Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

Beautiful Bleeding Heart

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!