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Monday, December 31, 2007

Thank You and Happy New Year From May Dreams Gardens

On this occasion of the end of the year and my 700th post at May Dreams Gardens, I’d like to thank everyone for coming by and following along through another year in my central Indiana garden.

Thank you to those who have joined in for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, delighting us with your many blooms on the 15th of each month, making us a bit envious at times with flowers we can only dream of and providing us northern gardeners with a little color in the gray of winter.

Thank you to all who have joined in reading and posting reviews for the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club. I enjoy sharing what I’ve read with others and reading what others think of the same books. We all see something different in each book, which makes it that much more interesting.

Thank you to all who have left comments and kind words throughout the year, who have joined in to share about seed obsessions, tomato obsessions, plant obsessions and all our other shared gardening obsessions. Thank you especially for the Mouse & Trowel award for “Garden Blogger You’d Most Like As Your Neighbor”.

Who knows what the new year will bring, but I hope it brings to each of you peace, prosperity and fulfilled dreams both in the garden and out of the garden.

"This is May Dreams Gardens because all year I dream of the days in May when the sun is warm, the skies are blue, the grass is green, and the garden is all new again!"

Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Crazy Busy With Indoor Plants

Many of the 'southern' gardeners seem to think that all winter, we 'northern' gardeners are sitting by the hearth, wrapped in a warm afghan with wool socks on our feet, browsing through seed catalogs and dreaming of spring.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all, you should know that if you sit by a warm fire wrapped in an afghan, you'll fall asleep in ten minutes, and the seed catalogs will slip from your hands on to the floor. (So I've heard.)

Plus, there is no time for sitting by the fireplace. I have a lot of indoor gardening work to do. A lot, I tell you.

First, I have to do something about this amaryllis. Putting this sign up has certainly coaxed it to flower, but I would have preferred it if the flower stem had grown a little taller first. I think the main problem is "cheap bulbs".

I've learned my lesson.

I have a cactus problem to deal with, too. Here's the "mother" cactus plant. And here is the 'baby' cactus I rooted when a stem fell off the mother cactus a few years ago.
This cactus used to have another longer stem dangling over the edge of the pot, but over time, where the stem touched the edge of the pot, it rotted, and look what happened sometime in the last day or so.

Crash! The stem fell off and as did all the little side stems on it.
Now I must decide. Do I try to root all of these stem pieces, or compost them? I didn't really want to have a lot of cactus plants, but it seems a shame to waste them. I should at least try to root them, right? Hey, I could give the baby cactus away, maybe put them in my nieces and nephews' Easter baskets?

I've also got an African violet situation to deal with. These two violets have formed multiple crowns and should be divided up. I'm guessing from these two African violet plants, I'll end up with five plants, plus I have another African violet that I rescued earlier this fall. So two becomes five plus one equals six. Remember when I boldly announced that you should only have one African violet per decade of your age? This would put me WELL OVER the limit, if we follow that rule. I'll have to give at least one to my sister, 'Sister with the Homestead', so she can be convinced that she can grow houseplants. After all, it's her birthday today, this would make a great gift!

Other gardening tasks that involve the indoor plants include:

- Divide up the aloe plants. These plants grow like weeds, even indoors. Plus, mine are the last plants that still seem to have a touch of mealybug, so I want to completely remove them from their pots, hose 'em down and re-root new cuttings. These MUST be saved because they were some my grandmother had.

-Repot the Jewel Orchid, Ludisia discolor, just as soon as it finishes blooming, and it should bloom in time for January's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. I am embarrased about how pot bound I've let it get.

- Go through and give all the orchids a little TLC. They just need a little attention right now to keep them looking their best and coaxing them to flower. Plus, there are bound to be a few orchid shows around here in January, and if I feel like I am properly taking care of the orchids I have, I'll feel like I can buy 'just a few more' to add to those I already have.

- Figure out what to plant in my terrarium and just plant it. Maybe some smaller orchids?

- Clean up the dead leaves on the four poinsettia plants my sister-in-law made me take home on Christmas Day. I am actually thinking about trying to get them to rebloom for next year. They cost me nothing, so I can experiment a bit with them and not feel bad if they die and I have to compost them.

