Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hand pollination



I found and pollinated 4 girl watermelon blooms. I really don't think I did this right since I think I read that they should close again after they are pollinated and I did not notice them doing that. I tied a ribbon on each one so that I could keep watch on them. I sure hope this works. The 2 cantaloupe plants also have blooms all over but I can't really tell which is the girl and which is the boy with these so they are on their own.



I also used a drill today for the first time ever. I hung my trellises on the back of the garage. I love this drill and I'll be looking for other ways to use it. These things have been leaning up against the garage for a month because I thought it would be so difficult to mount them. It was easy! Who needs handymen!

Friday, June 29, 2007

I am my Watermelon's pimp


During my daily reads I noticed that Christa over at http://cc-calendula.blogspot.com/ was sporting a nice sized melon on her blog. I was very shocked because last week when I read her blog where she posted her baby watermelon pic, I was saying to myself "I have one of those too!" but mine shriveled up and died a few days ago (RIP baby mel). So as I'm reading her blog I realize that there is some fertilization/pollination/plant-sex type of activity that needs to go on before any melons can be born and that, much to my surprise, what I THOUGHT was a baby melon, was just a swollen "ovary" - GROSS!



So I did more research and then the pieces started falling into place. Ohhhhhhh there are boy and girl blooms - THAT'S why they look different! Ohhhhhhh, THAT'S why people are complaining about not seeing bees (i thought they were nuts). Ohhhhhhh that's why it turned black and died!



And since I too have seen no bees, I'll be setting out on a mission to artificially inseminate my watermelon starting tomorrow. I have to say I'm fairly grossed out by this whole thing, but I do love watermelon and it is my favorite thing in the garden and it's only right that it bear fruit, yes?

Squirrel Vandelism

Okay now I'm really irritated.


This morning I decided one of the 2 coneflower passalong plants needed to be split. It looked horrible and I was worried that I hadn't planted it right to start with and that it was too crowded in the hole I dug. So I did it. I felt bad because this thing already looked very sickly.


After getting out of the shower I peeked out the kitchen window and it was missing! But I did see a suspicious looking squirrel in the area and after I finished getting ready for work I hurried over to find this.


That little jerk dug up my freshly planted already sickly flowers!! So there I was, in my clean work clothes, sweating AGAIN, in the dirt AGAIN, planting the same coneflower, AGAIN.





It made me wonder if this is what it feels like to find graffiti on your freshly painted house.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My favorite thing this week

Is this the coolest cutest most useful thing you've ever seen???






Garden buddy got this for me. I love this thing already! It's a garden bucket organizer! It fits right inside a standard 5 gallon bucket and has inside and outside pockets in various sizes. I don't have very much stuff in there right now, just my gloves, knee protector thingy, trowel, the pruning scissor things, vinegar and water spray bottle, and awesome new plant labels (also courtesy of garden buddy) so I won't forget the names of stuff in my garden. The material the bucket protector is made from is a nice heavy canvas and seems like it will last forever! Thank you garden buddy!


Here's a recent picture of the watermelon. I still love this thing. I love the shapes of the leaves and the plant behavior.




Funny conversation with non-gardening-boyfriend:

"do you think it's too late to plant lettuce?"

"YES! IT'S 9:30 PM!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Snobby Passalong Plants (POP)


My 5 week old gardens are still very bare but my few plantings came from a variety of sources and I've noticed that my POP's are snobs and really do not like living here.

I have planted stuff that I have ordered from online nusersies and though some of it is not growing at rates that satisfy me, some are, and those that are not are at least alive. Alive is where the bar is set for now. Next year maybe I'll try for beautiful. The 26 hedge roses I planted are doing well and I'm hoping to have an actual flower blooming for bloom day on July 15th. The lavender and clematis (also from online nurseries) have hardly grown at all but they do not look dead. The zinnia seeds (see below) I direct sowed are even coming up! And then there's the passalong plants...

