Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mason Bees

A few weeks ago for my birthday, my sister Amy gave me a Mason Bee house. I've seen these bee houses in gardening magazines and on the Internet and thought they looked interesting. I'm fascinated with bees of all types and loved receiving this gift. Mason bees are not aggressive and are super pollinators - I've read that one Mason Bee can do the pollinating work of a thousand honey bees. With all of the flowers I have in my yard, I have lots of bees and other insects. Now that I've seen a picture of a Mason Bee (they are green blue in color and not striped yellow and black - what you typically think of when you think bees) I will keep my eyes open for them. From what I've read about them, they only appear in the spring, but this has been a strange weather and gardening year, so maybe they are still around. In the spring when the mason bees come out of hibernation, they mate and the female lays her eggs in woody crevices she finds. A Mason Bee house gives the Mason Bee a place to lay their eggs. The bees who hatch are likely to stay in the area, so hopefully I can increase my bee population even more.

An update on my last post - I have two delphiniums that have re bloomed! I was so excited and happy to see the new blooms. They are smaller blooms than the originals, but lovely none the less.

Monday, August 2, 2010

There really is a lot of gardening time left in WNY

I was looking at my garden the other day and thought to myself "My garden is on its decline toward fall." Then I read an article and it talked about how we have about 10 more weeks until we get a frost and that there is lots of gardening time left. After reading this, my gardening energy renewed! I took a second look at my garden and thought "There are still so many flowers blooming and many I can dead head to produce a second blooming." So, this morning, I was out in my garden cutting back my Purple Rain salvia, which grows to jungle proportions and produces beautiful smokey purple blooms on spikes that engulf my sidewalk. I felt much better after cutting those back (2 garbage bags full! Sadly, my yard is too small for a compost bin...). Some roses and coreoposis are next in line for a mid summer cutting as is my cat mint, which has already sent up a mass of new blooms. Every year at this time it's a bit of struggle as a gardener because the gorgeous May and June blooms have come and gone and I am challenged to find more plants that bloom later in the year. So, if you too are feeling like the gardening season is on its way out, take a second look and see what you can deadhead and spruce up to encourage a second set of blooms!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Good and the Bad

I'm just back from a very hot and enjoyable week at the lake. I checked on my garden on Tuesday and watered pots because the weather was so unseasonably hot and dry and I didn't want anything to die of thirst. I looked through my perennial beds and everything seemed to be doing well. I arrived home from the lake yesterday afternoon and went into my gardens to see what needed to be done. To my dismay, Japanese Beetles have nearly eaten 4 of my new rose bushes! I picked off every one I could find and killed it and then started to look at plants close by. There were a few on neighboring plants, so I killed those as well. My first thought was to get out the spray, so I grabbed it from the basement and started to read the directions. The bottle said 'very highly toxic to bees'. Well, my garden is full of bees and other pollinators, so I decided not to spray. Now I'm looking for an organic alternative. In the mean time, I started to look at other plants to see if the infestation was anywhere else in my garden and my other plants, as of today are free of Japanese Beetles. While I am sad about my roses, I am very happy to find butterflies feeding on my pink Coneflower at the other end of my garden! Something good always comes with the bad and I'm so happy about the butterflies, that I can almost forget about the Japanese Beetles.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Delightful Delphiniums

My dad always loved delphiniums. He always grew them and always was so excited when they bloomed each year. I'd always look at them in the garden and think "they are pretty, but...". Well now that I have my own garden and planted delphiniums last year, I finally understand why my father loved them so much! Not only are they unusual with their very powerful flower spike, but they do not resemble many other flowers in the garden. Also, the colors of delphiniums are outrageous! I have one that is deep purple with white centers and another one that is the color of a cloudless sky. It's such a spectacular color that I sometimes just stand and stare at the flower and think about what a true blue it is. Delphiniums are easy to grow and really blend into any flower bed. I had no idea what color my flowers would be when I bought them as a small 4 pack last year. I have dark purple, sky blue, white and a lighter purple. They are the kind of flower that people on the street stop and stare at, then ask you what it is. Those are the kind of flowers I love to have and thanks to my dad, now I see why their beauty is so amazing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Giant Ferns

My garden is just full of suprises this year. Sometimes I think it is a little magic coming from my dad and sometimes I think it is the unusual weather we have had this whole year. Along the one side of my house, I have ferns growing. In past years these ferns grew about 1 foot high and some years they really looked like they were just going to die out and not come back. They have never made much of a splash but because of where they are, I have always just left them alone because they were not in the way and provided some nice fill along a picket fence I share with my neighbor. This year, for reasons unknown, the ferns have grown at least 4 1/2 feet tall and have all but taken over the space where I keep my grill. It is exciting to see these ferns grow and when I'm in this part of my garden, I feel like I'm in the movie Jurassic Park and am wandering with the dinosaurs! I guess ignoring plants sometimes is the best thing you can do for them!