- Pot up the Christmas cactus starts, even if it isn't in the container I really want to grow them in.

- Find some ivy to start working on some bonsai of some kind.

- Get the hyacinth bulbs out of the refrigerator so I can force them in to bloom. I hope they don't bloom on short stems like that amaryllis.

Does all this make me seem like some kind of crazy plant lady?

Do I look like a crazy plant lady?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finding Just the Right Container for My New Plants

It takes time, sometimes, to find the right container for a new plant.

I recently rooted some orange-flowering Schlumbergera, given to me by a co-worker who got hers from the estate of an aunt who passed away last summer. No one would take the plant, so she did. (I love plants with a history). Then a stem broke off and she gave that stem to me to root.

I made six cuttings out of it, and now my cuttings are all rooted and are ready to be potted up into a nice new container.

These Schlumbergera, also known as Christmas cactus, are not the most attractive of house plants when they are not flowering, so I want to put them in a nice looking container to give them every advantage.

I would actually prefer something more oblong as I’ve had problems with other Christmas cactus getting too large and top heavy for their containers, which causes them to inexplicitly fall over. This causes stems to break off, which cry out to be rooted, and so you end up with more ugly plants that bloom just a week or so each year because you know you have to root those cuttings.

Anyway, I’ve not yet found a suitable container for these orange-flowerings Christmas cactus, though I have looked everywhere I can think of, in every store I’ve been in that might possibly have containers. And I’ve come up empty handed.

So I went out of my way to a greenhouse/garden center where they sell quite a few houseplants, thinking that they would have a container that would be perfect for my new plants.

When I arrived, I was promptly greeted by the friendly staff and I told them what I was looking for. They suggested a long rectangular shaped metal container, with no drainage holes.

I said, very nicely, “I’m going to put some live plants in it and that has no drainage holes.”

To which one of them replied, “You could still use it if you were careful not to overwater.”

At that point I might have inadvertently given them a look that allowed them to read what was on mind, which was something along the lines of, “Apparently you don’t need to know anything about growing plants to work in a greenhouse no one who knows about growing plants would suggest putting them in a container with no drainage holes what do you think that I am going to do just throw a few ice cubes on them every once in a while and besides that the container is all metal with sharp edged corners and I wouldn’t bring it anywhere near my plants and now I am turned off by this whole experience and I would like to leave because you are suggesting that I put a growing plant in a container without drainage holes.”

Then another customer came in to buy something and I was saved from them, and they from me, and I left.

I like it better, by the way, when the people I am buying plants or containers for plants from at least act like they know something about plants, don’t you?

I suppose now I will have to resort to looking through my stash of clay pots to find a suitable container for my newly rooted plants. I assure you, all of them have drainage holes.


Some commonly asked questions and answers about containers for indoor plants.

Are drainage holes essential for growing plants in containers? Yes, in my plant world they are. You might keep a plant alive for awhile in a container without drainage holes, but long-term, the soil will probably ‘sour’ or you’ll keep the plant too dry trying to avoid overwatering.

What if I get a planter that has plants and no drainage holes? You can keep the plants in there for awhile, but eventually, you should take the plants out and repot them in containers with drainage holes.

What if I have the cutest/prettiest/goes with my d├ęcor container for a plant, but it has no drainage holes? You could find a pot with drainage holes that will fit down inside your fancy container, and then put the plant in that pot. When you water, it is best to remove the plant from the fancy container, take it to a sink, water it thoroughly, and then let it stand for a bit so the excess water all drains out before you put it back in the fancy container. Or, if it won't damage the container, you could drill some drainage holes in the bottom of it.

Do you advocate watering with ice cubes? No. We’ve been through that already.

Any other questions on containers? Any suggestions on what to plant my new orange-flowering Christmas cactus in?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Working on Some Goals: Bonsai

One of the best things about setting goals instead of making resolutions is goals seem less tied to a specific date. We can set them anytime we want to sit down and make some plans.

Those darned resolutions seem so "tied" to January 1st that the pressure is on to come up with some good ones before that magical date, if indeed you are going to make some resolutions for the new year.

Well, no pressure here, I'm working on P.L.A.N.T.S. goals! And I'll take my sweet time about it, as we still have January and February to get through before much outside gardening is going to happen here in Zone 5.

