Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Gardening . . . It's A Great Hobby

Gardening is really therapeutic for me.  I work in a fast-paced environment and interact with people all day every day.  I enjoy being able to go home and  spend an hour or so before dinner planting, watering, picking or pruning.  I find a lot of satisfaction in watching what we plant begin to grow and then produce flowers or fruits and veggies.  We have a variety of herbs growing in the garden too.  We've dried and bottled Basil, Sage, Oregano, Thyme, Chives, and Cilantro this summer.  We've used plenty of fresh herbs in dishes too.

Eddie and I started the spring with a really barren and ugly hillside on the right side of the driveway.  Early in the spring we planted creeping phlox and vinca on the hillside.  We spent hours trying to pull the constantly growing wild morning glories.  Then, one day it struck me.  I wasn't going to win that battle.  Mother Nature had other plans for that hillside.  I decided to let the wild morning glories and we had a hillside that become a sea of white flowers not only on the hillside, but all along the fence lining the driveway.  I thought it would be a great idea to plant red and blue morning glories too, attempting to make it a patriotic beauty, but the red and blue plants didn't grow.  I think I'll give it another try next year.

If you look closely in the photo below, you'll see a bumble bee in the center lower left flower.  The bumble bees love the flowering hillside.  The humming birds do too.

The front yard is full of quirky cuteness too.  There is a Hydrangea on the front corner of the house.  It actually wraps around the corner.  This crazy beauty blooms in varying colors depending upon which side of the house it's on.  Some blooms are blue, some blue and white, some pink, and some pink and green.  It is quite an amazing beauty.

 The photo on the left is early in the season when the blooms were entirely green.  The photo on the right is after the blooms in the front had turned to blue.  This was planted probably 10 years ago and this was certainly her most unique year.  I'll be sure to share more photos.

 The sunflowers in the flower garden in the back are growing nicely.  They are strong and healthy.  They will add quite a pop of color when they bloom.  I know the birds are going to love them.

These plants continually give me satisfaction.  I love to see all the colors of the blooming flowers.  We have such a variety front and back that there are new beauties to admire every day.  I hope you'll pick up a few pointers to use in your own yard.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Everything Is Growing!

Everything is growing for sure.  It seems like just yesterday that we were filling these garden beds with soil, and now look at them.  Tomatoes and cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash are growing gang busters.  But, so are the flowers and banana trees.  The yard looks great.  I couldn't have asked for more.  At this point, it was just a matter of waiting for the veggies to produce and the flowers to continue to bloom and look beautiful.

 Plants and flowers in the front yard and on the
decks are really growing and blooming.  The banana tree below is finally making some progress, and I swear, you can almost see this thing grow.  What a fascinating plant!
To the left is our Peace Rose.  It is nothing short of spectacular!  To the right is our Clematis.  It is growing gangbusters.

 Green beans to the left and cucumbers to the right. Tomatoes are just below.   I can't believe how green and lush they look.  It's just a joy to come home from work every night and admire these beauties.

 My puny little rhubarb is on the left.  It took me awhile to find rhubarb to plant.  It's a bit behind, but I'm hoping it will take off an grow gangbusters.  I love rhubarb sauce.

More tomatoes to the right and strawberries below.  We've had a couple of nice red berries, but the birds keep beating me to them.  We will need to devise a plan to keep the birds out of the garden.

On the left is a new variety of Hosta that we planted in the front yard.  He's a cute little thing.  I hope he will be around for years to come.  On the right is a view of the garden from the back deck.  Eddie and I are feeling pretty accomplished right now.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The New Gardens One Month In

On May 31st I took pictures of the raised gardens.  The four gardens have become my new passion.  The are watered ever day that it doesn't rain and this week, for the first time, I added Miracle Grow through the watering feeder.  I am hopeful for a productive garden.

Hard to believe how well the plants are growing.  The first bed has tomatoes and cucumbers.  The second be has three rows of green beams.  Bed 3 had zucchini in the front and yellow squash in the back.

Check out the solar lighting in the garden.  We have clay pots with $.97 solar lights at each end of each garden bed.  I love them.  They are so simple but perfect for our garden.  

I love walking through the garden after dark and seeing the solar lights shining.  It is simple, but awesome.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Garden TeePee - A Hideout For The Grandkids

A mainstay at the back of the garden area is a Teepee for the grandkids.  Ultimately, it will be a hideout for the youngsters  The opening faces my kitchen window so it won't be a total hideout, but we won't tell them that.  My intention was to plant Hibiscus plants on all sides, but it looks like it may take quite a few years to fill it in this way.  I may need to rethink this next year.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weeds - They Are The Biggest Problem We Have

Although we rocked the entire area that the garden beds sit on, we did not put landscape cloth under all of that rock.  Weeds have popped up throughout the rocked area.  I found a natural remedy to remove the weeds.  We treat the area every other week with this natural recipe.

In a 2-gallon garden sprayer combine my two new best friends:

1 gallon white vinegar                                                 1 cup of table salt

Add two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and shake to mix.  Spray directly on the weeds.  In a day the weeds will turn brown and die.

I am told that the salt will eventually prevent anything from growing in the area in the future.  Do not spray this mixture anywhere that you may want something to grow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Let The Planting Begin

April 30th was planting day.  I was totally excited!  We planted two Cherry Tomato plants and two Big Boy Tomato plants in the front half of the first bed.  Cucumbers were planted in the back half.

The second bed was planted with three rows of green beans.  They are a family favorite!

The third bed is split in half.  Zucchini is planted in the front half and Yellow Squash in the back half.  

And, finally, the fourth bed was planted with Everbearing Strawberries and Rhubarb.  The Rhubarb was planted from root, so it took a bit of time for that to come up.  

These photos were taken around the middle of May.  We planted all but the tomatoes and strawberries from seed, so it took a couple of weeks for the plants to grow to the size seen here.  

Come back tomorrow to find out about some of the maintenance chores we do to try to keep weeds from popping up in the graveled areas around the beds.  While we wait for the plants to produce fruits and veggies we have time to prevent those pesky weeds to keep the area looking nice.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Hubby Did A Lot Of Hard Work

Before we started this project our yard was in pretty sad shape.  The third week of April 2016, my hubby wheelbarrowed gravel into the area that would become our garden.  Then he got to work placing the cement blocks and cap stones in place to form each bed.  For a couple of weeks we made multiple trips to Lowe's EVERY day.  We were on a first name basis with the young man who loaded my son's truck with the 103 cement blocks and 50 cap stones we used.  Believe me, it took multiple trips just to transport all of those.  That's a lot of weight.

Each box is lined with landscaping cloth to help keep the dirt in the beds.  With all of that in place, it was time to fill them with soil.  We started by filling the bottom of each bed with compost material and the ornamental grass cut from the prior year's growth.  Then, of course, it was back to Lowe's.  We didn't buy garden soil in bulk.  Instead we bought "Stay Green" garden soil with fertilizer.  It was definitely expensive, but well worth it when you see how well our gardens grew.  We bought 48 bags of 3 cu ft of soil.  Again, we had to impose upon our son, Luke to transport a couple of skids of soil.

We have lots of wildlife in our yard, so Eddie (the hubs) decided it would be best to put a fence around our garden area.  I'm sure you know, that meant another trip to Lowe's for fence posts and a roll of fencing.  Nothing fancy, but it keeps the wildlife out except for the birds.

Check back often for more details!