How does your garden grow? Growing vegetables

Every year we plant a vegetable.   I’ve posted about it before many times, but every year it changes a little. It’s great to go out to the garden for fresh vegetables that you grew..   Our garden is 2 large raised beds with a path between the beds and around the perimeter. The beds are enclosed in wire mesh to keep rabbits out. Here’s what the garden looks like this year.garden, vegetables

Digging in the dirt is something I really like to do, I know I’ve mentioned it before but it’s so true. Here I am, the gardener. Don’t you love the outfit? My hat is soaked with sweat and water because it was raining a little. My pants are wet and dirty and my garden shoes have seen better days. I’m dirty and sweaty but happy.compost, garden,

Since the compost tumbler is broken, I’m making compost in a pile enclosed in wire. Bill is supposed to fix it…..sometime, but …..ahem…. when?  kale, vegetable garden

In the first bed this year is a new addition, kale. I love it but have to sneak it into soups or sauté it with other vegetables to get my husband to eat it.  cucumber plant

Cucumber is another vegetable that Bill won’t eat, so I’ll be giving plenty of these away.

argula, lettuce, vegetable gsrden

Arugula is on the left and those are lettuce sprouts coming up under that wire mesh.  Birds were eating all the little seedlings and this is how I out foxed those hungry pests.  zucchini and cucumber vegetable garden

Zucchini plants always claim their space. They’re growing nicely and loaded with blooms. Also in this bed are mint and perennials that I divided last year.

onion plants vegetable garden

In the other bed, onions are a variety of sweet onion called ‘candy.’ I hope they’re nice and sweet because I’m an onion lover!

jalapeno plant

Jalapeño peppers are at the top of my personal hotness scale.
bell pepper plants vegetable garden

Bell peppers, you can’t tell from the picture but these plants are loaded with peppers.

hot chili pepper plants
Hot chili peppers are Bill’s favorite.

yellow zucchini plants
Yellow zucchini, I thought I was buying yellow summer squash and ended up with these. Now I  think I like them better than green zucchini.

tomato plant,s vegetable garden DIY wooden tomato cage

DIY tomato cages that Bill made. You can also see part of the soaker hose we use to water the garden.

tomato plant

This is our first ripe tomato of the season! I’m planning to pick it and eat it tomorrow!

vegetable garden

Here’s a shot from the far end looking across both beds toward the garden shed.

path, vegetable garden, pine bark nuggets

We use pine bark nuggets for the path. I was asked how we get into the beds……See that rock? I use that as a step up and climb in.   coneflowers

I planted this purple coneflower in the garden to keep it away from rabbits who had eaten it down to just stems.  I think it likes its new home.

Get out there and dig in the dirt, it’s so good for the soul!  What vegetables do you like to grow?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

2014 Garden tour

Welcome! Lets start this tour in the side yard at the arbor.

Every year our yard and garden changes a little, I guess it’s just a natural evolution but this year the harsh winter has taken a toll on many of our plants. Even though we had to remove 2 junipers, 4 hemlocks, 4 boxwoods and 2 cotoneasters, the garden is still so pretty

arbor

 

This is one of my favorite views into our yard. You can see a pink knockout rose through the middle of the arbor. On the right is a ‘Korean Spice’ viburnum underplanted with liriope. On the right is Canterbury Bells  protected from rabbits with wire mesh. I had climbing roses here but I got so tired of powdery mildew and black spot and then rose rosette disease showed up…so they’re gone.side yard with arbor

 

The purple leaves are coral bells ‘Purple Palace’.catmint

 

These huge catmints are on the inside of the arbor. Behind the catmint was a butterfly bush that didn’t survive the winter.fountain

 

Opposite that is this fountain that we’ve had a long, long time and it’s certainly showing its age. I planted New Guinea impatiens in a bright coral because I’m crushing on that color this year.

pink knockout rose clematis

 

This is the big bed beside the shed with pink knockouts and clematis ‘Etiole Violette’.lady's mantel

 

 

Another butterfly bush, beside the purple globe thingy, took a hit from winter but is coming back and filling in that blank space nicely.birdhouse clematis

 

Time to replace that birdhouse…… We’ll have to wait until the current occupants leave.yard

 

One of my favorite trees, Ice Blue Cypress, is shedding needles like never before…..another consequence of the harsh winter. cedar

 

I asked an arborist about this and he said that after it’s done shedding it will slowly fill in.