But already I know that one of my goals is going to involve bonsai.
(Bonsai on display at White River Gardens in 2006)

I've always admired bonsai and wanted to have a few bonsai of my own. I've even made a few feeble attempts to have one. I've looked at mature bonsai for sale, but they always made my wallet hurt. Then last year I purchased a tree seedling that had been grown to become a bonsai tree, but it didn't make it through the winter, or more likely, it didn't make it through the cold spring.

In spite of these failed attempts, I know I'd like bonsai partially because of all the tools that seem so essential for caring for bonsai, or at least I would make them essential! Special pruners, scissors, brooms, rakes, tweezers, wire cutters. I love the idea of all these special tools and using them to care for these special plants.

And now I have new motivation to learn about bonsai.

One of my nephews has decided that he wants to grow some bonsai and has been asking me a lot of questions about them. He plans to start with ivy because he read somewhere that it is a good plant to start with, that you can get it to look like bonsai relatively quickly. On Christmas Day he showed me his tiny ivy start, planted in a tiny bonsai tray. He said in a few years, maybe we could compete against each other in a bonsai competition. My! He's read a lot about bonsai.

It would just not do if I was not able to answer his questions and speak with some assuredness on this particular gardening topic. I have a reputation as the family gardener to maintain! Plus I've always wanted to have some bonsai, so I'll use this little 'competition' as my motivation.

So, that's my first P.L.A.N.T.S. goal, to learn more about bonsai this year, and have at least have one bonsai plant that I am successful with.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Resolutions! Plant Goals Instead

Let’s just nip this whole idea of New Years' resolutions in the bud before it gets too far, shall we? Nip it, nip it, nip it, in the bud. It’s a false bud that will never fully bloom. Resolutions will only produce disappointment and heavy sighs about how once again, we’ve fallen short.

If you want to get results, really achieve something in 2008, or anytime, set goals instead.

And for gardening goals, I’ve come up with P.L.A.N.T.S to help you remember how to set some goals that you will actually achieve.

Good gardening goals are:

P – Pleasing to you. Set goals that please you. If you are going to do all that hard work to achieve your goals, make the goal something that pleases you. If you are ambivalent about having a backyard pond, for example, don’t make digging one your goal.

L – Listed. Write down your goal. There is something about putting a goal in writing that makes it more real to you. And once it is written down, it is easier to share with others, including friends and family and fellow bloggers who can encourage you as you work toward achieving your goal.

A – Achievable. Start out with goals that are achievable given the resources you have. The more you achieve, the more you will want to do. When you get used to achieving goals, goal-setting becomes almost addictive and you will want to set even bigger goals.

N – Nature friendly. Set gardening goals that are in harmony with nature. You will be more pleased with your garden in the long run when you have rich healthy soil and lots of birds and beneficial insects and other non-plant eating wildlife taking up residence.

T – Time bound. Goals should have a beginning and an end. You want to give yourself a time frame so you’ll get to it and not keep waiting for tomorrow. Tomorrow is always later. Plus, when you have a time frame, you know when you’ve achieved your goal and you can celebrate it.

S – Specific. Be specific about your goals. A non-specific goal seems more like a resolution, and you know that no one keeps resolutions very long.

Some examples…

“I will have a better (insert-type-of-garden-here) garden this summer.” Of course you will! Who doesn’t want a better garden every year? But this is not a very well formed goal at all.

A better goal might be, “This year I will extend the harvest of my vegetable garden by planting spring crops, summer crops and fall crops without pesticides.”

“I’m going to keep my garden weed free.” Yes, you are! I believe you, really I do. (Snort.) Well, actually, I don’t believe you at all because no garden is ever completely weed free, unless you have hired help, and lots of it.

How about instead you have a goal like this, “I will divide my garden into weedable sections and spend some time each week from spring until fall getting as far as I can, section at a time, to keep my garden reasonably weed free. When I’ve gotten through all the sections, I will start back again from the beginning. If I miss a week, I won’t give up, I’ll just start again the next week.”

How about this goal? “I’m going to join in with the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club this year.” No! Though well-intentioned, this is more of a resolution, a vague commitment.

