Archive for the ‘Growing Flowers – Roses, Perennials & Annuals’ Category
I have a big variety of roses and of course I have favorites. I tend to like the pastel colors rather than the vibrant ones. The Brandy Rose is a beautiful, soft colored rose that is really pretty in all stages. When it’s fully open it is just as gorgeous as in the bud stage.
This morning I was strolling through the garden and just enjoying, when I noticed a bee nestled in one of the roses. I couldn’t rouse him and thought he might have expired. I moved on but came back and he was still there, tucked down in his beautiful bed. I ruffled him a little just to make sure he was really alive and sure enough he was. But he refused to be run off. I left him there, enjoying his rest. Curious creatures, bees.
Our garden is four years old now and I’m familiar with most of the plants in it. I don’t know the names of everything, but I “know” the plant. There was a lily that I had ordered from a catalog and planted that first summer. It came up and grew year after year but it wouldn’t bloom. The stalk was a little spindly and it never would grow very tall, but at least it kept coming up.
This year it not only came up but it came up in a couple of clumps with lots of little lily babies all around it. The stalks are thick and strong and then it began to set buds. I was so excited to see if this lily was going to finally bloom and to see what it would look like.
Not only did it bloom, it is the most beautiful lily I have ever seen. I am so glad that it is multiplying because I wouldn’t mind having this throughout the whole garden. A lily well worth waiting for.
On the other hand…
I think I mentioned earlier that when my Dad passed away I dug up his Lilies, a Heaven On Earth rose, all his Irises and a Honey Crisp Apple tree he had just planted. I planted these things all over the garden, not knowing what colors the Irises and the Lilies would be. There were some beautiful ones, like the deep roses colors but the bright yellows I’m not fond of. I like the “cool” colors of blue, pink, lavender and purple better. One of the Lilies though is white with maroon speckles inside. Not very pretty to my eye, but it sure is healthy and has tons of blooms. I just wish it weren’t in such a public spot, right by the sidewalk. Maybe some passserby will think it’s pretty.
For Mother’s Day our sweet grandchildren usually give me a Lowe’s gift card. Perfect gift for a gardener, right?
I always buy Clematis with those gift cards because then they can see what they gave me and watch them grow more and more beautiful year after year. That’s how I came to put Clematis by the front gate area. I’d never grown Clematis before but I kind of had a little idea that it was a delicate little vine with a few flowers here and there. Oh my, was I ever surprised when beautiful things started to happen. It only took a year before there were plenty of bloom. Yes, the vine is very delicate, which is surprising considering the amount of growth it puts on each year and the abundance of blooms it produces.
We have nice people stop all the time to chat about the garden. When the Clematis are in bloom (a very long time) most comments and compliments are about them.
The peachy Day lilies beneath them set off the pinky lavender of the Clematis really well. Both SO easy to grow.
The Delphiniums seem to get bigger and taller each year. Pretty amazing since all of them came from a little packet of seeds I planted in June four years ago. The first year they barely came up and were so little and spindly. The following year wasn’t much better, just a little taller. Last year though, they just decided to get up and grow and this year they are taller than ever, about 6′. The stalks are much sturdier too. I guess Delphiniums were meant to teach me patience because I sure wasn’t impressed with them at first. Glad I decided to just leave them alone to see what they would do. (Check out the picture to the right, that was the 2012 version. See how much taller and fuller they are this year?)
Now the Hollyhocks on the other hand are not as prolific and showy as they were
in past years. The first year was sketchy because they are biennials, which means they come up the first year and bloom the second year. When they did bloom, it was gorgeous, with big beautiful flowers and lots of lush foliage.
This year, and a little last year, they have many problems. The leaves are covered in rusty looking bumps, the flowers are small and sparse and they are only reaching about 6′ at best, many not even that tall. Since they reseed so freely every year, I don’t want to continue with this crop so soon I’m going to rip them all out and clear out the bed and replant fresh seeds. I think if I can get them to grow a couple of feet that they will bloom next year. We’ll see.
It has been a nice, warm summer so the flowers are thriving this year.
The arbor built over the south gate a couple of years ago has finally been covered in roses this year.
All of the Clematis are finally maturing enough to really begin to put on a show. Most of them are 3 years old, some are 4 years old.
Here are some shots of the garden that include roses, clematis, hollyhocks, catmint, salvia, peonies, irises, feverfew, centranthus, lavender, daylilies, oriental lilies, snapdragons, hostas, dogwood, delphiniums, larkspur and many others. (Click on picture to enlarge)
Several years ago I had found a bare-root Blaze climbing rose on sale for about $3. I didn’t really want a red rose in my mostly pink, blue, purple and white garden, but the price was right so I decided to find a place for it. There is a 10′ section of fence on the outside of our yard along the public sidewalk that gets good morning sun so I thought I’d try it there.
