Monday, June 2, 2008

Back To Blogging

If I never see another bag of potting mix it will be too soon! Finally! I've gotten nearly all my containers, window boxes and half whiskey barrels planted. The Vegetable/Flower garden is finished and Steve's Planting Area is 98% finished!
Thank you all for being so patient with me. This year's weather created a situation where I wasn't able to plant gradually, over a couple month's time. Suddenly we were nearing June and I'd gotten very little done!
So Memorial weekend and this weekend (with a vacation day today) were my "crunch times" and I think I'm getting way too old this sort of thing. But I must say, I'm really sleeping soundly these nights!
Since my back (and the past few weeks, my shoulders!) is "touchy", Steve put the bags of mix in the back of his truck which was at the perfect height for me to do the window boxes and some containers.
These are the new Kinsman window box planters that I'm trying for the first time this year. As you can see, I've planted petunias in the front and sides as well as the top of them. I'm hoping for a "mass of color" in a month or so. The only negative is that they are a tad too big for the ledge and are kind of tippy. Steve put some wooden shims under them but we may have to do something more substantial later in the season. The planters are higher than standard window boxes, hence the tippiness.
Here's that giant planter I showed you on a previous post. I packed it full of Proven Winners brand petunias and within a week it already looked great. I'm sure this will be breath taking by mid Summer.
My other new Kinsman planter with a "Black and Blue" salvia, bacopa and feverfew. The pig also has bacopa in it. Sticking out of the big container is a Christmas present from sister Sue. It's a flying dog decoration that is just beginning to get a nice rusty patina.
Remember this guy from last year?? I put in begonias that I started indoors, caladium (they are an experiment since I've never had very good luck with them), impatiens, a fern, Tradescantia fluminensis, and the shocking pink New Guinea impatiens in the middle tier.
This would have been fairly easy but last Fall Steve had gotten busy one morning and was cleaning out all my planters. Never thinking, he tossed the coco liners out into the woods with the dirt and I didn't realize it until this Spring! So, instead of quickly ordering the correct size, I bought long rectangular pieces at the local garden center thinking there would be "no problem". What a mistake! Have you ever tried cutting that damn coco stuff with a scissors? And since the baskets are round it was like fitting a square peg in a round hole!! I was piecing them together as best I could - the seams are toward the wall - swearing all the while. I've learned my lesson.
This is an Asian pitcher plant Nepenthes that I bought last Fall and it's doing really well. The pitchers form at the end of the leaves. During the winter feeding isn't necessary but now it's saying "Feed Me"! I generally put a fly in one of the traps but since I'm always finding ticks on me lately, I put one in that trap on the left side of the picture. He was floating in some fluid (ugh!) last time I looked. (The ticks are so bad here that I'm about ready to put Frontline between my shoulder blades like we do with the dogs!!)
I'm posting this picture because to me this is one of the coolest things to have. I don't know about you, but I truly hate dragging miles of heavy dirty hose all over the place! This rolls so nicely over our very uneven yard, doesn't tip, and holds all kinds of hose. The reel is very smooth and easy to use. I highly recommend it.
Around the yard there are some pretty flowers in bloom.
I have no idea how this double Columbine ended up in the little garden next to the house. The parent plant was across the yard by the birdbath .
Wild Geraniums that I also did not plant.
The good old fashioned orange Poppies came up when we cleared away the brush when we moved in. Here is another surprise this year! The Dame's Rocket reseeded near the little pond and smells so sweet in the evenings. It's listed as an invasive species, as bad a garlic mustard they say!! Luckily, it stays under control here, in fact we used to have a very nice stand of it in our prairie, but it has dwindled over the years.
Some things I DID plant:
Borage and Allium bulgaricum. The Borage is nice but I should have it in full sun - it gets so tall and flops over. The Allium is about 3 feet tall and has a rather subtle and elegant look about it. And after it blooms, the foliage fades and can be pulled up.
One of my favorites - the Gas Plant. It has such a neat and tidy look about it - like a small shrub. It's said the flowers emit a gas that can be ignited! I'm going to try that this week. It blooms for a long time and the foliage smells like lemons - I couldn't ask for more!
Lamiastrum "Herman's Pride" and Star of Bethlehem. There is kind of a funny story about the Star of Bethlehem. A work mate had given me a bunch of the bulbs and told me the name. I looked it up on the internet and as well as Star of Bethlehem, it's also called Sleepy Dick. Well, we all got a big kick out of the name and all kinds of comments were directed toward my friend! It also said that these can be invasive! So, I'm not sure he did me a favor or not??

