Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Accidents and New Beginnings

Spring is still here. (Supposedly)
You can't tell by the weather... It's been so hot and humid, with temps in the upper 80's to low 90's. This time of year it should be in the low to mid 70's.
I can tell that it's still Spring by a few of the happenings in my garden.

I found this happy accident yesterday. It looks to be a baby of my much bigger Weeping Japanese Maple.
(I hope that it is)
There are no other maples near by. Of course the wind or a bird could have brought it to me as a gift. In any case...the little one is in a place where a tree would be nice to have. It will be quite a while before there is any size to it.
I think I shall let it stay. What could it hurt? I like happy accidents.
This started as a freebie, went on to be a happy accident, turned into a nightmare, and is now a new beginning.
Huh? you say? Let me recount the saga.
We get in bareroot veggies, strawberries, and vine fruits at the garden center in the spring. Some roots don't come in in the best of shape and so we don't sell them.
A few years ago I took home 3 grapevines; 1 each of a Red, a Green, and (my fave) Concord. They were some of the not-so-good-looking vines that came in. The roots weren't great looking, but I thought that maybe one might live...what could it hurt? I planted all three together in the same hole. One took off. Woo-whooo!
The first year no grapes (normal).
The second year we got rust, and a few yucky grapes. Vowed to start a spraying program the next year.
Third year we got tons of grapes, then they all turned brown and fell off. There was a bacteria in the soil. The spray didn't cover this problem.
Fourth year (this year), we didn't start spraying soon enough. This Spring the grape was already getting a rust. I said "Enough with with your head". Before I knew it, the once 20 ft grape vine became a 2ft stump, with a pile of grapevine wreath makings next to it. (sigh, head hanging low)
Hubby came home to the scene of the murder. We dug the pitiful stump out of the ground, none to carefully. "Let's plant it was a freebie...what could it hurt"? We decided to bury the grapevine at the far end of the yard, out of eyesight. "If it comes back maybe we can build an arbor for it". "It probably won't come back, we were really rough with it, and didn't leave enough root". "If it is meant to live it will. Just water it"
(a very close up picture)
It's coming back! Maybe NEXT year I'll find out what kind of grape it is.
I'm still rooting for a Concord. What could it hurt?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You can Never have Enough Hydrangeas

I might not have roses on my list of favorites, but hydrangeas definitely are on the list. I have 8 varieties in my garden now, and plan to add as many as I can possibly fit, take care of, and afford.
I love these old-fashioned, mop-headed, impossibly-huge-flowered bushes.
Most of my hydrangeas are mid summer bloomers, with just a few late summer varieties.
These are the 2 bushes that start the blossom parade for my hydrangeas. They are the earliest flowering variety I have.
This hydrangea is called 'Endless Summer'.
It is a relatively new variety. This is the 3rd summer I'll have these plants. Supposedly they can take more sun than other varieties, so I planted them where they get about 2 hours of mostly sun, and part shade the rest of the day. After growing them, I tell people at the greenhouse to put them in part sun at most.
The 'Endless Summer' need a lot of water, and if mine were in less sun I don't think they would need as much watering. During dry spells I water them every other day, or they look pretty droopy.
The blue of this 'Endless Summer' is really nice. In Delaware our soil is naturally acidic in a lot of areas. I am lucky enough to not have to do anything to get the blue. If you want to have blue hydrangeas try adding aluminum sulfate. My Dad, an old-time nurseryman, used to tell people to put rusty chain or nails at the base of the plant to make it blue.

The 'Endless Summer in the foreground has a staggering 137 blooms. I had to count because...well I just had to! They are looking amazing this year. I can't wait until the color comes on strong.

This other hydrangea only has 97 blooms on it. (Poor little thing)

This hydrangea is hiding a secret. Robins laid a nest in the base of it. There is only one baby bird left now (he's actually pretty good sized now), there were 3 earlier. The last baby Robin has very protective parents to say the least. The Mommy and Daddy fly around us, and yell at us from the top of the fence and gate when we go too near their baby.