I could never plant impatiens before because rabbits would end up eating them, but this year there doesn’t seem to be as many rabbits eating everything is sight. They should fill in nicely.

knockout rose

 

 

This is the back of the house, there’s a red knockout and Gold Flame spirea.pink lemonade honeysuckle

 

Beside the spirea is pink lemonade honeysuckle growing on a wooden arbor made by my stepfather.

row of hemlocks

 

Across the back edge of our property is where the row of hemlocks are. You can see where we planted arborvitae in a space where they died. Eventually we will replace all the hemlocks. Because of wooly adelgid disease, Canadian Hemlocks aren’t recommended any more for planting in the north east.

arborvitea

 

Looking the opposite direction.

border vegetable garden

 

The arrow is pointing to another spot where we removed more hemlocks and planted arborvitae. This picture is the outer edge of the vegetable garden. The wooden things are DIY’d tomato cages.

There was nothing here when we built this house and we planted everything! Pretty crazy! Now, it’s a lot of work, but know what? I love it. Most days you will find me with dirty knees and dirt under my fingernails. If I had more space I’d plant more!

You can see lots more garden pictures HERE.

I’ll be showing the vegetable garden, the front yard  and the patio soon. What are you planting this year?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

hen and chicks or cats and kittens, Succulents in the garden

Whatever name you call these plants by, they are actually Sempervivum,  (which means "live forever" because they grow and propagate so readily)  or common houseleeks and are one of the most popular succulents. What I like about these plants is that they grow almost anywhere, even in rock walls. I have several clusters growing in my garden. They don’t require much care, basically just plant them and forget them. Overwatering is something they don’t appreciate. Ask me how I know!

A couple varieties of sedum are the only other succulents in our garden but I’ve noticed succulents are growing in popularity again. Have you seen them planted in an old work boot or pair of baby shoes? Or even in an old pallet as a growing wall of succulents?

hen and chicks

One thing I don’t like about this plant are the very strange looking  flowers. I think they are down right ugly.

hen and chicks

Towering spikes grow with a cluster of flowers on the end. The is the plant’s way of self propagating. After flowering, the mother plant dies. The flowering plant is the hen and the smaller plants that sprout out at the edges are the chicks. I like to pull off the baby plants and plant them in a new spot. It’s amazing how quickly they grow and are practically indestructible, as far as plants go…….except for overwatering.

hen and chicks

 Here’s a succulent planter with a big WOW factor, created by Michael Wurm from Inspired by Charm. It’s beautiful and inspiring! I may have to try this!  Winking smile   I did a feature about his blog in 2012.

 

An old wives tale claims that hen and chicks protect your home from fire…… hmmm wonder how that tale started?

Do you grow succulents? What’s been your experience with hen and chicks?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

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Garden tour 2013

Gardening is something I have always enjoyed. I like getting dirty and sweaty and feeling tired after a day of working outside. That might sound crazy I know, but I like digging in dirt!  They say gardening is good for the soul and your health. There is definitely something to that, it helps you feel grounded and connected to the earth and feeds you too! We always plant a vegetable garden, a few herbs and lots of flowers.

This year I didn’t plant as many flowers in pots for the patio. I love putting together pretty plant combinations and see how they look after they start growing but this year I cut back on flowers and instead got several ferns.

fern

This huge fern looks pretty good on the front porch but I think I miss the pop of colors you get from flowers.

flower urn

For a little color I put this planter in the little courtyard beside the entry.

fountain garden

In our back yard we have a fountain beside our patio. The sound of running water is so soothing. The birds love it too.

garden

I put a few perennials that I divided, in the planter beside the shed.

purple coneflowers, knockout rose

Wire cages keep rabbits from eating the flowers.

hen and chicks

Some people call these succulents, hen and chicks or cats and kittens. They send up the very strange looking flowers.

