Thursday, June 30, 2005

Happy 4th of July

Well, to all of you that actually take the time to read my ramblings, I thank you. Its nice to know that my garden interests people other than me!

Being born in England I don't really understand this whole "4th of July Weekend" thing, this will be the first time I have celebrated it so it should be interesting. Apparently we will be going to see fireworks and EVERYTHING, which is great because back home in England we have to wait until the beginning of November (Guy Fawkes Night - he tried to blow up the houses of Parliment way back when) for fireworks, far to chilly to truely appreciate them!!!

That obviously means that there will be no ramblings until after the weekend, probably Tuesday. So have a great weekend, happy 4th of July and I'll see you all on the other side!

Thursday, June 30th

Temperature: ??
Weather Conditions: Starting out overcast but turning sunny in the afternoon

Last night we had a torrential rain storm, so much so that they issued flood warnings and we had a power-outage. I some respects it was great because it gave the garden beds some much needed water which should now keep them going until Monday afternoon when we get back from our other house. Unfortunately though the rain caused a bit of damage. On my daily walk around my gardens I noticed that a few of the taller plants had been flattened to the ground in the downpour. All my Coreopsis was bent over at a severe angle so that now I have them tied to stakes to keep them upright! All the perennial Baby's Breath look like drowned rats with the flower heads looking all soggy. The rain even water logged one of the hanging baskets I have on my fence out back causing it to drop into my sunny flower bed, flattening a couple of plants in the process! Its my own fault really as I filled the basket with regular (heavy) garden soil as I didn't have potting soil to hand, I knew it was gonna fall eventually - that'll learn me!!!

I have "discovered" Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)!!! At the top of the slope out back, just in the front of the tree line are a stack of wild-growing plants that are really pretty, so I made it my mission to find out what they are. Their scent is HEAVENLY, very similar to Lilac and best of all it is a haven for all those "beneficial insects"

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Common Milkweed Flowers

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Common Milkweed Plant

Common Milkweed is an important plant because so many species of insects depend on it. Monarch Butterflies, Milkweed Bugs, and Milkweed Leaf Beetles only eat milkweed, and could not survive without it. Many other species of insects use milkweed as their primary food source, or as a major food source. Common Milkweed grows up to six feet tall. It has large, broad leaves, usually four to ten inches long. They sometimes have red veins. This plant is found in fields, gardens, and along roads. Common Milkweed flowers are pinkish-purple clusters which often droop. Fruits are green pods which turn brown before bursting open to let out fluffy seeds

Milkweed seeds are spread by the wind, which catches the fluffy part and carries the seed for long distances.....Through rhizome spreading, Common Milkweed forms a colony that quickly crowds out other plants.

Common Milkweed, when broken, lets out a milky sap. This sap has poisons in it, called Cardiac Glycosides. Some animals can eat the glycosides and not be harmed. When the Monarch butterfly's caterpillar munches the leaves of milkweed, the glycosides go into its body, making the caterpillar poisonous to predators. Even after the caterpillar has changed into an adult butterfly, it keeps the glycosides in its body. Milkweed flowers bloom from June to August, and are visited by many species of moths, butterflies, bees, and other insects. The flower nectar and pollen does not have glycosides in it, so these animals do not become poisonous. Milkweed is a shelter and hiding place for other species as well. Yellow Jackets eat bees and flies which get trapped in the flowers, and crab spiders ambush visiting insects.

Common Milkweed is considered by many to be a pesky garden weed. Others, however, value it as a great attractor of wildlife, especially butterflies. It is poisonous to humans, so do not eat it. The fluffy seeds of milkweed are sometimes used as insulation or stuffing for life jackets

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sunday, June 26th - Gone Weeding

Temperature: 90F
Weather Conditions: Hot & Sunny!

