Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Keeping Track of Plants

So each spring I take photos of my garden beds, more specifically those beds that have tulips and daffodils blooming in them. If I don't, I won't remember in the fall exactly where and what is under the ground. 

For daffodils, I take photos to show how many are blooming in one grouping. If the grouping is getting crowded, then I know it's time to dig the bulbs up to divide them (and plant others else where).

For tulips, the photos help me to remember exactly where I planted them, so when it's time to plant more in October, I can plant new ones in the same location...or, decide to move them. Unlike daffodils, tulips don't need dividing - they just rot away. Pics also help me to remember what colors I bought the previous year, just in case I accidentally throw away the info card.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Always Say Yes

So when people find out you're a gardener, they call you up when they are cleaning up their beds or dividing plants to see if you want any. I have discovered over the years that I'm not alone in the feeling of committing sacrilege by throwing away perfectly good plants.

So years ago when my friend and fellow Realtor asked me over to take a look at her over flowing garden bed to see if I wanted anything, I didn't hesitate to say "YES!".  I had never heard of Bachelor Button before and it was going crazy in her yard so why not give it a try in mine. 

My version is called Mountain Bluet, but is also knows as Mountain Knapweed or Cornflower. The blue-purple flowers are stunning and I love the shape of the flower heads before they open, too. Mountain Bluet is a spring blooming perennial and the leaves are a little fuzzy. Since my gardens have clay a few feet down, I find that nothing in my garden goes haywire with over growth, and these do just fine, not overspreading.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

New Colors of Tulips this Year

I really hope I saved the mixed tulip bulb bag that I bought last fall because I am LOVING the colors in this mix. The range from red, pink, tangerine, yellow, and white. I decided to group them in odd numbers this year to see how it looked (instead of planting them in a straight line).

Large holes were dug and I put three to seven tulips in a hole, and then spaced the holes out a couple of feet. I love the look of randomness so much that I'm going to repeat it again next year.
Oh, and yes, I plant about 100 bulbs in similar locations each fall. Some get eaten by voles or dug up by squirrels before spring, some get eaten by rabbits when they start shooting up, and some don't bloom at all. Tulip bulbs here in Minnesota don't bloom more than three years, so they say, but I'm lucky if I get just one season.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Monday, July 23, 2018

It's Currant Picking Time

I planted a Black Currant bush three years ago and it is amazing how well it is doing.

The bush is about 6 feet wide and 5 feet tall and covered in dark purple berries. Picking them can be a chore. Sometimes I can pull the whole string of berries off, but other times the individual berries come off in my hand and I have to be careful not to drop them. That's annoying! Having a bucket underneath is a good idea, too.

Once I get them all picked off the bush, I pull the berries from the stems and wash them with cold water, then place them all on papers towels to dry. I get rid of any small red or green berries that might have ended up in the bowl.

Look how nice and plump they are!  This years crop is going immediately into the freezer so I can figure out what I am going to make with them.  I measure them out, two cups in each bag, so I remember how much was harvested. Almost 13 cups this season!

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Mexican Sunflower

So I picked up a 6 pack of these annuals at the Friends Plant Sale and thought I'd give them a shot. I needed something tall to put in the garden to help transition fading summer plants into blooming fall plants.

I think I am in love. Such a great bright orange color that really makes a statement, and definitely tall. This plant is 4 feet at least! Mexican Sunflower is an annual in Minnesota and loves full sun. Best of all is that Monarch butterflies LOVE it!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Can Pansies Survive the Summer?

Why yes, you CAN grow pansies to survive summer! The key is planting them in the right spot.

It's hard waiting for Spring to come, especially when winter lasts into May like this year, so you can get Pansies in the ground. Pansies are techinally cool weather plants and thrive in the Spring. I love them because they are the first colors you can get in your garden as annuals, and they can survive late frosts.

If you want to keep them all summer long, plant them in a location that gets morning sun. If you plant them where they will be exposed to afternoon sun, you'll lose them by late June. Mine stop getting sun by Noon and then are shaded by the house the rest of the day.

These are some of the pansy faces I planted this year, and they ware still going strong. I plant them in front of my coneflower garden so that by the time the coneflowers are in full bloom by late summer, the pansies start to take back stage, and then I pull them out by late August. Of course, keep them watered in the very hot days of summer and fertilized, and you'll have happy pansies all summer long.