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Accidental Gardener's Blog
Follow-up On Only 24 Hrs.In A Day
Category: Garden History | Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:16 am
This is the continuation of my previous blog concerning getting my garden ready for a tour by 12 ladies who range in age from 63 to 87,in my 'Crazy Neighbor Lady's' garden club. For the sake of space she will be referred to as CNL. The blog left off on the Friday before the Tuesday tour and chronicled all the work I had to do in the next three days. Here is what happened.
But, first I must digress. I built the garden in stages, extending the beds 60 to 100 feet a year. Five years later it is a continous 500' long and anywhere from 8 to 20' deep. When I installed my first beds 60' on either side of my garden gate it required 40 2cu ft bags of cypress mulch. This season was the first time I had to weed and mulch the entire garden at one time. I had 62 bags left over from last fall, when I failed to spread them; one of the reasons I had so many weeds to deal with now. I just kept buying bag after bag this past week. My Garden Mobile is an old Ford Expedition and with the back seat folded down can hold 40 bags of mulch at a time. I spread the 62 bags on hand and started bringing in 40 bags at a time. It took an additional 160 bags to cover the entire garden, that is 222 bags of mulch or 18 bags short of 3 full pallets. I am buying in bulk next year. The first thing they teach you in Master Gardening class is to plan your projects and ALWAYS plan for the maintenance. I wish I known that principle before I started expanding my original beds.
While those backbreaking three days almost killed me; at first I was afraid I was going to die, later I was afraid I wouldn't. Every night this old out of shape body was aching from head to toes and as tired as I was it literally hurt to breathe let alone change positions in the bed.
Well, the day of the tour finally came and I was ready, the garden looked great, the gardener looked close to death and the Southern ladies were over an hour late. When they finally arrived I had iced lemonade and homemade cookies that were in the shape of flowers, ready for them. However,it turns out they were late because CNL decided to feed them before the tour. I made dozen cookies and maybe they ate 3 or 4 cookies total.
I was very pleased with all the complements they were gushing on me. Some just loved my greenhouse while others wanted to take my homemade compost bin home with them. All in all I know they enjoyed the tour and within 45 minutes they were on their way.
As I said before, my garden now looks like it would look around May 31, and I am very pleased with it. That Thursday we had our Master Gardener class and CNL was one of the 3 volunteer caterers assigned to supply lunch. So I did not think anything was out of place with her being there. When we broke for lunch CNL gave the blessing and then the roof fell in. She asked for a moment and began telling all my fellow interns about my 'beautiful' garden and how talented I was in the garden. I felt very embarrassed until I heard her say, "All of you need to see his garden, and you will be just as amazed as my garden club was. You need to pick a date and go over to Jerry's house and see it AND he will have lemonade and cookies waiting for you too". My brain was bouncing of the inner walls of my skull. 'What is she saying, did I really hear her say what I think I heard her say? Where's my gun'? Long story short I have 35 Interns and Master Gardeners coming to tour my garden on May 20. Hey, CNL nothing like clearing it with me first, just invite anyone you want to come over for lemonade and cookies.
At least the hard work is done and all I really need to do is put in my annuals for added color and start building the 15 hanging baskets that ring the garden. By May 20th everything will either be in bloom or at least growing. This weekend my wife is home and we are putting in or first vegetable garden.
This time I will be ready and be able to work at a leisurely pace. You know, not even I believe that last statement.
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Only 24 hrs in the day
Category: Garden History | Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:33 am
I have not been on line lately due to my heavy volunteering scheduling and my Master Gardener Course. Too many ropes pulling in too many directions. But I only have 3 more MG classes to go and the Alabama Master Gardener Conference (that my chapter was hosting) ended last weekend. So hopefully things will start to slow down.
Last December my crazy neighbor lady who lived down the street and is also a Master Gardener, came to me and asked if it was ok if she brought her garden club to see my yard and garden in April. I questioned the timing because even in the Deep South, April is not the best month to view a garden. While I knew they were coming it was not until last week that I was informed the date was April 6th, not the 29th or 30th as I had assumed. I have been spending every available free moment weeding and mulching and fertilizing and raking and trimming and everything else that I would normally do between March and May 15th.
I had MG class all day today, 'fruit trees and fruit in the garden', was the lesson. I hurried home and got right to work. Four days left and I came in after using the last of my cypress mulch - I had 40 2 cu ft bags just two days ago. So it's off to the nursery for another 80 bags. They are delivering 40 bales of pine straw (for my front yard) on Saturday.
