Monday, May 31, 2010


So many of my clematis are blooming right now, it is my favorite part of the year!

More pictures to come soon!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spring Flush

All I can do now is sit back and enjoy all my years of hard work. Ha! Like I ever sit still in the garden.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Winter Sowing Works!

Come February I am usually itching to get some seeds planted. Realistically, under the grow lights indoors the only seeds I can get away with planting are pansies. I could sprinkle some penstemon and poppy seeds in the garden beds, if I can find the beds under the snow. Nope, February you can usually find me in my garden books, or online, planning and dying with anticipation for the upcoming season.

This year I came across the idea of winter sowing. Using Google, I was able to find several images, instructions, and suggestions, and I ran with it. I saved milk cartons for a few weeks, and found a list of easy winter sown seeds in my zone 4/5 garden.

So excited was I to be to be out buying dirt, seeds, and duct tape! I came home with penstemon, acquilegia, delphinium, perennial alyssum, and more. I followed directions, cutting the milk cartons in half, adding dirt, seeds, and taping em' shut. Labeling with permanent marker. Setting them out in the snow, and religiously checking them as often as possible. lol.

I noticed several seedlings in April. As my usual spring garden filled in I moved the cartons behind some shrubs, and still notoriously checked them for moisture as the temperatures rose unseasonably high at times.

This week, I waited for a cool cloudy day and cracked open the poppy container and transplanted the seedlings into the garden. (When I started this container in February I had 3-4 Himalayan Blue Poppy seeds left, and some Lauren's Grape Poppy, so I mixed them in one). I obviously got some great germination rates!

I am fairly certain the rare Himalayan Blue even germinated! Under all this obvious Lauren's Grape foliage there were 3-4 little seedlings with different leaves. I am monitering the seedlings in the garden, and when/if they bloom, I'll be sure to share!

I have plans to transplant the penstemon, acquilegia, and delphinium seeds from the other containers this week, too.

Highly suggest you try winter sowing, it is so much fun!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spring in Full Swing

The plants are definately following directions around here:

We have had several warm and sunny days in a row, and everything in the garden has responded swimmingly. I could spend all day watching things grow! I walk around checking on the unfurling petals of clematis, popping popppies, and the slowly awakening rose buds. I should have my first rose of the season opening in the next day or two, which is about 2 weeks ahead of normal time. I don't need to tell you I walk around the yard 8 times a day checking on the most promising champions. Right now, the race for 1st place is between 'Mary' and 'Sunny Knockout,' with a shy old unknown pink rose I was gifted making a run for 3rd.
Because I don't have enough to do, Ha!, I have begged and pleaded with my husband to remove the old yew shrubs growing around a 1/2 of the foundation of our home. He's agreed to use portions of Memorial Day weekend to hack the things out. Each one is the size of a 6-seater circular table approximately. Overwhelmed and nervous about the task as the results. I have borrowed a couple books from the library to help me visualize what to do with the new space, including Messervy's Home Outside, Keil's Fabulous Flowerbeds, Primeau's Front Yard Gardens, and McHoy's Planning Your Garden. Not to mention the stack of 25 of my favorite gardening magazines, and my garden drawing journal. I have plans to move several crowded plants into the new spaces, as well as divisions from several existing plants, and a few wish list plants I hope to find gradually throughout the season when money becomes available (including 'Hot Papaya' Echinacea, 'Autumn Moon' Japanese Maple, and a couple roses). I also think I will keep one or two yews, only drastically pruned back. My brain hurts from all this planning!
Meanwhile, clove scented dianthus pop above Lamb's Ear foliage. 'Empress of India' nasturium are coming up in this region also. 3 different shades of blue foliage has me all excited!

The shady edge of the back border is glowing with hostas!

Yummy radishes to harvest!

I made a few twig trellises for some of the taller clematis; this one is possibly 'Viola,' with abundant nodding flowers. I know the height will make the blooms easier to view. So excited!

'Elsa Spath' is already at peak bloom.
And the always early, 'Pink Champagne' is wonderful right now!

A few weeks ago I did find 'Sexy Rexy' rose at Kmart for $10.99! I had an old Kmart merchandise return card I used to pay for it. These blooms looks awesome above the foliage of 'Citronelle' heuchera. This doesn't count as the first rose of the season, though! No new guys allowed in the race.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Spring Delights

I'm trapped in the house today, as much needed pouring rain pounds down upon the garden. Yesterday I planted all of our peppers. This is going to be a BIG year for peppers in our garden. My husband's longing for the hottest, spiciest peppers money can buy. I was lucky enough to track down a ghost pepper plant, among some other really hot wonders. On the other hand, I'm looking for sweet Italian heirloom peppers for tomato sandwiches and fajitas. I've found some wonderful sorts so far, but am anxious to attend my local Rotary Gardens spring plant sale to get some more variety! I will do a whole post on the pepper crop coming soon.

Today, I'm resting my back and starring at garden books. I'm trying to decide two important garden tasks. Where should I put the 'Disneyland' rose I acquired this weekend? And what should I do with a mass of garden pinks that looks silly towards the back of the border b/c they're short, but even weirder at the front b/c the foliage matches the grass so closely... I am torn because moving the pinks now will stunt their upcoming bloom, but I can't stand looking at them like they are much longer.

Meanwhile here's what looks great in the garden right now.
Heuchera 'Lime Rickey' glows in the shade beside a red astible.

On other end of the same bed a young golden leaved bleeding heart is preparing to bloom.

In the back border golden alyssum pops beside penstemon 'mystica' foliage.

The alliums are all blooming right now. Some of my favorite blooms all year. I even had a woman stop and ask about them yesterday. (I sent her home with some centaura montana, which she also admired). I love the look on people's faces when I tell them they are ornamental onions!

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend.

This weekend we celebrated Mother's Day at the Milwaukee Zoo. I caught a whiff of 'Wedgewod Blue' lilac in the butterfly garden.

Saturday we drove out to one of my favorite perennial farms, Northwind. In between rain showers, I roamed and took a few pictures. I always love this arbor!
So scenic.

Love the hen house.

Close-up of a container I love. I have a few of these in my garden, and this makes me wish I had paired them together.

The pond. So beautiful.
I did come home with a couple treasures (15% off for Mother's Day, too!).
This burnet:

And this Geum, 'Mango Lassi.'

Paired in the above picture with euphorbia, yummy!
Happy Gardening!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A few garden delights from this week.
New growth on Tolleymore Spruce. These neat little pines never grow taller than 8 feet. I love how this one looks as a backdrop to my roses. As it gets bigger, I'm sure it will only get better.
New growth on 'Tiger Eyes' Sumac. I could not afford a huge one of these, so the tiny one I got 40% off at Farm and Fleet is really exciting for me. I also inherited two babies from my aunt and uncle this spring. Love these!

Camassia in front of glowing Spirea.

This little bird friend lives on a birdhouse on my front fence. I think it is a black capped chickadee.

Ranunculus are quickly becoming one of my favorite things.

Happy Gardening!