vegetable garden 2

Every year we plant a variety of vegetables that doesn’t change much from year to year. Tomatoes, peppers, green beans, onions, lettuces, zucchini, basil, yellow squash,and sugar peas. We added cucumbers and red beets this year. See more of the garden from previous years HERE.

vegetable garden

In the spring, I took out a big perennial bed in the area where the birdhouse is. It was in need of a lot of work and I decided to just get rid of it and put in grass. We compost too, you can see the composter in the corner. The garden is pretty much organic. We don’t use chemicals or pesticides, just compost.

squash

A crazy squash has outgrown its bounds and is overtaking the path.

garden squash

Its growing on the wire fence and even going up the tomato cages.

tomato, squash

I have no idea what caused it to grow like a squash on steroids but I think I might have to knock it back so it doesn’t take over the whole garden.

green tomatoes vine

We planted about a dozen tomato plants in several different varieties. I sure hope they ripen soon. There’s nothing better than a sweet home grown tomato! Bright red with salt, pepper and a little dab of mayo…….oh yeah!

peppers garden

Here you can see some lettuce that needs to be harvested soon, peppers, green beans, red beets and weeds. The weeds are purslane and I’ve never eaten it but I might try. It’s supposed to taste like spinach.

red beets, garden

These are my red beets. Last year I tried to grow them but they never came up. Beets are one of my favorite vegetables.

We’ve had lots of rain this year so the garden is looking pretty good. So there you have it, the garden 2013.

How does your garden grow? Do you plant vegetables? How do you preserve your harvest, canning or freezing? I’m planning on canning tomatoes this year.

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

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Backyard Bouquet { 3 }

Frost hit us on Friday night so all the flowering plants look pretty sad now. We were warned of  the frost coming, so I quickly snipped a few red knockout roses and tucked them in a pitcher, with sprigs of spirea. The color of this rose is so vibrant. It really adds a punch of color on the kitchen table.

knockout roses with spirea

The colorful tips of spirea compliment the red roses. This spirea is compact but offers up some amazing color and blooms with pink flowers in Summer.

goldflame spirea 4

If you’re looking for an easy care, colorful and compact shrub, this one fills the bill.

goldflame spirea

Goldflame spirea is a beauty in fall too. Can you tell I like this plant?  I Red heart it.

spirea 3

 

knockout roses with spirea in Fall

A warming fireplace and pretty flowers on the table. It’s the best of Summer and Fall. Makes you want to make homemade soup and snuggle in.

knockout roses with spirea 2

This simple backyard bouquet might be my favorite. The other ones are here. Have you created a backyard bouquet of your own?

Please pay a visit to my sponsors in the sidebar. Perfect Little House Company for house plans, Shabby Apple and Royal Design stencils.

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Cleaning up the garden in Fall

It’s time to clean up outside and get the flower beds cleaned up. We only have one big tree that drops leaves but it also drops crabapples and makes a big mess. Time to start to clean that up and think about dividing some overgrown perennials to share with friends. Some people prefer to do this in Spring but I like to do it now.

tall grass, cabaret

This grass plant is starting to split apart on it’s own and really needs some attention. You can see all the little crabapples everywhere and a Russian sage plant that’s impossible to contain. That thing makes me sneeze when I get within 6 feet of it so cutting it back will be fun! We’ll probably dig all of this out and replant some of the plants in the bed on the other side of the garden and plant grass here. It’s hard to keep so many flower beds looking nice. What I really mean is,  I’m getting older and it’s a lot of work.

sedem

Sedum is so pretty in the Fall but my plants are open in the center and hanging over the edges of the bed. I have 3 of these giant plants and it’s going to be a lot of work getting them divided. Just digging them up will take some muscle! I use a big old knife with a sturdy blade to cut plants apart but it takes determination. Sometimes it’s really difficult.

purple

Anyone know the name of this pretty purple thing? I did, but didn’t really pay much attention to it because it never bloomed like this before.

peppers

Peppers are what’s left in the vegetable garden. My husband eats these things like candy.

knockout rose

The red double knockout rose is still blooming but I’ll soon be cutting it back by about a third to keep it in bounds. I have a pink one that is so fragrant but this red one isn’t but I do love the red color.