Our neighbour has this HUGE tree in their backyard, its actually a really nice tree that provides a lot of shade to all the nearby houses, including mine in the late afternoon. However, it seems to have become the bane of my gardening existence because over Memorial Day Weekend this one tree dropped so many seed pods on my property I was clearing them up for 3 days straight! I don't know what kind of tree it is, all I know is that these little seed pods kept on coming, falling to the ground like little helicopters spinning around and around

Now, a few weeks later I find myself out in the garden pulling up "baby" tree's, not just a few but hundreds, even thousands of the stupid things! They are EVERYWHERE, in the garden beds, in the containers, growing out from under the hot-tub, growing between the deck boards... the list is endless. It amazes me what nature gets up to, these seed pods have evolved over time to fall to the ground in such numbers that at least a few survive - Nature will not be stopped! After traipsing up the slope to the compost heap to deposit the third bucket full of seedlings I decided I'd had enough and duly gave up for the day in favour of AC and a tall glass of Iced Tea!

I did decide though that it was probably a good idea to water the garden as it hasn't rained in a little while and some of the plants were starting to look decidedly limp! I brought a new spray attachment at Home Depot a couple of days back as it was on sale for $5, reduced down from $20 - yippee my first opportunity to use it. This spray head is AWESOME, its one of those long ones with and angled head and different spray settings, definitely worth the money - now all I have to do is buy a hose that won't explode due to the pressure of the water running though it!

I have my first flowering vine! My Scarlet Runner Bean Vine which I planted to climb the porch post with the Sweet Autumn Clematis has started to bloom, I am a little disappointed that it isn't "bushier" but I think that is my fault more than anything since I didn't support the bottom properly so that it could start climbing. At least now I know better for next year. My "mystery" Coreopsis has also started it bloom parade, these plants came in my Walmart Perennial Seed Mix and were part of my Winter Sowing Project. I have about five plants, all of which have LOADS of buds just waiting to open in the coming days so I'm hoping to be able to get a multiple flower shot soon

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Scarlet Runner Bean Vine

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Bi-Coloured Coreopsis

Friday, June 24, 2005

Backyard Progression

Today whilst flicking through some past photo's I came across the shot I took of my back garden while we were viewing the house before buying it. It was so "plain Jane" as the previous owners were just not into gardening, you should have seen inside the house!!!

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Backyard September 2004

As you can see I had a clean slate to work with and so set about designing things the way I wanted them. I spent the winter months making notes on the suns position, how much shade the yard got and where. I also discovered during this time that because of the hill (from the top of which the photo was taken) the drainage is horrible creating a "pond" at the bottom after any significant rain, it was great we had our own ice skating pond all winter!!!

I decided we needed raised beds at the bottom of the hill to give any plants the greatest chance of survival, my husband helped me with this as he wasn't impressed with the trenches I was digging all over the place! We were also able to score a whole bunch of free slate from the job-site my husband is currently project manager for, which enabled us to build a path pretty much for free. I am still trying to decide what I want to put between the stones. I also Winter Sowed a great many seeds so that I could get a good amount of plants as cheaply as possible, other plants were donated from neighbours who needed to divide theirs

Today this is what my back garden looks like, notice that I now call it a "garden" instead of a "yard"

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Backyard June 2005

I think it is a substantial improvement, although it is still quite sparse. This will obviously change as time progresses and the young plants fill in and grow. At this end of the path you will notice a large plant-pot, this contains a very small Butterfly Bush I brought at Walmart at the beginning of March. It is still VERY small but it is growing well and should look really good once it has matured enough

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Shade Bed

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Sun Bed

This left hand picture is the side that gets the most shade, it only gets about 2 -3 hours of afternoon sun. The Hosta's you see are the one's I scored from my neighbour the other day, they look a bit raggedy but look great next year. In between each Hosta I have planted rescued Bleeding Hearts which should give some nice early interest next year. On the right hand side you can see the baby Butterfly Bush more clearly which I have underplanted with Snow-in-Summer, I'm hoping this falls over the edge a little to soften the lines of the pot

