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Sunday, April 29, 2012

On a whim... Salvia 'Madeline'

I purchased Salvia 'Madeline' on a whim last spring. I was on my last stop on a day devoted to shopping at various garden centers throughout the city.

I'd never heard of Salvia 'Madeline' before I saw it, but it stood out on the table of perennials. Or perhaps it called out to me?

I was reminded of those videos from the humane societies or in the movies where someone goes in to get a dog and one scruffy mutt somehow manages to get the person's attention and be the one chosen to go to a new "forever" home.

This particular salvia was like that.  It had two flower stalks, one broken off, but it  still had enough blooms remaining for me to notice the bi-color nature of the flowers.  I remember I looked around, hoping to find another, healthier, Saliva 'Madeline'.  I saw none. This was it. Take it or leave it.

I plopped it into my cart, along with my other purchases and bought it.

Once I got it home, I unceremoniously found a bare spot in Plopper's Field to plant it in. Then I cut off the rest of its blooms and let it grow on as best it could through a particularly hot and dry summer.

This spring, I was rewarded with more of the same blooms that caused me to buy this on a whim in the first place.  This was a good whim. I'm glad I gave in to it.

Let me be the kind of gardener who gives in to her whims, who never sticks to a precise list of plants.

Let me be the kind of gardener who always has a place in her garden for a new whim or two or three or a dozen.

Let me be the kind of gardener who understands that some of her whims won't turn out like Salvia 'Madeline', but some of them will and the garden will be more interesting because of them.

May Dreams Gardens, a place of whims and dreams.




Saturday, April 28, 2012

Achieving Happiness in Your Garden: The Fifteenth Secret

Lurie Garden - Chicago, Illinois
I never thought much about salvias before I saw them in big drifts in the Lurie Garden in Chicago. 

They seemed a  bit, oh, I don't know, ordinary?  The dark bluish-purple spikes just seemed to fade into the shade in my garden. 

But when I saw the big drifts of them in the Lurie Garden, mixed with the lighter shades of purple Baptisia, in a sea of green punctuated with occasional yellow blooms, I changed my mind.

Now I can't get enough salvias for my garden.

I have similar stories from other times when I've left my garden to go see other gardens, whether those gardens are just around the corner or on the other side of the country.  My head spins with new ideas for my own garden. 

One might think that leaving my garden to go see other gardens might make me less satisfied with my own garden, but the truth is it has made me happier with my own garden because of what the newly discovered plants and ideas have added to it.

That's how I came to discover that the fifteenth secret to achieving happiness in your garden is never  going to be found in your own garden.  It's "out there", in another garden, because the secret really is "leave your garden".

Leave your garden?

Yes, leave your garden. Don't leave it forever, but leave it for brief periods of time to discover ideas and plants that you can bring back to it, making it better in the long run.  And better in the long run means you'll be happier with it.

Leave your garden, the 15th secret to achieving happiness in your garden.

Go now.  Put on your traveling shoes, plop a good hat on your head, grab your walking stick and leave your garden to achieve happiness in it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Listening for a secret


I will remain vigilant and alert as I look for the 15th secret to achieving happiness in your garden. Perhaps I will hear it in the faint whispers of the flowers?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Achieving Happiness in the Garden: The Fourteenth Secret

I wasn't expecting to discover another secret to achieving happiness in the garden. I had already discovered a lucky thirteen of them over the course of time and figured that was it.

Enough already.

I have committed the first five secrets to memory and can recite them as almost an "elevator speech". You all know what an elevator speech is, right? It's that little spiel you memorize and are prepared to go through when you have just a minute or so, or the length of time of a short elevator ride, to say it.

Here's my spiel for the first five secrets to achieving happiness in your garden.

"There are five main secrets for achieving happiness in your garden. Follow these and I promise you'll be a happy gardener. Grow the plants you love, size the garden for the resources you have, buy good tools, respect Mother Nature, and share your garden with others."  When I say them, I find myself counting off the secrets on one hand.

