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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.

daisy

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.

hanging

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.

stuff

stuff

This one is in the triangle garden.

pot

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. 🙂

geraniums

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.

tomatoes

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?

#wordlesswednesday

BEFORE
sad office plants

AFTER
desk garden
desk garden - macro

Quick post…I wanted to get some cake tins to use under my seed starting pots on the seed shelf, so I headed down to my local dollar store (a Dollar Tree) today after work. Well I found the cake pans, plus a whoooole bunch of other great stuff! And this is a REAL dollar store, where everything really IS one dollar!

dollar tree

• 2 small ceramic pots (very cute – going to get another set of these for my mom)
• 2 x-small ceramic pots
• 10-pack of 3″ starter pots
• 4-pack of 4″ fancy starter pots
• 2 3-packs of 7″ starter pots (good for when transplants get bigger)
• 2 10.25″ pots with saucers
• 14 cake pans (for under starter pots on shelf – they come in 2-packs)
• 7 tubes of craft sand (should be safe for food) for in pans to absorb/hold water
• 1 bag of rocks (to experiment with water control, too)
• 1 roll of twine
• 1 pack of zip-ties
• 1 bag of spanish moss (to use some of whenever I repot the old orchid)
• 1 very pretty garden hangy decoration thing (in the cellophane bag)
• 2 rectangular planters

All that for, if I counted right – $31! Imagine getting that somewhere else. At least twice the cost, probably. The 10.25″ and 7″ pots will be used for giveaways – I was planning on making a pot of herbs or flowers for a couple friends, and these will be a great home for them. They actually look pretty nice if you use some antiquing gel (or brown paint) on them with a dry brush – I’ve done that on some other cheap planters and they look more expensive and have held up well. The fancy smaller pots (the white ones) will also be a nice home for some herbs to give someone as a gift. All of these came in the standard colors, so I picked from black, tan, green, white.

They have the fancy planters in a couple other sizes as well, and lots more different pretty ceramic pots. As I said, I am going tomorrow or Saturday to get some more of those for my mom, who really liked mine and has a pair of miniature roses that she needs a pot that size for (hopefully they have more in the color I got, or I may be forced to share 🙂 ). They also have some cute small garden shepherd’s hooks (I had one in my cart but put it back because I have a few small ones already) and lots of windchimes.

And look – my small peat pots fit in 8’s perfectly on the cake tins!
dollar store tins

So if you have a local Dollar Tree, now’s the time to check it out! It looks like they JUST got all the stuff in, so it’s perfect timing. I’d also check out the Dollar King if you have one – that one is farther away for me so I don’t go very often, but they also have a gardening department and probably also have similar stuff.

Let me know if you score any cool finds!

Thanks to twitter, I was reminded that it’s bloom day! And thanks to my hubby, I have a bloom. Inside. Because the outside it still soggy and covered with snow. There may be a pansy bloom or two under there, but I’m not trudging through the snow to check.

orchid

When he went to Lowe’s to buy stuff to hang my lights in the seed shelf, he picked me up two plants. That phalaenopsis orchid is my second. He also got me one year before last that is still alive, but I haven’t gotten it to bloom again. I think I don’t fertilize it enough. I’m thinking about repotting it into a smaller pot because I also think it’s overpotted. Then mybe both orchids can live on that plant stand in the office. For right now, it’s on top of the giant old-school style TV we never watch in the office.

office

When he called me at work to tell me what he’d gotten for the seed shelf, he also said he’s gotten me a rescue plant. I think all of us plant people are suckers for a cheapo rescue plant at Lowe’s or somewhere, and my hubby was a sucker for this one because of the cool factor.

pineapple

That’s right…a pineapple! It’s about the size of the palm of my hand. Apparently it needs high light and low water (but don’t let it dry out). I’m keeping it on top of the entertainment center in the living room (highest light place we have available) until the summer, when I’ll probably put it outside. I feel like I must be the envy of all the other gardeners. Anyone else have a PINEAPPLE PLANT? I mean, really. (If you live somewhere cool, you don’t count and I hate you.) Props to hubby.

Of course the addition of the pineapple caused massive reorganization and shuffling of all the houseplants. I’m going to take the one dracaenea to work because it doesn’t seem thrilled where it is, and my one dracaenea margerita at work is super happy. I moved some other stuff to the fridge, moved my fave “flower pot” pot to the living room, and ended up with this. (Also, I’ve decided I’m not a huge fan of peace lilies. Meh. But I have 3 of them sooo…)

entertainment center

Fun fact: That silver bowl is actually a trophy (you can’t see the engraving). My grandfather was a champion ring jouster and I have several of his trophies. Unfortunately in my teensy house I don’t really have anywhere to display them, but this one is out. The colorful glass in there is an ornament my BFF sent from Hawaii.