The lily of the valley I got from nice freecycle.org lady is alive but barely holding on, the other unknown plant she gave me - dead! The bachelors button from garden buddy - dead! The raspberry and coneflower garden buddy gave me that just planted on Sunday - not looking good!
What is it with these POP's? I'm starting to think transplanting them to my garden is like taking a teenager who lived her whole life in a mansion and moving her to a one room shack on the side of the road. They are in shock! They hate my dirt! They are too use to living in garden utopias and I cannot give them that right now! Must thou dwell in great dirt, eat from rich compost or fancy fertilizers and drink from underground sprinklers? Is my love for thee is not enough?
Raspberry and Coneflower POP's in pots directly from garden buddy. They look okay, right?





Here is one of the Coneflower plants from this morning. WTH??




Code Blue!!! I'm really trying hard to stay organic but the miracle grow is looking better and better...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rainy Day Garden Walk

Garden buddy accompanied me on my first ever garden walk yesterday. We have similar plant perusing style so I think we made a great team. Get in - Get out! "Like that, hate that, what the heck is that, I gotta get that..."It rained all day but who cares!

The garden walk consisted of 11 houses in 2 of the villages near me. We pulled up at the curb of the conservatory and the little old lady passed us our books with maps and off we went. Garden buddy had the great idea of starting at house number 11 instead of house number 1 to avoid crowds. Great idea, garden buddy! Each garden had a bio in the garden walk guide that seemed to be written by the gardeners themselves. While I drove to each house, garden buddy read the bio so that when we arrived we had the garden's background.


One thing we noticed after the first couple of houses is that, the gardeners who had help from designers started out their bio by describing the look of their garden and what was planted there. In the last paragraph we always found out what designer or landscaper did the work. Contrastingly, the gardeners who did their own work started out their story by telling us how much hard work they had put into their gardens and described their trials and errors, saying much less about the actual plantings. Before I started gardening myself I might have guessed that they described their gardens like this to make apologies for not having "proper gardens" but now that Ive put in all this sweat equity, I realize we gardeners who dig our own beds need for people to know I DID THIS! I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF! AREN'T YOU PROUD OF ME?? I'm not knocking landscape designers. I have said before that if I could afford it, I would hire one myself. But since I did all this myself, I can relate to others like me.


Well, those I-did-it-myself gardens turned out to be our favorites. For me, the gardeners story really reeled me in. Before we even got to the house we had decided "I love this lady and I love her garden!" A few of my favorites were a father-son garden team whose garden began with a son pressuring a father to help him build a pond, then going off to college and leaving the pond for dad to maintain. The garden was beautiful and although we did not get to meet Mr. Gardener, garden buddy decided he was rather romantic because of the iron candle chandelier he placed in one of his outdoor dining areas which seated only two. They called their garden "Shangri La". Here's a picture.




Another favorite was a lady who called herself a "plant collector" rather than a gardener. I loved that she had her big strawberry pot (filled with actual strawberries) on a column so that it stood tall as a centerpiece in one garden even though she knew placing it there meant even easier access for strawberry-loving birds. Take a look.





My I WANT THAT moment came when I spotted this Tamarisk (I think that's what the lady said it was). I think this is the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time. It's so delicate and feminine and it just screams TOUCH ME....which we did. I'm gettin one of these if I can locate one and find a place for it! One of the volunteers said this was actually suppose to be a shrub but the lady didn't know she was suppose to prune it so I got really big.



My absolute favorite garden was house number 1 (house 11 for us because we went backward.) This gardener was an organic one who said that she set out to draw her children in by growing things that would "tickle their senses like lamb's ear and feather grass to touch, roses and lilies to smell, lady's mantle and balloon flower to admire." She said she wanted her kids to be able to eat directly from her garden so it was important for her to use organic gardening technique. I loved that this gardener was out in her garden while people roamed around gawking at her stuff. I could see the sense of pride in her face as she answered millions of questions. She was much younger than I expected and since I'm struggling with this does-my-garden-obsession-mean-I'm-officially-old attitude, this was nice to see. I also noticed that this gardener had a gardening guy hovering around. It turned out to be her husband. He jumped right in happy to answer my questions about the rain barrels which he had obviously installed. I think it was so cool that he 1. helps her garden 2. participated in a "garden walk" and 3. was eager to say HEY I DID THAT, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT!