I'm still working on a spiel for the second five secrets, which include plan your garden, feed the soil, strive for balance, ask for help, and change your garden if you don't like it

Then there are three more secrets that really need two more to go with them to make them a set:  try new plants, plant for the future,  and take a break from your garden.

Fortunately, I finally found that missing 14th secret.  It was there all along, as most of the secrets to achieving happiness in your garden are. I just needed the right combination of warmth, sun, and time in the garden to find it. It was written in the very fine print on the back of an old plant label, one of those labels you find lying around the garden not anywhere near the plant it describes.  

Maybe a clever garden fairy left it there for me to find it.

Regardless of how it came to be there, I picked it up and noticed that there in that fine print it said "Visit your garden, the 14th secret".

Visit your garden.

Makes perfect sense.  We often are out in our gardens - to weed, mow, mulch, hoe, plant, dig up, pull out, water, edge and do any number of other tasks. We rarely just go out to our gardens to visit them, to walk the paths, smell the flowers, leaving pruners, hoes, gloves, and other tools behind, lest they tempt us to start gardening before we've really had a chance to see and enjoy the whole garden.

It's kind of sad in a way, to never visit your own garden.

You may find it hard to visit your garden without wanting to reach down and pull a weed, or run back to the garden shed to get some pruners.

But really, try to visit your garden. Stop fussing about it all the time. See it not for the tasks that need to be done, but for the beauty of the flowers, lawn, trees and shrubs. Enjoy it for a change

Visit your garden, and learn the 14th secret to achieving happiness in your garden.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday: Indiana Seed

I went to a plant sale.

I was looking for plants and garden sculptures.

I didn't have any particular plants in mind to buy.

I was just looking.

I wouldn't have looked twice at the plants I ended up buying if it hadn't been for the way they were labeled.

"INDIANA seed" was all I needed to see to decide I should buy these plants, really just seedlings, though I knew little about them and most of what I did know was on the tags.

"INDIANA seed" was too tempting. I'm an Indiana girl after all, born and raised here, by parents born and raised in Indiana, too, with three of four grandparents born and raised here, and more before them.  My roots run deep in Indiana and not many from my family branch out much further than Indiana. (Roots and branch in the same sentence on purpose, I'm also a gardener.)

I'm now the proud owner of four new Indiana wildflowers for my garden, if one can own wildflowers.

I hope they aren't too wild, yet find my garden suitable enough to be just a little bit wild.

*****


To find other posts for Wildflower Wednesday, visit our wildflower garden hostess Gail at Clay and Limestone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden Party Crashers

 Snow-in-Summer, Cerastium tomentosum
My April garden party has been crashed by May blooms.

They have rudely shown up early, like guests invited for supper who show up for lunch.

They demand my attention now.

Unfortunately, I'm not ready for them now, mentally or physically.

So I've left April in charge of them.  And April is treating them to some occasional frosts, which some of them don't like, while others don't seem to mind at all.

Whether bothered by frost or not, none of them seem to be getting the hint that they are early.

Silly flowers. I would like them to unbloom, go back, spend some time somewhere else and then return at the proper time, my definition of the proper time... May.

Who's with me on this?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Garden Sculpture: Catch a Tiger by the Tail

I accomplished another goal for the garden redesign project today when I purchased some seven colorful tiger tails and three long leaves from Girly Steel to set up in the high summer garden called August Dreams Garden.

The garden designer originally suggested and chose plants that will bloom primarily in late summer and fall for this garden area, which means that for the rest of the year, there's not much going on in it.

Now there will be colorful tiger tails bobbing and dancing in the breeze year round. 

Collectively, I'm calling this grouping "Catch a Tiger by the Tail".  You may interpret its meaning any way you wish or not at all.

But if someone asks me, I'll tell them it means to conquer your fears, grab that tiger by the tail and see what happens.  The worst that can happen is you have to let go.   The best that could happen is you might tame that tiger and be ready to move on to a bigger tiger.

Nope, I'm not telling you what my tigers are.  I'll grab those tails in due time, in and out of the garden.  Or maybe, I'll grab the tails by the tigers?



It's good to have reminders to try new things, to conquer fears.

