Garden Rows

Thursday, August 30

Lots to Do!

If you have ever read this blog, or know me personally, you know that I want a real garden. I have been learning about container gardening while renting, but I now have more than an acre to work with! There are so many possibilities that it is almost hard to decide where to start.

Here is a preview of some of the projects I am in the midst of.

When we originally looked at the house, there was a beautiful tree at the end of the driveway. It was tall and had a lovely shape. I was not sure what it was until mid June.

mmm, persimmons! now that is exciting! I started imagining all the persimmon pudding I would make this fall since the tree was completely loaded. But then:

 The poor tree was so full of fruit that it could not support itself. As the fruit ripened and plumped up, branches started drooping and cracking. Eventually, many of the branches had fallen, well sort of. I have done some minor pruning to take the weight of the fruit off of the broken branches since I currently do not have the means to properly prune the tree.

On the bright side, there is still plenty of  fruit to turn into persimmon pudding and give to my expansive persimmon-pudding-loving family!

 Also on the back of the house is area. The English Ivy is quite lush! Wonder what was here before the ivy took over?  I would love to have an ornamental pond in this area. It is right below the kitchen window, so it would be pretty cool to have a flower garden to attract hummingbirds. You know I like my hummingbirds! Stay tuned to find out what happens.

 To the right of the English Ivy is a large Lilac bush. I have learned pruning these guys can be dramatic, but this time, I don't have to worry about what the landlord will think! Like the lilac I posted about previously, this one is in need of some serious surgery. Check out the suckers!


Even the front door is overgrown! can you find it? I know it is the wrong season to cut into these bushes, but I had to carve out a path to the door!

This Summer has been busy, and the Fall will continue on the same way. In the long run all this clean-up will be well worth it. In the mean time, my arms getting pretty buff :)

Saturday, June 30

The Garden is not a Litterbox

 My first year in this house I had grand plans for small garden beds. There were a few places around the house where the grass did not grow very well, so I thought a nice little flower bed would be a better alternative. 

Not only would the areas look nicer, I figured the land lord would not mind since he would not have to weed eat awkward spots in the yard. Yes, that really was one of my justifications! I put in my garden beds in the fall by removing the grass (and roots) with a flat shovel, putting down a cocoa soil conditioner and putting in plants the next spring.

There are plenty of neighborhood cats that wander yard to yard...know where I am going with this? Well, the sweet little kitties LOVED the fluffy cocoa soil conditioner. I went on line looking for ways to ward of the feline interest. Basically all I learned is that cat's will do what they want, where they want, no matter what you do to the garden. This was not a news flash to me because I have a dear kitty of my own, so I know quite a bit about feline determination!

I got some large pine mulch for the front flowerbed thinking dainty little kitty toes would not like the large coarse chunks of wood and bark. I was wrong. I tried to keep the bed cleaned out by scooping any offensive deposits and watering really well...that didn't work either. Not even damp mulch kept these cats out! Aren't cats supposed to not like water? Sheesh!

I went to the pet store looking for cat repellant, but did not buy any. I did buy a jug of ammonia thinking if I sprayed it on the boarders of the gardens it would smell unpleasant. 2 problems with that: I think ammonia smells unpleasant, and I was not sure how the plants would react. So I never used it.

So now what?! 

 Rocks and ground cover. 

I placed rocks in the spots they liked to use the most (after scooping and a good watering!).  There is this neat little succulent ground cover around the neighborhood that I brought home a few small pieces of and planted in some of the leftover open areas. It is a nice ground cover to use because it pulls out easily if I change my mind!

see how much bigger they have gotten in 2 years?

The rocks add a nice decorative touch, and make great stepping stones. There are so many options for ground covers. There are a few types of Thyme that are creepers, and some are tough enough to walk on. Just imagine the wonderful smell of walking on a carpet of Thyme!

Sunday, June 24

Vintage Farm Wedding

Ahh summer! The season of sunshine, swimming, extra daylight, fresh fruits and veggies, lots of flowers...and weddings!

My cousin's was yesterday. It was a lovely out door ceremony in the groom's parents yard, followed by the reception in the barn. The weather turned out perfect. It was nicely overcast by the time the ceremony started, saving everyone from a blistering 7pm sun, and there was a sweet little breeze dancing around to keep us comfortable.

I believe my cousin's theme was Patchwork. I only titled the post Vintage Farm Wedding because when I saw the bride with a classy vintage look, the bridal party and the setting all together, that is the post title I thought sounded great. To see pictures, check out Amy Phipps Photography. I was too busy running around having fun to take my batteries were on their last leg, oops.