It didn’t do much that first year but the second year it put on quite a show. Nothing like this year though. Since climbing roses bloom on the vertical shoots that come off the horizontal stems, I trained the rose into horizontal planes and secured them to the fence. This spring it sent up so many shoots, all loaded with buds.
When I saw all those buds I knew I would need to feed that rose well. I put a lot of compost around the base of it. Now every time it gets watered, it gets fed. Also the compost helps to hold down the weeds and keep the roots moist. A win, win, win situation. I got our compost from the city landfill, but bags of composted steer or cow manure will work well too.
Too bad this rose doesn’t bloom all summer. It will have it’s glory days now in the late spring and then will have smaller bloom times off and on through the summer.
I like that it fills up a big, blank spot and doesn’t take up much room since it’s attached to the fence so securely. Right now it is a show stopper though.
My Dad was a gardener and had a pretty good collection of beautiful Irises. When he passed away, I dug them up and moved them to my garden. They didn’t do very much that first year (2012) since they were just getting established, but this year they have been spectacular. It has been wonderful having such a variety of color in the garden. I had no idea Irises even came in so many colors.
I also hadn’t realized how heavenly scented they are. Their perfume drifts over the garden all day, but especially in the early morning. Ah, bliss.
Here are some of the many colors abloom in the garden this year.
This doesn’t even include the White, Yellow, Blue and Black ones. Irises are one of my favorite flowers, rating right up there with Roses, Clematis and Peonies. I just wish their beauty lasted all summer.
This is one of those lemons/lemonade things.
For some reason, none of our Asparagus survived this winter. I don’t know if I hadn’t planted them deep enough or if the winter was too bitterly cold, or if there was a disease or fungus or whatever. But no Asparagus.
So…after looking at that empty bed for a few weeks, waiting and waiting, I decided to dig. At first I was digging to see if there was anything happening down below. When I found all of the Asparagus gone (DOA) I decided to really start digging.
I get excited when there is a blank space in the garden because it’s so fun to plan an new garden area and to make it happen. This new space is between a peach tree and the grape arbor. At the back is a 6′ wooden fence and large rocks in the front. A blank canvas.
I wanted something that would grow tall in the back, taller than the fence but not tall enough to shade the grape vines on the arbor. I wanted something in the mid-range in the middle and a little shorter closer to the front. Then much smaller plants in the very front.
On top of all that, I wanted plants that would have a long bloom time and be long lived. In other words, a permanent bed. I don’t like spending a lot of money on annuals that have to be re-planted each and every year.
I chose Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon, Hardy Hibiscus, Althea are other names) for the back. They will grow to about 8-9′ and bloom all Summer and Fall.
In front of the Hibiscus I decided to use Centranthus ruber (Jupiter’s Beard) since it can get to about 4′ easily and blooms from Spring through Fall. A very tough and beautiful plant and so easily grown.
In front of the Centranthus I used Garden Phlox. It too has a long bloom time and is very easy to grow. It will reach about 30″.
For the very front I planted Snapdragons. They aren’t perennials but they have re-seeded freely in my garden so I think I can could on them to re-appear each year.
On each side of this bed is a stand of Hollyhocks which re-seeded a few years ago and I just let them stay.
Now the fun of watching and waiting. It’s one thing to plan it all out and know what each plant is supposed to do, but waiting and watching for the magic to happen is part of the joy of gardening.
Even though we have beautiful, black loamy soil, each Spring we like to add a layer of black mulch.
The mulch we use is produced by our town by composting the leaf and limbs that are taken to the land fill. I think the “black gold” we buy is about 4-5 years old. It is so rich and so it not only keeps the weeds down and the roots cool and moist, but it also adds nutrients back into the soil. It will continue to break down over the year and next year we’ll add another layer. The plants respond very well to it and it makes the garden look much nicer too.
The town I lived in in Tennessee did about the same thing but on a much smaller scale. The mulch there was full of debris and not quite as composted, but at least it was free. All you had to do was drive up and start shoveling it into your truck or trailer. Here, we may have to pay $30 a ton, but they load it for you.
One little hint, don’t ever go right after a good rain. The mulch will be much heavier and much more expensive.