I'm not sure if you can tell there is a garden gate in between these 2 hydrangeas. I can still open the door just enough to get thru the opening. The gate will be moved farther up the fence in a few weeks. If the gate wasn't getting moved, we would be moving the hydrangea as they have gotten bigger than I expected.

(woe is me, having to deal with huge, monstrous, crazily blooming hydrangeas)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Honeysuckle in Bloom

For me, one of the signs I know to look for when the warm weather is here to stay, is when the honeysuckle comes into bloom.

When I was a kid we had wild honeysuckle growing along our lane. My siblings and cousins would pick it in the mornings while we waited for the school bus. The trick was to get the blooms that were just a touch more 'golden'...they were the sweetest.

This isn't a wild honeysuckle. It was a lonely pot with no tag, and not in very good shape when I brought it home. I knew it was a honeysuckle and thats about it...because there were no blooms.

I wasn't even sure this plant would live thru the winter when I put it out on the far fence of our yard. I was happy to see it greening up and then growing in the spring.

Now? Wow. It's beautiful. (I guess I need to set to identifying it)

I'm so tickled it came back.

My son walks past it when he goes down the lane to school.

Guess what? The blooms that are more 'golden' are still the sweetest.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Roses Schmoses!

The 4th of July in May?
You bet when it's a Rose called 4th of July!

This Rose bush has flowers all over it.

Not one rose bloom is the same as another on this bush.

It looks like mini fireworks shooting off in each bloom.

Some are redder, some pinker, some more striped than others.

It really is a pretty rose bush.

More beautiful blooms.


With that being said...I have to tell you a guilty secret. I don't like roses.


The roses I have in my yard are there because my husband loves roses. I love my hubby, so I have roses in the yard for him. It is not a plant I would otherwise probably have.

  • Roses are beautiful. I know.

  • Roses smell divine. Got it.

  • A rose by any other name... I read it. (and thank you Mr.Shakespeare)

  • Guns and Roses. I hear it.

  • A Kiss from a Rose. I feel it.

I just don't like roses! ( I am a nice person...I promise)

I am not rose fan because of all the bugs and diseases that love roses. Roses are a lot of work! There are products out there to help take care of roses. They work great and you must use them. Roses are bred now to be more bug and disease resistant. I know all this, and it's wonderful.

The beautiful plant you see above is very well taken care of. I spritz it, I prune it, I check it regularly for problems (and it does get them). I take blooms from it into the house. It is absolutely gorgeous. It is also a major pain in the butt! I don't have time for all this care and nurturing.

I don't like roses. Sorry!


I also have some roses I don't take care of. They are called 'Knock Out' Roses. These are roses that other roses should learn from. I have 20-some lining the driveway. (5 more will complete the line) I prune these roses in the spring, and then they fend for themselves. I started with these roses 4 years ago because they were touted to be maintenance free. I got them to prove to my husband how much a pain in the butt even 'maintenance free' roses are. These 'Knock outs' are not a pain in the butt...other than that they proved me wrong. I have added 3-4 more to the fence line each year.

Smart alack 'Knock Out' roses. These are roses I could learn to like.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So...Here's the Plan

The plan is coming together. Work has begun on the all white plantings for the garden. Here are some of the flowers that are going into it. These are a few of the pictures I took in the greenhouse of my choices before bringing some of the stuff home.

This is 'Molimba Helio White' Argyranthemum.

These will go into the Front bed against the part of the house that has cream colored siding. They should show up nicely.

They are 'Nightlife White' Begonia

These are 'Super Olympia White' Begonia.

They will be going into one of the beds in the backyard. I have an affinity for begonias. It runs in my family. My Grandmother liked the funny, funky, weird and exotic begonias, and my Dad always chose wax begonias for his flower beds.

As it goes...I've never met a begonia I didn't like.