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thursday, June 23rd

Temperature: ??
Weather Conditions: Nice and Sunny

Continuing on with my new shade "strip" along my side fence I decided to move some Bleeding Hearts that I acquired earlier in the year. All three of them look rather wimpy this year as they were all damaged when I received them but they do have lots of new growth and look very strong, next year I'm hoping they really put on a show. The Hosta's or still looking very damaged from their transplanting with ratty looking leaves and some broken stems etc, they'll bounce back - if not this year then definitely next year

Finally got up the energy to plant the "Ditch Lily's" that I dug up from the neighbours flower bed, they were starting to turn a little yellow. I planted them with the shrubs out front which means I had to dig up yet more grass to make way for the Lily's, wonder what hubby will say!!! Next year they should look really good as their blooming, just a mass of orange toned flowers

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bargains of the Day

Temperature: 7:30am - 70F
Weather Conditions: Sunny

She shoots.....she scores.....(and the crowd goes WILD!!!)

Walmart, everybody's favourite place to shop, especially since things just kinda "jump" into your shopping cart! I went there today to return something, silly thing is I've taken to parking near the garden department as there's ALWAYS more spaces than at the main entrance, bad idea I hear you all say!!! Well, all the plants are dying, yes its that Sales Associate curse because they have a habit of neglecting their plants but for us gardeners its the perfect time to visit the store. My winning moment of today was finding a "Don Juan" Climbing Rose on sale for $3.50 and two "Miss Bateman" Clematis for the grand price of $2.44 each. BARGAIN!!!!

The "Don Juan" Climbing Rose is one of those with beautiful deep red flowers and a wonderfully fragrant smell. At the moment I am a little unsure as to where I am going to plant it but I think it will likely end up between mine and my neighbours drive against the front of the house. This location would be great next summer when the fragrance can waft in our bedroom window at night, oh I'm getting all excited about the prospect!!! LOL!

The "Miss Bateman" Clematis will be planted in my back sun bed where I have started Purple Hyacinth Bean Vines this year. The Clematis will be the "bones" and then each year I will combine it with the HBV for some added colour and fragrance

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday, June 20th

Temperature: ??
Weather Conditions: Hot and Sunny!

Well, its been a great day albeit one of HARD WORK!!! Yesterday during a discussion with my neighbour about her new fence I found out that she was going to rip out her back flower bed and replace it with boring old grass (YUCK!) Anyway, immediately my had went up and I said I wanted as many plants as I could dig up and she just said to go for my life! SCORE!!! So last night I dug up about $100 worth or bicolored Iris, four Hosta's and a bunch of regular Ditch (Homestead) Lily's. There's a whole bunch more which I will grab in the next few days and then during next spring I will grab all the bulbs that come up!!!

Only problem with yesterday's score was that today I had to plant it all!!! The Iris were pretty easy as they went straight into my existing back beds, the Hosta's on the other hand were a completely different matter! For a long time now I have wanted to put a bed along the shady fence and put things like Hosta's, Fern's, Bleeding Hearts etc..., it was going to be a project for next spring, well today I got to start it sooner than planned. I've spent the best part of today digging up grass and turning the soil over ready to plant the rescued Hosta's. I finished planting my last Hosta at 7pm!

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This all sounds like it took me an unnecessary long time but by 1pm it was just too hot so I had to take a "siesta", I chose my favourite shady chair on the deck and just sat and watched. Mostly it was the birds coming back and forth chowing down on the seed and generally making a mess. HOWEVER, after a while I heard this scuffelling sound and out of the corner of my eye I saw our resisdent Chipmonk race under my chair, across the deck, around the plant containers, under the fence, back along the fence on the neighbours side, then back under the fence to my side and then stopping at the water faucet not 3ft from my chair!!! Mr Chipmonk then proceeded to drink the water that was pooling on the floor of my deck from the as yet unfixed dripping tap! He was VERY cute and hung around for quite a while, after drinking from the faucet he made his way back across the deck and started stuffing his face with bird seed

