Monday, June 25, 2007

HOSTAS

I guess that I forgot that I was going to do a Plant of the Week. So I will get to it.
This week, it is Hosta.
I have tons of them, and use them almost like a groundcover.
Hosta's are almost the perfect plant. Some varieties will grow in sun, but most prefer light to heavy shade. They have few pests, though some people have trouble with slugs. Some varieties have flowers that a fragrant.
I usually just start with one plant of a variety, and keep dividing it until I have enough to fill an area. Sometimes I even divide it before I plant it. I am also sometimes asked by customers to remove or divide hosta's in their gardens. I love when that happens, because I usually end up with lots of new plants. The only problem with this is that I don't know the names of all of the hosta's that I have. But, I have a lot of great hosta, regardless of the variety.
My husband keeps telling me to count them and see how many I have, but I never seem to find the time for that. I am guessing that I probably have 25-30 different varieties, and probably a couple hundred plants.
The variety that I have the most of, though I don't know it's name, is one that I dug from outside my Grandmother's back door, 30 years ago. I have divided that plant, and shared it with many people, and have planted it in several areas of my yard. I always think of my Grandma when I am around them.
The variety in the picture is 'Gold Crown". It is a very nice hosta, short with a yellow-gold color. The flowers are nice also. As I was taking this picture there was a chipping sparrow giving me a hard time. I wasn't sure why until I started looking around and found a tiny nest in the shrub to the left of the hosta. The babies were peeking out, so I was afraid to get close enough for a picture of them. Lucky she let me know, because that shrub is going as soon as I get the time to take it out. It is a "Summer Snowflake' viburnum, and has not done very well. I think the late freeze this spring really hurt it, and it has not recovered, so out it goes. But now I will have to wait until the babies have left the nest.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

BARGAIN PLANTS

Every year at this time our local Rural King farm store discounts all of their plants 50 %. I always check out the selection beforehand. I also have other gardening friends watching the place, and whoever see's the 50% discount signs first, calls the others.
I didn't have much hope this year, I would cruise by and note how awful the plants looked. I don't think that they believe in watering their plants, and since we have had no rain, the plants went without water. It finally got so depressing to see the plants so thirsty for water, I stopped driving by.
But then I got the call, the plant's were marked down, so off I went.
The plants surprisingly looked pretty good. They must have started watering after I stopped checking on them. So, I started collecting the plants that I had picked out earlier.
Many of the plants they carry are Proven Winner's, but they also carry some basic plants. I spent around $100.00.
This is what I ended up with:
1 'Vanilla Spice' coral bells (interesting white flowers)
3 'Weston's Parade' azalea's (hardy to zone 3, blooms in the summer)
1 'Mme. Lemoine lilac
1 'Pinky Winky' hydrangea
2 'Snowstorm' spirea
2 'Rising Sun' coreopsis
1 'Angel Daisy' shasta daisy
1 'Jackmanii' clematis
1 'Leonardo' leopard's bane
1 'Adonis Blue' butterfly bush
8 burning bush ( I want to make a hedge with these)
1 'Miss Canada' lilac
I think I did very well. The burning bush were only $2.50 each, and looked really good. I still may have to make one more trip over there, I did see a few dogwood tree's that I might NEED.
Other than shopping for plants, I didn't get much else done this weekend outside. It rained all day here on Saturday, which was wonderful. We got about 1 1/2 inches. Sunday I did a little weeding, they came out a lot easier when the ground has some moisture in it, and then did some mulching with grass clipping in the vegetable garden. If I lay newspaper down and cover with grass clippings, it keeps the weeds down most of the summer.
So, I will be planting some of my new babies after work in the evenings. Since it doesn't get dark until almost 10:00, I will have plenty of time.
Have a great week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NEW SPRINKLER

My husband surprised me with a new sprinkler this week. As you can see by the lawn, I needed it. What I didn't expect was how much the birds have enjoyed it. Because it is so high off the ground, they can fly through it. I saw a few birds sitting in the grass waiting for it to go past, and then flying up into the spray. I am sure it feels very good to them, we have had so little rain.
My husband asked me the other day if I had noticed that it seemed like there were a lot more birds around than usual. I told him that yes, I had noticed and I could tell him why. I told him that we have 6 birdbaths, a fountain, and a small pond on our property, plus we have been running sprinklers almost every day. I am sure the birds have had a hard time finding a water source during this drought, so I think that is why so many have stayed around our property.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

HERB GARDEN

My property is an official Wildlife Habitat!
The National Wildlife Federation has named my property a certified wildlife habitat.
It wasn't to complicated, you basically fill out a form on their website. They ask lot's of questions about your property, and if you meet all of the criteria, you are certified.
Now, what does that mean? Not a whole lot. You get a certificate in the mail, and for a donation, you get the sign for your yard.
The wildlife can rest assured that they will be taken care of and protected on my property, except of course for the rabbit's, they know that they aren't welcome.
I worked a little in the herb garden this evening. We finally got a little rain this morning, only 1/2 an inch, but that is better than nothing. It made the weeds come out a little bit easier. It was nice and cool, the honeysuckle was smelling really good, and the chamomile, though almost finished blooming, also smelled good. I think that is why the herb garden is my favorite place. It always smells so good there. The calendula's are also blooming, and the lavender.
Whenever people see my herb garden, the first thing that they always ask is, "do you use all of these herbs for cooking?". Sadly, I have to tell them no. I don't get much cooking done during the summer.
I do use the chives, basil, mint, loveage, and
rosemary,but that is about it.
I hope that someday I will be able to use more of what I grow. I do have friend's stop to get herb's if they need them, so they don't go unused. I also think that it is worth growing them, just for the enjoyment of walking through the garden in the evening, and breathing in all of the different scents.

Friday, June 15, 2007

THE BEETLE'S HAVE ARRIVED


I spotted the first Japanese beetle today. It was tucked under one of the petal's on a rose bush.
I dread this fight worse than the rabbit's. It doesn't seem to matter what I do, they still eat most of the roses, and anything else in the garden that they want. I have tried everything out there, but have never found anything that really keeps them off of the plants.
Does anyone out there have any suggestion's?

Monday, June 11, 2007

FOILING THE RABBITS

What a beautiful weekend! To bad that I spent most of it moving sprinklers. I did manage to accomplish a few things in spite of the watering. I have a long narrow garden along the back of my property. I have changed it several times, the most recent being from a white garden or moon garden, to a fruit garden.
I planted a 'Gala' apple tree at one end, with strawberries under it. Then in the middle, raspberries, on on the other end, blueberries. I planted most of these last fall. The rabbits have decided that this is now their own personal buffet! Finally, I had enough. I headed to the nearest Menard's and bought enough plastic poultry fence to go around it. Of course I ran out 4 feet from the end, so I made a gate out of regular chicken wire.
The bed is edged with timber's, and when I installed the fence, I let about 6 inches of it lay on the ground on the inside of the bed, and laid a row of old bricks on top of it, before mulching it with leaves.
Well, my family is placing bets on how soon the rabbits will figure a way in. If that happens, I am going to declare war, and I should not be held responsible for what I might do!
I have eaten a few strawberries from the bed, and the blueberries are ripening. Of course my husband remarked about how much each of those berries cost me, with the time and materials that I have invested in this bed.
Needless to say, I ignored that comment....after all, who can put a price on foiling those rabbit's!

Friday, June 8, 2007

PATIO PROGRESS

The patio is on it's way! It didn't take long once we got started. I was in charge of transporting the pavers, and my husband was in charge of putting them in place. I don't know which job is harder, but we were both tired, so we will finish it this weekend.
We still have not had any rain to speak of, so I will be running sprinklers again this weekend. The weather is supposed to be great, so I hope to get a lot done.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

NEW PATIO

Last fall my husband informed me that he would be needing to expand his garage. He has already done this three times, so I was not to happy.
The compromise was that I would get a patio off the end of the garage.
So, we measured and discussed, measured and discussed some more, and then decided on a 14 by 30 paver brick patio. The roof line of the garage will drop down, and extend out over the patio.
We have lived in this house for 17 years, and have never really had a place to sit and relax, or entertain guests. So, needless to say, I am VERY excited.
So this evening when we got done working for the day, he decided to lay a few bricks to see how it would look. I am the official brick supplier, so I handed him the bricks, and he laid them. He got through a whole pallet in about an hour and a half, but then it got dark and we had to stop. At this rate, we should have it done by the weekend.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

IN BETWEEN THE RAIN DROPS

Well, we finally got some much needed rain....but sadly, not enough. It rained off and on all weekend, but just showers. I had to run the sprinklers the whole weekend, something that I have never done this early in the season. I still got a lot of work done, but had to be ready to pack everything up and run for cover quickly, which I did several times.
Worked a little this weekend in the herb garden. The scent of the chamomile and the honeysuckle, made pulling weeds bearable.
My fence is also up. I wrote about that earlier in the year, (sorry, I don't know how to link to an earlier post). It hides most of the neighbors mess. I had not intended to put up a fence, but I just couldn't look at the garbage outside their back door any longer. When they remodeled their house, all of the old drywall, and miscellaneous junk went out the back door, where it has stayed for over a year. I didn't think that they were going to clean it up any time soon, so the fence was the only solution.
I also got my garden planted this weekend. I know
I should have had that done weeks ago, but I just kept putting it off. So, I got most of it planted, but finally got rained out Sunday evening.
The tomato's, beets, and zucchini are in. I will plant beans, peppers, carrot's, and whatever else I have room for, some evening this week.
The rabbit's are still driving me crazy. I planted some 'Lady in Red' salvia, Saturday evening, and by Sunday morning they had bitten the tops off of them. They don't bother to eat what they bite off, just leave it lay there for you to find. I had to reapply the pepper after the rain today, hopefully that will stop them. They have caught on to my traps, and seem to be avoiding them. I think that I hate rabbit's over all the other pests that attack my garden.