Thursday, April 30, 2009


Everything must go, right? We won't discuss my personal life, but at the store, I spent the better part of the morning clearing out and pricing all the distressed plants. Some were things that had just been there too long. A little trim here and there, and it will mostly be good as new. I marked everything 50-75% off. As I was preparing to leave, my boss announced that any item on the clearance rack would be 50 cents for the next few hours. Fine. I brought home $7 worth of plants.

I got hardy ferns, lamb's ear, and two hanging baskets of gerber daisies (white, of course). I kept the tags with their actual name, but they're downstairs. I'm not.
The worst damage was to the ferns.

I got my clearance hosta and ferns planted in the north bed.

The gerber daisies were separated into 8 plants with 4 placed on the sunny side of the white bed, and 4 to the rear of the house.

I've got veggie sprouts in the potager. Beans


The asparagus I planted last week has grown a single sprout.

Tiny seedless grapes. Either Mars, Reliance, or Himrod. The tags got misplaced when I moved them this winter.


The Potager

Over in the perennial bed, the knockouts are living up to their name even with only a couple hours of sunlight a day.

Linaria in 6-7 hour sun.

Black Eyed Susans are pushing up stems.



Datura metel bloom about to open. I need to walk outside after dark.

Daylily seedlings. Collected from trades and along parking lot medians in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

True leaves on my dogwood seedlings.

And finally, a single solitary sprout in my Japanese Maple container. These were collected from Jackie's house in Virginia. I sowed them in mid-November. This one will be red.

5:50pm - Everything got some water. Planted out Sue's hosta too. Planted from the cloner: 4 Persian Shield, 11 petunia, and the third lantana. The kongmansia is just starting to push roots. I found more seeds for the white garden. The nicotiana germinated during my trip. I may save them for next year. I've already planted cotton seeds on the 25th.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thanks Kris

I told you I was going to steal that comment. :)


I was only away for two days

But it seems the growth in the garden is remarkable. The heat of the past week has made everything jump. Black eyed Susans and echinacea are sending up buds. Petunias are blooming like crazy. Poppies are about to bloom. Even my lavender from last year has buds on it. I'll make another cup of coffee in a few minutes and spend some time walking around before work.

It's 66 degrees and overcast. Chance of afternoon showers is in the forecast.

At the Wal-Mart in Roanoke, we stopped by after dinner just to check on some clearance plants my friend had seen the day before. What caught my eye were the quart sized hostas for $1 each. I bought 10. I will try to get them planted tomorrow.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Successes and Blooms

Things are finally starting to come alive in the perennial bed. Aside from a few wintersown containers, some weeding, and possibly moving a few plants this fall, I'm considering it finished for the year. All I have to do now is wait for everything to mature and bloom. Some of the plants may not bloom until next summer.

"Sunny" Knockout's first bloom. I should have taken this photo yesterday.

Pink and red knockouts

Unidentified flower. I thought they were crocus leaves.

Linaria "Flaming Passion"

Virginia Stock is holding up well to the heat.

Oxalis. Lots and lots of pink and yellow oxalis.

The Rose of Sharon leafed out nearly a month early this year.

Coreopsis "Full Moon" and Shasta Daisies are really taking off this week.

Clover and oxalis in the future rose garden.

Red Homestead Verbena

Sunday's picture

In the cloner, petunias, anise hyssop, hibiscus, persian shield, and other odds and ends.

Yesterday I found a white lantana on the rack at the store. There were two lavender plants in the same container so I pulled them out and repotted them. They'll go into the front beds once they have rerooted. The white will go into the white bed to grow among the daturas and nicotiana.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Potager

Beans (blue lake pole and "butter"), cucumbers, silver queen sweet corn, lima beans, millet, castor beans, okra, and gourds were planted out today. Everything got a good soaking. It's 85 and very sunny.

Friday, April 24, 2009

75 degrees before noon.

The plants are loving it. I, on the other hand, am sweating like a room full of red pocketbooks in a church filled with rocking chairs and long tailed cats. Or something like that.

I enlarged the rear white bed with half a load of leaf mulch. I'll plant castor beans here on Saturday to give me some summer privacy from the neighbor.