The tables had tons of wild flowers in a variety of glass bottles. They were also marking the isles of seats for the ceremony. Each bridesmaid had a different colored bouquet. There was yellow, orange, red, maroon and mine was white (pictured above). The bride's bouquet had deep reds, lavenders and a pop of yellow. They all looked great together. The main flower in each bouquet was the elegant snapdragon. I love that she chose this whimsical flower. When we were little her mom (my aunt) always had them growing in her garden. Recently she told me why she loved them so much. It has to do with a trick she liked to show little ones. Gently pinch the sides of one of the blossoms and it looks like a dragon snapping it's jaws! She showed me this trick before I can remember :)

The bride brought a lot of personal touches to the decorating, but also to the bridesmaids. She gave each one of us a hankie, a pin and earrings selected for the individual girl. She also gave her sisters a pin, very sweet!

The pins are leaves, and we each got different styles of pearl earrings. The bride did a nice job matching the jewelry to the girl.

By the end of the night, after hundreds of hugs and blessings from their guests, this lovely couple had a blissful glow!

Congratulations Lovebirds!

Monday, February 27

Spring is Around the Corner

Spring is not in the air just yet, but it is certainly around the corner!  It has been an incredibly mild winter so far.  The Spring Equinox is a few weeks away, but March could still be keeping a secret!  Here in Central Indiana, we have had some crazy winter storms in March.

I have been resisting the urge to prune some of my plants.  When it is suggested to prune Hibiscus and Poinsettia in late Winter to early Spring January is just too early!  Be patient.

I noticed that the Hibiscus was putting out lots of new growth.  Tiny hints of pale green all over.  If I was going to prune it, it needed to happen before the plant put all it's energy into new growth all to be chopped away.

Here is what I did the first time.

It wasn't enough, so I went at it again.  Eek!
The problem is that I actually need to get in there a bit deeper, but my office scissors just don't have the pruning power as a good pair of . . . well, pruners.

There is tons of new growth since I trimmed it up about a week ago.  Hopefully it will be covered in blooms this summer.  I will have to do a better job about keeping it fed to encourage flowering.

There is more pruning to come in the next few weeks! Plants are waking up from the winter hibernation, in fact, there are tulips and daffodils poking up all over the neighborhood!

Monday, January 30

Early Winter Flowers

One way you can tell if you have a Thanksgiving Cactus or a Christmas cactus is to wait for it to bloom.  They will bloom near the holiday that they are named after.  Stating the obvious? maybe, but plants don't always have the same definition of obvious as we do.

There are, apparently, a few different varieties of these fun, easy to grow succulents.  I am pretty sure I have two.  The one in the picture above is a Thanksgiving Cactus.  The most common "holiday cactus."  It is a baby from my in-law's plant. It was given to me in full bloom, just busting with flowers from every direction!  I have not had such bountiful success, but it may be because I have not "pruned" it.

The other cactus is a later bloomer making me think it might actually be a true Christmas Cactus.

Also, you may notice that the segments (they are not leaves) are more scalloped and less jagged.

this picture is from after blooming, before pruning
The plant on the left set buds (for the first time since I have had it) around Christmas time and they might have actually bloomed around New Years, but they dropped off.  I think it was because I let the plants go too long with out water.  Everyone has now recovered, however, I did not get to see the shape of the flowers.  The shape of the flowers is another way to find out which kind you have.  The true Christmas cactus has a more trumpet like flower, it is symmetrical, and usually blood-red.  I guess I can hope for success next an entire year...oh well :~)

Here are a few helpful links I found:
the gardener cook
House plants

In the mean time I have pruned both plants to encourage more blooms.  Pruning these guys is incredibly simple.  No tools needed, just fingers.  Gently pinch/grab with your thumb and index finger on either side of the joint you want to separate. Pull apart gently, you may need to give a little twist.  You will now have this:

A segment.  I usually pick one or two segments deep that have tiny little hair like roots already.  This is not a great example because I planted the best ones before snapping any pictures.

Here are the plants after:

Nothing dramatic.  Just took a few segments off here and there to promote growth.  It should encourage them to grow more dense, and not be so lanky.  I may have a dozen or so new plants here in a few weeks!  Want one?

Sunday, January 22


Old Man Winter sends greetings from central Indiana!

A lovely ice storm swept in Friday night covering everything with ice.  All the plants looks otherworldly.

The Dogwood made me think of alien fingers.

We have actually had such a mild winter so far that the Dogwood buds are growing fat, and I have had reports of crocus popping up in the neighborhood.  The cold snap this last week concerned me, but they really might be in for trouble since next week's temperature forecast is supposed to range in the 20-40's.  If the plants think that spring is coming on, and then winter decides to actually settle in for more than a few days at a time, then that might really spell disaster for the trees and spring flowers here in a few months.

For today I guess I will just be appreciate the fact that the ice is melting off my car while my hands are warm inside, no need for the ice scraper.