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Archive for March, 2012

When one of my plants dies, I truly feel a  loss.  A part of me was in that little plant.  A part of my part of my hopes and dream for that plant is gone too.  When I walk up and down the aisles of plants at my local garden shop I feel like I am on a mission, and I feel inspired to try a new experiment.  I pick the right one (or 5) and take it/them home.  I peruse my garden and see where the perfect fit for the newest member of the plant family will be.  Once that is established out comes the shovel, gloves and other garden materials to give the plant the best chance possible.  You hope and water and imagine what the plant will look like when it reaches full maturity.  When it works out that way it is a wonderful sight, but when it doesn’t, when no matter how hard you try the plant doesn’t thrive and eventually dies it is hard.  When we garden a part of us goes in that soil, but fear not to try again.  That too is a part of gardening, try and try again, find out what may have gone wrong, but mostly don’t give up!

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What is more lovely than a gentle rain or a rumbling thunderstorm?  I find peace when  listening to these sounds, and the wonderful smells that a good soaking rain can bring.  However, any gardener can tell you that it also brings satisfaction that you know your garden is getting a good drink.  I swear my garden looks much more refreshed and revived than anything from a garden hose or sprinkler can deliver.  I can almost see smiles from the plants after a storm. How fun as well to see the little birds playing in the puddles or the children splashing around?  You won’t hear me singing “rain rain go away”  I love the rain, there is something mysterious and invigorating about the it.  Of course we all love a good warm sunny day but enjoy the rain, for sometimes, a rain storm is as lovely as a perfect sunny day.

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Every one knows them, the lawn Nazis.  Every inch of lawn perfectly manicured, with symmetrical arranged rows of cut grass.  A bright green lawn can be a beautiful sight, and nothing more lovely than when freshly mowed.  However, what about an alternative?  With talk of water conservation and using only green fertilizers perhaps the “perfect” green lawn will slowly become a thing of the past and a new “lawn” ushered in.  Now I am not necessarily speaking of letting your lawn go or creating a prairie out of your front lawn, but interesting and viable alternatives can be done.  For instance, what about creating an endless garden in the front with mulch or stone pavers winding along it?  A charming fountain to be the focal point with different grouping of flowers and architecture dotting the landscape.  If well done it could be nice alternative to the same old yard.  If the bright green lawn is what you desire one thing to remember is to not cut the grass too short.  When cut too short the weeds have a greater chance at snuffing out the grass and lawn roots can be exposed making the grass dry out quicker. Given a fighting chance the grass will muscle out the weeds.  It also saves on gasoline to not mow as often.   If you want a lawn that thrives with less maintenance, consider using a locally adaptable grass seed which will really raise the success rate of your grass.  What ever you choose, just remember, don’t be a lawn nazi!

 

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I have yet to really get the courage to cut flowers to put in vases in my house.  I am always torn between cutting and letting them stay in the yard.  To cut or not to cut, that is the question!  Laugh if you must but it really is a dilemma.  Most people I am sure do not have my hesitancy to cut flowers for vases.  The problem I think more often than not is what to plant that would work in a vase or arrangement?  Of course the traditional roses or carnations pop into mind, but those are just the tip of the ice berg lettuce!  Bells of Ireland are a fun yet not as traditional flower for the garden that looks great in a vase, sweet daisies and sunflowers, delphiniums are just a few of the flowers that are nice for cutting. I read somewhere that it can be hard to cut the flowers in a garden since each one has its place in creating the look you want.  They suggested a cutting garden.  What a great idea!  A real solution if you ask me and the best of both worlds if you have the space.  I think I smell a project coming on in my notebook of ideas for spring( if you don’t have one I would highly recommend starting one!).   Go out and create!

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When I first moved into the home I currently live in, the garden was a wild thing in the least flattering sense of the word.  Over grown yews snaked around the front of the house along with untrimmed and unkempt spirea.  Along one side of the house, was mint as far as the eye could see. Only a dogwood and peonies broke up the mint encased in railroad ties.  The back was covered in over grown weed trees.  What is a weed tree you might ask?  It is a tree that has planted itself in a place on its own.  After my mom and I cleaned it out we began the process of trial and error. We were in a battle with the mint for quite some time, even now 13 years later I will find mint springing up in the spot it had originally been growing when we first moved in.  After the weed trees were removed we replaced the railroad ties with brick pavers and redesigned the front of the house.Clematis climbing up a weathered trellis accompanied by veronica, coneflowers, and sedum have replaced the weed trees along the back of the house  Thirteen years later I am happy to say I love my yard.  When I walk along the side walk and peer down the side of the house where the mint used to rule I see a happy array of flowers and textures.  On the whole the garden is not uniformed but I its mine and I love it.

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What will you do to represent leap year this year?  Mother Nature decided to take a leap and give us a warm day!  How did you spend it?  On days like these I like to take stock of my yard and prepare for the upcoming growing season.  What do I want to do this year?  I think I will plant hollyhocks.  These are quintessential cottage flowers.  Some people would think that it is an unwise investment.  Finding favorable conditions for hollyhocks can make these biennials spread to new locations which you can then transfer to where ever you wish.   Such statuesque flowers really give some wow factor to many areas and especially your yard.  Mix those hollyhocks with columbine, hardy geranium, and tansy will create a charming cottage atmosphere.   I am going to take a leap and combine these flowers and see what butterflies and good insects are attracted to my yard.  Let’s see where this leap will take me!

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