Thursday, June 25, 2009

Name That Plant

I transplanted part of this plant from my mailbox area to my new flower bed however I do not know the name of it. I am researching this plant however if you know the name of this plant please leave a comment and let me know. It has leaves almost like a mint plant and has a purple flower which attracts lots of bees.

~GG in the house

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Art of Flower Gardening

My empty and spacious flower bed looked so large that I wondered how I would ever determine what flowers to plant in what location. I liked the layout of the previous flower bed but I had vague memories of what was planted, and where it was planted. As I began to weed and till the soil a mental picture of the garden in full bloom formed in my mind. I began to see a distinct flow that if followed would give me a colorful pattern from one end of the garden to the other. It would also give me a pleasing variety of depth and height throughout. So taking the bed by sections I planted my offering. A mixture of seeds; Bluebonnets, Mammoth Sunflowers, Sweet Pea, Spinach and Imperial Blend (Butterfly bush) were interspersed with transplants; hostas, New Cana, Day Lillies, Irises, Marigolds (newly planted but doing poorly in the original location) and Ice Plant. There are several transplants, the names of which I do not know, that were transplanted as well. Discovering the names of those plants will be a task unto itself. I divided the flower garden into four sections, each with its own flow yet flowing into the next section for continuity. In the narrowest part of the bed I reviewed the seed packets to ensure that I had my seeds planted by the height of the mature plant (lowest to highest).

I mainly used Burpee seeds. Having used them before I knew I was getting a reliable product. I have had success in the past using seeds, except for sunflowers. It's not that they won't grow, it seemed that lots of creatures loved to eat those edible seeds. Some animal (squirrel) thought he'd made the find of the century and dug them up as soon as they were planted. If by chance some of the sunflower seeds went undetected the leaves and stalks were quickly eaten once they emerged. This season to deter any animal from eating my sunflower seeds or other incredibly edible seeds I mixed Miracle Gro Blood Meal into the soil. I had never used blood meal before but I heard it was a great deterrent. Upon reading the package I noted that there were other benefits to plants. Time will tell if it will help my plants grow to maturity. With my seeds and flowers planted and my iced tea in hand I surveyed my handiwork and hoped that I had planted each one in just the right place.

~GG in the house

One Flower Garden Leads to Another

I had one goal in mind, bring my flower garden back to life. As the amount of time I spent in my yard increased it became clear that there were other areas in need of attention, unattractive barren places. So what started out as the rejuvenation of one garden has lead to tending to or creating several more. There is a bald area just off the front flower garden leading to the side of the house. The air conditioning unit, utility meter, wires and pipes are located in this area. I could have planted grass here however a low maintenance ground cover may prove to be attractive and take the focus off the utility objects. This ground cover will fill out, spread and require very little of my attention.

Before ground cover
Another area that needs attention is beneath the back deck. Though it gets very little sun if weeds can grow perhaps ground cover and few shade loving plants will do as well.
freshly transplanted ground cover
~GG in the house

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bulbs, Seeds, and Transplants

I uprooted all weeds and existing plants in my flower bed with the exception of a line of Monkey Grass and ferns that bordered it. Try as I might I probably did not remove all old roots and bulbs. As they grow up with my new plantings I will remove anything that I do not want. The entire front bed was bordered with Monkey Grass but I have grown tired of that look and opted for a low flowering border. I removed some Irises, Day Lillies, and hostas that will be replanted in other areas of the flower bed.

Growing from seed as opposed to mature plants or small seedlings is my preference. I like 'watching' the plants grow and the bed mature over time. It gives me the feeling that I have 'accomplished' something. I also use a lot of plants from other areas of my yard. The ferns bordering my flower bed were growing wild in a wooded part of my backyard. I thought it a shame that no one was enjoying these beautiful plants. I will also transplant small clippings from strong mature plants or uproot bulbs from propagating plants. There is a drawback to using bulbs, seeds and immature plants in that it takes a while before your bed looks full and lively. However with patience, care, watering and weeding I begin to get an overwhelming sense of pride and joy as the garden starts to bud and bloom. This feeling returns with each new plant that sprouts and each new color that blooms. It is worth the wait.

The photo shows Monkey Grass next to the steps and ferns in back of the bed

~GG in the house

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Flowering Canvas

Why not hire a landscaping company? That's an option but I enjoy gardening. I find it relaxing and rewarding. So with my lastest home project I thought I would 'journal out loud' and share my experiences as well as gain some wisdom for future reference. I have a few year's worth of experience in gardening however blogging is a totally new experience. My summer gardening project is a challenge complicated by time constraints. Tackling it will not only give me the benefit of adding to my arsenal of knowledge but will also afford me the opportunity to master new technology. It sure would be easier to hire a landscape company and perhaps one day that will be my solution. Today my garden is a blank canvas and I look forward to personally painting it with brillant colors.

~GG in the house

Flower Garden from Scratch

Working in the garden is an extemely rewarding exercise. It can be hard work but the payoff comes in the form of vibrant colors that adorn my yard and attract various birds, butterflies, or other insects that propagate seed. The payoff also comes from the ability to eat produce picked directly from the earth beneath my feet warmed by the summer sun. (As yet I have only dreamed of reaping this second reward). There are additional rewards for tending a garden and reaping them means dealing with pesky distractions. I will not talk, or think, of them so early in my endeavor. However when a garden has not been tended for months, ten to be exact, working it can be an overwhelming task.

Such was my situation a mere two weeks ago when I began my garden transformation to a thing of beauty from a patch of earth overrun with weeds that had become small trees. Had I made the decision to begin blogging prior to stripping the bed of the good, the bad and the ugly I would have photos to testify to its poor neglected condition. My initial photo shows the bed stripped to the bare minimum. Getting it to this state was a one woman, sunrise to sunset affair punctuated with lots of sweat and liquids to keep me hydrated. Armed with a shovel, hoe, tenacity and determination I began the process that it would have been wise to start prior to the arrival of the new spring growth . At least by the time I got the courage to tackle this job our area had received several days of rain thus I was able to remove roots from a surface willing to yield its hold. With this first stage of stripping the flower bed of weeds and healthy plants finally finished I can now plant seeds and existing plants into my flower bed.

~GG in the house

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