Friday, August 22, 2008

This and That

Fall is fast approaching and things are starting to slow down a little in the garden. Jamie and I have accomplished so much in the garden this year it’s almost un-comprehendible. Yesterday afternoon I spent the greater part of four hours cutting grass and piddling around in the yard. When I was done, I sat back in a chair and looked over all of my hard work for the afternoon. As I was sitting there mentally rearranging and repositioning plants I was hit with such a huge sense of satisfaction with the way things are coming together. I had a good feeling all over about it. I tend to be my worst critic, so just two days earlier I was completely dissatisfied with the way everything looked. Right now, despite the chaotic cluster of plants in the huge patio bed, I can definitely say Jamie and I are heading in the right direction.

Since we are spending less of our energies planting around the house it has opened time for other projects. About two weeks ago Jamie and I spent the weekend building a trellis wall and three arbors. I’ve been itching to show them to you, but I don’t want to until the beds are cut out around them. And, to be completely honest, Jamie and I have not had the strength or energy to do it the past week. We’ve worked so hard EVERY single weekend since the beginning of March we just need a little break. So, we’ve been taking one and working on other projects that are less labor intensive. I do intend to work on the trellis beds and arbor beds this weekend, weather permitting.

There are several things that we’ve been neglecting lately around the house and it’s time to start taking that into consideration. One little project this past weekend was to re-do the sitting area outside the kitchen door. With all the work we had been doing in the garden, we didn’t even have a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the fruits of our labor. It was one of those things that we’ve been saying we were going to do, but never seemed to get around to it.

 Window Seating

Jamie and I have an attraction to lions that has recently come to light. We realized we keep purchasing things and looking at items with lions on them. While helping Jimmy and Wade move this past weekend, Jimmy gave us the most wonderful bronze planter with lions on it. We just love it and I think its well worth the 25 cents Jimmy paid for it at the Salvation Army.


Lion Planter

Right now we still have lots of things blooming in the garden, but only a few items that I haven’t previously posted in other entries. I’m sure everyone has seen the Purple Hyacinth Bean blooms before…


But, have you ever seen the White Hyacinth Bean blooms? This one is called Lablab purpureus 'Alba', also known as Dolichos lablab 'Alba'.

White Hyacinth

Jamie has wanted these Balloon Flowers for so long. He’s finally getting to enjoy his blooms. I do have to agree they are a very pretty color.

Balloon Flower

The ‘Tonto’ finally decided to show us what it has to contribute to our garden. All the Crepe Myrtles seem to bloom at different times, so that’s good. They slightly overlap each other.


Last but not least, I threw in this picture of the ‘Richard Wallace’ buds because I thought it was the prettiest yellow color I’ve seen in a long time.

Richard Wallace Bud

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August Bloom Day 2008

I’m running seven hours behind on Bloom Day! Oh no! I certainly hope Carol at May Dreams will forgive me. I’ve been so busy I just absolutely forgot until Phillip reminded me in the wee hours of the evening last night. So here are some blooms from the garden.

The Blackberry lily has finally decided to bloom and Jamie is so excited about it. He’s been waiting so patiently to see it. Here’s his reward.

Blackberry Lily

The Vitex is still blooming. I just couldn’t resist posting this picture with the Butterfly. How many miles do you suppose these tattered little wings have flown? He wasn’t the least bit shy either.


I am absolutely IN LOVE with Joe-Pye Weed. It’s the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long time. The Bees just love it! Surprisingly I haven’t seen a lot of butterflies hanging around it.

Joe Pye Weed

I think we will finish up with four of the five Crepe Myrtles we have. The ‘Tonto’ hasn’t started to bloom yet. I was really hoping to post all five of them at the same time. Unfortunately, ‘Tonto has decided to be fashionably late to the party.









Some Cannas For You

Jamie and I got several projects completed in the garden this past week. I’ll be posting pictures of them later. I really don’t like posting pictures of unfinished projects on the blog. I like to go step by step with my photos until completion so you can watch the process unfold. This past weekend we put in two new beds, three arbors and built a twenty foot trellis attached to one of the arbors to form a wall and the entrance to our garden. I’ll be posting pictures of all this in a couple of weeks. Until then here are some Canna photos that I hope you enjoy. With thirty types of cannas, our garden has been an explosion of flowers thru all the terrible heat. If you don’t have any you should consider getting at least a couple of them.



'Richard Wallace'

Richard Wallace



'Tropical Sunrise'

Tropical Sunrise

'King City Gold'

King City Gold

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Birth of a Bed

Hello everyone! Jamie and I have been on vacation this week and it’s been really nice to have a break from the daily grind. It was our original intention to be in the Keys this week, but taking into consideration gas prices and the storm earlier this year we decided not to go. Jamie and I came to the conclusion we would rather put that money into the garden instead. We both agreed , although it would have been nice to spend time at a tropical resort, we could enjoy each others company just as well playing in the garden as we could lying on the beach at Key West. There is always next year. In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, Jamie and I are masters at finding bargains on plants. As a general rule we don’t buy anything unless it’s at leas 60% off and we prefer 75%. Due the recent treasure trove of 80 and 90% off deals we had found, the potted plants were building up so it was time to get them in the ground. We nurse them back to health, but they don’t really thrive until we plant them in their new homes. That being said, we decide to put in a new bed. I thought I would share the process we go thru when we create one. This is the latest of ten beds we have put in this year, this is one of the larger ones.

I drew up a diagram of our lot and from that decided where and how to place the beds. We start by laying out the shape on the ground with the garden hose. In this instance we had to extend it by tying a rope to the end of the hose. When we are satisfied with the shape of the new bed we take a can of white spray paint and draw out the lines on the lawn.


Next we cut out the shape of the bed and begin removing the grass. This is my least favorite part of the entire process. Jamie and I take shovels and slide them under the grass removing the sod and then we go back and shake all the dirt out of the grass and discard it. We have about four or five different types of grass in the back yard and a lot bare spots as well. This particular bed had several very large areas of gorgeous centipede grass. We were able to transplant it to most the bare areas in the lawn and so far it looks at if all of it is going to survive.




After all the grass is removed, we cut a trench around the perimeter of the bed about four to five inches wide and about five inches deep. Then we start the process of amending the soil with more top soil and composted manure. In this case we added eight hundred pounds of topsoil and four hundred pounds of composted manure. We don’t have a tiller, so we incorporate all this by turning the soil with shovels. Yes, it is a tremendous amount of work. Jamie and I both got a lot of blisters on our hands from this one. We just keep on going until we get done, then we spend the following day whining about how bad our hands hurt. We are both very determined gardeners.


Next we start placing all the plants around until I’m satisfied with where they will go. This is a time consuming process, because I’ll shuffle those things around in a hundred different arrangements until I’m satisfied with what we have. Then we finally plant them in the ground and put down the lines for the drip irrigation.




Once we are satisfied with the placement of the sprinkler heads, in goes the mulch. We spread out the mulch to cover the water lines and help hold in the moisture. We both like the way the small pine bark nuggets look, though it is frustrating because in times of extreme down pours of rain it tends to wash out of the bed some. After the mulch is spread, we sit back on the grass and admire out hard work.