Instead your goal should be “I’m going to get the book, Dear Friend and Gardener by Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd (if you don’t have it already), read it by January 21st and then post about it on my blog before January 31st.”

So how about it? Are you ready to skip those worthless resolultions and set some pleasing, listed, achievable, nature-friendly, time-bound, specific P.L.A.N.T.S goals for your gardening year instead? Yes? Good!

Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop: Fences and Walls

Gardening Gone Wild’s December Garden Blogger’s Design Workshop is all about Fences and Walls.

Here’s a garden wall that I admired recently.

These homeowners have added a 'wall' just two stones high to differentiate between a lawn area and a wooded area in their front yard.

I think it is a good solution to the problem of having to maintain a tame area around the sidewalk while keeping the woods ‘as is’. Without it, this might look like a vacant lot, tempting neighbors to sneak over at night to dump their branches, leaves, and other debris that they are too lazy to deal with properly. Yes, that happens in neighborhoods.

But with this subtle wall, you can definitely tell this is part of someone’s landscape. And, it allows the woods to be seen in its entirety without a wall or fence blocking part of it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gifts Given

The other day, I posted a picture of the gift I got for the person whose name I drew out for the family gift exchange.

Even though it was the biggest gift under the tree and had that gigantic gift tag on it, it took "Sister with the Homestead" half the day before she caught on that it was for her!

Really. After seeing it on the web, and posting that big ol' comment about how she wanted that gift to be hers, you would think my baby sister would have run right over to that gift when she arrived for the festivities to see whose name was on that tag.

Finally, three-fourths of the way through the opening of gifts, she realized this gift was for her.

She was excited, all eyes were on her as she slowly unwrapped it..


A brand new trug for harvesting vegetables!
Just like the one her favorite gardening sister has.

And the first "harvest" in the trug were a few gardening items...

A pair of bright orange gardening gloves, so she can't lay them down in the grass and lose them.

A clip to close off the cuffs of the gloves when she puts them in the shed, so the big, ugly spiders that live in her backyard won't crawl up in them. She won't wear gloves once they've had spiders in them. I wouldn't either!

A gardening angel ornament.

A gardening snowman ornament. I bought myself one just like it, so we have matching ornaments.

A bird on a stake to put in a potted plant.

A dragonfly ornament to hang from something, maybe her gazebo.

I ordered the trug way back in September, so I had it in plenty of time for Christmas. But I didn't start looking for the "harvest" until the week before Christmas. Then I discovered that it isn't all that easy to find gardening related items at Christmas time. Even the local garden center that I visited had cleared out all the gardening items for Christmas items.

I learned what my family and friends have said for years. It's not easy to find gardening related items at Christmas time, so buy your gardening related gifts early. And I guess it doesn't get any easier in January, when some gardeners have their birthdays.

Thankfully, with the Internet and some proper pre-planning, we can now buy gardening related items even in the middle of winter. Remember that!

Gifts Received And No Crab!

Life is indeed a garden for a gardener and my family and friends managed to find a few gifts for me that relate to gardening. For those of you who know gardeners, consider this a jump on the list of suggestions for next year's holidays.

This "Life is A Garden, Dig In" ornament seems like one that perhaps I should hang up someplace year around. "Sister with the Homestead" got me this. My, my, she knows me well.

I also got several of the ornaments in the "Snowmen of Winter Garden" series from Hallmark. One of my neices had my name in the family gift drawing. She was so clever! In addition to the hoe ornament that I posted about previously, she got me this 2007 ornament to "commemorate" another year of gardening with rabbits.
I hope I've learned enough in the past year about how to outwit the rabbits in my garden so that in 2008 I can sharpen some other gardening skill besides rabbit trapping.

I hope to learn how to best use my new garden tool!
It's a Cobrahead! They've fearlessly advertised it as "the best tool in Earth". We shall see in a few months when spring arrives and I get to test it out. Hurry, spring!

And while I wait for spring, I have at least one new garden book to read, Helen Dillon's Down to Earth With Helen Dillon.

I also got this "universal plant identification" sign.Every gardener can use one of these, no matter how good their record keeping is. We've all got some unknown plants in our gardens, that we have no recollection of buying or planting.