Friday, June 4, 2010

What a difference 10 days makes!

Recently I went on vacation for 10 days and during that time, the weather here at home was sunny and warm. Much to my surprise when I arrived home on Memorial Day, my garden looked like someone had fed it Miracle Grow while I was gone! It is an explosion of plants and colors and flowers and surprises me every day. For whatever reason, my garden this year is larger, fuller and more jungle like than it has ever been. I wonder if losing the large tree in my yard 2 years ago has a lot to do with it. Even the ferns that are on the more shady side of my house are chest high this year. These ferns were here when I moved in and have never really done much and a few years I thought they were almost dead. They are gorgeous and have about taken over the little spot where I keep my grill. Is it global warming, a short winter followed by an early and warm spring or just the garden gods smiling down on my little plot in Western NY? I will never know but the results are nothing less than spectacular!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Something about purple

It's funny, but I was standing and looking at my garden this morning and every thing that is currently blooming is purple (if we can stretch the blue of bachelor buttons to purple!). My lilac, my bearded iris, my pin cushion flowers, my sage, my allium, my columbine, my candy tuft (ok, deep pink), my bachelor button and my cat mint! The colors just really struck me and I realized that even though I planted all of these flowers without really thinking that much about color, my subconscious love of purple certainly had an influence. In all the shades of purple, set against the greens of foliage and plants not yet in bloom and the yellow of my house, the flowers really paint a happy, lively picture. I guess I never thought there were that many purple flowers, but I have proved myself wrong just by the happy accidents that are currently in bloom at 21 Washington.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When blah goes to WOW!

The first two weeks of May brought quite a change in the weather. Western New Yorkers were getting spoiled by the incredibly nice and unseasonable April we experienced. My tulips and daffodils were glorious, but their blooms were fading or completely gone by May 1st. I looked at my garden, about void of flowers except for my lilac and thought, my garden went from WOW to blah in just one week. The change in the weather brought in much cooler temperatures and lots of rain (rain we did not see in April) and a green garden. Luckily, by the end of last week, flowers were again starting to bloom and there is color and life back in my garden. Allium, batchelor button, poppies, columbine, bearded iris, sage and lungwort are now taking center stage. So many shades of purple and green, it really is becoming a feast for the eyes once again. The iris are so happy this year that there are 4 and 5 blooms on each single stalk which is something I have not seen before! I guess the morale to this story is be patience. There is always something exciting right around the corner in a perennial garden.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My love of lilacs

Living in Western NY certainly has its gardening advantages. Lilacs love to grow here and they certainly do flourish. Not far from here, in Rochester, the city hosts a lilac festival each May when all the different varieties of lilacs in Highland Park bloom and put on an awesome show. I have always wanted a lilac in my yard, but because I have such a small, tight garden, I figured that lilacs were one plant I was going to have to live without. As luck would have it, a tree fell on my house and smashed two cedar bushes that were in front of my house. I never liked these bushes much so it was a perfect excuse to get rid of them and plant what I really wanted - lilacs! You may think of lilacs as huge, bushy tree type plants but in recent years varieties have changed. I bought two lilacs and they grow to reach about 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide, just perfect for in front of my porch. The blooms I have this year are amazing and one of the flowers is over two feet long! Sitting on my front porch, the intoxicating scent of lilac drifts to where I am sitting and I truly think I'm in heaven. Lilacs don't do well as cut flowers so to enjoy their scent and beauty, you really need to take advantage of them in their natural habitat. If you are lucky enough to see a lilac in bloom, take a minute to inhale their scent and it will be something you look forward to each spring!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Birds in my garden

