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I totally missed last #GBBD, and I was going to skip this month as well, but I’ll just share one pic.

early mums

I’ve noticed signs of fall popping up more and more often. Yellow leaves on the ground, and mums that I stopped pinching back too early already working on blooming (oops). And I actually find myself wishing for fall. It’s been such a hot and miserable summer (we’ve been in a drought for most of it, then we’ll drown in rain for a few days, then back to drought), that I’ve already given up on all of my hanging baskets and most of my annuals. They just look terrible. Thankfully I put a soaker hose in my new raised beds, otherwise they’d be in the same sad state. Things are blooming – rudbeckia, helenium, and gaillardia mostly. But nothing looks great.

This year’s gardening lesson learned? I get way too much sun to use coconut coir baskets. In fact, I may give up on hanging baskets almost entirely next year. If I was home and could water them 2x a day, it would be one thing. But I’m not and I can’t. The baskets I was excited about in the front of the house look the best, but they still look nothing like I’d hoped they would in my head. I am considering buying some hang-a-pot hangers and just doing larger terra cotta pots on the deck posts. I want to see how they work anyway, since I’m looking for an inconspicuous way to hang some small flower pots on the sides of my kitchen cabinets by the sink/window, so I can overwinter some herbs.

Also, next year I’m going to forgo small pots outdoors for the same reason. I just get too much sun, and they take too much to keep up on the watering. Those pots will be for indoors only (…if only I had the room to use them all indoors!). Luckily, it’s good timing to buy large pots at good prices. A local nursery here has all of their large glazed pots at 50-75% off right now, and I got a large, cobalt blue one last week: originally $69.99, I got it for $12. I should have also bought a large white one they had, but I resisted because it had a crack and was a bit more expensive. I think I’m going to go back next week once the bills are paid though, and see what else I can find.

I was thinking about getting some of those small pyramid-shaped trellises for the front of the house, since I may not use the hanging baskets. I was planning on planting some annual vines on them – cypress vine, black-eyed susan vine, etc. I have a height issue that I was using the shepherd’s hooks to correct. Underneath each of the hooks is a euonymous that will EVENTUALLY give some height to the area. But not for a while. As it gets bigger I’ll relocate the daylilies surrounding it. I had planned on scoring some of the trellises from JoAnne’s Fabrics. This time of year they always have their gardening stuff 70% off, and you can get some great deals on trellises and pots. Unfortunately when I went yesterday, I saw I’d missed my chance. There was almost nothing left. Oh well. So what do you think? If I can find them, would that look nice?

house - August 2010

Also, an official Bloom Day announcement! I finally bit the bullet and purchased my domain name. I’ll be working in the coming weeks (months?) in my spare time on launching this blog on self-hosted WordPress, with a brand-spanking new theme and I’ve customized myself (can anyone suggest a good, basic, 3-column WordPress theme? Having a hell of a time finding one!). I’ve already set up to redirect to here, so if you’d like, you can update your bookmarks now. You may see less frequent posting here until I get the new blog up and running.

Happy bloom day, everyone!




[hint: search my blog for ‘mystery curcubit’ for more info on this saga.]



(click for superbig)
side garden

(ignore the weeds – we’ve had no rain and haven’t cut the grass in weeks!)

We’re on our way to Hatteras Island, NC as this Bloom Day is posting. I snapped a few pics today (Friday) before packing up and future posted this for bloom day. Just a taste of what’s blooming in the garden. I didn’t get any shots of the bean blooms or lots of other things. And my camera is still doing the weird thing where it flips the image the wrong way, so these aren’t as great as I want them to be. Might be time for a new camera 😦

sweet potato vine flowers

radishes! I took these with us for vacation salads and grilling.

Is it too late to sow more? I actually temporarily put some tomatoes in where these were anyway, as they needed to be in the ground while we're away.


coreopsis that needs to be moved. Going to rearrange the triangle garden when I get back. Got 2 of these on clearance last year!

overwintered dianthus aka pinks

dianthus aka carnations

ice plant. Looks like it should be on Mars!

peony and dutch? or japanese? iris. Both done blooming now, but brightened my desk at work all week.

Here they are! We’ll have to compare this to how they look as they fill out. I tried something new this year: I always line the bottoms of my pots with some old landscaping fabric to help keep soil and moisture in. This year I also lined the terra cotta pots (since they dry out faster) with an old plastic bag with holes cut in the bottom. I tucked down the sides so it’s hidden. Hopefully it’ll help retain moisture. We’ll see! I am also trying to be more like my mom (I always like her pots) and just toss some stuff in there. Lots of different kinds. We shall see.

