Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Want This Man as a Neighbor

Despite doing a boat load of work in my yard, I'm posting today about someone else! The dude with the cukes lives in Lynn and has a garden so awesome that he gets a write-up in The Daily Item of Lynn (an awesome source for local gossip). The yards on my street are all pretty small and except for a few pots of tomatos, I don't see much vegetable gardening. Ed sounds like a pretty interesting guy, picking beans from his 3rd floor window, using water from rain barrels, and I especially like his way to keep weeds down.

Another article I stumbled across that's worth a mention, is the story of a man in Lynn whose chickens were confiscated/removed by the city. If you read the comments to the article, there seem to be two camps; chickens are awesome and chickens do not belong in back-yards. I for one would love chickens, but have serious space limitations. Not to mention the fact that my dogs might like to eat the chickens.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Heart Annuals

Above is a shot of my Cosmos, grown from Seed Mat (courtesy of that has wound itself through Boltonia, with Perovskia (Russian Sage) and Pardancanda (Candy Lily) in the background. With the sunflowers in bloom (see below), the Impatiens, Pelargonium and Alyssum chugging away, and the biennials growing well (Hollyhock, Columbine, Digitalis), I'm pretty happy with my attempts at growing seeds, my annuals in particular. There's something to be said for a plant that can grow to over 9 feet, bloom for weeks and weeks, and cost next to nothing to grow.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Work, work, work

Here's an "after" shot of the yard with the Landscaper mostly done. I think he promised to come back and put in some grass seed, but I'm kinda holding my breath. Joe (DiPietro) did manage to find me some more rocks and created a new flower bed where the Yew once was. I'm totally psyched with how everything has turned out...

I added another page to my website, a "To Do List," page. I can't say this was an original idea. Another garden blogger (I can't remember which one, my bad) suggested gardeners keep such a list to keep track of projects that need to get done. Brilliant idea, because it helps me prioritize, which my ADHD brain really needs help doing.

Today, I did a bit of work in the backyard. I'm having some trouble eradicating this Japanese Knotweed stuff. It's so invasive that people actually eat it as a means of controlling its growth. I pulled out a few new shoots (a daily chore of mine), and cursed the gardener that introduced this stuff to North America.

I also moved a bunch of stuff around, including the Variegated Hydrangea in the picture above, and potted up some Hosta for my sister's hillside anti-erosion project. My Hosta's look terrible. I think the slugs are happy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bringing in the Big Guns!

Woo hoo! The image above is actually an improvment! What you are looking at is the former site of my Yew Stump and Dead Lilac Stump/Mound/Jungle. I called in the pros (Joseph DiPietro of Swampscott MA) and for a fee I got hime to remove the dreaded stumps. I am now a proponent of hiring professionals. It took them about an hour to do what would of taken my husband and I days and possibly the health of our marriage.

Now I just have to figure out what to put in the stumps' place!


Friday, August 8, 2008

My First Goldfinch

I can't believe I actually managed to snap this shot of a Goldfinch snacking on some of my Sunflowers! I had to find my camera, then pry open the screen on my kitchen window, then figure out how to use the zoom feature on my camera... I got one picture in before the little fella skooted off. Awesome!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

On Sale!

Woo hoo! I just got some ridiculously good deals on plants! I know it's not polite to talk about the cashola, but I can't resist; Stella d'Oros for $2.50, perennial oregeno and thyme for $5.00 (big pots too). I have to give a shout out to Highland Gardens (on Highland Avenue). I have never bought plants from there b/c I find them a little pricey, but there was a ton of stuff on sale and the lady running the show was super helpful and really friendly to my 3-year old. They do have a really nice selection of shrubs and trees. I was longingly gazing at the Climbing Hydrangea Vine (Schizophragma), which is a plant that's on my Wish List.

The herbs were from a company called, "Sarah's Super Herbs," which had nice tags and a good website. The plants were really healthy-looking and large too. I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled for more of her stuff.

In other news, I finally plunked down the credit for some Lily bulbs from Old House Gardens. I really wanted 'Black Beauty' bulbs, which I have been lusting after for a while, but they have a $30 minimum so I also bought 'Rubrum.' I looked for Black Beauties in a bunch of places, narrowing it down to VanEngelen/Scheepers (50.00 /35.00 minimum) -- the best prices by far, but I've been warned they often subsitute. Carroll Gardens had them for a ridiculous amount of money (1 bulb for $11). Bluestone has a small selection of lilies at very good prices, but they weren't offering Black Beauty. Also, if Old House doesn't have the bulbs you want, you can opt for a credit + 10% instead of a subsitution, so I thought that was the best way to go). So wish me luck! Thanks for the pic from Carroll Gardens...


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seed Love

I won't go into it here, but I created the very first draft of a new page on my website about my experiences starting plants from seed. It's called, "Starting from Seed." I know,I know I'm very creative. I pretty much just wrote about my experiences, which I probably should have done here, but oh well... I think when I have more time, I'll really put some time into making it more useful, maybe with some pictures of my grow light set up and flats, but until then, dear reader, you're stuck with what's there. And just so this blog post isn't completely boring, the picture below is of the Pelargonium (Geranium) that I grew from seed. I don't usually like red, which didn't render very well in the photo, but the color really is making me rethink that whole anti-red flower thing.


Holy Sunflowers, Batman!

This Christmas I received some sunflower seeds from my little sis, planted them with little thought around the stump of my old yew bush and pretty much forgot about them. How could I have known they would totally steal the show in my garden this summer? This whopper is about 9 feet tall, and about 16 inches in diameter, and they just light up my yard. Neighbors
stop and stare. Grandma's point them out to their delighted grandkids. They've been a real joy and a fitting Christmas gift.

Other things that have been a surprising delight are the blooms on this Hyndrangea macrophylla (cultivar unknown). I got this sucker last year. It didn't bloom, then got some kind of gray fungus. After much research, I moved it to a sunnier spot and stopped watering it, the leaves started to get scorched and wither. I was not pleased. I pretty much gave up and left it to the dog's yard (see below), which is on the North side of the house, getting morning light only. I also can't reach it well with my hose, so gets watered only a little. And then whatever is back there gets trampled by the pups, but 'lo and behold, the loveliest little pink blossoms emerged just a few days ago. I'm in love again!

Just as I was going around the yard, snapping pics, my husband pointed out my dogs sitting under the Forsythia in the backyard. They looked really sweet. It's rare to get them near each other, relaxing outside. I, of course, missed the moment because, Shadow, the black dog, stood up, but I was glad to see them enjoying the garden too.