Earlier this spring I wrote a bit about birds in the garden. I love birds. I have loved birds my whole life. My grandma Reardon and my dad loved birds too and I'm sure their love of birds rubbed off on me. I am forever trying to make my garden more friendly for birds. I know, living in a very small city setting, that I will never attract a blue bird or water loving birds. But, my goal is to see how many different birds I can spy in my garden. Over the years, I've done a lot of reading about attracting birds and I've just started looking at a few new books on the subject. As my pictures show, I have a number of bird feeders, at different heights and in different locations. I have a bird bath that I clean just about every day and lately the Robins have been taking a daily bath in it. I do not use insecticides or herbicides in my garden because I do not want to harm the birds or the insects the birds may be looking for. This spring I've noticed a pair of Cardinals, which is terrific and they spend a lot of time feeding. I've also seen house finches, who are now starting to change color to the brilliant red they get and I've seen Chickadees and House Sparrows. I know these are not the most exotic birds you could hope to see, but I know that my feeding and gardening efforts are drawing them to my yard. Every time I see a new bird, I smile and am happy that the love of birds was handed down to me from my dad and grandma.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fairytale Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts

In the past week, my old fashioned bleeding hearts have come into full bloom. I think these spring flowers are often overlooked for the showier daffodils and tulips. Bleeding hearts are wonderful spring plants that emerge looking a bit like a fern and then develop beautiful heart shaped flowers that look like they belong in a fairy world. If you really study the flower, it is perfectly heart shaped with a little section hanging below the flower with a drop of liquid. The flowers emerge on arching branches and hang neatly in a row. They are nature's only perfect heart shaped flower. The foliage remains fern like. Old fashioned bleeding hearts prefer part shade. When these plants are done flowering, they quietly fade away.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wonderful Grecian Windflowers

My Grecian windflowers are flowers I inherited when I moved into my house. My first spring in my house, these gorgeous,small pastel colored daisy like flowers appeared and just looked so happy and well kept. I looked through gardening books to find out what they were and have been in love with them ever since. I love these flowers because they are #1 - beautiful and carefree, #2 - fantastically colored, #3 - do not take over the garden, but gently spread, #4 - die back completely and never have an 'ugly' stage. The flowers come from very small bulbs, about the size of a pea and you plant them in the fall. They usually flower when crocus flower, but their show lasts much longer. Add these to your spring display and they will not disappoint you!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day April 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day was started by the blogger at May Dream Gardens blog. The 15th of every month, garden bloggers post a message about what is blooming where they live. If you regularly read my blog, you know what an unusually warm spring we have had in Western NY. Today I have a variety of daffodils, many different colored tulips, hyacinth, Grecian windflower and leopard's bane. It's a feast for the eyes!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Leopard' Bane

As my garden continues to surprise me, I happily saw my Leopard's Bane zoom full speed ahead over the past few weeks. It is now flowering and it's flowers remind me why I love it so much! Leopard's Bane is a bright yellow spring flower that looks much like a daisy. The flowers are about 2 inches across and the plant grows about 1 foot high. I love it because it is so bright and happy looking and because it really looks like no other flowers at this time of year. It's very easy to grow and it is not invasive, but gradually does spread out a bit. By the heat of summer the foliage has literally disappeared so it does not stick around long enough to get straggly and ragged looking. If you are looking for something new to add to your spring collection of flowers, add some Leopard's Bane - they will make you smile!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Surprises

I just love the surprises in my garden during the spring. As plants start to emerge from the ground, it's always a happy moment to see old friends and to look at new shoots and think "what did I plant there"? I am very happy to see that all of the new plants I planted last year in my new garden survived the winter and are back and looking good. Last spring I planted two lilac bushes - I'd always wanted a lilac, but just did not have the space to plant one. When I had to have my front porch replaced, it gave me the opportunity to get rid of some bushes I never really liked and to plant what I wanted. There are so many new varieties of lilacs and I found one that only gets about 6 feet high - perfect for in front of the porch. A few days ago I was pleasantly surprised to see many flower buds on my lilacs - this really brought a smile to my face! The rain this past week helped to push plants farther along. I now have some other varities of tulips getting ready to bloom and have lots of daffodils in their varying shades of yellow, happily taking up lots of space in the garden. Enjoy these pictures of this week's blooms.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Summer in April!

