Friday, July 30, 2010

Gardening is a long road, with many detours and way stations, and here we all

are at one point or another. It's not a question of superior or inferior taste, merely

a question of which detour we are on at the moment. Getting there (as they say)

is not important; the wandering about in the wilderness or in the olive groves

or in the bayous is the whole point.

- Henry Mitchell, Gardening Is a Long Road, 1998

Gardening thoughts...

Creating and establishing a garden space has been such a rewarding experience for me! I'm excited to venture in and explore what's new, what's changing on a daily basis, learning how the plantings and flowers respond to the environment that I've so loving place each and every one within. I'm learning each plants likes and dislikes, what itsects and bugs prefer what flower and why, and how to remove them successfully with little or no damage to the plant, the bug, or me!

Take the asphids that I caught chewing on my rosebush leaves; did you know that a thorough spray from the garden hose will remove them? Of course, you gotta use some common sense, but there's where knowing a plant's likes and dislike come into play, what kind of diseases they're sucsectible to, so you can hopefully avoid making the plant ill while trying to combat the pest problem. I gave my double pink Knock-Out rose a good spraying yesterday morning to remove the asphids from the leaves of the plant. Afterwards, a gentle shake to remove some of the excess water from the bush and I left the rest of the drying to good ole' Mother Nature. Her sunshine and light winds had that rosebush dried out in no time! My evening inspection revealed that I had indeed successfully removed the asphids and I sighed a sighed of relief; no need for a soapy water application.

I also noticed that this bush is establishing a lot of new canes and the existing canes are continuing to grow. I'm actually surprised by the growth, yet remain hopeful that there is just as much going on underground with establishing the rosebush's root system as there is growth going on on the top!

These are things that I want to remember, the daily jaunts into the garden, the little discoveries that I've made along the way, so I've been keeping a journal for the garden only. Of course, it is filled with a variety of gardening information re; the plants themselves... but there's also a lot of information I'm learning by doing and observing. I've also been photographing the garden on a regular basis ---- it will help me establish a time-line of what's bloom when, what's fading, and what's about to come into bloom so that I can establish a Spring to Fall continous cycle with something of interest going on with the perennials. The annuals, well, I got lucky with the petunias and the angelonias continous blooms! That takes some of the pressure off that there's always something of interest going on somewhere! I've been spending some of my non-gardening time blogging and editing some of the garden photos. I'm desiring to send them out to get the photo developed later this fall so I can create a 2010 garden scrapbook album and incorporate some of the notes I make daily in my journals. It will be interesting to see some of the changes in the garden and in the journals year after year. Well, I'm off to make more observations as I begin my morning garden chores --- the bird feeders are calling for refills and the plants are waiting patiently for their early morning sprinkle. *smiles and waves*

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beauty in the early morning light...

Monday, July 26, 2010

The side yard entryway into the previously shown patio/courtyard area..

The newly established bed is continuing to thrive, although, I've probably been watching too closely, if there is such a thing. I couldn't help but notice the Magnolia seems to be loving it here and the poor girl hasn't even been taken outta the pot! Hmmm...  and something else I noticed is one of the lilytufts took to this new bed like a fish to water, while the other two, well, they aren't looking as "healthy". I believe the difference is in the amount of shade/sunlight that each of these plants receive everyday. The "thriver" lilytuft is at the very end of this bed, while her companions are planted almost mid-way, where they receive a lot more sun during the afternoon and the heat of the day. I suspect that I'll be uprooting and re-locating this two very soon. May as well do it while I have the shovel out for the Magnolia tree, right?

In other news, there's a reason I wanted to show you this area of the sideyard and the garden's actual entrance way. Do you see it yet? It's there! Just waiting to be discovered...

It's one day going to be an actual "Garden Gate!"
Yep! Right there, smack dab behind the little table and chair.
Don and I took a look at the fence and the fence posts and we see no reason whatsoever why we couldn't unscrew one section of this fence so that we cut the three crossboards to create the actual "gate" using the existing fence and some hinges we have on hand.