Now lets talk about the HUGE Spider that decided to make an appearance on one of the leaves of my rescued Hosta! Now I HATE Spiders due to a very traumatic incident as a child but so long as I have my trusty garden gloves on (you know the ones that are invincable to nasty little critters!) I can can somewhat deal with them, infact I have been all day with those horrid little ones that live in the garden soil! Anyway, I was fiddling around with this Hosta trying to get rid of many of the weeds as possible when all of a sudden movement caught my eye - the scream I let out was AMAZING! My husband has learned to ignore my bug induced screeches but this one brought him running and he proceeded to inform me that it was a Wolfe Spider with egg sac in tow

As for any new blooms I have today. My Bachelor's Buttons have finally started opening and they are a beautiful blue colour, I have completely fallen in love with them. I also have a number more of my Cosmos opening. Out front I was surprised to find that the flower buds have started to develop on my Scarlet Runner Bean Vine, this is great news as it means it won't be long before I have nice red flowers to keep my Hummingbirds happy

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Food Fight with the Birds!

Temperature: Cold
Weather Conditions: Rainy & Overcast.....AGAIN!!!

I was finally able to get back out into my garden again today after three days of rain, not that it didn't rain today as well, I was just able to squeeze in some time between downpours! It was nice just to be able to sit outside again and take in the sights, sounds and smells, everything always seems so fresh after a good downpour and today was no exception. It was so wonderful to sit out front on my miniature porch listening and waiting for my Hummingbirds to appear at the feeder, you always hear them coming - vibrating all the way, sounding like HUGE bumble bee's. I have at least two different Hummers visiting my feeder and the only reason I know there are two is because one is a male and the other female, both "Ruby Throats". I love the scarlet of the male's throat, it always looks like someone has take a knife and slit his throat. The females are a little harder to identify until you know what they are, lacking the scarlet throats they instead have an iridescent green back that looks metallic. For more information on Hummingbirds check out www.hummingbirds.net

Today has generally been a day of watching the birds as I have been completely unmotivated due to the weather! I have a hoard of House Finches that gobble up EVERYTHING I put in the feeder. I haven't filled the tube feeder out front in a couple of days due to the rain so instead they have found their way to the back deck to the pedestal feeder, there is now seed EVERYWHERE!!! These little guys are so messy, its like a perpetual food-fight between a bunch of 5 year olds and occasionally fisticuffs will occur!!!!

I also have a male / female couple of Northern Cardinal songbirds feed in my garden each day and you can always hear them LONG before you see them from their chirping. Its actually very sweet to watch and listen to them. The male (red one) will appear first and usually comes to the pedestal feeder, chirping all the way, letting the female know that it is safe for her to come and feed. She (brown with an orange beak) will appear a few minutes later, chirping in reply. Mrs Cardinal will only feed from the ground, usually the deck where all the seed has fallen from the ruckus created by the House Finches!!! They are very timid though and at the first sound of disturbance they fly off into the trees behind the house. They can usually been seen early in the morning or in the early evening, I'm hoping to eventually see baby Cardinals in tow later in the summer

Then off course there are the Bluejays that visit every morning like clockwork at 7am!!! They are a beautiful bird but can have a very nasty nature, usually chasing off all the little birds so that they can be greedy and gobble up all the food for themselves!

Friday, June 17, 2005

After the Rain!

Temperature: About 70F
Weather Conditions: AM - More RAIN!!!, PM Breezy with more sunshine than showers!

Well, its finally stopped raining!!!

I was horrified this morning to find that the driving rain we had last night and this morning has made some of my winter sown plants "fall" over! In my front porch bed many of the taller plants have fallen over so that they are now flat on the ground, not exactly how I had designed things. However, the small perennial Baby's Breath flowers that now scatter the ground are rather appealing to the eye, guess I will just have to stake them up and offer them a little support

I was extremely pleased to find that I have a couple of new blooms in the form of annual Snapdragons & Cosmos. The Snapdragons were always a favourite of my mums back in England and I remember, whilst growing up, her showing me how if you squeezed them just right on the sides they would open and close like a mouth. This fascinates me even today and was the first thing I did with my new blooms!