Every garden was beautiful and I really admire these gardeners for opening their homes to all these strangers. I bet they have spent the entire summer planning for that one day. I heard one of the gardeners tell someone that she had just had fresh mulch delivered yesterday in an effort to downplay her weedlessness.

It turned out to be a wonderful rainy day. I told garden buddy that, when my house is on the garden walk someday, my bio will say "I did all this myself, with consultation, motivation, and digging help from my garden buddy."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Name That Bush

This is the big ugly bush in the backyard that I need to identify so that I can figure out how I'm suppose to prune it. Actually, I don't want to prune it, I want to cute it back to about 25% of its current size so that It won't look so awkward in the garden. I don't know what this is but I see them all over my neighborhood. It blooms in early spring with beautiful white flowers that make the entire think look like cotton. I think it has multiple stems but I'm afraid to look under there because there is lots of action goin on in the bush. Birds, rabbits, cicadas, you name it... If you know the name of this bush, please tell me. If you know how I can cut it back (way way back) without killing it or preventing it from blooming next spring - even better!

I almost missed it!

I've been so enthralled with the backyard these days that I haven't seen the front in months. To be honest, reading some other blogs from people in my area made me start to think about my "curb appeal" or the lack of it. So this morning, instead of doing my regular gardening stuff, I took a walk around the front. Look how pretty the Hosta blooms are! This is one of the few things that were here when we bought the house.


Immediately in front of the beautiful Host blooms it looks like a murder has taken place. This is a big pile of bird feathers. This was not the only pile. In fact, right next to this one was a hunk of feathers that looked like it was still attached to a hunk of skin, but it seemed a little graphic.
I'm going on the garden walk tomorrow and I'm very excited about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cute things I saw in my garden today

This thing nearly made me pee my pants, in a bad way. I know it's very very cute and all but that whole Cicada incident has really got me on edge. Every time I hear any kind of rustling going on I jump and spin around expecting to see a big swarm of Cicadas ready to eat my eyeballs out. I was bent over looking at the Lavender that I planted near these dead Iris and I heard something. I spun around scared to death and this is what I saw. Do you know how stupid I felt???? My little sister thought it was hilarious that I was so startled by a baby rabbit and I thought she might be a little more sympathetic once I explained how I was almost killed by a ban of Cicadas but she was unimpressed. Then again, the people down the road from her have Emus. If you are not familiar with these, just imagine big dirty Ostrich. I have no clue what they do from the farm animal standpoint, but they are very ugly and way scarier than this little guy.Just when I started to get worried that my Cantaloupe wasn't going to bloom, BAM!



I wanted to document this bloom on one of my 2 strawberry plants. The other plant had a bloom that lasted about 2 hours before it was eaten by something. I do not expect this one to survive, they must be very tasty, even in floral form.



This is a tomato on one of my 2 Big Boys. Is it just me or does this look two-toned?




This is a baby tomato on my one Roma plant. I think these are so cute because they are oblong and I never get to use that word "oblong" so I thought I'd better seize this opportunity. Plus, I LOVE ROMAS and I LOVE MARINARA and you know what that means!

That's it for the pictures. In other news, I'm going on my first Garden Walk on Saturday with garden buddy and I have been planting seeds like crazy. In addition to the last seeds I told you about, I have now planted Double Hollyhock, Zinnias and Scabiosa. I also have Moon Flower (or is it Vine) seeds soaking per the instructions and they will be planted bright and early tomorrow morning. I really excited about the moon ones!

Ode to a gardening blogger

Preface: This entry is more about "Gardeners" than "Gardening"

Like I do most things in my life, I started this blog after thinking about for about ummmm 3 minutes. Seemed like a good way for me to 1. share my gardening experience with my family back home who wouldn't otherwise believe I'm outside doing this ON PURPOSE 2. document this for myself so that I can see the transformation of my property from "yard" to "garden" and 3. nurture my inner egomaniac that hopes maybe some stranger out there might want to see what's going on in my backyard.