Wow! What a few summer days at the beginning of April will do for a garden. One week ago, it was on the verge of snowing and then the temperatures jumped into the 80s and shocked the plants to life! Over the course of 3 days, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths all bloomed and many other plants started to leaf out and show signs of life. I took advantage of the weather to transplant some columbine and Feverfew that had transplanted themselves in unusual locations and to edge and weed all of my gardens. I bought some pansies and planted them in a pot around my bird bath and then sat back and enjoyed the sunshine! I started some vegetables as well in my square foot gardens. I planted 4 Buttercrunch lettuce and about 12 plants each of Rainbow Swiss Chard and spinach. Luckily these vegetables love the cooler temperatures of spring, which will return to Western NY by week's end. This shot of early summer did wonders for the plants and mental status of sun and heat starved Western New Yorkers.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Touch of Summer

Talk about wacky weather - it was in the 30s earlier this week and now our temperatures are hovering near 80 - a record for Western NY this early in April! This very warm weather has triggered a flurry of growth in my garden. All of a sudden it seems lots of insects have hatched and are swarming near my evergreens, my roses, lilacs and butterfly bushes are leafing out and even my tulips have gained inches in height. Early warm weather always make me a little nervous because in all likelihood it could snow again before the warm weather truly arrives. I guess I will take my chances and trim back the rose bushes this weekend because once they start growing, they get unruly very quickly! Even the hycinths have buds..what else can I do, but ENJOY!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Delirium of Seed Packets

OK, I have to admit at this time of year I am about to crawl out of my skin waiting to get my hands in the dirt and to play. So, to try to pacify this craving, I fill the gardening need by buying seeds. I already have a variety of sunflowers, yellow beans, Swiss chard, beets and morning glories, just to name a few. The packets seem to multiply in my basement, where I keep them all in a little flower pot, so that I don't lose any of the seeds I've bought. The funny thing is, I feel like I can't stop myself from buying just one more seed packet, even though in the back of my mind I have no idea where I'm going to plant all of these seeds once they can actually go in the ground. I have a small garden and I try to fill every little space with some kind of living plant. Vegetables mixed with flowers...annuals mixed with perennials - I'm really not that picky...but I also know that I on the edge of no return for the number of seeds I think I actually can fit into my already filled gardens. Some times spring just does not come fast enough!

Western New Yorkers - don't forget Plantasia this weekend! I'm headed there and hopefully it will give me a much needed gardening fix!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome Spring!

Here in Western New York we are the lucky recipients of two weeks of sunshine and spring like temperatures and today, the first day of spring, added another spectacular day to the string of days. It's hard not to love this weather and I want to be outside every minute that I can. I raked my lawn and gardens for the first time yesterday and started cutting down some of the perennials that I left untouched last fall. Today I found my first spring bulbs in bloom and could not be happier! Knowing that we could still have a snow storm and some winter like weather before spring really settles in, seeing these blooms makes the possibility of rough weather all that much easier to take. Happy Spring!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

May Dreams Gardens hosts a monthly Garden Bloggers Bloom Day the 15th of each month and asks bloggers to take a picture of what is blooming in their garden and post it on their blog. Here in Western NY we still do not have anything blooming outdoors, although with the recent snow melt and rain and warmer temperatures, the crocus can't be too far away from blooming. What's blooming at my house right now are the geraniums I planted about a month ago that had sprung to life in my basement, after their winter rest. They live in my front, south facing, living room window and seem to be quite happy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teasing Tips of Spring Flowers

We have been lucky enough for the past week to have temperatures in the 40s and 50s which has led to lots of snow melt and a general feeling of Spring Fever! That being said, I tip toed through the soon to be tulips yesterday to check out the progress of my spring flowering bulbs. I am happy to report that I see lots and lots of daffodil and tulip shoots and even a few tulip leaves starting to unfurl! For those of us who survive a Western NY winter each year, seeing those first green shoots emerge from the frozen and dead looking ground really does give us hope that we are in for another wonderful year of gardening! I had the opportunity to dig up the rest of my front yard last summer because a huge tree fell during the winter and smashed up part of my house. Even though the incident was tragic, costly and stressful, it allowed me to dig up grass that was never happy and to get rid of an old Silver Maple that just needed to go. In my newly dug garden, I planted 300 tulips and daffodils! So, keep your fingers crossed that these bulbs bloom and I'll post pictures when the color explosion happens...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Winter pansies