 

knockout rose 2

There’s some competition for space happening here.

hen and chicks

Do you call this hen and chicks or cats and kittens? There’s an old wives tale that claims this plant protects your home from fire. Hmmm….wonder how that came about? We all know the popular ones about chicken soup, an apple a day and eating carrots for good eyesight, but a plant protecting you from fire…….I don’t know.

shed

The garden shed is fancied up for Fall this year. This is what I see from my kitchen window.

 

Happy Fall Y’all!

Right now my upper kitchen cabinets are getting trimmed out and they are looking good. I’m so happy to be getting this project finished!

 

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Backyard Bouquet { 2 }

There are still plenty of flowers blooming in the backyard, so I decided to put together another backyard bouquet. It may not be as grand as the first one I made but it’s just as pretty, I think.

bouquet

The hydrangea are the last of my ever bloomers. They’re kind of measly looking now but have a great blue color. I’ve used sedum again in this bouquet and a few stems of pink knockout roses. There’s also some catmint and ivy. 

flowers

Such beautiful colors!  I really enjoy this time of year when the flowers put on their last show of the year.

patio 2

I kept this bouquet the patio. All of our patio furniture is put away for winter and only these chairs are left out. We sit here until it’s too cold. I like to sit here with a hot drink and a snack and enjoy Summer’s finale.

grapes

I’ll be making another bouquet next week that’s completely different from this one.

bouquet3

We started cleaning up the garden for Fall and I’m tackling a few perennials that have overgrown their bounds. I’ll be posting a garden tour soon to share how messy my garden looks. There’s a lot of work to be done.  I don’t mind it at all. I’m a true fair weather gardener and this weather is perfect for outdoor work!

Some people prefer to wait and clean up their gardens in the Spring but I like everything trimmed and just waiting for Spring to arrive. Are you a fair weather gardener like me? Do you clean up now or wait until Spring?

 

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Home grown TOMATO Pests and garden woes.

Every year we plant a garden and always get tons of delicious juicy tomatoes. There’s nothing better than a red ripe tomato and we sure do enjoy them.  This year birds are eating up our tomatoes like they never have before.

rotten tomato

So many of them look like this with the center eaten away.

 tomato plants 3

So now we have a fence to keep out the rabbits and netting to keep out the birds. I tied on some  plastic bags and aluminum plates in an effort to keep away the pests. Along with the lack of rain, crunchy dead looking grass and intruders in the garden the whole yard looks pretty bad.  How do you keep pest out of your garden?

I am at my daughter’s house watching Mia and helping her move into a friend’s rental house while their new home is being built. I hope to take some pictures of the model house to share. She’s lucky to have a friend that will rent to them on a short term basis but it’s hard knowing that you have to move twice. ugh, don’t you hate moving?

I didn’t have time to work on a Friday feature this week but it will be back next week. Hope you have a great weekend!

 

Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

Garden party #5, The vegetable garden

Welcome to the 5th week of the garden party!  I would love for you to join the party! Dig in the dirt and show off your plants!  This week I’m talking about the vegetable garden.garden-party3

We always plant plenty of tomatoes, peppers, (especially hot ones for Bill), lettuce, zucchini, and onions. This year we have sweet peas that are almost ready to be picked and we will probably put in some green beans too. Sometimes I plant squash or pumpkins or sunflowers. I tried eggplant and red beets last year but they didn’t do well. Here’s a look at the garden this year.

vegetable garden 2012 4

An old and rusty arbor stands at the entrance, flanked by urns that are filled with pansies. I’ll  replace those after they wilt in the hot temperatures.

 

vegetable garden 2012 3

The lettuce is growing nicely and I’ll probably be giving a lot of that away. You can see the sugar peas and Spring onions.

 

vegetable garden 2012 2 

We have 2 large beds surrounded by wire to keep rabbits out! Last year they figured out how to get in so we added smaller wire and now have the garden surrounded by 2 types of wire!

  vegetable garden 2012

Sometimes I can see rabbits standing on their hind legs by the fence trying to figure out how to get in there. Well not this year you rotten rabbits!

