Wednesday, October 31, 2007
They are very pretty, yes?
Monday, October 29, 2007
The house below is one that I ran across a few weeks ago. When I first saw it I actually gasped "wow! they removed all the grass in the front yard!! go on with your bad self, neighbor!" When I actually walked by it I noticed there is still some grass left. Judging from the very tall plants at the street, I'm thinking they must be looking for privacy. Either way, I admire their nerve and I'll be sure to check this garden out again in the spring when everything is in it's full beauty.
The house below is where my favorite neighborhood garden lives. I wish I knew these people and I wish they'd let me look in their backyard - I bet it's awesome! For some reason I always imagine that everybody is like me when it comes to their front yard. I figure all their best work is in the back and they only move to the front when they run out of space or find themselves pressured into improving their curb appeal by some fancy landscapers *glaring at Carolyn and MBT*
Here's the view from both ways on the street. The house is on a pretty busy street so I tried to snap the pictures quickly so nobody would think I'm with the FBI or anything. What, you don't think light blue crocs and Vols sweatshirt scream FBI?What I noticed about my neighborhood is that the gardens are mostly straight and narrow. There are very few curvy lines therefore the few that do have them, like the one in the picture above, really command attention. Walking in my neighborhood also reaffirmed that I prefer the messy look in the garden. You call it "cottage style" I call it charming disarray.
I'm still in search of that gardener in my hood who actually took the plunge to remove all their grass. Or, maybe I'll be the first?
Sunday, October 28, 2007
As I was cramming these things into the old rusty metal "yard waste only" trash cans I noticed a bastard garden work of art starting to emerge. Heather - don't you think this would make the perfect centerpiece for the bastard garden??? The bees loved it so much that I couldn't even move it to the alley for trash pick up because they were attacking me every time I went near it.
In other bastard news, I planted all my bulbs this morning and by the time I was out of the shower the bastard squirrel was already digging them up. I am not a violent person but I so wish I had a gun today.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
- Start compost (the new composter is still sitting in the middle of the living room. Mr. W is not happy about this and has chastised me about it daily)
- Build 2nd raised bed (I bought the wood today!)
- Plant bulbs (I bought a few crocus and allium tonight)
- Rake leaves
- Lasagna the raised beds
- Pick remaining tomatoes (it's going to be in the 30's tomorrow night)
I need an assistant!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's the Envirocycle compost tumbler and I love it already! I can't wait to take it outside and start throwing stuff it in! It's so easy to turn and its green. The instructions don't really say how long it should take to finish but I'll keep you posted.
Compost - here I come!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
In other bulb news, I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden today with GB and got a few things...
- Navarra Lily
- Stargazer Lily
- Rhine Wine Daffodil
Anybody wanna plant some bulbs?
Saturday, October 20, 2007
TA DAAA!!! I built my first raised veggie bed! It was so easy! GB - I did it all by myself! Yay me! I had originally planned to make 3 of these but they are bigger than I expected. I don't know how much smaller I expected a 4x4 bed to bed. You guessed it - IT'S 4X4! I think one more should do it. Tomorrow I'm going to get my lasagna going in this bed.
Other stuff I did .....
- Got the sweetest card ever from my honey. It made me cry.
- Cut, Color, Wax at the salon courtesy of my honey.
- Dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant with my honey. They even gave me a little tiramisu in a little clay pot with a real flower in the top for my birthday. They did not sing to me at the restaurant. Thank God!
- Picked up 5 pounds of coffee grounds from Starbucks for my garden.
- Took a nap
- Went to the basketball game where my Chicago Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers.
- Got ice cream from my favorite ice cream place The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor.
- The composter is on the way! It has been ordered but did not arrive on time which spoiled my guys master plan. I'm excited about it!
It was a very quiet day. Other than my honey, I only spoke to my mother. Other well wishers left me voicemails. For some reason I just didn't feel like talking today. Birthdays are hard for me. This one was pretty good.
Thank you all for the birthday wishes - I really appreciated it.
Friday, October 19, 2007
They are so pretty I don't want to get them dirty!
