Sunday, May 16, 2010

BloomDay Post...Better Late Than Never

As I am still getting my garden established after the move, most of the things blooming in my yard are annuals.  This time next year, it will be a different story, but that is what annuals are for, to add color when you need it.  I love pansies, definitely top 3 of my favorite spring flowers.

Which is why I have TONS of them.  I have another big planter full of them that haven't bloomed yet.  I started those from seed, and I am waiting for them to come along.  I used some different seed starting mix this year, and I don't really care for it.  It is too dense, and I think some of my seedlings aren't growing as fast as they should have.  Hopefully they will be ready to go before it gets too hot in the summertime.

I have forgotten the name for this plant.  Whatever it is, it is gorgeous.  It makes this dense mound, with these beautiful purple flowers all over.  It is in a shaded area, and it came with the yard.  I would love to know what it is, if anyone can tell me the name.

I have a thing for geraniums lately.  Dh got me this one for mother's day.  It is a stunning hot pink... I love geraniums because they can take a lot of abuse, and they flower dependably all summer long. The only thing I don't like about them is that they STINK.  I hate geranium smell on my hands.

Iris are in my top 3 flowers period.  Especially bearded iris.  I was delighted to see many peach iris blooming even though I had to transplant them this spring.  Except for the fact that I didn't realize I had any peach iris.  I thought all mine were purple except for one black one I bought last year that never bloomed.  My friend Jeri informed me that she gave me some peach iris two years ago.  Oops...I forgot.  Since none of my bearded iris bloomed last year at all, I forgot about the peach ones.  This shows me how much nicer the soil is in this yard, I moved the iris and they bloomed right away.  The heavy clay soil in the last yard prevented my iris from doing much at all, I learned the hard way.  I also have siberian iris, which are purple.

I'm not sure if coleus foliage counts as a 'bloom', but I put it in anyways.  I got several cool coleus this year.  I have never done much with them, so I am excited to see how they do.  The variety of color and pattern you can get is amazing! 

I have been so busy working in the yard that I haven't got to do a post on how my garden is doing as a whole.  I have an upcoming post about things I am doing with rhubarb, and soon after that will be another 'Starting Over in a New Garden' post.  I hope you'll come back and read those as well!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Threat of Frost

What a mess.  A very slight chance of frost tonight, and a very strong chance tomorrow night sends me out into the garden in a panic.  I always overcover, cause I am never sure what will get damaged and what won't.  See the brown pots off in the background, covering my brand-new walking stick kale?

I hate doing this because then I have to wash and dry all the sheets, and then fold them and put them away.  I detest folding sheets.  And this is such a waste of good gardening time, or at least doing the house cleaning I should be doing this evening.

I put some turned over buckets over my amaranthus, because they were so tall.  At least the three that were left.

Someone, someone being the rabbit, has chomped one of my amaranthus off...he didn't eat the end though.  So maybe he just sat his fat butt on it.  Or maybe it was the butt of the fat squirrel?  Either way, now I need to look for some more amaranthus, cause I wanted at least 4....not 3.

On a brighter note, I harvested my first radish today. They are 'easter egg' radishes. This is the first thing I have harvested from my garden besides rhubarb, which I didn't really put there. 

Also, what is this?  It is in my compost from last year.  It looks watermelonish, but I wasn't sure.  It is way more wide than it is tall.  I need to know if I should yank it or leave it.  Wish me luck through hopefully this last frosty weekend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting Out of the House for a Bit

In April, I started a few nasturtium seeds inside...I forgot to take a picture of that, but I took a takeout salad container with a clear lid and filled it with seed starting mix.  I put about 6 spitfire seeds in it, watered it, and put on the lid.  I did not soak them or nick the seed coats. I wanted to see how long it took without doing anything special, because I had always sown nasturtium seeds outside that way, but had never kept track to see when they came up.  Inside the little 'mini' greenhouse, they stayed warm and moist under my seed lights.  All of them had sprouted within 2 weeks.


Since it is now the beginning of May, I felt pretty safe putting some of my little seedlings outside.  Spring has been freakishly warm here in Iowa, as well as many other places in the country, so I'm not too worried about frost at this point. I put two seedlings in this planter by my front steps.  The planter is supposed to look like a pump.  I got it at a local craft fair a few years back.


Sorry for the pic being a little fuzzy, but the sunlight was incredibly bright, and this camera is getting old.  The funny story about the pump is that when I bought it, I brought it home and put it in front of our house at the time, my fiance's grandmother's house.  He basically implied that he didn't want it there, because it looked 'tacky', and he didn't 'go' with the image he had of his grandma's house.  I was like, "Excuse me? Are you implying that it is hickish?"  I mean, it's not like we have cars in the front yard up on blocks and such.  I was very insulted and asked him where I should put it. He said, I don't care, as long as nobody can see it.  I was really hacked off and dragged it into the backyard and slammed it down.  I didn't even take the pink tape off the top that the price tag had been attached to.  There it sat for weeks, with nothing in it. He finally asked if I was going to plant anything in it.  I said, no, I don't want to be all tacky or anything.  So, I let that thing set there empty in the backyard with the tape on it the whole first year just to irritate him.  We joke about the pump now, it is a metaphor for stubbornness in our house.  I thought it would be kind of funny when we moved to this house to put the pump out in front.  So far he hasn't said anything.  ;)


Here is where I put the rest, in front of a cool old garden gate I have by my garage.  I imagine the gate will be covered by the plants by the end of the summer. 

They aren't very robust yet, but I think nasturtium gets a little gangly under grow lights, compared to starting it outside.  The next stage for me is to find places to direct sow the remaining seeds outside.  By the time they sprout, the frost date will be past here, and they will be safe. I know I am going to put some seeds in my new whiskey barrel planter I bought.  Also, I am going to put some in my tippy pot planter I am building. 

The problem with the tippy pot planter is that I overestimated the strength of the rod I used.  It all looked well and good until I filled the fourth pot.  Then the whole thing started to tip.  I caught the pots before they fell.  I used a plastic coated rod with metal inside.  Very strong.  However, not strong enough for this kind of weight.  I will be going back to the hardware store for a solid metal rod of some kind.  I did pound the stake deeply into the ground, which is recommended to support the weight, but the top part bent when I was trying to situtate the pots. Oh well, I will try again.  Anyways, I am going to plant some spitfire seeds into one of these pots, and then they will be spilling beautiful edible foliage out in no time.  By this time next month, I should have some pretty significant plants.  

Renee's Garden also sent me some 'Double Cosmos:  Rose Bon Bon'.  I planted those today in my rose bed.  This is the 'before' pic.  The former owners did not use any kind of groundcover that I can tell, under the mulch, so the grass was coming up in it like crazy.  You can also see my very cruddy looking allium foliage.  They look kind of dead, but I guess some of this is normal for alliums.  Since the alliums will be a litte sparse, I filled in with some annual color.  After doing some weeding, of course.

It looked much better after getting rid of the grass. I planted some Amaranthus Burgundy in the middle, which gets 5 to 8 feet tall.  Then, I planted the Cosmos seeds, and stuck little wooden sticks in to remind myself where I planted them. The beautiful package says that the Cosmos get to be 3 to 4 feet.  I think this bed will look fantastic when everything is grown up and blooming.  I need to freshen up the mulch, but I won't do that until my seedlings are up.  Thanks to Renee's Garden again for the generous gifts of the seeds.

"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds."
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