Over the past week with the warmer temperatures and lots of sun, the snow is receding and glimpses of my garden have reappeared! I am lucky because most of my main garden faces south, so on these warm late winter days, the snow really melts quickly when compared with snow in north facing locations. With the garden peeking out from the edge of the snow pack, I am anxiously awaiting to see if my Winter Pansies overwintered. If you aren't familiar with Winter Pansies, they are annuals that you buy and plant in the fall and by some miracle, survive the winter to bloom and look lovely in your spring garden. I got very lucky last fall because I walked into a Lowes for something and on the rack outside of the door were 4 packs for Winter Pansies for 25 cents each! Usually they are on the expensive side, but because they were so cheap, I bought 8 - 4 packs and planted them in a few locations where I thought they would look good in the spring. They look just like pansies you find in garden centers starting in April, but you really get 2 seasons (fall and spring) out of the plants. Once the true heat of summer arrives, the plants wither away. As soon as the plants emerge from the snow, I'll post some pictures!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perennials that are tough as nails

As I day dream about my garden on this fantastically sunny day in Western NY, I started thinking about plants in my garden that are fail safe and produce year after year. My top pick is the Coneflower, also known as Echinacea. I have had purple (though they look pink) Coneflower in my yard from the beginning. This flower with stands heat, dry soil and wind. It easily spreads just by shaking some of the seed heads on the ground in the fall or by transplanting young plants in the spring. My second pick is any plant in the Sedum family. I have Autumn Joy, Dragon's Blood and a few others. They are not invasive, but do multiply so that you can start to move extra plants to other parts of your garden. My Autumn Joy is so hardy that it traveled with me in a pot from Tennessee when I moved from there 10 years ago! It now occupies many different spots in my garden. I love it because it changes colors throughout the season and finishes the season as a beautiful deep reddish rust color. Autumn Joy also adds winter interest to my garden. Next on my list is a plant that is relatively new to my garden but I am completely in love with it. This plant is Walkers Low Cat Mint. Last June and July it was so gorgeous with its pale lavender color that strangers would stop and ask me what it was. It looks great thoughout the whole season too! Next on my list is Ladys Mantle. I'm told this is a partial shade plant, but I grow it in shade and sun and it does equally as well. While not really known for its flowers, the chartruse color of its leaves adds a pop of color wherever it is in your garden. Last, but not least, is Purple Rain salvia. The smoky purple color of this plant is like no other. The plant does not spread, but just gets larger each year. If you cut off the flowers once they've gone to seed, another set of flowers will appear. The purple red of the leaves also adds some great color to the garden even when the flowers aren't in bloom. All of these plants are easy to find in New York garden centers and Coneflower is very easy to start from seed! If you are new to gardening or haven't had the best of luck, try these fail safe beauties!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My first bloom!

Just a quick update on my geranium post from last week - I have my first bloom already! Imagine my surprise when I looked at the plants today to check their progress and I find my first (small in size, but still there!) flower. A true sign that spring is on its way.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Square Foot Gardening

As I was outside today, pushing around heavy, wet snow and dreaming of spring, I started to think about my square foot gardening boxes that are currently under mounds of snow. A number of years ago I took a class on Square Foot Gardening at Cornell Cooperative Extension. The premise of square foot gardening is how you can maximize your growing space for vegetables, herbs and flowers that you'd like to harvest. Mel Bartholomew is the genius behind this method and has written a great book on the subject. A few years ago I decided I wanted to add some veggies to my gardens but they are so full of perennials and herbs that I didn't know how I'd fit them in. I bought 'Square Foot Gardening' and made 2 - 2'x2' boxes that I use to plant tomatoes, Rainbow Swiss Chard, spinach, lettuce and wax beans. In the book is a great "recipe" for a soil mixture that plants love. There are so many advantages to Square Foot Gardens. Probably most important is the fact that you don't waste seeds because the book tells you how many plants will fit in each square food section, so you just plant that number of seeds - no thinning plants! Another advantage is that a square foot garden most times is a raised bed so there is no digging into the soil where you live - so those with rocky, poor or clay soil, this is the way to go! The beds are small, but yield a lot of produce and are easy to care for. I have started to think about adding 2 more 2'x2' boxes this year so that I can increase some of the crops that I like to have close to home. I mostly shop at farmers' markets in the summer, but having some fresh Swiss Chard or a tomato fresh off the vine truly is one of the miracles of gardening!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Feeding our Feathered Friends