It's even better to have a new garden sculpture made by a local artist be that reminder.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guest Post: Garden Fairies Discuss HUG Activities

Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we want to discuss the HUG activity, the weeding, that has taken place this spring here at May Dreams Gardens.

But first things first, we would like to mention how much we are enjoying the Dianthus that Carol planted along the edges of the flower beds that border the patio.  We garden fairies really like this flower where as before we were not too sure about it and were not all 100% in favor of Carol planting it like she did.

Plus, do not tell anyone, but we could not believe how long she left these plants in their pots last spring after she bought them and brought them home. We are garden fairies, we were appalled.

We garden fairies are often flabbergasted and flummoxed at how gardeners fall in love with plants at the garden center, pay good money for them and then bring them home and let them sit in their pots for days, weeks, even months.  We are garden fairies, we don't pretend to understand, we pretend to report the facts. Wait. That doesn't sound right.  Actually, we actually report facts and the fact is we love these Dianthus that are all blooming now. We have been having some parties around them recently. You should have seen what Sweetpea Morningdew did at this one...

But enough about us garden fairies. We are posting today to report that there has been some Highly Unusual Gardening (HUG) activity taking place here at May Dreams Gardens.  This HUG activity comes not from Carol but from one of her sisters, who came to visit, saw the weeds and decided to take it upon herself to come back several more times and... weed.

She did a great job, near as we can tell.  Carol was out there once with her and pointed out that she should leave all the Columbine seedlings alone. Yeah! We are garden fairies and we love Columbine.  Carol also told her sister who was doing all this HUG activity  to rip out that frassy perennial sweet pea that still shows up everywhere. Yeah! We are garden fairies and we don't care for that perennial sweet pea either, though we do love the regular annual sweet peas, of which there are several growing back in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral right now.

Yes, we are garden fairies, but we do know the names of the gardens around here. We've got ears, you know, and we read this blog. Plus, we sometimes make suggestions to Carol about what to name sections of the garden, because we are garden fairies and we just do that.  In fact, our next post might be about the recently named Fairy Field.

Anyway, we are garden fairies, and we pretend to report the facts and the fact is this garden has never been so nicely weeded in all the time we've known it. This is all due to HUG activity that Carol's sister took it upon herself to do in the garden this spring.

Now, if we can just get Carol to get out here and spread some mulch.
That would be quite a big HUG activity for us garden fairies. We like a nicely mulched garden. Then we'll be all set for May which is coming up in just 10 days.

We are garden fairies, we are excited!

Submitted by:
Thorn Goblinfly
Chief Scribe and Garden Scout at May Dreams Gardens and Primary Spotter of HUG activity

Friday, April 20, 2012

Red Geraniums and Tomatoes

"Whatcha doing, Dad?"

Planting some peas and onion sets.

"Can I help?"

Sure, just let me finish tilling up the garden.

"Can I make the row?"

Sure, make it right over here by the fence.

"How long should I make it?"

Make it the whole length of the garden.

"How far apart should I plant the seeds, Dad?"

About an inch or so.

"Like this? Now what do we?"

Now we cover them over and tamp them down.

"Like this?"

Yes, like that.

"When do we plant the geraniums and tomatoes, Dad?"

In another month or so when it's warmer.

"Can I have my own garden?"

Sure, you kids can each have a space to plant.

"Mom, do you have a spoon?"

What for?

"To dig with and plant geraniums."

Okay, but bring it back when you're finished.

"Dad, how do you get your tomatoes to grow so big?"

... And that's how kids learn to garden.

My tomato plants have never been as big as those I remember my Dad growing.  Maybe I was smaller?  Maybe Dad had a secret, and didn't have a chance to tell me what it was? 

It's been 25 years, an entire lifetime since my Dad planted a garden. That last spring, he planted the peas and onion sets and then died before it was time to plant his geraniums and tomatoes. I planted my first garden in my first yard that same spring.  I was shocked at how small my tomato plants were compared to his.  I don't think I've ever gotten my tomato plants to grow as large as I imagine his tomato plants grew.