These are 'Patriot White ' Zonal Geraniums. (I hope you can tell the ones in the front are the whites!)

They might go in the front corner bed. They are if-y. These are actually in a tie for space with some lover-ly Tall Cutting-type Snapdragons. The Snapdragons are in the running because they are such great cutting flowers, and I love to bring flowers into the house. The geraniums might win the race because...well they are gorgeous. I might end up flipping a coin between these 2 choices. (or extend the bed :) hmmmmmmm?)

These are 'Classic White' Zinnias.

I had some of these great flowers reseed themselves in the grass last year, and I transplanted them into the flower beds. I was hoping some would come back again this year as freebies, but so such luck. So... I have to buy some for the garden this year. least I will be sure to have them that way.


I've also gotten:

  • 'Bells White' Snapdragons
  • 'Pot n Patio' Asters
  • 'Moonflower'
  • Stevia (a very sweet herb)
  • 'White Horse' Lavender (yes, a white flower!)
  • 'Hello White' Gazania
  • 'Hummingbird White' Nicotiana

None of the above are very big, nor are they showing color right I will take pictures after they are finished being planted, and then again as the garden starts to fill in. So far 36 plants are in the ground...with obviously more to go in.

I also need some vine-y things to add to the flower pots sprinkled in different places around the house. Also some coleus for pots on the back deck. (it's quite shady back there, so they do great)

There will also be more Hostas. Plus, Hostas. I might also add Hostas. And then of course, there are new fabulous Hostas which must be added. (I love hostas by the way....)

It's a shame I have no control when it comes to flowers. It's just like an eyes are always too big for my stomach at the dinner buffets, and they are to big for my garden when at the greenhouse buffet. I tell my hubby he really can't the gardens get bigger...he has less to mow. (he complains anyway)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Things I cannot (but want to) use in the garden....

These are the plants I can't have this year, because of my decision to do an all white garden.
I'm getting them out of my blood, and going on with the white. They might have come to the garden if there were to be other colors. But there won't they aren't.
No to the 'Clown Violet' Torenia.


No Superfinia 'Sky Blue'.

These beautiful things are Corydalis 'Blue Panda', and 'Blackberry Wine'.

Can't have 'em.

' Cinnamon Girl' Iris. No Sirree, ain't gonna happen.

Not in my garden (this year anyway).

Firewitch Dianthus. So very pretty. Blooms for a very long time.

Chitweed will not have it this year.

It wouldn't be prudent. Not gonna have it.

(why does that sound like the church lady from Saturday night Live?)

These? Scotch Harebells.

These, I didn't really want.

:) Ok. Maybe I did, but now they will be for next year.

They didn't want to come home with me anyway...see how they have their faces turned the other way?


Well...that wasn't so bad.

We worked in the garden almost all day. Very weary and achy all over, but satisfied. The weeds are almost all pulled. (but we know how long that won't last, don't we?) Things that needed to be trimmed, are. Things that needed to be sprayed, are. I hate to admit it, but there were a few unlucky plants that didn't get out of their pots last year, and needed to be planted; they now are.

Grass fertilized...check.

Tree poop swept off back deck, lawn furniture, light fixtures, grill, umbrella, steps (etc)...check.

10 bags of mulch put in front half of circle bed...check.

Trees 'limbed up' in circle bed for better light penetration...check.

Last of the leaves out of corner, front, and side beds...check.

Leaves out of backyard beds...not check.

Well...still much to do, but a lot less than there was when I woke up this morning. With BP, J, H, and a little bit of SB, a lot was accomplished. Onward white gardens!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ahhhh...Spring Time Flowers

When we moved into our house 4 years ago, this Rhododendron was in the back yard along with a few others. We did not know what color it was for 2 years. It was in pretty bad shape, and probably had not flowered for a few years because of the poor condition of the soil. After working with the soil, applications of Hollytone, and lots of pruning (some resulting from a losing fight with a huge falling tree branch), its still quite large, and now blesses us with purple blooms in the spring.