2012_05_25_5093

Here’s a look at the zucchini and tomatoes in home made tomato cages. You can see some of our garden last year HERE and HERE.

Now let’s get on to the Garden Party, here are 2 from last week.

planted pants

Hometalk Community Blog shared these planted pants. This is a very cute idea! A pair of jeans for every member of the family!  Daddy jeans, mommy jeans and kid jeans in a row.  What a way to greet your guests.

peonies

Lavender Cottage shared her lovely peonies, one of my favorite flowers. We had 2 long rows of peonies at our house when I was a kid and I loved them.

Thank you to everyone who linked up!

I hope you have some gardening posts this week and will join in and link up! I love seeing what flowers and vegetables other people are planting. If you would like me to continue the garden party just say so in a comment, I was going to have it only in May but I have lots more flowers and plants to show off and I bet you do too!

 

Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

Garden Party #4, Black flowers

Welcome to the 4th week of the garden party! I’ll be hosting the party here every Tuesday in May and would love for you to join the party! Dig in the dirt and show off your plants!  This week I’m talking about black flowers.

garden-party3

Black Velvet petunias are new to me this year and I’m loving them! They aren’t really black, but a very deep inky blue that appears almost black. They pair wonderfully with just about any other color and make quite a statement in your garden.

black velvet black and blue2

I’ve paired Black Velvet petunia with Euphorbia and another plant that’s new to me, Black and Blue Salvia.

lantana black and blue

The buds appear black and open to blue. It’s so pretty.

                                                           

 

8761657_PANSY_ACCORD_BLACKEAUTYhollyhock from amazon

Source                                                                        Source

A couple more black flowers are Black Beauty Pansies and Nigra Hollyhocks. Flowers considered black are dark purple, dark red or have dark foliage instead of pure black and are oh so lovely!

Now let’s get on to the Garden Party, here are 2 from last week.

lilac

Simple Holdings Farm shared her lovely lilacs and some great garden tips.

 

roses

Kathe with an E shared her thoughts on the benefits of gardening and lovely pictures of her garden.

 

Thank you for coming by linking up!

We had our first fresh veggies from our garden. Lettuce and sweet Spring onions made a tasty salad. I can’t wait for more!

If you don’t have anything about gardening or plants to link up this week, come back next Tuesday for another plant party link up and show off your dirty fingernails or green knees.  It’s fun digging in the dirt!

Please link back here in your post. Thank You!

 

Happy Gardening, Debbie (((xx)))

Garden party#3, Beautiful planters at the garden center

Welcome to the 3rd week of the garden party! I’ll be hosting the party here every Tuesday in May and would love for you to join the party! Dig in the dirt and show off your planties!

                                     garden-party3

Combining flower shapes and colors is one of my favorite things about gardening. Contrasting flower colors can complement each other for an even more beautiful display and there are endless possibilities. 

Frey’s greenhouse is my go to place for inspiration.  I took these pictures while shopping there and I can shop there for hours!  Visiting your local garden center will give you lots of inspiration, that’s for sure.

black petunia

A Black Velvet petunia is paired with yellow nasturtium and a bright orange Gerber Daisy.

petunia pink and green

This is Pretty Much Picasso Supertunia. It’s bright pink with a purple center and lime green around the edges of the flower.

plant combinations 2

This planter really WOWED me. I saw it as soon as I walked in the door and loved it! It’s got the perfect example of thrillers, fillers and spillers!

plant combinations 3

Some pots contain annuals and perennials. I think the light colored leaves in the right side of this pot are perennial Coral Bells.

plant combinations

You can check them out on Facebook to see more examples of their amazing combinations.

Now let’s get on to the Garden Party, here are 2 from last week.

plant on pots

The Handmade Housewife shared her repurposed book rack. I love the idea of using unusual things as planters.

Color Transformed Family showed off her lovely Purslane. This is a plant I have never tried, but I might now.

Thank you for linking up!

Our vegetable garden is planted now and the lettuce, sugar peas and Spring onions are doing well…..can’t wait for those juicy tomatoes!

If you don’t have anything about gardening or plants to link up this week, come back next Tuesday for another plant party link up and show off your dirty fingernails or green knees.  It’s fun digging in the dirt!