I have 2 of these hanging baskets in the front. I totally didn’t match the sweet potato vine to the euonymus underneath (that is finally starting to look like an actual shrub) – but let’s just say that I did, because it worked out pretty darned well.


thrill: red geranium, spill: potato vine, fill: alyssum

I got this very large terra cotta pot on sale for SEVEN DOLLARS (!!) at the end of last year because it has a chip in it. It’s on my front stoop. I might get some sort of tall grass for more “thrill” since it is such a tall pot, but I think it will be nice as-is, too.

front stoop

thrill: red geraniums and daisies and marigolds, spill: bakopa, fill: derby

On the corners of my raised beds are nice little spots for small pots. While most are edibles herbs, strawberries, etc), 2 of them are flowers.

raised pot 1

daisies and derby

daisies and alyssum

Here’s the lime tree I ordered from Springhill Nursery (they forgot to send the pot and soil at first, but they resent it and I got it last week) and the hibiscus I overwintered this year (which hopefully will start filling out again – it IS making new leaves, so I think it’s OK. I also gave it a bigger pot.). They don’t live here for good, but I’d just potted them up and snapped a pic. I had some random stones from the Dollar Tree, so I decide to toss those in the pots as mulch. (Also, in the background, please note my ingenious use of an old shoe storage thing to store gardening tools. Works GREAT. Plus the windows we saved to make a cold frame for 2 beds this winter.

lime, hibiscus

Lime and Hibsbus

And here are a bunch more random pots. In the yellow pot is a red strawflower. I love that plant because the blooms last forever and can be dried. The pansies are still doing OK on the bottom, some hens and chicks, catnip and lemon balm, and the bonsai azalea hubby got me for my bday a few years ago. And a strawberry pot ($9 from The Christmas Tree Store – an amazing deal! And thankfully, no xmas trees at the store) that I dumped a whole crapload of different kinds of basil seeds in.



This one is in the triangle garden.


thrill: daisies, spill: diamond frost, fill: marigolds

And a simple pot of red geraniums…ok PELAGORIUMS (which later, I added some rocks to). My mom has ALWAYS had red geraniums on the deck as long as I can remember, so it’s a requirement. In fact, I once won the SMECO (local electric co-op where my dad worked) photo contest. My parents entered a pic of me as a naked baby looking at a geranium. Let’s not share that on the internets. 🙂


Red Geraniums

I seem to be missing a pic of a pot on a stand over by the rain barrel. Dusty miller (some of what overwintered), marigolds, diamond frost, and a geranium in that one, I think.

I’ll add a few more I’m sure, but that should be most of the pots for the summer. What do you think?

I really love the idea of an Ups-a-Daisy – less soil, more blooms. Great, of course! And I know a lot of garden bloggers are big fans. But I knew there had to be an easy way to do something similar on my own for cheaper. I mean basically, you insert a disc that doesn’t go all the way down in a pot so you don’t have to fill it as far with dirt.

Then I remembered the big stack of saucers I have that came with various cheap plastic planters. Perfect! I have them in a variety of sizes, so I had to experiment a bit. But I used this getup in 2 pots. I found one that went about halfway to 3/4 of the way down, then drilled a bunch of drainage holes in it. I put landscaping fabric in the bottom (always use that to keep dirt from falling out of the drainage holes of pots), then filled with dirt and flowers. Voila! Super easy and free since I used stuff I already had.

upsadaisy knockoff

I used it on this super-big terra cotta pot that I got at a discount last year because it’s chipped. The pic is deceiving – the pot is probably a foot and a half tall or so, so that saved me a LOT of dirt! I also used it on a couple smaller, but still big, pots. So we’ll see how it works out, I guess! Let me know if you give this a try. Don’t see why it wouldn’t work if the Ups-a-Daisies do!

BIG flowerpot

Herb AlmanacMAY 8: This is the day for the Floral Dance and Robin Hood May Games. Morris Dancing is often done on this day. These were men who danced the Maid Marian dance with a hobby horse, twenty scarves, and a Fool of May. The origins of the Morris dances are Spanish and the name comes from “Moorish.” Maid Marian or the Queen of May was sometimes also called Malykn or May Marian and she always carried a nosegay of flowers and sweet herbs. She wore a golden crown, and red gilliflowers (carnations) were her emblem of summer.