It's okay, I'll keep trying, and maybe this will be the year I'll have bigger, earlier tomatoes, like Dad used to grow. Goodness knows, if I take advantage of this early spring, the way he would have, I might.

I'll plant a pot of red geraniums, too, just like Dad used to grow, to remind me how I really learned to garden, how I learned to love to garden, all those years ago.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ridgewood Avenue

Come walk with me down Ridgewood Avenue.

Enter in the shade and exit in the sun by the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.

Walk slowly now. On the left is August Dreams Garden which will be in peak bloom in... August.

On the right is Woodland Follies, which will quickly become a sunny spot if that old redbud tree falls over.

Oh yes, there is still a lot of room to plant more, and that's the plan. More plants. And soon there will be a place to sit and reflect on a garden where each section has its own name or sit and read a good book about gardening..

Ridgewood Avenue, the name of a street in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of "the most famous addresses in Southern garden history", where the garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence lived.

Ridgewood Avenue, now the name of a path in my garden.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Verdant Views

 Verdant, adjective:
  1. (of countryside) Green with grass or other rich vegetation.
  2. Of the bright green color of lush grass.
A few pictures of verdant views of the garden in spring, taken a few days ago when it was overcast and rainy.

First, a view across Plopper's Field looking toward the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.

Plopper's Field is called just that because it is a flower garden where you just plop in new perennials wherever you see bare ground, sort of making sure the new plant won't crowd out the ones around it.

On the left, where the two green chairs are is The Shrubbery.  It is, or will be filled with mostly shrubs of various types.  This spring, I had a crew clear out two big Viburnums from The Shrubbery, one because it was half-dead, the other because it suckered too much for my level of garden maintenance.  I have new spaces to plant now.

A view on the other side of the lawn, which I just named Fairy's Field, looking across August Dreams Garden toward the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.
 August Dreams Garden is planted to have peak bloom in August and September, It was just planted last spring so it is in the "creep" stage of "sleep, creep, leap", those three stages that all newly planted gardens seem to go through.  The path on the right divides it from Woodland Follies.  I call the path Ridgewood Avenue.  Can you guess why?

Woodland Follies is so named because most of the shade comes from an old redbud tree that leans precariously. If it dies, then the woodland plants will suddenly be in full sun.  I have an idea to plant three small trees around the old redbud so that if or when it dies, the three new trees might provide that shade. It's on my list to take care of that yet this spring.

For anyone who missed it, earlier this spring, I had a crew come in and completely re-do the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.  This is a view of it cross Fairy's Field, the lawn.


The Vegetable Garden Cathedral is ready for planting.  By mid-summer, it will be completely transformed into its own verdant view. 

Now back to the question.  Does anyone know why I would call the path that divides August Dream Garden from Woodland Follies Ridegewood Avenue?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2012

Tulipa batalinii 'Apricot Jewel'

Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for April 2012.

Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden, it's crazy, it's mixed up. It's different. It's early.

These blooms don't belong to this time.  They belong to May.  But since March grabbed April's blooms, I guess April can grab May's blooms.

Instead of the first of the tulips, we are enjoying the last of the tulips, a species tulip, Tulipa batalinii 'Apricot Jewel', which started blooming a week ago.

Right by the back door step, I have a little planter with some tiny Ajuga 'Dixie Chip' planted in it. It's truly that blue.

Ajuga 'Dixie Chip'
I'll take that blue in the garden any day, even if it is weeks earlier than usual.

Along the edge of the patio, I planted Dianthus last year, several varieties, to provide a little continuity of bloom and soften the edge.
Dianthus sp.
I bought these last May when they were in full flower.  After this first flush of blooms, they will have a few blooms on them all the way until fall.

Another plant  blooming early that will bloom from now until fall is Rosa 'Radsunny'.

Rosa 'Radsunny'
It is a Knock Out® rose. If you've been avoiding roses in your garden because you think they are just a big mess of blackspotted leaves, you should try this one. Clear, green foliage, all the way until fall.