I'm loving this idea! Because it now creates a new traffic pattern coming in from the front of the fence vs. the "we need more fence" area that's standing wide open just to the right in this picture. Also, that "wide open" posts allow for even more possibilities, put me in heaven. I instantly began seeing two 4' high sections of fencing allowing us view of our driveway from our living room. I'm thinking a long overhead arbor overhead with some climbing plants should help frame the view. :) Of course, all these wonderful ideas are all put on hold and on the one day list... but ya know what? We're getting it there! :)

A Patio/Courtyard {of sorts}

The table and chairs have been a God's send the past couple of days, providing us a quiet place to rest and enjoy a nice, refreshing cold drink after working here and there throughout the gardens and yard, especially while we were prunning and trimming all those evergreen trees! Which I'm still not to certain that I'm finished with just yet... as they may just get a much trim. Anyways, I brought the wicker drum-style table up from the yard and placed it here in our sort of newly-established patio-courtyard, aka "planting/potting/refilling birdfeeder's station".

The changing seasons potting bench has also been added to this area, providing me a wonderful place to fill the birdfeeder's in the mornings. They remind me to provide fresh water to the birdbath, provide the pots a good long thirsty plant drink, to check on the new plantings in the foundation beds, before I wander off to the watergarden and begin the daily chore of deadheading the petunias there.

Newest plant addition to the Garden...

A beautiful Limelight Hydrangea!

I'll be planting her today. She'll be replacing my "I ♥ Garden" stepping stone in the header bed allowing plenty of room for the silver frost butterfly bush to continue to grow and thrive. This limelight hydrangea isn't like some hydrangeas that are effected by the soil's pH. It will produce these beautiful light green, bright white blossoms up into the fall; then, the stems begin to change color and  the blossoms turn to those beautiful shades of light green mixed with the softest pastel pink! I'm hoping to harvest and dry a few a blooms for filling a basket before the blooms turn brown and wither away.
 Another angel sits nearby on a moss-covered ball sphere tucked in among the vincas, along with a boxwood, as  two blue delphiniums weave themselves into a wire trellis in the headerbed above the watergarden.

Nearby the Silver Frost Butterfly Bush is about ready to blossom and bloom!

Summer blossoms and blooms...

As I worked in the garden this morning re-filling the birdfeeders and deadheading the petunias, I couldn't help but notice what a show-off the Angelonia has become in the hot, humid summer heat! This plant has been absolutely amazing providing continous pretty pink blossoms throughout the watergarden and keeping up with the continous nature of the petunias, which require dead-heading, something the Angelonia doesn't. No wonder she's so proud of herself!

She provides a beautiful backdrop, not only for one of our angel statutes, she blends in beautifully with elegance and grace of the pink and white petunias that are scattered around among her peaceful, graceful presence.

Side yard....

 This is a view of the side yard after I had worked on establishing the foundation bed recently. Spending some time in the space, hoeing, raking, weeding, observing allowed me to see some additional areas of our yard and landscaping that was in some dire need of improving. So the following day, I set out to work on clearing, cleaning, and tackling those darn over-grown evergreen trees!

I may have went a little crazy with the pruning shears and the saw, but look at all that open space now! I'm loving that view into our back yard and beyond.

A few hours later and after my hubby was pleasantly surprised, he began to get in on the action....

It wasn't long before we decided to stop right here for the night.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Sweet Find...

I'm loving this vintage hummingbird feeder I recently purchased from a local thrift shop! Filled with sugar-water and drop or two of red food-coloring and it adds a visual "pop" of color to the garden. We currently haven't noticed any hummingbirds in our yard, but I'm remaining hopeful that as the silver frost butterfly bush begins to bloom, we may just see one yet!

Sometimes, gardening isn't only about planting and caring for your plants, it's about caring and cultivating the gardner's spirit. Often it is the "littlest thing" or a small change that makes a big impact, revealing something of beauty that touches you more than you could have ever imagined.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Establishing the new bed...

I transplanted and divided the hosta and lilytufts out of the watergarden bed today. The petunias and angelonia were simply taking it over and so needed the room to continue to bloom. So,  I also decided to removed the limelight coleus out of the header bed; since this guy is actually a shade loving plant that tolerates the full sun. I believe it will do so much better here in the newly established bed, so I planted it into the freshly dug garden bed along the west side of our house. This area changes from fully shaded in early morning, to full sun in early afternoon, back to full shade early into the evening, so it will be interesting to note which plants will thrive here and which won't. Some of additional plantings include a temporary home for a Chicago Lustre Viburuim, mainly due to size ~ and this plant is supposed to love moist, wet soil in dappled shade, so I'll be transplanting it again later in the fall. Hubby has given his approval of testing the waters and seeing how well it will thrive in our low lying wetland style area out in the rear of our acre; there's not much there of interest but the groundhogs seem to like it. I on the other hand am thankful for his approval as those beautiful blooms will be so very beautiful along with the roses, peonies, and hydrangeas. I also added in  two small evergreen shrubs ~ Densiformis Taxus. They will grow to be small shrubs and can be pruned to retain their shape. I'd love to allow them to stay shorter, rounder fuller so that I prune them into some big puffy hearts. Perfect for my garden, which I so love!  Together these plants add a nice little informal border, of course, I've since added a few little garden stakes and decorative features like a chair and a small patio table for a quiet place to sit and relax while here in the side yard. Doesn't every outside area need somewhere you can sit, if even briefly for a moment, to collect your thoughts and wipe the sweat from your brow. Well, that's what I discovered while working in the mid-summer July heat! I also tucked the plastic birdbath into the corner, although it's a little hard to disguish what exactly it is in this photograph, and underneath it lies the softest little area of green moss. I know because I just had to kick off my garden shoes and stand there allowing the soft, gentle coolness of the earth massage my tired feet after all that digging! Speaking of digging, I think I might just know of a few little treasures that just may look mighty good residing in those flowerbeds there.