Thanks, GB, GB Jr's, Pie Guy and Computer Guy! You guys are awesome!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The weekends are mostly devoted to doing crap that simply prepares me to work my ass of the next week - laundry, grocery shopping, blah blah blah. This sucks! I need a gardening vacation...
On a positive note, I'm going to the bulb sale at the Botanical Garden with GB this weekend. YAY!
If anybody has any suggestions on how I can blow off work to do some gardening without getting fired, please email me immediately! If by some wild chance my boss is reading this blog - I NEED A FREAKIN VACATION! I'M STRESSED OUT AND MY PLANTS NEED ME DAMMIT!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It was very simple, I just mailed them a self addressed stamped envelope per the instructions on their website and the seeds arrived about a week later. They came wrapped in this little flyer that also tells me how to grow tomatoes in a bucket.
They tell you that they'll send 6 different kinds of seeds but they sent me 10! Count em! Talk about "under promise and over deliver."
Here's the list of seeds they sent me...
- Tomato Blend - assortment of different shapes, sizes and colors. Are they mind readers?
- Poppy Blend
- Snapdragon Mix
- Bells of Ireland. Are they mind readers?
- Columbine Blend
- Shasta Daisy
- Heirloom, purple-tinged, butterhead lettuce
- Red Cardinal Flower
- Mammoth Sunflower
- Zinnia Canary Yellow
I'm so glad I waited to order seeds since a couple of the things they sent are on my list. I can't wait!
They also sent a label and encourage me to send my extra seeds to them. I'll definitely be sending in a few things.
Monday, October 15, 2007
1. I attended an earth day festival in Memphis with my girlfriend.
2. I stopped eating meat. This was a direct result of befriending a guy vegetarian. It's possible that I was trying to impress him but it stuck. So did he!
3. I joined a hippie gym full of awesome people who taught me tons of great stuff.
4. I quit smoking. Come on! Who ever heard of a smoking vegetarian? Besides, the guy vegetarian made me do it...
5. I moved to Chicago and discovered whole foods. They make it so easy!
6. I was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer which made me question everything I put in my body.
7. I planted a vegetable garden and started a blog about it.
8. I had "the talk" with a dear friend about chemicals on lawns.
Steps 1-7 happened sporadically between 1999 and 2007. Step 8 was the light bulb moment for me. Since then, I've gone "balls to the walls" with getting green. I had planted my veggie garden and at that point I had made sure to buy organically grown plants simply because they were there, right next to the non-organic ones at the big box store. Why not, right? Anyway, I was on the phone with my very dear friend J and we were talking about gardening. She was telling me about how she was working hard on trying to get rid of the weeds in her grass. Here's a snippet of our conversation...
J - "my sister says if I just let the grass grow longer it will choke out the weeds"
me - "why don't you just call *well known chemical lawn company*, they are actually very affordable"
J - "*well known chemical lawn company?"
me - "yeah, I actually had them come out one year and treat my grass it it looked awesome!"
J - "sorry but I don't want anything to do with anything that's got 'chemicals' and 'lawn' right in the name of the company....I've got a little boy that plays in that yard and I don't want him hosed down with poison."
All these years, it had never even occurred to me that we pay some company that proudly advertises that they spray chemicals on our lawn just to keep out things we think are uglier than the grass around it. At that moment my life changed. Well, not actually at that moment. At that moment I was thinking BOY IS SHE UPTIGHT! But shortly after I got off the phone with her it hit me HOLY SHIT - SHE'S RIGHT!!!
Since then, I've taken many actions to help my family reduce consumption of resources and to stop adding to our already polluted planet. I drove a Hybrid. I didn't buy one yet but I'm working towards it. In the next year I will definitely be downsizing in the car category. I want something that uses less fuel. I bought a Brita water pitcher. I began landscaping my yard organically and cheaply. I signed up for freecycle.org and regularly surf craigslist to find stuff I need for my gardens that other people are looking to get rid of. I grew my own food. I haven't bought a tomato in months and I've even been giving them away to friends. I've done lots of other small things. I have no idea what I'm doing. It's not as if my family taught me this stuff. I'm from the south. My mother just got a brand new deep fryer a few months ago. She fries everything, even fresh veggies. Almost every person in my family smokes - we are not a healthy people. I learn from reading stuff on the internet and watching TV shows designed to teach people like me how to make simple changes for the planet.
