Saturday, August 20, 2011


Rudbeckia and coneflowers are in full bloom in the chicken garden. These flowers seem to last all summer. The monarchs and swallowtails also have been enjoying them. There seems to be more butterflies this year.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A new path

This was our big gardening project this spring. The area had several big pieces of flagstone with rock in between. The grade was also about a foot off and made the last step off the deck dangerous for Inch Worm.

We started by removing all the rock and then removing the plastic underneath all the rock. Then we dug out the path area and filled it in with a base of rock, gravel and then sand and made it all level. We reused the flagstone and also borrowed some pieces from the pond (another future project). It was a jigsaw puzzle to fit all the flagstone together, but in the end they all fit well.

Next two bags of peet moss was worked into the clay soil and in went the plants. On the left hand side it gets morning sun and then shade, so fern bleeding heart, bell flowers, hostas, hydrangea and existing cle toad lilies fit the bill. On the right is full sun, which eventually will be an herb garden, but for the first year I dumped all my winter sowed annuals there. I am very happy with the way it turned out and it is so much safer for little Inch Worm.

Here the plants have filled in a bit.

Friday, July 01, 2011


This is a call to all local ticks, your time here is short:

From The Garden Gnome

These three keets might be cute and cuddly now but soon they will full grown guineas ready to decimate the bug population! They are known for eating ticks (which we have a significant problem with this year) but they will also eat a variety of other bad bugs like colorado potato beetles and will even eat the weeds out of your garden. We bought them off a local lady who incubated the eggs. Ladybug and I hope this guinea experiment works and once again we can roam our property without fear of ticks.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Winning seeds

I won the Winter Sowing Kickoff and Free Seeds Giveaway from Amy over at Get Busy Gardening. She was very generous with the annual seeds from her own garden. Most I have already winter sown and look forward to enjoying them this summer.

Many of my winter sown perennials have germinated and have a set of true leaves. The bachelor buttons are huge and I want to plant them out, but I am not sure they can take the cold weather yet. Here they all are enjoying the beautiful weather we have this afternoon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Chicks

The new chickens are here all 27 of them. They are all Barred Rock except for Mary who is a Americana. Out of the varieties that we had for the last two years, we found the Barred Rocks to be friendlier.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


A bright and sunny day has finally opened all the crocuses.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feeding Frenzy

It is snowing AGAIN! We already have four inches on the ground. The Juncos and chickadees have been feeding at the bird feeders nonstop since it started snowing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

gopher troubles

The ground is barely frozen and the gophers are already ripping up my garden. I am sure they are enjoying destroying all the roots and bulbs I planted there. What is a gardener to do? Any tips out there for battling gophers or moles?

Monday, March 21, 2011


The crocuses are beginning to peek out of the melting snow. It has not been sunny enough to get any of these to open and start showing color. Inch Worm has been having fun going on a crocus hunt on the hill where I randomly planted over a hundred crocuses.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


So it appears that the tulips have decided it is spring. They are popping up in numbers on a south hill on the west side of the house. No crocus or daffodils in sight, but the tulips have decided to have a go at it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Winter Damage

Winter has been harsh on all the plants this year. The evergreens have brown patches where their needles have died. The heavy snow also broke branches of the azalea and evergreens. If we also throw in the deer damage, all the shrubs have a lot of recovering to do after this winter.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Winter Thaw

All the snow is beginning to melt and reveal the soggy ground underneath. Part that are bare are covered with snow mold. Snow mold is a fungal disease that appears in early spring as the snow melts. Gray snow mold (also called Typhula blight) is caused by Typhula spp., which becomes active under the snow cover. It almost looks like a spider web stretched across the grass. The best treatment at this time is to simply rake the affected lawn area to help it dry out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I have sprouts!

Doing the winter sowing happy dance because today I noticed my first sprouts. These are bachelor buttons 'blue boy'. Any other Zone 4 gardeners seeing sprouts? So excited to check every day now and see what else is popping up. I am so ready for Spring!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Winter's many projects

Winter is a great time to tackle garden projects that have been put on hold. I found these metal containers at a thrift store this summer in Michigan (Thanks Aunt Jane!). I had the idea to turn these into flowers for garden art, but the project always got pushed aside until now. Thorny guy helped bend the metal rods while I found the proper bolts for the threaded rods his dad found in his garage and voila, metal flowers. I think they turned out fabulous. Now deciding which garden to put them in?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

More orchid blooms relief spring itch.

The moth orchids are in full bloom. The baldan's kaleidoscope orchid just opened it's third bloom. These flowers have a big job to do - providing needed color in a sea of white snow. They need to bloom until the first crocuses of spring arrive. There are reports that Zone 6 is seeing signs of spring! I can not wait although these orchids help.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Baby Ferns

Hard to see but I think I may just have two baby ferns growing. I really hope that they are not some weed or a stray seed. I did sterilize the mix before adding the fern spore. The two ferns are in the section with the most mature gametophytes so that gives me hope.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowed in

Winter reminds me it is not done yet. Three inches are on the ground with 4-5 more on the way. Nothing to do except bake up a storm since we are snowed in for the day. I used the last of the sun dried tomatoes on the bread.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting steamy in there...

I sent for some seed from Trudi's WinterSown Organization. I am excited to try the Button Box Zinnia Mix, Rocket Larkspur, and Blue Flax. Meanwhile the greenhouse is getting steamy with the beautiful weather we are having. I skip the lid step in winter sowing and just put them all in the mini greenhouse. I have found this setup to be easier to monitor and maintain than dealing with taping, closing, and opening lids. This is my third year wintersowing and I love the results. I also enjoy being able to plant seeds in the middle of winter. I am getting better at collecting seeds in the fall too, so the process will just get better.
Happy sowing!
Get Busy Gardening (also from MN) is hosting a free seed giveaway for wintersowing, be sure to check out her blog and enter!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jade plant

I took a cutting of my Jade plant for a friend at work. This succulent roots very easily, no rooting hormone required. I will water well and put a plastic dome over the top to keep the moisture in to prevent it from drying out. It is hard to believe that the mother plant below was once as small.
Jades are evergreen plants with thick branches and smooth, rounded, fleshy leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. Under the right conditions, they may produce small white or pink star-like flowers in early spring.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rosemary trim

Here is a before and after picture of my rosemary plant. It's leaves were starting to get a little out of control, so it was time for a trim. I will dry all the cuttings for cooking. I started this guy from a cutting two years ago and have trying to turn him into a standard.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fern Propagation

So I am trying my hand at growing ferns from spore. What I have learned so far is that it is a very slow process. These two trays of ghost fern spore and maiden hair have been growing since late August and have only developed a handful of mature gametophytes. The maiden hair spores were sowed on the thick side.
The whole process is definitely a waiting game. Has anyone else had success at growing their own fern from spore?

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