I also decided to repot my jade into the pot the recently deceased rescue orchid one occupied. I think it turned out cute. (How do I make it have more branches? Or will it do that by itself?) I still can’t believe this thing started out as like one leaf that my aunt gave me when it fell off her giant jade plant when I was over there. Craziness.

jade

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 15: “In February in the New of the Moon, sow borage, coriander, marjoram, radish, rosemary, and sorrel.”—Gervase Markham, The English Housewife, 1683

[I have rosemary evergreen outside, and I will be sowing borage, coriander/cilantro, and radish this year—but not for a few weeks yet!]

Also, the FEBRUARY 14 entry tells us “some herbal aphrodisiacs are cyclamen, lettuce, pansies, periwinkle, bay, marigolds, thyme, wormwood, marjoram, coriander, clove, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, rose, borage, rocket, garden cress, artichokes, parsley, carrot, dill, anise, and chervil.” I propose you cover yourself in all of them and see what your sig-o does.

I am considering purchasing a dwarf key lime tree from Springhill Nursery. Though I have had some issues with Springhill in the past, for the most part I have been happy with them. They’ve replaced plants without question when necessary, and I got some fun stuff that I would not have found locally (though for quality of plants, I’d reccommend Bluestone Perennials). Every year, Springhill sends out a coupon that is just SO hard to resist. You order $50 worth of stuff and you get $25 off. Shipping is usually around $10, so you get $50 of plants for about $35 – all in all not a bad deal.

This year as I was flipping through, I don’t see many new things that pique my interest. Most of my flower beds are pretty full at this point with perennials, and we’re focusing more on expanding the veggie beds this year.

But I did notice this little guy – a dwarf key lime tree. My husband happens to make a crazy good key lime pie with coconut almond crust – from scratch. And though I know we probably wouldn’t get enough limes from this for more than (maybe) one pie, how cool would it be to have a home-made key lime pie with our own key limes? I know it’s been pointed out before that people far south see citrus trees as boooooring and are amazed at apple trees. Well being farther north, I have never seen a full-size citrus tree (with fruit) in person, and apple trees are nothing special.

I would be able to keep the tree in a nice, sunny location through the summer here in zone 7A, but it would have to be indoors in a pretty sunny spot from roughly November through April/May. So…what do you think? Should I try it out? I would be able to find $30 worth of other plants between me and my mom to use the coupon.

Also…the seed starting shelves are done!
seed shelves

Right now I’m trying to decide where the shelves will live. I asked hubby today how we’d be able to get it to the shed, when he said “why don’t you just leave it in here?” Excellent point, actually. Since it is currently in the “cat room”, I was concerned the cats might get into it. It I use the greenhouse cover, that could help that situation though. I think I’m going to put the thermometer in the shed to see how cold/warm it is, then I’ll make my decision. If it’s too cold in there, the shelf will have to stay inside at least until it warms up a bit outside anyway. What do you think?

All I need before I start are some trays and sand/rocks for below the plants (to keep water off the lights below and help manage watering) – I plan on getting something from the dollar store for that, and I need to check and see if I need any more seed trays, though I think I’m probably good. I got the shelf and greenhouse cover for $39.99 at Lowe’s and the florescent lights for $7 each with bulbs at WalMart (prob not technically grow lights (though the ones they were marketing as such were exactly the same), but they’ll work. I used a desk lamp last year for god’s sake). Not too shabby! Excited about all the possible seedlings this year 🙂

Apparently there is a house plant census going on, which is nice because it gives me something else to think about besides the 18 or so inches of snow outside. ugh.

Now I have a small house – while we have almost an acre outside, the inside is less than 1,000 square feet. It’s…cozy. We’ll go with cozy. And I have a lot of plants inside! You never realize how many until you actually go and count.

All of my plants have to be in high places since I have 2 cats. I don’t want them to eat the plants and get sick and I don’t want half-eaten plants all over the place. So I stash plants where I can.