I've been doing a bit more research on feeding birds since my last post. I now realize that the mixed, "all purpose" feed probably is not the best choice. Today I'm going to head to the store to get Black Oil Sunflower seed and see if I can attract some different types of birds. I know the squirrels will be a challenge because my feeders hang from my front porch and I cannot use squirrel baffles because I don't have the space. The pink coneflowers that I left standing all winter also are a good source of food for many small birds. The seed head of the coneflower stays intact throughout the winter and the stem is sturdy enough to withstand the snow and wind. This past summer I had lots of sunflowers scattered throughout my garden, which was a very happy accident thanks to the birds eating seed at my bird feeders. The sunflowers attracted so many birds and bees that the patch of these flowers became its own little ecosystem. I will intentionally plant more sunflowers this year because the return is more than worth the investment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birds in my Garden

We are getting a very slight thaw here in Western New York and with the slow move toward spring comes the return of many birds! As I was walking this morning, I heard clusters of little birds in bushes along my route and it sounded like spring! In my garden, I try to do whatever I can to attract birds. How and where I hang my feeders, what I fill my feeders with, what plants are near my feeders so that birds feel safe and have a place to rest while waiting for their turn at the feeder, having a clean and water filled bird bath, not using pesticides and choosing plants that act as a food source for birds are all birding goals in my garden. I wish I was better at identifying birds and do try to use my Peterson's North America guide, but I'm not very successful. What I do know is that I enjoy seeing birds flocking to my gardens, chasing each other from the feeders and bird baths and just resting in some of the landscape plants near the feeding stations. A new resource I've found is Cornell University's Ornithology web site. Check out the web site at More birding thoughts and ideas to follow.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Keeping a garden interesting in winter

Today is a fantastic day here in Western New York. The sun is brightly shining and for the first time in more than 25 days the temperature is above 30 degrees! This morning I took the opportunity to poke around outside to see how my garden and house were holding up. As I was looking around it occured to me that the plants I had left standing last fall added interest and shape to an otherwise white and buried landscape. As I add plants to my garden, I think about what is going to look good and add visual interest in every season. Every year I cut down less in the fall and let plants over winter. Seeing favorite plants poking up through the snow reminds me of their beauty during the growing season and gives me hope in the dreary days of winter that their beauty will return one day soon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to Beat the February Blues

The long, grey days of February are starting to last a little too long. At this time of year my thoughts wander to spring. I start dreaming of seeing green once again and the excitement that green shoots of daffodils and tulips bring. This is the time of year when I read every gardening magazine that I can get my hands on and pour over the seed and plant catalogs that arrive in the mail. I guess I have garden envy and am ready for spring. Every fall, when I put my garden to bed, I think to myself "My garden looks good and I probably don't need any more plants" but then comes spring and the gardening itch takes over. I start thinking about what plants I can add where, what I can dig out and give away because it's overtaking a part of my garden and what can I add to the garden to attract even more birds and butterflies. Because I have a small garden in a small "city" I feel like I need to do everything I can to attract a variety of insects and birds that more likely are visiting my friends' gardens in the country. Over this next month I'll do a lot of dreaming and planning, just waiting to get my hands dirty!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Amazing Geraniums

Geraniums are truly amazing and under rated plants. Last November, as I pulled my plants from a large pot on my porch railing, well after frost had whitened my landscape, I thought about how hardy and gorgeous these plants really are. I find geraniums such a mystery - you pull them out of the soil in the fall, hang them in your basement without water, food or light for a few months and then in the dead of winter, they start to grow again! Last week I noticed new green stems and leaves growing in the dark basement and knew it was time to replant. This past weekend I pulled my 8 plants off of the nails they were hanging from in my basement, trimmed off the dead leaves and flowers and cut back the stems and replanted them all in the large pot that sits on my porch railing. They again have soil, water, food and light (and warmth - my basement is chilly!). Over the next few months these plants will leaf out, form flower buds and bloom, bloom, bloom - all before the plants are moved back to their outdoor home. All summer they will continuously bloom and continue blooming until I pull them out of the pot again in November - I really push the limits of frost and freeze tolerance with these plants and they have never let me down!

February 2010

Click here to view these pictures larger

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Welcome to My Garden

I've wanted to start a blog for a while and always struggled with what I could write about. Well, I've got spring fever and my mind is focused on and obsessed with my garden - thinking about changes for this year, planning what new plants and other changes I'd like to make and the anticipation of what it will look like this year. I've been a gardener since I was a kid and would follow my Grandma Reardon and my dad around in both the vegetable and flower gardens. Gardening is in my blood and it's a great way for me to spend time outdoors and to commune with nature. I hope to document my garden, day to day, as it changes and grows and brings lots of joy to me as well as to my neighbors!