I have gotten a few comments from other blogging gardeners whom I envy and aspire to copy and little by little I've been making my way over to their blogs to read their stories. The one I'm currently reading is from a fellow I-use-to-live-in-the-south-but-moved-to-Chicago blogger.

Carolyn, over at http://www.sweethomeandgardenchicago.blogspot.com/ read my blog and left me a few comments. Thanks, Carolyn! In the first comment Carolyn questioned why I say on my profile that I'm trying to get rid of my "annoying southern accent" and I remember thinking "oh great, I've already offended a fellow blogger." Since then I've been reading Carolyn's blog daily but recently decided to go back to her very first blog entry, you know, to see what she's all about. After reading only 1.5 months worth of her blog, here are my thoughts in no particular order.

Holy crap - she's a real landscape designer!

Holy crap - she's been in the Chicago Tribune! She's famous!

Holy crap - she's a vegetarian too!

I don't know why I was so surprised to see that real life landscape designers blog. I'm sure it has something to do with some ridiculous stereotype that I picked up about bloggers. The only famous ones are usually killers, right? Anyway, I've already learned some great things by reading Carolyn's older entries, like Forsythias will grow here and there are smaller varieties that might be more suitable for my little garden. And, it's okay for me to grow Rhododendrons and/or Azaleas here. I'm sure she has lots more great information for me and I can't wait to finish reading her entire blog.

Most importantly, reading Carolyn's blog made me realize that no matter how much I'm glad to have moved out of the South, I really miss some things about it. I never realized how many Azaleas we have in Tennessee, or how NOT seeing them would make me realize just how pretty they are.

Monday, June 18, 2007

LOV Passalong

Yesterday I scored these Lily of the Valley plants from someone in my area who needed to thin hers. Thanks nice Freecycle.org lady! I split them and ended up with 6 plants!

I know what you're thinking - "WOW! That green looks spectacular up against that lovely straw colored background!" Hey, it's the best I can do for now. I planted these this morning before work but unfortunately the other unknown plant the nice lady gave me doesn't look so good.


I have no clue what this plant is, and from the looks of things, I never will. It was very close to the LOV so the lady told me to go ahead and take it. Since it is unlikely that I'll be able to fill my gardens with passalong plants, I've come up with another plan for my barren gardens and empty wallet - SEEDS! I read this great article on HGTV.com about how stupid everyone is for not just planting seeds. The article talked about how much more economical seeds are and how the selection is so much better because garden centers can really only sell what is IN BLOOM and that limits them. I'm sure it's not THAT simple but it was all I needed to hear. I'm grasping at straws here! (pun intended)

So, I planted 3 packs of seeds this morning! Giant Delphiniums, Canterbury Bells, and Columbine. Unfortunately, AFTER I planted the seeds I read on the inside of the Columbine seed packet that you should sow them outside before it gets cold, and fertilize them with something special, and call the preacher to bless them etc. I'm kidding about the preacher but DANG there were lots of stipulations with this stuff! Oh well, at least its only a couple of bucks down the drain.

So my plan for MSG 08? Plant millions of seeds. Direct sow because I'm too lazy to do pots, indoors, under lights, in the fridge, or anything along those lines. I'm not chasing off birds or squirrels or any other varmints. If they don't make it, they are not for me!

If anybody has any suggestions on things that I can plant NOW in Zone 5, please let me know.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Cicada wants to be my boyfriend

In case you haven't heard, Chicago is presently infested with the "17 year Cicadas." In my area, they have been manageable but today I had a fatal altercation.