I did get many other gifts not directly related to gardening, including a collection of different flavors of tea.I was relieved when I read the nutritional content and saw that these teas contain no crab. That's good because I don't like crab in my tea.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe

We've thrown out the the pretty wrapping papers and stored the leftovers to eat some another day. All around, people are sitting and reflecting about Christmas... gifts given and gifts received, beautiful church services and bright holiday lights, family and friends, and why did we all eat so much?

Maybe some of us are thinking, "I wonder when was the last time I watered the poinsettias and why didn't Santa take them?"

But who is thinking that they got the perfect Christmas ornament?

I am.

Actually, I got several perfect ornaments, but one in particular has my attention.

I got a hoe ornament to put on my tree. Isn't it beautiful?

Merry Christmas From May Dreams Gardens

Monday, December 24, 2007

What To Do With Your Ailing Poinsettia Plant

Many gardeners lament that they can’t keep their poinsettias looking nice through the holidays. By Christmas Day, their poinsettias have dropped their leaves or wilted or otherwise turned from looking spectacular in the store to looking like a sad “Charlie Brown” kind of Christmas plant.

Rather than throw your poinsettia plants into the compost bin, may I suggest an alternative?

Leave them on your fireplace hearth on Christmas Eve next to the plate of cookies and glass of milk that you set out for Santa Claus. Yes, put those leggy, half-dead poinsettia plants right there by the carrots for the reindeer.

Then, if you’ve been a good gardener all year, Santa will take the poinsettia plants back to the North Pole with him where his very best gardening elves will nurse them back to good health and get them to rebloom in time for them to show up next year at a local florist’s shop or garden center.

And then you can buy the poinsettia plants again and repeat the process.

If Santa doesn’t take your poinsettia plant, tsk tsk, maybe he forgot? Surely you weren't a bad gardener this past year? No way! But if indeed Santa 'forgets' your poinsettia plant, you can either compost it if you think it is too far gone, or try to take better care of it yourself. If you decide to try to take better care of it yourself, check out this web site for tips on how to care for a poinsettia in your home.

Happy Holiday Gardening!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Giving Gifts

I might have given the impression in my post on clues that you might be a Christmas gardening geek that I "fixed" the drawing of names for the family gift exchange so I would draw the name of someone who would appreciate my skill at picking out gifts for gardeners.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I must clear my good name!

I won't tell whose name I drew, but I will say that I have out done myself and come up with quite a gift for 'the person whose name I drew'. I've put all my skills (hint, hint) into coming up with a gift that will be remembered.

You want to know what it is?

It is....

Wait. Check that. He/she might read my blog and then the surprise will be ruined.

I'll just show this picture of the gift, with the name of the recipient cleverly removed via some Photoshop editing.

Such a big box. Such pretty paper. And I even did ribbons and bows. Ribbons and bows! And look at the size of that gift tag! What could it be? Who could it be for? Why am I so excited about it?

Friday, December 21, 2007

You Might Be A Gardening Geek: Christmas Edition

A Christmas tree at White River Gardens...

Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, here are 12 clues that you might be a gardening geek at Christmas time.

You might be a gardening geek at Christmas time if…

1. Over half the ornaments on your Christmas tree have a gardening theme. Bonus points if you have at least one ornament made from a clay pot.

2. You have a gardening Santa with a shovel, watering can, and hoe. Bonus points if you wish that I was your neighbor so you could give it to me.

3. You have a hole dug outside to plant your live Christmas tree in as soon as the holidays are over. Bonus points if you’ve done this more than once.

4. Your gift wish list is full of gardening related stuff and your friends and family complain because it is so hard to find these gift items in December. Bonus points if your wish list includes a hoe.

5. You get a gardening tool for Christmas and like the kid who gets a new bicycle, you can hardly wait until spring so you can finally use it. Bonus points if it was a hoe.

6. Your favorite seasonal greeting is Hoe, Hoe, Hoe. Bonus points if you have a sign in your garden that says Hoe Hoe Hoe.

7. You see one of those holiday commercials featuring the luxury automobile with the big red bow on top and think it would be a much better gift if it was a sweet little pick up truck for hauling mulch and plants. Bonus points if you have been given, or gave yourself, a truck primarily for gardening. Double bonus points if you have actually received a load of mulch as a gift for any occasion.