This Rhododendron was found after we moved into our house. It was in a corner of the yard under mountains of leaves. It was a weird shade of green, and not much to look at. With a move to another part of the yard, TLC, and regular doses of the mini-miracle-in-a-bag called Hollytone it really is looking lover-ly. It's now about 3 times the size it was when we moved here!

No need to fear the all white garden. I can see I'll have plenty of "Grandfathered-in" color in my garden from original plants in the landscape (tho none too many), and the planting I've done here over the last 4 years. Things are popping out and up all over (including the weeds). A lot of my plants will even look nice with a dose of white near them. There are some unfortunate pale yellows that might not look as nice with white...but I can be creative.

I'm almost done the plans for the new perennials to add this year...all whites and or greens of course. I finally got Moon Vine in the greehouse again (there are some very happy customers this week)....I'll use it for my will be a nice 'white' flower to grow up and over it. Moon Vine gets large white flowers, about 6 inches across, that open in the evening.

I can't wait to start. It may have to wait a bit tho...rain over the next 2 days is going to slow down my progress. Don't be surprised if I'm out there in the rain planting if it gets to be too much of an itch to scratch (been there & done planted that way many times).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Search Begins

I've begun the plan for the white garden. I'm looking at some of the 'staples' of the garden that I've not grown in years with new appreciation.

I've never used Wave Petunias for my own garden, even tho I've had them in planter combos, and hanging baskets we've made at work for the longest time. They are wonderful, this I know...I've just not used them at home. They are likely going to be a ground cover type addition to places where I need some lower annuals.

'Perfume White' Nicotiana will be very nice in an area where I need just a little height, and a bit will go into some of my containers. It will be interesting to see if they attract the hummingbirds as well as the reds.

For some more short stuff...'Pot and Patio' Asters, in white of course.

I found a very interesting new plant for my garden. I've never had it at the greenhouse before, tho I'm not too sure on how 'new' it actually is. It's called Breynia. It's an annual that gets 4-6 ft tall, & about 3-4 ft wide. Just mottled leaves of green and white distinguish it in any way. I will use it at the back of one of the beds where I usually have an elephant ear planted. I lost the HUGE elephant ear I've had for a while to a hungry mouse over the winter.

There are still so many plants I need to choose. (& lots of spots and pots to fill) I want a new hydrangea...maybe a tree Pee gee? I definitely like the Perilla 'Vanilla', I need to plan for that....

I'm gonna go get out the pencil and paper to start mapping it out. :) Sooooooo exciting!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Challenge

Yippee Skippee!
I love a challenge.
The challenges at work are daily, thats what makes it so exciting and fun. The challenges at home are many (those with teenagers understand that as much as anyone), getting thru challenges is what family is all about.
The challenges I give myself, however, are my favorite kind.

(I think...)

I can start planning my own garden now that there is a bit more time in the week to not be at work. Whoo hoo! The longer days help as well. (cartwheels being done that you can only imagine)

Each year my home garden is a little different, new plants, trees, or shrubs are added. There are new varieties to try. Growers give me sample plants to 'not take care of' , and then comment on what I think about the performance of the 'newbie'. (I have mentioned I'm a lucky gardener, yes?) When we have something especially wonderful and new I gather samples of each up, and let my fellow employee/gardeners choose 1 or 2, with the promise to let me know what they think of the plant they chose. ( I get 1 or 2 myself) :)

The constant in my garden is color. Lots of it. Colorful perennials,colorful annuals, and colorful trees and shrubs. My favorite flowers are usually in the blue tones,and I accent them with other colors. Last year were a lot of hot pinks and corals with my favorite blues. (There were a few volunteer 'classic white' zinnias that reseeded in the lawn that made it in as well. We will mention them quickly and in lower-case-small-type, in the hopes they don't realize they shouldn't have come back, and they will do it again this year.)