If you also think lilacs are great big shrubs, try Syringa x meyeri, which in my garden stays below four feet.
Syringa x meyeri
It normally blooms in early to mid May, but here it is in April, blooming.

It's crazy, it's mixed up, but it's what we have in April so we'll take it as we move closer and closer to May.



What’s blooming in your garden today?  Are the blooms early?

We welcome everyone to join us for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day whether this is your first time or your 51st time, whether you have a garden blog or some other kind of blog.

It’s easy to join in. Just post on your own blog about what's blooming in your garden right now, outdoors or indoors. You can include pictures, lists, common names, botanical names, whatever you’d like to do to showcase your blooms.

Then leave a comment and put your name and a link back to your bloom day post in the Mr. Linky widget below, so we know where to find your blog and can visit you virtually and read about your bloom day blooms.

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




Saturday, April 14, 2012

You Might Be A Gardening Geek: Laundry Edition

Rain makes the garden green
You might be a gardening geek doing laundry if...

You divide your laundry up into loads of lights, darks, and gardening before you wash it.  Bonus points if the largest pile is gardening.

You have more than three shirts in the laundry  that have a saying on them related to gardening. Bonus points for each shirt that is green.  Limit ten bonus points.

You consider grass and mud stains on the knees of your jeans as more of a badge of horticultural honor than some dreadful stains that must be removed.  After all, those jeans will be stained again within five minutes of wearing them in the garden the next time.

Your white socks are no longer really white but are more of an interesting off white with streaks of brown from mud and green from grass that never really come out after washing.

You feel like you garden best in your faded green t-shirt that is over 10 12 15 years old and has a little hole on the shoulder seam that out of the corner of your eye looks like a bug so much so that you find yourself swatting at it every 15 minutes or so when you forget, again, that it is a little hole in your shirt and not a bug. You insist on wearing this shirt even though you have plenty of newer t-shirts that you could wear.  You just hope that after each washing it is still intact enough to wear one more time.

You attempt to do laundry while gardening which results in some newly washed non-gardening clothes ending up with some mud on them when you forgot to wash your hands before moving the clean clothes to the dryer.  Frass! You thought your hands weren't that dirty.

You find a plant label in the dryer after drying your gardening clothes and think how nice it is that the plastic tag is all nice and clean now.  Bonus points for finding a seed packet. Subtract points if you hear a clunk-clunk-clunk in the dryer and realized you've just washed your hand pruners.

You have been known to take off your clothes in the laundry room after a day of gardening to avoid tracking mud, leaves, and other garden debris into the rest of the house.

Finally, you might be a gardening geek doing laundry if you are doing laundry on a rainy Saturday and writing a garden blog post about it because it is too wet to go out and garden.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Act your month!

Grape leaves after two nights of frost.
When March didn't act like March and instead put on a darn good impersonation of May, we were all giddy and happy and clapped our hands together to show our approval.

But in the back of our minds we knew.  We knew we should not have approved of March's May. We should have told March to act its month.  We knew it wouldn't last.

We knew that April wasn't as talented or as well-behaved as March and it would only be, could only be April.


April means frosts, possibly freezes.

Who or what got caught in the middle when those cold temperatures returned?

A few plants.

Overall damage in my garden is not as bad as I suppose it could be, or as bad as it was in April 2007.

The grape leaves are crunchy.  Grape vines are pretty sturdy plants, resilient, and tough. I expect it will grow some new leaves.

Other plants like lilies that sprouted too soon, a few other flowering bulbs, and the tips of roses look a little droopy, but I expect they'll come out of it.

The beautyberry shrubs (Callicarpa sp.) have crispy leaves like the grape vine.  I'll cut them back to the ground and they'll renew themselves with new growth.  I was going to do that anyway but the green growth looked so green and fresh. Now that it is brown and crispy, I'll have no regrets whacking them back.

A few other plants, including Endless Summer hydrangeas and a small ground cover type plant with blue flowers that I can never remember the name of and am too lazy to go look up, suffered quite a bit of damage. We'll see what they do.

All in all, April, behaving normally, had a tough act to follow.  It's like that younger sibling who is always being asked why can't they be better like their older sibling who seemed to be taller, prettier, more talented.  Ah, well, it can't. It can only be April. It can only act its month.

