Monday, July 20, 2009

Name that Weed

While weeding I found several types of weeds in my garden, most of which I am rid of for the time being. Of course it doesn't matter what type of weeds they are however I am curious. So I will be doing a little research to find the name of each plant pictured below. If you are aware of the name of any of these weeds feel free to share that knowledge with me. I can think of a few reasons for the existence of mosquitos, however 'I got nothing' regarding the existence of weeds.




~GG in the house

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden Riddle

Riddle me this. What grows in your garden with little rain or much, sun or shade, fertile soil or rock, or the absence of planted seeds? You've guessed it! It makes me want to say "It's not fair". My son's teacher tells her students that a fair is a place where you buy a pig and sell a pie! She is right of course. Life is 'not fair'.

I should get used to the fact that I must work to get a beautiful garden and flowers worthy of being cut and given away. I must water the plants regularly (or try). Carefully plant them in the proper location for that particular plant - shade or sun. Treat my soil so that it is fertile and discard rocks, pine straw or any obstruction to growth. Pray that animals and insects will stay away fromthe leaves and that they will grow to maturity. And wait!

However to get a weed to grow in my garden all I have to do is...Nothing. Torrential rain or drought, weeds grow. Scorching sun or lack of sunshine and weeds grow. Fertile soil, rock, pine straw or ground cover, weeds grow. Being trampled by neighborhood pets will still not deter weeds to grow.

Actually given all the conditions in which weeds grow all I have to do to encourage growth is... Nothing! Neglect to put down ground cover AND pull weeds regularly AND spray weed killer and I am inviting weeds into my garden. That was my choice and as of earlier today my garden looked like this:

After SIX hours of weeding and trying to determine what was a weed versus an a planted seedling, I will be mulching the bed tomorrow!

~GG in the house

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ugh Mosquitos

Mosquitos! When did their bite start hurting? What happened to the little sting that I could feel almost immediately and the short term itching? My time in the garden would be much more pleasant if I didn't have to deal with them. Early mornings are great for avoiding them but I have already mentioned my aversion to rising and entering the garden too early. So I slather on the Skin So Soft. Yes, Avon Skin So Soft. Someone told me years ago that the bath oil works as a mosiquito repellent and I have used it ever since. It seems to do the job and since I do not particularly like to put on bug repellent it is a great substitute. I put it on so thick that I am not sure if it is the smell, the ingredients, or the inability of the mosquito to break through the oily barrier that actually deters them. Whatever it is it seems to work for me.

I am sure that mosquitos serve some purpose in our universe. I can think of some reasons for ther existence but I have to press myself to think of these as a benefit.

~GG in the house

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pests in My Garden

Generally speaking I like squirrels and rabbits. Rabbits more than squirrels as they are cute, fuzzy and can make nice pets. Squirrels are likeable for the entertainment they bring as long as they maintain their distance. But as related to my garden one could consider squirrels and rabbits my foe.

Rabbits seem to have stayed away from my newly revamped garden. Did I previously mention that I planted spinach? Really for what I thought might be it's ornamental value. The plants have barely sprouted so the jury is out as to whether or not rabbits will visit my garden in the future for a nibble. In years past rabbits were highly suspect for eating my patio tomatoes. The only thing I ever caught them eating was foliage as they innocently hopped along in my backyard.

Squirrels are a different story entirely. I have caught them red handed. Well really I've caught them hanging from my bird feeder helping themselves to seeds intended for our backyard birds, trampling my potted morning glories in the process. However I am postive that their's are the tiny paws that dug up all but a hand full of my previously planted sunflower seeds. If they didn't get to the seeds they were sure to reduce the plant to a bare stalk. Lots of sowing, very little reaping!
This year has been different thanks to help from a friend and master gardener. Her advice was to place human hair (taken from a hairbrush) around the garden. Squirrels smell it, think that a human is near and stay clear of the area. She suggested alternating this tactic with others such as sprinkling cayenne pepper around the garden, squirrels do not like the smell. One trick does not fool squirrels for extended periods and alternating tricks give you a better chance of keeping them at bay.

In addition I heard a story told by Dr. Mark Rutland in which he mentioned the use of blood meal in a garden to deter dear and other animals from helping themselves to its contents. He referred to blood meal as being a very smelly liquid that was poured around the boundary of the garden. No animal crossed that boundary line. Technology has come a long way and now there are non smelly granules that you can mix in with your soil.

I used both of these methods and I have healthy, growing sunflowers. The long term deterrent seems to be the blood meal. Even easy access sunflowers on my back deck have not been eaten. Soon large round heads framed by yellow petals will appear on each plant as will many meaty seeds. I'll even share with the squirrels.

~GG in the house

Friday, July 10, 2009

Water Your Garden

Though I like gardening I may not be a garderner at heart. I like gardening 'when I feel like it'. I do not relish getting up at the crack of dawn (or even 3 hours after the sun has risen) to inspect, water and weed my garden, at least not on a daily basis. My desire to garden comes in spurts. The task of watering becomes slightly complicated due to local water restrictions. I may not feel like watering between the hours of 12 a.m. and 10 a.m. on my allotted day. If I miss this opportunity then I must wait two days to water my garden. This means that more often than not my plants are screaming for water before I realize that I need to water them. I enjoy rain showers and thunderstorms in part because it accomplishes this task for me. Ah, the skies reveal that a thunderstorm is brewing. I guess I don't need to water until tomorrow.

~GG in the house

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Anise Hyssop

Also known as Agastache forniculum, Anise Hyssop is the common name of my mysterious plant. This is a beautiful perennial herb that grows to about 3 feet and can be added to salads, used as a seasoning in savory pork and rice dishes and used to make anised-flavored tea. Who knew? After getting close searching the internet I finally found the plant in The Complete Garden Flower Book. A gift given to me several years ago from my husband. I am glad that I asked!

Anise Hyssop

~GG in the house

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Left of the flower bed and beneath the stairs

My sunflowers were the first seeds to emerge. My transplants are sprucing up and my sweet peas are sprouting. The ferns are doing exceptionally well and even the day lilies that were near blooming when planted have grown into beautiful orange flowers. I have yet to see any of the Bluebonnets I planted and I have an abundance of weeds! This tradeoff just doesn't seem fair There is clover, crabgrass and several unknown varieties of weeds popping up all over my flower bed. I was given sage advice to wait to put down pine bark or mulch until the seedlings emerged. I followed that advice and as I may
not have removed as many of the weeds as I thought I did when I was tilling the soil I have quite a bit of weeding to do. Again I find myself on the other side of several days of rain so if I get to the task soon it may not be too painful. Once completed it will definitely be time to lay down a moisture retaining weed barrier.
A day or two after initial planting. Not much to look at - yet.
~GG in the house

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