Recent Entries to this Blog
Can't believe I haven't written a blog entry in two years
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:02 am
I am going to try to make this year (yeah, I know I am getting a late start) the year of my blog...I miss writing here.
So, today I started cleaning up the back garden, first bed where it all started years ago with a Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' which isn't even in that bed any longer but it's descendants are in other places all over the front and back yards. I love it.
Each Autumn I let the leaves fall where they may and provide mulch cover for the perennial roots, besides there is no way to rake up around all the plants and there are thousands of leaves from 4 Hackberrys, 2 Pecans, 3 Crepe Myrtles, one Mimosa and a variety of others that blow in from the neighborhood, ....and the old Charlie Brown TV cartoon makes a pile of Autumn leaves look way more fun than they actually are.
Today I started scraping up the leaves in the first bed and got two Foxglove, one scarlet Dianthus (I am going back for more of these) planted. The Yarrow, Echinacea, Butterfly weed, Iris, Lilies, a couple I don't remember, Daisy, Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red', Plumbago, Salvia, and assorted German Iris are coming back nicely. And a couple of things I planted last year but don't remember names for....will have to figure out what they are later.
Still needs work but I got started ( photo / image / picture from toni's Garden )
I worked on the north shade bed too but didn't take photos since there is almost nothing there to show off yet. But I will do that as soon as growing begins.
Tomorrow I will be out back again, I am determined to get that back garden looking as good as it did 6 years ago before I started working on the front yard... http://www.gardenstew.com/blog/index285-month5year2008.html
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Screeeeech, slam on the brakes and back-up a few months
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:23 pm
Last fall, I believe it was, before I found my fence panels I devised a front yard plan that wouldn't need them and would still close off the yard. Then I found the fence panels and that plan changed because it just didn't work with the panels.
But part of the original plan is being added back in.....a raised Rose bed. The other part of that plan was using shrubs with year round interest as a living wall, but that part is changing but I have some plants that will planted between a couple more of the fence panels to close the gap.
We are going to build it between two fence panels along the front sidewalk and hopefully in a trapezoid shape or possibly a parallelogram ....depends on which one I can talk my live-in carpenter into making for me. I have three rose bushes that need more sun than they are getting now that I can move from their pots into the bed and hopefully pick up another one if needed to fill the shape of the bed.
This fall I am going to scatter wildflower seeds over it so they will grow up in early spring and bloom before the roses even start to leaf out.
Oh, wow, I just remembered that the fenced in herb bed is another idea from last year that I thought I would have to forego when we couldn't find the fence panels. An 8ft x 8ft square, one panel will be made into a gate. Shelves along the in side of two of the panels, stopping 2ft from the end opposite the gate. There will be planted two Comfrey plants and an Apothecary's Rose. The shelves will hold pots of herbs for cooking, salves, lotions, and for making candle and soap scents. I might want a couple of shorter shelves on the outside of one of the panels too.
Something else I have wanted for a long time is a Medicine Wheel type of garden bed. I have a 9ft circle marked off and will divide it into 4 sections. Each section will be planted with plants that bloom in the color for that section...i.e. North- White, East - Yellow, South - Red and West- Blue. The plants will also represent the four seasons, there will be plants symbolizing the birthmonths of Randy and I, our kids and grandkids (the birthmonth garden I tried out back was a resounding failure because of the trees growing and spreading too much shade) And some of the plants will be chosen for their meaning in the language of flowers.
I already have some of the flowers in the backyard, some I have been buying when I find them and some I have started from seed. A few will have to be ordered and planted this fall....i.e. Red Lilies,to bloom next spring.
I will need to use Randy's compass to get the sections positioned correctly, but first I have a lot of grass/weed digging up to do. I need to find an inexpensive source for smallish stones to use around the outer edge and something natural and flat to create the 4 sections that I can walk on for reaching the center and weeding. I would like to make a Peace Pole for the very center, I think that will be an over the winter project.
