Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can you Teach an OLD Gardener some New Tricks??

Winter. .
Spring. .
Winter. .
Spring. .
We're calling spring around here. .
We were still getting freezing nights nearly a week after our average frost free date. .
Guess that's why they call it an average??
But. .
We've had moisture. .
So things are green and flowers are in bloom!!
Here's a great photo of the Blue Flax. .
All you hot southern Kansas garden mamas. .
You NEED this plant. .
It has been phenomenal. .
AND you can probably sneak into my garden when I am not looking. .
Steal some for yourself. .
Steal some for your neighbors and friends. .
And I still wouldn't notice the gap!
You can see how the 4 original 2 inch potted plants 3 years ago have spread. .
I love it!
But don't look for it in the afternoon. .
Or even the evening. .
For the only way you will know which plant is IT. .
Is if you sneak in during the morning!
You've all heard my woes about the drought and the hideous garden plot full of Johnson grass. .
So, while sitting in the waiting room New Year's Eve during Grant's surgical procedure. .
as I browsed one of my endless supply of gardening magazines. .
I found THESE. .
Gardening boxes. .
Grow the perfect tomatoes. .
along with other miraculous, intriguing claims were made. .
So, I researched and ordered. .
Six of them!!
These will be our 'garden' this summer!!
I had to be a little choosy about what to plant. .
And Grant helped me set them up and plant them. .
We have 2 Beef Steak tomatoes (red slicers), 2 Kellogg's breakfast tomatoes (yellow slicers), 2 Tomatoberry tomatoes (grape tomatoes that are shaped like a strawberry and super sweet), 1 Mater Sandwich (leftover seed from last year, a red slicer), and 1 Brandywine (leftover seed as well, an heirloom that supposedly has fantastic flavor). Each box was good for 2 tomato plants. .so that took 4 boxes. One box contains 5 pepper plants (1 jalapeno, and 4 colored sweet) and 3 basil plants (1 green sweet and 2 purple). The final box contains 6 holes that will consist of cucumber plants, 3 holes with pickling and 3 holes with slicing seeds. .I noticed today that there are sprouts in both sides (we planted on Saturday) These containers are self watering. .and they have GINORMOUS water reservoirs in the bottom!! I think they will work great!
We also planted some round self watering planters I found at walmart. .
2 pots have carrot varieties (cosmic purple, which we love. .and tendersweet, an orange variety) The other one has watermelon seeds. .I also intend to get one more pot and plant cantaloupe in it. You can see them perched around the memory garden. .
they will not stay on the sidewalk. .
you notice the small sliver of dirt you can see at the left edge of the photo. .
that is now a small piece of yard that is surrounded by sidewalk on the east and south and new patio on the west. .
It will be the perfect location for these pots, once we put down a thick layer of newspaper and straw.
If you want to read about these little grow boxes. .
you can find them here. .
I have also been pretty nervous about our little potato tower experiment!!
Over 3 weeks now with no potato vines in sight!
I stuck my hand into the tower last week to see if I could fish out a spud to see whether they were rotting or what. .
I took a stinger to my middle finger that I'm sure went straight into my BONE. .
And the next day I got my long hand trowel and started again.
I found a few of them sprouted reaching for the sky. .
I was concerned that they may never reach the top. .
And lo and behold. .
2 little potato sprouts peeking out of the bottom of the tower. .
Just like the Internet said they would!
And finally in veggie news. .
We (mostly I) put in 10 asparagus crowns. .
I used the cedar fence along the back edge of the memory garden as the guide for their spots. . 
And planted some on the east side and some on the west side (if you scroll back up to my zoomed out photo. .they would be right about the location of my Yukon sitting in the driveway). .
4 of the 10 plants have emerged as of the last few days!!
I think this will be a better spot for them then the area in the garden that I tried a few years ago. .
And it will definitely be a better "permanent" spot for them!
Our favorite "special" way to eat asparagus is grilled with a little olive oil. .
or better yet, shoved in a slice of prosciutto stuck together with a little goat cheese. .
and THEN grilled!
In other gardening news. .
The lilacs were sparse. .
but fragrant. .
and pretty!! Hopefully next year will see more blooms. .
I enjoyed these from afar, but never took a bouquet to the house.
My aunt Jane shared some yellow water iris with me before she moved last year. .
It was loaded with blooms this week!
The regular iris are starting their show too. .
Yellow has been open for a couple days. .
The peach one is also about ready to go. .
There are several other colors that are starting too.
Last year I barely had a single iris bloom. .
and I was a little nervous about why they didn't bloom!!
So I was really thrilled to see them all performing like "business as usual."
Wondering if anyone else had that experience too?
I love columbine. .
but they haven't loved me much yet. .
I couldn't resist this purple one. .
And planted it near the pond, where I have tried to recreate a moister soil by leaving some of the pond liner under the soil with just a few holes poked in. .
So far it has worked for the hostas. .
And I am hoping the columbine will take to it too!
The Cardonna Salvia and Walker's Low Nepeta (catnip) from High Country gardens are expanding and looking radiant!
The pink penstemon in the same area and the Jupiter's beard will also join the color parade soon.
I tried another new trick I read about. .
 for a little Japanese painted fern that I wanted to add around my pitcher pump water feature when I get it put back together. .
I used an old hanging basket with the fibrous coco liner in it. .
I dug a hole out of the soil that was in the pot. .
Used an old pull up diaper from the stash of about 10 leftovers I found when we tore apart Cami's room. .
Opened it up and laid it in the bottom. .
Piled some more dirt on top of the diaper. .
and planted the fern in it. .
The diaper will hold the extra water and release it slowly to the root of the fern. .
Which I could NEVER hope to keep in total shade and get watered enough on my own. .
With this method, I think I can manage both. .
I'll keep ya posted!!
I dug this old bucket out from under my honeysuckle vine over the weekend too. .
And used it for a creeping jenny. .
which I also hope to add in a pocket when I put the pump feature back in on the new patio edge!
A few containers got some attention. .
like this old wire basket that got two pots of spicy fragranced petunias. .
Purple and yellow (or orange) is one of my favorite color combos of summer!
And we sat on the new patio this weekend and enjoyed the scent of them as it drifted by!
Another "out on a limb" purchase for me was this fuchsia.
I tried one last year. .
And the cats laid on it. .
Not to mention it dried up QUICKLY!!
And lasted like. .
A week!!
I found this little self watering hanging basket at Walmart for around $7. .
That fuchsia has sucked it dry twice a day since I got it. .
No wonder I killed it last year. .
But so far, nearly 2 weeks in. .
It is looking really nice!
And finally. .
I was TOTALLY surprised to find this little clump of Star of Bethlehem blooming right behind my little stone cross. I have transplanted these several times and never had them bloom. .
I don't EVEN remember transplanting this clump. .
But I love 'em. .
My daycare provider has a yard full. .
but me. .
always just a clump of stems!!
They are so sweet!!
So. .
despite my total lack of interest in gardening after 2 years of drought and incredible heat. .
I find myself adapting. .
learning new tricks to improve my success!
I am hopeful that the tricks will be successful come September. .
Guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!!
And smell a flower. .
on the side of this super busy highway we call. .
Glad you stopped by today!