I've accepted that and am moving on because we are almost to the perfect month of the year... May.    Then we won't care about March and April.   May will make it all better.  When May acts its month, we'll all be happy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wanna see my new vegetable garden?

The day I went out to plant peas, I realized the vegetable garden was filled with blooming purple deadnettle and not quite ready for planting.

I got the bright idea to use a weed-whacker to at least cut back the flowers of the deadnettle to keep it from setting seed.

Then I had an even brighter idea. I decided to hire someone to clear the garden and level it off.

Then I had the brightest of ideas. I decided to have the same crew build raised beds with concrete edgers.

Now the vegetable garden is all laid out and ready to plant.
I could not be happier or more eager to plant. It's like Christmas, my birthday, and May, all rolled into one for this gardener.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Gardening at the speed of contemplation

What is the best speed at which to garden?

Too slow, and nothing gets done.

Too fast, and the gardener ends up exhausted.

Just right, and the garden looks good and the gardener is happy.

This "just right" speed for me is what I call the speed of contemplation.

When I garden at the speed of contemplation, I can hear birds, I can hear the wind, I can hear bees.

At the speed of contemplation, I can see the garden as a whole and see and smell the individual flowers, too.

At the speed of contemplation, I might still get tired - good and tired - but not exhausted to the point that I need days to recover.

At the speed of contemplation, I can think while I garden.

It's the perfect speed for me, and it took me years to figure it out.

Pace yourselves, garden at the speed of contemplation, and you'll harvest plenty from your garden, more than you can ever imagine.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

MDG Home and Tea Room for Antiquarian Gardening Books

Two violets talking in the garden.
Management here at the May Dreams Gardens Home and Tea Room for Antiquarian Garden Books (MDGHTRAGB) has decreed that no more old gardening books will be admitted to the home or even allowed to come to high tea until such time as additional shelves are obtained to house those books that have taken up residence on the floor of the dining room.

An exception is being made for two books that are currently en route to the home and tea house, having been ordered rather spur of the moment on Friday.   But after those two books arrive, that's it.

No more books until there are more shelves to hold them.

Or some books which do not necessarily meet the criteria for residency here at the May Dreams Gardens Home and Tea Room for Antiquarian Garden Books (MDGHTRAGB) need to be evicted to free up space for those gardening books that do qualify to be in residence.

What are the qualifications?

Because it is neither possible nor practical to own all the world's old gardening books, management is limiting acquisitions to those books that are older than Carol, with a decent cover, and a reasonable price.

The books should somehow relate to some aspect of gardening that Carol is interested in and should generally be written in English.  Management has asked that Carol list those aspects of gardening that she is interested in, but she has yet to do this, fearing, of course, that it will be used to keep her from purchasing an old gardening book "because it has a pretty cover" but isn't about an aspect of gardening on the list.

Preference is given to those books by authors that Carol already has a book written by, though if a new author should come along, it is possible that Carol will try to corner the market and find at least one copy of every book written by that author.  Thus, she does own a copy of each and every book written by Ida D. Bennett and most recently acquired all three books written by Alice T. A. Quackenbush.

Reprints are not welcome here at the May Dreams Gardens Home and Tea Room for Antiquarian Garden Books (MDGHTRAGB) because they lack the charm and intrigue of actual old books that may contain notes or newspaper clipping in them, long ago tucked between pages 53 and 54 by some previous owner. 

As noted by several recent acquisitions, Carol is also willing to buy more than one book on a particular aspect of gardening.

I've cornered the market on Violaceae related books.
Management does not exactly understand why Carol needs The Book of Pansy Viola & Violet and Pansies, Violas & Violets and Pansies, Violas, and Violets.

They await further explanation on this.

When asked why she continues to buy old gardening books Carol responded, "When I buy old gardening books, I feel like I am rescuing them, giving them new life, bringing them into the light, or at least giving them a place to rest on the dining room floor."

Management was encouraged to realize that at least Carol recognizes that there are no more shelves and the books are now taking up floor space.