I am currently blogging from my deck (and future-posting to Monday morning) – which would be a lot more peaceful if my neighbor wasn’t doing some sort of work on his car that requires a lot of engine revving. Ugh. Anyway – I skipped dance tonight because I just wasn’t feeling it and figured I’d make a nice dinner for the hubs. Which of course means that he is getting home late tonight. Dear readers, do not take your local deputies for granted! Anyway…so I will blog to you all while the carrots wait and the cornbread mix is stuck in the fridge.

The raised beds are all planted! There are a few pepper plants I’m waiting on that my mom kindly got me today to replace the ones lost in the Great Plant Fry of 2010. Luckily, yesterday my mom called and said that my Uncle Wally had dropped off some tomatoes, and she brought me a few plants. I bought my uncle (who is also my godfather) a couple packets of heirloom tomato seeds with his xmas present because he’s a farmer (literally – he made his living as a tobacco farmer for many, many years. Now he’s retired but he and a friend grow a bunch of stuff each year for themselves and the local produce auctions. His sweet potatoes are outstanding.) So he totally saved the day! One of the varieties is Black from Tula (they may all be that, or some may be cherry lemon – they’re unmarked) – one of the varieties I also bought for myself that I was very upset at losing (a couple very questionable ones survived.


It was windy. And yes, I use the stupid popcorns as container mulch sometimes.

So I will eventually either pot those up or plant them in place of some of the cooler season crops (peas, broccoli, radishes, etc). Annoyed that the pic is blurry. My camera is doing weird things lately, and it had set this as a vertical pic, so when I flip it the focus is off.

Here are the raised beds, all planted up!

bed 1

Bed #1

Bed #1: Speckled roman tomato (mine from seed), early girl tomato (Amish), 2x better boy tomato (local greenhouse), 2x sungold tomato (mine from seed). Also some marigolds (the single flower kind – might add some more) and 2 pots of mint on the edges. And a box of perennials I divided that I am giving away/trading. I love those triangle tomato cages. They look neat, are sturdier that the standard ones, and fold flat for storage. I will eventually add a big fat bamboo stalk (free from friends) for extra support.

bed 2

Bed #2

Bed #2: 2x Peachy mama peppers (mine from seed saved from CSA), sweet cherry pepper (Lowe’s), awaiting cayenne, jalapeno, and habanero peppers my mom got me from a local greenhouse to replace the ones I fried, one half row of danvers half long carrots and one and a half rows of tonda di parigi carrots – which I think are finally showing a little progress? And to the right, radishes and beets. In the pots are Salvia (finally found it at Lowe’s!!) and strawberries.

bed 3

Bed #3

Bed #3: Peas! Peas might just be my most favorite veggie, so I’m excited about these. Little Marvel and I don’t remember the name of the other kind. Note: The ones I advance started by 2 weeks are the same size as the ones I direct sowed. Just direct sow peas! I have turned over tomato cages and bent the ends together, then pinned them down into the dirt with landscaping ties for the peas to grow on. Doesn’t look half bad, I think. Then long island improved brussels sprouts and some kind of broccoli – winter sowed both of those. Then 2 rows of various kinds of beans: golden wax, dragon tongue, maxibel bush, etc. Flanked by 2 decorative pots – daises and derby and daisies and alyssum.

bed 4

Bed #4

Bed #4: Luffa, lemon cucumber, spacemaster cucumber, mesclun mix, lavewa spinach, one purple orach spinach, and black seeded simpson lettuce. I still have to add some twine or something to the bamboo for the stuff to climb on. I’ll probably also get some marigolds or something to add some color to this bed. In front are 2 azaleas in pots (just getting ready to bloom), some sweet peas slowly growing, and 2 giant pots of oregano that I want to divide and plant in smaller pots (it’s taking up a good tomato-sized pot!). Plus some lovely black plastic to hopefully kill some weeds so we can fill in that spot with more driveway rocks. Over on the left are some assorted trees from the Arbor Day foundation (my mom got them for me – leaving them in pots until they get bigger) a small pot of cilantro (which I don’t like, but I grew it last year and it came back) and a pot the size of the large oregano pot with danvers half long carrots (seem to be doing well – better than the direct-sowed ones at this point). This last bed butts up against the side garden, which is the garden that extends down after the right side of the…

old garden

...Old Veggie Garden

And last but not least, the old veggie garden! (Wow, I need to weed the driveway over there!). The evergreen rosemary and perennial sage are still there (the lemon verbena kicked the bucket). From the right I have sowed seeds for dill (in the back), lemon basil, lime basil, cinnamon basil, sweet basil. Then I have the mystery “came with the compost” squash? or zucchini? or cucumber?, one lemon cucumber (from seed), 3 okras (Lowe’s) and one zucchini (Lowe’s). Also a bunch of marigolds that either self-seeded from mine last year or came with the compost. I’m letting most of them be and will see what happens (there are lots in the raise beds, too). Over on the right, some strawberries.

