Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brown Gold

It makes me sad, driving about and seeing big brown Home Depot bags along the curb, waiting to be picked up to go to the landfill. I am always tempted to pick them up myself for my compost pile, or as extra winter mulch. My soil is lovely, black and crumbly, from years of using chopped up leaves as winter cover. Looks a whole lot better than that awful dyed red stuff, that so many people pay a fortune for.

I sometimes wonder, would anything sell if you could convince the big stores to carry it? Could an evil gardener start a trend for say, huge plastic blow up figures to disfigure front yards . Oh wait, someone already did that.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Beautiful weather we've been having, warm and sunny. Pansies, violas, Montauk Daisies, blue salvia and coneflowers still going. Russian Sage also, this is my first year with that, and it is a great addition to my garden.

Friday, October 30, 2009

More Halloween


I grew some pumpkins this year, and brought some to my daughter's pumpkin carving party. They were pretty on the vine, but really cool after they were carved.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The October Garden

Many of the flowers, vegetables, and herbs are gone, but not all. It still looks attractive out there, the stone gives it a shape even in winter. I'm trying a shortcut this year, using the dead leaves to create compost right where I want it, in this case the new pumpking patch, and the ongoing side yard/stone wall project. This will save me a lot of hauling. My neighbor dumps his leaves for me, then I'll add the usual vegetable peelings, old fruit, the soil from my many containers. It is all right out in the open, no composting bins. This way, they'll get wet and be easy to turn. By spring planting, it will be nice rich soil.

Monday, October 12, 2009


The first frost will be here any time now, so I am enjoying the last of the annuals. For the first time in years, I am not clearing more garden space. My whole front lawn has now been turned into a garden, a few feet at a time.

The best time to prepare the lawn for the transition to garden is fall. I spray vinegar on the area set aside for change. This is most effective on a warm, sunny day. After a couple of hours in the sun, the vinegar starts killing the grass, with out harming anything else. Then I cover it with news paper, about 6 sheets deep. Next, dead leaves chopped up by a lawn mower, or leaf mulcher. After that, what you do depends on your plans for this particular patch. At my place, some areas are for plants, some are mulched, some have slate walks or patios.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More stone

The downside is when the weeds get to taking over. Then the stone has to be moved out of the way, or I have to spend hours pulling theweeds out, one by one. I usually put down newspaper (several sheets thick), then mulch, then my rocks. But after a year, or two, the newspaper and mulch break down, dirt blows in, and the rocks are just in the way of weed pulling. My project this week is putting down more newspaper, more mulch, and finding the rocks that have sunk into the earth. Messy job, but what beautiful results!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August-More Rain

Well, yesterday was beautiful, so I shouldn't complain. It's a great summer, if you like mosquitoes.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I love slate! Well, I love most stone, but slate is so versatile. And cheap, sometimes even free. It can change the whole look of a garden, as a path, or a low wall, or a patio. Even when found in the woods, it is usually quite flat, so it is ready to use. Sometimes I buy a box, 5 square feet for less than $10 in Home Depot. The pieces sometimes break a bit when walked on, but that makes it look more natural. I set the pieces in mulch, instant patio.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Container gardens

I love my containers, and of course they are movable, so less affected by weather issues. This does not protect my back, whcch is certainly affected by my moving large heavy pots into shelter from the rain, then back out into the sun!
But they are very useful for filling in spots that need some color, or setting up a sitting area for a party. If they don't grow successfully, they can be changed out quickly and cheaply.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I spoke too soon

Once again, the Weather Channel forecasts rain, chance of thunderstorms, chance of severe thunderstorms, and showers, as far ahead as they'll guess. Oh, I mean "predict".
But even a couple of days of partial sun made a big difference, my poor little plants perk right up.
The hibiscus loves the humidity, it is loaded with buds right now, and when the sun does come out the flowers are beautiful. And of course, the weeds are thriving.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The sun is FINALLY shining!

July is almost over, but at least it finally feels like summer. Better late than never. It should make a big difference in the garden, some of my stuff is really not thriving. The vegetables are not too much bigger than they were a month ago, but after just a few days of hot sun, if we have a few days of hot sun, I bet there is a big change. I never tried to grow eggplant before, I hope I get at least a few to eat. The black eyed susans are happy, anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2009

So it has been awhile since I've been on. Strange summer, weatherwise. My zinnias and portulacas have had a hard year, and Im disappointed. So I have been working more with perrenials, so I have dependable color next year.

Tomorrow, I'll put up pictures.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Earth Worms and Compost

It is a little sad, what makes my heart beat faster, this time of year. There is of course a lack of gardening articles available this time of year, but I can always find something. This week I found a hymn of praise for earth worms, I can't remember where. These homely little creatures are a great resource for the soil. They move through, breaking it up, and leaving behind their casings, which are great for the soil and the compost heap. I only started composting last year, so I'm really excited about the black gold waiting for me under the pile of chopped up leaves, vegetable peelings, spent container soil, and anything else I found that seemed appropriate. It all breaks down together, and slowly, over the months, becomes this beautiful, friable black garden soil. A big improvement over the rocky soil that made up most of my yard. I have been slowly improving my dirt for years, with peat moss, chopped up leaves, and other supplements.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Planning ahead

There are so many small practical things to do now, while I can't actually work outside much. There has been snow on the ground for weeks, good for the perennials trying to survive the bitter cold. More plants die from being dried out than being actually frozen, the snow really is a moist protective blanket for them.

So I dig out my notes from last season, and make lists. Lists of plants to buy, like a mandevillea for the deck, I've had no luck with overwintering mandevillea.. Estimates of mulch, river rock, zinnia seeds, estimates that will change a dozen times before actual purchase. But it cheers me up to plan for my spring garden, for my summer annuals, for the new neighborhood herb garden I'm installing in my front yard. The change of seasons, like the phases of the moon, can be counted on.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More about seeds

I love to buy seeds, especially zinnias. I plant hundreds of zinnia seeds every May, they always start to bloom June 30 and July 1, reliably. They come on one at a time, faster and faster like popcorn in the microwave. There is something so summery about bright hot colors in the garden, Cut and Come Again so far are the most reliable, best return.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snow? Again?

It is hard to make plans these days, the weather is always screwing things up. In my job, we are always putting together events, which is maddening in winter.

So, since there is not always much else to do, I am planning my seed purchases, courtesy of my Burpee catalog. I love the way Burpee sends it along every year, a day or two before Christmas. I put it in my room and wait until I have time for it, days later. As I go through it, I want something from every page. Sometimes more than one thing. I (now) know better than to go wild ordering. For one thing, Burpee seeds are cheaper in Home Depot than from their own catalog. For another, seeds are not always easy to grow. Some annuals, like marigolds, are easy. Some perennials are, too, but it is usually faster to get cuttings or self sown plants.

But still, there is hope in just seeing the catalog, along with the extra minute or so of daylight we are gaining. Winter won't last forever, life will get easier again. So thanks, Burpee.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Packing Away the Holidays

The tree is down, most of the ornaments are packed, but I left up a lot of lights. I like lights. And the days are still damn short, even if longer than a week ago. So the little white lights are necessary to keep my spirits up. After all, there are several weeks, at least, before I'll be able to see any new life in the garden. So I'll watch a new DVD (Mamma Mia? Or The Office?) from Christmas, while I box up more stuff. I'll miss it, but Christmas always comes again.