My 2 Girls Garden
 
"There is no time for visiting in the spring."  A quote from Caroline (Ma) Ingalls in one of the Little House books by beloved author, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I have thought of this quote often since spring of this year.  I was busy planting and taking care of my own backyard garden, and in June, I was approved for a lot in Discovery Gardens-a local community garden.  I have taken photos, but haven't had time to post.  Stay with me as a backtrack and share about the joys of gardening.
 
 
Before we went on vacation this summer, in an attempt to save all my plants, I placed every plant that was in a pot underneath the live oak tree in the backyard. We were also trying to save the St. Augustine grass that my husband had sodded last year, by saturating it with water before we left town. We also learned that a tree can absorb water from the lawn. So we watered to save the lawn, the tree and most importantly, the foundation of the house.  I have never really liked any landscaping I tryed to do in the past, but this arrangement of flowers has made me happy.  Many of the flowers were bought from the rack of nearly dead plants from gardening centers.  Some, like the vinca flowers and marigolds were planted from seed and though they are annuals, they manage to come back every year.  The only principle I followed was to put the tallest plants in the back and put the running vine plants along the edges.  The impatiens and begonias are the only flowers I do not plan to plant again because they require too much water and shade.  However, I was surprised by the fragrance of the tiny white flowers.  They remind me of honey suckles that bloom in the spring.  
I planted these small white flower in a pot with a rose bush.
These white bloomsoms may be small in size, but not in fragance. You can smell them time you walk into the backyard.
View of the begonias.
The marigolds were planted from seed.
A honey bee on a marigold bloom.
The marigolds salute the morning sun.
Recently added this scuplture.
 

Roses

04/02/2013

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Last year I purchased two rose bushes. I liked the blooms but did not know 
much about the plants.  Later, when I looked them up a search engine, I
learned that I had chosen two plants very prone to disease.  First, I put them
on the patio, but they murdered every ball we had…from the princess ball all the
way to a volley ball, which I thought could not be punctured, but I sadly pulled a
thorn from it one day after realizing it was going flat. I decided to learn as
much about everything I planted. So, the local nursery held a class on roses.  I
have included photos I took of these beautiful flowers and link to tell about everything you need to know about going roses.  http://www.rose.org/growing-roses/
These are my photos of roses and information about growing them.
Neptune.  Hybrid Tea
Height/Habit:  Medium, upright and bushy. 
Bloom Size:  Bloom size is very large, fully double.
Fragrance:  Fragrance is powerful sweet rose.
Color/Comments:  The color is rich lavender kissed purple.  For best bloom size, cooler temperatures.



Walking on Sunshine. - Florabunda
Height/Habit:  This flower grows to medium size,
Bloom Size:   Ruffled in large clusters. 
Fragrance:  Fragrance is anise.
Color/Comment:  Bright yellow, ruffled pedals vigorous and disease resistant.
This looks like one rose but is a cluster of smaller flowers with slight varying of color.
EASY DOES IT.- Florabunda
Height/Habit:  Medium/rounded and bushy
Bloom Size:  Medium to large, double ruffled
Fragrance:  Moderate fruity
Color/Comments:  Mango, peach and apricot blended.  Perfect in every climate.
VETERANS HONOR- Hybrid Tea
Height/Habit:  Tall/Upright
Bloom Size:  Large/Double
Fragrance:   Fragrance is light, more fruity rasberry rose fragrance.
Color/Comments:  Elegrant dark red buds but turn to tones of pink as they age,
The much loved red rose, fitting as a tribute to our veterans.


ROCK AND ROLL-Grandiflora
Height/Habit:  Medium/Upright and sun
Bloom Size:  Bloom is medium and fully double
Fragrance:   Strong rose and fruit
Color/Comments:  Burgandy and cream striped bicolor.  Flower size best in cool spring/fall.
I thought this hybrid was absolutely gorgeous.
Peace-Hybrid Tea
Height/Habit:  Medium/Bushy
Bloom Size:  Very large/very full
Fragrance:   Mild fruity
Color/Comments:  Lemony yellow pedals edged with pure pink.  Best color and performance east of the rockies.


This is a product recommended by the local nursery and teacher of the class on growing roses.  It can can be used as a fertilizer, for insect control  and disease control.  I like the idea of having fewer products to keep around the house.
 
 
I am a member of the gardening club at a local nursery.  The plants and
flowers are pricey, but there is always someone to answer a question and it has
a relaxing atmosphere.  It is a beautiful place with every plant, flower, shrub
and tree in the right place.  And did I mention that they play really good
classical music. There is a workshop every month with a break in October through
December.  In January, I attended a Saturday workshop on pruning.  I was not
particularly interested in pruning but it turned out to be informative.  The
information I learned gave me the confidence to plant shrubbery (something my husband and I had talked about).  The shrubs in  the front of our house have been slowly dying.  The extreme drought of 2011 and  drought 2012 took its toll on all the greenery.  I am just happy that we still  have our three oak trees in the yard, because I have seen some trees just fall  over and die because of the drought.  I also learned the correct way to trim the scrubs in the backyard to promote growth underneath.

