Sunday, July 24, 2016

SomeFling's up at the Casa....

If someone said to you, "I have a beautiful garden. Would you like to see it?" what would you say? If you were me, "Yeah baby!" would barely be out of your mouth before sprinting toward whatever patch of plants they tended. Now imagine you get to tour their garden with a bunch of other passionate garden bloggers and you have the Garden Bloggers Fling.

The 2016 Garden Bloggers Fling was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in mid July. We trekked into neighboring Wisconsin to see this incredible garden full of mosaics.

Created by Wouterina De Raad, whimsical sculptures can be found through out this lush garden. The artist and garden had so much spirit and soul I didn't want to leave.

But the Fling isn't just about seeing cool gardens. It's about coming together with other gardeners and meeting the people behind the blogs. It's a three and a half day garden lovers gabfest.

These lake shore gardens with their rich sandy loam were packed with plants that struggle in my hot, humid summers. It was enlightening to see them all alive instead of begging for a quick death in my Virginia clay.

This riverbed recirculates the water so it's always flowing.

870 hostas are packed into this magnificent garden. The bloggers arrived in stunned silence

and then immediately began talking and taking pictures.

This dry riverbed is used to control the runoff from heavy rain.

We weren't the only garden visitors.

The incredible garden of Rhonda Hayes has gorgeous raised steel beds 
full of edibles and flowers.

But chatting with your garden blogger friends isn't the only reason to attend a Fling. You're able to explore amazing gardens in person instead of just virtually and you return home inspired and energized. How inspired? After attending three Flings, I'll be hosting the next one!  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Confessions of a Pot Addict

Sometimes one is just not enough. Sometimes 87 is better. As a matter of fact, it is 86 times better. But 88? Pure crazy, I tell ya.

Last I counted I had 87 containers full of plants. But I may have counted wrong.

Annual rudbeckia hirta and monarda citriodora

Anything and everything that doesn't fit into my garden beds, is stuffed in a pot.

Colors are blended and hopefully flow into each other

Seed grown bat faced cuphea lounging in the oregano

but if they clash, who cares?

All annuals that attract pollinators are grown by seed over the winter and 
I fill in the gaps with organic herbs.

Perennials live in the pots forever so I add organic fertilizer 
and granulated mycorrihizae to the soil to keep it fertile.

I bought a pot of basil at the grocery store when my plants were too small to harvest.
 I stuck it outside and thought it would immediately die but it thrived and grew 
so I had to buy another pot.

 I had no choice.

Pineapple mint with seed-grown Jupiter's Beard

A copper watering can? Stick a plant in it.

If sticking plants in pots isn't enough, I create funky art and stick it in the pots. 
It's like decorating the garden.

Agastache that would die in my clay loam thrive in a container so what's a gardener to do but buy more containers? 

Sweet potatoes fill the two pots in front of the miscanthus. I'll harvest these in the fall and cook them for Thanksgiving.

Pots fill my patio steps

 'Pandora's Box' daylily

and house some of my impulse-buy daylilies.

 Just in case they need a little motivation.

Even the cracks in the patio pavers are sprouting plants.

I scattered rudbeckia hirta "Denver Dasies' seed last fall but 
squirrels ransacked the pot so only a few came up. Furry little jerks.

 I don't bother with fillers, thrillers, and spillers, I just add stuffers and fluffers and call it a day. This gives the plants more room to grow and requires less watering.

 A bit of variegation keeps everything from being too green.

To keep the soil from crusting over, I break it up with my fingers so the water penetrates the soil instead of running down the sides. A sharp stick is used to poke holes in deep soil to increase water absorption. Plus, this gives me an excellent excuse for poking things with sharp sticks. It's an excellent stress reliever.

'Red Hot Mama' lilies blown over in a storm were brought inside.

Even my watering can is occasionally pressed into service.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Mama Calls Me Moon Pie

Sometimes a person's name just doesn't match the person. But I've decided the same can be true of plants. Just a few days into true summer and it's time to reLatin the garden. Goodbye names that trip off your tongue to fall to the grass with a clink and an oops and hello names that tell me exactly what I need to know.

'"My mama calls me Moon Pie!"

Stachys 'Bee plant of amazingness'

This thrives in my rain garden.

aka stachys 'Hummelo'

I grew this 'Black Beauty' from seed and this is the only survivor. I'm underwhelmed.

Dahlia disappointus

Handcrafted by Ted Freeman of Roundhouse Works, this functional house is built entirely of repurposed vintage building materials.

Birdhouse extraordinarius

Campanula collapsus

This seed grown variety was supposed to be bright red.

Salvia surprisus

Canine sohappyii

Hostas 'fromAnnetteium'

 Snapdragon I want to grow you foreverfolius

aka snapdragon 'Frosted Flames' 

I started these seeds in January after receiving them as a bonus pack with one of my orders. 
I love them!

These grew so well for me I have two pots full.

Echinacea 'Leaning flower of Pisa'

Monarda 'Rastafarian Redhead' aka 'Jacob Cline'

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Double Scoop of C'est la Vie

'Jude the Obscure' rose

Four months ago

Sun-loving native wine cups (callirhoe involucrata) thriving in bone dry partial shade. 

it was too cold and snowy.

Clematis 'Baltyk'

Three weeks ago

Looking across part of the container garden into the rain garden.

it was too wet and rainy.

Seed grown dahlias

Two days ago

'Summertime Blues' campanula with a plant stake
 to mark the location of the soaker hoses.

it was only 46 F at night

Native spigelia marylandica in the shade garden 

so I closed the windows

These are supposed to attract hummingbirds.

 to keep from freezing.

White annual euphorbia and seed grown cosmos
 in a cheap bucket.

Today it is miserable hot

These will bloom all summer.

and my soaker hoses 

'Purple Fantasy' persicaria in dry partial shade

will be running all day.

But that's life. 
It's messy, unpredictable, and often ridiculous
but still absolutely beautiful.