The rest went into the edge of the woods where the compost bin was. These things may look neat, but they don't do squat for composting.

Then I applied a thin layer of wood mulch from the landfill over several beds. It's free. I'll spend the next 2 weeks picking trash out of the mulch. I did the front bed, the driveway bed, and the white bed.

Lavender Hidcote Blue sprouts - wintersown. Careful not to cover small sprouts.

The backyard is now shady again thanks to all the leaves. The tomatoes and veggies get full sun for about 6 hours. From 1pm to 3pm, then from 5pm til sunset.

The potager got watered.

My melon garden. I'll plant watermelons and cantaloupes in these straw bales. Trying something new.

The first yellow knockout bloom of the season.

Off to take another shower, visit the elementary school for a photo-op, then come back home and put my okra in water to soak. Not sure what I will do this afternoon. The big jobs are now done in the yard. It's time to start thinking about the house.

2:41pm - Officially our warmest day of the year. 83 degrees in the shade.

Can I complain about the heat now?

90 degrees? Already? What happened to spring?

Actually, it's been a very nice spring. We've had two months of near perfect weather. There have been some chilly days, and some really warm days. But overall, I can't complain. The wintersown plants aren't even wilting. They were planted early and have gotten their roots in the ground. The container purchased plants are a different story. Everything needs water this morning to survive the heat. Hopefully, they'll catch up with the root production as the ground warms up. I don't care to spend all summer watering plants again.

Today, One load of wood mulch from the landfill to top off the driveway bed. One load of leaf mulch to use here and there in the garden. I'll toss it out by the compost bin out back and let it compost there over the summer. At 1pm, I have to head to the elementary school to have my photo taken with the kids that built the garden using plants I selected. I showed them how to plant everything and they went gung ho. Even the sunflowers have sprouted, they tell me. After that, I have some housework chores to complete. Who wants to work inside when the weather is so great?

More coffee and a shower first.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Late Wednesday evening, I finally got my plants organized. I dumped many containers with no germination or dead seedlings. I put everything at the end of the driveway. They'll get morning sun here, but be protected next week when the temperatures reach into the upper 80s. Welcome to summer, folks.

Wintersown pot ghetto

Picked over annuals

Organized and arranged

There are only 3-5 wintersown containers I plan to keep. There are dogwoods and cherry laurels growing on in individual cups. There are a few seedlings and cuttings I plan to put in the ground at some point. The rest just need to go.

In the garden, I planted the Kongmansia and 4 squash cups.

carrots, strawberries, peas, and borage

Cabbage and lettuce

I also planted out lots more annuals like zinnia and a few morning glories. I'm trying to get my purples in the bed by the front door. This summer, I'll take cuttings from my rose bushes and propagate some reds to mix into this bed. At some point, the Japanese Maple will need to find a new home as the area transitions into a rose garden mixed with purple salvias and lavender. Coreopsis "Moonbeam" will be added here along the edge in the fall when I divide the two I have growing in the perennial bed.

On one of my daily walks through the yard, I started pinching plants. The agastache, petunias, pineapple sage, butterfly bushes, and lots more got pinched. I'm hoping to inspire more growth and bushier plants. It may mean losing some early blooms, but it should be worth it in the end. Another week or so and I can pinch the zinnias and other tender annuals.

I spent some time sitting on the front steps trying to figure out what I want from the entry. I've decided that since I already have lots of broken concrete in the gully, I'll rip out my old walkway, break the pieces into irregular chunks and lay them in a curving pattern. The bricks of the steps will become my firepit in the backyard. I'll tackle the steps from the driveway to the front yard at some point this summer. They're in really bad shape and just need to be rebuilt from scratch.

Today is a work day. I'll be off again on Friday. Depending on circumstances, I might get another load of leaf mulch from the landfill. I want to extend the white bed in the rear corner along the wall marking the property line. I've got the stones already for the edge, I just need to work some organic stuff into the clay and rock back there. I'd like to plant castor beans along the wall and let the moonvines grow through them. We'll see how I feel on Friday.