This is such a pretty picture with the peony buds in the back ground. This iris was from sister Sue also.
Another view of the iris but notice in the back ground that yellow iris at a completely "uniris" angle? And to the left is more fallen yellow iris. They are the rescue iris and I just hate them because they fall all the time. I'd thought that I'd yanked all of them out one year but I didn't get every piece of root. So after a few years there are tons of them again. I'm definitely going to do some thinning this Fall.
Bluebells and Amsonia. These plants are both so pretty and take little or no special care. My kind of plants!
Gina, of My Skinny Garden had a post about some things she'd found in the ground while building her pergola. Last week, while working in Steve's Garden, I found some odd things as well. His garden is located where the previous owner had a burning barrel - they aren't allowed here anymore.
There was this long bent rod, the ear piece from glasses, and I think part of some metal circular thing. Who knows..
But what I did find that was interesting was this:
It's 3.5" in diameter and has a book with a genie's lantern stamped on the center of it. Stamped around the edges are the words "American Numismatic Association" and "Originated 1891". It has 3 holes equally spaced as if it were attached to a book or box. Someone must have collected coins! I'm going to write the ANA and see if they would have any history about it - maybe they might want it.

The piglets getting some needed shade but . . .
the chickens are heading up the path into the woods! Hope they are very very careful; I saw three raccoons in the yard last night!
Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a breeze,
a moment's glance - it is "little" that makes the "best" happiness.
Friedrich Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Bye for now,


DeeMom said...

DO let us know about those Kinsman planters and how well they work. I have seen them but never got any feedback from people using them.

Asian pitcher plant Nepenthes WOW how neat is that.

The Gas Plant ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm another interesting flower as well as the Amsonia

Annie in Austin said...

You have been busy, Alyssa - the containers already look full and lush. Thanks for the closeup of the gas plant - another one of those plants that I always intended to grow in the North but it's too late now!

I saw similar pitcher plants for sale at an Austin garden festival but never thought about collecting their dinner. Ticks! Yuck!

The found objects are interesting. I think the flat piece of metal is one of the pans from a numismatic balance scale - they would have been suspended from chains so the coins could be weighed.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Lawstude said...

I love planting too. I don't mind getting my hands dirty in exchange of a nice and beautiful garden.

You have one of the most beautiful set of flowers I know and I bet I will have a great time taking pictures if i am there.

Have a nice day.

Lizzie A said...

I would love to see a gas plant, I wish my mom knew about those, your asian pitcher plants are the coolest! I think that the star of Bethleham flowers are so neat, tidy, and beautifully white, they were really nice! I also think that your three pots one on top of the other are looking very nice! My mom is the gardener in the house, so I'll tell her about these plants, she'll love them!
We are so lucky here! It's been raining all night (not a usual phenomenon for summer, or really anytime out west here!) and is still drizzling this morning! I LOVE the rain!!!!!!
Have a spendid day!

beckie said...

So glad you are back. I know it can be hectic trying to get everything done. Your planters are lovely. I have never seen a pitcher plant-how interesting. All of your flowers are so pretty. Hope your back and shoulders are doing better.

Alyssa said...

Dee - I'll keep you posted (pun, ha! ha!) with pictures as well as comments on the planters. They do seem to have potential . . . The pitcher plant is just loving being outside. Can't wait to see how big it gets.

Annie - It's too bad you aren't able to grow the gas plant. But you've got tons of cool plants in Texas! Now that the pitcher plant is outside I won't have to feed it. The insects seem to be attracted to the pitchers and fall right in!

I'll bet you are right about the numismatic metal piece that I found. That makes a lot of sense! I would never have thought of that. Thanks!!

Law - Thank you for the compliments. I believe that you can't create beauty without getting a little dirty along the way!

Lizzie - I'm glad you liked my pictures. Have your Mom take a look at them sometime - it'll give her some ideas. I love rainy days too - they seem cozy and lazy!

Beckie - Thank you so much! My back and shoulders are feeling better this week. I just have to be careful picking up heavy things at work. I'm hoping to be able to relax and enjoy my gardens very soon.

alicesg said...

Very interesting garden post. I love the pitcher plants. Interesting finds while doing gardening, maybe you might find a goldmine while I still love those piggies and the hens are lovely too. Have a nice weekend.

Lizzie A said...

I was just wondering what you know about lobelia...My mom has some hanging out side, and they are partial shade partial sun plants, and that's what we've given them, and yet they always seem to be not only drooping, but almost half-way dieing. I just don't know what we're doing wrong!!
Do you??

Alyssa said...

Alice - I wish I would find a gold mine!! The piggies are my favorite too. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit.

Lizzie - I've had good luck with lobelia and I've found they prefer morning sunlight. Afternoon sun can be too hot for them. And when the temps get very warm they fade and die. I generally don't expect to have them all summer.