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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stories from the Farm - Joys of Gardening

I've been out east for six of the past ten months, due to family illness. You can imagine what shape my flower beds are in!

Well, actually, they don't look that bad - one reason being that I know myself and when I get into computer projects, everything else goes by the wayside. So, I made use of natural ground covers like creeping-charlie and violets and strawberries and some other stuff that has a pretty little blue bloom - don't know what it's called. These plants are aggressive, rapidly cover empty space and crowd out other weeds, and most importantly, grass - and they are a heckuva lot easier to pull out than grass. (I hate grass - once I clear a flower bed of grass, I don't want to ever have to do it again ...) 

I think of the wild ground covers as place holders until I can get the time and money and energy to mulch or actually plant a domesticated plant! (What can I say, I'm a lazy gardener - my garden evolves slowly. ;) ) 

Anyway, this June and July, I've been pulling wild ground cover out by the wheel barrow load - and was so pleased to find blue bells proliferating that I had bought a few years ago at the Master Gardener's annual Spring Expo. I didn't think they had survived. Turns out I just didn't see them under all the violets and the giant hosta that needs to be divided already. =:O 

This year has been great for gardens of all kinds (as opposed to the great drought of 2012). The plants I brought home from my husband's classmate's garden in Kentucky have established themselves in their new surrounds. I've found some nice prices on orange and yellow cannas, white-tipped red dahlias, and various black-eyed susans from Walmart. I've planted some seeds of favoritie flowers - the liliput zinneas and they are up. I think a few of the dwarf morning glories are up - hard to tell them from the wild ones. The blue climbers are definitely up. And all these were from year-old seed packets, so that's pretty good. I also planted nasturtium seeds and the poppy and money plant seeds (lunaria - I thinik) from Kentucky - in some of the flower bed space I've freed up by weeding down the wild ground covers. So we'll see how those do. Also four o'clocks. I've never had success with those or poppies. But this year I put them in different flower beds so maybe this will be my lucky year. It seems crazy to be planting in July, but so far it's been wet and cool enough - and I've gotten so behind on my planting from being away so long. Had to pull out all my daffodil and tulip bulbs from around the windmill - and I still need to replant those - as well as my little shade garden kit I got from Tractor Supply this spring before I went out east - if anything is still alive in it. 

Anyway, it's gratifying to finally have a little surplus of blooms for bouquets this year - All that landscaping, digging, and mulching I did in 2009 after my job ended at Clarian Arnett is starting to pay off. I think I dug up a truckload or two of turf and moved it to bare spots around the yard as I created more flower bed space  around the house and yard. And then there was the famous fall plant swap with my friends Marilyn and Julie - that cold, rainy day we visited one another's gardens and returned home with a car load of new things to plant in November! 

While I still don't have as many blooms as I'd like, I have more than ever before. I still pick conservatively  - I bring in lily stalks that have been broken by the mower or that only have a few blooms left on them, and excess petunias that have reseeded in the half-barrel planter, or hollyhocks that are getting too tall. And something else here or there. But one of these years ... The hydrangeas have been absolutely amazing. 

Bonnie Kay Winstead's vegetable garden is fabulous! We're starting to get green beans and zucchini - nary a bug bite on them. Sigh, hard to tear myself away from the out of doors this time of year and get to work on those darn taxes I requested an extension on when I went out east. Gardening is so much more fun! ;)

Cleome or Cat's Whiskers from Judy Benson Carver's Garden

Susan Komen Lilies from Walmart

Butterfly Bush

Susans from Walmart

Volunteer Petunias

Red Day Lily that happened to be in excess dirt we got
from neighbors Mike and Jacquie Hanna's digging project

Summer Bouqut - Day Lily and Sweet Peas

Summer Bouquet - Day Lilies and Sweet Pea
Annabelle Hydrangea Bouquet

Sweet Pea Close-up

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