Wednesday, May 28, 2008

For the Birds

Almost a year ago I put a rock water feature in my back yard. I finally got around to getting it cleaned out and running a couple of weeks ago. No small task, but worth the effort.

Besides the great sound of running water in my yard, I had forgotten how much the birds love it. During the morning hours there is what seems to be a continuous line of birds waiting to take their turn to splash around in the water. Robins, wrens, sparrows, cardinals, finch and more. It's great fun to watch them from my kitchen window as I eat breakfast.

As you plan your landscape, don't forget the birds. A birdbath (keep it filled at all times) or a fountain will surely please them.

Now, if I could just get them to hang up their towels when they are done with their bath.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Garden Season is Here

What has long considered the traditional kickoff of the garden season is upon us. When I was young this was the weekend that we would plant the acre plus vegetable garden and the acre plus of pumpkins and gourds. The weekend always included a trip to Marimel Greenhouse which at the time was my version of heaven with so many plants to pick and choose from.

With the cold late spring, this feels more like the kickoff that I remember.

Right now you can do almost everything and anything in the yard, from dividing perennials, planting seeds (flowers and vegetables) putting down grass seed, getting rid of dandelions, etc.

If you have not put down crabgrass preventer, you are on the cusp of it being too late, but you can put it down anyway and hope for the best.

Here is a photo that I took in my backyard - spring at its best.

Larry's Garden

Make it a great and safe weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Plants and Dating

My most recent life conclusion is that gardening / growing plants is just like dating. Ok….play along with me on this one. You meet and things are pretty good. The relationship can go on for a few months or maybe even a few years and then it can end with or without warning. When it ends, get over it - move on and start the next one. So it goes with my yard this year. If you have followed this blog during the last few years, you know that I love the Ramblin’ Red climbing shrub rose. I have seven of them planted in my yard. They have completely grown over a large metal gazebo in my back yard covering it with hundreds and hundreds of red blooms every summer. For the last seven years they have survived the winter and leafed out at about 6’ above the ground.

On the other hand, there is the clematis. I also have a love affair with the clematis, especially the Jackmanii Clematis. 30 plus years ago when I was just a toddler, (I already told you to play along with me.) I planted a couple of these on the farm in LeSueur where I grew up. To this day, they have survived every winter, leafing out each spring 8-10 feet above ground. For years I have planted a few in my Minneapolis yard only to have them not come back the following year.

So, imagine my surprise a couple weeks ago when I noticed the three clematis I planted last spring were all leafing out. On the other hand the Ramblin’ Red climbing rose appeared totally dead. It is now sending up small sprouts from ground level – not dead, just a major setback.

So, my relationship with the Ramblin’ Red climbing rose is rocky right now. It’s not over, just on the skids so to speak. On the other hand my renewed affair with the clematis is back on. Let’s see how our summer goes.

For more information on the Ramblin’ Red climbing rose click here:

For more information on the Jackmanii Clematis click here:

For more information on growing shrub roses click here:

For more information on growing clematis click here:

Make your day a good one.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Container Gardening

Container Garden Ideas Using Impatiens and New Guinea Impatiens

Part Sun
New Guinea Impatiens
Coral Bells* (Red leaf variety)
Candlestick Vine
Euphorbia Diamond Frost

Kimberly Queen Fern or Hosta *
German Ivy
Bridal Veil

*Perennials should be removed from the container garden in mid-late September and planted in the garden. Water well until frost and they should come back up the following year.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sunshine = Happiness

At long last 70 degree days and sunshine in the forecast. The cold and wet early spring seems to finally have run its course.

Now is the time to:
Put down crabgrass preventer. Don't procrastinate too long on this one.
Seed your lawn.
Remulch beds and gardens with wood chips and cypress mulch (my favorite).
Plant window boxes, planters.
Divide perennials.

The only thing I would wait another week or so to do is plant warm weather plants such as tomatoes, peppers and putting out tropical plants like hibiscus.

Short of what I just mentioned above, this is the time of year that you can do darn near anything and everything in your yard and garden.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine...these are the days that we live here for!

Make your weekend a great one.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Container Gardening

Here are a couple of recipes for some great looking container gardens.

Shade Container Garden
Hosta ‘Independence’ (Any hosta with white in the leaf can be used.)
Caladium - White
Tuberous Begonia – White
6” Fern
Lime Light Dracaena

Sun Container Garden
Fancy Leaf Geranium
Look for plants with some burgundy color in the leaves.
The fancy leaf geraniums are grown for their leaves not their flowers.
Standard geraniums can be substituted – choose plants with deep red or burgundy flowers.
Potato Vine
Coral Bells ‘Obsidian’ (Any red leaf coral bell plant can be used.)
Purple Fountain Grass
Bauer Dracaena

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mulch and More

I finally got a fresh layer of cypress mulch put down around my shrubs and perennials.

Why mulch? First it looks good and gives the garden beds a finished look. It helps keeps weeds from growing and during hot weather; it helps keep moisture in the soil so I don’t have water as often. Mmmm…less weeds and less watering…two good reasons for me. I like cypress mulch because it decays slower than other wood chips such as locally ground up trees and it does not attract insects or bugs. I like to get this done early each spring before the plants start growing and as slow as this spring has been in getting going, there has been plenty of time to get it done.

Make your day a good one.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring is officially here!

I can now declare that spring is finally here. The calendar - nope it’s just a date. The first robin sighting - no way, some don’t even leave for the winter. I know its spring when I see the first forsythia and magnolia blooming. I could have declared it spring last Wednesday (April 30) that is when I spotted both in bloom. That is a full three weeks later than last year.

Here are a couple of pictures that I snapped in my neighborhood. Yes, you can grow magnolia here in the north – they are not exactly the same as those in the south, but still make a beautiful decorative tree.

For information on various varieties of magnolia that can be grown here, just click here.

For information on forsythia, click here.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Rainy Weekend...

Patience, patience, patience….mmmmm….something that I’m not very good at. As I write this today, I hear the raining pouring down. The weekend right now looks like it will be hit and miss as far as doing anything in the yard. Saturday looks like it will be a wash, but Sunday might be ok. Before you dig around in your yard, remember to make sure the soil is dry. Digging around in wet soil will usually leads to the soil becoming compacted down.

A few other things:
I would wait one more week to put down crabgrass preventer.
Hold off on dandelion treatments for another week too.
I would not put the warm temperature loving plants out yet. That includes, impatiens, petunias, geraniums and of course anything tropical.

Stay dry, be patient. I know spring will get here eventually.

Make your day a good one.