Mid-Summer blooms...

These aren't grandma's petunias growing in pots and scattered everywhere her garden, but they are scattered throughout the lower level of our watergarden bed. Mixed with softer pink flowery petals of the angelonia, it serves to softens the bed into one giant sea of luscious pink and white color that is absolutely breath-taking!

Crowded among the two lies a lone hosta and pair of lilytufts. Can you believe they've survived here, shaded from the hot, humid, heat of the summer sun by the petunias and the angelonias? I think it is rather unbelievable and that I'm actually tempting fate, so later today, I'll be digging the hosta and lilytuft out and providing it with a new home in the foundation bed that runs the length of our home on the west side. There's a mix of shade, sun, and dappled sunlight so I'm certain that they will love it there... at least, I'm certainly hopeful so!

 A shot from the top of the bed in the opposite direction, looking down into the reflecting pool where the angels lie in wait, the petunias have grown out of the soil and now hang precariously over the water basin below. The petunias are thick and fill up a good portion of this bed all by themselves, while a few well-placed angelonias accompany them, glittering and glistening, softly, and silently, in the morning sunlight.

Gardening "To Do's..." and some progress made..

I've been continuing to work on the changing seasons potting table. I've recently touched up the paint and scrapes and painted the top board with a nice fresh coat of white paint. I'm still loving the thought of adding a mosiac tile top to this table... I just need to get out hunting for treasures to use in the mosiac process and begin collecting the tools to work with. I, also, still love the idea of painting the slats on the lower shelving a pretty pink eye-popping color. Unfortunely, I've had no time to work on the new bench design, although I've done some browsing online at a few home-made style ones and the thoughts and dreams of creating one of my own and daydreaming of what it actually look like has proven to be thought-provoking.

In other news, the garden is doing wonderfully well. Mother Nature has been co-operating and playing nicely the past few days, even with the hot July heat. The petunias and angelonia planted within the lower level of the watergarden's basin have all but taken over and tumbled over the edges of the white cement bricks! I kid you not; it is a sight to behold! I promise some new pics, coming soon. In the wake of growing pains, the petunias and angelonia have all but pushed the hosta and lilyturts outta the bed itself; no worries about shading them from the hot summer sun, nature took care of them herself! but I figure why tempt fate? and have decided to move them today to the freshly create side yard garden! There's plenty of dappled shade and sunlight, they should thrive there! So, soon I'll move the hosta and the lilyturt from the watergarden to the side bed along the foundation of the west side of the house; along with the coleus from the header bed. I need to plant the two bare-root cinnamin ferns, then, I can fill with wildflower garden seed mix. I figure as long as the ground is warm, the soil is moist, the seeds should take root and maybe, just maybe, even bloom this year! Some of the flowers in this mix are perinneals, so it will exciting next year trying to determine what is what!

I, or should I now say, "we" ~ as Don's really starting to get into this gardening/landscaping/beautify-ing our surroundings thing along with me, made a return trip to Oakland Nurseries recently and I swear they seen us coming! We returned home with 5- one gallon pots of plants! So, now we need to actually plant the two new Densiformis Taxus in front of the house; One on each side of the front porch. I've checked the new placement of them so that they won't interfere with any future re-modeling projects to the porch and allow access for the summer time window air conditioning and fall removal.
Another new plant, which I didn't realize was a tree! is a Sweet Bay Magnolia. I'm not sure how well it will do here in our gardening zone, but hey! I'm willing to try it! I would have loved to have been able to plant this near our bedroom's windows, unfortunately, there is absolutely no shade whatsoever there, so I'm honestyl considering placing it in the center of the rear yard's "wetlands" section. I've read they love the moist, wet soil so perhaps, it will be happy there?

