Thursday, April 10, 2008

Random Rainy Day Dreaming

Oh boy it's raining here. Hard, steady, wet, wet rainfall hasn't ceased since we woke up and opened the curtains. The skies are dark, and the lights are on midday. Very rare. So, I'm obviously stuck indoors all day. Weather has never kept this gardener from 'gardening.' I pulled out my garden guide, a huge three ring binder filled with all my labels and notes, article clippings, etc. I also rounded up my magazines and set to work on some ideas while the boys are napping. Here's what my binder looks like:
While I was looking at the binder I found this picture I was telling my mom about the other day. My mom is lucky owner of one of these red mandevilla, and she just picked up sweet potato vine 'margueritte' recently, too. I suggested she combine them for this effect:
Isn't that stunning?
Twig Art
So I have an obessesion with vines and climbers. I have too many, actually. Jasmines, passion vines, a dozen clematis, trumpet vines, virginia creeper, climbing roses, and I do annual vines like morning glory, hyacinth bean, and more. I also have a hardy addiction to structures in the garden that can provide height for my ever growing collection of vines. This spring I am poised to put 3 more clematis in the ground, and a couple more climbing roses, too. I need more supports.
I have been fantasizing about this structure ever since I saw in the spring 2008 Country Almanac Flower Gardening. This was my first gardening magazine this season, and it's already falling apart I've flipped the pages so many times. Isn't this dreamy? But expensive, I'm sure.
We have plans to put in some pavers to create a patio similar to one pictured above beneath our table later this spring. I wish I could somehow build something like this structure around it. Heck, I wish I had the white picket fence in the background, too. LOL. I use the resources I have. Mostly, twigs, to build what I can. I don't have enough twigs to build such a large arbor, but I do have a small stack of willow branches out back waiting to be turned into something. If I can't get in the dirt too much, I can pull these twigs into the kitchen and make a big mess trying to build one of these. This weekend is going to be too chilly and wet for outdoor gardening, so maybe I'll make garden art. I'll let you know what I come up with. The trellisses look easy enough. And the big house shaped arbor could be shrunk to a kid size, and I could put their bench under it? Ideas, ideas...

Peony Dilema
We have two pretty cool nights forecasted, but then I think I'll be in the clear to start putting in some perennials, bare-root roses, lilies, and hostas in the ground. Monday looks to bring promising gardening weather with 50 and sunny forecasted. I know the following weekend should be golden. My May 1st I'll have the tender stuff in the ground, unless some madness shows up in the forecast.
So, the boxed/bagged plants at the all the big box stores have seduced me. You know the ones I'm talking about... the cheap, brightly colored boxes with the huge pictures of summertime goodness on them and the occasional stray new growth spilling out of the top of the box? I don't buy into the quality of the plants being any less at any one store. If you're good in the garden, and your research, you can keep a plant alive no matter where you've found it. Plus, I am on a pretty strict budget, coming from a virtually single income (his income, not mine) household, I have to make choices about what I spend our spare change on. I always want more peonies, but around here a peony in a pot starts over $20 a piece, putting them far out of my reach.
Last spring I went to several area public gardens during peony time and fell in love. This year I decided the boxed/bagged peonies will just have to do. Essentially I'm paying less b/c there is no pot or dirt coming with the plant... right now I have several peonies growing in recycled pots in my dining room (recycled as in from past trips to the nursery). I also have a red Karl Rosenfeld I'll be dividing next week. I have been sketching and visualizing where to put these gems:
First, I have to decide if I want to spread them out, or clump them side by side.
I found this image of some similar peonies put in a bed together and I like the look:

On the other hand, peonies bloom so bright and big, long before a lot of the more colorful things in my garden start their show. I think having a peony here and there around the garden could create some color and drama in places otherwise lacking that time of the season. I think I may mix the peonies with roses in the front bed I created last fall. I read somewhere that peonies complete their bloom just as spring roses begin, so good things could come from this combo. We'll see what I decide. Sigh.
Sedum Wall Art
I love how I can tuck tiny sedum into any crevice and watch it thrive without water or even substanial dirt. Last year I put some hens and chicks in an old enamelware pot and hung it under a trellis on my back lot. Done. Instant cuteness. I kept it in my kitchen window over winter and it's ready to move back outside this spring. This year, I've expanded the sedums in my collection, and have been dividing them in the house throughout the winter just waiting for my next idea. Well, it came this week. I found this thing at an antique mall, and I've already begun filling it with a variety of sedum.
I have not decided where to put it yet, but the sedum are waiting in the window for the temps to go up.
Quick Rose Note
And, hey mom, here's the Eden rose I've been pushing you to buy for your garden. I see it everywhere I look in books and magazines, if only I could grow it here.
Stay dry everyone. Happy gardening.

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