After battling with my weed wacker for weeks I finally threw it in the car and drug it to Ace Hardware. Thank you bald Ace Hardware guy in Forest Park for fixing me up! I'm officially boycotting Home Depot! Anyway, I took it home, cranked it and started working and then I noticed a few Cicadas in my yard. The next thing I know, the things are dive bombing me! I think they thought my weed wacker was another Cicada tryin to get it on! So one of them comes flying at me and my reflex reaction was to use the weed wacker as a sword or some other weapon, and, you guessed it, the Cicada was chopped to smithereens! I feel bad about it! Sorta. I kept trying to tell myself that the news people said they will not hurt me but it didn't help. Every time one came at me I tried to fight it off with the weed wacker. At one point I hit my grill and a everything on it went flying. I was screaming like a 5 year old. I don't care what they say, these things ARE dangerous! I thought about asking Mr. Wonderful to fight them off me while I finished trimming the backyard but they freak him out as much as they do me. At some point I just gave up. These things are only suppose to live for 3 weeks. The weeds will just continue to look like crap for a bit longer...

Here's a few pictures from today. I think my favorite thing in my garden these days is the watermelon. I think the leaves are so pretty! I had to redirect it because it was headed for the patio. I didn't realize that these things actually grab onto whatever is in it's path. Am I suppose to have a trellis or something?

Rose Garden after straw. It actually doesn't look so bad and the roses are all doing pretty well, even the sickly one that I thought wasn't going to make it.

Garage garden with straw. I think I've killed the grass around these beds by letting the crap that I dug up lay on it for too long.
Foundation bed


I finally decided to try my hand at composting! Since I have no container whatsoever but lots of stuff to compost, I decided to throw it over beside the garage and see what happens. I don't plan to leave it there because I'm worried that it will damage the fence or the garage. I also won't be putting any food there because I'm way more afraid of rodents than I am of Cicadas.

One final note on Cicadas. I googled them and I think it's actually the male that makes the noise so I guess those were girl Cicadas attacking me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I've taken this to a whole new level

I purchased my first Hoe! This is getting serious! I was watching that gardening show the Manic Organic the other day and the guy said this is his favorite kind of hoe for weeding. It's an "action hoe" and I'm sure you all already have one and know how magical they are but just let me enjoy this, okay?

THIS THING IS MAGIC! It slices right through the weeds in record time! This morning I finally had time to weed the rose garden since I'm pretty much done digging up grass. It only took me like 15 minutes for 72 feet! Listen up gardeners - if you don't have an Action Hoe - get one! Today! I'm sure you also noticed the big ass bale of straw in the picture. I finally resigned myself to using straw as mulch for this first year for the following reason.

  1. I'm broke and it's very cheap. Only 5.99 at the garden center
  2. My soil needs amending and after reading lots of organic gardening stuff, they say this will break down over time and be good for the soil.
  3. I don't want to spend my summer pulling weeds from these new beds.

I took this picture this morning and I've actually already distributed this straw to all the beds except the kitchen garden. I spent 3.5 hours this morning weeding, getting rid of big piles of sod and spreading this straw all over. My yard smells like a farm. Not a bad thing but boy does this stuff make me sneeze. I'll be honest though, after using my magic hoe, I'm thinking that weeding wouldn't have been such a big deal and this straw is not the most beautiful thing in the world. Stay tuned for pictures of the freshly strawed beds...

Here's the garage bed all cleared out. The only difference from the last picture of this bed that I posted is that I finally got the corner cleared out. There were some weeds over there that were borderline trees they were so big.

You can't see them but my itty bitty Clematis vines are planted on either side of the window. They don't seem to be growing but they don't seem to be dying either so I'm hopeful! This is the foundation bed that I finished clearing. The next time you see this, it will be covered with straw. Can somebody please come over and haul off these big piles of crap that I dug up? I'M EXHAUSTED!



Thursday, June 14, 2007

The first food I've ever grown in my life


I am so excited I can hardly stand myself! This is a really bad picture but it's my first tomato in the making!!! It's the size of a green pea and so damn cute! This is a Sweet 100. I have personally never heard of these but my mom said they taste great and she knows how much I love tomatoes. I'm so glad I took her advice - Thanks Mom! Love ya!


