performed anywhere near as well as I expected they would. Bummer.
I hope everyone else is having better luck with them than I am!

"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

When Your Plants Start Conversing Amongst Themselves

I hit this point every single stinking year.
Ya know, where you glance out the window at some gawdawful wet, hot, muggy air that is-so-humid-laden-you-should-be-frosting-a-cake-with-it point and get so deflated, overwhelmed and disgusted that you just want to throw your hands up and say, "Well, fuck it!" (Hey, I never pronounced this blog to be G-rated.)

Today is that day this year. Yup, there's no hiding from it. Ok, unless I tape black tissue paper over every window and door in my house and hide under the thick, oversized comforter in the muggy, hot bedroom so I don't have to look at one single drooping, pissed-off-at-me plant. Unless this is a good day to die of heat stroke, that is sooo not gonna happen.

So, I end up watching my plants out the window watching me watch them.
And they are obviously talking shit about me. I can tell.
And they don't even have the decency to do it behind my back.
I see their happy little buds, flowers, fronds and leaves nodding at each other, don't think I don't!
I know what they're saying -

Phlox: "Geeez! We're just getting started and she's slacking already."

The daisies drooping with raindrops grumbling from across the walkway: "Pfffttt! where's our stake? Where the hell is our stake? We give up."

The columbines: "I wish she'd get out here long enough to collect all this seed we're wasting on the mulch. We thought she loved us!"

The bee balm nodding in agreement: "She's useless. Invasion, it's the only way!"

The irises, with a Cheshire cat grin: "If you were all just smart enough to do the spring thing..."

The peppers: "Where the hell are our epsom salts? We know she dosed last year, we can feel residue in the soil!"

The pole beans, tendrils waiving free in the breeze: "Awww, quit your whimpering! She couldn't even be bothered to give us a big enough pole. She's pathetic."

The whiney cucumbers: "Look! Just look at all these cucumber beetles. She only smooshed a hundred and fifty or so. What about the other thousand? We're gonna die, we're just gonna wilt and die, and then she'll complain about no pickles!"

The diva heucheras: "Ewww! Look at all those nasty weeds in the walkway. They're gonna touch us. She's going to let their unclean roots creep into the flowerbed and touch us!"

The snooty tomatoes: "She'll see. She'll just see what happens when we're ignored!

The Guaras: "Well, just see if we bother coming back next year. We'll just leave a pitiful empty spot in the flowerbed so everyone knows she doesn't take care of anything. That'll fix her wagon good!"

And then I glance at the lush, green, rain-laden and uncomplaining Boston ferns, grab the pruners and head out the door and into the rain amongst the overwhelming din of "Me first!"

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm On Gina's 'Virtual Garden Tours'

I'm a little (ok, a lot) excited.
Gina, over at My Skinny Garden, came up with the awesome idea of hosting what she calls "Virtual Garden Tours" so she and her blog readers could get to know their fellow bloggers and their gardens a little better through a survey and pictures.

And she asked me to participate! :)

It was hard to pick out any pictures that would even get close to showing the scale we garden on, but I think I did ok. Maybe? I wish I'd had some better ones to send (it's hard to keep the pot ghetto and weeds out of the frame and the garden wasn't looking so hot after the mini-drought), but I did my best, and it was quite fun!

So, if you're even a little bit curious or interested, head on over and read (and drool over some fab pics) about a few of your fellow bloggers (including moi!) and their gardens. If you'd like to be part of it, Gina has an email at the bottom of each gardener's tour to contact her.

Thanks again for the invite, Gina. The Tours was a fab idea!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hurrah, It Rained!

It has been over a month since we've had any measurable rain here. The storms that have been rolling across the state have all broken up and slipped around us. It is very strange to be able to see the clouds completely surrounding you and rain falling only a few miles away, but look straight up and see bright, blue sky! Of course, they're measuring and reporting the rain totals at the cities that are those few miles away and when I hear them say we've had a good rain I want to shout, "Bullcrap! Maybe you did!"

I really, really shouldn't complain since last year was the 'year without a summer', but it seems as if the last ten years have either been feast or famine when it comes to the weather.

But, it finally rained yesterday! I was worried we'd get a deluge and it would just roll across the soil without soaking in because the ground was like cracked concrete, but it turned out rather well. We had a nice gentle start and a quick burst of downpour, then it quit. So, it was perfect for the next bout of rain that moved through a few hours later to be absorbed beautifully.

Surprisingly, with the exception of a few crispy edged leaves on the hostas, everything I didn't break down and water seems to have weathered the dry period rather well. The plants all look so perky and happy today!