I also have my very first Cosmos flower blooming, its such a happy looking thing. These Cosmos seeds were given to me by "Bluegrass Girl" on the Garden Talk Forum over at BHG.com and were some of the very first things that I Winter Sowed. Surprisingly these were some of the very first seeds to germinate back in February and grew really quickly

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rain, Rain & More Rain!!!

Temperature: Who care's as its not HUMID any more!!!
Weather Conditions: Rain, rain & more rain!!!

OK, I have been complaining lately that there has been no rain and the beds are getting to dry, but COME ON!!! Today has been ridiculous as all it has done is rain, anyone would think that I am back in England!!! I dread to think how my plants have been handling all this inclement weather, the Rose bush that comes over the dividing fence is sagging really badly and I'm sure I saw a couple of my plants out front going the same way. One thing I have considered is that all this rain might open up some of those flower buds that are looking ready to burst, hopefully there will be a riot of colour tomorrow morning

WS - A Definition

It has been brought to my attention that I have been using the abbreviation of "WS" without actually explaining what it is!!!

WS stands for Winter Sowing, this is the process of sowing seeds outdoors in the dead of winter in mini greenhouses, creating stronger, more hardy plants to grow in your garden. Lets also not forget the fact that it removes the need for artificial lighting and heating of young seedlings, putting Mother Nature back in control!

Unfortunately it isn't my original idea, it was handed on to me by my friends over at the Garden Talk Forum at BHG.com. It was "our" winter project to see how successful it would actually be and how successful the plants would be once planted into their permanant garden beds

Starting from scratch last year in a new house I wanted to get my gardens growing as quickly and as cheaply as possible, WS was definitely the way to go. Although my garden beds still look very bare as everthing is still in its first year, I have very strong and healthy looking plants that weren't fazed by the late frosts we expereinced here in Upstate NY. I will definitely be WS'ing more seeds come January / February time and I hope that this method really takes of

For a thorough look at the principles of Winter Sowing please, please visit http://www.wintersown.org. Here you will find illustrated instructions, testemonials, photographs of seeds emerging in February (Zone 4!) and lists of seeds that have proved successful using this method

Give it a try, you won't be sorry

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wednesday, June 15th

Temperature:c7am - 70F, 12pm - 82F
Weather Conditions: Mostly overcast with some sunshine and the odd shower

Well, compared to the last few days, today is wonderful! The humidity and temperatures seem to have dropped and there's a really nice breeze all around, hope it lasts a while!

Have been out front ALL morning where I have been raking the weeds out of my neighbours front bed to make it look all nice and presentable, unfortunately there isn't any mulch that I can put down. I have put some Snapdragons (I think!) which I had WS and that were in pots in the space immediately in front of the Holly Tree, hopefully they will get nice and big and bloom beautifully - SOON! I also sowed some "Gold Dust" Alyssum like I have on my side which will present nice colour with the Tulips next spring. I also transplanted some Sweet Basil into the front bed as I didn't want it to go to waste, hopefully I'll end up with a nice crop for the winter!

I have just found out from my Garden Talk buddies what my two mystery flowers / plants are:

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This first one (above) is a "Siberian Wallflower" (Cheiranthus allionii) which turns out to be a "native" plant

"These are evergreen, semiwoody plants from the Canary Isles, Madeira, and the Mediterranean region. They belong to the Mustard family, Cruciferae. Cheiranthus (Wallflowers) have vertical, branching stems, 1/2 to 3 feet high. In the spring they bear spikes of beautiful and often fragrant flowers. Though they are perennials, they are often treated as biennials and are raised from seed every year......The Siberian Wallflower, C. Allionii, may be orange or yellow and are produced abundantly in April and May. Even though the Siberian Wallflower is usually known in gardens as C. Allionii, botanists have the opinion that it's actually an Erysimum. They consider it a product of E. asperum, a native American species. The Siberian Wallflower is hardier than the English kind. The Alpine Wallflowers may be yellow, orange-yellow, or purplish. These are great for growing in well-drained, light soil in the rock garden....."