I know this is so not exciting for all you seasoned gardeners but seeing this little thing that I GREW is very symbolic to me for many reason which are too personal to discuss here. But wait - there's more! This is a Red Bell Pepper. Are those little baby bell peppers???? Okay - maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. I've seen no blooms on this thing yet. Does that always come first or do plants ever just bust into producing food? I have so much to learn!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What I'm worried about in my garden today

First off, ignore the long shaggy grass around this bed. The backyard is in such a shambles with piles of sod and bricks I've dug up from prior gardener's' beds that we just bypassed the backyard this mowing. Plus, my stupid weed wacker string is stuck inside it and I can't seem to unscrew the cap to fix it. All and all the kitchen garden looks pretty good. All tomatoes have blooms which I'm enjoying gloating about to garden buddy who teased me for spraying them with "aspirin water". She's using Miracle Grow and we are comparing notes. Anyway, the watermelon suddenly has this big long stem that shot out from it and I'm thinking either its some mutant like "big pumpkin" that is growing in Michelle's garden over at http://www.mygrandpasgarden.com/ or maybe this is just what they do we they are ready to bloom. So far, the only things with actual blooms are the tomatoes.

After reading a few blogs that mentioned "pinching basil" I freaked out this morning and ran out to the garden to pinch off basil and oregano so they wouldn't "go to seed" - whatever that means. I have no clue if I did it right, or at the right time, but it sure smelled good on my hands.



Anyway, take a look at my poor jalapeno pepper plant in the next photo. It's getting worse and worse and I don't know what is going on or what to do to save it. SOMEBODY CALL A PLANT DOCTOR!


How bout this next picture. Is it my imagination or does that look like a random robin egg laying in the middle of the dirt of the recently cleared (this past weekend) garage bed? I only know this because I think one of the garden blogs I've been reading had a nest full of these on a picture. There is no tree close to it and I have no clue where the nest could be or what the hell I'm suppose to do with this thing. SOMEBODY CALL A BIRD DOCTOR!
My Clematis arrived today from Springhill Nursery. They don't look dead, thank goodness. They will be living in the garage bed which has the unamended-lilies-wouldnt-bloom-here soil. I purchased a bag of humus and manure to try to add a little to the dirt when I plant them. I was thinking today that I feel like a woman who suddenly adopted a bunch of toddlers. I have no clue what to do with them or if what I'm doing is what they need, but I'm doing my best and learning as I go.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Morning Coffee

Here's what I did this morning. This is where the red clematis will go, along with whatever else I can come up with. This took me about 2 hours to clear. Now I'm trying to figure out what (if anything) I need to do to amend the soil before I start planting. I don't have a compost bin so anything I put down will need to be something I can buy commercially. The day lilies that I removed from this space never bloomed in the 3 years I've lived here. Does that mean the soil sucks? I'm thinking of throwing down a bag of organic compost and a bag of peat moss but I have no clue if that's the right thing to do. Suggestions?
It seems like the harder I work, the worse my backyard actually looks. See how messy it is? I think this is a case of not "cleaning as I go." You know how dishes pile up so badly while you are trying to prepare a great meal? And if you don't wash as you go, your kitchen is a disaster when the meal is finished? This is what happened here. I just keep throwing the weeds and sod over in the yard thinking I'll clean it up later. Now it looks horrible and it'll take me God knows how long to get rid of this crap. Plus, I'm getting pretty sick of taking pictures of dumpy looking stuff. Oh, how I long to be able to post pictures of my garden full of beautiful flowers like the other garden bloggers....




Saturday, June 9, 2007

The hedge roses are growing!

The pink Simplicity Hedge Roses are getting leafs! I'm pretty excited! This is the best looking one out of 26 and at least 1 of them looks pretty hopeless. It has no new growth whatsoever. I'm still hoping it will come to life over the next few days. As you can see by the ground beneath the rose, I need mulch - really bad. Gardening is expensive. I mean compared to some things it's not, but it's hard to rationalize ordering a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff that's gonna stay outside. I've been working hard on digging up grass. It's really what I should be doing right now. It's nice outside, the sun is not shining on the area in question, and I'm pretty bored. On the weekends I garden for a couple of hours in the morning. At some point I start feeling like I'm so covered with dirt and bugs that I can't stand it anymore. Then I throw down the shovel and haul ass into the shower. I hate feeling dirty which makes the fact that I've suddenly become obsessed with gardening even more hilarious. Right now I'm thinking "I should really dig up some more grass or get rid of the piles of grass I dug up earlier but I don't want to get all dirty again."

