Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saving Seeds On Sunday

I'm pretty sure I spent several hours today sifting through flower debris trying to find seeds. Thank God for MBT who is great about putting his "when I collect seeds" posts up. Otherwise, I'd be planting trash next spring.
I have about four thousand Zinnias, still. I planted them from seed from a pack that contained a mix of large Zinnias. The problem is that by the time they dry and I try to remove the seeds, all color is gone and I'm clueless what I have. I do have 2 sections of Zins that contain a bunch of the same color, the red ones in the picture above and another bunch of purple ones. I dunno how that happened but I'm so glad! Should I be tagging these things or something so that I know what color I have? I'm not big on surprises. Plus, I'm participating in Colleen's seed exchange and I'm pretty sure other people would prefer to know exactly what color they are getting, too.


In other seed collecting news, COREOPSIS ROSA SEEDS ARE PRACTICALLY MICROSCOPIC!! Jeez I need a freaking magnifying glass. At some point I started thinking I look like some pot head trying to de-seed my weed".


The picture above is one of the seedlings that GB brought over after I killed all those other plants. I have no idea what it is but I love it! And I have 3 of them! I think the color on the leaves is just awesome. Thanks, GB!

Psychedelic Sunday

Purple Fountain Grass

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Planning MSG 2008: Lasagna Gardening

After reading Colleen's review of Lasagna Gardening, I started thinking this could be exactly what I need to get ready for next year's garden. I picked up a copy last night after work.

Book Review
What I like most about this book is the no-nonsenseness of it. After a short description of how she thought up the idea of Lasagna Gardening, Patricia Lanza gets right to explaining how to build a Lasagna Garden and describes a few of the ones she's built herself. I don't like garralous how-to books so this is right up my alley. Unfortunately, this makes the actual information of this book more suitable for a pamphlet - the rest seems to be general plant information but that didnt make me regret the purchase. I hate reading how-to books and thinking chapter after chapter "GET TO THE POINT, ALREADY!!"

So, about MSG 2008, I've already thought of 5 different places I could try this lasagna gardening!! I'm so excited!

Front Garden:
This is the new garden I started working on last weekend. After reading the book, I realize I could have just put wet newspaper down over the grass and started dumping stuff on top of it, but I'm not that regretful. I was able to use some of that sod in my expired veggie garden, anyway. I'm planning to finish removing the sod from the front garden, then try the layering over top of the dirt in hopes I'll have rich soil to plant in next spring.

Raised Bed Veggie Garden:
I had planned to wait until next spring to build my raised veggie beds but after reading this book I'm thinking I should do that like TODAY! My thinking had been, what's the point of putting the wood frame out in the yard now since I couldn't plant anything until next year. All I'd be doing is reducing the life of the wood by one year having it sit in the winter weather. BUT, there is the problem of filling the beds next spring once I build them. With Lasagna Gardening, I could simply build the beds, put down wet newspaper, then start layering stuff on top of it. I mean the leaves are about to start falling, plus I do still have the rest of the veggie garden to use for greens once I pull it out. If I start now and cover the beds with black plastic, I should have a very good start on filling those beds so that I don't need to bring in nearly as much dirt next spring. Plus, the soil will be so much richer than simply dumping top soil in the raised beds, right? What do you think?

Basketball Garden:
Immediately beside the basketball court is a 25 x 2.5 foot area that currently contains lava rock, and weeds. I bought the rocks 2 summers ago before I knew better. I didn't buy enough to look good, plus the rocks poke holes in the weed barrier so the weeds grow like crazy. It looks like crap! I had decided that I'd remove the rocks next spring and plant some sort of ground cover that could withstand basketball abuse, maybe creeping thyme or something that would smell good? Anyway, now that I've read about Lasagna Gardening, I'm thinking maybe I should go ahead and start on that now? Same principle as the others, I'd have great soil for planting by next spring.

Alley Garden x 2:
There are 2 small spaces by our fence and garage off the alley and even though I wouldn't really plant anything fancy back there, I do hate that it's so weedy and ugly. Maybe I could lay down the wet newspaper to kill the weeds and layer it so that I could plant some no-maintenance wildflowers or something back there next spring.