Please link back here in your post. Thank You!

 

Happy gardening, Debbie (((xx)))

garden Party#2, Solomon’s Seal and Sweet Woodruff

Welcome to the 2nd week of the garden party! I’ll be hosting the party here every Tuesday in May and would love for you to join the party! Dig in the dirt and show off your planties!

                                              garden-party3

Last week I featured a tried and true favorite, Coral Bells. Combining a chartreuse Hosta with Purple Palace Coral Bells creates a lovely display.  I love grouping plants to create beautiful combinations. The possibilities are endless!

 Laura from Top This Top That shared her GORGEOUS wisteria. Have you ever caught the scent of  wisteria  in full bloom? It’s a sweet scent you won’t soon forget! I can imagine myself sitting here on a hot day enjoying a tall iced tea.

IMG_3818

Back to reality……..This week I’m featuring the combination of a variegated Solomon’s seal and Sweet Woodruff.

solomons seal, sweet woodruff

Both plants love shade and are in bloom now. The Solomon’s Seal towers over Sweet Woodruff and makes a pretty combination. I got both of these plants from a neighbor and they grew in and filled the area in only a few years. Now I’ve got plenty to share. Gardeners always have plants they’re eager to get rid of share!

sweet woodruff

Underneath this Viburnum is an example of how Sweet Woodruff is used as a ground cover. It filled in this area nicely and I need to rescue the little angel statues before they are completely devoured!

So let’s get started!

If you don’t have anything about gardening or plants to link up this week, come back next Tuesday for another plant party link up and show off your dirty fingernails or green knees.  It’s fun digging in the dirt!

Please link back here in your post. Thank You!  Smile

 

Happy Gardening, Debbie (((xx)))

Korean spice viburnum

 

It’s a little early in the season, but I love this time of year when everything wakes up and puts on a show of beautiful color. Some plants in our yard are bursting out in full bloom. One of those is a favorite shrub, Korean Spice Viburnum.

Korean spice viburnam5

This shrub grows to be about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide.The flower buds first appear as a pale pink and turn white in full bloom.

Korean spice viburnam2

The most amazing feature of this plant is it’s exceptional fragrance, a sweet aroma mixed with a bit of clove. We love the smell.

Korean spice viburnam4

When I bought this plant, it was nothing but 2 sticks, but it was the only one I could find. That was about 10 years ago and it has grown into a well behaved shrub that awards us with that lovely aroma in Spring and lots of thick green leaves in the Summer. There’s always a bird’s nest nestled in it’s branches.

Korean spice viburnam

Plant in full sun to partial shade, in well drained soil, in zones 4 through 7. Make sure you plant it near your porch, patio or window where you can enjoy it’s fragrance.

 

korean spice viburnum

It smells so good I just had to bring some inside.  Smile

 

korean spice viburnum2

If your looking for a shrub, I can recommend this one.Korean spice viburnam1

As gardening season begins, I’d love to talk about plants of all kinds. What are your favorites? I think we should have a garden party!

garden-party2

Yes, let’s have a link party! Share all your favorite plants or your best gardening tips, like putting a match in the hole when you plant peppers or what colors look great together in pots. Show off your garden!

 

 

Here’s a button you can snag to help spread the word. Let’s embrace our green knees and dirty fingernails and get planting!

 

Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

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Planting amaryllis and your Narcissus {Paper whites} need a little cocktail

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Narcissus, known as paper whites, looks so pretty in holiday décor, but
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
unfortunately for me, I’m one of those people who don’t find the fragrance
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
pleasant. However, that doesn’t stop me from planting a few bulbs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
They’re so easy to grow and don’t even require soil, just a bed of pebbles will
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
do. Make sure to pack them in tightly so the roots intertwine to give the
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
stems a little added support.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Paper whites are so pretty paired with mercury glass and silver. I love the way they look at Christmas.

 

 

 

Here’s a little trick I recently learned. Paper whites enjoy a little cocktail every now and then!

In a warm house the stems grow too tall to support the weight of the flowers and fall over. You could tie them up in pretty ribbon or twine, but instead give them a cocktail of vodka and water! 1 part liquor to seven parts water. The stems won’t grow as tall, but the flowers will be the same.