Oh happy day when the Lilacs are finally in bloom. I’ve always loved them and had planted 4 a couple of years ago. They haven’t done much until this year and there are quite a few blossoms to enjoy. They smell so good and seem to last a long time.
In my Dad’s yard were huge Lilacs that bore massive amounts of blooms. I would cut arms full each year to bring home. I realized that in the house a little goes a long way. They have rather heavy perfume. But when the weather is nice and warm (it’s getting there) I can open the windows to get some ventilation. Then I can have them everwhere without driving us out.
This bouquet is for a friend’s birthday, but soon this house will be smelling good!
Even though I love the spring time when the temperatures rise and the inversion lifts and we have unlimited sunshine, I can’t help but dwell on the massive amount of work ahead of me as I began to remove the winter kill as well as the unwanted growth from the flower beds.
I suppose it is because our growing season is so short, things really start growing very fast once they’ve come up. This applies to perennials and weeds alike. But even more than that are the many plants that come up in the wrong place. Take Hollyhocks, for instance. I love them, they are majestic and beautiful and can add so much to a garden with their height and colors, but unfortunately, if not cut back before they throw their seeds, they will re-seed all over the garden.
This applies to many plants, including Feverfew, Foxglove, Purple Cone Flower, Cosmos, Snapdragons and quite a few others.
These pictures show how awful a garden can look in the early spring. There is the dead growth from last fall, the weeds that have wintered over and are thriving and then there is the good plants in the wrong places.
This is an unusual spring in that I am bringing help in to clean up the mess and get the garden off to a “clean” start. I’m so excited. What usually takes me all spring to accomplish (and sometimes half the summer) will all be accomplished in one day. I hope my expectations aren’t too high because I really have a vision of what the garden will look like at the end of day.
I’ll post before and after pictures to show the amazing differences.
After a very cold, snow laden winter and a very chilly, wet spring (since March 21, the official beginning of spring), we finally have some sunny and warmer weather. What a beautiful day it is and even though the yard looks pretty bad still with all the winter debris still lying about, there is beginning to be some growth and even a few flowers.
The fruit trees are in bloom and the tulips are doing their thing, which is being gorgeous.
I look forward to a all that’s coming in the garden, perennials coming back up, blooms beginning to pop everywhere, little tiny fruit beginning to form on the apricot, apple, plum, peach and cherry trees. I guess most of all I look forward to just being in the garden, whether working or relaxing, just being there, instead of shut up in the house.
Speaking of house, this week all the plants that had to winter over inside get to go back out and the house will return to normal. It is kind of nice have them around us when the winter is raging outside, but enough is enough and the house always seems so much larger after they are all returned to their outdoor places. They’ll be happier and we will too.
As I try my best to be patient waiting on the snow to melt so that I can finally get back out in the garden, I realize that there is a lot to do before I get started..
One of the first things to do is to make a list of the things that need to be done, such as clearing away winter debri and checking the plants for damage. Some of the plants (fruit trees and roses) need to be pruned and as buds begun to swell on the fruit trees, it will be time to spray with dormant oil to prevent pests like aphids from getting a start.
Before the perennials come up or annuals are planted, it’s a good time to work on things like pathways and sprinkler heads.
Early spring is a good time to evaluate your garden to see if you might want to make any changes or additions. Trips to plant nurseries can give you a lot of new garden ideas.
Check out lists above (Flowers tab) for some favorite annuals and perennials. Don’t forget to check out the seeds available before they get all picked over and scarce. Planting seeds are a great way to get a lot of flowers (or vegetables) for very little money.
Unfortunately, planning for spring gardening makes me even more impatient to get out there and get started.
I did try Stock last year and absolutely LOVED it. It is so beautiful with its pink, lavender and white flowers, but the most wonderful thing about it was the way it perfumed the air all around it. We had so many comments on how good our deck area smelled and it was all because of the Stock.
See last years post about Stock at: http://wp.me/p1OXDF-20u
The thing about Stock is that it likes cold weather and can’t tolerate heat. So plant very early in the spring. We enjoyed them for a long time, until the summer heat knocked them back. What a nice surprise though when the cool weather of fall came, Stock seedlings began to grow and got almost big enough to bloom again when the first frost came. I planted small plants from a nursery and also planted some seeds to see how they would do. Both did great.
That why I’m hopeful that it re-seeds, and this spring will be especially sweet.
After being inundated with a couple of feet of snow (which has been on the ground now about 2 weeks), and being house bound
because of the ice storm yesterday that left a quarter inch of solid ice on driveways, sidewalks and roads (the interstate was closed, as well as all the runways at the airport) I am SO ready for spring and summer.
