Monday, September 29, 2008

Dried Herbs

Oops I forgot to water these herbs on the deck! Now they are very crispy especially the oregano. Who knows if it will come back, good thing its the end of summer. Before I forget, I need to take a cutting of the rosemary. I have always wanted to create a rosemary standard and now is as good as a time as any. That and it takes forever to grow.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Swing your troubles away

Thorny Guy installed this swing on a side of the workshop. It is the perfect height, so that my feet just barely touch the ground. We have already wasted spent hours swinging away.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


The mums have opened up. I have to say I did good picking out colors at the nursery. Does anyone know if these will survive over the winter?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Problem Solved

I checked out the book Perennials for Midwestern Gardens by Anthony Kahtz and was pleased to find a solution to a Friday Problem there. Staring at me on page 20 was the name of the flower from 7/11.
To my great surprise it was not a mini carnation like I had thought but a relative to Yarrow. It actual name is Achillea ptarmica "The Pearl".

I never thought I would find a member of the Yarrow family which I enjoy so much. This plant had bloomed all summer. It does tend to flop a little, but I am sure that one could prune it and keep it shorter.

Here are the specs:
Achillea ptarmica
Hardiness: 2b to 9a
Origin: Europe and Western Asia
Mature Height: 18 - 24 inches
Mature Spread: 2 feet
Season of Bloom: Early to Late summer

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Confused Butterfly Bush

Our butterfly bush is finally blooming. We kept it in our basement over last winter which had it very confused about the time of year. I want to plant it outside now, but I am not sure how it will handle the winter as it is zone 5. Anyone out there pushing the zone on this plant? I suppose I could always plant it and take a cutting in every winter, just in case it does not make it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Birds Nest spruce

I picked up a couple of bird nest spruces to fill in under the trees. They should get enough filtered light here (fingers crossed). The tag said they grow four feet tall by 8 feet wide, here's to hoping.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Morning

Every morning, after much needed coffee, I visit the chickens. They can spot me heading down the hill and wait by the door hoping to get let out for the day.

Today's breakfast was scratch grains and apples.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Propagation Update

The cuttings taken on August 7 have been moved out to the garden. The Artemesia 'Silver Brocade' all rooted and is pictured here.

I got two dead nettles from about four cuttings. Three Artemesia 'silver mound' rooted and are growing nicely. Curiously all the willows, which are suppose to root easily died.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Girl Power

This past weekend, my friend and I put together this chair and painted it pick. It turned out fabulous! I love the color. Its future home will be down by the garden under a tree.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A pink trellis

I found this wine rack at a left over garage sale for free. It is made of hard word probably maple. Anyway I thought it would be a great contemporary piece of art in the garden. So my friend and I painted it with extra pink paint. I might add some lady bugs later and have a vine climb up it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Puffy Marigolds

We have a couple different kinds of marigold this year. All started from seed in the spring. This is my favorite, a big puffy one. The colors on this one are enjoyable also, with hues of white to yellow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Garlic Ordered

Today I ordered some garlic bulbs from Alpha Garlic Farm. As Lady Bug knows, I've been looking for quite some time. It's quite difficult to find the bulbs that you plant. We went to many local garden centers and farm supply stores and no one carried them. Next we turned to the internet. Doing a search you can find quite a few websites that sell garlic but many were already sold out for the season. Many many others were very expensive. Some places were charging $11 for 1/2 lb of garlic, plus shipping on top of that!

I stumbled across this garlic farm and had to email the owner for prices, but it was well worth the extra time. He was much cheaper than anywhere else I found. We have the additional requirement that the garlic comes from somewhere with close to the same growing zone. The farm is in zone 5 which should be close enough to our zone 4 weather. I'm excited to get the garlic. Vampires beware!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Review

I finished reading "Gardening When it Counts" by Steve Solomon. It was an interesting read. He takes you back to times when farmers knew and used the trick and tips of the trade.
To the times when people valued good tools and knew how to take care of them. He says that tools are intentionally sold blunt, which I never realized. He also describes how to pick out a good shovel and sharpen it. I confess I have never sharpened a shovel or hoe.

I usually do not like gardening books without pictures, but I have to say this book had me intrigued. It makes you rethink the square foot gardening approach and go back to the basics. His inside seed business knowledge was also interesting. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Confession

I was having a really bad day at work so I bought bulbs. Is this the first warning sign of an addition to buying bulbs? Perhaps.

When buying them I was also thinking of reasons to tell Thorny Guy of why I bought them.

1) I had a $25 off coupon, granted I had to buy $50 worth of bulbs but....
2) Brecks came through on their lifetime guarantee, so they proved themselves to me. On a side note, the bulbs in question I bought two years ago planted them in MD, where they did fine until I dug them up and moved them to MN where I planted them and never saw them again. I sent them an email and they are reshipping the bulbs, no questions asked.
3) I had not really purchased any this year yet.
4) Some of these bulbs I can not find in the stores.
5) Some of the bulbs were buy 8 get 8 free.

Another sign of addition? I still have about 100 tulip bulbs to plant, which were in a container but now need to be planted in the garden. Last year, We also bought a lot of bulbs, but I blame that mostly on Thorny Guy. It was more of his idea to buy the clearance bulbs at Menards to put in pots.

I guess there are worst things to be addicted to.

