Showing posts from August, 2008

Classic Garden Plants – Morning Glory

We have morning glories in the garden because we both love them. They bring back memories of childhood gardens and simpler times. I’m also particularly fond of blue flowers. I’m not sure why my vines are so puny – not at all like the prolific ones I’ve seen in other people’s gardens that cover everything in sight. But the mix of Glacier Moon’s sky blue and baby blue 4-inch flowers more than makes up for that. The plants are covered with buds that open in sequence, so our attention is focused on each huge individual saucer for its one day in the sun. Dan has to make a trip home at lunch time to see the flowers, which are never fully opened before he leaves for work, and always finished by four o-clock. Morning glories are easy to grow from seed (my seed was three years old and all germinated). I didn’t soak them, or notch them, just tossed them into growing medium, kept them warm and moist and seven days later, voila! Morning glory’s easygoing ways make it a natural for any

Eyesores in the Garden

The pleasant view across my front yard lavender garden comes to an abrupt halt at an ugly utilitarian object --- a 300 gallon horizontal propane tank. The only comfort I can take is that, since I painted it brown, it is somewhat less ugly than its original puice, the reason we still refer to it as “the yellow submarine.” This hideous blot on the otherwise pleasing view supplies us with gas to cook our food and keeps us snug and warm in the winter. It was originally placed to one side of the front yard because our north-facing driveway is treacherous in winter and difficult for the delivery truck to negotiate. It could not be moved back any further because of trees and a precipitous ledge behind it. The trees were taken down, but the ledge remains. Its location right outside the window is a constant irritant and it continues to be the one functional object for which we have not found a landscaping solution. Last summer, we looked into leveling off the ground in order to move th

Garden Decorating on a Budget

Inexpensive decorating fun for gardeners can be as simple as running over to the closest Pier 1 and getting a pair of these candle lanterns at less than $5 each. Not the right color? A can of spray paint will fix that. You never know what useful or pretty things you may come across in an import store that can be used in the garden.: Boxes, baskets, and affordable glass hurricane lamps that can be used with candles to light a path, or filled with fruit or flowers to create a centerpiece for an outdoor table. Huge floor pillows and a variety of throw pillows, great for rejuvenating your porch furniture or adding a smidge of luxury, are all being offered during August clearance sales. Check out the bed and bath stores for dorm specials on items like budget-priced throw rugs that can be used on the porch, and end-of-season specials on shatter-proof dishware, outdoor candles, napkins and placemats, etc. Dollar stores are also a good source for paper and party goods. Odd-lot and

Pinky Winky™ Hydrangea

Last year, I received four small Pinky Winky™ field trial plants about 8-inches tall; two in the spring and two in the fall. I planted the spring arrivals in part sun and their fall counterparts in shade (I may have to move these, but want to see how they do). All are doing quite well, with the spring babies having grown to about four feet and full of flowers. Those planted in the fall are about half that size; no flowers yet. So far, these have been carefree, easy to grow, and quick to flower. I gave them the same dose of organic fertilizer all of my other shrubs get. No bugs, no diseases. If you like paniculata-style hydrangeas, Pinky Winky™ will make a nice addition to your garden. The red stems contrast nicely with the leaves and are strong enough to hold the flowers upright. It takes a little while for the 12 –16-inch white blooms to fully emerge (upper photo) , so if you’re like me, you may spend a lot of time hovering over them, watching to see what they’re doing. Onc

Shrub Sales

Be on the alert for super shrub sales right now. Last week we scooped up 12 Boursault Rhododendrons, six un-named deciduous azaleas, and two Delaware Valley White azaleas (iffy in our garden) --- for less than $400. The sign said 50% off, but I’m sure it was a lot more than that. What’s the big deal, you ask? Well the rhodies are more than three feet across and about three feet tall with trunks more than two inches thick; the azaleas, only slightly smaller. The local nursery owner said he just wanted to move them out of inventory. Another local nursery just ran an ad offering 50% off all shrubs, we went over there this weekend and got two wonderful Japanese Andomeda and a huge Viburnam mariesii for 40 bucks. Timing is everything, of course. I spent last Saturday depressed after a morning of flipping through my extensive collection of shade gardening books looking for ideas and inspiration. Nothing. Then it hit me --- a wall of rhodies against the deer fence, fronted by azaleas,