Oh, and I think our corn grew at least a foot overnight. Well, so did the weeds (but we won't speak of it!). lol.

Happy (no more drought) Growing!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I was completely surprised by the comments to this post on Thriftcore: Not Buying it- Could You Go 1 Year Without Shopping?

Seriously? They couldn't do it?
I'm sorta shocked.
Let me explain why.
I don't shop for anything except necessities. Period. (ok, that's leaving out clearance plants/seeds - they're my indulgence).
This is exactly how I've lived for 25 years, so I really am having trouble wrapping my brain around someone not being able to make it for one lousy year. Although, it probably helps a lot that I absolutely hate, hate shopping!

Seriously, if you have growing children, this probably isn't going to happen. They need clothes, toys, school supplies, etc. (honestly, how could you tell a child they couldn't have a new toy for their birthday? Or would that be under the 'necessity' list?)

We never go out except for free bingo every now and then, we don't buy clothes (I make most, or get them as gifts for Christmas/birthday and simply make them last, but haven't bought anything besides underwear in years and I make most of those, too), I can't even remember the last time I ate at a restaurant. The last movie I saw at a theater was "The Fly II" in 1989, which I won free tickets for. I cut my own hair or have a friend do it and I've always done the rest of the fams myself. I own 3 pairs of shoes - a pair of heels for weddings/funerals, one pair of sneakers that has lasted me five years and one pair of dollar shop flip-flops for wearing around the house/garden. My friends and I have always swapped/hand-me-downed baby and kids clothes. We might treat ourselves to McD's or BK once a year, but other than that we don't even buy fast food.

It is so weird to me to think that it'd be a challenge for most people to go a year living like I do every day.

I wonder how long it would take these people to start pulling their hair out if they had to swap lives with me? Seriously.

I should write a book for these people on how to live just like poor people do and make a million!
lol ;)
Could you go one year without buying anything but necessities?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Tomato Megablooms

Megablooms happen on my, and lots of other tomato growers, plants almost every year. This year one has shown up on my Brandywine Pink, which is a first for me since I've never had one show on that variety before.


Megablooms aren't anything to panic over. Though the resulting fruit will be deformed and look rather ugly, it could end up weighing over 5 pounds and have a terrific flavor.

There is some argument about whether it strains the plant to produce such a mutant and that it might be better for the plant to just snip off the bloom and divert more of the plants energy to making more of the normal fruit, but ultimately, the choice is yours. No one knows exactly why these blooms form (some say from cold weather, but I don't buy that theory as my weather is usually 80's to 90's F by day and 60's to 70's F at night when they form) but they won't really hurt the plant.

Fortunately, I grow enough plants that I can afford to let a few mutants grow to maturity just out of curiosity. usually, it's my Rutgers or Ace55's that give me the megablooms, so I'm quite curious to find out what will eventually come of the Brandywine.

Happy (mutant) Growing!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Grow Project, post 5

First Sunday of the month, so here is the next Grow Project post.

The ones WS'd in April bloomed at the beginning of June, but they aren't looking so great this month. Of course, it has been rain every other day and only in the 40's to 60's F. I'm hoping they'll get a second wind.
GP nasties

The one's started inside in May are pretty much at a stand still. It's starting to warm up a bit, so they should take off soon.
GP nasties

There was only a 50 percent germination rate on the one's sown directly in the ground and they also haven't done much. Very disappointing :( But, as you can see, they're about the same size as the ones above that are a month older.
GP nasties

The one's started in containers are so-so. Some look nice, but some just aren't looking good at all.
GP nasties

GP nasties

So far, they haven't really done all that well for me no matter what the planting method. I've got my fingers crossed that they'll all pick up soon and surprise me!

"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds."

Friday, July 02, 2010

I'm Being Very Bad To The Earth

This article, Politically Incorrect Gardening by Bart Ziegler, got me thinking about how bad I'm being. And, apparently, not only to my small piece of the environment, but to the entire earth.

But, you see, I can't help it!

I want to grow exactly what I want to grow, native or not. Alright, I do have to admit that this does not include invasives. Aegopodium anyone? ~shudder~

Every single vegetable I grow is not a native. So, should I stop growing and eating these things? That ain't gonna happen. Ever.

This is one part of the article that really put it in a nutshell:

"Yet some of these native-plant Nazis will go on about the heirloom tomatoes and rare purple-skinned potatoes they coddle in their vegetable gardens. But if you start applying the no-imports restriction to edible plants most of the kitchen garden would disappear."