8. You are surprised that more people aren’t shopping at the local garden center because it is far less crowded than the local malls and discount stores. Bonus points if you bought at least one Christmas gift at a garden center, for someone other than yourself.

9. When you give money as a gift, you always put it in a handmade seed packet and call it ‘seed money’. Bonus points if you have ever used money you got as a gift to buy seeds.

10. You ‘fix’ the drawing of names for the family gift exchange so you are sure to draw the name of someone who wants gardening related items. Bonus points if you actually buy them gardening related items.

11. You deck the halls with boughs of holly and other greenery cut from your own garden. Bonus points if you also grow your own Christmas trees.

12. You always buy amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs to force into bloom during the holidays. Bonus points if they are actually blooming on Christmas day.

Merry Christmas from May Dreams Gardens

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Grow, Amaryllis, Grow

Every gardener has a plant that just does not seem to grow. The plant just sits there in its pot, day after day, looking the same each day, taking up space, maybe taking up valuable space in a sunny window. These plants don’t die, but they don’t grow either. Day after day, they are just there with no discernable change.

I’ve got some amaryllis plants that are doing that right now, or rather I should say they are doing nothing right now.

They are basically the same as when I bought the bulbs, except the shoots are a little greener than when I took them out of their dark boxes.

I’ve been analyzing the situation to determine what could be wrong. Here are some of my theories.

- I’m not watering them enough or maybe I'm watering too much. I actually don’t think this is the problem.

- They aren’t getting enough light. That can’t be it, as we’ve all seen amaryllis trying to bloom while still in their dark boxes in the stores and these are by an east window.

- I bought cheap bulbs and they were a little on the small side. Maybe this is as fast as I should expect for $3.99 a bulb.

- I’m simply not patient enough. Maybe these bulbs just need a bit more time to get established in their pots and then they’ll take off.

I think the most probable cause of the slow growth is a combination of the last two theories. I did buy smaller bulbs and now I just need to wait them out. They will bloom in time. I’ve never had an amaryllis bulb that didn't bloom!

But just in case, I am going to try a new method of getting these to grow. A co-worker gave me this sign for my garden today.

I shall place it in one of the amaryllis pots and that should do the trick.Yes, I’m going to bully these amaryllis plants into growing and blooming. It may be too late for Christmas but these are the perfect colors for Valentine’s Day.

I really don't like to resort to these kinds of methods, really. I've learned my lesson. Don't cheap out and don't procrastinate. So next year, I'll buy bigger, better Amaryllis bulbs and I'll pot them up earlier.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Gardening Themed Ornaments And Some Useful Info

From the department of redundancy department, I have some more gardening themed ornaments to show everyone.

But first, some useful information. Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening has posted some information on commenting with Open ID, which allows non-Blogger bloggers to leave a comment with a link back to their blog or website. Check that out and then feel free to experiment by leaving comments here, all you non-Blogger bloggers.

Now some more gardening themed Christmas tree ornaments...

I think it is important for all vegetables to be represented on your Christmas tree, including your root crops.
You say po-ta-to, I say po-tah-to!

I believe that Colleen at In The Garden Online has this one, too.For some reason, our Target stores in different cities seemed to have some of these on clearance last year. How could these not be snatched up?

I made this one years ago, can you tell?This bell doesn't ring. My sister has, or is supposed to have, a very special bell on her tree that does ring, but she thinks she lost it. She's in big trouble and had better find it.

Did I mention I have several watering can ornaments?There's also one with a bunny and a watering can, but I couldn't find it this evening.

Here's a watering can with a bird.This came from a popular greeting card company's line of Christmas ornaments.

Hey, how did this one get in here!?See, not every ornament on my tree relates to gardening.

But many do.I try not to get distracted thinking about seeds until after the holidays. Then I think about them quite a lot.

That's it for now. Like I said, feel free to test out Open ID here any time. And I look forward to seeing other posts about garden-themed Christmas ornaments from other garden bloggers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tree Ornaments: Gardening Style

My sister sent me an email today suggesting that I should take all my gardening-themed ornaments off my Christmas tree and take a picture of them to post. "Or", she wrote, "would that involve taking all the ornaments off the tree?"