Springhillnursery finally sent me an email that they shipped my 2 Clematis. I'm already disappointed with them because I feel like I ordered these things soooooo long ago. The 4 trellises I bought are still leaning against the back of the garage. My goal for the weekend was to remove all grass from the new beds and hang the trellises. I don't see how it's gonna happen unless some actual garden fairies show up in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What are my options here?

This is my crappy patio. It really needs to be destroyed and my plan is to replace it with a new fancy one with brick pavers or great flagstone or something but it's just not in the budget this year. So, is there anything at all I can do to make this livable for another year or so? The only thing I can think of is maybe staining the concrete and planting some Creeping Thyme over in the cracks where the ugliest most beat up concrete square is. Come on all you artsy people out there - I need help.




Morning coffee

This is what I do to get going in the morning these days. Today I started digging up the grass for the bed by the Terminator Rose. I've decided digging up grass is by far my least favorite "gardening" activity. Is that even gardening? Technically it's probably more landscaping/backbreaking/worm uncovering/pregnant-spider-finding/feeling-like-you'll-just-give-up-until-you-can-hire-somebody-to-do-this-for-you, yes? This is as far as I got today. Tomorrow morning I'll try to finish this so that I can plant the 3 little Lavender plants that arrived today in the mail. Most of the grass in the area is gone but there is also a row of bricks that are pretty much buried in the ground from a flower bed long ago. Digging up bricks is right up there with digging up grass.


Monday, June 4, 2007

What the heck is this????

This is the back of my garage (project dos.) Look at the bottom right corner of the garage. It's hard to see in this picture, but the next picture is a closer one. What the hell is this thing??? I've been trying to figure this out since I moved to this house. It's a huge concrete slab with 3 big metal things sticking out of it. Somebody obviously put this here on purpose, in this exact spot, with exactly three of these metal things sticking out in a very exact pattern. Take a closer look at the picture below. The upper right metal thing actually has a chain and lock on it. I have got to know what this is before I die, or move, whichever comes first. We have all sorts of outlandish ideas about what this thing is. The best one so far is that it was used to tie people up and torture them. That seems unreasonable since there was a very non-private chain link fence here when we moved in and I'm sure somebody would have noticed, and hopefully reported it. Coworker suggested it could have been used to tie up a dog but I can't imagine somebody would install such a contraption to keep a dog tied up.

If anybody has ever seen one of these and knows what it is, PLEASE, PLEASE, help me solve this mystery.

In the meantime, garden buddy says I should put a big pot with plants on top of it and some small ones to hide the metal things.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pots and seeds

These 3 cute little plants caught my eye yesterday at Whole Foods and after debating where they should go, I decided to throw them in a pot together. Polka dot, Sweet Potato Vine and Sedge. It looks like hair to me and every time I walk by it I have to touch it.

I also bought a pack of Shasta Daisy seeds and threw them in the pots (they are behind the threesome.) I'm sure it's probably way too late to be planting seeds but these Shasta's say you can plant them in the ground 2 months before the first frost, so maybe they'll be okay. I'm very attracted to any "daisy-like" flower. I don't know the term for them but I'm referring to any plant with the center surrounded by small colored petals (echinacea, black-eyed susan, sunflower and any and every daisy.) I'm sure a garden full of these would be beautiful but I'm not into theme gardens...
While strolling through the grocery store garden center I smelled what I thought was a very large citronella candle. It turned out to be a shelf full of Citronella Scented Geraniums. I had to have it. It smells so fresh and clean! I thought it might deter bugs if I placed it on the patio but unfortunately the sweat bees were all over it before I could even get it completely re-potted. I had planned to put it right in the middle of the patio table but I may need to rethink that.