Archive for April 2009

Pics of the day

Bea Rose

Today’s photo of the day is the spring yearbook pic of the white roses.

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Runners up.

Bloom of the Day

It is spring picture time my children. Now line up and comb your leaves and let me get you in the best of light!

Everything is in bloom and it is time to take our spring portraits.  Today’s bloom is the first Calla Lilly flower emerging from the moist, shady soil by the porch.  We will call her Trudy Calla Lilly:  Say cheese Trudy!

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Strikin’ some more poses……

Rustic Trellis

This year’s decision to concentrate on container growing has hit a snag.  A serious budget snag, to be precise.   I have purchased many pots and containers over the years, but most of the budget went to planting plants strait into the ground.  Unfortunately, most of the aforementioned containers are in use and the ones that are left are not even close to the size I need.  Here’s where the snag really sets in; I got a really good deal on some Cadenza roses.  I really need to keep them containerized for a few years in order for them to be as mobile as possible.  I could easily spend hundreds of dollars purchasing containers and trellises that are not even of high quality.  Money spent on these expensive items is a serious issue right now.  The plain truth is that there is nothing in the budget for anything else but dirt.  Therefore,  I made the decision (or was forced) to get handy and start reclaiming lumber to build the things I need.

It is good to learn how to use recycled materials for garden solutions rather than head out and buy something new and less effective. Discarded ceder fence posts soon became the perfect solution for sturdy trellises.

It also became the perfect opportunity to get PCH involved in the gardening process.  PCH had a great time designing and building the first one.  That was about all I managed to get out of him, but it was a victory none- the-less.

Once we g0t the hang of how we wanted the wire wrapped, everything flowed smoothly.  I managed to get 3 finished in a few hours.  The time spent was also relaxing.  The shade was cool and the breeze was refreshing.  I also enjoyed knowing that the interesting and rustic trellises might be ugly to some but to me they were free!

When I say rustic, I mean rustic.  These old fence posts are aged and worn.  I simply used a saw, some old bailing wire and a few tie techniques my father showed me and voila! a simple trellis for the rose to climb on for a while until a more permanent solution can be made.

These flower babies need planters and soon. Now that I have the hang of the trellises, I should be brave enough to make the planters. My plan is to make them at least 10 gallon size. The main problem is that there is only so much time in the day and week.  I am already overextended beyond belief.

Just a Picture I liked

My Lady Bug

He’s kind of shy and I couldn’t get him to turn around.  Silly LadyBug.

Picture of the Day


Even dying tulips have beauty.




Parks helped pick today’s top three.  I am always blown away at how good his eye is, as well as his ability to intellectually verbalize the reasoning behind his decisions.  Below are the runners up and please feel free to offer any feedback.


Picture Update

It started raining and got dark before I could post final product pictures.  Although the bed is very pretty, it isn’t finished by a long shot.  Over the next month or so, once these plant babies have grown and spread, we will add exciting textures and interesting foliage to give the little garden some serious personality.  Until then, feel free to offer suggestions and ideas.  HAPPY EASTER  EVERYONE!.

Mission Complete

What an amazing day of digging, flowering goodness.  We finally got up and around about 10:30 and headed outside.  What awaited us was an under worked, front flower bed of no shame, with several beautiful Indian Hawthorns and holly in full bloom.  We broke everything up in 4 phases.  Simple really.  Right?

Phase 1:  was to get all of the over run grass out  of the bed.  To do this, we had to de-mulch and  shovel the heck out of it.  Then to pull,it was time to pull pull pull, which was simple enough work but labor intensive.  We hit a snag when we discovered how awful the soil was.  It was amazing anything was growing here at all.  The best kind of soil is a mix of clay and sand  mixed nicely into a sandy loam.  The optimum word here is MIXED.  What we actually found was not necessarily a mix of sand and clay as much a layer or pocket of each at various ratios.   We were literally pulling pockets of ready mixed clay for sculptures; and still had enough sand to fill a small pit.

This is a seriously striated and unbalanced soil sample.  a layer of solid clay with a layer of solid sand!

Ahh grass free and mixed!

 FRK is hawt 🙂

 But BFS is HAWTER!