"Now imagine a yard or flower bed with no imports. You can't grow tulips, daffodils or dianthus. Plow under your daylilies and dahlias and hostas. Chop down the lilacs, the willows, the peach and pear trees and the flowering cherries. All of them and scores more garden favorites came from other parts of the world, though many date as far back as colonial homesteaders.

And once you go down this path, how far should you travel?"

Exactly how far is too far?
Are you a Native Plant Purist? If you grow tomatoes, I'm guessing not.

I just can't bring myself to paying much attention to someone who says I'm hurting the butterflies and humming birds by growing snap dragons, basil and foxglove in my yard.

Dear Mother Earth,
I apologize!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Man's Trash

About this time every year, around here, something cool happens.
Ok, well it's cool to me anyways.
It's something we affectionately call 'junk days'.

Junk days is when people do their spring cleaning and get to throw out everything from their backyards, attics and garages that the town or regular garbage crew won't normally pick up.
Lots of people love junk days, not just those that get to get rid of "all that useless stuff and clutter".

Mostly it ends up being remodeling debris, like replaced sinks and toilets, or broken tvs, stereos, and furniture, but occasionally there are good things.
The majority of 'junkers' or 'pickers' are people that grab the metals and take them to the recyclers for cash, but some of us that 'go junkin' are after the good stuff.

Though most of them are embarrassed to admit they wander up and down the streets looking through people's throw-aways, some will wear it like a badge of honor (me!). It's simply 'dumpster diving' on a huge scale. We often get the look down the nose or the wrinkled nostrils when we admit that we do it. What is so wrong with recycling what someone else is sending to the dump? This is all stuff that could have a second use with someone who couldn't afford to buy it new.
And - you wouldn't believe what people throw away! Yup, finding that little gem is an exciting feeling, just like finding real treasure. Honestly, this is the only time of year I ever wish I owned a truck!

Here are just a few examples of what treasures I've gotten over the last couple of weeks from "goin' on a junkin' run" that I never could have afforded to have otherwise:

How cute is this?

Brand new.

Not even a crack in this one.

Or this one. Twins!

I love terracotta pots and think plants do so much better in them, but they're expensive, so I don't have many. Now I do! These, and many more, got added to the collection this week (yes, I 'junk picked' the huge white pot for my elephant ears a few years ago)

I got this a few years ago too. I love this pedestal! (ignore the dirt on the siding - we had a downpour)

These two pots looked so lonely in that pile by the road, so they came home with me! And so did that cute little candle plate.

My sister-in-law decided she didn't need a large patio set for just her and the hubs, so she bought a smaller one and gave us this one. By that time, the cushions were pretty well done for and we've been cushion-less for two years because I could never afford to buy new ones. They're ridiculously expensive! My daughter's boyfriend described sitting in them without cushions as "When you sit, it's like you're getting shanked in the back!" lol. Hey, you have to make-do with what you have, or in this case, don't have.

But, I found six on a junk run that only had small rips in them and sewed new covers. Unfortunately, the only fabric I had enough of that would last outside in the elements was this swimsuit fabric I'd bought for the girls years ago but never found swimsuit elastic for. Needless to say, the suits never got sewn for them, but the fabric got a new purpose.
They are way, way too bright, but I kind of like them! And everyone says they're comfy, so it's all good :)

We also found this table umbrella (that we needed) and I had just enough fabric left to edge it with so it would at least sorta match the chairs.

I also got four small shepherd's hooks, some small baskets to plant in, some very cool flower vases and some stick-in-the-ground swirly wire candle holders that fit the cute citronella candles (that I got three for 25 cents at the end of summer clearance last year) perfectly.

So, that's just a few things I've found goin' junkin'.
You know the old saying - "One man's trash is another man's treasure". Well, I'm not a man, but it's still treasure to me! :)

Happy (junkin') Growing!

I Won!

Colleen, over at In The Garden Online, is doing a fourth blogiversary celebration giveaway this week.
I figured there was no way I'd win with all those comments, but I couldn't keep my big mouth shut when Colleen asked "which edible plant is a “must” in your own garden"? I had to add my two cents.
Wow, my big mouth actually forgot to get me in trouble this time, because I won!
What'd I win?
Gayla Trail's book 'Grow Great Grub' and a collection of Botanical Garden's most popular veg seeds.
How fab is that? A book and seeds - does it get any better?
So excited!
Thanks for having this giveaway, Colleen!
And thanks to Gayla's publisher and Botanical Interest Seeds for donating stuff for me to win.
Hop on over to In The Garden Online for the next blogiversary giveaway!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Nursery Business Is In A Mess

Surprise? Not really.