From one angle the front yard looks way too big for me to handle, then I start fitting in all these bed ideas and it starts looking sorta small. But I think in a year or two I am going to be really happy with it all..exhausted but happy..I hope
I am hoping that these ideas come out better than the ..'make the backyard into a vegie garden' idea ..I bit off more than I could do in one season on that one but I will still be working on it. Also, the planting of the H*** strip between the street and sidewalk isn't coming out as planned either...but it is also one to continue working on.
And yes there will be pictures as things are done. I think we will be putting up the fence panels for the herb bed some evening this week. And I will start digging out the circle bed in the morning.
The plants in the Medicine Wheel type garden are.....
North - White
White Mum - cheerfulness
dwarf Holly - Winter/Dec (oldest grandson)
Dusty Miller- respected Grandmother
Water Lily - healing and July (Randy and youngest grandson)
South - Red
mini Red Rose - Love and June (oldest daughter)
Cockscomb - humor
Red Lilies - faery favorite and April (me)
Red Morning Glory - peace/happiness and Sept (son-in-law)
Red Sunflowers - Summer
West - Blue/Black/Purple
Lavender - healing
Blue Morning Glory - greeting the day
Lamb's Ear - healing
Blue Pansies - Spring
East - Yellow
Black-eyed Susan - fairness
Lemon Balm - health
Yellow mini Rose - joy/happiness and June (youngest daughter)
dwarf Sunflowers - Autumn
I also found some really neat quotes to paint onto plaques for each section too.
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are" -- Alfred Austin
"Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are" --Gretel Ehrlich
"Who bends a knee where violets grow a hundred secret things will know" --Rachel Field
"We can talk," said the Tiger Lily "when there's anybody worth talking to" --Lewis Carroll
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Gardening at the end of April
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:18 am
Woooohoooo, got my fence panels ordered today. They won't totally enclose the front yard but with the help of vines will give us some privacy out there.
6 will go along the front sidewalk and with the Cross Vine cuttings I have been rooting, they will be covered pretty quickly. One will go along the sidewalk on the side where the Canna bed is. The Canna will be the privacy shield there.
One will go along the driveway, joining the end of the row of 6 at the sidewalk. I want to fill that corner with Hollyhocks, Iris and Lilies. I have plenty of Glad and Iris but will have to wait until next year for the Hollyhocks to bloom.
One will be up near the front porch to give privacy to the entry way and one will be between the Rosemary bush and the trash and recycle barrels to block that view from the street.
I am so excited and this is one of those garden dreams that you have perfectly pictured in your mind and are almost afraid you will never be able to make come true.
I have started pulling up the grass/weeds in the strip between the sidewalk and the curb. Had to stop last week after some creature bit my arm three times causing some swelling, redness and a painful itch. I sort of hate to admit it but we picked up some bug killing spray that will be used on that area before I can finish pulling and planting it. I just don't want to get those bites again.
I have so much Salvia guaranitica (Black and Blue Salvia) that is taking over the back yard I am pretty sure that will be the main plant in that strip. It should take over that area in no time and be confined between the sidewalk and curb. Of course I will have to put in some edging on the property line so Dana next door doesn't have to fight it next year.
Between the heat and bad bug bites last week and the several days of rain this week, it will be next week before I can get much more done in the yard. But considering the drought we are barely coming out of, there is no way under the sun that I will be complaining about rain anytime soon.
Last edited: Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:18 am
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Yet another plan for a front yard garden
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:34 pm
Why, oh why, can't I shut off the garden planning portion of my mind? It gets me into more trouble, keeps me too busy, sore of muscle and at the same time is the major source of frustration in my life cause I can't do it all.
The bed I started last spring will be added to over the next couple of weeks, lots of plants to move from the back yard still. The Cannas need to be planted and the rain board installed. Then it will be time to watch it fill in as the weather warms up and add a small fence on the further side just to define the area.
The new shade garden is where it will stay for a while too. I can add potted shade plants over the season as I find them but it will be next year, at least, before anything will be planted in the ground.