Well, I wouldn't have to take all the ornaments off the tree, but I would have take more than a few off.

Here's a sampling...

I have a couple of different wheelbarrows.Some have little plants and things in them.

Surprise, surprise, here's a gardening tool ornament.But no hoes on my tree, unfortunately.

This is the only greenhouse I own.I bet there are other garden bloggers who have this one, since it was sold by a popular greeting card company a few years ago.

I have several gardening snowman.But I could always use some more. I replaced my Blogger profile with this picture last year, but I was too lazy to do that this year.

I also posted about some of my gardening-themed ornaments last year. I found some at Target after Christmas and posted about them, and Pam/Digging commented that she had gotten the same set for Christmas. I also have watering cans, glass fruits and vegetables, some clay pot 'bells', bunnies, and tiny bird feeders and bird houses on my tree. I guess my Christmas tree gives me away as a gardener. Who knew?

Does anyone else have gardening themed ornaments on their tree?

Ha, ha, of course some of you do!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Annual Christmas Letter from May Dreams Gardens

My Christmas cards are in the mail, so now it is time to publish an annual Christmas letter on my blog, the 1st annual letter.

December 2007

Dear Friends and Family in the Garden and out of the Garden,

Merry Christmas from May Dreams Gardens! It seems like just yesterday the crocuses were blooming by the front steps and now it is once again time to write a Christmas letter. It is hard to believe that another year has passed in the garden.

Do you remember how we thought spring would never get here? It teased us a bit and fooled a lot of the trees and shrubs into budding out, but then it disappeared and winter returned. Those were some tough days in the garden, but me and the plants got through them somehow and I even managed to expand a few garden beds toward the end of spring before the perennials got too big to divide.

I had a pretty good vegetable garden this year even though we had what they called a moderate drought. I discovered round zucchini and now I really don’t want to grow those big club zucchini’s, but I probably will. For once I had a decent harvest of both peas and green beans, which means the rabbits didn’t get to all of them like in the past. I still haven’t trapped any rabbits, so I think the bunnies and I have reached a truce or something. At least I’d like to think we have, since it is the season of Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men (and me and the bunnies).

I wish I could say it was a great year for my tomatoes, but it wasn’t. I never did harvest a big tomato that I could be really proud of, so I decided to go the other way and see how tiny my tomatoes could be. That was fun as it turned into a bit of competition around the blogosphere to see who really had the tiniest tomato.

All year I kept posting about my garden on my blog and now I know about all kinds of other gardens and gardeners, too many to link to in my letter. The gardeners were so nice last spring to choose me for a Mouse & Trowel award for neighborliness. And then in the fall, I got to be quoted in a magazine article in American Gardener about garden blogging.

Many of us blogging gardeners have been sharing on our blogs about what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th day of the month for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. It’s a lot of fun and now I have a list of new flowers that I want to put in my own garden. Maybe Santa will bring me some seeds for some of them?

Funny thing, some of those gardeners say they garden without hoes. Can you imagine? This past year I added three hoes to my collection, one new hoe, and two old hoes, one that my uncle found when he was cleaning out an old shed and the other one from my mom’s neighbor who moved away after forty some odd years next door to her. So, I guess it was really a “hoe, hoe, hoe” kind of year!

Well, there’s a lot of other good news and happenings at May Dreams Gardens, including the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, but this letter is getting a little long and I wanted to keep it to one page. So I’ll close by saying I’m really looking forward to the next year in the garden which I hope is the best year yet!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,


May Dreams Gardens

Mystery Picture and Why I've Not Commented On Your Blog

Does anyone know what this is a picture of?My back yard covered with snow!

And I took this picture on purpose. Who knew it would come out so... clear.

What I did by accident tonight is... you know how in Google Reader, how there is a button to "refresh" your reader and bring in new posts, and right next to it is a button to "mark all as read"? Well, tonight I hit "mark all as read" instead of "refresh". This means all blog posts I was intending to read and comment on are no longer in my Google Reader, and I don't know how to get them "unread".