We also picked up a Chicago Lustre Virburium, which I'm thinking I'd love tucked under the shade of the Maple tree along the west fence row; close to the area I that desire to create a new seating area. It's in a beautiful shady location under the branches of two neighboring trees and will provide a perfect spot for a rest after working in the vegetable garden or provide a quiet place to wander off to and sit, relax, and enjoy the fruits of all our hard labor of love.
But, it was finding a Limelight Hydrangea that really touched my heart. I cannot wait to plant this and watch as she blooms beside the wishing well. She'll display her light bright green blooms in mid-summer and they'll fade to a soft, pastel pink in the fall. They'll be a beautiful addition to my "some day bouquets" of pretty pink knock-out roses, peonies, and a few fronds from the silver frost butterfly bush!

Off to continue planting, hoping, dreaming.......

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some "new" garden projects; yet to be begun...

Earlier this week my friend, Amanda asked me if I'd like to tag-along with her while she went to the Salvation Army Thrift store... {isn't that how it always begins?... if it isn't my idea; it's someone else's...} anyways, I really wasn't expecting to find anything, but kept my eyes open looking for things to add our garden. First, I spied a round wicker/rattan drum style base with a glass table top that is already "white, chippy painted" and ready for just adding in under the shade of the bradford pear tree. However, it was finding this white, wood, full-size beauty that made my heart flutter.... I cannot wait to turn this into a new garden bench! Stay tuned...
                           *{smiles & waves}*

From "Changing table to Changing Seasons" Potting Bench

While the garden continues to grow and thrive, Don and I have been busy discussing the details of what I envision this "Jenny Lynn changing table turned Changing Seasons potting bench" to become. He happily began working, measuring, cutting, pre-drilling screw holes for attaching to the pre-existing structure. We discussed the flimsi-ness of the previous "particalboard" and decided to remove and replace it with a much sturdier 1/2" piece of plywood, which I'm now envisioning paint white and a mosiac table top! How cool would that be? Of course, I'll have to start purchasing the tiles and looking for some fabulous plates and saucers to work with. I cannot wait to  "potter away the day!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Morning Stroll....

Recently I've been day-dreaming of what I'd love to add to our garden;  my mind's eye sees lots of greenery and  flowers where there are none, gentle, curving winding paths carved out of the lawn where none previously existed,  pathways that lead you on into our rear and garden, spurring you one to see what awaits right around the next curve or corner. Don't all gardeners do that? On to dreaming about the next project or garden addition before their completely done with the one at hand?

Anyways, I sure to seem to and adding an arbor was on my "someday" list; I really wasn't expecting to obtain one so soon but when the unexpected happens and you find a deal too darn good to pass up, well, let's just say, you sigh, smile with happiness, and count your blessings one more time!

Friday, July 09, 2010

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Monday, July 05, 2010

A new angel...

While the roses are busy establishing their roots and rejuvenating their blooms after a dry, humid period followed the previous June rains, I thought I'd capture a photograph of the petunias, along with my newest garden angel I purchased. The petunias seem to really love this new bed at the foot of the watergarden where they share their home with a hosta and several lilytufts; some of the annual Angelonia also assist to fill this bed. I've never had petunias grow so big nor the vines so long before but then, I've never directly sowed them into the soil before either, mostly saving them for containers for the porch and deck. These petunias have to be every bit of 14"-16" in height and the blooms are big, pink, and plentiful! Beautiful to look at or to sit contently nearby while daydreaming and watching the clouds pass by in the reflection of the water basin below.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Dreaming & designing a new potting bench...

I've always dreamed of one day owning a potting bench. A bench that would allow me to putter and plant the day away... and provide a place to store some of my flower pots and some of my garden decor and small tools. So recently, while I was digging around in our attic storage, I remember this old Jenny Lynn changing table that I had picked up from the side of the road. Realizing it is the perfect height for a potting bench, I gave it a good washing, and starting painting it white! I decided since I'm just going to "dirty it up" anyways there was no sense really to go through all the sanding and priming; although I did use an exterior paint since it will mainly be stored outdoors during the Spring and Summer months. The previous two bottom shelves are missing from this table so I figured I could purchase some treated lumber deckboards cut to the exact width, paint them to add some color, and attach! For, now as I work to finish this project, I simply look forward to it changing through the seasons along with me and the flowers in the garden.