It’s times like this that I’m so glad that I’ve taken lots and lots of pictures of our garden so I can, not only enjoy looking at them during the cold days of cabin fever, but to also evaluate the garden to see what’s working and what might need some tweaking.
Here are a few shots of warmer times in our garden.
When looking at our property on Google maps, I found photos of our yard before we bought it 3 years ago. The bird’s eye view is from about 2 years ago. It’s fun to see how it use to be and how it is evolving. It is still a work in progress. Most of the plants are in (there is always room for more) but they will begin to grow and change and the garden will mature and become a more peaceful, relaxing place.
Take lots and lots of pictures. You’ll be glad you did. I wish we had taken more, especially of our lawn being carted off. We rented a sod cutter and cut up the lawn. Then we put out a huge “Free Sod” sign and our lawn was hauled away by many neighbors. They were happy and we were left with a clean slate.
This post is not for the squeamish, so be forewarned.
I’ve done things this past 2 weeks that I never, ever, thought I’d do. Actually it had never even occurred to me to do before.
Since we’ve been having such a beautiful, warm (sort of) and dry spring, I thought that we would escape the plague of the aphids that we suffered through last spring. Not so. Well, they aren’t nearly as bad as they were last year, but they are bad enough, and besides, I have a lot more roses to worry about this year.
My usual tried and true method for combating aphids is to spray them with a mixture of Ivory liquid in water, wait 10-15 minutes and hose them off really well to wash away the soap and the dead aphids.
This year the roses are maturing and setting hundreds of buds. As I worked in the garden I began to notice that some of the buds looked like they were wrapped in brown velvet. Since I was very busy and didn’t really have time to stop and mix my aphid-killer potion, then wait to rinse them off, and I didn’t want the little buggers sucking juice from the rose buds for another day or so, I just reached up (with gloves on) and started squishing the aphids. That was gross and I couldn’t believe I was doing it, but, hey, it really worked…except that the leather gloves I was wearing made it hard to do and I wound up actually pulling off some of the buds.
So, the next step was (you guessed it) to remove the gloves. I did hesitate, for about 3 seconds, and then I reasoned that I could go and scrub my hands and the aphids would be gone in a fraction of the time it would take to do the civilized method.
After doing this a few times, I realized that some were falling off (only to crawl back up later) and I needed to catch them some way. So, since the aphids were always concentrated on the bud and about an inch down the stem, I found that I could grasp lower on the stem with my left hand, keeping the bud over my palm and use my right hand to smash the aphids. I was surprised to find how many dropped off as soon as I took the stem in my left hand. It must be an instinct for their survival, which explains why there are a bazzillion of them.
Now, not only do I have to kill the ones on the bud and stem but also the ones that drop into my palm.
I know that it’s Yucky! I know that it’s Disgusting! But it works. I go on patrol each day to see if any new colonies have been established. I’ve pretty much obliterated them at this point.
The things we will do for our roses.
I was surprised that when I revealed my revolting aphid-control method to other gardeners, I found that they’d been doing it for years.
Yes, the peas (English peas and Sugar Snap peas) are blooming and the lettuce is growing so fast that we can’t eat it nor give it away fast enough. The rest of the garden is growing so fast too.
This is such a different year than last year, when the winter wouldn’t end and everything got such a slow start.
Absolutely loving this spring weather.
Springtime in the garden is magical…at least this spring it is. Last spring was so cold and wet, maybe that’s why I’m appreciating this year so much.
Even though the flowers are just beginning to bloom, there are so many more that are just waking up and setting buds. The saying with perennials…”first year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap“. This is the third year for most of our perennials and I am expecting some leaping.
So much to look forward to in the garden this year.
Gardening is a hobby that is time consuming and can get expensive. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are many ways to have a beautiful garden without spending much money. Shoestring gardening can be done easily, following these simple tips and gardening how-to’s.
Most of my garden was created by shoestring gardening. I grew some perennials and biennials from seeds. All of our Purple Cone Flowers (Echinacea) were grown from one packet of seed, which took a little longer but I sure got a lot of plants for $1.89. The Foxglove (Digitalis) growing all through our garden came from one seed packet. Both of these plants reseed themselves, as do many other beautiful flowers.
Some of the other flowers I’ve grown from seeds are Delphiniums, Zinnias, Cosmos and Hollyhocks.
This is just one way to have plenty of flowers without spending a lot of money.
Growing fresh vegetables from seed is super easy and cheap, cheap, cheap. Check out more ways to garden on a shoestring and have a beautiful, productive garden.