In the meantime, they are looking for additional shelf space as it does not appear as though Carol is planning to stop purchasing or rescuing, as she refers to it, old gardening books and bringing them here to May Dreams Gardens Home and Tea Room for Antiquarian Garden Books (MDGHTRAGB) to take up residence.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Guest Post: Garden Fairies on the Veg Garden Makeover

Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we notice things that go on in this garden called May Dreams Gardens. Yes, we do. Not one thing goes on in this garden that we garden fairies don't find out about one way or another.

For example, we garden fairies noticed this tulip the other morning.  It's yellow with reddish orange, or is that orangish-red, or is that orange, or red, or  some kind of new color? We are garden fairies, and truth be told, because that's how we roll, with truth, we don't care what color it is.

What we care about and what we noticed right away is that it is not the color of the other tulips around in that garden.  It is a bi-color tulip if ever we've seen one.

We noticed it almost right away.

Yes, we will show you a picture and you fine readers can look and see if you notice how it is not the same as the other tulips.

Do you see it?  No? What? It's right there, over there, mid right in the photo, by all the 'Lady Jane' tulips.  Now do you see it?

Well whether or not you see it, it is there.  That's true of a lot of things we garden fairies notice. Like air.  It is there, but we don't see it unless the water droplets get stuck in it and then it is fog.  We garden fairies...

Oh, wait a blooming radish minute. This post wasn't supposed to be about tulips. And it sure wasn't going to be about weather either.  It was supposed to be about the vegetable garden makeover.

Well, you would not believe the goings on in the vegetable garden. We are garden fairies. The other morning, we all ran out of the vegetable garden when we saw that crew coming toward it. We ran up to where the tulips are, which is why we posted about tulips instead of vegetable gardens.

But we are garden fairies, we will provide an update on the vegetable garden, just as soon as we can get Ol' Tangle Rainbowfly to go back there and take some pictures.  He said something about waiting for Sweetpea Morningglory and her friends to finish with some of the final touches.

We are garden fairies, we promise!

Submitted by Thorn Goblinfly, Chief Scribe of the Garden Fairies at May Dreams Gardens, who doesn't like to leave readers hanging like this but there is only so much people will read in in a blog post, so she will stop here and hope that Carol picks up the slack and provides a vegetable garden update very soon.  She is also responsible for deciding what to do about the rogue yellow tulip, which is probably Tulipa clusiana 'Cynthia'.  She must decide if she will pull it up, transplant it, or leave it there.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

You Can Grow That! Oso Easy® Cherry Pie Rose

Rosa 'Meiboulka' bloom
Ladies and gentleman, gardeners young and old, rose lovers and rose haters, step right this way to see The Incredible Growing Rose.

Never in your gardening years have you seen a rose so tiny grow so quickly.

Never in your gardening years have you seen a rose so gracefully endure torrential spring time rains followed by two months of torrid summer heat and drought.

Incredible as it may seem, one and all, this rose was so tiny when first planted that the spot where it was placed into the ground had to be marked with a stick lest it get lost - lost I tell you - and completely covered by mulch.

Doubters and skeptics, I have proof!

Rosa 'Meiboulka' planted 4/12/2011

I repeat. This rose received so little care that it is a wonder of modern horticulture that it survived at all.  It is beyond a wonder that it not only survived, it thrived and had nary a blemish on any leaf.

Ladies and gentlemen, stand back. No pushing or shoving to see this up close. All will get there chance.

Here, one year later...
Rosa 'Meiboulka' after one year
Ladies and gentleman that is what three tiny Rosa 'Meiboulka' roses look like after just one year, actually 50 weeks, in the garden with no fertilizer, no spraying, and very little supplemental watering.

Just imagine what these roses will look like when they are blooming.

But wait, that's not really the most incredible thing about this rose!

What is most incredible about this rose is You Can Grow That! in your own garden if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 4a through 9a.  You don't have to run off to the circus to see it.

Just look for Oso Easy® Cherry Pie roses, as these are called in the trade, at your local garden center.  Even if it is in a three inch pot, don't be afraid to buy it, plant it, ignore it and enjoy it.