This year I've set myself to a challenge. I'm only going to use white this year. The only new perennials to come into the garden will have to be white, mostly white, or have no flower and be a greenish or white color. (no colorful leaves allowed) The annuals will have to be whites, ( & greens or greys). The newbie plants and testers will have to be white, or no flowers, and only greens or greys.

What was I thinking?

I thought I'd like the challenge...mostly 'cause it wouldn't be too hard. (after all I have tons of stuff to choose from at work, right?) Wow. I'm suffering from serious color withdrawal. I hate this challenge. I think I would change my mind now if I hadn't told a few others of my idea. (me and my big mouth!)

I can't look at my faves in the same way, and I swear they aren't treating me as in years past. The blues (salvia, ageratum, columbine, convolvulous, and others) look at me and stick their tongues out..."you can't use me...nah nah naaa na nah!". The pinks, purples, and yellows? They aren't quite as rude as the blues..they adjust their leaves to look at someone else, and give me the cold shoulder. The coleus, probably my favorite annual, are generally lukewarm about the challenge, likely because some in their rank and file can still be considered.

The white flowers aren't helping. No one is saying "pick me, pick me!" I will have to convince the white flowers and myself I want them to be in my garden this year. I have been sneaking up on them and perusing quietly. I guess because they seem a little more on the quiet side than their colorful cousins, I am quiet myself? (whaaaaat? you say?... ok...I talk to plants)

I'm starting slow. I've been fondling the leaves of the 'New Look' and 'Lacy Leaf 'Dusty Miller, they will work, no flowers, and they are white-ish. (ok, I also fondle plants, but most of them enjoy the occasional 'pet') The white Impatiens? No? Maybe they are too normal...but they are very pretty. The ornamental grasses are very pretty this year...they are colorful with out having flowers, and those I can consider are in shades of green and grey and are awesome. The grasses textures will be nice, too. The lime thyme is interesting (and smells SOOOO good!). Oooh, and the White Queen Cleome...hmm..nice. Perilla 'Vanilla', might be a nice addition to the rear of one of th beds, and I've never grown it before. " 'Plectranthus 'Nicodemus', you might come home with me this week." (Chitweed, stop talking to the plants...the customers are staring again, K?) Hosta...well,need I say more?...I can choose from many of the hosta and have a white flower to go with the loveliest of all leaves.

Maybe this won't be soooo bad?




I love a challenge.

(I think.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Another busy day, and the wonderful weather certainly helped.
The end of one heck of a week. Whew!

The week ahead:
  • Monday: time to clean up,straighten, and get ready for the weeks deliveries. Place flats order. Finish up pond plant order.
  • Tuesday: veggie and annual flats delivery. Finish up tropical order. (hopefully get part of the day off)
  • Wednesday: Perennial delivery (qt - 3 gal sizes)
  • Thursday: Annual delivery
  • Friday: second veggie and annual flats delivery.

Sat. and Sun: be very busy :)

Happy Mother's Day to all to whom it applies. I hope you got awesome additions to add to your garden,terrific tools to play in the garden with, and happy helpers volunteering to get your garden ready for summer.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mothers Day Weekend

Well, it is all I can do to log on and write a bit this evening.
Doesn't that sound pitiful? :)

Actually, as long as the day was, it went by pretty fast. When its heck-a-busy, I enjoy it. Just movin' around, rearranging displays, directing people, answering questions all day... that's a good day. In general running around like a headless chicken (with a purpose) suits me.

Hanging baskets were the hot ticket item today, along with the planters taken out of the growing greenhouses on Thursday. I'm so glad 'our' stuff made the date. It all looks so great, and customers are really complimentary. The 10" fuchsias that came out of the houses the week before last are almost gone. I think we grew 150 pots...guess we should have grown more.