So, if I have commented on your blog before, and you wonder why I haven't commented on your recent posts, let me know! I was going to comment, honestly!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More on Focal Points in the Garden

When it comes to adding focal points to the garden, such as garden statues, the focal point should fit in with the overall style and climate of the garden.

Many were concerned when I posted about putting a snowman statue in my garden that it might not fit the style of the garden Perhaps everyone was right, my snowman did look a tiny bit out of place in the spring.

But now what do you think of my snowman in the garden?
He fits right in, doesn't he?

That right there ought to be my Christmas card picture!

Snow Blowing Is A Lot Like Lawn Mowing

Today is a better day for dreaming than gardening.

Dire weather forecasts for this weekend called for snow, slush, rain, ice and wind, and some weatherman even said the "B" word... blizzard.

The reality was we got some snow yesterday, but temperatures were warm enough that roads were slushy not icy.

Then later around 11:00 PM, it started to rain. But the weathermen insisted we would also get some snow on top of the ice.

And they were right, but I don't think we got as much accumulation as they predicted.

I must confess that I took my outdoor pictures for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 14th, when the raised bed vegetable garden looked like this. I wanted to get my post up so people could leave their comments about their own bloom day posts. Plus, like everyone else, weekends right now are busy so it made sense to fudge it a bit and post blooms from the 14th.

Then on the 15th, we got some snow.I doubt I would have found the little vinca flower in all this, if I had waited until the 15th to take my pictures.

Now this morning the garden looks like this.It is not nearly as much snow as predicted, but it's enough that I got out my new snowblower.

Clearing snow off the driveway is sort of like mowing the grass.

- You can see where you've been, just like mowing. That's important because if you can't see where you've been, it means that the wind is probably blowing the snow right back.

- You can work up a good sweat, just like mowing. The difference is you don't really get hot, like you would in the summer, so you don't realize how hard you've been working. That's how some people over exert themselves and ending up in the hospital or worse. If you aren't in good enough shape to mow your own lawn, don't try to shovel or clear the snow off your driveway.

- You get some satisfaction of a job well done when you see the driveway all cleared off, but you know you are likely to have to do it again, just like with mowing.

There is one key difference between mowing the lawn and clearing snow off a driveway. Do you know what it is?

If you don't mow the lawn, the grass just gets taller and taller and when you eventually do it, it is a lot of work.

If you don't clear the snow off your driveway, eventually it gets warmer, the snow melts and you don't have to do it at all! High of 42 by Tuesday, so this snow will turn to sloppy wet in no time at all!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - December

Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for December! Continuing with the tradition started in February, I'm posting my blooms on the fifteenth of the month and invite others, both gardeners and non-gardeners, to do the same on their blogs.

In my Zone 5 garden, there aren't too many blooms outside in December, so let's start with inside blooms.

First up, the quintessential December flower, a poinsetta. This is a "Winter Rose" miniature poinsettia that I bought last weekend. I needed to have a real poinsettia for bloom day!

My white Christmas cactus started blooming this week, right on schedule for the holidays, or did it know about bloom day?

I will have to admit that the Christmas cactus is not the most attractive of house plants for 51 weeks of the year, but I keep it around because it blooms for the holidays.

The orchid that was just starting to bloom in November is going strong now.By next month hopefully some other orchids will be blooming that are just now showing some buds.

I also have an African violet in bloom but I didn't get a good picture of it today and no time to take another picture, but trust me, its blooming.

Outside, I'll have to confess I left the pansies in the window box.They didn't look so good the week before last when we got our first measurable snowfall and temperatures plummeted but they've perked up a bit. I bet they are gone tomorrow because they are forecasting 6 - 10 inches of snow starting around lunch time. If that happens, I'll have to update this post to show what is really happening in my garden on the 15th!

If we get that snowfall, this Vinca minor will also be done for sure.It's fairly inconsequential now in the grand scheme of the garden, but it, along with the pansies and one little frozen violet were all I could find outside.

What's blooming in your garden? Join us for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day! All are welcome! Post some pictures or lists of your blooms on your blog and then leave a comment here to let us know so we can come and admire all your flowers.

As for me, I think I need more indoor flowering plants to tide me over until spring, don't you think?

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence