Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy new year! It's a great time to reflect on this past year and think about what you'd like to change in your life to make the new year better than the last! Mine is to continue w/ my gardening and trying not to spend more $ on new flowers but to propagate from the plants I have or add from friend's or family's gardens! I also am working on dropping a few lbs (as always!) God bless and happy new year!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's SNOWING!!! I'm so excited the we're getting snow before Christmas this year! It is so beautiful and hides all the ugliness that winter brings. I hope you all have a wonderful and memorable holiday season. Take it all in ~ the snow, the music, the lights & decorations, the feeling of excitement in the air, the family gatherings, and most of all ~ remember the true meaning of Christmas! XXO

Monday, November 16, 2009

A beautiful weekend!

It was a gorgeous weekend! The temps were in the high 60's into the low 70's and the sun was shining! The photo was taken last evening as the sun was going down. If you look closely, you can see the silhouette of an old farm truck ~ kind of neat! I really wanted to spend yesterday hiking but it's been so wet that it probably would've been just a muddy mess and slippery too. So, I settled for working on cleaning up the yard. I brought in all my garden "decor", emptied out some of my flower pots, and washed them all. I also cleaned out my fountain and covered it for the winter. I hate how the yard looks this time of year. Everything is so bland ~ brown and dead. Although, silhouetted scenes like the photo above are quite lovely! I still have a few flowers blooming in the ground and in a few pots on the porch. I don't have the heart to cut them back or dump them yet. I'll be decorating for Christmas in a few weeks, by then they will be ready I'm sure. Hope you all have a great week!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall clean-up time :(

Hope you all had a great Halloween! This is photo of my house ~ it's already been de-decorated and ready for the Christmas decorations to go up the day after Thanksgiving!
This is a beautiful time of year and also a tiring time of year. Living in the woods definitely has it's pros and cons. The pros are the beautiful colors of the leaves in the fall, the privacy, being close to nature, etc.. but the leaf clean up is EXHAUSTING! (to say the least) My son and I worked in the yard for about 5 hours today and only managed to get the leaves in the back of the house picked up. We filled up the cart attached to the 4 wheeler and Luke drove them down and dumped them across the road in the woods. It's been so rainy hear that the ground under the leaves is really muddy and quite slippery. Luckily there weren't any falls! I cut back more plants that died but didn't have the heart to cut back the plants that were still green. Those will have to wait . I did dig up my dahlia bulbs and will work on cleaning them up and preparing them for the winter during the week. I think I'll hit the sack early tonight and take a few advil too !

Have a great week!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Climbing Shell Vine

Here are a few photos I just took of my Climbing Shell vine, as you can see it seems to be adapting very well to being indoors. It didn't get this many blooms when it was outside. I just can't get over it! The other plants in the first photo are an ornamental pepper plant (my mom picked up at Lowe's recently for $0.75 ~ I saw the same type of plant at Walmart last week for $5.00) and the other is shefflera plant ~ also known as an Umbrella plant. I was able to bring in my geraniums last weekend. I bagged about a dozen of them and have 6 of them still in their pots near a window in my dining room. We haven't had a full fledged frost yet so I still have quite a few flowers bloomng, but it won't be long. Has anyone else had success bringing in any special plants from their gardens? I brought in a fuscia plant last winter that did well. It got pretty scraggly looking during the winter but came back beautifully once I was able to move it back outside. Hopefully it will do well again this winter. I'd like to try to bring in some cuttings from my lantana. Has anyone tried to start lantana indoors? I've heard it's hard to grow from seed and that you need to do stem cuttings. Guess I'll give that a try before they freeze over. Lantana is my favorite annual. They are just so colorful and really attract the butterflies and hummingbirds.
Well, I guess this growing season is coming to an end. The trees are peeking around here ~ they are just so beautiful. I really enjoy the different seasons here in Maryland. It really was a great summer!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brrrrrr ~

The autumn wind is howling and the leaves are begining to cover the ground. The temperatures are really dropping quickly and I'm afraid the frost will attack before I have a chance to pull up the plants I want to winterize indoors. If it will just wait until my day off on Friday... I want to try something different w/ my geraniums. I read that if you pull them up, shake off the soil, cut them back to about 6"and place them in a paper lunch bag ~ that you can keep them for next spring. You just need to keep them in a cool, dry place. They go dormant and in the spring will start to show signs of growth, just in time to replant! Geraniums aren't my favorite of annuals but they are very colorful and keep blooming all season long. I also purchased a shell plant that I want to try to salvage for next year. It's a vine that gets purple shell-like blooms. I'll have to cut it way back ~ it's climbing up the rainspout! I started it on a 4 foot trellis and placed it in the corner hoping it would do just that!!! I'll bring it inside and try shining a growing light on it for 6-8 hours a day and see what happens. My daughter will be moving out soon :( and my son will be moving into her much bigger and brighter room, so... I get to turn his old room into a growing/craft room. Besides gardening, I also enjoy scrapbooking , photography, drawing, and cake decorating. It'll be nice to have a place to organize everything!