Now that we are getting some much needed rain, the black clay will be workable sometime next week and moving the Buddleia, Sages, etc. can begin. And we can get the Texas Lilac Vitex and Viburnum Dentatum in the ground to act as 'mail carrier blockers'. The fencing comes next month.
So last night I was looking thru yet another plant catalog that had come in that days mail, this time from High Country Gardens which specializes in Xericape plants and the flash of inspiration that struck me was so bright it hurt my eyes and will eventually hurt my knees, hands and back too.
There is an area out front that never feels the touch of water from the garden hose, it gets wet only when it rains, it is a royal pain in the tushie to mow and edge and is generally ignored in landscape/gardening plans by one and all.....ours does happen to contain two really large Crepe Myrtle trees - one on either end, planted by the previous owner many years ago. That strip of land is the one between the sidewalk and the curb, it is 6.5 feet x roughly 32 feet between the trees.
I was finding so, so many possibilities in that catalog for that strip of forgotten land and quietly moaning about how much it was going to cost to get this done the way I was picturing it in my head.
Then I was struck by yet another blinding flash of inspiration, dang don't those things hurt when you are not used to getting two in one evening.
I have many of the recommended Xeriscape plants in my back yard already and they are looking for a new home out front.
I have an.....
Achillea - Yarrow 'Paprika',
Black and Blue Salvia,
Artemesia -'Powis Castle',
4 Caryopteris clandonensis 'Longwood Blue', Solidago canadensis,
some quickly spreading Oenothera speciosus 'Rosea' (Pink Evening Primrose) that would love to be turned loose in the area
and several Crocosmia - 'Emily McKenzie' bulbs that are not doing well where I planted them last year
I have already bought several pots of Creeping Phlox 'Emerald Blue' to plant on the edge between one of the trees and our driveway.
So my time next week is appropriated for the work but this week while it is too wet to be out there I really need to figure out where each plant will go....or I could just clear a spot and bring a plant from the back and repeat until the space is filled. Hopefully there will be another flash of inspiration during the planning phase because I suck at planning things out.
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Owha taygoo Siam
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:50 pm
Say that several times, faster each time. Ever play that on your little brother when you were a kid? I did and loved every minute of it but then I was somewhat of a mean older sister. I am a little ditzy this afternoon from being out in the yard
It doesn't matter when I start working on the garden, I am always getting a later start than I should have.
I started doing some things out back in January between cold snaps not realizing that those cold snaps would end in early Feb and early summer would arrive the very next day.
I am mainly working on a new Canna bed out front. Our front yard slopes down to the street which means when I water or when/if it rains, a lot of water simply runs down into the street/ into the storm drain and doesn't hang around to soak into the ground. So I am making a small 'rain garden' where the Canna will be planted. You can do a google search for Rain Garden to get an idea of what I am aiming for. It will be just a small one to begin with, eventually I would love to have it run the full width of the front yard.
I have decided that the first area to be planted out front will be a butterfly garden.
I have one Butterfly bush and plant on getting two more. I have white Liatris to move to it, Zinnia and Cosmos seeds to start. Then go shopping (oh don't you just hate to have to go shopping for plants) for Lantana, Penta, Parsley, Joe Pye Weed, Milkweed, Hyssop, Tall Verbena, Flowering Tobacco and Globe Amaranth.
After getting that bed started then I will have a better idea of where the plants from out back can go.
Also, I have been creating a shade garden under the pecan tree on the north side of the house. When we bought the house the previous owner had planted Hedera helix - the dreaded English Ivy there and let it grow all over the side of the house.
After a few years of pulling and thinking bad thoughts about the one who planted it, I think I have gotten it gone. We are still working on getting it out of the trees before they get strangled by it and that process is working pretty well.
For the shade bed we installed some above ground edging last month and I have been dumping all the pots of old soil and compost on top of a layer of dead leaves. The soil I am digging up to make the rain garden is going there too. I won't be able to actually plant 'in' the soil for a couple of years but plant stands and pots will eventually hold Impatiens, Spiderwort, Cast Iron plant and any other full shade plants I can find. I am going to cut the bottoms out of a few pots and use them for some Persian Shield along the wall. I also have two large containers I have been growing Peppermint and Chocolate Mint in for a couple of years, they need more shade than where they are now so they are going to get dumped out there too. The more bed they cover, the better. Oh, I also have some seeds for Blackberry and Trout Lilies that like shade.
In clearing off the dead leaves I have found all sorts of greenery coming back. These are all out back waiting to be moved to the front yard, oh have mercy, those areas are not even begun yet.
Blue and Black Salvia
These are greening up in the front bed I started last spring. I added some Hollyhocks to the area this morning.
Fennel, planted last fall but died back shortly after evidently the roots were fine.
Mystic Spires Salvia
Red Valerian that I thought had died last summer
Texas Rock Rose
Hydrangea of unknow variety or color, unlabeled on sale table last fall.
And of course many that stayed green thru the winter. Some will be moved but most will stay out back.
Rosemary - one out back that is too large to move and one out front
White Autumn Sage
Penstemon - Husker Red
Scabiousa Butterfly Blue
Still green in the front bed ...
Scabious - Black Knight
Missouri Evening Primrose, which will soon become a very nice ground cover whether I intended it to or not it would appear.
I have some pictures to get ready and will post them to the forum later today.
All these plans probably sound pretty extensive and may not happen this year since we appear to be in for a very hot and dry spring, summer and fall.
Remind me someday to fill you in on the vegie garden I have planned for the back yard.
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More thoughts on the new Front Garden
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:21 pm
Some are definitely going to be put into place and some are just thoughts for now that I want to keep track of, they might change as the transition takes place.
All bulbs will be in pots and scattered around the garden. They are gorgeous in clumps in the garden but leave unplantable areas when they die back. Being in pots they will add color all over the garden, when they die back the pots will be hidden by the other plants or the pots will be moved to the back yard to a 'holding area' until next blooming season. The main problem will be digging them all up, the Glads and Iris have been in the ground for so many years that there will be dozens of bulbs I will probably miss. Oh, well.
I have started accumulating pots of all sorts for them at thrift stores.
A BACK yard full of what appears to be empty barren ground when perennials are dormant for the winter is okay, very few people will actually see it anyway. But a Front yard left barren like that is just not going to be understood by any one who passes by, especially the city environmental health inspectors who do not garden and wouldn't have the foggiest idea of what it going on out there.
So I have been studying up on what plants I need to have out there for year round green and to screen off the majority of the garden from passersby. I bought the Abelia last weekend to use for the hedge, will add Texas Sage and/or it's cultivar Silverado Sage and a Winter Bush Honeysuckle, the Viburnum I found on the sale table and the Firecracker bush I bought a while ago and the Texas Lilac that is still in it's pot a year after I bought it.
Possibly a red-twig Dogwood if they will do well down here and a Forsythia which I know will.
And the part still viewable will have some evergreen perennials...Germander both upright and creeping, Lamb's Ear, Dusty Miller and Red Yucca will add year round color.
There is a section at the south corner of the house where we have been fighting poison ivy for years and after having my first run-in with that 5 years ago and having arms and legs that looked like something from a Steven King movie, I will not be doing any gardening there. I got Randy to put edgeing and mulch on part of it and next spring I think I will fill that area up with large pots planted with native, drought tolerant grasses.
The north side of the house, along the wall that used to be the garage, there are two really large and very productive Pecan trees. As a result it is total shade and so far nothing but the English Ivy planted by the previous owner has been growing...oh and bunches of squirrel planted pecan trees too. I need to pull out more of the ivy that has crept back in. I have been putting grass and weeds into large brown paper lawn waste bags that are normally picked up by the city for composting. But I have been keeping some bags of the grass I pulled up to make the other bed out there, letting the stuff die and start composting in the bags....this winter I am going to spread all of that over the shaded area, top it off with lots of soil and bags of already composted material.
I had originally been trying to find all sorts of shade plants for that area, but the really common ones just won't work out there. So I think I will fill it with Toad Lilies and Lirope spicata. Lots of green with pretty blooms late summer thru fall.
I want a long narrow raised Rose bed along the front sidewalk. I want to sow wildflower seeds in the bed too...Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush in particular. They will grow and bloom in March/April well before the roses bloom.
I think having the rose bed raised about 10-12 inches will give a good backdrop for a berm to create a rain garden along the front too.
If I get the rose bed, then I won't need nearly as many hedge type plants, what I have already might suffice. Like I said these are ideas I have been mulling over and wanted to put them in the blog so I can think about them some more and revise them as needed. I have written down all these thoughts on slips of paper....have any of you seen stray pieces of paper laying around anywhere???
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Changing Fred into Fred-jables
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:14 am
Just thinking out loud for a few minutes on an idea that came to mind last night, or I should say really early this morning.
What if I transplant most of the plants from the backyard to the front yard over the fall and winter and turn the backyard into a vegie garden? I have gotten so interested in having our own fresh vegies from looking at the harvest pictures of Sjoerd and EJ. I have always wanted to grow potatoes, I have grown Okra and Blackeyed Peas successfully, tried corn and squash and failed....tried growing them in a summer that became one of the hottest and driest on record...but want to try again. There are a few other vegies I would like to try. And watching our grocery bill get higher and higher and the quality of the produce diminishing...especially when there have been quite a few problems with Salmonella outbreaks because of the poor hygiene practices of the pickers, growers and processors.
Some plants will have to stay out back, specifically the rose bushes, hibiscus plants and the Fig tree. But everything else can be moved while it is dormant or just breaking leaf in early spring. I may have to wait until early spring on some so I can find them ;)
The process can not even begin until Fall and hopefully at that time we will get rain to make the soil workable. So I have plenty of time before then to work out a garden design plan .....but then I have never been very good at planning things out so I will probably wind up just digging holes and sticking the plants in....but I do want to put some paths in before planting this time.
It's just something I am thinking about, probably wouldn't involve the whole backyard but the center portion where the main garden is at least. There are a lot of plants but I think I can do it.
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Whining, this past week and weekend plans
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:50 pm
It is another scorcher today
It was a scorcher yesterday
It will be a scorcher again tomorrow.
And this evening we go to our nieces high school graduation ceremony which will be held outside in the football stadium. My luck we will be sitting where we can see the setting sun in all it's glory.....boy won't I be happy about that. But Amanda did buy me a purple and white parasol at the A-kon last weekend, that should help some.
Okay, now I have my summer heat whining done for the weekend.
Yesterday morning I finally got more plants in the new bed out front.
The two Mystic Spires Salvia, two Scabiosa atropurpurea - 'Black Knight'
two Coreopsis and a Maximillian Sunflower. Of course the wind was fierce all afternoon and thru the night, but it looks like they rode it out with no problems.
The three Sweet Violets are in their hanging baskets waiting for Randy to get the hooks installed.
In potting up the new herbs the other day I found one that I had forgotten to include in the previous blog entry. I have two upright Myrtle plants. No info from the grower other than the name but it appears they will grow into large shrubs. That is a good thing since I want to use a variety of large shrubs to 'fence' off our front yard. I have a Texas Lilac and the two Myrtles, now to get a Rose of Sharon, a couple of Butterfly bushes, a Weigela. I would love to have a Burning Bush too.
I fenced in the massive and very prolific white shrub rose out front. It always looks so unkempt, now it has a woven wicker type short fence around it to help define it's place. That corner of the fence on the right side of the picture looks crooked because it is, the new entrance to the front garden will eventually be between that fence and where the white trellis is along the front.
Also started putting in a bed along the front of the house. Randy sprayed the area with soil sterilizer last fall so I just covered it with mulch. The trellis will have a Clematis and some painted birdhouse gourds hanging from it after this weekend.
There will be another trellis/clematis combo in front of the window too.
The pots will hold Coreopsis, Mexican Mint Marigold and Goldenrod.
This bed will extend down to the other end of the house but that is way too close to where we killed poison ivy a couple of years ago and considering what that stuff does to me, I am not going near it. That also is on Randy's to-do list for this weekend.
I wonder if Randy coming up with things to do away from home on the weekends lately has anything to do with the to-do list I have on the front of the refrigerator? Ya think?
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To Garden and Sweat or Stay Inside with the AC on Stun
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:38 pm
I worked in the front yard for a couple of hours Friday morning. It had been 8 days since I had been able to get anything done out there, it has been longer since I worked out back and I know the weeds are loving my absence but their turn is coming tomorrow morning.
Friday afternoon, it was only 92 degrees and that was the coolest it had been here in over a week, we took a drive to the other side of Dallas to one of my favorite garden nurseries. They have more different herbs than any place I know of and even tho the herb bed isn't ready yet, I can grow the herbs in pots until it is.
So with sweat running down the back of my legs I wandered thru the covered plant area digging thru the packed tables looking for the ones I wanted and eventually came home with.......
Lime Balm - I have Lemon Balm trying to take over the back yard already.
St. John's Wort
Also picked up a Eucalyptus citriodora, according to the growers tag it is supposed to be 3 to 10 feet tall. I can't find any info on one remaining that short or info on growing them down here, but it came from an Herb farm just the other side of Dallas so I hope they do know what they are talking about.
A Bat-faced Cuphea, never had one before and just couldn't resist that cute face. It is considered an annual this far north so I will keep it in a large pot and move it into the bloom house this winter.
A scented Geranium with no ID tag and 'Mr. Personality' working there was no help at all. I swear there are just some people who should not be allowed to work with the public!
The last two Milkweed plants they had. I got some milkweed seed from the Monarch Watch group a couple of years ago but since they don't guarantee there to be actual seeds in the envelope, I bought 5 envelopes....no plants ever came up. We were on the migration path for the Monarchs coming up from Mexico this spring and usually see several in the fall, the Milkweed should give them some food for their journey this year.
There are still some herbs I need to look for, should have just bought seeds to begin with and I would already have the plants.
Now I have the plants....I just have to find the fence panels I want.
Early this morning we went to Lowes for mulch, organic potting soil and some edging. Another project for the front yard. One of these days the heat will be too much even early in the morning, the mosquitos are already too much to be out in the early evening. COME ON FALL!!!!!!!
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Fred from on high - Updated
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 1:03 am
I did a count of the plants I have in the back yard. There are 100+ varities with many of them being in multiplies, like the Canna, Snapdragons, Iris, etc. that brings the total up to almost 300 out there.
Now you know why I am working on getting the front garden made, I am literally out of room out back. :)
Randy got up on the roof for updated pictures of Fred this afternoon. He had taken pictures of the same areas just almost exactly two years ago, for comparison you can check out the others here.
The cucumber trellis is bare so far, I just hope I didn't wait too long to get the seedlings in the ground, the Fig tree that has gotten huge, my pots of Okra and Blackeyed Peas along the mulch path and the birthmonth garden in the upper left.
A little to the right, assorted plants and the covered patio.
Just a tad more to the right to catch the arbor that is oh so slowly being covered by a Carolina Jessamine.
Still going to the right, now you can see the so far hidden area under the really large Hackberry tree I have changed my mind a couple of time about what I am going to do with that area, it still just sits there.
Also the picket fence with the Iris in front and all sorts of cuties hanging from it.
Don't look at the mess, sorta rearranging the bloom house and some things haven't been relocated yet.
This one is from a little further up the roof and over a tad. You can see the back fence with the fence panel trellis and the Canna bed at the corner of the house.
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