So what did I buy? I guess you are going to have to wait, just like Thorny Guy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bundles of Hot

I have been stringing together thai hot peppers to let them air dry. I have three so far with more to come. The plants are still loaded with green ones in the garden. I am not quite sure what to do with them if they are still green when frost comes. Not that we need anymore.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pickled Peppers

Last night, we picked two baskets of peppers, thai hot, ancho 101, and italian gourmet. Not knowing what to do with so many peppers I canned them. The green ones did discolor a little when we added the vinegar. Hopefully they are fine and will be good on sandwiches, pizza, or salads. The big question is how hot will they become as the little red thai hot pack a punch.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Toad Lily

My toad lily is almost ready to bloom. Hopefully it will soon before a frost knocks it out. My aunt was asking for suggestions of shade plants and this is one that I recommended along with lungwort and solomon seal.

You definitively need a microclimate as it is zone 5 plant. I have it against the house where it gets morning sun. I have another clump by the house almost under the deck which is not as tall, and does not have flower buds yet. It must not like it there as much.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A review: Zinnia Lilliput

This is the second type of zinnia a bought, a little less impressive than the Zinnia Elegans. The soft pallet of pinks provides interesting variations and burst of colors. They did not fill out as much as I had hoped, but still not bad for a late planting. The butterflies love these and they are also good for cutting. Some produced the cutest pom-pom like flowers.

Here is the packet description:
The Lilliput Mixed Colors Zinnia is one of North America's most popular flower to grow from seed. This excellent variety produces loads of spectacular double and semi-double 1 1/2-2" blooms on bushy compact plants from early summer until frost. Use in mass plantings and mixed beds. 5-10 days to sprout.

LadyBug gives Zinnia Lilliput

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A review: Zinnia Elegans

Zinnia Elegans 'Will Rogers' was purchased from Jung seeds. I direct sowed these seeds rather late into spring. The brief description on the packet states:
Offered in our catalog since 1927! The 5 to 6 inch flowers on long, sturdy stems are excellent for bouquets.
These are great huge flowers that last forever. There are slight variations in the mix which make the planting interesting. Butterflies and songbirds love these flowers. I would recommend these to anyone with a patch of full sun.

LadyBug gives Zinnia Elegans

Monday, September 08, 2008

West Side Garden

After a year of observing what was in the garden, it is now time to rip them up redesign them. The first plant to go was yarrow. Believe it or not but all the bare spots of this garden was previously filled with yarrow. This was mostly the white stuff, which I found ugly.

There is more red/orange yarrow in other gardens which I am giving to a coworker and who ever else wants it. My coworker is ripping up her stella de ora daylilies and trading them for my yarrow, now that is a great trade.

I still have to tackle the mess in the corner, and move irises and ditch day lilies, but it is a start. The bed is going to be filled with yellow tulips and daffodils and probably some of the cone flowers we started from seed. I am not sure what to do with all the babies breath, leave it or move it. The garden plan needs some more thought.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Expanding a Garden

This is a garden across from the chicken coop, near the orchard. It gets sun in the morning and early afternoon. My first thought was that it would become an herb garden, but now am rethinking that plan, as the chickens like to hang out here. They can be a little destructive on new plants, and I would not want them pooping on edible herbs.

Currently it is a long border full of weeds, trumpet vine, aparagus, goldenrod, day lilies, columbine, coreopsis, ox eye daisies, and rudabeckia. The plan thus far is to enlarge it into a semi circle with a path leading to a patio with a bench in the center. I also already marked out and planted a couple of evergreens and spirea to add structure. Here is what it looks like so far. More to come later.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hot Pepper

We are now becoming swamped with these red hot peppers. They are indeed very hot, and I can not imagine ever using all of them. None the less, we are drying them to use later, perhaps in Chinese dishes? I just started stringing them up to dry and that also seems to work and looks impressive. Picture to come later.

Friday, September 05, 2008


The cantaloupe plants have not looked hot all summer. Too little rain and a lazy gardener contributed to the fact. However, it still managed to create the following little melon, which was my morning breakfast, along with a cappuccino of course.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Saving Pea Seeds

As an experiment, I saved the seeds from my snow and sugar peas. Here they are finishing drying out. When I picked them the plant was dried out and brown. Most of the pea pods were also dried, brown and crispy.

I will try and plant them next spring and see what they do. I read that "Peas are self pollinating, meaning that theoretically you should have very little mixing and mingling between plants. The variety that you save should come true."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Peace Lily

Thorny Guy got this peace lily from a coworker at his work. It was in need of repotting to say the least. Check out those roots. The coworker said that he could not understand why he had to water it so often. Well when you do not have any soil left it tends to dry out!
This is the pot it ended up in. I think it will fill it up well. The "feet" do not go at all with this pot, but it bugs Thorny Guy so there you go. We will see how long he leaves them there.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Obedient Plant Seeds

No wonder there are warning about obedient plants becoming invasive, they produce a ton of seeds. Today I cut the stalks off, to save the seeds and also keep the plant under control.

This is a plant I picked up at a plant sale for a few bucks, before I knew I had them growing in the north garden and also by the vegetable garden. Although this seems to be a shorter variety.

Each pocket, where a flower bloomed, contains four seeds. Each stalk might have 20-100 flowers, thats a lot of seeds. Now the question is do I want more plants and where do I want them.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A review: Shortwood Phlox

This is shortwood phlox that I purchased at a plant sale in the spring. The fragrance of this plant is unbelievable. I never have grown phlox before (Newbie here), do all varieties smell like this, I wonder. If so, I must have more! I really like the huge clumps of flowers and the color. This plant has tickled me pink!

Here is a plant description:
High mildew resistance, upright sturdy stems with bright pink blooms with rose eyes. Very showy throughout the summer. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Great for fragrant cuts, in border or mass plantings.

Full sun.
Ht: 36-40".
Spacing: 2-3'.
Blooms in the summer.
Zones: 4-8
LadyBug gives Shortwood Phlox

ThornyGuy gives
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