Thursday, April 13, 2017

Score One for the Stubborn Cuss

Let me start this post by just telling you I'm stubborn.
I could give up but I just don't see the point.

For the past several years I've killed my tulips by submerging them in moisture-retentive soil designed to keep my summer plants happy.

There was no happy medium. 
What made the tulips happy, brought death and despair to the summer annuals. 

Being a stubborn cuss, I tried method after method to solve this problem, to no avail. The more I failed, the more irritated I became. Come hell or high water, I was going to solve this stupid problem and I'd do it cheaply. Ha!

So I scheduled a drought and stuffed my bulbs into wire baskets lined with burlap and filled with old soil. Logic dictates that a container full of holes should drain exceedingly well. Logic won and I have tulips. Score one for the Tamster!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sweet as Candy

I'm a sucker for a sweet surprise

The 'Candy Showers Red' trailing snapdragons I grew from seed have already started blooming! 

 and the pure joy of the unexpected.

It's a reminder that sometimes just letting go

to see what happens next 

Some of the plants I've grown from seed have been moved to the patio to enjoy the warm temps. I have others still under grow lights.

is more rewarding and authentic 

than anything you could have planned.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Love a Gardener Redux

I originally posted this in 2015 but it's one of my faves so here it is again.

I'm convinced most gardeners see the world a bit differently than others. We all know real love is announced through all the small things that are - or are not - done through out the year rather than a single grand gesture on a manufactured holiday. But if you wanted to woo your favorite gardener, how would you do it? Rest easy and follow these steps. You are guaranteed to make an impression.

When the gardener is covered with compost and sweat, avoid statements such as, "What the hell happened to you? Were you hit by a a manure truck?" and "Sweet Mother of God, you smell like a goat." Instead, while they're showering find a way to make dinner magically appear, quickly pay the delivery person, and open a bottle of wine.  

Instead of traditional chemical-laden roses and cheap box of candy, consider this approach, "I've hired David Austin and his landscaping crew to dig up the rest of the lawn and personally select a dozen of his most fragrant roses for you to enjoy all summer. When I told them I was trying to romance you, he suggested I buy the 'In the Mood' package." 

Hey, baby! The landscapers are here!

Instead of telling the gardener the pink things by the yellow flowers next to the bushes look good, try Latin. "The planting of silene and tulips near the osmanthus 'Goshiki' is beautiful" just might help you get lucky. But butchering the Latin and telling them the "sireen and tulips by the gohsweeki are really nice" is probably better than nothing.

But if you really want some lovin', snuggle up close and whisper in his/her ear, " I cleaned, sharpened, and organized all your tools."

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Growing Addiction

There is something about success that is addicting, 
as if a giant sign suddenly appeared that said 
"You've figured this out so do it again!"

It doesn't matter if what you're doing is mindlessly easy to others. We all have our own mountains to climb.

I grow a lot of rudbeckia hirta because it's so easy. This year I'm also growing the herb monarda citriodora. I bought a few organic plants last year (pink flowers above) and loved them so much, I'm starting them from seed. They're also super easy.

I've figured out how to grow many annuals from seed but don't be impressed. I specialize in growing plants that are easy to grow but I'm ok with that.
 Life's hard enough. 
I don't need to make it harder by torturing myself. 

'Frosted Flames' snapdragons have cool variegated foliage

The vast majority of the plants you buy at garden centers and even many online nurseries are full of pesticides so every annual I want that attracts pollinators is grown from seed. Sometimes I grow a few herbs, too, although the organic ones are pretty easy to find.

Most of these plants were grown from seed.

It's not hard.

Pink 'Summer Jewel' salvia grows and blooms quickly.

I buy big red plastic drink cups and poke holes in the bottom with a hot screwdriver I've heated on my stove. I fill them with moist soil and scatter the seeds on top. The only seeds I ever bury are the big ones. I cover the cups with plastic sandwich bags and put them on a heat mat under some cheapo grow lights. 

Seed grown dahlias are pollinator magnets

It's not hard.  

Once the seeds sprout, I take off the plastic bags. This year I'm starting almost 50 different types of seeds. I'd probably grow more if I had the room. Is that crazy? Maybe. But life's short so a little crazy is ok, too. It beats boring.

Cups full of monarda 'Bergamo' and monarda citriodora

This summer when my patio pots are bursting with organically grown, pollinator friendly plants I can stand back and say, "I did this!" 

To track how my plants are progressing, check out my So Seedy page.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Beautiful Madness

I'm still here.

I've just been crazy busy juggling a career while serving as director of the 2017 Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling.

My garden is one of the stops on the Fling.

But that's ok. Crazy doesn't bother me.

 Nothing much has changed. 

I enjoyed this container grouping so much I'm repeating it 
next summer.

My dogs dug new holes 
after I filled in 
all the old ones and
 are still pooping in the garden
 when they think I'm not looking.

I redesigned my shade garden
 - again - 
because it's become an annual event. 

I'd much rather make traveling here 

or here 

with him

 an annual event but it hasn't happened yet. 
My talents apparently lie only in buying plants
 but not actually designing anything with them.

 If I ever tried to make it as a designer 
I'd be living in a van down by the river.

Native anemone canadensis spreads vigorously, suffocating everything in its path. I redesigned this area with plants whose leaves are large enough to shade out the anemones, hopefully slowing them down.

I updated my So Seedy 2017 page and
 am planning on starting more seeds 
than I have room for.

 But that's ok, too.