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, 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



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 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.



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)))


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.


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.


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.


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)))


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 #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.


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.


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



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!


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!


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.


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)))

The Garden party, Coral Bells, Plant of the year 2012


Welcome to the party! I’ve returned from my vacation in TN and needed a few days for rest and relaxation. I love my family but I’m not used to so much activity all around me from 2 precious little kids and that long car ride with a 4 year old is exhausting!

Since I have been missing lately, I’ve decided to host my little garden party now and for the next few weeks. I really hope you will join in and show off your favorite pretty planties!



Let’s start with Heuchera, you probably know it as Coral Bells. It’s one of my favorites and has been named plant of the year by the National Garden Bureau.



I don’t know it’s name, but you will probably recognize this common variety.

This variety is called Georgia peach.

coral bells michigan bulb

Unusually colored cultivators are showing up at garden centers everywhere, in shades from lime to purple to black.

hosta coral bells

Coral bells usually prefer shade but new varieties tolerate sun well. While they do flower, I think the leaves are their best asset.  I have this combination of Palace Purple coral bells and a chartreuse hosta in my garden.

One of the things I really like about gardening is grouping plants to create beautiful combinations. You can spend hours at garden centers coming up with new combinations! So let’s get started! If you don’t have anything to link up this week come back next Tuesday for another plant party link up and show off your dirty fingernails! It’s fun digging in the dirt!

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

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!


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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Free Herbs, a drive-by story

On a side street in town is the Real Foods Emporium. They sell organic foods, raw milk, whole grains and whatever is considered a real food, as in nothing processed.

While running some errands, I spotted the Free Herbs sign. What? When did they put up that sign? I almost slammed on the brakes, but realized that I’d have to come back later.  Bumper sticker, I brake for free herbs should be on my car.


When I had a chance to go back, I was a tad disappointed. The herb garden was very untidy, well, it was just a plain mess.


But the herbs were free, so why let a bunch of weeds bother me, right?


Look at all that basil! And there was lots more basil growing! All over the place.


Everything you need for clipping herbs is in this mailbox, including bags for your clippings. There was even a hoe and that little seat thing to save your back from all that bending over.

finished collage1


I saw the herbs pictured above and mint, tarragon and others that I didn’t recognize. Despite my first impression, the plants were abundant and healthy looking, but I took only what I needed for one of my most favorite Fall recipes.



I gathered a handful of lovely, fragrant sage. The picture is a little hint to the recipe. Can you guess what it is?

I’ll be posting the recipe real soon and I have to tell you, it’s so good!

I’m planning on going back to get more, especially some of that beautiful basil to make basil ice cubes for soups and sauces. Here’s how to do it.

Fall’s been great so far, but I have to get back there before the frost if I want to clip more. Wilted rose

Happy Fall!

Debbie (((xx)))

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, gardening


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.


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.


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.


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.



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!



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


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.


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


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.


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


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!


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.


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


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



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

I found and old galvanized bucket to hold this fern.


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


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)))

Summer’s not over YET!

Well, not quite yet!

Come take a walk around the garden with me.


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.

2010_08_31_0445 2010_08_31_0462

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.

2010_08_31_0456 2010_08_31_0464 2010_08_31_0470

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)))

The lawn and garden, fried and thirsty

Parched! We need water so badly. We’re too dry!
2010_07_06_0054 This is elephant ears, which gets gigantic leaves and is looking  pretty bad right now. It’s been in the hot sun too long so I  moved it to the shade. We water in the morning and early evening but it’s still not enough for some of the potted plants.

The lawn crunches when you walk on it. Seriously, it actually makes a crunching sound! I feel like I need to apologize to it when I walk on it. As soon as we get a decent rain it’ll green up, but just look at how ugly it is now.
Most of the perennials are hanging in there, but they do get a little droopy in the hottest part of the day. Here are bee balm and phlox with Russian sage and perennial sunflower in the background.
Our wooden tomato cages have held up well for several years. Here you can see zucchini and pepper plants all still hanging on, but I think the zucchini won’t last much longer.
I see you my little pretty! It’s our first tomato this year.
If only we had some rain….sigh.

If you’re getting any rain please send some to PA. I sure would appreciate it and so would our lawn.