I think I'd better go rescue this plant in case we do have frost tonight. My house is going to look like a jungle until I get the room ready ~ my boyfriend will love that!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Waiting for the birds? There's a reason I don't put birdseed in this feeder!
Dwarf bleeding heart ~ unlike the typical bleeding hearts, these continue to bloom throughout the summer and into the fall. They aren't as showy as the others but they are quite pretty!

This is my cat "Peaches"! She loves following me around my gardens and laying in them (or is it lying in them?) and squashing my plants!
The Cosmos are still blooming like crazy!

This was a sweet surprise! It's a Hardy Cyclamen ~ I planted 3 bulbs in the spring and until this week, there was no sign of them. Only 2 of the 3 came up but I'll take that!

I'll be digging this beauty up after the first frost to save for next year. If you missed the Dahlia tip, check out my previous blog post.

I'm dreading the end of this growing season as I am this time every year. I have been scheduling my patients (Dental hygiene) for their 6 month recare appointment in April 2010. I just keep thinking that I'll be starting all over with my gardens then. I'll keep busy w/ my seeds and the plants I'll be trying to keep alive through the winter, but it's not as enjoyable as wandering around my yard and enjoying all the beautiful flowers, birds, butterflies and other creatures that happen to stop by. Luckily, even though I live in the woods, the deer haven't bothered with any of my plants. I did have problems w/ rabbits in the past but I found a product called "Liquid fence" that works wonderfully! I highly recommend it ~ it's supposed to keep rabbits and deer away. I still have plenty to keep me busy before the snow falls: dividing my shasta daisies, cutting back the plants once frost sets in and digging up my dahlias. I also bring in most of my garden decor just to keep it nice for next year. I cleaned out all my bird feeders this past weekend. They had a lot of moldy birdseed in them because of all the rain. I think I'll only put in a little at a time from now on, so as to not waste the seed. I also cleaned out my hummingbird feeders and put them away :( until next March. I sure will miss the hummingirds. If you haven't looked at the pictures of my hummingbirds, click on the slide show link. I never did get a photo of my male, but there's always next year.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mums and Asters

I'm sure many of you know about pinching back your mums and asters, but I didn't until a few years ago so for those of you who don't know...once your mums and asters start coming up in the spring, once a month you should pinch or trim back these plants to keep them from getting too leggy and flop over in the fall! You should continue pinching them back until the end of July. I cut them back about 3" or 4" each month and look how beautiful they turned out. These photos were taken around the middle of September. The asters are pretty much done their first bloom but it looks like a second set of buds are going to pop. The mums have continued to look gorgeous! The asters I have were started from one plant I bought about 5 years ago. They spread like crazy. I've dug up the seedlings and moved them into a few other beds, even the tiny ones bloomed! I'll probably have to split the mums once they are done this year. They got pretty big and I could use some in other areas for next year! That's the great thing about this time of year ~ spreading the beauty!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seed collecting and plant dividing

I beat the rain with most of my gardening chores yesterday. I deadheaded and cleaned up some of the dead plants. My Mallows seam to have developed rust ~ it's a fungus, probably due to the amount of rain we've had. Luckily, it showed up at the end of the season instead of earlier. I started collecting seeds from the two plants in the photos. The Black-eyes Susans and the Coral Nymph Salvia. They both produce a ton of seeds. I wanted to give some tips on dividing perennials. Dividing perennials gives you a chance to add plants to other areas of your garden or to share w/ friends. It also keeps the original plant from becoming overgrown and ragged. It's best to divide on a calm day. The wind or sun can dry out the roots. If you don't have a choice: soak the roots and cover w/ moist newspaper until you are ready to plant. Dispose of any woody centers. You'll want to work up your soil w/ compost before planting also. I have a "toss and forget" type of composter ~ it takes longer than the tumbler kind but I only use it in the spring and in the fall so it works for me. If you don't compost, you can purchase a bag of compost (leaf compost is really good) from one of the home/garden stores. When you are actually doing the dividing, you can either dig up the entire plant and either cut or pull apart in sections. The other is to split the plant, leaving half of it in and removing the other half. That half can be divide also. The latter is what I normally do with my Shasta Daisies, Coral Bells, Hostas, but for my Astilbes and Goats beard I usually dig up the entire plant and divide it.