  1. Melanie-what a lot you have going on. We have.....nothing. It snowed yet again last weekend. I'm beginning to think spring will NEVER make it. But, it keeps us challenged....LOL!
    Love the idea of using a diaper to keep moisture. What a terrific idea-I'm glad I can STEAL it from you.
    Best of luck with the grow boxes. I'll be watching for updates on that, as I have wanted to try them out.
    Happy Gardening!

  2. I planted some of that blue phlox after a lady at the garden center was saying how much she loved it. I thought it couldn't hurt to give it a try...glad to know it has been a favorite of yours! I also planted some salvia and can't wait to see how it does up here on the hill. It felt good to get my nails dirty and get some stuff in the ground. I told Jeremy that the house just looks and feels more like a home now!

  3. My Iris I dug up from the farm that was my Grandmothers BLOOMED yesterday!! I am enjoying my yard SO much this year!!
    Got the fish some food they will eat. And they WILL long as we are not watching! ;) The 2 gold ones are happy happy happy. The black one is a bit of a snob and spends most of her time hiding.
    I need to get those tomato plants you gave me planted still. EEK! That is on my to-do list for this weekend!

  4. What do you mean old gardener?
    I wondered about my blue flax this morning early before we left the house. Now I know. Usually I leave before sunrise and don't see the garden. This morning I thought, "oh, it must be done blooming." NO! Love it. Thanks for the start last year.
    Those watering pots for your veggies sure look interesting. Gotta be happy with water waiting for them always.
    Yea on some potato sprouts!
    I didn't get any lilacs into the house this year either. They just weren't abundants.
    The diaper trick is new to me. Hope that helps your fern.
    The star of Bethlehem is nice. Pretty.

    Just got cleared from the tornado warning. Had some hail but just checked out the garden and all seems to be well!

    I was passing the time in the basement reading garden blogs and praying!

  5. Wait a minute. I read the blue flax bloom time backwards some how. Maybe mine is done blooming. Oh well. Bring on the seeds.

  6. Wow, that blue flax spread out! I like that color. I like the gardening "containers." Laughing about the cat laying on the fushcia. LOL :) Thanks for sharing stuff - I enjoy it!