Any alcohol will work, except beer and wine because of the high sugar content. If you use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl), the ratio is 1 part rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to 10 parts water. . Start giving them the a cocktail when they’re about 3 to 5 inches tall. And since no one likes drinking alone, have a little nip yourself! Your family will wonder why you’re so happy and your paper whites will stand strong!

peatThis year I bought paper white and amaryllis bulbs at Lowe’s that were packaged with a plastic pot and a dehydrated cylinder of peat. Just add water and the peat turns into something that resembles coffee grounds. Instead of using the plastic pots that were in the bulb kit I used some white urns.

moss2011_11_20_2973

Not loving the coffee grounds look, I added moss that grows in our yard. I really wish you could see the color of the moss in person, it’s a bright limey green.  Instead of moss to cover the soil, you could sprinkle on a little grass seed or add some fake snow. Christmas balls were added in the pictures above from bhg.com. Get the kids involved and use legos or army men.  The possibilities are endless. 

  ss2011_11_20_2968-1

I like watching them grow and get anxious for the blooms.

 

trio2011_11_20_2979

 

Here are some narcissus about to bloom in a Valentine’s day centerpiece from  2010.8_thumb[3]

I planted this very tall amaryllis in early 2010 and it bloomed at Easter. It reminded me of an amaryllis beanstalk.

IMG_1417_thumb57

There’s still time to plant paper whites for Christmas, give it a try! It’s probably too late for amaryllis to bloom for Christmas, but you could look for them on sale after Christmas and have beautiful blooms 8 weeks later.

 

Home Stories A 2 Z, Tutorials and Tips

Debbie (((xx)))

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, gardening

1

We plant a garden every year and I have to admit, this year, our garden is a mess. Between too much rain, no rain, pesky insects and rabbits, it’s looking pretty bad.

Despite all that, we are still getting some vegetables. Not as much as we have in past years, but still plenty for us. Our neighbors must be wondering why they aren’t getting many tomatoes or zucchini from us this year.

The GOOD.     We got some absolutely delicious cantaloupe, there were plenty of zucchini for making relish and my husband got plenty of his beloved chili peppers. And I had a burst of energy and actually put up some peach preserves. Put up means canned around these parts.

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The BAD.  Cracked and split is how almost all the tomatoes look and an insect is eating them up right on the vine. It has to be insects or birds because rabbits can’t reach that high. Next year I guess we’ll spray them.  We never have before and always got nice looking tomatoes.

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The UGLY. This year I tried a new tomato, Black Krim. The pictures don’t show just how ugly they are. When cut open, the edges are black and I thought rotten, but boy are they loaded with a rich tomato flavor and not rotten at all…..just ugly.

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We planted a couple rows of green beans and  harvested about…….four! That’s four beans. I saw that the plants didn’t have many blooms on them and sure enough it was rabbits. Our garden is completely surrounded by wire fencing but baby rabbits still get in and had a grand smorgasbord. We didn’t see them because they hid in the zucchini plants.Bunny

Next year a new fence will be the first project on the list………unless Clint Eastwood shows up.

 

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How does your garden grow this year?

Debbie (((xx)))

What’s blooming/Garden 2011

I had beginner’s luck with this orchid. My daughter received it as a gift and was about to give up on it. I brought it home and it bloomed! All I did was water it and was rewarded with these beautiful blooms. Amazing!

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Outside my Endless Summer hydrangea is blooming nicely. I think I planted it about three years ago.

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I tried to keep it simple this year and scaled down on the number of pots I plant.  Impatiens in stacked terra cotta pots  in a rusty wheelbarrow, the ground cover is Sweet Woodruff. It was from a friend and I’m hoping it will fill in this area.

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Nothing fancy just more impatiens in a window box on the shed.

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Knockout roses are amazing! This is the second round of blooms. If you have space for one I would recommend it. You will not be disappointed. This is double knockout in red.

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Another Knockout rose, this one is pink, but not the double variety so the flowers have less petals. The white airy plant is Guara.