This second one is "Crown Vetch" (Coronilla varia) and as beautiful as I think it looks its actually very invasive, being compared to Creep Charlie, Barrenwort etc...

"Crown vetch is an herbaceous perennial legume with creeping stems 2-6 feet long, and leaves consisting of 15-25 pairs of oblong leaflets. This species has a reclining growth habit and rhizomes that can grow up to ten feet long, thus contributing to rapid and extensive vegetative spread. Flower clusters range in color from pinkish-lavender to white, occur in umbels on long, extended stalks, and bloom from May through August. Flowers produce long, narrow pods containing slender seeds. Crown vetch (also known as "trailing crown vetch") is an exotic perennial frequently used as a ground cover for erosion control and as a green fertilizer crop. It is used as a bank stabilizer along roads and waterways. The plant's original habitat includes Europe, southeast Asia and northern Africa. The plant's distribution in the U.S. encompasses most of the northern U.S. east of South Dakota."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Monday, June 13th

Temperature: ??
Weather Conditions: AM - A bit overcast, PM - Sunny. Humid all day

Didn't really get a chance to do very much today as I've been running around. Only thing I really did was feed most of my plants with Miracle Grow water

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Darn Wabbit!!!

Temperature: ??
Weather Conditions: Overcast and Humid!

Well, it it SO hot and sticky today, we really need a good rain storm to get rid of all this humid air!

Returned from the weekend away to find that the Rabbits have been making a meal out of my smaller plants, thankfully they have stuck to the Baby's Breath and Snow-in-Summer, none of the Lily's have been demolished! I went round spraying with the Liquid Fence stuff again and that should keep them away like it did last time

Was able to collect my first lot of seeds from the deep purple Johnny Jump-ups, white Forget-Me-Not's & blue Forget-Me-Nots. I'm hoping to collect more of these and of other types then I can start seed swapping when the time comes, I'm sure the girls on the Garden Talk forum will start doing it eventually. Now I'll be prepared

The Snow Queen Clematis from Wal-Mart seems to have grown a bit over the weekend, which is good. I'm contemplating moving it into the back full-sun bed so that it can climb on the fence and the each year intertwine it with Hyacinth Bean Vines

Friday, June 10, 2005

Fangia Fandango

Temperature: 7am - 75F (VERY humid!), 11am - 90F, 2pm - 95F
Weather Conditions: Early AM - Hazy Sunshine, Lunchtime - Cloudy and threatening storm

Its very warm and humid today, apparently there are storms around which are causing it, I hope we get some rain from all these storms! Although the sun is going in and out behind the clouds that looks like storm-clouds still we have no rain!

My big project today was to get my "Down the Garden Path....." website up and running, its a photographic journey through my gardens, concentrating on what's in bloom as the year progresses. Its still very basic but will definitely develop as my gardens develop, I'm hoping that others will enjoy my photo's and journal as much as I do!. Check it out at http://www.claireturner.com/GardeningPhotoJournal/index.html

My daily walk around my gardens has shown that there are many things starting to develop buds for blooming, most noticeable is the WS Forget-Me-Nots, but also the WS Cosmos, WS Petunias and more WS Baby's Breath

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The thing that surprised me most about this mornings wander though is that one of the "Fangia Lily's" I brought at Wal-Mart has started blooming in full, strange because the whole plant is less than a foot tall!??

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Thursday, 9th June

Temperature: 7am - 62F, 11.30am - 88F
Weather Conditions: Overnight - Rain, AM - Sunny with some cloud cover

I seem to be having a bit of a bug infestation! First of all it was the Aphids, which I seem to have got under control by spraying the plants with soapy water. NOW, I have these mottled brown bugs that look a bit like a Rose-thorn, they are about an 1/8 - 1/4 inch long and have wings. I have no idea what they are and whether they do any serious damage, hopefully I'll find some answers

A couple of things are blooming for me though.....