We chose three schrubs to plant.
The shrub bushes we chose from.
This is the brand of root stimulator purchased from a local nursery.  We used the stimulator when planting all our shrubs, blooming vines and large flowers. It is mixed with water and poured around plant after it is placed into the ground.
Chloe loves mint.
Shrubry ready for transplant.
Because of the rocky soil, we used some bagged top soil when we transplanted the  schrub.
Pretty and interesting flowers I saw at the nursery.
Orchid.
 
 
My oldest daughter is working on her science project.  We were out shopping
for bamboo for the project.  Our search took us to a home business that sold bamboo
flooring and fences.  The home owner also had a flower garden in the front yard. 
In the garden I saw this sign and I thought it really is true.  I took this photo.

 
 
Winter is here.  We have actually had nights with below freezing temperatures.  I had  to move the tangerine tree inside because of the cold.  The tree had one fruit left and it did ripen...to my surprise.
 
 
A community garden was created at the local library where my four year old attends storytime.  It provides patrons to claim raised beds free of charge.  The beds are larger than my bed in my back yard, so I plan to request one for the spring.  All gardening equipment is supplyed and stored in storage building next to the gardens, behind the library.  My daughter and I went to look at the gardens after story and craft time.  We met a gardener named Lee.  He showed us his garden and was gracious enough to supply me with kale and broccoli that he had grown.  That is how gardeners are, always sharing.  Lee says he just gets a thrill out of gardening.  He lives within walking distance and comes over regularly and takes care of the garden. 
Picture
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My youngest daughter and local gardener Lee.  Lee, like many gardeners named
their garden. Erin is his college age daughter
Some gardeners have added scarecrows and flowers

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Lee's garden consists of broccoli, peppers and kale.

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A view of the gardens and tool shed, which houses tools and supplies provided by the city.
Picture
Tool Shed.
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The ground is covered between beds to prevent weed growth.
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The raised beds were constructed by the Parks Department.
 

Pumpkins

11/21/2012

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IS A PUMPKIN JUST A PUMPKIN?


Who knew that there were so many different types of pumpkins?   Well, I did
not or at least until recently.  I assumed that pumpkins that Jack-O-Lanterns
were made of were the same that you made pumpkin pie.  I learned the difference
after taking my daughters to a Fall Festival at the local garden nursery.  I was
astounded at the number and the appearance of pumpkins.

  The first that caught my attention was the Cinderella Pumpkin.  I thought,
“now that really does look like the stage coach in the story.”  I have to say
that all that was missing was the mice.  I learned that the Cinderella is a
popular French heirloom variety-it also makes a delightful and decorative accent
for the Fall season.

White pumpkins are carving out their own niche as an eye-catching novelty.
Their ghostly pale rind stands out among their orange brethren, adding interest
to standard displays. Then there’s the White Pumpkin.  This pumpkin is perfect carving or painting. It makes a perfect unadorned centerpiece.
Because their rinds remain white, however, you may have
difficulty knowing when these pumpkins ripen. 

Fairy Tail Pumpkin. This is an old time pumpkin from France. It is deeply
ribbed and has a very smooth hard surface. It is dark green in color when
immature, and as it cures it turns a gorgeous deep mahogany hue. It is fine
grained and well suited for pies. It's true name is: Musque Dem Provenence.




Lunch Lady Gourds. Large, warty, hard-shelled fruits appear in a variety of shapes and sizes, with colors including gold, orange, green, and ivory – some solids and some
multicolors.


Knuckle Head Pumpkins.  The name says it all! This is somewhat of a freaky
pumpkin definitely catches everyone’s attention. The pumpkin has many large
warts with a solid orange background. The warts change color after the background, which gives it an unusual contrast. It is a medium upright pumpkin with a hard outer shell that makes it suitable for storage. A  conversation piece for your fall display.   It is not recommended for carving because of its hard shell.

 
 
    With the end of summer and beginning of fall, I would like to say please beware of yellow jackets.  I garden in a limited space.  Well, as far as backyards go, mine may be larger than some city dwellers, but I also have to share it with two young girls...and the lawn grass has been a labor of love for my spouse.   But we have noticed that yellow jackets become more active in late summer and early fall.  Maybe they are nesting or something, I really don't know.  We started hanging an insect catcher in the beautiful live oak tree in the backyard to try and protect us as we garden and play.  The catcher does not attract pollenaters or beneficial insects or bees.  We were astounded with the number of yellow jackets that were caught (see photos below).  The aggressiveness of the yellow jackets was apparent when my youngest was helping my husband empty the container.  I heard them dashing into the house and quickly closed the door behind them.  After catching their breast, they said that as they were emptying it, more yellow jackets came around them, so they ran.
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The catcher hanging from the live oak tree in backyard.
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These are all yellow jackets. Amazingly, no honey bees are captured.
 
 
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To view ideas for fall flowers, click on arrow just below slide show.