Posts Tagged ‘picket fence’
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.
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.
An unexpected thing I enjoy about our garden is getting to talk to so many people as they pass by, some strolling, some on bikes and many in cars. We live on a corner just off Main Street in our little town of about 40,000 and so it feels like we live in Mayberry, with so many friendly people. Anyway, one day a man walking his dog stopped to talk and was telling me how much he appreciated me putting the names by the plants so passersby could know what they were. I told him I hadn’t thought about the people passing by, I was just trying to remember the names of plants and what was planted where.
I moved out here to the West almost 3 years ago and even though I’d gardened for such a long time in the south (zones 7 & 8), there were so many plants out here (zone 5b/6a and elevation ca.5000′) that I’d never heard of and didn’t recognize. Really, there were very few of the ones I was use to growing that would grow out here. So if you think you have to know a lot to be a gardener, then I’m living proof that you don’t. I started reading a lot, I now have 154 gardening books (I just counted out of curiosity), almost all second hand. I like to be able to look up anything I need to know about. I do use the internet a lot but I get a lot of help from books.
Back to the names on the plants…I use metal wire stakes with a metal plate to write on. They work great for helping me to remember the plant name and to mark the spot where it’s planted so in the spring when I’m looking for places to put new plants I’ll know that place is reserved for something that will be coming up soon.
When I have spaces to fill I like to plant annuals that have plenty of blooms to use and share, like Cosmos and Zinnias, which can grow quite tall if they’re happy. Last year I had a profusion of blooms along the sidewalk outside the picket fence on the South side of our yard (our house faces West) and large areas covered in blooms inside the fence.I try to get everyone to come and cut bouquets from the zinnias and cosmos because it encourages more blooms and it makes people happy.
One afternoon as I was sitting on a little stool weeding by the front sidewalk a little girl, about 8 years old, came riding by on her bike and stopped to talk. She gave me one of my favorite compliments when she said, “Your yard looks like a flower forest.”
How could I not like that?
After a long, cold winter it is so wonderful to see plants coming up and flowers beginning to bloom, all because you thought to plant bulbs in the fall. Spring flowers from bulbs are so easy to grow and if they are happy ( that is - getting everything they need) they will just get better and better each year. So it’s important to plant the right bulbs for your climate. Just do a little research before you get started, so that you’ll know what does best in your area. Get creative and have fun as you plan where to plant the bulbs. In designing your garden, you can think about the colors you’re going to use, like the hot colors of red, yellow and orange or maybe you’d like the cool colors of pinks, purples, lavenders, blues and whites.
When you’ve decided what flowers you want to grow and what color scheme you like, then you’ll need to decide where to plant, and how many plants to fill the area you have. After all that has been figured out it will be time to think about when to plant the bulbs.
The when depends on which hardiness zone you live in. If you don’t know that, click on the “Zone Map” button at the top of the page. It will bring up a map, which you just click on your area to enlarge the map. The bulbs need to be planted 3-4 weeks before it gets cold enough to freeze the ground. The trick is to get them into the ground so that they will have time for their roots to begin to grow before the ground
The problem is that you don’t want to plant them too early because if they have too much time before the ground freezes they’ll have time to send up shoots, which take energy away from the bulb. The bulbs will need all the energy they can get for next spring, when they begin to grow.
So get out the crystal ball and figure out when would be the best time to plant for your area. I think it’s almost that time here in zone 5/6.
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I’d never heard of an Obedient Plant before moving to the west, but they’re kind of fun, especially for kids. The blooms are all around a central stem which is pretty sturdy. The amazing thing is that the blooms can all be moved around the stem and will stay wherever you put them. I’ve studied them and can’t figure out how they have such range. I’m sure that eventually they would weaken and probably break off, but I’ve seen them take a lot of commands and they obey.
Garden structures are an important but pretty much overlooked element of a garden. They give support and background to the growing part of the garden. Some of the most useful and beautiful hardscapes would be things like decks, arbors, stone walls, fencing, paved pathways, steps, trellises, gazebos, or sheds and potting areas. There are so many possibilities but a lot depends on your needs and the space you have available to you.
We have a relatively small yard with less than 1/4 acre but we have a large grape arbor (50′x10′) and a large deck (33′x16′) with a pergola over a portion of it. Having a deck gives you a really good place to have potted trees and flowers. Besides those we have a 6′ privacy fence in the back yard and a picket fence in the front and side yards. There is a rose arbor over one of the entrances in the picket fence and a paved sidewalk all the way around the house as well as winding paths all through the garden. All of these things, besides being so useful, add interest to the yard and make the plants look better.
Ideally, the hardscapes should go in before the garden is planted but that isn’t always possible. The important thing is not to damage or disturb plants too much in putting them in, but it’s never really too late. Plants can be moved if needed (I’ve sure moved a lot of them), if done carefully and at the right time.
This is a good time of year for adding things like arbors and decks because the cost of lumber usually goes down in the autumn and builders aren’t quite so busy and may welcome the business.
These are some of the pictures of the structures in our garden. Even though our yard is small, we made room for them because we thought they would improve our garden.