No Herbal Almanac today, since I’m outside. So….what does your veggie garden look like right now?

blue weeds

I posted a list of all my seeds a bit ago here – but below is an updated list. Lord – I do NOT have space for all of these plants! (I think I’m done buying…I really should be…) I’ll be sharing and giving away a lot, so I’m willing to trade or share some via internet as well! Just drop me a line via comment or twitter!

Also, I already gave them a shout-out on Twitter, but a big THANKS to Botanical Interests Seeds! I ordered some stuff last night and realized I had forgotten to add Lime Basil, which I *really* wanted to try. I didn’t want to just order that separately and have to pay for shipping again, though. I contacted them and they had no problem holding my first order so they could be combined. Great people! …and so of course when I just went back to order ONLY the lime basil, I also got carrots, loofah (didn’t realize they had it and had wanted it), and lovage. oops!

– Spinach – Lavewa (supposedly slow to bolt) – Botanical Interests
– Basil – Mrs. Burns Lemon – Burpee’s Heirlooms
– Mesculun Salad Mix – Burpee
– Cinnamon Basil – Lake Valley Seed
– Broccoli – Di Cicco – Botanical Interests
– Shelling Pea – Wando (supposedly deals w/ some heat) – Botanical Interests
– Brussels Sprout – Long Island Improved – Botanical Interests
– Basil – Lime organic – Botanical Interests
– Lovage – organic – Botanical Interests
– Carrot – Tonda di Parigi – Botanical Interests
– Cucumber – spacemaster – Botanical Interests
– Gourd – Luffa – Botanical Interests
– Tomato – Cherry Rainbow Mix – Botanical Interests
– Tomato – Pole Speckled Roman (paste) organic – Botanical Interests
– Cypress Vine blend (my Granny grew this and I’ve had no luck with transplants from my mom, so I’ll give seeds a try) – Botanical Interests
– Zinnia – cut and come again – Botanical Interests
– Tomato – Heirloom Black from Tula – Seed Savers’ Exchange

Plus all these leftover seeds from last season…
– Gaillardia Aristata – Blanketflower – Ferry-Morse
– Nasturtium – jewel mix – Ferry-Morse
Campbell’s Tomato
– Detroit Dark Red beets – Page Seed
– zinnia – giant cactus flower mix – Burpee
– Royal Burgundy beans – Livingston Seed
– sweet pea – galaxy mix – Burpee Signature
– radish – Early Scarlet Globe – Page Seed
– Basil – sweet – Ferry-Morse
– Parsley – flat leaf Italian – Ferry-Morse
– Cilantro – Ferry-Morse
– Basil – opal (purple) – Livingston Seed
– giant cosmos – orange – saved by me (Burpee?)
Peachy Mama peppers (sweet, small peppers) – saved from CSA peppers

There MUST be something in there you want! I plan on just buying starts from the Amish otherwise, but I’d be willing to trade for hot pepper seeds – anything that goes in salsa. Also looking for Black Russian tomatoes, large slicing orange or yellow heirloom tomatoes, and fun herbs. Flowers are also always good – anything as long as it’s not invasive in Maryland. Or anything else you think I’d like! Just ask – good lord that is a LOT of stuff when it’s all in one list. eek!!! Help a girl out and lets “spread the seed” (yes, I know that sounds dirty).

And now, welcome to the Herbal Almanac portion of the post. I’m going to start adding some comments in brackets if I feel the need.

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 22: This is the night to conduct love divinations. Maids scattered barley seeds under apple trees, saying “Barley, Barley, I sow thee/That my true love I may see/Taketh thy nake and follow me.” Her future husband walked along behind her, taking up the barley seed with his rake.

JANUARY 21: St. Agnes Day – Agnes is the patron saint of young girls. Today maids acquired sweethearts. To do so, they must carry ivy leaves next to their breasts, fast the day before, put on clean nightclothes, and go to sleep signing [a song I don’t feel like typing out – so watch out for girls in clean PJs carrying ivy in their boobies, guys!).

JANUARY 22: This is the traditional day to plant new hedges. [Exciting! ha. And nope, not happening today.]


@jennahw on twitter!


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Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)

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