This post is offered as a contribution to Garden Bloggers You Can Grow That Day! on the fourth of every month, started by C. L. Fornari of Whole Life Gardening. Check out the You Can Grow That! Facebook page for other posts.





Monday, April 02, 2012

Tulipa 'Lady Jane'

Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane' open
If the stars came down from heaven to become flowers in a garden, I think they might become Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane'.

Sunday afternoon, when the sun came out after a rainy morning, every bloom of 'Lady Jane' opened up to soak in the sun.

Earlier, when the blooms were closed up to avoid the rain, 'Lady Jane' looked like a lovely pink tulip with white fringes, nestled amongst delicate leaves, like an elegant thin lady.

Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane' closed
I can't imagine how I ever had a garden without 'Lady Jane' tulips and thought it was complete.

There are some who might disparage 'Lady Jane' for not being the Tulipa clusiana.   That is pure snobbery. 'Lady Jane' is a marvelous tulip in my garden and is prettier than I imagined. As soon as the fall catalogs are available, I'm ordering more of these for planting this fall.

After all, its not everyday that the stars fall from the heavens to become flowers in your garden.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Chapter XVII - Funding the Garden

I recently purchased a copy of Garden Works by William Good F.R.H.S. (Blackie and Son Limited, 1913) after Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings taunted me with a picture of the cover.

I had no idea what it was about, but that didn't stop me from finding a reasonably priced copy and ordering it up because it had an interesting cover.

As soon as it arrived, I did what I usually do with old gardening books.  I went through it looking for old newspaper clippings and little scraps of paper with hand-written notes.

Sometimes I get lucky and I find a few such treasures, other times I must be content with what's on the printed pages.

After I look for loose papers, I go through the table of contents. 

I find that many general gardening books usually start out with a chapter on soil, and this one did just that.

"The soil is the all-important matter in gardening, therefore it is necessary to have some knowledge of the nature of soils, and the conditions necessary for the successful cultivation of plants, before proceeding with other subjects." 

Soil first, then the plants and other subjects.  That's a good thing to remember.

What I found unusual in this book was a chapter on "Funding the Garden".  Curious, I turned to that chapter, Chapter XVII, and read the first paragraph.

Few gardens are created exclusively from the soil, plants, rocks, and other features of the property, therefore it is necessary to determine how to fund the garden and what amount of money should be allotted to it, though a well-thought out and well-managed garden can be made with limited funds and equal or surpass that of a poorly planned and poorly manged garden made with an abundance of funds.

But I digress...

Turning to the next page, my eyes nearly popped out and my heart began to beat twice as fast when I picked up the loose bit of paper that seemed to have been left there for as long as the book was around.

It was a stock certificate, dated April 1, 1912.  I recognized the company name and wondered if it had any value. 

I'll make this short.  That stock certificate did have value, more than I ever thought it would.  When I cash it in, I'll have "an abundance of funds" to use on my garden for quite some time, and left over funds to keep buying and rescuing old garden books.  I don't know the exact amount, but I know it will be quite a lot.

I am working with the company, a lawyer, and a broker to determine the stock's value which will be based on 100 years of dividend payments, stock splits, and interest.   There's no doubt, by the way, that it is mine to cash in because it says "To the bearer of...".

I feel like I've won my own private Mega Millions lottery.  I feel like I'm set now. I feel like this spring is going to be a great spring, greater than any other. And I've had some great springs. There was the year I discovered a new plant species and the spring I found out that the boulder in my garden glows from outer space.

I'll never forget the spring I found the underground caverns filled with Indian artifacts. And wasn't I a klutz when I knocked over that plant stand and found a time capsule of old family papers inside?

Two springs ago I was growing a super-fast growing tomato. That sure was fun and with this early spring, I thought I might repeat that.  Then last year, the old woman at the door made her first appearance, and I learned a valuable gardening secret.

Forget all that. It's in the past. This year, the year of the stock certificate, is going to be the best gardening year yet, starting today, April 1, 2012.