When this was finally done BFS and I were ready for some serious lunch at Cafe Brazil, which was so nummy and delicious.   Whilst out and about we made a quick stop at the garden centers where we picked up a few things and then back to the ranch…er farm….er, sorry, suburbia, ready for Phase 2.

Phase 2: All about reconditioning the soil to promote good healthy growth.  FRK disappeared for a few hrs to take an awesome nap,   BFS did the  edging while I worked the amended soil into the dirt.  Again, simple but labor intensive.


Finally the good part.

Phase 3:  All about planting  the pretty pretty flowers.  there was plenty of plant to go around the bed.  At the garden center we picked up some creeping Pansies, Lavender and Rosemary  and it really pulled together nice.  At this point, it was time to get our grill on.  FRK decided he was going to treat us to t-bones and fresh grilled veggies.  He and BFS cooked an amazing feast while I finished off the mulching part of phase 3.


Phase 4 is all about the clean up, fertilizing, and watering, unfortunately it started to rain before I could get to the fertilizing and watering part.  But the drinks on the porch replace that phase nicely and I will get up extra early and finish the job.

What a wonderful day.  I enjoyed every second of it.  I loved the quality time spent with peoples I love.  The smells of the freshly unearthed clay mingled with the voices of children playing, and people BBQ’ing reminded me of the lake.  I truly felt sad for people who shut themselves in and never truly enjoy being outside.  Possibly I enjoy the gardening aspect more than most, but today was so fulfilling to be outside and immersing myself into the dirt.  This may not be the acres of land I am used to but it feels like the most rewarding.  I have a sense of satisfaction right now that defies the average.

Tasha was a huge help. She is the best flower watch dog in the   whole world.!

Spade in Hand

It’s Go, Go, Go

Today marks the start of the official spring planting season for Texas.   Easter weekend is always my traditional day of planting and is one of my favorite days of the year. According to the Farmer’s Almanac we should be out of any predictive freezes so the time is right.  Since I am at BFS’s house this weekend his front bed is getting the royal treatment.  This bed is about to feel like she’s having a spa day, full of dirt reconditioning, weeding, planting, fertilizing,  and mulching.  This little bed will be breathing a nutrient filled sigh of relief once we are done.  Sound crazy do I?  I don’t see how gardening is any different than rooting for your favorite sports team.  Especially here in suburbia where the competition is high and HOA fines are penalties.  So consider this Season Opening.

The above picture is the target.  Today we are basically preparing the soil.  I went into more detail in the previous post about the specific of what will be planted, but only a few border and highlight plants will be going in today.  We will mostly be focusing on getting the soil up par.  I want the dirt nice and delicious for when the specimens go in.  Specimen plants being those you really want to shine in the bedded arrangement.  As you can see, there is much work to be done.  It is a challenge to keep up with even a small front garden and when it hasn’t been worked in a while, and this boor bed baby really needs some TLC.

Super awesome BFS has been hard at work killing the unwanted grass and getting the sprinkler system ready…. As soon as I can get these lazy bums up and out the door we are go, go, go.  I guess we stayed up too late last night watching Strange brew and having a few brews of our own.  (What’s that all aboot, eh?)  I will post pictures of out progress later tonight and Happy Easter weekend to all and good luck to any of you out there gardening this weekend yourself.  I know several said they would be, but the chance of thunderstorms might interfere.  I would love to see pictures and comments on how your spring gardens are doing. Ta!

On Your Mark…Get Set…!

It is Almost Time!

What can be more inspiring on Easter weekend than celebrating life and joy outside digging in the dirt? To me, this is just as much a religious experience as sitting in church.  This may sound blasphemous to some, and in no way am I negating the importance of this holiday or church, but I feel closer to God when I am enriching His soil and really connecting with the spirit of nature.  I’ve also never been one who felt very comfortable in church, or a church family, but consider myself a very religious and spiritual person.  So my main desire this weekend is to create a spotlight of beauty that comes from my soul, seeds, and sweat.

I am already piling my gear up and getting ready to head Dallas way to BFS’s house. The goal for the weekend is to get all the soil ready in the front bed in order to add my highlights and edging plants,  and then my specimen at a later date.   I would love to plant it all in one go but unfortunatelythe plants on order with the AgriExtension Office won’t be here until the 19th.