Perennial Baby's Breath
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Snowmound Spirea
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The neighbours Rose bush is hanging over the fence in the back garden and is also blooming, I hope it continues to bloom all season as its very pretty and looks great hanging over like that
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Transplanting Continued!

Temperature: 7am - 60F, 9am - 85F
Weather Conditions: AM - Sunny, Late PM - Thunderstorm with a small amount of rain

The Nasturtium that I planted between the stepping stone out front has poked its head up through the heavy mulch and is starting to gain leaves. This I didn't expect as I thought I had probably disturbed it to much during my weeding and mulch laying the other day, I am very pleased though, should look great as it grows in and blooms. The ones in the pots are also doing well, no idea where I'm gonna put them yet but I'm sure I'll find space!

All the things I transplanted yesterday seem to be doing well this morning. The two Coreopsis plants have gotten over their limping stage and are standing upright again which is promising. All the little seedlings are standing to attention and I should see growth soon. The Sweet Potato plants are looking great in their new home and for some reason look much more "sprightly" than they did yesterday in their individual black pots, maybe they just needed company and mulch?!

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I have noticed out back that I am starting to get some flower buds on a few of the "Winter Sown" (WS) plants - namely the Forget-Me-Not's, Bachelor Buttons, Petunias and the Cosmos from Bluegrass Girl. I have also noticed that the Becket (hanging) Geranium has flower buds on it so I will get blooms from that. Its so exciting, I can't wait to see them all bloom

Transplanted the Wal-Mart Cosmos into more permanent homes, hopefully they will grow as well as the ones Bluegrass Girl sent me. I have give my surplus seedlings to Pam across the street as I just can't bare to throw them in the trash, I know she'll love them as much as I do! She gave me one of her dark Coleus, hopefully this will grow better that the ones I have started from seed which just don't seem to be growing at all! She tells me that there is a new "trailing" Coleus which grows well in full, harsh sunlight - I'll have to check that out

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Day of Transplanting

Temperature: 7am - 60F, 9am - 85F, 4pm - 92F
Weather Conditions: AM - Sunny

Well, what a wonderful day it turned out to be! The weather people were saying that it was going to be a bit drizzly this afternoon but no where near as bad as the thunderstorms yesterday, instead we get beautiful sunshine all day long

Spent the morning transplanting some of the last seedlings into more permanent homes. Many of the bicolored Coreopsis and the Basket of Gold Alyssum are now in the front bed where they will have room to spread their roots and grow up nice and strong. I also put some in the shade bed to see how they will do down there. The Sweet Alyssum was also dotted around the various beds so that it can start to grow and put on a good show. I also transplanted a couple of the more established "Winter Sown" (WS) Coreopsis plants into the centre of the sun bed to balance things out a bit better. They look a bit droopy at the moment (should know better than to transplant in the middle of the day!) but they should bounce back in a day or two

Brought a new plastic pot and some Miracle Grow soil and transplanted the two Sweet Potato plants as they didn't seem to be doing to well in the "heavy" compost soil. I paired them with some Sweet Alyssum and put them out back on the pedastal plant holder that Pam across the street gave me. They look pretty good there and I reckon it won't be long before I start to see some good growth on them

Ken's mom gave me a plant she rooted, I have potted it up in a container and its outside on the hot-tub steps. I have no idea what it is, guess I'll have to ask my GT buddies!!!

Also, climbed the ladder and put up some more netting for the Sweet Autumn Clematis to climb. Now it can go almost to the roof line which will make the front of the house look great when it blooms. I hope that its strong enough to support the weight of the vine, I'd hate for it to grow and drag the trellis of the wall. I'll find out soon enough, I can always attach a 'proper" wooden trellis to the front of the house next year

Monday, June 06, 2005

Let's Talk About the Weather

Temperature: 7am - 68F, 2pm - 95F, 7pm - 72F
Weather Conditions: AM - Cloudy with Rain Showers, PM - Severe Thunderstorm Warnings in Effect + Tornado Watch!!!