My wife is home tomorrow and Saturday so I will have much needed help. I should have the last of the winter weeding done tomorrow, finish the mulching Sunday, and spend Monday touching up with the cutting the lawn, cleaning of statuary and other garden ornaments and buying a gun to shoot my crazy neighbor lady. My wife, who is leaving on another business trip on Easter Sunday, informs me that it is customary in the Deep South to put out lemonade and cookies for this type of event. As I write this she is digging out one of her mother's recipes for me to bake them on Monday.
The one thing that I have refused to do is put in my bedding plants as I am sure we are going to get one more frost before 4/15, we always do. The day lilies are really doing well, the double knockouts are in full green but will not be in flower, the hostas have broken through the ground and it is a lot greener in the garden than I expected, so it should be ok.
There is one major upside to this - by Monday evening, my garden will be in wonderful shape and ready for summer. I, on the other hand, will be totally exhausted and completely spent. I keep reminding myself, I could have said no!
This blog entry has been viewed 370 times
A Great Free Website for Garden Tips and Ideas
Category: Garden History | Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:11 pm
I have been a subscriber to Better Homes & Gardens for a number of years. They have a free website that offers so much relevant garden information. They have a number of free newsletters on many topics. I recommend that you check out their site because there is something there that will appeal to everyone.
Today I received their latest Garden Notes Newsletter and viewed some remarkable bird and butterfly pictures submitted by their subscribers. There also is a fun and informative quiz on what birds eat what food and how to attract them to your garden. Just a lot of fun things and it is all free.
I love BH&G's garden plans that give a wealth of ideas of how and what to plant in areas around your garden. The plans are Zone appropriate and they offer a number of plant suggestions for each area. They are very detailed with how to prepare the land, when to plant, how to plant, and how to care for and maintain the plants. It is Landscaping & Gardening 101.
This blog entry has been viewed 359 times
There Is Always Something To Do In The Garden
Category: Garden History | Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:05 pm
Gazebo with climbing rose bushes ( photo / image / picture from Accidental Gardener's Garden )
When you have a garden you are never at a loss for something to do. You may be questioning what to do next but there is always something else that needs done. You build small areas around the garden where you can just sit and enjoy the view. Once seated something catches your attention out of the corner of your eye. Is that a weed sticking out behind that bush? So up you go and sure enough you dispose of the intruding unwanted plant. If you dare look around you will surely find another and another and another. 'Honey, when you bring the beer, bring me my knee pads and my weeding tool'. You no sooner sit back down with a cold beer in your hand when, 'Did one of the dogs knock over that planter'? And you're up again to do a little more maintenance.
By the time you sit down for the third or fourth time you tell yourself you are going to just sit here and enjoy your beer and anything else you see can wait until you are done. Unfortunately, we reach a certain age or stage in our lives where if we do not do something as soon as we think about it, we never think about it again; until the next time we sit down in a cozy corner of the garden with a cold beer. And out of the corner of our eye . . .
This blog entry has been viewed 377 times
The Legend of the Confederate Rose
Category: Garden History | Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:39 am
Confederate Rose, Day One ( photo / image / picture from Accidental Gardener's Garden )
A few years ago my wife's best friend gave me a cutting and said that every Southern garden needed a Confederate Rose. She added that it was easy to grow, requires no expertise and loves the conditions in our area. Well, Sallye could not have been more correct as that little cutting is now a full grown bush that keeps coming back year after year. I did not give much thought to this plant until I read an article in the Alabama Master Gardener Assn. newsletter. The article was titled 'The Legend of the Confederate Rose'. I am not a Master Gardner even though I play one in my garden, but a number of my friends are and I appreciate receiving the email newsletters. They are so full of interesting articles and ideas. Below is the Legend of the Confederate Rose.
Once the Confederate Rose was pure white. During the Civil War, a soldier was fatally wounded in battle. He fell upon the rose as he lay dying. During the course of the two days he took to die, he bled more and more on the flower, till at last bloom was covered with his blood. When he died, the flower died with him. Thereafter, the Confederate Rose (or Cotton Rose), opens white, and over the course of the two days the bloom lasts, they turn gradually from white to pink to almost red, when the flower finally falls from the bush.
The Confederate Rose or hibiscus mutablis is actually a Chinese import. Brought into English gardens in the 1600's, it is said to have gained favor in the South due to its ease of cultivation during the hard financial times after the Civil War. The hibiscus mutablis is a member of the hibiscus family which includes both the tropical hibiscus and the hardier Rose of Sharon. It is considered a large bush or a small multi-stemmed tree. The plant roots easily from cuttings, has few pests and roots easily from cuttings, has few pests and grows vigorously during the summer. Once established it is drought resistant. The blooms appear in the fall.
Again my thanks and recognition to the AMGA Newsletter for 85% of the content of this blog.
Confederate Rose, Day Two ( photo / image / picture from Accidental Gardener's Garden )
Last edited: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:41 am
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