In the mean time, Imy plan is to use white as the main color accent.  I am usingSweet Alyssum (white)  along the border edges and in a few large patches throughout.  Alyssum is great because it is a heavy flowering and scented plant.  Perfect for sitting on the front porch on beautiful spring and summer nights.  When the flowers start to die or look sparse, then simply hedge them back and there is a new burst of growth and blooms  fit for a rolling country meadow.   Two of my favorite spring flowers are Shasta Daisy and Sweet William.  Sweet William comes in a variety of colors but I chose the white variety, and should be fabulous bunched together with mounds of daisies  in a wave of white.  This may look super magnificent on it’s own without the addition of the other plants.

So much has to be done first, however, to get the dirt ready for new vegetation.  The grass that infiltrated the beds has been “dealt with”, and hopefully will not be a problem, and as you can see from the picture above,  I have the soil amender and mulch ready to go.  Since the soil hasn’t been worked with insome time, I will need to replenish and balance the nutrients in the soil.  Amending the top soil with one part organic mulch and one part enriched soil (enriched with organisms, enzymes and other good, growy stuff) should do the trick.  Once that is thoroughly mixed in,  would be beneficial to let it sit for a week or two to acclimate. But since I’m there, and won’t be back for a few weeks, I wanted to go ahead and get the border and accent plants in.  Then, I will put a 3 to 4 inch layer of Red Cedar Mulch down.  Red cedar has an advantage that some mulches don’t have.  It detracts bugs and roses love red Cedar.  Also, the reflection of the red has been theorized to produce healthier and bigger blooms.  Side note:  Tomatoes and strawberries love red mulch.  They have been proven to yield a larger and tastier crop.

Once all this is done, I’ll let the sprinklers do their job and let the flower babies grow.  I cant wait to get back around the 19th or so and plant the specimen plants and ornamental grasses  (Little Blue Stem, Mexican Feather Grass, and  Blue Muhly grass)

 

Specimen Plants

(From post on 2/27/09 Garden of Delight)

In the perennials category:  White Oxalis: These are a fantastically hardy plant that is drought resistant and attracts butterflies. (Butterfly attractiveness is one of the main things I look for in a perennial.) I also ordered passion flower vines. This vine features a super spaceship looking blue flower. I was told to order 2, one for the butterflies and one for me. I also chose Cotton Lavender and Green Santolina. These make amazing ground cover and fillers in a natural landscape.

In the Shrub category: I added a Hardy Flare Hibiscus that I plan on babying in a container for a few years, and an American BeautyBerry. I have heard wonderful thing about this bush and it produces long stems of beautiful and tasty berries.

In the rose category: I chose a few eye poppers and nose tempters. The Antique Cadenza is an amazingly hardy, deep red, climbing rose shrub with an out-of-this-world fragrance. To compliment this rose shrub, I added the Duchesse de Brabant rose. This rose is cream to pink and equally fragrant. Maybe later on I will add some white Knock-Outs to add more ooompf….Phases…phases! I have to learn that I can do things in stages and not all at once.

So that is the plan for now.  I am very excited to only have to concentrate my plantings on flowers for now.  I have my vegetables safely tucked away for the night in the garage growing in their little buckets because the news said that there was a chance of a freeze tonight.  I already have a wee tiny little tomato and the tops of a few peppers are blooming out, and am so excited that I chose to do a container vegetable garden this year.  It may take a few years to perfect it, but I’m digging it so far and can’t wait to see how to utilize it in small spaces year round.

 

Shots of the Day

Splish Splash

It was a beautiful spring day (except for the winds), so I spent a little time checking on all the growing and goings on outside.  PCH was outside as well, playing in the water.  Give this kid a water hose and he is literally entertained for hours.  He was busy arranging rocks and putting the hose on them making fountains.  I, of course got the camera and captured the moment.

 Watching my normally moody preteen jump with abandon really reminded me to appreciate how fortunate we have been in life.  We have been blessed with freedom and the ability to express joy.  I pray his world stays that way forever.  In the mean time, we shall splash away, and cherish the good times.

Water Sculpture