The mornings and evenings are chilly now and the days so pleasant. It’s been a wonderful summer, just a few hot days, but I am so happy that autumn is almost here. It’s my favorite time of year with all the colors and smells. The grapes are ripe and the apples are getting there. Looks like we will have peaches for quite a while since each tree is ripening in succession. The black walnuts haven’t started to fall yet but I’m not excited for that to happen. We need hardhats to be in the front yard for about 3 weeks when they are coming down. Need any black walnuts?
In case you don’t know, a perennial is a plant that comes back year after year, getting bigger and more beautiful each year. With perennials it’s sleep, creep, leap. They don’t do much the first year but gather strength. The second year they will began to put on more growth and the third year they take off.
The cooler temperatures have me searching the nursery sites and catalogs for some of my favorite plants. If you plant perennials now they will have a head start in the spring because they will have a stronger root system.
Here is a list of some of the plants in our yard and so I can vouch for their beauty and ease of growing. In my yard it’s survival of the fittest so if they don’t do well they kind of drop by the wayside on their own. There are so many more plants than this but these are some of my favorites.
Pulmonaria (Lungwort) (semi-shade)
Centranthus (Jupiter’s Beard)
Campanula – Canterbury Bells
We’re in zone 6 and so this is what we can have in our yard. I use to live in zone 8 where I could have Angel Trumpets, Crape Myrtle, Plumbago,Hibiscus, Citrus Trees, Palm Trees and Gardenias.
I really do miss the Natchez Crape Myrtles. They were so big and graceful… but I couldn’t have peonies there.
Do you have any favorites in this list?
All gardeners don’t have green thumbs.
Here are some tricks to keep any gardener’s thumbs from turning green.
- Plant plants in the wrong place. This is very effective but may take a little longer so if you’re in a hurry, refer to the rest of the list.
- Don’t water it. Now some of you live where you get frequent enough rain that you don’t need to water, at least not EVERY day like me, but plants need their moisture, some more than others. So ignore that plant and soon you’ll have a crispy little brown specimen. Ask me how I know.
- Let the weeds choke it out. Now as I’ve said, we do have bindweed here but there are plenty of accommodating plants that can do the job for you.
- Don’t feed it…all its life. It’s in the ground it’s on it’s own. Let it find it’s own food. Right? Hope you’ve got great soil. Actually, this way could take a while too, so be patient.
- Don’t remove the plant label on the stem. That is a very good way to strangle the plant as it gets bigger and bigger. Plastic doesn’t ‘give’ all that much.
- Spray herbicides nearby. This is really effective on a windy day. Even on a calm day there will probably be drift and the poor plant may not die but will just look dead for the rest of it’s life.
- Let the dog (or cat or kids or grand-kids) wee on it. It may take more than one application, so again, be patient.
- Water it too much. I’ve often heard that this is the major cause of death for houseplants but it can happen outside too, especially if the soil doesn’t drain well, such as soil with high clay content.
- Overfeed it. Nitrogen is powerful stuff and can burn ‘em alive. I found this out putting way too fresh chicken manure on my tender young garden. What a sad sight that garden was.
- Let the kids back over it on their bicycles. Even better, and much quicker, just back over it with your car.
Try any, or all of these tried and true tricks and you’ll never be accused of having a green thumb.
Last year for my birthday (August) I wanted and got tulip and daffodil bulbs. I knew I wouldn’t get to enjoy them for a long time but I’d never planted bulbs before and I wanted to try it. I had so much fun visiting the garden sites and picking out just the right colors and heights. I wanted to mass them in four separate beds, two in the front and two in the back yard. So I waited for the bulbs to arrive and began to prepare the beds. I learned that you can plant them one at a time with one of those tools that look like a can with a handle on the end but since I was planting so many (300 tulips and 50 daffodils) I decided to dig the bed out and then I could place them just right.
Our spring was very late this year, actually we almost didn’t have one. It was almost like winter went right into summer since we got our last snow on Memorial day. But the bulbs were growing and soon leaf tips popped up out of the ground. It was so exciting watching them grow and since they are Darwins they got pretty big before they began to set their buds. I put the one little stand of daffodils outside the picket fence in the front and half the tulips in the back and half in the side yard where I could see them from my kitchen window.
They were covered with huge buds and I couldn’t wait for them to open. I was feeling pretty lucky since there is a herd of deer that lives near us and are notorious foragers in late spring, especially after such a severe winter. The deer eat the leaves as soon as they break the ground and keep them mowed down pretty well after that. Most of my friends had lost most of their tulips already but here were my big giant buds ready to open. Every morning I would check to see if they’d opened yet.
Then it happened to MY tulips. All of the leaves and stems were intact but there weren’t any buds left. I ran to check the ones in the back yard and since the back yard is surrounded by a 6′ privacy fence I guess they decided to pass on those. One of my friends who had lost all of hers early on had a gorgeous stand of tulips. After cropping hers a few times they left them alone to grow.
But on the bright side, the plants didn’t have to produce blooms this year and so I theorize that next year the show should
As most of you probably know, I didn’t, that deer won’t touch daffodils and you’re supposed to inter-plant them. Who knew.
Anyway, here are some pictures of my surviving tulips. They were so beautiful for such a long time so Happy Birthday to me.
By the way, it’s about time to put more bulbs in. I’m hooked on these beauties.