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More impatiens at the entrance to the garden. Rabbits won’t eat white impatiens so that’s what I plant in the ground, bright colors for the pots only! Notice the wire cages in the garden!

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This is the perennial bed edging the vegetable garden. I really should get in there and divide some things, but I actually like the overgrown look.

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Our potager, french style kitchen garden….vegetables, flowers and herbs.

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The crazy vine is cantaloupe and it grew on its own….a volunteer from last year. It took over the space and has the peppers surrounded.2011_07_04_1494

 

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Look at this beauty! It’s almost ready for picking.

I found and old galvanized bucket to hold this fern.

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These pots are on the patio and the urns are out front.

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Hen and chicks or cats and kittens…whatever you call them, I actually brought these from my old house. It’s an old wives tale that they protect your house from fire.

Well, that was the tour, Happy Gardening!

Every year I post pictures of our garden so you can check out previous years here. It’s interesting to see how it changes from year to year.

Got to get to work…putting down mulch today…..

 

Debbie (((xx)))

The Christmas flower

Do you buy a poinsettia at Christmas? I do and its usually a deep dark red color, but this year I wanted a white one.

Fortunately, if dark red isn’t for you, there are lots of softer colors to choose from.

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Source     Like this pink beauty with variegated leaves.

winter blush poinsettia picture

 Source   Winter Blush

poinsettia pictures from paul ecke poinsettia ranch   Source Winter Roses. This is my least favorite. It looks old and shriveled up to me and nothing like a rose!

  Source What a stunner! Strawberries and Cream.

 Source  Symphony of Freedom.

Ice Punch. This is a stunner too!

Here’s Orange Spice. Can you see this at Halloween through Christmas?

orange poinsettias

Source How about a Poinsettia in topiary form?

So, what’s your opinion of this Christmas icon? Like it or leave it?

I never keep my poinsettias and try to get them to bloom again. When they start dropping leaves and looking straggly which they inevitably do, out they go. I do appreciate their pop of color at Christmas though. They always heighten my Christmas spirit.

Did you know that poinsettias are not poisonous as once thought…….I read that somewhere recently.

*I finally found my white poinsettia and will post pictures soon. I have the perfect spot for it!

Debbie (((xx)))

Summer’s not over YET!

Well, not quite yet!

Come take a walk around the garden with me.

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At the entrance to the garden a crabapple tree is heavy and messy with crabapples and falling leaves.

Beside the bench is Sedum, Autumn Joy, about ready to bloom and Russian sage. You can see the wire fencing to keep out rabbits, but can you believe it, they still get in and feast on the green beans! At this point I don’t care, I’ve dealt with enough green beans this year.

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There are still lots of tomatoes and the plants are so lush right now. The wooden tomato cages were built several years ago by my hubby and serve much better than those wire ones.

2010_08_31_04592010_08_31_0446  On the other side you can see a butterfly bush in the background. Cleome and Black Eyed Susan are peeking out on the right.

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My hubby’s absolute favorite, little chili peppers. He eats them like candy! I’m not kidding and he always coaxes me to try one. NO WAY.2010_08_31_0468

Poblano peppers are more my style. They don’t pack much heat.  2010_08_31_0467

We planted Jalapeno, Habanero, Cherry, Cayenne and several different varieties of bell peppers, I happen to love the red bell peppers.

Carefree Delight rose blooms all Summer. It’s always loaded with pretty pink blooms and is truly carefree.2010_08_31_0449 2010_08_31_0475

Along with the beauty of the garden are some nasty wasps. They stung me a few weeks ago. I’d forgotten how much a sting hurts. I should thank those wasps for reminding me.  

I need to get out there and plant some lettuce, but honestly, I’ve had enough gardening this year. I’m ready to clean it all up till next year and usher in the cooler weather. Summer 2010 has been brutally hot.

Hope you enjoyed the little tour.So how’s your garden growing? Are you ready to pack it all in and enjoy Fall? I am.

I’ve been painting cabinets in the basement and will soon be done with that. Just giving the family room a different look….always changing, tweaking, adding……it’s an evolution! Friday the carpet will be cleaned and then I can put the whole room back together.

 

Debbie (((xx)))