Monday, July 30, 2012

A Plant Binge

How many times have you entered a nursery center with looking as your only goal, but leaving with handfuls of plants?  The worst case is at the end of the planting season when everything is marked down to pennies.  How could you not purchase a few more goodies for the garden?  I fall into this category often, but I do follow a few personal rules.

1. Try to buy at least three (or more) of one plant.  Though you may not have a destination in mind yet, at least there will be a nice grouping for the final design (and it will look like you planned it).

2. Try something new.  If you're only paying 99 cents, why not try a new plant?  If it doesn't do well, no biggie.  My garden is filled with sale (and even free) plants that no one else wanted or recognized.  I now have some amazing plants that I would have never dreamed up on my own.

3. Is there a season you're lacking great color?  Late summer or fall perhaps?  Try to find plants that fill those gaps.  Don't let the lack of bloom in the nursery distract you - just because it's not blooming at that moment, doesn't mean it's not fabulous.  Read the tags and grab the beauties others missed.

4. Pick up those small, special plants (less than 12" tall).  These itty bitty plants are perfect for the front of your border or tucked in small spaces.  Buy as many as you can.  It's so much fun spreading these out along the front of a planting bed to pull it all together (what? a sale item creating a a cohesive design?).

What other hints do you have?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Summer Beauty

I discovered Allium 'summer beauty' a few years ago and fell in love.  Strangely, it was the foliage that first struck me...long, narrow slightly twisted leaves (similar to daffodil foliage) compact and beautiful spring through fall.  The very light pink, almost white round flower clusters pop up in late July/early August.

It's not only beautiful but also drought tolerant (one of the few plants in my garden this year that still looks's been hot and dry in Iowa), plus can be divided.  These were pretty rare a few years ago, so I had to buy one at an auction.  Every couple of years I gently divide it in hopes of having more beauty all summer.

Oh, and to top it off, I just found out that Midwest Groundcovers now has a smaller cultivar available called Allium summer peek-a-boo™. It only get's better!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Craft of Gardening

It's been extremely dry here in the Midwest, so I've been watering quite a bit resulting in lots of thinking time.

My thoughts this week...what is the difference between design and craft?  Is there a difference?  I design gardens...look at the problems and opportunities, then create a plan on paper.  I also design with my hands by installing plants, moving them, watering them, pruning create something beautiful.  Isn't that craft too?  Though we discuss gardening as art and design, it's also a least for those willing to get a little dirty.

{...and yes, I do wear skirts while watering, it's just more comfy}

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Miracle...Eating Broccoli

I still can't believe it.  My 13-year-old son, the one that is Mr. Picky Vegetable Eater, suddenly likes broccoli.  I'm not sure what happened.  Last year he wouldn't touch the tiny tree greenies from our garden and now he can't get enough of it.  My daughter and him even snack on broccoli at night now.  My husband brings it in, they throw it in a steaming pot and wa-la, it's gone! What is going on?! I am so thrilled I'm about to burst.

Speaking of eating veggies from the garden...I was honored to be a guest writer at Stay At Home Foodie last week.  Another thrill!  Thanks Deena!  You can read that post here.