I also read up a little on digging up Dahlias. In Maryland, Dahlias don't make it through the winter so if you want to have them again for the next year, you have to dig them up. The best time to dig them up is after the first frost when the leaves turn brown. Dahlias have tubers which you need to wash off and let air dry for several days. If you want to keep track of what color each one is, you can write directly on the tubers w/ a Sharpie marker. You'll want to store the dry tubers in a box lined w/ a trash bag. Leave the bag open for air circulation and place in a cool dry area that doesn't freeze. (40 - 50 degrees is the best) Occasionally mist w/ water to keep moist. Divide the tubers in the spring. Cut w/ sharp knife. Each section should include the root, part of the crown and at least one growth bud. Let cuts heal for 2 days before planting to avoid root rot. Wait until the ground is warm before planting or start indoors. I'm going to give this a try this year. I'll let you know how it works out!

Have a nice day!


Friday, September 25, 2009

What gorgeous weather we’ve been having in Maryland lately. Fall has already set in; cool mornings, warm days and cool evenings! I dread the winter coming. I hate when everything turns brown and my yard looks like a mess. I guess that just makes me appreciate the spring even more. I'll also miss the creatures of the gardens. I have quite a few types of butterflies that enjoy my flowers and butterfly bushes and amazing hummingbirds. This photo is of an Eastern Black Swallowtail and a Tiger Swallowtale.
I take many pictures ~ check out my slide show! I guess I'll spend the winter reading up on gardening! I ordered a couple books on seeds on the internet ~ big mistake, from now on, I think I’ll check out the books in person before buying. One of the books I ordered was called “Seeds”, sounded like something educational ~ it was, but maybe for a child. I guess I’ll give it to my 2.5 year old niece for Christmas. She’s used to getting gardening gifts from me! The other book seems to be geared for vegetable gardening more so than flowers. It’s not that I don’t do any vegetable gardening, but my passion is w/ flower gardening. I also ordered a book on Pollinating. It has a lot of information and beautiful photos. It's a pretty large book so it should keep me busy most of the winter! If anyone has knows of a good book on seed collecting, please let me know. I’m just kind of winging it with what I’ve done so far. Some flowers are easy to collect seeds from but others are a little more difficult. It’s just trial and error for me this year.
I’m enjoying all the new blooms in my gardens; mums, asters, golden rod and snakeroot. I planted 6 giant alliums today! Sure hope the squirrels don’t find them. I bought the “Awesome auger” last year at Target. What a great tool that is. It hooks up to the power drill and w/in minutes, all the holes are dug and ready to be filled! I’m learning that bulb flowers look better when planted in groups instead of individually. Get out there and get those bulbs planted soon!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Autumn has arrived!

I am starting this blog mainly as an outlet for my love of gardening and to hear stories from other gardeners who "garden ~ just for fun"! There are many gardening websites out there to get information and tips from. I would like to be able to give tips to the average part-time gardener and get tips from them. Simple tips such as: if you dig up your geraniums, shake of the excess soil, cut them back to about 6", place them in a paper lunch bag and them store them in your basement or a cool dry place... you can use them again next spring! In these financial times, who wouldn't want to save a little money and recycle your plants? I have been collecting a lot of seeds from my "self-seeding" plants and annuals to share w/ friends and family and to use in other areas of my gardens. The biggest key to collecting the seeds is to let them dry out before storing them away. This has been a trial & error project for me. I've learned that if you don't dry them out... they become moldy and smell and won't produce anything if planted. I do have a multitude of seeds, so if anyone is really interested and willing try them, I could mail them to you. I have; Cosmos, Zinnias, Zebrinia Mallow, Larkspur, Coral Nymph Salvia, and Balsam Impatiens (which is a unique, old fashioned impatiens). No guarantees but I've had success w/ them. Maybe we could start a seed swap~ Hope to hear from you all soon!

Start a smile chain: give one away today! Thanks for stopping in! Jeni