Here's an article recently written by Angela Treadwell-Palmer, President of Plants Nouveau.

The Nursery Business Is In A Mess…

My favorite (and true) comment in the entire article was from Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farms: “Americans garden with mulch.”

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Grow Project, post 4

First Sunday of the month, so that means - here is the next GROW Project post.

First, the updates.
The one's I WS'd in April have been transplanted into hanging baskets with the pansies I started from seed. I ended up with 6 out of 10 seeds germinating. They've doubled in size and here is how they look now on June 6th:
Grow Project

Next up are the ones I started inside on May 2nd. 6 out of the 9 I sowed germinated. I'll be transplanting them into pots and flowerbeds here and there around the yard today.
Grow project

And today I'll also be sowing the last of the seeds - 10 in the huge pots by the pond and the final 10 will go directly in the ground at the edge of my front flowerbed. Hopefully, the germination rates will improve. I guess we'll see! :)

"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds."

UPDATE: Two days later, she bloomed!
grow project

What - she couldn't do that for the Sunday post date? :) Stinker!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Aliens In My Yard

Flowers are beautiful, no doubt about it, but if you ever get the chance to see them up really close, they begin to look like something from another world and more beautiful than ever. I wish I could get in even closer!

Some of the aliens hanging out in my yard today:











They're pretty cool, huh?
Even though I see these same flowers year after year, I'm always fascinated by them.

Happy (alien) Growing!

Friday, June 04, 2010

I Don't Get It

~Huge whine alert~

I mention something cool and no one says anything.
Weeks or months later someone else mentions basically the same thing and suddenly it's cool.
I just don't get it.
OK, I do . . . I'm just not cool enough.
I'm being passed by (and over) at lightning speed.
Why do people who've just discovered gardening in the last few years suddenly have every bit of thought that comes out of their mouths taken as gospel as though they've become some overnight master of growing things? (ok, sorry, whole 'nother rant)
I'm apparently just not young enough or hip enough.
Pfffttt! Fine, what-evvvv.
I think I prefer my ancient but knowledgeable status much better.

~whine ended~
Carry on.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Around The Yard In May

Wow, long time no post.
We have been very busy finishing up the planting in the vegetable garden, but it's done. I think this is the earliest I've ever had everything in! It has been another really wacky weather year.
Cross your fingers for me that this is finally going to be a good watermelon year.
Brace yourself - very pic heavy portion coming up. But I have so much to show you!

First, remember that Thanksgiving cactus that keeps going? And going? She's on her fifth (yes, fifth!) bloom cycle! She seems to be on an every two month schedule = October, December, February, April, and now gearing up for June. Weird . . . but wonderful. I have an ever-blooming TC! If she blooms in August, I can officially say I have a Thanksgiving cactus that blooms year round. How fab is that?!

My Asparagus Fern made it through the winter, and quite happily, I'd say.

Ok, to the yard-
I took a quick pick of the peony and weigela hedge while the sun was shining because, well, you know what happens as soon as the peonies bloom = downpour! Sure enough, it rained last night and now they look like hell. ~sigh~

I can't get enough of this combo. Festiva maxima with wine and roses:


Festiva maxima is such a beauty!

All right, I'm done boring you with those. Onward!
The clems are looking pretty good. Not as many blooms as usual, but I still love them:

I got my first bloom on the May apple:

The dianthus are looking fab (these are either Fire Witch or Pink Cheddar):

The Halward's Silver spirea was in rare form this year:

And, of course, the Columbines always look so pretty and cheery:

And last, but not least, even the herbs are getting in on a little blooming action.
The chives are going gangbusters and have such pretty (and edible) flowers.

The thymes (regular and variegated) that I used to edge the walkway (one of my best design ideas ever!) are looking grand. They smell so wonderful when people walk the paths and brush their pant legs or ankles against them. Heaven!

We expanded the veg garden this year. This is the DH finishing up the rototilling so we can finally get the last thing in - sweet corn.(this shows almost half of the garden, the other half is over to the left).

We've even had some nice wildlife show up:
Hawks. They were hunting in a pack of five. I've never seen more than three hunting together. We've had a huge one sitting in the willow across the road every day, but trying to get a good pic is pretty much a practice in frustration.

And our hummers finally showed up. Late, but they're here, so yay! We counted 3 at once working over one weigela (one of their most favorites), so who knows how many we'll have hanging out in the yard this year. I hope they brought lots of friends!

So, that's what's been going on in my yard so far this year. Now comes the time for the real work around the yard. I don't even have all my WS'd stuff planted yet :( Shhhh!

Happy (here come the blooms) Growing!