Another thing about this whole Lasagna Gardening thing is that it gives me more stuff to do in the garden now that everything is almost finished. What I love most about this is that it seems to be a way I can use things I already have around here to build great soil for next year. This satisfies the green side of me, the cheap side of me, and the lazy side of me!

Wow - I've got lots of work to do!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tell A Funny "Pest" Story

Reading Christa's recent Squirrel versus Arugula post over at Calendula & Concrete made me remember the squirrels at the last house I lived in. Now that I have regulary pesty squirrels I can laugh about it...

Before we bought our house, we lived in a 2 flat about a mile from here. I think squirrels are a very common problem in the chicagoland area but I was always so surprised by how ballsy the squirrels were in our old neighborhood. Many days we'd head out the back door to find a squirrel standing on the deck railing a couple of feet away, just staring at us. Not only that, maybe it was just our imagination but I swear they always looked like they were crouched down in a pre jump position almost like a competitive swimmer waiting to jump into the water when the whistle blew for the big race. Not only did they look at us like they wanted to kick our asses, we'd frequently come home to find random large food items on our second floor deck. I mean things that were bigger than what you'd think a squirrel could drag up stairs without destroying, like entire untouched hotdog buns. Thats when we realized our redneck neighbor dude had started feeding them and this had only made it worse. I swear they grew more and more aggressive.

Well, Mr. W found an article about attack squirrels in some far away suburb. It seems that a guy was feeding these squirrels and then he moved (or died I can't remember). I guess the squirrels had gotten use to being fed and they were PISSED OFF that they had no dinner, so they started attacking people. I remember the picture in the article that showed these freak squirrels stuck on the sliding glass window like they were trying to claw their way into this poor family's house.

After that, Mr. W started keeping a pile of rocks on the kitchen floor by the back door. The first time I noticed a pile of rocks laying on the floor I asked (of course, who wouldnt? right?)
Me"Whats that?"
Him "rocks"
Me "Rocks?? IN THE KITCHEN FLOOR? WHAT THE HELL??"
Him "they are for the squirrels"
Me "HUH, FOR THE SQUIRRELS? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?" (you'd be irritable too if there were rocks in your kitchen floor ON PURPOSE!)
Him "they are for protection. we can throw them at the squirrels when we go outside so they wont attack us." he's always looking out for my safety - thats why I love him.

Every time he'd go outside, he brought a few rocks with him to throw at the squirrels while we ran for the car. Sometimes he'd go to take the trash out and turn to me, hand me some rocks and say "COVER ME! - I'M GOIN OUT!" I loved to tease him about it. Every time he'd mention the mean squirrels I'd just say "honey, just keep your rocks with you at all times and you'll be fine."

Do you have any funny pest stories? I know I've read a few that tickled me even though they were more on the violent attack side, like Carol versus the yellow jackets and Katie versus every pest known to man. I'd love to hear more!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bye Bye Melons

My Cantaloupe up and died! I have no clue what happened. As you can see from the disturbing picture below, there were still plenty of them left on the vine, but almost overnight the vine turned brown and the melons stopped growing.So, I pulled up all the dead Cantaloupe vines along with the no-so-dead-but-tastes-like-crap Watermelon and threw it out. The picture below is my attempt to piece together the sod that I removed from the new gardens in the front. For some reason this reminds me of that scene from the movie The Silence of the Lambs where the guy had sown together sections of skin from all his victims. YIKES!

Yes, I've been wasting lots of water, watering this strip of grass like crazy. I have no clue what I'm doing, but I figured it was worth a shot.

I still have tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers, basil and oregano left but as I'll try to transplant sod as I go as long as it looks alive.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Digging

I was outside by 7:30 this morning. It was kinda chilly, but for me, perfect weather for digging. This is a fairly low traffic time on my street so I didn't have too many gawkers. The first thing Mr. W said is "WOW YOU REALLY DUG FAR AWAY FROM THE HOUSE!" What do you think? Is the bed too wide?I probably should have waited until later today to take these pictures but I was just so proud of myself I had to snap a few to post. The one below is the side of the house that leads to my backyard. I was surprised how much sun this area gets. I have no idea how many hours of sun per day equals "Sun" versus "Part Shade" but when I went back out to observe the sun at noon, it was still fully shining on this side garden. I'll keep checking that throughout the day and do some research on what constitutes Part Shade. I had always considered this entire front garden Part Shade but maybe sun loving plants would survive here on the corner.

I'm planning to move all the hosta over to the new Good Neighbor garden. They look really crappy this year but I think it's because I let these beds get so weedy all summer. Is it okay to transplant these hosta now, or should I wait until next spring?

Speaking of the Good Neighbor garden, one of the morning glory ladies scared the crap outta me while I was digging today. She was out gardening early too and I guess she heard me and came over to say hello. Did I mention I'm not social AT ALL? I mean I can do it, and I'm pretty darn friendly thanks to being raised in the south, but I'm a total Introvert. Anyway, she was pretty darn impressed with my newest gardening project, especially when I told her I was planning to plant some things on the side of the house for them to enjoy from their windows. She had noticed the Hibiscus that volunteered right under their morning glory vine and since she seemed to like it so much, I told her to dig it up and take it. I just don't care for them. The fact that it couldn't determine whether it was a weed or not is a total turnoff.
Goals for this week:
  1. Finish removing sod from new beds (get out there before I'm fully awake and have a chance to talk myself out of it.)
  2. Remove everything in kitchen garden except tomatoes. Try to find a place to compost it.
  3. Transplant sod from front yard to the spot where the kitchen garden is currently.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Still Scared To Dig

This is as far as I went today. Day after day I've been following Carol over at May Dreams Garden while she's been working her ass off renovating beds. I went out again today and stared at the front yard. Today I did drag the garden hose out to the front, then turned around and went right back in the house. Again, no actual work was done.

I think I've figured out why I don't want to do this. It's because I'm all exposed in the front yard. I'll be out there digging in front of the entire world. I don't know about you guys but I look like complete shit when I'm gardening. Thanks to a bad ass sweat gene from my mother and my father, I can hardly dry my hair without perspiring. This, coupled with the extreme red face I get when I'm hot and sweaty, does NOT make for a pretty picture. I mean there have been times this summer that Mr. W actually looked extremely concerned about me when I came in from gardening. "ARE YOU OK?" "YOU DON'T LOOK SO GOOD!" "GET SOME WATER AND SIT DOWN!" So, that's all I need is for all the neighbors to be walking by or looking out there windows placing bets on how soon I'll drop red face first into the lawn. There is an old lady in my neighborhood who walks her even older lady mother (I'm assuming she's her mother) and every day when they walk by our house, they just gawk. I usually see them doing this from some window in my house but lord knows if I was out there digging. What if they stopped to talk to me? Or worse, what if they just stare at me until I get so pissed that I start screaming at them? "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU LOOKING AT!!!!!!" I have a bit of a temper from time to time.

I'm making a vow, here on this blog, that I will dig tomorrow! Before I do a single thing, I'll drag my butt out there, get the hose down to map the garden, and at least dig the outline of the front garden. I mean this is the time to get this done! The weather is really nice and it'll be so much better next year when it's ready to plant and I can get right to it rather than digging for a month. Okay, enough bitching - I'm moving on...

So the garden blogging world is really pissed off about that 70 year old lady in Utah that got arrested for her dead lawn. I have to admit, I really didn't care too much when I read the first few rants about it. But, after MBT, one of my garden blogging neighbors wrote about it today on his blog, I finally decided that I needed to see that woman's yard. I did find it on the internet and I'm sorry but her house and yard is in a shambles, people! I mean it was kind of beyond just a brown lawn and I think I'd be pissed if that house was on my block, too. Does that make me shallow? Now, before you all cuss me out, I do NOT think she should have been arrested or that anybody really has a right to tell anybody else how their house or yard should look, but I did notice it seemed to be rather junky besides the yard. I just wondered if maybe that had something to do with the initial complaint?

Lastly, I GOT A PROMOTION! YAY, ME! As of Sunday, September 19th, I'm officially a manager and responsible for 27 people. I'm excited and very very nervous. I'm hoping the bump in pay will help finance my new garden addiction which seems to have turned to a garden/hardscape/house renovation addiction. Wish me luck! Or maybe you should those poor 27 people luck.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mi Casa

On Sunday I went out to the front of the house with plans to drag the garden hose out and map out where the curved beds should be. I just couldn't do it! I spent a good 20 minutes strolling up and down the sidewalk in front of my house, staring at the grass, trying to tell myself that it's not a big deal to just move the hose around until something looks like where a flower bed should go. I don't have a creative bone in my body. Not only that, I'm scared to even try to be creative.

I was paralyzed with fear! I am not confident enough to put a damn water hose down, make a decision, and start digging. So, I snapped a pitcture, came in the house and started drawing on it. I need therapy!
I poured my heart out about this to GB today. She said what she always says, "gina, it's only grass! It will grow back!" After I whined enough she finally agreed to come help me decide where the beds could go. I just love that girl!


In the meantime, I was trying to figure out what the house would look like with white trim and black porch railing. I am also considering shutters on the left and right windows and a large planter box under the big window in the center. What do you think that would look like?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Site For The New "Good Neighbor Garden"

I mentioned recently but my brilliant new idea is to make a beautiful garden for my neighbors to enjoy. I'm not sure if this is mostly because I can find no other reason to plant there, or if I'm really just that much of a giver. Traditionally I'm not that charitable, but I have to say this gardening thing has made me see many situations differently than I would have before.

Here's the site of the new Good Neighbor Garden. It's basically full shade all day long. There are some plants that I've wanted to try but couldn't because my backyard gardens are all in full sun, so this really gives me an opportunity to nurture the side of me that is drawn to the shade loving plants like Astilbe, Ferns and Caladium.
The space is about 27 feet long and my property line only goes over about 2.5 feet from the house. Now, I'm sure that the MG ladies next door probably wouldn't mind if I made the garden go all the way to their walkway, but still, I don't need the drama or anger that I'd feel if they had a problem with it. So, I'll just stay on my side of the track. Question: Is that a weed growing right by the house? It has a purpleish flower on it but I looks weedy to me.

Do you have any suggestions for a shade garden that I might try? Are there any vines that like the shade? I was thinking a trellis up the side of my house would be nice.

Psychedelic Sunday

My hedge roses.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September Bloom Day

I wonder just how many Bloom Days we could use these fabulous tomato blooms. They are so cute up close and I love the way you can see the little hairs on the stem in the photos. By far, the tomato remains my favorite thing in the garden, even beating out all the flowers. I love how they leave that interesting tomato scent on me when I brush by them or harvest them. Before I started gardening, I just liked eating them but they continue to give me more reasons to love them.
As you can see, the Zinnia and the Cleome still look great. I noticed some seeds from the white Cleome that I tried to transplant (RIP white cleome) and when I saw where the seeds came from I realized I have the potential for zillions of Cleome seeds. I hope they pop up again next spring.
Here is the Bright Lights Cosmos that I transplanted along with the now dead Cleome. It's still doing okay but it has fallen over. I still just love this attention getting bright color.
My beloved Pink Hedge Roses are still looking awesome! I did notice that the ones down by the gate have some spots on the leaves and way less blooms.
I wanted to include a picture of this purple fountain grass because I still can't believe I only paid a dollar for it. It's bigger than the Spirea now! I'll look for this again next year but I'll make sure to put it toward the back of the bed and give it plenty of room.
Here is my surprise discovery of the day. It actually made me gasp! It's Morning Glory coming over the fence! I did not plant this stuff so I'm guessing it's in my neighbors garden. God Bless those ladies! Finding this has caused me to start thinking of how other people can accidentally enjoy my garden. While thinking of landscaping the front of my house I've also been faced with what to do with the side of the house that faces the morning glory ladies' house. I've always thought there was no need to plant stuff over there because I NEVER have the occasion to be on that side of the house. There is no entry to the back yard from that side, and the only window on that side of the house is the Mr. W's studio which I never go in. But while investigating the surprise Morning Glory, I realized that the morning glory ladies' kitchen window has a horrible view of the side of my house. And then it occurred to me - THAT IS A REASON TO PLANT BEAUTIFUL STUFF THERE! Even if I can't enjoy it on a regular basis, they can! Imagine how happy that should make them for me, the troglodyte neighbor, to plant a beautiful garden just for them to enjoy while they dine or cook in their kitchen! I know what you're thinking, "Gina Rocks!" HA!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Picking Tomatoes By Flashlight

Several times this week I've been outside at dark trying to find a ripe tomato. This sucks!

I've been working later and that, coupled with the fact that it's getting dark earlier, makes finding ripe veggies very interesting. My kitchen garden is close to my patio so I can turn on the patio light which helps some. Tonight it was actually really dark out when I realized I had no tomato for my veggie burger. So, I used the flashlight. There I am out in the garden hunting for any big boy or roma that is red enough to eat using a flashlight that is either on its last leg or needs a new battery. I'm pretty sure I could have gotten more light from a Bic lighter.

After all that, I ended up having to cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes in half to use for my sandwich. I can't believe a couple of weeks ago I had so many tomatoes sitting around that I had to get creative and now I can't even find one for a lousy hamburger.

I actually still have quite a few green ones on the vine and all the plants have new blooms on them. I'm curious to see how long they will actually make it before it gets too cold.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lettuce Update

I'm not sure what to make of this but the top planter box where I planted the lettuce seed is doing way better than the bottom one. Here's the top box. Most of it is filled with the European Musclean mix. The stuff in the very front is Black Seeded Simpson. I don't really know what it's suppose to look like but compared to the bottom one, this is rockin.Now here's the bottom one. What the hell happened here??? This was suppose to be the Rocky Top Musclean mix on the left and the Black Seeded Simpson on the right. I know you can't see it very well but it got really tall and then just fell over and started looking rotten. I think I'll just dig all this out and hope the top one works out.
In other veggie news, the broccoli is getting enormous! I have no clue what to do with it. I know I planted it at the wrong season but now it's getting to be the right season, so will it grow now? Or is it just gonna get bigger and bigger but with no heads of broccoli?

Edit: Thank goodness I keep this blog! It seems that the top is actually the Rocky Top mix.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Corn Glutening The Yard

One of the first gardening blogs I read was Rosemarie's garden. As soon as I read about her using Corn Gluten on her grass and saw how beautiful it was, I was immediately intrigued. An organic weed control slash fertilizer - this is right up my alley!

Since then, I've been researching the use of corn gluten and how it came to be used as a weed control product. I'm sure you garden geeks already know this but here's what our local extension office has to say about corn gluten to control crab grass...

"The idea of using corn gluten meal for weed control burst on the scene in the early 1990's after Dr. Nick Christians at Iowa State accidentally discovered its herbicidal properties while he was testing it for suppression of turf diseases. After several years of efficacy studies and product development, corn gluten meal has gained national attention as being the first effective "organic" herbicide. Corn gluten meal is not a registered pesticide because the U.S. EPA has granted an exemption for corn gluten meal as an herbicide."

I should have applied the stuff earlier in the summer (Memorial Day, July 4th) but to be honest, my priorities were buying plants with every spare dime, not spending my garden money on what could be a crap shoot of a product. But, one day while perusing my favorite local greenhouse, there it was sitting on the shelf. When I called later for a price check, the lady informed me that they only had one bag left and that it was damaged so they'd sell it to me for 1/2 price. Half price!!! Who cares of the bag was open! She taped it up for me as best she could and charged me 15 bucks for a 40 pound bag. SCORE one for my skinny garden! I wanted to post a picture of the bag from the manufacturer website but I wasn't sure if that was breaking some blog law so I didn't.

One thing I'd like to say about corn gluten - IT STINKS REALLY REALLY BAD! It totally stunk up my car just from carrying it home in my trunk. I was scared to take it out of my car and store it in the garage for fear that it would attract some crazy rodents to my garage who would tear the bag, eat all the corn gluten then set up house and start having little rodent babies that would eat my garden, the trash, and eventually take over the world. Finally, after I could no longer stand the smell in my car, I decided to risk it and I threw it over in the corner of the garage where it has been for several weeks. No rodents yet!

Yesterday, I decided it was about time I get this stuff on the grass. I have no fancy spreader but I did find one of the cheapy hand held ones in the garage. In keeping with the clueless garden theme, I had NO idea how to apply this stuff. The bag and the internet simply said 20 pounds per 1000 square feet. HELLO??? THAT DOES NOT HELP ME!! My spreader thingy has numbers 1-3. I decided that using it on a "2" setting would be my best chance of getting something like "20 pounds per 1000 square feet" but it didn't matter because the stupid thing was broken. I ended up using an empty plastic flower pot with holes in the bottom to sprinkle it on the grass. I figured since it's not a chemical I didn't really need to worry about putting too much on the grass.

I don't know how long it will take before I'll notice something or even what to look for. If anybody has a clue, please tell me.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

"My Whole Yard"

A while back my best friend Shannon asked me to show some pictures of my "whole yard". Well here they are.
Now, I'm sure everybody noticed that my kitchen garden is in a very awkward spot. The reason for this is that nothing had been done in my yard until I decided to plant some veggies. Since I'm a lazy bastard and so inclined to lose interest in things as fast as I begin obsessing about them, I decided I should plant this stuff immediately in front of the patio so that I couldn't ignore it. This also happens to get full sun for most of the day. Well, after I planted here, I decided to do the whole damn yard. Boy, do I regret putting it right there! Not only that but I put down the black fabric so as soon as I pull it up, I'll have a nice big brown spot there that I'll have to fight to get grass to grow. I'm planning to have three 4x4 raised beds next year and I'll move them over to toward the south fence more.
For those of you that remember the out of control Spirea, do you see it over there by the fence? The Rock Star landscaper trimmed it into a ball. UGH! Casualties of war, I guess. I would like to publicly state that I did NOT ask him to do this, nor did I ask him to make the front shrubs look like poodles. I'm not into that! Now I know I should give explicit instructions on that sort of thing.

Psychedelic Sunday Photo

Disclaimer: My neighborhood isn't really pink.
As if I didn't have enough to do, now I'm semi-obsessed with distorting photos. It's all Dirty Fingernails' fault!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Landscaper Is A Rock Star!

The landscaper who rescued us from the aftermath of the rabbit killing is so our hero this week! I took a long shot by calling somebody with a random Ad on the township website by me and since he was coming over, I asked him to cut down that big ugly out of control (whatever kinda bush Carolyn said it was) bush. That's it below over on the left corner. I can't believe we didn't do this a long time ago! For one, nobody told me it was out of place before I started the blog. Thanks again, Carolyn and Carol! Also, I don't own a chain saw. Look how much better the house looks! It's like the house can breathe now. It reminds me of how I feel when I come home from work and take my shoes and socks off to set my trapped toes free.

Here's the big giant whatever bush below. I had no idea it was so big!

I think the stump is kinda cool looking. I do remember that Carolyn said I need to chop the stump up. I have no chopper! Mental note: as GB to borrow something to hack this thing to pieces.


In other news, I've not been blogging all week. Did anybody notice? I could have been kidnapped by aliens, people!!! Although that would be a fantastic blog (alien gardens) I have simply been busy. I've been working on a non gardening related "thing" that I hope to tell you about in the next week or so. I've also been working on shrinking my ass. Ever since May 21st when I started gardening, I've completely stopped working out. I know, I know, "gardening IS exercise", but it's not cardio enough for me. So, I've been hitting the gym after work to try to get back in control. This was made easier by the swarming mosquitoes that kept me indoors after work and the grass-so-high-snakes-would-love-it yard we've had since the rabbit killing. BUT, now that my Rock Star Landscaper saved us, I'll be back out enjoying the last few days of the gardening season.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Fall Garden Cleanup Routine!

As much as I've been trying to ignore all of you who keep saying summer is coming to an end, it's September and the reality is that it'll be freezing cold and snowy in Chicago before we know it. This morning I realized that HGTV no longer has the 7am garden show. There is no denying it - our gardening days are limited.
Prior to this year, my preparation for winter has consisted of moving my coats, hats, gloves and scarfs from the the back of my closet to the front of my closet. This year I have this damn garden to protect. The future of 26 pink hedge roses lie in my hands. The Belle of Georgia Peach Tree I planted for Mr. W must survive the winter! Okay okay, enough with the histrionics. But seriously, I need your help!


I was hoping you seasoned gardeners would share your fall cleanup and winter preparation (or whatever you call it) routine with me.

Laboring For The Environment

Happy Labor Day, Gardeners!

Today was my last day off before returning to work tomorrow and I decided Labor Day is the perfect day to get the Rain Barrel moved to the torture deck. I think I did pretty good, yes?

Now I realize this is not the most esthetically pleasing thing one could have in the garden, but hey, I'm trying to help save the planet here! Cut me some slack!

I had a bunch of bricks that I dug up from the previous owners very straight and very boring flower beds and until now they've been in a big pile on my raggedy patio taking up space and looking very ugly. So, I piled them up on the torture deck. Not only did this help me re-use the bricks, it was perfect to raise the barrel up so that I can get containers under it.

After placing the barrel, I removed the downspout from the side of the garage and headed to my friendly neighborhood Ace Hardware to get a curved piece that would make it around the corner to the barrel. After the helpful hardware guy pieced together a bunch of short sections I saw this big ugly green flexible thingy over in the corner. This seemed so much easier! I can't decide which would be uglier, this ugly green dryer vent looking thing, or an ugly brown downspout.

So, there it is. My beloved rain barrel. Oh how I have longed for one for what seemed like months (I realize that's not very long but you just don't know how impatient I am). Now I just need to catch some soaker hoses on sale or figure out how to transform my old so-cheap-and-so-thin-I-couldn't-water-without-it-kinking-to-the-point-I-wanted-to-kill-somebody retired garden hose into a soaker hose. I'm so excited! Hey, if this works, maybe I could add a barrel every year for the next 3 years and collect enough water for everything!

But, it's still sooooooo ugly! I was thinking I should paint it. Here are a few of the ideas that came to mind.

  1. Give GB Junior some paint the next time they come over and let her go to town on it.
  2. Paint it with colorful flowers and make it look very hippie flower power'ish.
  3. Paint words all over it like "Create", "Simplify" etc...
  4. Make it like a graffiti wall and let anybody who visits make their mark on it.
  5. Leave it black. (this is what the boyfriend wants. he loves the color black.)
  6. Paint it a solid color like green

What do you think? What's your vote?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Psychedelic Sunday

This is my garden on Crack Foundation bed Dirty Fingernails over at Green Thumb Chronicles had an awesome idea to see just how cool we can distort our garden photos. Ummmmm I got a little carried away.

The picture below is my official entry.
Green tomato sandwich

Mushroom in pink

Rudbeckia and evil cucumber beetle Fountain grass

Broccoli
Blue tomatoes

This was so much fun!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Muse Day: The Weeds Of Your Life


Many things love to come and live off your plants, including bacteria, bugs, birds, and bunnies. If you don't control them, entire crops can be ruined. The result of your careful cultivation, in your garden and in your life, can be lost to predators in a short time. ... Take a look at your life, what toxic relationships, substances and emotions are feeding on your energy and taking away from what you have to give to others. Eliminate them.- Vivian Elisabeth Glyck, 1997


The best advice my father ever gave me was "get rid of the things in your life that make you feel bad." Toxic substances, toxic relationships and toxic jobs are the weeds of your life. Get rid of them to make room for you to grow and bloom.
Be sure to visit Carolyn at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago who hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.