Let’s start in the kitchen, shall we? On top of the fridge I have quite a few plants. An arrowhead plant in one of my fave flower pots (you can’t see it in the back there, but the pot says “flower pot.”). Another small arrowhead plant I am rescuing for my mom, a few philodendron cuttings rooting in water, and a parsley and geranium I saved from the summer (that lamp is on a timer for them) among other things. This area gets some sun and stays warm from the fridge. Current count: 7.

parsley, garanium, arrowhead plant, philodendron, arrowhead plant, pothos, peace lily

Let’s move to the sink area (sorry – bad pic). I have some hanging dried herbs that I will eventually use. I also have variegated pothos and green pothos cuttings each growing nicely. I’ll pot some up every not and then. There’s opal basil, sweet basil, and sage growing in the small container on the windowsill (wish I had bought more of these pots – perfect size for the sills!). I had an orchid I had rescued for $1 sitting on the sink, but that finally croaked (I’m not great with orchids), so I now have an empty pot for another plant. The little terra cotta pots are sometimes used for seedlings in the spring, but now they hold dried herbs and dried jalapenos from the summer. We’ll count the windowsill herbs all as one, so that brings the total to 11.

green pothos, basil and sage, variegated pothos

On top of the microwave I have…more pothos! These both came from the cuttings that were started in the kitchen window. The variegated cuttings originally came from my mom, and the green ones came from a plant grouping I got on sale at walmart and separated. The pothos hanging on the laundry room door (off the kitchen) is also from that same plant, and the philodendron here (some sort of silverleaf kind) is the parent of the cuttings on top of the fridge. Current count: 13.

pothos x2 - That nesting chicken was my Mom-Mom's.


philodendron, pothos

And now on to the living room. On the TV stand is a christmas cactus my mom gave me after the holidays, another arrowhead plant (this one is called Berry Allusion and has pink in the leaves – very pretty), and a peace lily. I also have a lucky bamboo rooting. So…17
arrowhead, peace lily, christmas cactus

Then there’s the entertainment center. I won’t count the lucky bamboo hanging from the curtain rod. I wanted to root it (bought a long piece and cut it), but clearly something went wrong and the yellow is slowly moving up. But on the entertainment center is, starting from the bottom, a dracena and a pothos (same cuttings)…19
dracenea, pothos...

…and then on top is another dracenea (both of these from from that walmart bunching), a bromeliad I recently rescued and need to repot, a jade that started as one leaf with a root on it from my aunt, a dracenea magenta (or similar) that also came from the walmart arrangement, and 2 pots of pothos – the greener from the walmart bunch and the smaller variegated from the kitchen cuttings. This is the sunniest area in the house that is still cat-safe. Southeast facing, I think. So um….25?

dracenea, bromeliad, jade, dracenea magenta, pothos, pothos

This little guy is in the bathroom. Came from a friend’s going away party (she moved to Hawaii – the nerve!). I bought the lucky bamboo that I killed because I wanted 3 stems in here (one was dying when I got it). We’ll see how that works out. No windows in this room, so I move it to the TV stand in the living room for a couple days each week. It’s looking kind of “lighter green” on the stem, so hopefully it lives because I’d like to have a plant in here and I think it looks cute. And yes, I do have pictures of plants in my potty. And that makes 26.
lucky bamboo

Let’s go to the office, shall we? In here I have a smaller peace lily that I separated from the one on top of the fridge. On the other shelf is an ivy that I got back in college from IKEA. It grew like a champ when I had it at work and now it’s alive but doesn’t really grow. Might eventually take it back to work. Also you can see my overwintering hibiscus and the orchid that hubby got me a few years ago for Valentine’s day that I just can’t get to bloom again. This room gets nice morning sun, but not a lot later on. That brings us to…30.

peace lily, hibiscus, ivy, orchid

30 plants! For a house this tiny, that really is a lot. The only rooms that don’t have plants in them are the bedroom and the spare bedroom/cat room. I used to have a small bit of pothos rooting in a wall hanging (actually a candle holder, but I used it as a vase), but that room gets no sun plus the room-darkening shades are almost always closed because of hubby’s work schedule, so eventually it yellowed and died. And obviously no plants in the cat room other than the occasional cat grass over the summer.

I also have (let’s see, peace lily, dracenea, dracenea, dracenea magenta, pothos) 5 plants in my cube at work. Do I have a problem???

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 6: St. Dorothea‘s Day – the patron saint of florists

The Mango Mist hibiscus is now officially in for the winter, but it gave me more blooms at one time right before coming in than it did all summer long. Gorgeous! I really hope it makes it through the winter.
Screen shot 2009-10-25 at 7.17.41 PM

Screen shot 2009-10-25 at 7.16.27 PM

Screen shot 2009-10-25 at 7.16.48 PM

Also, an official goodbye to our resident spider. He’s lived by the deck door all summer long. I left him there, figuring maybe he’d keep some bugs from coming in. Every night he comes out for dinner, and every day he goes back into the siding somewhere and hides. Before long, I guess he’s done for.

our friendly spider

our friendly spider

And lastly, excuse the blurry pic, but can anyone ID this weed? It’s pretty.
Screen shot 2009-10-25 at 7.14.45 PM

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