Woke EARLY this morning to the sound of rain & thunder, it was wonderful!!! Hopefully it will continue (the forecast says it will) and the ground will get a good drink

Well, a few hours later and the National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the entire area, not to mention there has been a Tornado Watch!!! They reckon that its gonna continue like this well into tomorrow and then be back again for Friday and Saturday

Did learn something interesting today from Kate, apparently when there is going to be severe weather the leaves on Oak Trees start to turn over to show their silvery undersides. It takes about 12 hours for them to turn over so you should get plenty of warning

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Getting Rid of Grass!

Temperature: Hot!
Weather Conditions: Sunny with the brief threat of rain

What a back-breaking day!!! Took it upon myself to clean out the area under my front "shade" plants to create a more defined bed which meant digging out ALL the grass which just seems to take over the planet!!!

This is what the area looked like before.....

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And, this is what it looks like now!.....

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The bed looks a little bare at the moment but as the Red Ground Clover grows it should take over a nice portion of the ground around the Rhododendron bush, I am also thinking of adding some Creeping Jenny to that area for a contrasting green. I'm going to have Ken bring home some more stepping stone's so that I can put them behind the Spirea so that if the utility guys need to get in there they can do it without ruining my plants!

I spoke with my next door neighbour (Kate) about tending to their bed right outside the front door, she said I could do pretty much what ever I wanted as she has a "black-thumb" and isn't interested / doesn't have time. I'm basically just gonna keep it weeded and lay down some of these wood-chips so that it looks like one continuous bed and makes my side look better. I may add some plants later on but for now it will get the bare minimum!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mulching the Beds

Temperature: 11am - 90F, 4pm - 95F
Weather Conditions: Sunny

Very warm out today, the weatherman said it was going to be a bit rainy! Can't complain though, the temperatures are finally heating up which means the plants are finally starting to grow! So are the weeds though....

Ken has said that there are a whole bunch of chipped tree's on his job-site, so we are gonna head over there and grab a load to use as mulch on our beds. This is great news as I thought I would have to buy bags slowly over the summer, hopefully with this stuff the ground won't dry out so quickly and I can stem the growth of weeds!

Well.....We did it, we went to the site and brought a whole truck-load back with us. I've spent all afternoon out in the baking sun using a hand-rake to pull some of the weeds, "fluff" up the soil from any compaction that has occured and then cover every square inch with the newly aquired wood chips. I have to say that it does look really good now, looks much more finished - hopefully the soil and plants will agree. I gave them a GOOD watering to get them nice and moist, hopefully it will stay that way for a while as i don't want worry that the ground is getting to dry

Back beds.....

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Front sun bed.....

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday, June 3rd

Temperature: ??
Weather Conditions: ??

Well, I've been pottering in the yard all week doing little things here and there. I'm very pleased with my velvety red Iris, they are AWESOME, albeit a little crowded. I'm also REALLY excited because the Rhododendron bush has bloomed even though I moved it earlier in the year. Its beautiful white flowers opening from pink buds, I think it might be one of the "Yaku" Rhodo's which actually stay quite small. The Snowmound Spirea is also starting to bud out and should get blooms sometime soon

I sowed a whole bunch of seeds a little while ago. The Cherry Tomatoes have appeared, I only seem to have lost one, which is good. The Wal-Mart Cosmos have germinated and are growing strong. My Nasturtium are just starting to emerge. I think next season I am going to start growing my seeds MUCH earlier in the season, like February, so that I have good size plants earlier in the season. I'm a little disappointed that the WS seedlings haven't gotten REALLY big by now. The Hollyhock is growing strong but everything else is still tiny

I brought a small "Snow Queen" Clematis at Wal-Mart which has been planted in the metal tub container with the Wild Rose, it'll look great when it grows in. Ken's mum also brought me a quart pot of Red Ground Clover which I divided into two and planted out front either side of the Rhododendron