Debbie (((xx)))

lettuce work

It’s that time again.
Time to work outside in the heat and get dirty, stinky, sweaty and thirsty.  
IMG_1898 But the rewards of all the hard work are a beautiful garden and fresh home grown produce.  IMG_1939
So far we’re enjoying sugar peas, spring onions and lettuce. This year I planted a blend of 5 different varieties of lettuce. We just cut what we want and it keeps on growing.IMG_1942
I like to dress these delicate greens with a light homemade vinaigrette.
My mother in law makes the best salad dressing. For years I tried to duplicate her oil and vinegar dressing with no luck, until one day I watched her make it. It turns out that she uses very little vinegar, only 1 little capful and about a quarter cup of oil. No wonder no one could ever get it right! And salt. Salt is the secret ingredient.  She never mixes up the dressing, she just adds the oil and vinegar to the lettuce and then tosses it all together with a generous dash of  salt. It’s so good!
Well, I can now say I mastered her dressing and decided to try to create my own  house dressing.
I use vegetable oil and olive oil, vinegar,  salt and pepper and I whisk it all together before dressing the salad. 
IMG_1547 It’s pretty good. Sometimes I’ll add honey and mustard and that’s good too. My husband loves that touch of sweetness. There’s no real recipe, I just eye it up as I’m making it. Guess I should write it down for posterity.
I love eating fresh foods from the garden and never tire of these salads. How about you, how do you dress a salad?
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Salad party at Beneath my Heart
Debbie (((xx)))

Knockout Roses and Ladies Mantle

If you love roses but thought they were too much work this is the rose for you. Knockout roses have been around since about 2000 and definitely won’t disappoint.

In my garden a pink Knockout is paired with Ladies Mantle and Salvia.IMG_1902

IMG_1905  Not only does it look beautiful, it smells great too. Don’t you love the scent of roses? My pink Knockout has the appearance of an old rose with it’s flat flowered look. The double Knockouts have more petals and a classic rose shape.

   Sunny, a yellow and Rainbow, a coral and yellow combo are the newest varieties.sunnyknockoutrose                 






from conrad   I’m loving this yellow one.


This is my red Double Knockout. What a pop of color, it’s a stunner!


You can see that the flowers have more petals but there is no scent with this one. IMG_1915 If you have space for a new plant, try a Knockout rose. You’ll get bloom after beautiful bloom and they’re disease resistant and carefree. What more could you ask for in a rose?


Ladies Mantle is another of my favorite plants. I bought these plants from a catalog about 12 years ago and got the tiniest little sprigs that I thought would never make it, but boy did they ever and they keep going year after year. They drop seeds too so I get lots of new plants to share. alchemilla_mollisThe leaves resemble a woman’s clock or mantle and are waterproof and covered with a furry coat which catches drops of water after a rain or a heavy dew.

raindrops-on-ladys-mantle from webshots

This little drop of water was thought to be magical and hold properties capable of causing fertility or restoring one’s virginity.


Red double Knockout, pink Knockout and the lime shade of Ladies Mantle make a beautiful display. This one’s a little droopy from being on the patio in the heat all day, but still so pretty!

How does your garden grow? Everything is green and growing so fast, I love this time of year.  What are your favorite plants?

The patio is almost all decorated and ready to be revealed….soon. There’s a little giveaway coming up  AND I’ve got too many projects going all at the same time….what else is new?!

Debbie (((xx)))

How does Your garden Grow

Every Spring I marvel at the beauty of the garden. Not just the flowers, but the vegetables and lawn too. Let’s take a tour.

The grass is a sea of green. Thick and lush, it’s the perfect carpet for bare feet.lawn  The rabbits didn’t eat the white impatiens I planted last year so I planted them again this year. I know they’ll eat the pink ones……..dang rabbits.   lawn

In the vegetable garden, spring onions and lettuce are a salad  just waiting to happen.

lettWe planted tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, green beans, zucchini and cucumber.

knockoutI planted another Knockout rose, this time a double knockout, which means the flowers have more petals. These are so easy to grow, I highly recommend it if you want a rose with no fuss. Just look at Home Depot or Lowe’s, they’re very popular.knockout                                                                                                                                  n213365735929_2798                                                                                                                           I can’t remember the name of this tree/shrub, but it looks like 2 Snuffaluffaguses from Sesame Street. Doesn’t it? Bill said it looks like 2 horses. Poor guy, he’s never been to  Sesame Street!


I still want to plant lots of different sunflowers and fill in a few spots with annuals. What have you planted this year? I’m so glad it’s Spring, aren’t you?

*Don’t forget the Bling Bling jewelry link up tomorrow.



Debbie (((xx)))