Sunday, February 26, 2017

What Claude Said

As we're looking forward to March inching it's way closer to Spring, this famous quote from Claude Monet seems to speak to me:

I miss warm-weather flowers.  I've been know to bring in cut flowers from big box stores, put out some nice artificial flowers or have a flowering house plant but nothing is as soothing as looking at a plant blooming in my yard (or your yard for that matter.)

Since we had some record-setting warm February days, plants are spouting up, trees and bushes are budding and robins are looking around wondering "where's the beef".  

The leaves from in-ground flowers will live but may be a little ragged around the tips.  Fruit and flowering tree/shrub buds are a different story and we'll just have to wait and see if their flowers survive the resuming winter temps.  The good news is it won't kill the plants.  

Have a good end of February and join me in looking forward to flowers because we must have flowers always and always!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Fond Good-Bye

Today I bid a fond Good-Bye to my Galva News "For the Love of Gardening" column.  I had been contemplating resigning my highly paid and notoriously famous authorship for some time.  (For those that take everything literally, the paid/famous part was humor.)

I'd been contemplating the resignation but always seemed to have one more column to write.  It wasn't that there was a problem with the Galva News or Editor, Doug Boock.  On the contrary, I respect both and my working relationship and personal friendship with Doug has stayed strong. I'd written thousands of articles both here and in various publications and love to share enthusiasm for all things gardening and an occasional "opinion piece".  I had simply lost my excitement for the project. 

To me, writing and the inspiration for a topic must come from an overwhelming excitement about the topic.  I can almost always find excitement regarding gardening; maybe not in newsprint at this time.  It was time to bid a fond Good-Bye.

When I found Doug was going to resign as Editor of the Galva News, I felt it was a good time to make the change.  It wasn't a result of his leaving or being adverse to his replacement.  It was all about a good break time.  I do wish his replacement the best and I'm sure we'll all enjoy the Galva News under his leadership as we have under so many others.  I continue to maintain The Galva News is the best little weekly paper in the Midwest - maybe the world!! 

I look forward to only writing "gardening" in this Blog format at the relaxed pace it allows.  Thanks for your readership in the Galva News and comments of encouragement through the years.           

Friday, February 10, 2017

Tie it With a Bow

This beautiful Nicotiana "Lime Green" is from Annie's Annuals and she referred to it as a plant that ties her garden together.  It got me thinking about what's been successful in my gardens for tying it all together.

First off, what do we mean by "tying it all together"?  It's flowers tucked here and there (strategically of course) that help a garden to:

  • Flow from one color, kind or size to another.
  • Using one such plant, it can make different things look like they belong together.
  • It can give different beds of different things a connection.
  • It can brighten or soften other plants.

One of the cheapest and easiest flowers for this is the annual marigold.  Super hardy and blooms continually until frost.  Thanks to hybridizing, they are not only gold, they're in yellow, combos with deep red and even white.  Sized from a few inches to a couple of feet tall.  They transplant easily and once established don't take a lot of watering.  To keep them looking their best, I water when it's really dry and deadhead.  I keep an old pair of kitchen shears in my garden apron and snip off old blooms while walking around.

I like the green Nicotiana and the very old fashioned fragrant white.  I've used the pinks but they don't seem to get a bushy as I like.

For extremely dry areas, Rose Moss is an excellent low sprawling plant.  Once established it goes until frost and sometimes overwinters or self seeds.  They come in mixed bright or single colors.

If your area is shaded, the hardy hosta comes in so many sizes and patterns, it's impossible to run out of ideas.  The leaves can form a dense background pulling other plants into a single picture.  The good thing about most hosta, they can be easily divided allowing you to use the same look to unify the entire bed or shaded yard.

Another great shade tie plant is Impatiens.  It does need moisture when it gets dry but what a great burst of color all summer.

Make sure you don't use something invasive for the purpose of tying things together.  Some beautiful ground covers and grasses can easily take over and kill out other plants.

The trick with using one plant to tie in an entire area is making sure the "tie plant" is compatible to all the plants in the bed.  It won't work if the tie plant is for full sun and the bed is mostly shade.  Same with water and nutrient needs.  Most succulents and hosta aren't friends in the same bed.

You don't even need to pack your beds with tie plants.  Simply by planting the same plant somewhere in every bed can work.  The eye will recognize that plant and the mind will consider it pleasingly familiar.

Using annuals as tie plants allows a change of theme every year.  If you raise annuals from seed, it can be inexpensive.  

As you dream your February garden dreams, consider a plant you L.O.V.E. and make it a tie plant.  


Friday, February 3, 2017

Go Red

Hemerocallis " Chicago Apache"
Today is the official GO RED day focusing on the prevention of heart disease in women.  I'm wearing red on this blog:

Hemerocallis "Bryan Paul"
Hemerocallis "Case of the Reds"

Hemerocallis "Carmine Monarch" 
Hemerocallis "Chicago Ruby"
Hemerocallis "Crimson Pirate"
Hemerocallis "Crimson Shadows"
Hemerocallis "Ed Murray"
Hemerocallis "Feast of the Mau Mau"
Hemerocallis "Flaming Sword"
Hemerocallis "Fly Catcher"

Hemerocallis "Hoosier Hopes"
Hemerocallis "Klehm's Red Ribbons"
Hemerocallis "Night Embers"
Hemerocallis "Oriental Ruby"

Hemerocallis "Over There"

Hemerocallis "Red Volunteer"

Hemerocallis "Rosie Meyer"
Hemerocallis "Superlative"
All of these daylilies are beautiful and red.  They are all different in some way - shade of color, markings, size and personality.  Just like women!  

Know the warning signs of heart attack - some are a bit different for women.  Go to the ER or call 911 if you think you might be suffering from a heart attack.  Better a needless trip than going too late to help.