It's funny that I'm still in the Mother's Day holiday, but my mind is on the coming week, and the trailer of tropical plants I have to fill for delivery June 24-26. I've found a new grower In Fl. that I'm really excited about. They've got an amazing inventory, and have been nice enough to send lots of pictures of current stock. LOTS of unusual stuff, and in bigger sizes. Now to narrow down the list of what to bring in. It will be hard, but I'm up to the challenge (I am amazing after all) (tho very humble about it)

Now I shall Play with one of my new Mother's day presents - an iPod (does that spelling look right?) (yep, it's right...checked the box) Guess I can't be all that tired if I want to play with a new toy.

I'll tell you about my other Mother's day present when I can take a picture of it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lemons and Lemonade-Making-Time

It was the perfect plan on Sunday.
It came undone around the edges today. Today lemonade was made out of lemons.

The plan was for 1-2 greenhouse truck deliveries each day this week: 2 trucks on days when each delivery was a smaller, 1 truck for the big load days. Well, one of the big truck days was today. No dice. Plenty of people on hand to unload, tag, and put out merchandise...from a truck that never came. It will be here tomorrow.
That makes 2 big trucks tomorrow.
Oiy vay!

Silver lining: KS was able to get a lot of the pots, planters and hanging baskets that were grown here out into the retail houses. They are really pretty. It was touch and go that they would make Mother's Day because it was so cold it was holding the growth back a bit. The last few sunny days have really made the difference.
Always something to do, even when the day gets messed up a bit. Mom came in to help tag the truck that never she put out mini roses. (hey..she asked if there was anything she could do....)

For tomorrow: All the tags are made. The tables are ready to receive. The greenhouses are swept and washed down. There will be a few extra people on hand to help, even my Mom (I just love that woman).

Did I mention there was a power outage? Some accident up the road or something. We limped on for a couple hours with the generators running a few registers, lights, and scales. (sheesh)

Tomorrow... It's gonna be sunny and warm. It's gonna be hectic. The sunscreen and the lemonade are at the ready.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Busiest time

This is the busiest time of the year for me. The first 3 weeks of May are crazy, with this particular week being the The Mother of all crazy busy weeks.(hee hee, Mother's Day week...Mother of all...ok so I'm punch drunk tired)

This is the busiest time for gardeners and thus, greenhouses & garden centers. So its a double whammy for me and my garden. The home garden takes a backseat this time of year, I must admit. As my Dad always said..."You gotta make hay when the sun shines", therefore off to work I go, leaving behind the weeds that need pulling, the perennials that need dividing, the beds that need mulching, the rest of the roses that need pruning, and so much more.

Another 2 weeks and I'll have time to get my hands into the thick of it again.

Pricing yet another of the many trucks arriving daily, the staff are all saying we would like to have 2 weeks hiatus in the spring to play in our gardens. (Ahhh, a sweet dream...but it ain't happening.)

My eyes settle on the tags of new additions to the inventory. I find myself salivating over the color picture tags, reading the particulars of a plant, figuring out where it might fit in the ever expanding home garden. This week...11 new Echinacea (adding to the 6 from last week), 20 new Day lilies(42 varieties now!), Gold Heart Dicentra, Convallaria Bordeaux, Captain Kirk Hosta, Lady in Red Hydrangea...might they be new additions to my garden?
No! I must stay strong, at least for few more weeks, other wise I will be watering pots of stuff everyday in the side yard, and feel bad I don't have enough time in the day to plant them (much less water them).

If it was meant to be, I'll be able to order them in when I'm ready to plant them.

(It could happen...please let it happen)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The First

The first day, the first words, I go a bloggin'. I've read other garden blogs for quite sometime now. Thought I'd wing it myself. What was I thinking???!!!!
I love to learn, and I'm sure this will be a learning experience. Learning about blogging. Learning about designing, maintaining, and making something interesting. Learning from other gardeners. Learning about myself as this all goes along.
Please don't be too critical of the spelling and grammar mistakes..I'll be more than critical of myself when re-reading my posts. I'm not too bad a speller...I just happen to be an impared tyyppst. (that was not an accident by the way)
Welcome to my garden blog. I hope you and I enjoy it.