I'd say by far the biggest impact on my green-ness has been gardening. Just getting outside did a lot for me. Focusing on growing things is a great way to be more mindful about the planet. I can't really explain way - it's like magic. Digging and planting and sweating has made me be more aware of other people's hard work on their gardens, something I've ignored for the last 39 years. Reading gardening blogs has introduced me to wonderful strangers all over the world who have been so helpful to me which has renewed my faith in the human spirit. Buying bags of dirt this summer really gave me a new perspective on recycling food. I don't want to continue throwing away things that can work magic in my garden and help preserve the planet. This is the reason I've asked for a composter for my birthday.
I'll be turning 40 this Saturday. According to my genetics, my life is at or close to being half over. I'd like to spend the second half trying my best to undo the damage I did to our planet in the first half.
If you are reading this blog or any other blog participating in Blog Action Day, I implore you to pick one thing to work on this year that's good for the planet. Plant some vegetables or make the commitment to buy more local food. Make the choice to buy environmentally safe chemicals to clean with - they are better for your family - need I say more? Discontinue your lawn treatment service and look for ways to maintain it chemical free. Get a rain barrel or start a compost pile. Filter your own water or at least be sure to recycle the plastic water bottles. Any of these small changes will help more than you can imagine. And, they make you feel so good that you'll want to do more - that's what happened to me...
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I had such great luck back in the summer when I asked people to suggest their favorite plant that I thought I'd try it again with front gardens I'm trying to design.
In case you need a reminder, here's where my new front gardens will be. I'm not finished removing the sod but you can see the outline of where the edge of the bed will be. These part shade beds are about 6 feet from the 5-6 feet tall shrubs. Disclaimer: I am aware the shrubs look like freshly groomed poodles. I hate them, too. But they are staying at least until next year, and I vow to never let the landscape guy do that again.
So, here's what I need oh wise gardeners with your beautiful gardens and your exquisite garden designs. Give me your 3 favorite plants that work together height wise and try to work them into the design. I'll either grow them from seed or grab them on clearance over the next couple of weeks.
Tall plant - for the back of the bed near the poodle shrubs
Medium plant - to place in front of the tall plant you just suggested
Short plant - to place in front of the medium one you suggested
Thank you in advance for your suggestions! I appreciate you!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The Azaleas are Northern Lights and although I can't tell what they'll look like if they survive, I did look them up on the net and they seem to be orange-ish. I've been wanting to get azaleas because they remind me of home. I had azaleas at the house I rented from my grandma in Memphis and I never appreciated them. AND, I never took care of them. Man oh man, I thought the soil in my backyard was bad - this stuff was horrible! It was so hard it was like rocks. I did mix in some compost - I sure hope they live. I never noticed that there is not spigot anywhere in the front of my house. Watering should be interesting.
Tomorrow I'll be building the first of the raised veggie beds.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Here's the Tardiva Hydrangea. There is definitely some dead parts on this plant but I'm hoping it can be saved.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Today I popped in my neighborhood landscape/garden center to see if they had any great sales. Most stuff was about 25% off. The old guy who works there said I should go to the back to check out the 10 dollar sale. They had a whole section of shrubs regularly priced around $40 for 10 dollars each. I saw 3 hydrangeas back there and a bunch of other crap that I've never heard of. Limelight, PeeGee and Tardiva only identifiable by their tags all looked pretty dead to me. The old garden center guy assured me that, since they had some new growth, they'd be okay next year. 2 of the 3 were very nice sized plants.
What do you think? Is it worth it to buy 3 mostly dead Hydrangeas for 10 dollars each? I'm thinking of going back tomorrow unless somebody talks me out of it.
Monday, October 1, 2007
I protect you - I nourish you
Hoping you’ll grow strong and stay healthy
I brag about how beautiful you are to all my friends
They know I am biased but when I show them your pictures
They say you are pretty, too.
Maybe they are just being nice
I don’t care
At night I think about what is next for you
I think of how you will grow and change over time and
I get excited.
It’s exactly like they say, hard work, but so worth it
My garden, my love child