Monday, July 7, 2014

Bird's Sunflower

Sometimes the prettiest flowers are not the ones you've sown.

Pink and Purple Humming Bird Basket

Here's another basket I put together every year for the Humming birds. This is for Partial shade.
I use three trailing Torenia (wishbone flower) and three pink Calibrachoa (million bells) in a 12 inch hanging basket.
The Torenia is deer resistant but the Calibrachoa isn't. This basket is hanging by the back door where the dogs go in and out, so unless the deer get really bold, they should leave it a lone. It's also in front of the window so we can see the hummingbirds visit it. 
I mix my own soil, 1 part organic peat, 1 part organic compost or mushroom compost, 1/2 part untreated vermiculite or perlite (no added fertilizers),  and about 2 tablespoons per gallon of soil of dry organic, low nitrogen fertilizer
I grow a lot of plants so I usually mix up a wheelbarrow full at a time- so I add about 2 cups of the fertilizer per wheelbarrow- it's never an exact science with me- then I mix it all together with a shovel. 

This is a very easy care basket for part shade areas. Make sure your basket has a drain hole and just water when soil starts to feel dry or the basket feels light (don't let it get bone dry though). You can also get in the habit of touching the soil every time you pass by.

Happy Gardening!

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Nationals Came to Town!

The NHRA came to Joliet this weekend. Hubby and I spent Friday night smelling Nitro and holding our ears! It was great fun! I took over 400 photos and managed not to get a really bad sunburn! 
Here's just a few of my favorite shots (it's going to take me days to go through all those photos!)

scraping the rubber


even the pit crew thought it was loud

heating up the tires

warm and humid but still a beautiful day for the races

starting the cars and prepping to go

lining up to go

Steve would just love to get his hands on that engine

John Force


Thursday, June 26, 2014

(Hopefully) Deer Resistant Flower Containers

As you may have already guessed from the many pictures of deer in previous posts, my new house is in the middle of deer country.
So... knowing how deer treat flower gardens as their own personal buffet, I've been researching plants that are supposed to be "Deer Resistant" for my new perennial bed in the front yard.
So far they've  sampled only a few plants on the list (a Centaurea montana and the Cardinal vine -
Ipomoea), but have left them alone since.
Anyway, I also love my flower pots and usually line my porch steps and any other convenient place that begs for a spot of color. So I decided, after the deer ate my ivy gerainum off the porch last summer, to apply the Deer Resistant gardening to my flower pots as well.
Here's what I've come up with:
 Alyssum, dwarf snapdragon, sweet william, and corkscrew grass (Juncus) in a 20" ceramic bowl. (oh, in case you're wondering, I don't use chemical fertilizers- I mix my own soil of peat, compost and a bit of organic dry fertilizer. The plants love it!). The Juncus isn't on the resistant plant list but I thought it looked cool and I'm depending on the "undesirable" plant to protect it (fingers crossed!)

Purple fountain grass, silver falls dichondra, and a little bit of blue lobelia, barely poking out.


A perennial and annual 'Mailbox' garden- Osteospermum, Alyssum, Yarrow, Dusty Miller, Purple Fountain grass, dwarf snap dragons, and a Shasta daisy  (daisy is hard to see from this angle). 

 and a box full of Dianthus- or biannual sweet william. The little green pot next to it is Peppermint.

This is Mama Deer. She shows up around dinner time, everyday. 
She has a fawn hidden close by in the woods.
So far she's leaving my pots alone...

Here's my source. 
It has lots of good information about deer behavior and other pests and how to detour them.
But the best part is in the back with an extensive list of plants that resist deer, listing their toxicity if any, their care and a very brief description of ways to propagate your own
 (notice is didn't say "deer proof"- no plant is deer proof as they will nibble on anything at least once).
You can find this at in the Kindle version  but the pictures of plants are in black and white. The paperback version is nicer and has full color picture of the plants.

Shasta Daisy and Orange Cone flower


Echinacea ('Julia')
A couple of new blooms in the new flowerbed. I think my new favorite is the orange cone flower. I just picked it up at the Garden Center I work at. Can't wait till it fills out!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Magpie's New Home

When I moved, I brought a bunch of my favorite plants with me from the old garden. My Black Columbine (aka Magpie- Aquilegia vulgaris) is growing happily in it's new flower bed.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Downtime at the Garden Center, Robin's nest update...

Rain is forecasted today and all the Garden Center customers have scattered leaving us with a little time to breath. The mad rush to get the vegetable plants and other garden supplies has come to all but a screeching halt.
Our new mascot, now known as the GC Robin, is also enjoying the extra peace and quiet. We've moved most of the flower baskets out of the greenhouse, leaving her's with a note attached that the basket is occupied and is not for sale.
GC Robin, keeping a wary eye on me

It's a little tricky keeping her Fuchsia alive though. I'm able to keep it watered by trickling the hose into the side of the basket without getting the nest wet. Of course this pisses her off and she yells at me, but soon gets over it.
Tomato aisle- customer free

Josh hamming it up for the camera

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Garden Center Robin Strikes Again!

This time in an expensive hanging fuchsia! This year it's been a battle to keep this one robin from building nests in the plants. I lost this round! 
Her first nest was in a plant tray full of Irises. 
Don't worry, once she's laid the eggs, we leave her alone. She manages to raise three broods a year during our four month season.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pink Poppy

One of my Oriental Poppies that I planted last year bloomed yesterday, but I wasn't expecting pink. The label said it was red. That's okay, I'm not upset. It's still very pretty :)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Don't forget about our men and women in the service!
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