Sunday, January 28, 2018

Record keeping

Diana created a post at the Garden Bloggers Fling blog asking (and answering) why gardeners blog. My personal reason is primarily to keep track of what I do in the yard and garden. Unfortunately, sometimes I miss posting a purchase. This year I am going to try to fix that by posting purchases as they arrive.

First up are some seeds from Stokes. All I was really interested in were the 'Luna Red' hibiscus seeds. I used to have some of this in my yard but somewhere along the way, it disappeared. Hibiscus blooms may be used for dyeing, so I decided to bring it back. Individual plants are rather expensive (and I want four), so I am turning to seeds. I tried this last year with seeds from a different source, but they never germinated. These seeds are supposedly scarified, though, so they should germinate sooner. Fingers crossed.

Since I was ordering one thing from Stokes, I decided to order a second thing: Profusion zinnias. Last year I tried some plants (from Lowes?) but they did not do much. I planted them at the corner of the house where the purple smoke bush reigns, a spot I have had repeated trouble populating (although the hyacinth do well there). I saw how well Profusion zinnias grow in full sun, in a downtown park, and decided to try them again but somewhere else in the yard. And from seed.

The weather has been crazy lately, with multiple "January thaws". The problem with this is Big Foot, a.k.a. Clio, my lab-pit mix, churns up the lawn when she and Watson have the zoomies. Right now I am attempting to ameliorate that by not letting the both of them out at the same time on days when the top layer of the ground is thawed and/or mushy. They don't understand, of course, but it seems to be helping, or at least keeping things from getting worse.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

It's only money

One of my credit cards was compromised, to the point the issuer issued me a new one with a new number. I put it to the test today, by ordering WAY too many plants and seeds. Well, mostly plants, as the cost of the seeds doesn't really compare. If my plans don't work out, I'm turning the yard back into lawn.

I have never been able to figure out a good way to photograph the Meyer lemon "tree", especially to highlight the blossoms. I did finally figured out how to keep it healthy, though: compost tea. At the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling, one item in the swag bag was a box of compost tea bags. The idea was to soak the bags of compost in water, then use the water as compost tea. Unfortunately, my dog got into the box and tore open the tea bags. I saved as much of the granulated compost as I could. This fall and winter, I sprinkled some on the soil of the lemon plant, so now every time I water, the plant gets a drink of compost tea.

The plant is loaded with blossoms this year. They smell soooo sweet! I'm hoping for a bumper crop.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New year musings

Needless to say, no gardening is going on, especially during this below-normal winter. The seed catalogs have started to pour in, though, so spring hopes eternal.

I do get outside every day, to at least walk the dogs, lately to keep up with the snow. While shoveling the walk, I contemplate what to do with this, that, or the other bed or plant. Right now I think I will move the sedums, coreopsis, Stella d'Oro daylilies, dwarf fountain grass to around the trees and shrubs in the front yard, yellow things under the purple ones, purple things under the yellow ones. The northern sea oats could go on the south side of the house, where the eaves are a bit deep for true sun-lovers, and the switchgrass can be moved to full sun (front? back?) where it might just remain upright.

I'm leaning toward planting 'Clara Curtis' painted daisies under the purple smoke bush where nothing else seems to thrive. I used to have a lot of Clara but somewhere along the way, it pooped out, probably because I kept moving it. And I'm thinking of dwarf yellow zinnias for the bed by the front walk. The yucca needs to be tamed.

First priority for the backyard is a strategy to help it recover from the dogs. Actually, it is not Watson but Clio and her big feet that are the problem. We have a couple of dog parks here in town, so I may get passes and take them there to get the zooms out. Meanwhile, movable electric fencing in the backyard will be employed to keep them contained while the beds on the north and south sides of the house recover.

There are a few more dye plants I want to raise: indigo, dyers coreopsis, bedstraw, yellow cosmos, hibiscus. I'm going to try starting 'Luna Red' hibiscus again, getting the seeds from a different source. A second bed of hollyhock will also get started, as it is a biennial.

My efforts to provide shade for the AC unit have not panned out yet, so this year I will try planting a Prairie Fire flowering crab nearby. I am enamored with paperbark maple, a slow grower that will provide year-round interest. I also would not mind having a ninebark... along with a hundred other plants.

Then everywhere else I plan to plant plugs of coneflower and rudbekia, plus giant zinnias. And maybe some compass plant in this corner, cup plant in that corner. And Mexican sunflower.

What are your garden pipe dreams this winter?